OK, as previously stated, The Fairy Princess is busy.


So one cool announcement – she will be appearing at 54 Below with some of the other Cast Members of the Original Broadway Company of AVENUE Q, along with composers Jeff Marx and Bobby Lopez, singing some cut songs, some show favorites, and celebrating the 15th Anniversary of the Broadway Premiere of that TONY Winning Best Musical.


Let’s get to the thing that she’s kinda wondering about – and she is being careful about the wondering because this could very easily be an error.

Here is what – y’all know that European Director, Ivo van Hove

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and fellow Belgian, choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker.

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have decided that the next project they will take on, on the Broadway, will be WEST SIDE STORY.


TFP was a bit…nervous about this announcement for a few reasons – and by the way, none of those reasons concerned the creative brilliance of either of them.

She was nervous because Maria being Puerto Rican is a giant part of the storyline, right?




WHEN THERE ARE, IN FACT, PEOPLE OF LATINX HERITAGE ABLE TO CONTRIBUTE BRILLIANTLY TO THIS STORY – Directors and Choreographers, Assistant Directors, Lighting Designers, Stage Managers, Costume Designers…lots of Latinx “behind the table’ talent around in New York City!


If only there was someone who knew all about the brilliance and diversity of Latinx culture in New York, who might even perhaps, be of Puerto Rican heritage?

Who possibly has worked on WEST SIDE STORY in the past?

If only…


In fact, WEST SIDE STORY examines race relations between two groups of different culture and physical appearance. (No, you do not get to respond with ‘why is everything about race?” because the answer is – it IS, it is categorically about the clash of ethnic groups, who are specific, in New York City)

Each side spouts derogatory remarks about the other, in the period of the time, in order to eventually prove to the audience that…these things do not matter. Love is what matters in WEST SIDE STORY, ( love, high notes, and dancing) and if everyone would just get out of the way of love, and the color that they believe it has to look like – we would all be stronger for it.


By the way – this is a concern for all POC, this is not one of the times you get to say “not my problem”, because this is a problem, Peg + Cat – not including POC to help tell a story about THEM…that is a problem.

Belgium is not known for it’s influx of Puerto Ricans, nor actually, Latinx people in general – they get their immigrants (and they do have quite a lot) from conflicted countries in Europe – Over the last decade, the main countries of origin have been Russia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, and Serbia and growing numbers from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro, and India.

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Belgium has not been a hot spot of Latinx immigration in recent years.


Of course, these are people that are international travelers and artists….but they would, TFP believes, have to seek out in a really active way, exploring Puerto Rican culture during the post signing of the law that anyone born in PR is a US citizen.

Though Spain is close, in Europe everything is relatively close – Spain is not Puerto Rico.


Which is why the characters in WSS are at the point they are at – because jobs and opportunity were few at the time, so they came to America to pursue the American dream. They are Americans who are bilingual. Also they hold dual citizenship, that of Puerto Rico and the United States. However, they were seen at the time as immigrants, because they were multi-lingual and because they came from a culture that had been invaded by the Spanish.

However, once here, they run up against the children of previous groups of immigrants who happened to be Caucasian – TONY is supposed to be Polish American – who have already assimilated into the New York City of the 1950’s.

The cast is equally split between Caucasians and Latinx roles, and they re-tell the story of Romeo and Juliette in the ‘modern’ era of the 1950’s.

Thus it was very surprising that the casting breakdown of the character of MARIA…

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currently on the internet for several days now, who is, definitively newly arrived from Puerto Rico, does not have Puerto Rican listed in the description. Or even Latinx.

They do not even list her as a soprano, which, she is an ingenue soprano!



TFP does not know why this is, and she does not want to…it could just be an oversight.


Is it not listed because….everyone knows that Maria is Puerto Rican and this musical premiered on Broadway in 1957 and then was revived in 2009, so they just think everyone knows this?

It is not listed because….an intern wrote the casting breakdown?

It is not listed because…it is being directed and choreographed by Belgians and it has escaped their notice?


TFP does not know.

However, it is concerning to her. VERY concerning to her.

Yes, we should all trust these very talented European Creatives whose work has not heretofore revolved around anything dealing with Latinx culture that TFP can find on the internet, to do their research.


TFP has absolute confidence that they are doing their research while, apparently, erasing one of the Musical Theaters greatest choreographers work – Jerome Robbins, looking at you….and know that they will do an amazing job. Their past work has been breathtaking and mind-blowing and she hopes that will happen with their reinvention of WEST SIDE STORY.

But it is not off to a good start, Folks….


Erasing Maria being Puerto Rican is not the way to begin WEST SIDE STORY.


TFP out.