Wednesday, March 31, 2010

In NYC anyone can be a white person when they grow up

Or so goes the tale of Billy Elliot. Billy Elliot is a Broadway show about a predominantly white mining town and the one kid of color that they all pin their hopes and dreams to, knowing that one day if he works hard enough he too can become Caucasian. That's my take away from the musical. Let me introduce you to three of the kids who play Billy depending on the night:

This is Dayton Taveres.

This is Liam Redhead (yes, really).

This is Alex Ko. First off, why so many kids for the one show? Did they have a tough middle-schoolesque audition and didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings? Did they all gather around the casting director who said, "The part of Billy goes to........ALL YOU GUYS! You were all so great!" and they all went out to TGIFridays after?

I am totally fine if they want to cast a non-white Billy. Awesome. Let talent shine. But seriously Broadway, could you not cast at least a mother to Billy (who has all of 20 lines in the show) that looked remotely like the kid?

My personal favorite ridiculous moment is when Billy has a dance with his future self. Note: dance. No lines. Yet someone thought, "Eh. Let's just cast a white guy." So you have this little African-American kid dancing with who he will become in twenty years and the only recognizable difference is that Billy has undergone extensive Michael Jackson whitening surgery.

I think there was something about mining strikes and family in this musical but the main lesson remains: if you dance your heart out you will end up white.

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