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  • Writer's pictureBroadway Beat

Brave! Local Theatre Company Responds to Lack Of Diversity Criticism by Closing Forever

by T.J. Pieffer. @tjpieffer.

BUFFALO, NY — The McKinley Playhouse has broken their silence on a viral Facebook petition charging the theater with racism by announcing it will no longer exist.


“We’ve read your comments, we’ve seen your calls to change,” artistic director Kevin Turner said during a solemn Facebook live video. “The board has decided the best way to tackle this issue is to close forever and never think about this again.”


The Playhouse has since turned off post comments and changed their cover photo from a promo of their upcoming season to an exterior shot of their theater from 2010.


“This isn’t about me,” Playhouse director Justin Weaver insisted, referencing the petition which names him specifically. The demands listed include investing in equitable casting, apologizing for institutional racism, and hiring a BIPOC Diversity Coordinator.


“That sounded like a lot of time and money, and we were going to do Shrek this year, so we didn’t really have it in the budget. Now, Buffalo will never get to see our take on Shrek,” sighed Weaver, taking off the ogre ears headband he had been wearing for dramatic effect.


Autumn Miller, the Playhouse’s treasurer, solemnly reflected on what could have been.


“I wish we could do more diverse shows, but the talent pool just isn’t there,” Miller said as she took down a poster from a previous Playhouse production of Once on This Island where it was about class. “This past season, we would’ve loved to have a person of color play an ancestor in The Addams Family or be in the ensemble of Legally Blonde.” Miller, a 54 year old white woman from Rochester, played Sebastian in the Playhouse’s 2022 production of The Little Mermaid.


“We were definitely going to try our best to have Donkey be diversity,” Turner wistfully commented before concluding his four minute Facebook live video and deleting an empty word document on his desktop titled “McKinley Playhouse Anti-Racism Action Plan 2023”.

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