“I Love Dick” Is A Hillary Clinton Kind Of Series In A Donald Trump World


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Kathryn Hahn in I Love Dick.

Jill Soloway’s I Love Dick feels like something beamed in from an alternate reality in which Hillary Clinton is president.

Which is probably a reflection of when it was made — the rollout of the series straddled the 2016 presidential election like a pair of proudly unshaven legs. The pilot premiered on Amazon, already home to Soloway’s acclaimed Transparent, in August of last year, and it was ordered to series in September, when the potential for the country to be getting its first female president seemed very real. But by the time the first season was unleashed online earlier this May, Donald Trump had been in the White House for months, and the mood has become very different.

I Love Dick, which creators Soloway and Sarah Gubbins adapted from Chris Kraus’s experimental novel of the same name, is a series out of time — a heady, horny comedy about gender and authorship arriving at a time in which people seem more inclined to relate to the dystopian oppressions of The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s a celebration of “weird girls,” to borrow the phrase from an episode title, who’ve grown into unquestionably ascendant adults.


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Sylvere (Griffin Dunne) and Toby (India Menuez).

“We are not far from your doorstep,” the ambitious Toby (India Menuez) — who received a Guggenheim for her work “look[ing] at hardcore porn without judgment, so I reduce it to its shapes” — cautions the title character (Kevin Bacon). Dick is a rugged area art star, a renowned sculptor of minimalist works that Toby sums up as “everything anyone has ever wanted from a late-20th-century alpha-male artist and scholar.” She doesn’t need to point out how many years removed we now are from the 20th century.

The whole series, which is fueled by the all-consuming crush that married filmmaker-in-crisis Chris (Kathryn Hahn) develops on Dick and starts chronicling in a series of letters, is built on the certainty of the gradual toppling of patriarchy. That’s something that not only comes across as unhappily premature in the shadow of Trump and Mike Pence, it also plays as downright wistful. Which is why, maybe, I Love Dick ends up being comforting even though it aims to be challenging.

The episodes, almost all of them directed by women (among them Andrea Arnold and Soloway herself), spike clips of video art into scenes and splash intertitles from Chris’s letters on screen. The best installment is a nonlinear one in which four of the female characters take the viewer on a tour of their formative experiences with desire while staring down the camera. But all of that formal and thematic boundary-busting takes place under the unspoken assumption that a degree of space and safety have been secured for its characters to hash out the intricacies of their feelings about being the subject of art versus being its creator, about what constitutes good and important art, and about who gets to play gatekeeper in that.


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Devon (Roberta Colindrez) leads a rehearsal.

At a moment when subjects like masculinity, femininity, and authority all but demand a hard edge and shriek of urgency, I Love Dick is forthright but ultimately gentle in the way it takes them on — like it can afford to be, like a major milestone has been passed, like forward progress, however slow and imperfect, is an inevitability. It is the strangest sort of escapist television.

That’s true of the way it treats the art world it inhabits, too, one that’s allowed to be silly but that is taken very seriously. Its artists can be pretentious, self-important, flaky, and awful, but there’s never any question of whether art itself has value and relevance. Art can change the world in I Love Dick, even if that world is restricted to the bubble of Marfa, Texas, a bohemian oasis with complicated class dynamics. Or, in the words of Sylvere (Griffin Dunne), Chris’s writer husband whose research fellowship at the local art center is the reason they’re in town, a place “both dumpy and hip.”

It’s a place that, at the series’ start, is in the thrall of Dick, the professor-prince who quickly becomes the focus of Chris’s all-consuming obsession. But it doesn’t stay that way, thanks in part to how Chris, who’s “straddling 40ish” and questioning her career and romantic choices, ends up unleashing her debilitating-crush-as-midlife-crisis on the community and unsettling its power structures.


Jessica Brooks/Amazon Prime Video

Hahn as Chris.

By the season’s end, men are joyfully submitting themselves to being the stuff of genderqueer artist’s Devon (Roberta Colindrez) work, in front of a cheering, hooting female crowd, while gallery curator Paula (Lily Mojekwu), finally free to choose the art she wants, ecstatically takes down paintings and slaps aspirational Post-its in their place that read “Kara Walker” and “Laura Aguilar.” I Love Dick is generous with its male characters in the way that feels directly related to its conviction that the supremacy they have — apologetically, obliviously, or gladly — enjoyed is slipping from their hands. It takes place in the twilight of machismo.

