NEW YORK — Theatre critics trashed actor/writer Keith Greenwald earlier this week for his new one-man show, “Pants On Fire: True Lies About Being A Firefighter,” due to the lack of diversity in its all-white, one-man cast.
“The show features literally 100% straight white men,” said blogger Kristy McDowell in a scathing review on her Medium blog. “Why can’t a one-man show feature a cast that represents the rich diversity of New York City? Just because it’s a one-man show doesn’t mean it can’t also feature women, people of color, and people with different sexualities or gender identities.”
Sources close to Greenwald report the criticism has significantly impacted the actor. Greenwald later posted a 30-minute live stream video rant onto his personal Facebook account, complaining that people were “mischaracterizing his performance.”
“I am the only person in the show! I’m portraying my personal history on stage,” yelled the 35-year-old Greenwald into his webcam from his Brooklyn apartment. “I can’t just recast myself in my own life’s story, especially when the best parts are my own dramatic reenactments.”
Commenters were quick to point out the Broadway phenomenon Hamilton, which famously retells the predominantly white story of historical politician Alexander Hamilton using a cast full of minorities.
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“Dude, just hire a minority to play you in your one-man show,” said one commenter. “Just because you lived a life doesn’t mean you automatically get to play yourself in the show you wrote. If anything, it would make the hip-hop section at the end less uncomfortable.”
Greenwald said through his agent that, following the harsh reviews, he’s hoping to rebuild his image as someone who “deserves to be a part of the artistic community.” At press time, however, Greenwald was again under fire after tweeting a false claim of 1/16th Cherokee heritage.
Photo by Shane Allen.