Town Square

Addressing problematic material in American theater classics

Performing arts leaders discuss the challenges of presenting classic theater works that have questionable depictions of gender and race.

Melody Butiu and Michael Deni in “South Pacific,” 2019 Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival

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Town Square with Ernie Manouse airs at 3 p.m. CT. Tune in on 88.7FM, listen online or subscribe to the podcast. Join the discussion at 888-486-9677, questions@townsquaretalk.org or @townsquaretalk.

Theater Under the Stars will produce the 1949 Broadway classic South Pacific, Feb. 8 – 20 at the Hobby Center.

This Rodgers and Hammerstein landmark musical is considered radical in its exposure of racial issues on the American stage, where it uses Broadway theatre to make a courageous statement against racial bigotry. But there are also problematic stereotypes for the Asian community.

Some feel that these American classics should be presented as originally intended and not edited. Others may feel they need to be reinterpreted, or simply be put to rest.

Today, we discuss the changing attitudes about casting and presentation from local and national theater experts.

GUESTS:

Melody Butiu

  • Broadway actor
  • Starring as “Bloody Mary” in Theatre Under the Stars' production of South Pacific (Feb. 8 – 20, Hobby Center)

Eileen Morris

Warren Hoffman

Town Square with Ernie Manouse airs at 3 p.m. CT. Tune in on 88.7FM, listen online or subscribe to the podcast. Join the discussion at 888-486-9677, questions@townsquaretalk.org or @townsquaretalk.

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This article is part of the Town Square with Ernie Manouse podcast

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