Entertainment & Arts

Hamilton musical under fire over controversial casting call

The cast of Hamilton musical Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The rap-based musical debuted off-Broadway in 2015

Broadway hit musical Hamilton has come under fire for a casting call on its website seeking "non-white" performers.

Since opening last year the show has been celebrated for casting African-American, Asian and Latino actors.

However, the Actors' Equity Association said the language of the notice did not comply with their rules.

Hamilton's producers say they regret the confusion, and have since amended their wording.

The musical, which has been watched by the likes of US President Barack Obama, Sir Paul McCartney and Dame Helen Mirren, tells the story of America's birth, featuring the characters of Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson.

Image copyright Jacquelyn Martin
Image caption The cast of Hamilton performed for the US President, Barack Obama, and First Lady, Michelle Obama

Created and written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, it stresses the orphan, immigrant roots of one of America's founding fathers Alexander Hamilton.

The controversial casting notice was posted on the musical's website and on the trade site backstage.com.

Its producers said in a statement: "It is essential to the storytelling of Hamilton that the principal roles - which were written for non-white characters (excepting King George) - be performed by non-white actors.

"This adheres to the accepted practice that certain characteristics in certain roles constitute a 'bona fide occupational qualification' that is legal.

"This also follows in the tradition of many shows that call for race, ethnicity or age specific casting, whether it's The Colour Purple or Porgy & Bess or Matilda. The casting will be amended to also include language we neglected to add, that is, we welcome people of all ethnicities to audition for Hamilton."

The updated casting call no longer capitalises the phrase "non-white actors".

Hamilton is expected to open a production in Chicago this autumn, and a US national tour will begin in 2017.

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