Posted on November 13, 2015

Clarion University Play Canceled Over Actors’ Race

Brenda Waters, CBS Pittsburgh, November 12, 2015

A group of students at Clarion University were set for the opening night of a stage production. Then, they got the news–“the show must not go on.”

“We’ve put in all of this work and can’t finish the last section, like nothing is going to get finished,” said Courtney Chaplin, the stage manager for the play “Jesus in India.”

Clarion University was told to cancel the play by the playwright.


The playwright cited “ethnic composition.”

Marilouise Michel, Clarion University professor of theater and the play’s director, explains what she was told.

“On Monday afternoon, I received an email from the playwright telling me that he demanded that we recast the show with Asian actors or shut down our production,” she said.


“We don’t have a large population of Asian students at the university,” Michel said. “We opened our auditions to all of the students at the university.”

“Jesus in India” is a contemporary take on the lost years of Jesus Christ as a wayward teenager along his journey to the east, complete with punk rock music and drugs, written by Lloyd Suh.

“He is a Korean-American who writes plays primarily for Asian theaters and Asian companies to promote opportunities for Asian actors,” Michel said.


The playwright, out of New York, never saw any rehearsals, just promotional tweets of the actors. All of the actors were white with the exception of one biracial student. {snip}