As I was out and about yesterday, doing my part to stimulate the economy, I caught a radio interview with the composer of the hiphop musical, Hamilton, that’s getting so much attention these days and he said something that caught my attention. He described the cast of the musical as being “what America looks like now”. I haven’t seen the musical or even read a review but based on his characterization I wonder if that’s true.
Let’s imagine a cast of 50. Using the figures from the Census Bureau as a basis, here’s what the breakdown of the cast by race would be if it truly looked like America. Thirty-two would be white and not Hispanic. Eight would be Hispanic. Six would be black (a proportion that has been remarkably durable over time). One would be Asian. One would be something else. I suspect that’s not what he had in mind.
And that’s if the cast is composed of men, women, and children. If the case is composed of adults, the cast would be even whiter.
I suspect that what he really meant is that the cast is what Brooklyn looks like now. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that and the casting choices undoubtedly convey their own distinctive reflection of truth. But statistically I suspect they’re not true.
BTW, the number of homosexuals or transgender individuals in that cast above would be one. I can almost guarantee you that’s not the case. As Nathan Lane once put it, it’s musical theater—you do the math.