Theatre News

Sierra Boggess withdraws from West Side Story BBC Prom following casting controversy

The ”Phantom of the Opera” actress was due to perform the role of Maria at the Royal Albert Hall

Sierra Boggess
Sierra Boggess
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Actress Sierra Boggess – whose credits include Phantom of the Opera and The Little Mermaid – has withdrawn from a performance of West Side Story at this year's BBC Proms.

In a message posted on her official Facebook page, Boggess said: "After much reflection, I've realized that if I were to do this concert, it would once again deny Latinas the opportunity to sing this score, as well as deny the IMPORTANCE of seeing themselves represented onstage.

She had been due to star alongside Broadway actor Ross Lekites (Frozen, Kinky Boots) in the authorised concert version of the musical at the Royal Albert Hall on 11 August.

Conducted by John Wilson and featuring the John Wilson Orchestra alongside students from ArtsEd and Mountview, it will be the first time Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim's complete musical has been performed in concert in the UK.

But the initial casting announcement last week was met by anger with people asking why the role wasn't given to a Latina actress.

Boggess' statement added that after conversations about her casting she has realised why "this is a crucial time, now more than ever, to not perpetuate the miscasting of this show."

It comes after a casting call for Steven Spielberg's big-screen remake of the musical made it clear that they were only looking for Latino and Latina actors to play Bernardo, Maria and Anita.