Posted on March 25, 2022

Grand Rapids Theater Cancels ‘Sister Act’ After Controversy Over White Lead

Chris Hewitt, Star Tribune, March 24, 2022

Facing similar diversity controversies as Lyric Arts, a northern Minnesota theater canceled a production of “Sister Act” days before its March 18 opening.

Director John Schroeder said Grand Rapids Players chose “Sister Act,” in which a Black woman hides from the mob in a convent, hoping to attract artists of color. But, as is typical for the company, auditionees were all white, so the Black character became white.

“The publisher doesn’t specify [race]. In hindsight, reading the script, the dialogue certainly does indicate race,” Schroeder said. The play is based on the Whoopi Goldberg movie but is more specific about its main character’s story.

“We were made aware of the controversy early on, by concerned people, and had some serious board discussions,” said Schroeder, who also is the board president.

Schroeder now thinks choosing the show was a mistake {snip}