Sometimes when blogging, the world seems to be a negative place, filled with Monsters from your closet who would like nothing better than to ruin your day, consistently with some nasty stuff.
Whether you are trying to sell a cereal,
or star in a tv show in a role traditionally given to a man – haters gonna hate.
Sometimes it seems, that no matter HOW you are trying to spin it, it’s gonna be a bad day….wait a minute, WAIT A MINUTE!
To Quote James Thunder Early from DREAMGIRLS “THERE HAVE GOT TO BE SOME GOOD TIMES!!!!”
Let’s shake it off -
(Who DOESN’T love to tell people what they really, REALLY want?)
READY – DANCE BREAK!!!!!!!!!!!!
I feel better. How do you feel? Some things lately have been awesome…and I’m going to tell you some of them RIGHT NOW!!!!!
(I KNOW, THIS IS TOTALLY DIFFERENT, RIGHT?) (Don’t be scared)
It was TOTALLY AWESOME that several days ago THIS happened:
How was it awesome? Let me count the ways….ok, I hate math, nevermind counting – and don’t judge my math. Several weeks ago, I gave a speech at LA Stage Day.
In it, I stated that Diversity means Awards and Dollars that make you holler! So let us just take a gander at what kind of musical KINKY BOOTS is – It is a musical written by a Heterosexual woman and a Gay Man, where the story involves a friendship and a mutual respect between a Straight man and a Gay man, who also happens to be a Drag Queen.
(In a nutshell….. In a nutshell enclosed in six inch stiletto thigh high boots)
Diversity, Diversity, Diversity.
This show makes me cheer – it did in the audience and it still does now – because it is the personification of what I was talking about. You can say similar things about PIPPIN – it’s a diverse cast, it has a female Director who took the role of “Lead Player” and changed the space time compendium and made the part that had traditionally gone to a man, go to a woman. BAM – TONY AWARDS!
Diversity, Diversity, Diversity!
Congrats to the three Carnegie Mellon grads who garnered TONY Awards – (in the order in which they were received) Judith Light, Billy Porter, and Patina Miller. Bravo!
Now you MAY ask yourself…HOW did the Fairy Princess get here – and you may ask yourself….nevermind, this is getting long and I have some things to say….
When watching the TONY Awards, I was asked a question by my Mother “Do you think there will ever be an Asian American winners for Best Lead Performance in a Musical, both a man and a woman in the same year?”
Proving indeed that she is MY Mother…and my answer was….drumroll please….
“I don’t know.“
Because there are a LOT of things that go into winning an award like that as a performer and the first rule is – YOU NEED A PART. Yes, you need a role that you can play to the best of your ability that helps people see past the color of your skin. So that answer begins with the writers out there – the composers, the lyricists – but who knows? Maybe it will happen. It has happened…once before in a musical..
But let’s see what OTHER good things happened this week:
Joel Grey selected Raymond J. Lee for the 2013 Theater Hall of Fame Fellowship for Emerging Artists! That is VERY cool! Ray has been on Broadway in Mamma Mia and Anything Goes, he just finished ACT’s production of Stuck Elevator in San Francisco and he is heading off to do a show that will be at The Papermill Playhouse – Honeymoon in Vegas, by composer Jason Robert Brown, but anyway THAT is TOTALLY AWESOME THING NUMBER 2
Back to Mom’s question and my answer – it begins with the writers – so I was very ‘chuffed’ to hear that Chicago Actor/Writer, Danny Bernardo, has written a new play that is being mounted at The Baliwick Theater, MAHAL – a story about a Filipino family trying to come to grips with the loss of it’s Matriarch. It deals with cultural identity, assimilation, homophobia, inter-racial relationships, and inter-generational relationships which leads to realizing what it means to be an American Family.
TOTALLY AWESOME THING 3!!!!!!!! (Look, my math is holding up!) And there is my pal from Flower Drum Song, Joseph Anthony Foronda playing the Patriarch! That is pretty awesome too! Congratulations to Danny, who wrote this play, in part, to come to terms with the loss of his own Father – having dealt with that the last year, and tomorrow being Father’s Day, I think it is a wonderful tribute and one his Dad would be very proud of, on so many levels.
AND….in terms of Diversity, Diversity, Diversity – it’s a WIN!
Speaking of plays…and I do, often – I wanted to share a HUGE Diversity Win with everyone – the FIRST PLAY ON THE INTERNET – specifically, YouTube and it is David Henry Hwang’s play Yellowface. Many congratulations to the YOMYOMF on this huge accomplishment!!!! Particular ‘shout out’ to Philip Chung, Jeff Liu, Justin Lin and my fellow cast member from The Mikado Project, Ryun Yu who stars at DHH
AWESOME THING NUMBER 4!!!!!!
Finally – again in Chicago – there was a kerfuffle this last week, in regards to The Jungle Book – which is being adapted by the Goodman Theater – here is a piece of what they are going for:
In a nutshell, Mary Zimmerman gave an interview in which her answers seem…well, they don’t seem cool. Here is the Chicago Tribune article about the situation, HERE. And here is the interview with Chicago Magazine that started this situation -HERE.
This was exciting to The Fairy Princess, because Mr. Khoury’s blog post began with “For years I have bit my tongue…” and that, to The Fairy Princess meant “Some SHIZ is going down…and you are gonna be sari…” because nothing says ‘prepare for total domination…’ like starting with how long you have held it in!
How long? YEARS! Grab an umbrella, ella, ella! There’s a fight coming and for ONCE…I didn’t have to start it. The Fairy Princess’s tiara was starting to get dented from all the knocks she had taken in this whole thing, and thank heavens Mr. Khoury was going to go fight the windmill.
Anyway, Mr. Khoury – who no, I do not know – spoke up! He said what he had to say, and YEAH, he said it like THAT and you know what it led to?
A conversation. A conversation with Mary Zimmerman. (Read about it HERE) and there came a meeting of the minds, and there came…peace. And just like that, an understanding bloomed in Chicago – and things are going to change.
Things are going to change because Silk Road Rising had had enough, and they demanded clarity and they demanded response - AND THEY GOT IT.
So the next time someone tells you to just suck it up and go about your business, when you know you should say something, when you KNOW in your GUT that something is not kosher – I want you to think about the tremendous risk that Mr. Khoury took, and that it led to resolution.
And THAT is AWESOME THING NUMBER 5 ABOUT THE PAST TWO WEEKS….
Which means that my answer to my Mother will perhaps change to “Absolutely’
Drop the Mic, Ms. Audra McDonald – and take us home…..