North Shore Music Theatre: Why your EVITA casting MATTERS.

September 9th, 2017

North Shore Music Theatre
62 Dunham Road
Beverly, MA 01915

Bill Hanney and Kevin P. Hill,

On September 5th you released your press announcement for the casting of your current production of EVITA. To our disappointment you consciously excluded casting Latinx artists in any of the lead roles. Not to mention the limited amount of Latinx artists that round out the production from ensemble to creatives. This letter is written on behalf of a community of artists that believe in and celebrate diversity in our American Theater. We as a community see the casting of EVITA and your actions that have ensued since as bigotry and we will not be silenced.

Your conscious decision to whitewash your production of EVITA is a classic example of systemic erasure of Latinx artists. This is white supremacy at work. A group of white men in positions of power excluding people of color for a seat at their table. Furthermore, we are disappointed to hear that opposing viewpoints that were posted on your Facebook page concerning this matter were deleted. This is alarming to think what this implies for our community. That a leading regional theater has decided that their voice is superior and those that oppose are not engaged in conversation but silenced.

Your casting decisions are directly correlated to a larger political context when under our current administration people of color are being threatened in policy and rhetoric. On September 5th the President announced the repeal of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals); ultimately a decision that attacks our artists of color. That community seeks refuge in the arts. This is the same day you released your casting announcement for your production of EVITA. Further fortifying that every move you make as an arts institution is a political one. It is your responsibility when choosing to produce a show to dedicate your resources to honoring the cultural heritage of the story you wish to tell. For a production of EVITA this means casting Latinx actors to play Latinx roles.

Additionally, numerous attempts of communication have been made by members of our community only to be met with an active attempt to silence us. A statement has not yet been released by anyone from leadership at North Shore Music Theatre. Instead we have seen Artistic Director Kevin P. Hill’s Facebook post. One issue we have of the post is the AD’s boasting of the Rosetta Le Noire Diversity Award. This was an award given to North Shore Music Theater in 2003 before it had closed and reopened under the current owner Bill Haney and Artistic Director Kevin P. Hill. It is dishonest to claim awards that you did not receive and unjust for you to use them as a defense.

Your silence will not stop us from organizing. We see you and hear the message you are sending to our artists or color. We stand as a united community working towards racial equality and artistic excellence. And we are here to send the message loud and clear that diversity matters. Diversity on your staff matters, diversity on your creative team matters, and proper representation in casting matters.
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