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re: Well, sorta
Posted by: Singapore/Fling 07:12 pm EDT 07/27/20
In reply to: re: Well, sorta - Michael_Portantiere 04:40 pm EDT 07/27/20

Sondheim's critique was valid, and there are a few points I agree with him on, but his letter was written from a place of intolerant anger and was condescending to the female artists who were making these choices.

I don't think it's helpful that the original comments by Paulus et al were being mindful to not directly state they were attempting to reclaim a Black story from white authors, instead pointing to more vague ideas like "cardboard characters", which shifted the conversation away from the real problem. But even within that context, Sondheim clearly did not give himself the space to consider their critique of the original, instead slamming them all as hard as he could for being too stupid to understand the play they were presenting.

It's an ugly letter, and I kind of wish I hadn't read it. But if Audra can forgive Sondheim and take him out to dinner for his 90th birthday, I suppose I can forgive Sondheim, too.

Though here's a question that's springing: has Sondheim ever written a character that was specifically Black? His work has been regularly produced with color-blind casting, but I can't think of a single Black-as-written character in his work. Am I missing someone? Aside from "Pacific Overtures", his work tends to live in a very white world. Considering his age, that's not unexpected, so this isn't a critique of his oeuvre.
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