• Christina Peña

Sincerely, your Latinx friend still looking for her place in the theatre.

Over the past few years I have had some of my best friend get cast in roles that they are not right for. Based on their ethnicity not their talent.

What do you say?

You don't want to hurt their feelings. You don't want to tell them that they shouldn't do the show. So again, what do you say?

I always make it personal. Let me tell you from experience, that is not the best way to approach the situation. Below is the letter I wish I had sent to my friend. Instead I let other people get involved and it became a fight amongst a group. I wanted to have a conversation and I took it too far.

It’s important to speak your mind. But have a conversation. Otherwise you just cause more problems.

Dear friend,

I am very happy that you got cast in the lead role of Evita. I want to take a moment to express my feelings, and I hope you choose to listen.

As a Latinx women, there are few lead roles out there that are written for us in mind. Many times, we are over looked for even the roles that are written for us. Think about how many White Marias you have seen. Or how many super tan White Dianas. Don’t get me started on the non-Latino Usnavis.

I understand the role has been famously played by Patti LuPone and Madonna. WHITE WOMEN. I get it. But just because something has been done before doesn’t mean that it is right.

Eva Perón was born, raised, and died in Argentina. Believe me I know there is was a lot wrong with her but she is a Latina Woman, who deserves to be played by a Latina Women.

When you take role like this, it is hurtful to the women who should have the chance to play this role. She speaks Spanish for crying out loud.

You went to the audition. You had a callback. You got offered the role. If you know that it is not right then maybe you shouldn’t take it.

You would never go in for Bess in Porgy and Bess, because she is an African American. Why is that not okay but going in for a Latina is? It’s the same thing.

Please take a moment and consider what you are saying by taking this role. I was once a young Lantix looking for my place in the theatre. I wish I had gotten to see myself represented on stage.

Sometimes the money and credit is not worth it!

Thanks for listening,

Your Latinx friend still looking for her place in the theatre

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