Color and Casting

Dan Sullivan's topic, "Colorblind Casting: It's Not Yet a Tradition," (Oct. 2) is fascinating, but it's a shame that discussion of it is usually one-sided.

I'm glad he mentioned "Raisin in the Sun" as eventually being done by non-black actors. (However, it seems most plays dealing with black characters really demand black actors because they are about issues of race, while "Death of a Salesman" or "Glass Menagerie" is not about a specific race.)

Sullivan failed to mention the colorblind casting that has prevailed in opera for the past 30 years. Leontyne Price, Kathleen Battle, Jessye Norman, Grace Bumbry, Simon Estes, George Shirley and others have appeared with no problems in roles written for non-black singers.

The same has become true in recent years for Asian singers, who don't have to be cast only as Madame Butterfly or Liu.

But look at the flip side: How many white or Asian bass-baritones or sopranos have been cast as Porgy or Bess? Isn't it time for reverse colorblind casting too?


West Hollywood

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