By Michael P Coleman

I’m a huge fan of colorblind casting.  As a kid, I wondered why there wasn’t anyone who looked like me in the 1939 classic The Wizard Of Oz. There wasn’t a single sepia Munchkin in Munchkinland.  Not the Mayor.  Not the Coroner.  Nobody.  Auntie ‘Em could have had a little jungle fever and no one would have minded. 

Kermit The Frog may insist that it’s not easy being green, but I’d argue that being black in Hollywood — or on Broadway — is no walk in the swamp.

With regard to casting at the very least, Broadway At Music Circus has hit a home run with Oklahoma!, a Rodgers and Hammerstein classic that opens June 25 at the Wells Fargo Pavillon.  The musical, set in early 1900s Oklahoma Territory, tells the story of a young farm girl and her courtship by rival suitors.  The iconic score features the title song, “Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin’,” and “People Will Say We’re In Love.”

Thanks to the show’s director Linda Goodrich (who also happens to be a fellow University of Michigan alumnus…GO BLUE!) and the rest of the Broadway At Music Circus casting team, two of those lovers are melanin-rich. 

Making their Broadway At Music Circus debuts in the roles of Laurey and Curly are Emilie Kouatchou and Ryan Vasquez.  Kouatchou’s credits include Crystal in Little Shop Of Horrors, and Vasquez is currently on Broadway in Hamilton, and he’s also a Michigan grad.

Kudos to Broadway At Music Circus for not making us wait until The Wiz (which debuts later this summer!) to see brilliant, brown skinned actors on stage.  Tomorrow night, we’ll get to see how it all plays out! 

Tickets for Oklahoma! start at $45 and are available by phone at (916) 557-1999, online at, or in person at the Wells Fargo Pavilion Box Office, 1419 H Street in Sacramento.

Mike Coleman headshotonly nologo 300Click here to connect with freelance writer Michael P Coleman, click here to check out his blog, or click here to follow him on Twitter.  


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