Or maybe it’s better put as the liberation of machismo, since we see it wielded just as comfortably by Devon, who admired Dick’s cowboy swagger, then borrowed and adapted and embraced it. Chris appropriates and lays claim to something traditionally male, too: the idea of a muse. “There are 500 times as many female nudes in art history textbooks as there are female artists,” Toby observes at one point. Chris seems intent on making up ground and turning that ratio around. She utilizes Dick — that Marlboro Man of MFAs, with a penis for a name, with his sculpture that’s a literal brick (“I love a straight line,” he says, “a straight line is perfection”) — as not only an object of desire but also a source of inspiration. He fuels the outpouring of love letters, profane and profound in their rawness, that she ends up posting around town.


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I Love Dick

Chris’s lust is not just symbolic — it’s very genuine, and I Love Dick has gotten attention for the way it translates that giddy lechery in its gaze, the ways its lens glides along the planes of Bacon’s face and body like it has nerves and they’re all lit up, for its incredible fantasy of Bacon sensually shearing a lamb. But Chris’s lust can’t be separated out from the feverish creative spell with which she’s gripped — the writing she’s doing is both addressed to Dick (“Dear Dick: Game on”) and not about him at all. Her desire and how it makes her feel is an end unto itself — “I don’t care how you see me. I don’t care if you want me. It’s better that you don’t. It’s enough that I want you,” she writes.

He’s distressed and undone to find himself placed so unwittingly in her spotlight. “She has violated my privacy!” he yelps at one point, a strange sort of protest, since Chris knows nothing at all about him, and since her work is all about how she feels and what she knows she’s projecting on him. Though Dick, grudging, agrees the writing’s good, he adds, “So what? It’s still fucked up.”

Maybe it is, and maybe what’s most disturbing to Dick is how little agency in or ownership he has over this art that invokes him while belonging to someone else — the muse’s lament. But Chris writes because she’s driven to create, not because she wanted to humiliate him, despite their first encounters. It’s the moment Dick first looked at her, rather than the other way around, in which her life went off the rails, when everything temporarily went quiet in the embrace of his ever-so-valued attention.

Then at dinner, later, Dick dismissed Chris’s work without ever having seen it. Not just her work, but that of her entire gender. “I think it’s really pretty rare for a woman to make a good film because they have to work from behind their oppression, which makes for some bummer movies,” he drawls, daring her to get angry, leaving her spitting names (Jane Campion! Chantal Akerman!) in her own flustered defense, trying not to let him see how badly he’s skewered her current insecurities.


Patrick Wymore/Amazon Prime Video

Dick (Bacon), Sylvere (Dunne), and Chris (Hahn) at dinner.

From then on, Chris is consumed, wanting to fuck and to fight Dick, to gain his approval and to devour him whole. But in the end, she gets the best revenge by not thinking about revenge at all. Instead, she makes something real and good and marked by a whole other sort of authenticity than the kind Dick signals with his hand-rolled cigarettes and his refusal to explain his art. When looked at from the heart of 2017, that may be the show’s most plaintive aspiration of them all, the part that’s most out of sync with the sometimes merited and sometimes pandering go-girl defiance that has marked other recent series with overtly feminist bents, your Jessica Joneses and Girlbosses.

Chris’s desire to prove herself to Dick shifts to the understanding that, actually, she doesn’t need to, that she doesn’t require his validation or a spot in his prestigious, sparsely attended gallery — that rather than battling him to be seen, she pins her letters to public walls. She makes a sort of peace with Dick, allowing him to emerge from object to flesh-and-blood person who’s acutely aware that his moment is over — in some ways, it’s her biggest power move of all. But it’s a microcosmic shift dependent on the idea that the larger world has changed, which is why I Love Dick‘s freaky, free-dancing looseness has ended up unintentionally shot through with sadness. The world can change, but as everyone’s been reminded, it’s also capable of changing back.

The New “Spider-Man: Homecoming” Poster Has Some Pretty Intense Graphic Design

All right, now we finally have shots of Tom Holland, our newest Spider-man. Holland looks like he’s about to kick ass, take names, and do it all before he has to be home for dinner. Then we have a whole angel and demon vibe going on to Holland’s left and right.

On the left we have a giant, full costumed Spider-Man and on the right is Robert Downey Jr. aka Iron Man. Not gonna lie, RDJ totally looks like Holland’s disapproving father, and it’s pretty great.

