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Whitewashing in the Theatre


This morning, I sent this email to Porchlight Theatre, a Chicago theatre that cast a white man as a Latino in their production of the musical In the Heights. If you agree with my sentiment, use your voice too.


I am a young Latina, born and raised in Chicago, who was thrilled to find out Porchlight was putting on In the Heights. Now, for obvious reasons, I am not.

In the Heights is not a silly romance, or universal comedy. You cannot swap out ethnicities in a story that inherently argues for the promotion of the Latino narrative as told by Latinos. Porchlight is roughly 3 miles away from the city’s epicenter of Puerto Rican culture, Humboldt Park, a community grappling with gentrification as I type. You see, the plot of In the Heights is playing out in the theatre’s own backyard, and yet it still cannot grasp the overarching theme of the musical.

It is a shame that the casting decision has not backtracked. No matter how you spin it, Porchlight passed on an opportunity to further the reach of an important story in a honest way. With the hateful rhetoric being spread by one trollish presidential candidate, the telling of genuine and positive Latino stories is more important than ever. I thought that was happening at Porchilght.

But alas it is not. As Usnavi stands to fight the whitewashing of a city and, Lin stands to fight the whitewashing of the theatre, I stand with them.

– Bianca Sanchez

This entry was posted in: Blog


Rosabel Sanchez is a woman who loves God- serves Him with great humbleness, loves her family and friends- serves them with great love, and love life with such a great appreciation for all that she has been blessed with. She, her husband and 4 children lead two churches on the southwest-side of Chicago, where they all live. As I embark on this new journey, I pray and hope I can become a part of one of your daily practices- your morning inspiration, your afternoon break from the world, or your evening cool down. So join me with a cup of your choice- coffee, tea, chocolate- and you will be blessed with encouraging words to warm your heart & soul.

1 Comment

  1. Laura says

    Your daughter is correct in defending her culture, our cultures. You must be proud that she stood up for her beliefs.

    Liked by 1 person

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