The Fairy Princess woke up this morning and read that NYGASP – NY GILBERT AND SULLIVAN PLAYERS – has cancelled their production of THE MIKADO that was to be at The Skirball Center, and replaced it with PIRATES OF PENZANCE.

Now, one might think, as TFP has been quoted a few times in various articles (here, here, here) that she is thrilled with the news and looking all like


But one would be wrong.


TFP is not at all happy about the cancellation…er…replacement of THE MIKADO by NYGASP, even though their statement…

New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players announces that the production of The Mikado, planned for December 26, 2015-January 2, 2016, is cancelled. We are pleased to announce that The Pirates of Penzance will run in its place for 6 performances over the same dates.

NYGASP never intended to give offense and the company regrets the missed opportunity to responsively adapt this December. Our patrons can be sure we will contact them as soon as we are able, and answer any questions they may have.

We will now look to the future, focusing on how we can affect a production that is imaginative, smart, loyal to Gilbert and Sullivan’s beautiful words, music, and story, and that eliminates elements of performance practice that are offensive.

Thanks to all for the constructive criticism. We sincerely hope that the living legacy of Gilbert & Sullivan remains a source of joy for many generations to come.

David Wannen Executive Director New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players

is well written.


It seems sad to TFP that a ‘request’ that was made by API Bloggers, and covered so well by and  and NBC Asian America was not able to be easily made by December.

Because it is September currently.


This was the ‘request’ – please stop using exaggerated makeup and gestures, and please remove the HIDEOUS addition of a character called “The Axe Coolie”.


That was it.

No one said “Please never do this again”, no one said “Please halt your production”.


All that was said was – please look closer at the fact that you are mocking Asians when you use exaggerated paint and gestures, and try and bring it closer to the first production of THE MIKADO, which was supposed to be respectful and elegant.


So what is the


That in 3 months, they cannot change their makeup?


In 3 months, they cannot ‘axe’ The Axe Coolie?


Just refusing to do the production – with three months to go – seems…well…


slightly immature.

You can see why TFP has concerns, especially if you peruse the comments section of their FB page…the attitude now is that those “big, bad Asians are taking away our show”, the general theme is “thank goodness I saw it as it was meant to be before those thin skinned prickly Asians interrupted all our fun’ and ‘what is the world coming to?”


Well, the world is coming to be more diverse, frankly.  America especially.


Cancelling a production does not negate the very real discussion which is – HOW did NYGASP arrive at their ‘standard’ production of THE MIKADO, which is so very far off the mark from the intent of Gilbert & Sullivan?


Why is it that NYGASP, which yes, is a premiere standard of Gilbert & Sullivan performances here in the United States, why is it they can do a beautiful IOLANTHE, or a super fun PIRATES, or giggly in moments H.M.S. PINAFORE, but when they get to THE MIKADO, they kind of all seem to lose their damned minds as to what is appropriate for our multicultured New York City.

TFP is puzzled about where authentic performance begins, and where stereotype and racial mockery becomes known as ‘authentic’, thus ending it.


Exchanging one production for another is but a band aid on a boil – it might help soothe temporarily, but underneath there is something festering, and why – honestly – WHY in a work of ART – was it SOOOOOOOO easy to get there?


TFP is not a social scientist, so she is just going to lay out those questions and hope that someone at NYGASP does take a good look at them.

Because you see, Dear Reader – just because they are not doing THE MIKADO that they wanted in NYC, does not mean it is over.


NYGASP has the exact same production of THE MIKADO, the “Just as they like it” version and it’s booked for FLORIDA. 


Next week – September 23, 2015!

At The Sharon Performing Arts Center




TFP wonders if The Axe Coolie will make an appearance?

She’s pretty sure that some people in Florida will love The Axe Coolie.


Which is actually the issue. The issue is – are we always going to have to ‘catch’ people with these kinds of productions? Is the rest of the country so afraid, or so intimidated by Asian Americans that they will jump at a chance to label and mock us?


It’s an interesting thought, if a negative one, and TFP does not like negative thoughts.

This is the second production that TFP has had a bit of hand in closing – the other was (alarmingly) The National Asian Art Project’s production of SHOW BOAT, which was to feature an All API Cast to tell the story of racial divide in the United States post Civil War. That closing, NAAP’s?

TFP was ok with that.  It was the wrong thing to do, and the API community spoke up and were heard.


HOWEVER, TFP does not like the closing of productions like NYGASP’s because that is a ‘close’ of the conversation.

Why cannot there BE a conversation?

