re: Black Actors in Whiteface
Posted by: JereNYC (JereNYC@aol.com) 10:26 am EST 01/26/23
In reply to: Black Actors in Whiteface - BroadwayTonyJ 08:03 am EST 01/26/23

As per Mary Rodgers' recent memoir, in 1959, they were having trouble casting the role of the Queen in the original production of ONCE UPON A MATTRESS and, when Jane White came in, everyone thought she was absolutely perfect for it...except George Abbott. Abbott loudly proclaimed to all, even with White still there, that he wouldn't have a black queen. Apparently, everyone else then conspired to send White to a makeup artist who, essentially, put her in whiteface, and bring her back the following day. White had trepidations about doing this because her father was Walter White, the founder of the NAACP. But she wanted the job, so she went along with it.

The following day, Abbott almost wouldn't see her again, but was persuaded and loved White this time, and, of course, she was cast.

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