The production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” was canceled by the Chanhassen Dinner Theater due to the overwhelmingly white cast, according to a statement from the theater published Monday.
Michael Brindisi, the artistic director, said that the reason for spiking the production was not due to the play itself — the cast was the issue.
A Minnesota theater has canceled its production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, based on a 17th-century French version of the fairy tale, because it is too white.
Instead, it will work on a production of Footloose.https://t.co/GUJI1CBNLL
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) March 25, 2021
“It was 98 percent white. That doesn’t work with what we’re saying we’re going to do,” Brindisi said in an interview with Twin Cities Pioneer Press. The “Cinderella” cast said that despite their disappointments, they understand and respect the “very hard decision” the production team had to make, according to the Press.
New “anti-racist” protocols will be implemented, the theater said. It will be reworking its audition and rehearsal process to “expand the voices that are at the table,” according to the statement.
“We will be inviting (and paying) BIPOC artists to analyze the production with our creative teams through a new DEI lens — looking to expand the voices that are at the table and impacting the storytelling,” the statement reads.
The theater will instead show “Footloose,” promising to “put into practice an intentional process,” according to the statement. (RELATED: World’s Largest Movie Theater Chain AMC Lost $4.6 Billion In 2020)
Following the death of George Floyd, the theater hired a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) consultant to train leadership and meet “with managers without senior leadership present to assess current attitudes, goals and barriers to the work at CDT” among a variety of other projects, according to a February statement.