Casting Trans Actors

Have you heard the latest from Sir Cameron Mackintosh?  When asked about casting trans actors, the theatrical producer said this: “You can’t implant something that is not inherently there in the story or character, that’s what I think.  Just to do that, that becomes gimmick casting.”  This caused lots of chatter – with the loudest voice, happily, someone who it directly affected.  Alexandra Billings said, “I am an actor.  I am Mame and I am Madame Rose.  I am Miss Hannigan and I am Annie Oakley and I am Fantine.  But I am these stories because I am part of the human fabric and no one has the right to take any of this away from me…I am an actor, Mr. Mackintosh, not a gimmick.”

Sir Cameron responded: “I was recently asked by a journalist if I would consider making the character of Mary Poppins (not the actor playing the role) a transgender woman.  Unfortunately, my answer has been misinterpreted to suggest that I am opposed to casting a transgender performer to play the role.  This is absolutely not true.  I meant only that I would not as a producer disregard the author P.L. Travers’ original intention for the character.  To be clear, whether a person is trans has no bearing on their suitability for any role in any of my shows, including Mary Poppins, as long as they can perform the role as written.”  Bravo!

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