“How does a Black-skinned, trans kid, child of divorce
From a public school, dropped in the middle of the Philly burbs
If not by providence, unpolished, under trauma
Grow up to sing in Broadway’s biggest drama?
The word got around, teacher told mom, ‘This kid is insane, ma’am.’
Put ’em in some lessons just to get them on the stage, then
Got their education, took their talents straight to Pace, and
The world’s yours to entertain, run the gameplan
Suni Reid in Hamilton
Could not believe they made it to Hamilton”
Set to the rhyming scheme of the musical Hamilton’s opening number, “My Shot,” this poem appears in actor Suni Reid’s EEOC complaint against the L.A. production of the show.
Reid — a Black, trans, non-binary actor who has starred in Hamilton in both Chicago and Los Angeles — claims that their contract was not renewed after they requested an all-gender dressing room. Hamilton producers are denying the charge.
Reid, who has played multiple ensemble and principal roles in the show, recounts being “intentionally and repeatedly mis-gendered” and “physically threatened” by their fellow actors in shared men’s dressing spaces.
“Publicly, Hamilton is a beacon of diversity and appears committed to causes seeking social justice and harmony,” said Reid’s attorneys Lawrence Pearson and Lindsay Goldbrum of Wigdor LLP in a statement to Deadline. “Behind the curtain, however, the Company’s management will force out a Black, transgender cast member simply because they stood up for themselves and advocated for a more equitable workplace, and therefore called that public image into question.
“We look forward to upholding Mx. Reid’s rights and hope this is a wake-up call for the theater industry about the systemic inequities that persist even at its greatest heights.”
The complaint notes that after Reid “made a legally protected request” for an all-gender dressing room last June, they were told that part of the existing space would be partitioned off for them.
Reid countered that this was inadequate and weeks later, according to the attorneys, further negotiations to renew Reid’s contract came to a halt.
The attorneys add that Reid was sidelined during “rehearsals, previews, and finally opening night and beyond.”
After lawyering up in late July, Reid told the production about their legal claims of discrimination and retaliation. And in September, the production told Reid that their contract would not be renewed, the complaint says.
However, a Hamilton spokesperson asserted that Reid was offered a contract “with terms responsive to their requests” and “treated with the same respect and consideration as all company members of Hamilton.”
“Suni Reid was a valued cast member for more than three years,” the spokesperson said in a statement to Deadline. “We offered them a contract to return to Hamilton with terms responsive to their requests. We deny the allegations in the Charge. We have not discriminated or retaliated against Suni. Since the shutdown, our organization has taken care of our community.
“Specifically, we have given Suni direct financial support, paid for their health insurance, and paid for their housing. We wish Suni well in their future endeavors.”
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