Richard Jordan in a blog for The Stage defends color blind casting as a way to ensure the best actor gets the part.
Jordan recently took part in a panel discussion in Chicago of Asian American artists, including David Henry Hwang who wrote the play Yellow Face.
The latest figures show that Asian American actors were cast in just 3 percent of the roles on Broadway. Jordan acknowledges that of all ethnic groups, Asian Americans have been most adversely affected by color blind casting.
In other words, more and more white actors are being hired to play Asian American characters at a time Asian American actors struggle to even get auditions.
Wrote Jordan, “The question I have been considering since this debate is whether “authenticity” of theater casting actually risks narrowing opportunities for minority group actors and restricts their opportunities to play a cross-section of roles?”
“Restricts their opportunities?” I can hear the cry from Asian American actors now, “What opportunities?”
If you’re not going to cast Asian American actors in non-Asian roles, at least hire them for to play Asian characters. If you’ think the audience won’t buy into an Asian actor playing a non-Asian specific role, why do you think the audience will accept a white actor playing an Asian role?
Jordan in 2008 was recognized as one of Britain’s young business elite as someone under the age of 35. If the new generation of producers rising up in the business can’t understand diversity, it doesn’t give much hope to the cause.