US college cancels ‘too-white’ West Side Story

US college cancels ‘too-white’ West Side Story


norman lebrecht

October 03, 2018

Kent State University has called off its planned production of Bernstein’s West Side Story after a Puerto Rican student complained that she was turned down for the role of Maria in favour of ‘a white female.’

Full story here.



  • Sue says:

    That’s right; she should instead by a competitor in the Victim Olympics.

    • jaypee says:

      Shouldn’t you be making fun of Christine Ford, like your hero, cretin donald the pussy grabber?

      • Sue says:

        No; I think I’ll leave that to the rest of the world. Let’s add another competition to the Victim Olympics: the Victim/Oppressor OMG-You’re-White Team. It’s a huge team and it is becoming extremely competitive.

        It’s the team with all the medal tallies if you’re from the USA and you want to shoot down anybody who is white, middle class and successful. It is closely related to the Envy and Resentment Olympics which is, like the Paralympics, gaining popularity. Before that you have to have runs on the board in the I-take-no-responsibility-for-my-own-behaviour junior league.

      • Stuart says:

        Give your obsession a rest, please.

  • violafan says:

    I think this is an important conversation to have. She brings up some good points and deserves to be heard.

  • CYM says:

    Another hurricane « Maria » for Puerto Rico ?

  • James says:

    Breaking News: College Students do silly things while trying to figure out how their idealism matches to the real world. Not sure what the point is for newspapers to breathlessly report everything that happens on a small college campus other than clickbait.

  • John Rook says:

    Remember this is also the country that gave us a potential problem in casting The Mikado. Let’s do ourselves a favour and ignore them.

  • CYM says:

    I also remember attending a German production of Gershwin ‘Porgy and Bess’ in Eastern France in the late 60’s, where most characters were Germans and Asians … wearing black raincoats, strangely reminiscent of the Nazi era … (Fortunately, both Porgy and Bess were Afro-American singers — as required by Gershwin and copyright contracts, I believe — A strange evening … )

  • Alex Davies says:

    Maybe this is something our American readers can explain for me: in Europe, the continent where Spain and Portugal are actually located, Spanish and Portuguese people are considered to be white. We do not consider Spanish and Portuguese people to represent ethnic groups that are fundamentally different to, or separate from, Anglo-Saxons, Celts, Scandinavian, Slavs, etc. In language, culture, religion, and history, people from the Iberian peninsula are closely related to Italians, among others. In appearance, many Italians in fact have darker skin, hair, and eyes than many Spanish and Portuguese people. Many people from southeastern Europe are very dark coloured and have a distinctive culture, religion, and history as a result of Byzantine, Slavic, and Ottoman influences. And yet I believe that in the United States it is only Hispanic (Spain) or Latino (Iberian peninsula) people who are regularly classified as representing a separate ethnic group, while people as diverse as Norwegians, Poles, and Romanians (but not white people from the Iberian peninsula) are considered to be ‘white’ or, confusingly, ‘Caucasian’.

    Moving on from this observation, Carol Lawrence, who played Maria in the original Broadway cast, was an Italian American. If it was acceptable to the show’s creators to have Maria played by an Italian, how can we now be expected to object to the role being taken by any other person of white European ethnicity? Would it have made any difference if the woman chosen for the role had been a Latin, in the strict sense, i.e. French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Romanian, etc., rather than another European background, such as Germanic, Slavic, or Celtic?

    I also wonder what considerations have gone into the casting of Tony. In the show, he is described as being Polish (despite being referred to as ‘Anton’, which is not a Polish name). Would there be an outrage if the actor cast as Tony was not Polish? How about if the actor cast was from a closely related national group, such as Czech or Slovak, or Ukrainian, which is a significant minority in Poland? Would it be considered quite appropriate, or, indeed, particularly offensive, to cast a Russian? How about if Tony were cast as not even being Slavic at all? Would Polish/Slavic people be protesting? And what if an actor with ancestry from the Iberian peninsula were to be cast in the role? The original Tony, of course, was Jewish. Personally, I am happy to use my imagination and focus on the singing, acting, and dancing. It does not worry me if the the actors cannot prove descent from the specific ethnic groups that they portray.

