White, White, White


Beetlejuice on Broadway has 6 lead roles.

All played by white actors (or, at least, they appear white).

With an all-white creative-team.

In a musical rife with appropriation humor and stereotypical caricatures masquerading as shtickily-performative zaniness, including a race-drag number by Leslie Kritzer in greenbody that calls to mind uncomfortable — and, probably, unintentional; if not, woo boy, it’s a flippant treatment — associations to blackface, and other corrosive theatrical mechanisms historically-justified as harmlessly-laughable in an attempt to dehumanize anyone considered outside the culture shouted by the color uniformly plastered across the primary cast’s mugs.

In the name of full disclosure, Kritzer’s Wikipedia page lists her father as Jewish and her mother as “of Puerto Rican ancestry”; in her Playbill bio, she describes herself as a “Jew-rican”…But when a defense rests on one biracial thespian, you’ve already lost the case.

Possible excuses:

Not enough parts? Yeah, six is plenty.

Irreplaceable, irreplicable performances? Besides MAYBE the titular Alex Brightman (his voice is something else): nope.

How about the language Broadway talks: moolah — any bankable stars? lol

Historical accuracy? LOL

A commentary on whiteness? LOOOOOOOOLOLOLOLOLOL; that would imply the show’s about anything deeper than entertainment for cash.

How about…um…this group of characters wouldn’t be mixed-race??

Are you starting to pick up yet on the absurdity of these questions?

Only one answer matters:

It’s just not a good look.

Figuratively and literally.

This lazy (…at best) regurgitation of the tried, true, and tired infects the material on a molecular level. Par exemple: must damn-near every musical comedy on the Great White Way (I had to do it) nowadays rely oh so heavily on post-modern, wink-wink, self-aware jokes about the ridiculousness of the form’s tropes? No amount of lampshading can reduce the irksome derivativeness of the (bafflingly crowd-pleasing) “LOOK AT SILLY US CLEVER AND SILLY ENOUGH TO SILLILY ACKNOWLEDGE OUR SHAMELESS SILLINESS PUTTING ON A SILLY SHOW HA HA HA HA WE’RE SO FUCKING SILLY AND WITTY HA HA HA SEE HOW THAT RHYMED JUST LIKE A MUSICAL HOW COOKY AND SILLY LAUGH YOU FELLOW SILLIES IF YOU’RE SMART AND SILLY ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND THESE FRESH AND ORIGINAL AND CREATIVE AND NOVEL AND SILLY YUCKS!!!” comic approach?





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