TFP has a thought (which she stole from her friend Jeffrey S., but he would totally give it to her because he hates what this represents too, which is why they are friends) (She is expanding on it though)


– what if NYGASP took a big leap and did a bare, stripped down MIKADO? Just to try it. What IF…they took off their face paint and set in on say…The Upper East Side of New York City? And Titipu was like, just the name of an area in New York like Chelsea, or Meat Packing District?

And instead of carrying fans and parasols, they carried Birkin bags with little faux dogs in them? Or pushed GIANT DOUBLE STROLLERS WHILE CARRYING A STARBUCKS AND TEXTING?


And maybe the THREE LITTLE MAIDS went to a ritzy boarding school like Gywneth Paltrow used to go to?


Because if they did that, even just this once, would it not be clear, once again – what Gilbert and Sullivan were actually writing about? Social mores and how they color our behavior? That love can find a way, even if you are not 18 with a rocking bod, that if talking to your Boss isn’t getting you anywhere, talking to the President of the Company might get you a promotion? How rich kids like to run around on the down low, escaping their responsibilities because they do not want to become their Parents?

Are those sentiments ONLY for classic productions of THE MIKADO?


For those purists, who want the traditional dress and book – that is ok. Just be respectful. Would we like more Asians playing Asians in the cast?


However, a mixed cast of a classical work is perfectly fine – they do it in Shakespeare, they can do it in Operetta.


Just lose the makeup, the pulling of the eyes, the excessive tittering, shuffling and overall remember that Asian Americans are people, and also – they are Americans. If you would not do a minstrel show in front of an African American audience, then do not do a racist Mikado in front of us.

It is that simple.


TFP has another thought, actually – what if NAPP went on and did….an All API Version of PIRATES OF PENZANCE?


That is what NAAP does – All API Productions – and that is great, that’s their mission statement, perfect – serves a need.




Then everyone would learn…together.

TFP would really like to come in for RUTH if that happens.


Also, for those out there who are interested in supporting NAAP, they are having a fundraiser on October 5th – GUESS WHERE?



ANYWAY, those are some thoughts for today…just gonna leave those here – NYGASP, TFP appreciates that you ‘heard’ us – but she’s concerned that it would take you over 3 months to remove makeup and behaviors from your production. It seems it is a bit of a ‘dodge the bullet’ tactic….HOWEVER – TFP is serious about that All API Pirates with NAAP – you should really get on that, it’s a good idea, even if it came from someone you are not entirely pleased with right about now.

TFP out.


The Fairy Princess is getting pretty sick of writing this blog.


Yes, she said it. Because every day she tries to get excited about advances for Diversity – such as ABC giving FRESH OFF THE BOAT a historic second season order


or HAMILTON or SCHOOL OF ROCK and then she turns on her computer, or her phone, or opens the paper and thinks…


There are 2 items of abject f*ckery today, that she has to chime in on


TFP needs a dance break…


Ok, much better, let’s get this blog rollin’….

First up – for the theater folk – The Mikado.


TFP actually loves The Mikado – not as much as Pirates of Penzance, but she does love the music and what the intentions of Gilbert and Sullivan were when they wrote it. What were they, oh neophytes?


Well, to mock the Victorian mores of the time in which it was written. All they were trying to do was to shake it up a bit when they placed it in Japan – and they used words like Poo, yes, rather generously because at the time, verbal naughtiness was being able to slip in the word ‘poo’ surreptitiously because that is what people laughed at then.



The Brits, they love it.

Meant absolutely nothing at all in terms of trying to insult Japanese people, it was a British joke, for British people.

TFP wrote extensively about it when they did that awful production in Seattle, so let’s not repeat.


TFP does not want to take away anyone’s chance to hear the music of THE MIKADO – but it is in the performance of the work that people often fall sh…er, racist.



The performances are often very racist  – because everyone wants to be Asian onstage – don’t ask why, TFP still has not figured that one out yet, but they do not really want to be Asian, or in this case, Japanese – what they want to do, and what they continually do, is dress up to make Japanese heritaged people the butt of a badly performed joke.


TFP never gets why this is funny.

But then TFP does not get why Donald Trump is a viable contender for President of the United States either.


People who do The Mikado with exaggerated makeup, stereotyped gestures, and general disrespect to Japanese people are racist.


Let’s focus on one specific company – The New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players, aka NYGASP.

Those are their production stills above.


Now, whether or not NYGASP knows it, TFP has seen quite a few of their productions, because she has had, over the years, many friends in their productions. TFP knows what she saw on the stage, and she knows quite a bit about the personalities backstage, and what you need to know, dear Reader, is that the Artistic Director, Albert Bergeret, is fully pleased with himself and everything that he has put up on stage, and here is an example.