    I know that this subject has been covered exhaustively before on Slipped Disc, but what really intrigues me is the specific angle of people of Spanish/Iberian descent (and by contrast the lack of organised protest by Poles/Slavs) in America.

    • Peter W says:

      I remembered a NYTimes article where Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem were classified as “Hispanic” Oscar winners. It is completely absurd, since a) they consider themselves white Europeans, and b) coming from Spain means they are part of the Empire, not the oppressed colonies.

    • Caravaggio says:

      Well stated. I often wonder too why people of Spanish descent who are lilly white, blue/green/hazel eyed, blond, etc, etc, etc, are separated, racially, from their northern brethren. It is a double standard, no? Also, I have seen some bona fide Germans who are darker skinned than the Aryan prototype. And I don’t believe these come from mixed race marriages (e.g., Turkish-German). While at it, I have seen Turks and Middle Easterners and Puerto Ricans who, at face value, would pass for native Scandinavians. And so on and so forth. Comes to show how flimsy these divisions can be.

      • Robert Groen says:

        You’re right, Caravaggio. As for the Spanish, even down in Andalusia the locals tend to be several shades whiter than the expats and holidaymakers from the rest of Europe. Funny that. With regard to West Side Story I recall that one of the Polish Jets in the movie version was a very gifted dancer called Tony Mordente. No Polish name that, but I never heard a peep of protest, not from Latinos who were offended that one of theirs was playing something so objectionable as a Polack and not from the Polish, who could so easily have said ‘No Spickery Here’. They were quieter, more tolerant days…

    • Robert Holmén says:

      Your overall question poses a premise that isn’t plausible as we watch the EU spin apart piece-by-piece over differences between what are ostensibly all white Caucasians.

      Do the white French really regard themselves to be the same as the white Greeks? Do the white Germans regard the white Spanish as their equals?

      “Moving on from this observation, Carol Lawrence, who played Maria in the original Broadway cast, was an Italian American. If it was acceptable to the show’s creators to have Maria played by an Italian…”

      You know that was 1957, right? In 1957 black characters on the radio were still being played by white people. Ethnic minority actors were rarely allowed in white media back then.

      • Alex Davies says:

        I’m not persuaded that the EU is breaking up. My own country, the UK, has sadly made the decision to leave it, but, if anything, this seems to be strengthening bonds between the remaining nations. Furthermore, even if there are disagreements between member states, as is inevitable in any political union, they seem to have more to do with nation states than ethnic groups. If people think that the Greeks have spectacularly mismanaged their economy, that is a judgement about the Greek governments over the years, not about the Greeks as an ethnic group. In Britain there is racism expressed towards Poles and Romanians, but that is coming from a very, very small group of very, very stupid people on the far right. In Hungary there is no doubt racism towards Romanians (sometimes erroneously equated with Roma), but that’s a resentment that’s been simmering at least since the end of the First World War.

        As for Carol Lawrence playing Maria, I’m not sure how black actors come into it, given that Maria is Puerto Rican and that most Puerto Ricans are descended from Spaniards. In America in the 1950s, were Spanish people any more discriminated against than Italians? In the 1950s there was still prejudice against Italians in America. I’m not convinced that the reason for casting an Italian American in the role was because of prejudice against Spanish people. Again, you are making the assumption that Italian people are white and Spanish people are not white. It would never occur to me to think of Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, Montserrat Caballé, and Victoria de los Ángeles as anything other than white people. Of course, some Iberians on the American continent also married native Americans and Africans, so I can see that there would be discrimination against their descendants if they have significant native American and African ancestry. But I can assure you that Alexis Bledel, with her pale skin and remarkably blue eyes, looks much whiter than many of my English relatives.

