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  • Writer's pictureBroadway Beat

"Excuse Me, But Townperson #4 Was Black," says Local Community Theater Claiming Not to Be Racist

by Marcus Canada. @marcus_canada_.

CLEARWATER, Fl. - Local community theater company, Stellar Theater, has issued a statement in response to recent claims that the company’s winter production of Thoroughly Modern Millie was racist due to its lack of diversity in the cast.

“It’s impossible for us to be racist,” said Stellar Theater’s artistic director, Bert Morgan, defending the production and the company. “If anyone had taken a closer look at our cast, they would have seen our very own Ethan Washington, who is a great young African American man, played the vital role of Townsperson #4 in our production. He was a great example of diversity and had a really great gospel singing voice in the ensemble.”

Long time company member and choreographer Wilma Hayes promoted the company’s diversity.

“I think our company did a great job promoting diversity,” said Wilma Hayes. “We had our opening night cast dinner at the theater catered from a variety of places. We got egg rolls from one place, hamburgers from another and some fried chicken. We even had a fruit bowl with some watermelon. It was food for people of all colors.”

The box office manager, Shawna Potter, said she believed the company had long stood for inclusion in its ticket sales.

“We have a buy one get one free ticket deal that runs year-round,” said Potter. “If a white person brings a friend who is a person of color, the friend gets in the show for free. We call it the ‘Underground Railroad Deal.’”

After reaching out to Ethan Washington for comment, he confirmed he never actually auditioned for the show and was contacted personally by Morgan, who offered him the role and agreed to pay for travel costs to and from rehearsals and shows. Ethan said he was also cast as the only person of color in the company’s production of the musical Ain’t Misbehavin’, which is set to close their “diverse” season later this Fall.


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