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A Minnesota dinner theater company has cancelled a production of “Cinderella” after concerns were raised that the cast was too white.

‘Cinderella’ Production Cancelled

The Chanhassen Dinner Theatres announced that the upcoming production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s musical “Cinderella” will no longer be happening.

It cites its commitment to “equity and inclusivity” and to becoming a “a more intentionally anti-racist theater” in its explanation of the cancellation. They made a commitment to diversity after George Floyd’s murder in May, 2020. 

“After careful consideration and with our ongoing commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres has made the decision to cancel our upcoming production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s ‘Cinderella,'” the company said in a statement.

“Our hope in beginning the production process again with a new title will allow us to put into practice an intentional process based on the work we have been doing towards equity and inclusivity. “

‘In addition to changing future programming, we are establishing new pre-production protocols. 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 company added.

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Theater Explains Further

“This conversation will happen before the design and casting process has begun,” it added. “We believe this new process will allow us to tell the story in a rich way and allow us to live out our commitment to identity-conscious casting and becoming a more intentionally anti-racist theater.”

The company went on to add that, “We did not cancel ‘Cinderella’ because of content. We are looking forward to bringing it to our stage in the future. But we as a company decided our original casting didn’t go far enough in our commitment, and instead of waiting another full year to implement these important changes, we chose now.”

Michael Brindisi, the theater’s artistic director later told The Twin Cities Pioneer Press that the casting of the musical fell short of the diversity goals that the company has set.

“It was 98 percent white,” he explained. “That doesn’t work with what we’re saying we’re going to do.”

Brindisi added that while the company considered recasting the show, it ultimately chose to “scrap this and start fresh with a clean slate.”

But, they are scrapping Cinderella and plan to stage “Footloose.”

And, they’ve hired a diversity consultant to help navigate through this. 

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This Has Gone Way Too Far

The theater may have trouble finding people of color to fill the roles because Chanhassen’s population is 92% white, 3% Hispanic, and 1% black according to recent Census data.

And, the entertainment industry has been hit hard by COVID-19, making jobs in it hard to come by.

The decision to scrap this show has cost the jobs of actors and crew members that undoubtedly desperately needed the work right now.

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