    • Byrwec Ellison says:

      That’s a lot of questions! First, the distinction between “Hispanic” and “Latino.” Here in the States, “Hispanic” refers to anyone whose family’s native language is Spanish, not someone whose family origin is Spain. “Latino” refers to anyone whose family origin is Latin America; that would include Brazil where Portuguese is the native tongue or Saint-Martin/Sint Maarten where French and Dutch are spoken. We fill out a lot of surveys here that are non-uniform in their ethnic categories. Some will call out “Hispanic,” some “Latino,” some “Hispanic, not white.” Others get quite specific as in “Mexican,” “Puerto Rican” and so on.

      The question about who should play an ethnic character onstage or on screen is a bit too socially charged right now. Actors do pride themselves on their ability to inhabit a wide range of characters, and many would relish the chance to play a fascinating ethnic character if they don’t fall afoul of cultural sensitivities. An Anna Netrebko singing an Ethiopian princess shouldn’t get anyone’s ire up. On the other hand, director Cameron Crowe’s bone-headed casting of lily-white Emma Stone as a mixed Hawaiian-Asian character in the movie “Aloha” was an unforced error.

      Full disclosure, I’m half Puerto Rican through my mother, though I’ve never set foot on the island. It seems reasonable to assume that the young Puertoriquena from Kent State who lost out on the Maria part didn’t have the acting, singing or dancing chops of the one who landed the role. She invites being labeled a ‘bad sport’ in playing the ‘cultural appropriation’ card. I wonder what those great Puerto Ricans Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim and Jerome Robbins would think about that!

      About a decade ago, there was a terrific bilingual staging of WSS on B’way; the Jets sang in English, the Sharks in Spanish. The production was the brainchild of Arthur Laurents, the fourth member of the musical’s original creative team. I took my family from Texas to NY just to hear it, and it was a thrill. I can’t say one version is better than the other. They resonate differently, and one can love them both.

      It’s a sad shame that Kent State cancelled the production. That accomplishes nothing.

      • Alex Davies says:

        Thank you for a very informative answer. You certainly manage to explain to me the situation regarding ethnic classifications in the USA, although I think the reasons behind them may remain opaque—not because you haven’t explained it clearly enough, but because it just doesn’t really make sense to me!

        In the UK we just have White British, White Irish, and White Other. White British and White Irish obviously simply cover the two main indigenous white ethnicities of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Great Britain obviously has a large Irish population owing to the fact that Ireland was formerly part of the UK and remains part of our Common Travel Area). White Other covers all other white people. Statistics are also collected for Irish Travellers (who are white, not Roma), but this is because of their very specific needs. In the US, which does not have an indigenous European ethnicity, the case for defining people from the Iberian peninsula as a separate ethnicity seems less clear. On the one hand I can see the argument that Hispanic/Latino people have particular needs that require statistics to be collected, but on the other hand I wonder whether defining Hispanic/Latin as a separate ethnicity in fact only reinforces the notion that they are an ethnic minority, which in turn must contribute to prejudice and a degree of segregation.

        I hadn’t heard of the case of Emma Stone in Aloha, but clearly there are instances where an actor really does need to plausibly reflect the character’s ethnicity. This would seem to be more the case in film, which tends to aspire to a greater degree of verisimilitude than opera or musical theatre. Nobody is going to cast Anthony Hopkins in a biopic about Alberto Fujimori.

        • Average Joe says:

          For some reason, everyone on this thread seems to think that “Latino” Americans are descended from the Spanish and monolithic in their ethnicity. While it’s true that the Spanish did invade and conquer some of the North and South American continents, our Latino peoples are only partially European. The language became predominant but Latinos are from many different Indigenous peoples and countries. In Puerto Rico and the countries in the Greater Antilles this would be the Taíno Indians. And by the way, Spain and Portugal are part of the European continent. Latino/Hispanic Americans are in many cases not from North America. In Europe, do you consider those of middle eastern descent white? Are statistics not kept of Arabs that live in Europe? Do you not count those from Asia or recognize their differences?

