nontraditional-casting

Neil Gaiman reveals that a black actor turned down the role of the 12th Doctor
  • snuffles44 asked: Thank you very much for your explanation of why you think it was not time for a female doctor (though I respectfully disagree). What about someone of another race than white playing the doctor? As someone who understands casting/storytelling, do you think there will ever be a non-white doctor?
  • Neil Gaiman: Of course. (I thought I’d said that I was disappointed that it didn’t happen this time, and that there are some amazing actors out there. I was rather disappointed that Paterson Joseph didn’t get it last time, although I’ve loved Matt’s Eleven.) And yes, I have no doubt there will be. (I know one black actor who was already offered the part of the Doctor, and who turned it down.) Just as there will be a female Doctor.
  • papercranechronicles asked: Can I ask you who the black actor who turned down the role was?
  • Neil Gaiman: You can ask, but seeing that it was something I was told in confidence by the actor in question, you won’t get an answer.

SCOTT HELLER: It seems appropriate that the season was in effect bookended by “Hamilton”and “Shuffle Along,” which were both the biggest vote getters and had much to say about race and American history.


CHARLES ISHERWOOD: I agree that they make perfect bookends. “Shuffle Along” reclaims a musical more or less lost to history and affirms the importance of black artists to Broadway going back almost a century. It’s nicely fitting that it should appear in the same season as “Hamilton,” which re-envisions American history through a new lens: emphasizing, through both its nontraditional casting and its story, the ideals of inclusiveness that are at the heart of American history. We are and always have been a nation of immigrants, after all, which makes the new stirrings of xenophobia in the country so dispiriting. “Hamilton” may just be a musical, but it’s a nice cultural rebuke.


BEN BRANTLEY: Both musicals are works of reclamation, and yet they’re so different. Each is a reminder that there’s more than one way to control the narrative (to use the most overused phrase du jour) and to translate history into the present tense. “Hamilton” is the more truly organic of the two works in that sense; its audacity is in turning contemporary musical style into an expression of a spirit of revolt, of cockiness, of daring that infused a great revolution of the past.


“Shuffle Along” is of course more annotative, with illustrative detours and asides that give us context for a great show of decades ago. One quick aside on another, very different musical, which I just saw: “On Your Feet!,” which is in itself a sort of rebuke to the xenophobia you mention, Charles. Most pointedly, there’s the moment when Emilio Estefan says to the record producer who doesn’t want to sell Latino music to American audiences: “Remember my face. This is the face of America.”