Since I posted this I’ve heard some great remarks from people. Thank you, everyone who responded.
I would particularly like to thank Emily Jiang and Emma Humphries, two of the organizers of the Wiscon Hamilton Sing-Along program. It is with their permission that I am editing my post to add their statement. (This statement was made available to attendees at the con.)
“During the Hamilton sing-along at WisCon 40, we expected everyone to stay in their seats or dance in the aisles and in the back of the room. However, the enthusiastic energy of the sing along inspired many people, many of whom were not obviously people of color, to perform the primary roles in the front of the room. These primary roles were originally meant to be theatrically performed by people color according to the vision of the show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda. After thinking about this, we want to share that we feel awkward about this situation. After reflection, we realize that we could have prevented this by stating clearly from the beginning that we would like to respect Lin-Manuel Miranda’s original vision of keeping the major roles all people of color. What happened at the sing along was certainly not the fault of anyone in the audience, but a mindfulness gap that we the panelists did not anticipate. We would like to thank everyone for contributing such wonderfully enthusiastic energy to the sing along, and we will definitely be more mindful in planning future similar events.”
Hamilton panelists: Emily Jiang, Emma Humphries, Elise Matheson, Oycester, Ty
I’ve sort of seen the edges of some different views of the Hamilton sing-along at Wiscon. That it was an open sing-along, a community sharing of joy and celebration. That the lead roles were completely taken over by white singers. That everyone shared. That PoC were marginalized.
I wasn’t there. I have no idea!
But I am pondering the … the ethical logistics, I guess? of an open-invitation sing-along whose source material centers marginalized people. What is the best practice of people who show up, hoping to sing? What about other musicals, like Rent or Fun Home? Who sings what, who ought to sing what, is there even a dilemma here? Does “open sing-along” mean first come, first serve? Does “centering marginalized groups” mean only group members sing along? How does this work, going forward?
If you have opinions on this, if you were there or not, I’d appreciate hearing from you. How about, instead of commenting here you email me. That will keep a potentially hurtful comments-explosion, I hope.
My email is sigridellis at gmail etc.
I look forward to hearing from you!
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