          It is also curious that many of you think that the designation of Latino or Hispanic is simply about skin color or language. We make distinctions about different ethnic groups because we are a nation of immigrants and the inherent bias and discrimination with every wave of immigration that has taken place over the last 200 years. And by the way, many of our ethnic groups where brought to our shores against their will, not allowed to be educated or learn English. This includes many from Latin America.

          What may seem hyper-sensitive to some is understandable. However, there is the reality of what has and is taking place within the United States (and in Europe, by the way). Meritocracy is a noble goal but it is not reality. I wasn’t at the auditions for this production. I don’t know who made the decisions and if any bias was used in making the decision, and I really don’t know if the person that was cast as Maria was the best singer for the role and neither do you.

  • Krunoslav says:

    Anton, along with Antoni and Antonin, is certainly a Polish name.

  • Tom says:

    If there is any objective or circumstantial evidence that it was discrimination then she has a case, if not then shut the f up; or at least don’t be so hysterical.

    This kind of stuff is getting old and actually is inflamming racial tensions, not solving them. It’s at the point now when whenever I interact with someone of a racial minority who I don’t know, I get anxiety about “not doing something racist”.

    I’m sick of this hysterical shit that’s become counter productive. I’m sick of being implied a “racist” even though I’m not.

  • SVM says:

    As I have said before, casting should be based on artistic merit, and should not take into account the ethnicity of the singer. Theatre is, by its very nature, an act of impersonation.

    Moreover, I would argue that it *does* serve the interests of society to have actors and singers inhabit roles which are alien to their own life experience. Banning engagement and impersonation across social, cultural, and racial boundaries only exacerbates ignorance, segregation, and insularity. This may be a valid approach to preserving the distinctive identity of an isolated tribal community threatened with extinction, but makes no sense in the context of /West Side Story/.

    Martinez herself seems to adopt a very confrontational attitude in her rationale for demanding “a person of color” (howsoever defined) to be involved at every stage of casting: she seems to take the view that such a person would be “on our side”, whilst a white person would not. What happened to the idea that an audition-panellist does not take sides, but keeps an open mind, and, in coming to a decision after the audition, advocates for the person he/she considers best (rather than on the basis of some non-artistic shared characteristic, which would be a form of nepotism)?

    • Sylvia Martin says:

      Bridgett Martinez wants someone of color in all stages of auditioning so that someone is “on our side.” The only side to be on, if there is one at all, is the side of art. I’d like to see Ms. Martinez turn down the role of Mrs. Lovett because she’s Puerto Rican, not British.

  • Augustine says:

    Think about a fictitious musical about veterans returning home from the VietNam war. If no veterans were cast in major roles, do you think some vets would complain? The complaining vets would not be actual VietNam vets because of age.

    This explains at least some of what is going on. I think.

    To those having a hard time understanding the whole Latino/Puerto Rican/Hispanic//Race thing, it is equally confusing to Puerto Ricans. We muddle through it. I don’t know if I am white, hispanic, mixed race, etc… The government doesn’t help with their silly forms questioning racial backgrounds.

    In actuality it ends up being decided by where you live. In NYC I was Puerto Rican. In Wisconsin I am white. In Arizona I was hispanic. If you live in the USA and are a minority you learn to live and deal with it. Otherwise you will lose your mind.

    I happen to think that this “Maria” controversy is a generational thing with one more example of how this generation and their parents feel entitled to everything; that fairness is an entitlement.

  • Doug says:

    NEXT: Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms…enjoy your Utopia, leftists.

    • Elizabeth Owen says:

      Have you stopped taking your tablets?

    • jaypee says:

      doug, you support cretin donald the pussy grabber.
      That makes you an idiot. More, it makes you a repulsive idiot.
      Please, get lost. Now. You’re totally irreleverant here and no one, I repeat, no one (well, there’s sue, but she’s also an idiot) cares for you or for what you write. And, it’s clear that you don’t care for music at all and that your only goal is to annoy.

