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Leading ladies praise diversity

STAGE STARS: Leading Ladies

MUSICAL theatre supergroup Leading Ladies have spoken out about diversity in the latest issue of Pride Magazine.

The vocal powerhouse trio – starring Amber Riley, Beverley Knight and Cassidy Janson – have released their album ‘Songs From The Stage’, featuring covers of musical theatre classics from ‘Dreamgirls’, ‘The Bodyguard’, ‘Beautiful’, ‘Rent’ and ‘Cats’.

Beverley Knight, MOBO-winning singer turned West End star, said theatre is miles ahead of TV when it comes to diversity in casting.

“I think theatre has always led the charge on trying to be more diverse, ahead of other mediums. You’ll see casting decisions that you wouldn’t see on TV, in theatre first,” Knight said.

Knight went on to say productions like ‘Motown: The Musical’ and ‘Memphis’ are changing the face of theatre. "It’s great to see that because theatre has the reputation of being entirely middle-class, white, and senior. You’re seeing so many forms of theatre that buck that, and it inspires a whole new generation!”

American singer and actress Amber Riley, who won an Oliver Award this year for her portrayal of Effie White in ‘Dreamgirls’, said: “I love it when I see young black girls in the audience, and they come to the stage door afterwards and tell me about how they never really thought that it was possible to do musical theatre, but the show’s inspired them.”

She added: “When I look into the crowd and see girls who look like me, it makes the days where I don’t feel like going into the theatre completely worth it.”

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