Talent, not race, is becoming the defining qualifier in casting as more diverse actors take on roles traditionally played by white actors. It places extra pressure on them to succeed, writes Peter Marks.
'Christian Dante White, who was just finishing a run as Freddy Eynsford-Hill in the Broadway revival of “My Fair Lady,” had a question for an actress he looks up to as a trailblazer for black musical-theater performers.
Sitting with Audra McDonald in the quiet of an empty bar at Sardi’s, the Theatre District hangout, White seized the moment: “Going back to your ‘Carousel’ moment, when did you realize, like, ‘Whoa, this is a big deal’? Did you go, ‘This is a little historic here’? ‘This is a road being mapped out’?”
McDonald smiled back at him and said: “I’ll tell you what. I had to audition and I had many callbacks for ‘Carousel.’ And at my final callback, I passed out. In the Mitzi Newhouse Theatre.”
“Yeah. In the middle of singing ‘Mister Snow,’ I passed out.”
So at the time, a wildly nervous Audra Ann McDonald — as she was known professionally then — certainly did get that it was a big deal. She wasn’t the first African American actor to be cast in a part traditionally played by whites.' ... Keep reading on The Washington Post