Your Starbucks Order Will Reveal What You Should Watch On Netflix In June

Here’s everything coming to Netflix in June:

June 1

1 Night (2016)

13 Going on 30 (2004)

Amor.com

Arrow, Season 5 (2016)

Burlesque (2017)

Catfight (2016)

Catwoman (2004)

Chingo Bling: They Can’t Deport Us All

Days of Grace (2011)

Devil’s Bride (2016)

Full Metal Jacket (1987)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Intersection, Season 2 (2016)

Kardashian: The Man Who Saved OJ Simpson (2016)

Little Boxes (2016)

Mutant Busters, Season 2 (2016)

My Left Foot (1989)

Off Camera with Sam Jones, Series 3 (2015)

Playing It Cool (2014)

Rounders (1998)

Spring (Primavera) (2016)

The 100, Season 4 (2016)

The Ant Bully (2006)

The Bucket List (2007)

The Queen (2006)

The Sixth Sense (1999)

Vice (2015)

West Coast Customs, Season 3 (2013)

Yarn (2016)

Young Frankenstein (1974)

Zodiac (2007)

June 2

Comedy Bang! Bang!, Season 5, Part 2 (2016)

Flaked, Season 2 — Netflix Original

Inspector Gadget, Season 3 — Netflix Original

Los Últimos de Filipinas (2016)

Lucid Dream — Netflix Original

Saving Banksy (2014)

The Homecoming: Collection (2015)

June 3

Acapulco La vida va (2017)

Blue Gold: American Jeans (2017)

Headshot (2016)

Three (2016)

Tunnel (2016)

War on Everyone (2016)

June 4

TURN: Washington’s Spies, Season 3 (2016)

June 5

Suite Française (2014)

June 7

Disturbing the Peace (2016)

Dreamworks’ Trolls (2016)

June 9

My Only Love Song, Season 1 — Netflix Original

Orange Is the New Black, Season 5 — Netflix Original

Shimmer Lake — Netflix Original

June 10

Black Snow (Nieve Negra) (2017)

Daughters of the Dust (1991)

Havenhurst (2017)

Sword Master (2016)

June 13

Oh, Hello On Broadway — Netflix Original

June 14

Quantico, Season 2 (2016)

June 15

Marco Luque: Tamo Junto — Netflix Original

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 4 (2016)

Mr. Gaga: A True Story of Love and Dance (2015)

June 16

Aquarius, Season 2 (2016)

Counterpunch — Netflix Original

El Chapo, Season 1 (2017)

The Ranch, Part 3 — Netflix Original

World of Winx, Season 2 — Netflix Original

June 17

Grey’s Anatomy, Season 13 (2016)

Scandal, Season 6 (2016)

The Stanford Prison Experiment (2015)

June 18

Shooter, Season 1 (2016)

June 20

Amar Akbar & Tony (2015)

Disney’s Moana (2016)

Rory Scovel Tries Stand-Up For The First Time — Netflix Original

June 21

Baby Daddy, Season 6 (2017)

Young & Hungry, Season 5 (2017)

June 23

American Anarchist (2016)

Free Rein, Season 1 — Netflix Original

GLOW, Season 1 — Netflix Original

Nobody Speak, Trials of the Free Press — Netflix Original

You Get Me — Netflix Original

June 26

No Escape (2015)

June 27

Chris D’Elia: Man on Fire — Netflix Original

June 28

Okja — Netflix Original

June 30

Chef & My Fridge: Collection (2014)

Gypsy, Season 1 — Netflix Original

It’s Only the End of the World (2016)

Little Witch Academia, Season 1 — Netflix Original

The Weekend (2016)

Zack Snyder Exits “Justice League” In The Wake Of Daughter's Suicide

Zack Snyder, one of the foremost directors in the DC Cinematic Universe, announced on Monday that he will be stepping down from directing Justice League in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. He’ll be taking time away from the project to deal with the death of his 20-year-old daughter, Autumn, who killed herself this past March. Snyder’s wife, Deborah Snyder, will also be stepping down from her role as producer on the film. Joss Whedon — acclaimed director of Marvel’s The Avengers and The Avengers: Age of Ultron, and of DC’s upcoming film adaptation of Batgirl — will take over Justice League‘s post-production and shooting additional scenes.