      • Petros Linardos says:

        Why are you abusing the supporters of a racist abuser?

      • Adrienne says:

        Your comments are arguably worse, especially the use of an offensive term for a serious, congenital, iodine deficiency condition.


        • John Rook says:

          We have to remember that, when it comes from the left, intolerant pig ignorance and censorship are virtues in the name of a higher cause and are to be unquestioningly praised.

  • mr oakmountain says:

    In his recording, the composer of West Side Story cast a lady from New Zealand as Maria and a Spaniard as Tony. He and/or the producer felt they had good voices.

    We also had Afro-American Sieglindes and Wotans. They had great voices.

    We had Afro-American Hamlets and Caucasian Othellos. They were great actors.

    What am I not getting?

    • Stuart says:

      what you are not getting is that schools in the US are no longer about education and all about correctness, safe spaces and tribalism. A sad state of affairs as the US slips lower and lower. Polarized, anti-education, isolationist and addicted to social media.

      • Cubs Fan says:

        Yes, and the people who are running schools now, the product of the 60s and 70s are a bunch of spineless, weak-minded, pansies who can’t stand up to this crap. These professors are embarrassing. They’ve spent their entire career in academia and have no idea how the real world works. That’s why Trump is appealing to many people: he won’t back down from this politically correct nonsense. As we say where I live “Cowboy Up!”.

  • Marcus Clayton says:

    All of this “political correctness” is getting ridiculous. Why should a “person of color” be cast in a show just because of their race? In the case of the Kent State situation, it just so happened that the first choice to play Maria happened to be caucasian.
    Obviously the director or producer of the show felt she was more talented than the understudy, Ms. Martinez.
    It is also ridiculous that Ms. Martinez said that people of color should be invovled in all stages of casting/callbacks, etc.
    A performer’s talent should supercede their race, imho.
    Just my not so humble opinion.

  • Tamino says:

    At the end of that deranged train of “thought”, that phenotype of theatrical roles has to match with that of the actors, stands the only implicit logical solution, that any such role can only be played by the actual person it portraits.
    If the character is fictitious, then a performance is not possible.

    I guess this idiocy is what happens, when you raise generations on films and TV, completely devoid of any imagination.

  • Ceasar says:

    no she was turned down because she was turned down.

  • Michael B. says:

    The idea of “race” is really a sociopolitical construct with essentially no biological reality. When I was an instructor at Tulane University in 1977, Ernest Morial was running for the mayor of New Orleans, and the press was talking about the possibility of “New Orleans’s first black mayor.” When I got a look at a picture of Morial, I was incredulous. My reaction was: “That guy’s black?” There was an Italian-American named Joe DiRosa also in the field of candidates, and DiRosa was darker than Morial! I know a number of Sephardic Jews and even some Ashkenazic Jews, including a guy I went to college with, named Richard Rubinstein (a typical Ashkenazic Jewish surname) who were also darker than Morial.

    • Alex Davies says:

      Quite. What we call ‘race’ is in fact nothing more than a concentration of similar characteristics among a population originating from the same location. It’s a concept that only really makes any sense on the micro level where it is possible to define very small groups that share both a degree of genetic homogeneity and a set of broad similarities in language, religion, culture, history, and identity. One only needs to meet an Igbo and a Somali, for example, to appreciate the impossibility of describing a ‘black race’. This is why I always use the term ‘ethnicity’ rather ‘race’. This is also why I find it strange to separate Hispanic and/or Latino people from other white ethnicities originating in Europe. While it is legitimate to identify Hispanic/Latino people as distinct groups, it seems inconsistent to do so if one is not also identifying as distinct ethnicities other white European groups (and, indeed, specific ethnic identities for people from other continents).

      • Saxon Broken says:

        Given ethnic identities are “constructions” then why is “Latino” or “Hispanic” any stranger than any other constructed identity.

