Monday, February 13, 2017

Last Year’s EVITA Casting Controversy Inspires Project Am I Right

Lauren Villegas.
It’s been a year since Lincolnshire’s Marriott Theatre came under fire for its casting a majority of non-Latinx actors in its production of Evita, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical about the rise of Argentine figurehead Eva Perón. The casting—which eventually led the theatre to expand its outreach and engage more actors of different ethnicities—prompted several members of the theatre community to speak out against whitewashing and authentic casting practices.

The controversy inspired New York-based actor and activist
Lauren Villegas to launch Project Am I Right.

Project Am I Right seeks to raise awareness within the acting community by asking actors to consider whether they are right for the roles they’re auditioning for. Its mission reads “
Before you go to an audition, before you accept a callback, before you sign a contract, take a minute to ask yourself: Am I Right?

Villegas is currently working with leadership at Actors' Equity Association (AEA) and the Actors' Equity Foundation to help educate actors on how to be good allies, and the power they have to end whitewashing. When a casting controversy arises—like last year’s 
Prince of Egypt concert and its subsequent cancellation—Villegas works within AEA’s membership to discuss the issues at hand and move the conversation forward.

Project Am I Right will host its first public event in New York this summer: an evening of cabaret performances by actors of color titled 
My Whitelist. The concert will work to illustrate the reality faced by actors of color and help their white colleagues understand the importance of choosing not to engage in whitewashing the limited number of roles written for them,” Villegas says. “It might also help producers see that some of the roles on my whitelist don’t necessarily need to be portrayed by white actors after all.” A venue and date will be announced soon.

For more information, read
Olivia Clement's article in Playbill by clicking here, or visit Project Am I Right's Facebook page by clicking here.

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