With regard to Ross Haarstad’s review of Katrina, A New Musical, Haarstad made erroneous presumptions. He wrote, “But for this show to have a future, a critical flaw must be addressed: a white-centered narrative about black people.” First, David Frumkin and I were telling a story bigger than one about black people and race relations; our show was about class disparities, effects of natural disasters, lawlessness, political indifference, and impacts of rescuers on both white and black populations in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina.
Second, David, Priscilla Hummel, and I invited black people from all quarters of Ithaca—the colleges, high schools, the Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers, theater people, and civic leaders—to participate in 10 workshops this winter, and many welcomed the opportunity. They gave lots of valuable input on racial issues, culture in African American communities, and ways of speaking. I personally recruited several African American participants, and two of them played leads in the premiere production.
As a matter of fact, my family happens to be multiracial.
Liz Bauman, book writer and co-lyricist, Katrina, A New Musical