Sunday, May 13, 2018
Thank You 3x Tony/Drama Desk Nominee, Joshua Henry, For Answering My Question
I was excited to ask one question that has been on my mind about the 11x Tony Award Nominated Revival Musical, Rodgers and Hammerstein's CAROUSEL. The iconic lead role of the criminal, domestic abusing, Billy Bigelow, being played by the 3x Tony/Drama Desk Nominee, Joshua Henry, is a dichotomous case for Color-Blind Casting. On one hand, for Joshua Henry to sing the lead male vocals for the lush music of a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, is a crowning achievement for ANY actor. However on the other hand, when I simply follow the optical nature of what is presented on the stage, it is sometimes a hard thing to watch, as an African American man of a certain age, living in this current racial and political climate, especially with a phone call to the police, and not take note that for simplicity sake, a black man is abusing a white woman onstage. Now before everyone blows a gasket, yes, I know in spite of the irony of this conversation, that Audra McDonald did win her first Tony Award in the 1994 revival as a non-traditional Carrie Pepperidge. Currently, Lindsay Mendez is in that role and also nominated for this year's Tony Award. It might be presumptuous, but it might be safe to assume that the original creators of this musical never foresaw these type of cast changes.
I will note that Mr. Henry was also in Kander and Ebb's THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS, which for some reason drew more ire and protests from the "black community" in retelling that story and showing the injustices that befell that unfortunate group of young black men, than the image of an ex-con, wife abusing, Black, Billy Bigelow. I will say that I did get to see THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS, and I can say that Black people did themselves a disservice by not at least giving it a chance. Not that I am expecting nor wanting anyone to protest this show, but I do find it odd in this culturally sensitive time, no one wanted to ask the question. Perhaps, if there were more people of color talking about theater in general, then maybe more people would be brave enough to have the discussion. I am hoping and praying for a long run of CAROUSEL. I want Mr. Henry to have a brilliant run with that cast. I hope there is a chance that I'll get to see the show before this year's Tony Awards. In the meantime, I did get to ask Mr. Henry about him being in this show, and he answered me brilliantly. Click on the hyperlink for more information about Rodgers and Hammerstein's CAROUSEL. Checkout my moment with Joshua Henry in the video.