After Autumn’s death, production on Justice League was put on a two-week hiatus for the Snyders to deal with the tragedy. “In my mind, I thought it was a cathartic thing to go back to work, to just bury myself and see if that was way through it,” Snyder told THR. But due to the “all consuming” nature of his job, Snyder, who has seven other children, “decided to take a step back from the movie to be with my family, be with my kids, who really need me. They are all having a hard time. I’m having a hard time.”

He originally planned to shoot the additional Justice League scenes, which are scheduled to film in England, but ultimately decided against leaving home at this time. “I never planned to make this public,” Snyder told THR of his daughter’s death. “I thought it would just be in the family, a private matter, our private sorrow that we would deal with. When it became obvious that I need to take break, I knew there would be narratives created on the internet. They’ll do what they do. The truth it…I’m past caring about that kind of thing now.”

Autumn was attending Sarah Lawrence College at the time of her death. Deborah Snyder told THR that Autumn had recently finished a manuscript for a sci-fi fantasy novel that the Snyders would like, one day, to publish and give the proceeds to charity. “In the end, she didn’t make it, but her character does and I think there would be something cathartic for people,” said Snyder.

As for Justice League, Snyder told THR: “I know the fans are going to be worried about the movie but there are seven other kids that need me … In the end, it’s just a movie. It’s a great movie. But it’s just a movie.”

BuzzFeed News has reached out to Whedon and Warner Bros. for further information, but according to THR, Justice League is still set to maintain its original release date, Nov. 17, 2017.

The New Fall Shows Are Opting For Comfort Over Relevance

In late-night, being politically engaged and enraged has allowed the once faltering Stephen Colbert to challenge Jimmy Fallon in ratings, and on streaming, series like The Handmaid’s Tale and Dear White People have garnered significant attention for tackling issues of gender and race.

But, at least for this forthcoming season — the first since President Trump was voted into office — network TV appears to be heading in the other direction, toward the safety of the already known or the feels-like-you-already-know-it.

At least that’s what was suggested by the first round of new shows announced in the past week. The big networks — ABC, CBS, The CW, Fox, and NBC — all held their upfront presentations in New York City this past week, glitzy annual events where new series and fall schedules are presented to advertisers, who are treated to footage and appearances from talent.

What was unveiled were programming choices that seemed designed to evoke the familiar — sometimes literally. One of the biggest surprises the week had to offer was that the previously announced Roseanne return would go to ABC for an eight-episode season to air in 2018. “There’s really no one better to comment on our modern America than Roseanne,” ABC president Channing Dungey said in a statement about the show, expressing the kind of “now more than ever” sentiment with which all kinds of content has been anointed ever since Trump’s win.

In this case, though, it’s not clear exactly what Dungey meant by that. No one better because the original Roseanne, which ran from 1988 to 1997, was progressive in its tackling of issues like LGBT representation and abortion? Because it’s a portrayal of the white working class that became so central to the election? Because of Barr’s present-day stance as someone who made a Green Party presidential candidate bid and who told the Hollywood Reporter that “we would be so lucky if Trump won. Because then it wouldn’t be Hillary”? Or is it just because we’ve heard from Barr before? As with all network presidents, Dungey is unlikely to give a clear answer (particularly in the wake of all the flak ABC got for canceling the conservative-leaning Last Man Standing).

But she did did share, in a conference call with press, that what “the mood of the country has told us is that television is a little bit of an escape,” which speaks to the nostalgic tendencies seen all around. Roseanne isn’t the only show arising from the grave — Will & Grace is also back this fall with its original cast, a fact heralded with a video that confusingly suggested that Eric McCormack’s Will and Debra Messing’s Grace existed in the real world, while Karen (Megan Mullally) and Jack (Sean Hayes) somehow did not. Then there are the reboots and remakes, like The CW’s Dynasty, a new take on the ’80s Aaron Spelling primetime soap, and CBS’s S.W.A.T., based on another Spelling show, as well as the 2003 movie of the same name it inspired.

There are prequels like Star Trek: Discovery, which will stream on CBS’s digital subscription VOD service CBS All Access, and Young Sheldon, which will follow the long-running Big Bang Theory it plays off of, exploring the childhood of Jim Parsons’ persnickety genius Sheldon Cooper.

