Minnesota Theater cancels Cinderella production because cast is ‘too white’

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Minnesota Theater cancels Cinderella production because cast is ‘too white’

  • Chanhassen Dinner Theaters would be staging a production of Cinderella later this year
  • However, the show was dropped when the Artistic Director commented that the cast was overwhelmingly white
  • Chanhassen Dinner Theaters recently hired a diversity consultant and instituted new ‘Diversity, Equity and Inclusion’ protocols
  • A production of Footloose, featuring a more racially diverse cast, is now scheduled for 2022

A local Minnesota theater has canceled a production of Roger & Hammerstein’s Cinderella because the cast was ‘too white’.

Chanhassen Dinner Theaters would stage the show later this year before the Artistic Director stepped in to quell the lack of diversity.

“It was 98 percent white,” artistic director Michael Brindisi told the Pioneer Press on Wednesday after looking at who was cast.

However, Chanhassen – located southwest of Minneapolis – has an overwhelmingly white population, and the cast’s racial demographics were not conspicuously different from the city as a whole.

According to the most recent census, 92.5 percent of the people in Chanhassen are white. Less than 3 percent of the residents are Hispanic, while 1.1 percent are black.

No pictures of Cinderella’s cast were officially released before the show was dropped.

Chanhassen Dinner Theaters canceled a production of Roger & Hammerstein's Cinderella because the cast was 'too white'

Chanhassen Dinner Theaters canceled a production of Roger & Hammerstein’s Cinderella because the cast was ‘too white’

Dinner and a show!  Chanhassen - located southwest of Minneapolis - has an overwhelmingly white population, and the cast's racial demographics were not markedly different from the city as a whole

Dinner and a show!  Chanhassen - located southwest of Minneapolis - has an overwhelmingly white population, and the cast's racial demographics were not markedly different from the city as a whole

Dinner and a show! Chanhassen – located southwest of Minneapolis – has an overwhelmingly white population, and the cast’s racial demographics were not markedly different from the city as a whole

Cinderella has been staged all over the world for decades and usually has a majority of the white cast.  Pictured: A performance by Cinderella on Broadway in New York City in 2013

Cinderella has been staged all over the world for decades and usually has a majority of the white cast.  Pictured: A performance by Cinderella on Broadway in New York City in 2013

Cinderella has been staged all over the world for decades and usually has a majority of the white cast. Pictured: A performance by Cinderella on Broadway in New York City in 2013

In a statement released Monday, the theater stated: ‘After careful consideration and with our continued commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion, we have made the decision to cancel our upcoming production.

‘In addition to changing future programming, we are drawing up new pre-production protocols. We will invite (and pay) BIPOC artists to analyze the production with our creative teams through a new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion lens … This conversation will take place before the design and casting process has begun. ‘

Chanhassen Dinner Theaters has hired a diversity consultant and pledged to commit to “ identity-conscious casting and become a more deliberately anti-racist theater. ”

In the meantime, the organization is up to date[ly putting together a production of The Music Man and has a ‘strong priority placed on casting BIPOC artists’. 

Many of the productions put on by Chanhassen Dinner Theatre in recent years have featured a majority-white cast (pictured). They have now instituted new diversity protocols

Many of the productions put on by Chanhassen Dinner Theatre in recent years have featured a majority-white cast (pictured). They have now instituted new diversity protocols

Many of the productions put on by Chanhassen Dinner Theatre in recent years have featured a majority-white cast (pictured). They have now instituted new diversity protocols 

The cast of Chanhassen Dinner Theatre's Mamma Mia are pictured

The cast of Chanhassen Dinner Theatre's Mamma Mia are pictured

The cast of Chanhassen Dinner Theatre’s Mamma Mia are pictured

Meanwhile, Brindisi told the Pioneer Press that the theater considered recasting the Cinderella. 

However, they decided to scrap the show and start from scratch with a separate production. 

While some cast members were upset by the news, Brinidisi says that most ‘respected the very hard decision we had to make.’ 

Chanhassen Dinner Theatres will replace Cinderella  with a more diverse adaptation of Footloose, now scheduled for 2022. 

Artistic director Michael Brindisi called out the fact that Cinderella's cast was 98 percent white. The production has now been scrapped

Artistic director Michael Brindisi called out the fact that Cinderella's cast was 98 percent white. The production has now been scrapped

Artistic director Michael Brindisi called out the fact that Cinderella’s cast was 98 percent white. The production has now been scrapped 

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