It’s Christmas Day! In case you somehow missed it (it’d be impossible to), this means the much awaited film production of Into the Woods is now in theaters. The buzz has been on for months with new cast members, clips, songs and articles released seemingly every day. Will you be watching? While we’re happy that a big budget musical is being released for the holidays, we won’t be. Why you ask? Read on to find out more…
I remember reading the first press release hinting that ITW was being made into a film. YES! I was so excited. I’d done the show (as I’m sure countless of music theatre fans have) in a children’s theater production. I played Jack’s Mom and a tree (don’t ask). As a kid I would hum all the songs and memorize The Witch’s rap (who didn’t?) while watching clips of Bernadette doing her thing. However, being a child performer of color, I was blown away when I learned of and saw clips of Vanessa Williams (2002 Revival) and Phylicia Rashad (1988 Bway understudy for Bernadette) as…The Witch!
Fairtytale musicals made for TV and film have slowly been becoming more diverse. None of these have been without problems, but in the last 10 years (many within the last year) we’ve had the cast of Brandy’s Cinderella, Audra and the rest of the Nuns in last year’s Sound of Music Live (featured on AIC), this year’s Peter Pan Live with its diverse group of Lost Boys, Indians and Pirates, and Annie with Quevanzhane Wallis. Surely Into the Woods would be no exception right?
However, with every press release introducing a new cast member my hope dwindled. Once the leads were announced, I tried to sustain it thinking that there would surely be a place in the film for at least a few faces of color among some of the smaller characters. With Lilla Crawford, Billy Magnussen and others it appeared they were open to Broadway names. The excuse of only using Hollywood blockbuster names to sell wasn’t being used! Perhaps they couldn’t find big budget names of people of color to sing (unlikely, but trying to give the benefit of the doubt), but if they were open to Broadway names then there was definitely a multitude of talented people of color to choose from. Well for those who have been following along you probably know how this pans out. If you don’t, check out the full cast list via IMDB.
Did I miss something? It is a fairytale right? It’s not a race specific show like say Hairspray or King and I. We are in 2014? I did mention people of color had portrayed characters in the show before so we cleared up that that’s possible. Apparently a colorful cast playing make-believe to the tunes of Sondheim for the next generation of music theatre kids seemed to see was in fact to good to be true.
In conclusion, this holiday season I personally will not only be participating in the popular #boycottexodusmovie movement, but unfortunately the #boycottintothewoodsmovie as well. Saddened by this news? Well we’ve come to bring you some holiday cheer! Here’s a look at some of our suggestions for a more diverse Into the Woods in 2014. Scroll through and feel free to leave your thoughts and suggestions below! Happy Holidays!
OR Broadway Name
What do you think? Will you be seeing the film? Which performers of color would you have suggested? Scroll down to leave a comment below!