And then there are the shows that merely feel like something we’ve seen before. Seth MacFarlane’s Fox sci-fi satire The Orville is reminiscent of Galaxy Quest, while NBC’s Rise, with Josh Radnor and Moana‘s Auli’i Cravalho, looks like a more serious Glee. The Fox airline comedy LA to Vegas has Dylan McDermott doing what appears to be a Will Ferrell impression, while ABC’s The Gospel of Kevin comes across as a sibling to Joan of Arcadia, Eli Stone, and My Name Is Earl in its regular-joe-gets-a-divine-mission setup. There are two medical series about brilliant doctors who have a harder time socially: One, ABC’s drama The Good Doctor, which stars Freddie Highmore as surgeon with Asperger’s, is actually from the creator of House; the other, Fox’s The Resident, is just House-like, with Matt Czuchry as a tough truth-teller mentoring an idealistic newcomer (Manish Dayal).

Mark Feuerstein’s autobiographical CBS sitcom 9JKL resembles Everybody Loves Raymond. ABC’s Deception (magician) and CBS’s Instinct (writer/professor) fall into the well-established formula of unlikely consultants helping to catch criminals — see The Mentalist, Castle, Lucifer, and on and on. And in the most centrally backwards-looking (but intriguing) concept of them all, Justin Theroux and Jimmy Kimmel will have a live ABC special in which stars read classic TV scripts from the likes of Norman Lear and James L. Brooks.

This is not to say these shows, considered on the very early basis of their network-provided cutdowns and loglines, look bad. In fact, the most-watched trailer from the bunch, for Fox’s X-Men drama The Gifted, manages to give off a serious whiff of Heroes while also looking like a promising small-screen superhero saga. But there’s a general conservatism in the announced aims of so many of these new series — not politically so much as in terms of ambition.

While hardly daring, steering into strengths may be the smartest move for networks that haven’t been able to compete with the freedoms of cable and streaming. Especially at a time in which ratings are lower than ever, the TV equivalent of comfort food has a powerful pull.

Of course, there are still the odd blips in the lineup of shows with potential to do more than offer entertainment and escape — like ABC’s The Mayor (Brandon Micheal Hall), which flips the script on the idea of a Trump-style outsider winning a campaign by having a struggling rapper find himself in office after a publicity stunt goes a little too well. Or The CW’s Black Lightning, with its superhero turned principal turned superhero battling gang violence. And then there’s that S.W.A.T. reboot, which in its surprising trailer acknowledges that the whole cops-kicking-ass premise of the original hasn’t aged so well, and gives glimpses of a police shooting of an unarmed black teenager and a protagonist (Shemar Moore) focused on rebuilding trust with the community.

Of course, it also involves running around with massive guns and shooting what looks like a rocket launcher. You can’t go too far off book, after all — you’ve still got to give the people what they want.

An Attempt At Color-Conscious Casting Has Opened Up A Massive Theater Debate

Casting director and producer Michael Streeter was “furious and dumbfounded” when he was told he couldn’t cast a black actor in his planned production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in Portland, Oregon. “The [Edward] Albee Estate called and said I need to fire the black actor and replace him with a white one,” he posted on Facebook. Streeter declined and decided to cancel the production entirely.

After Vulture’s Mark Harris shared Streeter’s post on Twitter, it started gaining traction. Performer Brian Lobel tweeted, “Edward Albee’s Estate is racist. Decolonize the curriculum. Make work which is relevant, not racist. Time to find some new idols.”

While Streeter’s account might sound like a clear example of discrimination — and there’s certainly a moral argument to be made against the Albee estate’s decision — from a legal perspective, it’s more complicated than that. Producers have to get rights before they can put on a production, and many in the theater community believe that playwrights or their estates can withhold those rights to their plays for any reason they see fit. The Dramatists Guild Bill of Rights states, “You have the right to approve the cast, director, and designers … This is called ‘artistic approval.’” And yes, in some cases, that means approving or rejecting an actor based on race.

“I don’t see this as being racist,” Streeter told BuzzFeed News. “I think that they are operating from some fealty to a sense of integrity, of retaining what Edward Albee would want. And I understand that.”

He said he never questioned the legality of the Albee estate’s choice. “They certainly are within their rights to do it, and they did it. … I’m disappointed that they made that choice.”

