…and the show’s creator is fine with this. After all, it’s for a good cause, the good cause apparently being the elevation of race grievance politics above art, commerce, fairness and common sense.
Bear with me now, as you strain to comprehend this apotheosis of progressive cant gone stark, raving mad:
Josh Groban (a talented performer who is white)…
leads “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812,” to 12 Tony nominations. He is replaced by the talented “Hamilton” alum Okieriete “Oak” Onaodowan (who is black),
but the show’s box office drops like a stone once Groban leaves the cast. Thus Oak is scheduled to leave the cast in August. Mandy Patinkin (who is a Tony award winner, a musical theater icon, a bigger star than either Groban or Onaodowan, and who is, incidentally, white)
…was hired to replace him. Ticket sales rebound at the news. But crazed, social justice warrior race-baiting bullies on social media attack Mandy for “taking away the job of a black actor.”
Mandy Patinkin, who already has well-earned reputation for backing out of commitments on the flimsiest of reasons, also has social justice warrior credentials to protect, so he blubbers an apology, saying in part, “I would never accept a role knowing it would harm another actor.” This principle so flunks the Kantian test that it makes my teeth hurt. If this was the universal ethics standard applied to acting, it would mean that no matter how unsuited an actor cast for a role proved to be, that actor could never be fired. “Back to the Future” would have to star Eric Stoltz. Now actors could still quit in a whim, leaving the cast high and dry, like, oh, to pick a random example or two, Mandy Patinkin did to both “Chicago Hope” and “Criminal Minds.” But HE could never be fired, no matter how self-indulgent he was (and no one is as self-indulgent as Mandy) because it would be unethical for another actor to replace him.
Mandy is apparently rich enough that he can afford to quit jobs to pander to race-baiters and engage in blatant virtue-signalling. Or he is completely gutless. My guess is the latter.
The show’s creator, David Malloy, is also a compliant social justice warrior, or at least an enabler of them. So he too apologizes,noting that without a big draw in the lead role, the “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812,” will probably have to close soon. “So sorry to have missed the racial optics of it,” he says in a series of tweets, cheerily signing off with “going for ice cream or whiskey or likely both. so sorry. thank you for the love.”
So because of “optics,” aka a false racial narrative that the progressive lock-step theater community must bow to or else, everyone in the cast, black, white, brown, whatever, male, female, gay, straight, trans, will be out of a job thanks to Mandy’s cowardice in the face off social media bullying. Because ending the show rather than replacing a black star with white superstar (if an old one) is the right thing to do.
I’m trying to glean the principles being illustrated here. A black actor can replace a white one, but it’s racism if that role is ever played by a white actor again. Do I have that right? And it’s more ethical to engage in flagrant diversity grandstanding than to keep a terrific show running. I’ll call this the Mandy Principle. Also, political correctness bullies are always right, and should never be told that they are fools, even when they are, and even when the result of capitulating to their nonsense hurts everyone.—artists, investors, audiences, Broadway, theater, my brain.
An ideology that achieves results like this is a menace to civilization. I am reminded of the wonderful “Fawlty Towers” episode called “The Germans,” in which a German family visiting Basil Fawlty’s small English hotel is treated to even more deranged behavior from the host (John Cleese at his best) than usual, and utter chaos. “How did we ever lose?” he asks in wonder.
I wonder how long theater can survive being run by people who think like this. Don’t get me started on countries run by them…
20 thoughts on “Political Correctness, Race-baiting Social Justice Warrior Bullies And A Gutless Star Collaborate To Kill A Hit Musical”
Soon it will be an outrageous act of courage in the face of unreasonable prejudice for a black actor to touch a white actor’s arm on TV.
Heh, heh, heh
He said, “Potemkin.”
did I? I always do that. Rats. Let me check…
I take it that this musical was written inspired by “War And Peace”. It’s fine with me if a black tenor gets the part to portray Pierre Bezukoff if he can sing well enough. However Mandy Parkin is a coward, plain and simple. To destroy a broadway musical because of political correctness is awful and his selfishness in doing this is appalling.
Aw, Come on!
At least Potemkin was real.
Why can’t anyone get Anna Paquin’s name right?
If you get my drift, I couldn’t care less about Mandy’s last name. Even if it was the same as a Russian Battleship, he’s one of the reasons I don’t go to Broadway shows anymore.
But typical of Mandy.
How it went down:
I say let it close. The market will only bear this for so long, and the producers will start favoring shows, directors, casts, and stars who aren’t willing to leave them in the lurch simply because someone thought they heard a word that sounds like a word that might make a single audience member temporarily uncomfortable. Let them applaud each other in their competition to see who has the thinnest skin, and they’ll see what the real prizes are. It’s a shame about this show, but if it’s as good as it seems to be, it’ll do well in regional circuits, too.
Oh, it will close. What should happen is for the production to sue the crap out of Mandy. This deal was cut a long time ago; the production relied on him and sold tickets based on his contractual agreement.
In other news, as society begins weighing itself down to solve microaggressions, scientists have discovered the long theorized nanoaggression. More radical scientists have even begun the mathematical framework to describe the potential, yet so far unobservable picoaggression.
Actors’ Equity had given the play an “Extraordinary Excellence in Diversity on Broadway Award.”
So it looks like the first fellow left less than a month ago, and the second fellow had a 9-week contract? And then Patinkin (who could autocorrect to Pachinko), was only signed to take over the last three weeks of the second fellow’s contract, because he has TV obligations? Leaving all subsequent noise aside, it seems kind of desperate that Patinkin would slide into that spot at the expense of the kid. Would he have given up the fight so easily if the role was open-ended for him?
I take it that Broadway’s summer economics are very different than the rest of the year – that tourists who come into town need to be drawn by something familiar – and that this production was sort of crawling through the summer in the hope of resetting everything in the fall?
I think this is more like the Fawlty Towers episode where the guests are driving Basil crazy, so he tells him that they’re getting in the way of his running a hotel and they’re all going to have to leave.
Diversity is only responsible if a) the work doesn’t suffer and 2) the audience doesn’t care.
I wonder how long our military can survive being run by people like this.
I enjoyed acting in college and would have loved to have become a playwright. I loved good, live drama. But the theater world was just too bizarre, even to me when I was a twenty year-old, clueless heterosexual guy. I abandoned the field.
How’d you stay in for nearly fifty years, Jack?
Always an outsider in spirit. It’s something I’m very good at and love to do. If I could make a living in theater, I’d do it, even with all the crap.
Amazing. Good for you. I bailed on the QT.
I don’t get this at all. The part itself is not black, right? It can’t be; it was played by a white guy originally.
There truly doesn’t seem to be anything for race-conscious people to complain about here. The role of Fiero in “Wicked” was played by Taye Diggs for quite some time; most of those who’ve played him since have been white, like the original actor. I’ve never seen anyone complain about this, even though Fiero was black in the (very, very different) book.
Since when does this sort of fantasy world have to follow rational rules? SJWs never have to justify their position, it seems, just signal virtue and be heros.