        And anyway, Italians, Spaniards and Greek (including Cypriots) have not always been considered “white” in Britain and its colonies. For example, Australia, when it encouraged White immigration excluded them.

  • M McAlpine says:

    “…the desire for authenticity on our stages” Absolute rubbish! When are people going to learn that it is something called ACTING! So-called ‘authenticity’ does not have a part because those on stage are playing something they are not! The mind boggles at how so-called colleges can be so utterly in thrall to the current ‘victim’ mentality. One part the young lady who came second certainly plays well is that of victimhood. She should go far in today’s society!

  • Adam Stern says:

    I’ve always thought that the very essence of acting was to submerge oneself into another persona and convincingly convey it, irrespective of the differences betw. actor and character. To say that “one must be a (fill in the blank)” to successfully inhabit a part seems to fly in the face of what the art of acting is about.

    If this way of thinking really does gain increasing ground in the world of classical music, perhaps we’ll see the day when the only ‘cellists deemed fit to take on the solo part in Strauss’ “Don Quixote” are suffering from delusional disorders.

    • Tamino says:

      And only deaf musicians will be considered legitimate performers of Beethoven.
      No performing of Schubert without Syphilis!
      It’s indeed mind boggling how idiotic the masses and our realities have become by now.

  • Jack says:

    Should we have only black men singing Otello (or acting the part in Shakespeare)? Should only Japanese sopranos sing Butterfly. Or Chinese sopranos singing Turandot? Or how about a male Octavian or a male Niklausse, or a male Cherubino? Or only all-Japanese Mikados? And only Jewish men singing Eléazar in La Juive?

    Porgy and Bess makes sense, though the Gershwin estate can — and has — signed off on other castings. I even know of a Mongolian Porgy and Bess that was conducted there by a friend of mine.

    But really. How about ‘best person for the part’ being the standard for any role? And if they happen to match the race, ethnicity or culture of the character, so much the better.

    • Stuart says:

      Weak institutions that have no principles often fall into these traps of race/gender with operas, plays and musicals. The people who argued years ago on the US West Coast that the characters in the Mikado needed to be played by Asians had no idea what the operetta is about. Gilbert was shining a light on his fellow Victorians and the heart of the libretto has nothing to do with being Japanese. Jonathan Miller got it right at the ENO. I suspect there is no one size fits all solution for these issues. It’s absurd to try to restrict Butterfly and Turandot to only Asian singers. Opera is an artificial art form and does not serve as reality. If one extends the absurdity, we could never stage the Ring because there are no available gods and dragons. The theatre is a form of make believe – we call them plays because it is about playing. We pretend. It is okay for a white singer to pretend to be Turandot, or some one of color or a non-Chinese race. White actors playing Othello (or Otello) with dark makeup is a different matter. That ship has sailed. Some have mentioned seeing Olivier at the National in blackface, but that wouldn’t fly today and after all, Olivier’s Othello was half a century ago. This school cancelling the West Side Story is wrong-headed and cowardly, and is a weak institution. It’s a play (or rather a musical) and not real life. A shame.

  • V.Lind says:

    The only racist in this sad story is Bridgett Martinez. So no white woman is ever to sing Maria again? %*&%!

    And shouldn’t the Irish be protesting about her having a slightly bastardised Irish first name?

  • Guy from Winesburg says:

    Oddly enough, there is another college in Ohio doing a Leonard Bernstein salute next month. They will present “Trouble in Tahiti” followed by a Revue, with selections from “Candide”, “Wonderful Town”, “On the Town” and … yes… “West Side Story”. They have a stated policy of casting the best voice for each role, with the result that students of Russian and Irish descent are playing the role of Maria, while the student from Puerto Rico is playing the role of Dinah, the 1950’s suburban housewife. As of this writing, complaints have not been heard about the casting.

  • Enquiring mind wants to know says:

    A case of minority privilege and minority fragility. Needs a sociological study.

