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"The King and I" emphasizes inclusion

Posted: 6:29 AM, Jan 18, 2018
Updated: 2018-01-18 12:30:18Z

On Wednesday, a diverse group of people from the community met to talk about diversity in the workplace. They did it by starting with a production of the "King and I."

Teachers, business leaders, non profit workers and artists all met, filling a space in the Holland Center with individuals from different backgrounds while getting serious about diversity.

Deb Manning, a researcher by profession, says she came on her own. 

"It was really word of mouth," she said.

Dominic Green, Omaha Performing Arts' community engagement manager says that Omaha Performing Arts has conducted a handful of events like these over the years. Today's topic branches from the cultural appropriate casting from the Broadway tour of "The King and I," onstage in Omaha through Sunday. In the production, every actor is appropriately casted by race and ethnicity.

"We can use that entertainment piece and that art piece to help expand and project the conversation forward," Green said.

Participants saw the show Tuesday night and interacted with the cast the following day. They also are taking part in a variety of mini workshops, breaching topics like pronouns and microagressions. For Manning, she's got some ideas and is ready to bring her experience from today to talk to others and celebrate differences.

"This was a great opportunity to not only see 'The King and I,' which was fabulous last night, but also to learn how to talk about inclusion and diversity in ways that open peoples hearts, rather than close minds," she said.