Woody Allen (pictured) has reportedly refused to cast Black actors in his latest play about Harlem’s Cotton Club, “Bullets Over Broadway,” according to the Daily News Confidential.
For his “Bullets Over Broadway” play, which opened on Thursday, the actor allegedly said that Black actors wouldn’t make good gangsters, a source said.
“Everyone’s White at Woody’s Cotton Club and in the gangster numbers,” a Broadway insider told the News. “Casting was considering a big-name African-American actor for the play, but Woody passed because he just got the idea that a Black gangster wouldn’t be good. One man wasn’t asked back and then was told it was Woody who didn’t want any Black gangsters.”
The casting team reportedly told Allen that one scene recreating the legendary club — long populated by Black patrons — should feature African American, but instead, Allen allegedly refused to change his stance.
Interestingly enough, the play’s workshop production, which is the pre-show period, did feature a few Black performers, but the only non-White performer that was picked up for “Bullets” in the actual play was Kelcy Griffin, an actress who appears in the dance ensemble.
Confidential has noted that Allen was heavily involved in producing the show, banning reporters from a meet-and-greet and reportedly ignoring actors’ pleas to remove a finale number.
Yet, a representative for Allen denied the News’ report, claiming no black actors were hired to begin with.
“Your item is completely untrue. It has always been Woody Allen’s priority to cast the exact appropriate person for a role regardless of race, which has never been a consideration. Not certain what you mean by ‘pre-shows,’ but we can confirm that no African-American actor had been previously hired for the Broadway production of ‘Bullets Over Broadway,'” the rep told the News.
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