The concept of “artistic approval” doesn’t exclusively benefit white actors; it also serves to protect playwrights who have written characters to be played specifically by actors of color. In 2015, the Dramatists Guild spoke out in defense of playwrights Lloyd Suh and Katori Hall, whose work was being produced on college campuses with white actors playing roles that had been written as nonwhite. And while race is central to these examples, playwrights have railed against other “nontraditional” casting choices: In 2014, representatives for David Mamet sent a cease-and-desist letter to a production of Oleanna that cast a man in a female role. That production shut down after one performance.

In the case of Streeter’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, the concern seems to be over how casting a black actor as Nick fundamentally changes the text. Nick is one-half of the younger couple in the play who intrude on the fractured marriage of George and Martha. In a letter sent to Streeter and provided to BuzzFeed News, a representative for the office of Edward Albee writes, “It is important to note that Mr. Albee wrote Nick as a Caucasian character, whose blonde hair and blue eyes are remarked on frequently in the play, even alluding to Nick’s likeness as that of an Aryan of Nazi racial ideology. Furthermore, Mr. Albee himself said on numerous occasions when approached with requests for non-traditional casting in productions of Virginia Woolf? that a mixed-race marriage between a Caucasian and an African-American would not have gone unacknowledged in conversations in that time and place and under the circumstances in which the play is expressly set by textual references in the 1960s.”

The letter also notes that Streeter went against protocol by hiring actors without prior approval by the Albee estate, and by advertising the production before receiving the rights to the play. (In his Facebook post, Streeter said that he requested the rights in November, but said the estate requires a venue and cast to be set in order to grant the rights. He also said he only created images for casting purposes, not to advertise the production.)

Streeter is taking the Albee estate’s word when it comes to the reason for wanting Nick to remain white. At the same time, he noted, there is some inconsistency within their response. A 2002 Oregon Shakespeare Festival production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? cast black actor Andrea Frye as Martha alongside white actor Richard Elmore as George, going against the Albee estate’s current assertion that one of their objections is to the portrayal of an interracial couple. But Albee was alive to give his approval at the time of the Shakespeare Festival production — the playwright died in 2016 — and Streeter believes some of the resistance now might reflect a more restrictive approach designed to preserve the intent of an author who is deceased.

“I think now that Albee is gone, they should let go of some of that and open up to the idea,” Streeter said. He’s sympathetic, but he believes Albee’s death could actually allow for more diverse productions of his plays. “I was hoping the negative elements with Edward Albee would have died with him,” he said. “You’ve got years of situations where black actors have not had the opportunities to play those great roles.”

The controversy over Streeter’s planned production and the Albee estate’s response has also drawn attention to the difference between colorblind versus color-conscious casting. Both are intended to increase representation in theater, but while the former reflects a belief that any actor can play any part, the latter viewpoint is that casting actors of color in traditionally white roles does change the meaning of the work. Hamilton, for example, is held up as color conscious: Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the musical to be performed by nonwhite actors as the Founding Fathers with specific artistic intent. Similarly, Streeter was only considering actors of color for Nick in his Virginia Woolf, which he described as “color conscious.” In a second Facebook post, he explained his thought process behind casting Nick as black. “The character is an up and comer,” he wrote. “He is ambitious and tolerates a lot of abuse in order to get ahead. I see this as emblematic of African Americans in 1962, the time the play was written.”

Colorblind casting has drawn its own share of controversy over the years. Black playwright August Wilson once said, “To cast us in the role of mimics is to deny us our own competence … colorblind casting is the same idea of assimilation that black Americans have been rejecting for the past 380 years. For the record, we reject it again.” The recently announced production of Carousel, which will open on Broadway in spring 2018, has earned criticism for casting black actor Joshua Henry as Billy Bigelow, the abusive, criminal male lead, against white actor Jessie Mueller as Julie Jordan. Some have suggested the casting perpetuates negative stereotypes about black men: As one tweet noted, this is the problem with colorblind casting — as opposed to the upcoming Frozen musical, which consciously cast a black actor as the romantic lead Kristoff and a white actor as the villain Hans.

Though color-conscious casting offers a more thoughtful approach to diversity than colorblind casting does, it can dramatically alter the material — and when the playwright is no longer alive, as is the case with Albee, that presents a problem for the estate trying to honor his original vision.

There’s no easy answer to that conundrum, but Streeter hopes that producers continue to broaden their visions of classic plays by casting outside the traditional restrictions. To playwrights, he offered: “Certainly it’s your work, you should exert what control you think is necessary. One thing I would say to them is, ‘Hey, after you’re gone … let it go. Just let people do what they want with it.’”