  • Phillip Ayling says:

    Steven Spielberg is remaking West Side Story. I highly suspect that every aspect of the film will be nuanced with regards to race, ethnicity and political sensitivity. The very thing we see here with so many posted comments will be manipulated 100 fold by a PR machine to create controversy and drive box office for the film.

  • Sharon says:

    I agree with most of the comments here.

    Theater for the New City, a well known off-off Broadway theater in New York City next week will revive the musical “The Open Gate” which is based on a novel, The Manor, by the twentieth century Yiddish writer Isaac Bashevis Singer. It is a saga about a Jewish family in mid to late nineteenth century Poland coping with modernization (kind of like Fiddler on the Roof).

    The publicity photo shows that there a two Blacks and a person who looks like he is of Asian ethnicity as main characters in the cast. Because not everyone is from eastern European ancestry does this make the play inauthentic? Wouldn’t it just be inauthentic by virtue of the fact that the play concerns nineteenth century issues and is shown in the twenty first? Maybe we need to channel the ghosts of nineteenth century Polish Jews and have the play in Yiddish and Polish to make it truly authentic!

    Actually just having young people born after 1990 in the cast might make a West Side Story production inauthentic. There are so many things in the 1950s West Side story that are not of their experience. For example, street gangs. Yes, we still have them in the US but they serve mainly to organize illegal, especially drug sales, activity, not just fighting over geographic turf as in the play, and thus modern US gangs try to discourage senseless violence. Dances at the gym whose main purpose is to enable young people meet members of the opposite sex? Not in this era of internet dating. Small garment factories like the kind where Maria worked? They’ve moved to Vietnam.

    Even the love at first sight story on which the play is based is largely a thing of the past. As modern pop music reflects, love/sex has become largely cynical and transactional, to be planned and strategized, even by very young people.

    Ms. Martinez is playing a dangerous game when she says that she is more entitled to the role because it reflects her ethnic group’s historical experience. This could backfire and someday she could be on the other end of her complaint with someone saying that others may be more qualified for a role because Ms. Martinez herself is of the wrong ethnicity.

  • Charles says:

    Is anything in West Side Story authentically Puerto Rican?

    I would have thought the cod Latin American accents, chin flicks and women shaking their skirts, while shouting various non specific Spanish olé type phrases around the place, cry out for a production that is not that culturally sensitive.

  • Tamino says:

    If a film about Leonard Bernstein should ever be made, who could play the main part?
    It must be a US citizen with Jewish parents from Russia, accomplished musician, bisexual, borderline alcoholic, heavy smoker, …

    I guess these scientists really need to speed up the development of procedures to clone humans. Otherwise we will never find a person that is politically correct and suitable to play the part.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Personally I don’t think the actor would have to be any of those things. But I have a question for you: would you want it played by someone who was male. Or would you accept a woman if she was the most suitable actor for the part?

  • M2N2K says:

    Reading some of these comments is rather amusing because the issue is being discussed so seriously and earnestly, as if so-called political correctness – especially when taken to ridiculous extremes – has anything whatsoever to do with logic and common sense. It does not: the word “political” is not there by accident.

  • Adam Stern says:

    Postscript: Yesterday I attended a fine theatrical adaptation of “Jane Eyre” here in Seattle. I didn’t know anything about the casting beforehand, and was initially surprised — not unpleasantly, but based on expectation — that the title role was taken by an Asian-American actress. The surprise lasted for not more than a minute; after that, I was totally swept up in her fine performance. For those two-and-a-half hours, she WAS Jane Eyre.

  • mplo says:

    Frankly, I don’t think that re-booting the 1961 film version of “West Side Story” is a good idea, at all, but the least that could be done would be for the search engines to be configured in such a way as to give much more weight to the original film version of West Side Story, so that the re-make of this film won’t constantly end up at the top of the list.

    Moreover, fans of the film West Side Story should be given more of a choice of seeing the old original film version, or the re-boot of the film version. Having said that, more frequent national re-releases of the old original film version of West Side Story into both the independent and mainstream movie theaters here in the United States would also be beneficial.