just got cast as medda larkin in newsies.. but im white

  1. I think going into a general 1920's character/accent is not a bad way to go! Personally I don't know about the changes to the character that occurs in the Jr version or that new song, but I have seen productions of Newsies where Medda is portrayed by a white actress.

  2. I'd been in a similar situation, but I'm not too familiar with newsies. Something I sometimes think about might be one, don't worry about past productions, because they're not all in the same universe, every production is it's own universe like the spiderverse, but for broadway. So for your character, stick to the script and your director's vision.

  3. Ann-Margaret's character (Medda LARKSON) was inspired by Evelyn Nesbit (which is why she performed in a swing). In actuality, when they re-adapted it to the stage, Aida Overton was the historical reference. If you play the maternal nature and confidence of the character, and make Medda your own, you'll be golden. An accent/dialect shouldn't come into the equation because she's no longer "Swedish".

  4. The main reason I’m worried about playing this character, is because many people (myself included) find that Medda being black was important to her character. And her connection to the newsies was due to being empathetic towards being an outsider.

  5. I applaud your instinct to be sensitive about this, but I’ve seen multiple instances of Medda being played by a white woman, the role in the film was white, and the historical character she’s allegedly based on is white. I think you’re good. But if it still bothers you for character reasons, there are all kinds of ways of being an outsider. Medda is the “Swedish meadowlark,” right? In the play, it’s played as a joke because she’s Black, but what if she actually is a Swedish immigrant who came to New York with her parents when she was a child, and was raised poor on the same streets as the newsies? Maybe her father worked himself into an early grave, so her brother had to go out and sell papers to keep them together, so she has a special place in her heart for newsboys.

  6. It sounds like you understand the problem and are uncomfortable with the role not just in terms of how to play it but also what the characters race represents. If this is for school or something similar I’d recommend having an honest conversation with the people in charge. Even if it means potentially losing the role I think it’s the conscionable thing to do.

  7. The character doesn’t have to be white, and if this actor was cast as this character then they thought this was the actor best suited for it

  8. It's great that you are already beginning the process of analyzing your character, but this is definitely a discussion that need to be had with your director.

  9. yeah, that’s a pretty uncomfortable casting choice. if you feel comfortable, you should feel free to turn down the role or express your discomfort to the director. not that you have to, because i don’t think Medda’s race is totally central to her character, but it’s a good idea if you think it could negatively impact your ability to play her. that being said, i don’t think Medda really has to have a super strong accent! if you wanted to make it a little more cartoonish (for lack of a better word), i think a stereotypical New York vaudeville/flapper voice would still work beautifully. old school show girls had very interesting, expressive voices and mannerisms, so i don’t think the character will fall flat. some good inspiration might be the musical Gypsy, or the song Show Off from The Drowsy Chaperone; both are good examples of vaudeville-style singing that doesn’t deal with race, and is a joy to listen to!

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