'Hamilton' Changes Casting Call Wording After Backlash Over 'Non-White' Casting Call

The initial casting call read the musical was seeking "non-white men and women."

ByABC News
March 31, 2016, 11:33 AM

— -- Broadway's most buzzed about musical, "Hamilton," has changed its casting call following claims that the musical had racist hiring practices.

The musical, centered on the life of U.S. founding father Alexander Hamilton, posted an "open casting call" on its website and to backstage.com Wednesday, in which producers said they were seeking "non-white men and women."

Soon after, critics and social media lit up with many crying foul. Even a performing arts labor union, representing theater actors and stage managers, Actors' Equity expressed their disappointment in the casting call.

In a statement, producers defended their initial casting call and also explained what language they forgot to include.

"It is essential to the storytelling of 'Hamilton' that the principal roles -- which were written for non-white characters (excepting King George) -- be performed by non-white actors," the producers said later Wednesday.

"This adheres to the accepted practice that certain characteristics in certain roles constitute a 'bona fide occupational qualification' that is legal. This also follows in the tradition of many shows that call for race, ethnicity or age specific casting, whether it's The Color Purple or Porgy & Bess or Matilda. The casting will be amended to also include language we neglected to add, that is, we welcome people of all ethnicities to audition for 'Hamilton.'"

The casting call, amended Wednesday, now reads: "'Hamilton' is holding open auditions for singers who rap! Seeking men and women, ages 20s to 30s, for the non-white characters as written and conceived for the currently running Broadway production and upcoming tours of 'Hamilton!'"

The updated casting call also included a disclaimer at the bottom that read, "Performers of all ethnic and racial backgrounds are encouraged to attend."

Actors' Equity, which initially said the casting should be open to all, was satisfied with the producers' changes. The union tweeted Wednesday evening, "Happy to see @HamiltonMusical website audition notice updated - diversity in characters preserved while all ethnicities may audition."

The Lin-Manuel Miranda-created musical is holding four open casting calls in New York and California over the next two months.

The musical, which has become a sensation on the Great White Way -- even attracting President Barack Obama -- was initially praised by critics and social media commentators for its diversity. The cast mainly includes African-American and Latino actors and actresses.