Now here is something quite a few people do not know,  rumor has it more singers have left NYGASP vowing never to sing G&S again than have stayed with NYGASP – it’s like Scientology for operetta – allegedly.



As it is a repertory company they are again doing The Mikado – and when people called to ask “Are there any Asians in the Cast?”, they were told that there were 2, but that the company is made of Gilbert and Sullivan experts and they were doing it the traditional way – which is that awful ‘historical accuracy’ excuse that was so recently used by Trevor Nunn in his The Wars of the Roses Shakespeare mash up in England.


Here is the thing though – TFP saw the last time they did The Mikado –  she can tell you this – the one she saw was NOT historically accurate, or in any way what G&S would have wanted.The photos are above.

Gilbert wanted the representation of Japanese people to be respectful and elegant, and when TFP viewed it, Mr. Bergeret had added a character….




The Axe Coolie was NOT a character created by Gilbert and Sullivan. First of all, “Coolie’ is a term used to refer to Chinese workers at a time in America, and The Mikado is supposed to take place in Japan.


Those are two entirely different countries.


The Axe Coolie was a small female child who ran around the stage dressed as a male, er, an Asian male, waving a GIANT paper machie axe and shouting “High Ya” whenever she was on stage.


Needless to say, “High ya” also not Japanese.

Therefore, to give credence to their claim of ‘professionalism’ or ‘historical accuracy’ would be false. They are neither. They played The Mikado for cheap laughs at the expense of Japanese Heritage. Their mounting it the same year ALLEGIANCE is making it’s Broadway debut is insulting to Japanese Americans if they are continuing to include this character and the same ‘jokes’ she was witness to. TFP has checked with a past NYGASP member, that addition is a staple of Mr. Bergeret’s productions of this operetta. The conversation went something like this:

TFP: There was this kid dressed as a boy holding a giant (Gets cut off)

TFP’s Friend: “Oh, the Axe Coolie? Yeah, he’s always in there.”


Seeing NYGASP’s production of THE MIKADO convinced one of the Artistic Directors of Lodestone Theater Ensemble to choose THE MIKADO PROJECT as a play to do,

and later, TFP helped co-write the screenplay when it was made into a indie film.

Yes, THE MIKADO PROJECT‘s first green light came after TFP and Chil Kong viewed NYGASP’s hideously shuffling, yellowfaced, pulling their eyes, rescinding their lower lip to make their front teeth look bigger, and of course, the unforgettable Axe Coolie laden production of The Mikado. They left the theater, and immediately thought that something had to be done.


TFP has now given you the backstory of the first production of THE MIKADO PROJECT written by Doris Baizley and Ken Narasaki, and how it eventually became a screenplay, and then an indie film directed by Chil Kong. Doris and Ken had submitted it, but it was a first draft that Mr. Kong was not sure about – after seeing NYGASP, he was sure it had to be done.


Now, as previously stated, TFP has no issue with The Mikado as written – it is the way in which it is performed. It is also the fact that several Asian American singers she knows, who are excellent, have applied over the years for auditions with NYGASP, and not been given appointments.

NYGASP is located in New York City, one of the most diverse cities on the planet – and yet they continue to shout about historical accuracy as they paint themselves yellow and, in the production viewed by TFP, add characters that spoke only to the lowest common denominator.

TFP is dismayed that a prestigious theater like NYU’s Skirball Center would joyfully mount those production stills upon their website – but then she believes they do not have any idea about The Axe Coolie.

Who would?

There are so many ways that THE MIKADO has been done, so many brilliant ways to stage it – without all these tired tropes, without exaggerated paint, that she finds it incredibly frustrating that NYGASP would trot this production out again, clearly out of step with New York City and all it’s citizens, and our incredible Arts scene that celebrates Diversity.

NO! No oh Operetta Singers of NYGASP – do not come gunning for me with an “that is just the way it is done’ – you of ALL people know very well that is NOT, actually, how it is done. Not at all.


Fifty whacks of the Princess wand for each of you, and no, TFP is not coming to the show again, the Axe Coolie might be there.


Now we come to the second bit of INANE F*CKERY that happened today…and it has to do with Matt Damon telling his African American Producer, Effie Brown, on PROJECT GREENLIGHT where Diversity belongs, and apparently it only belongs on Project Greenlight when he says it does, and not anywhere else.


….TFP watched it a few times, because she was told that previous articles that pointed out this behavior were skewered or did not present the truth of the matter.


So TFP is just gonna put up the clip:

Now to be fair to Matt Damon, this clip was edited from the show – they cut out some of the ‘air’ of Ms. Brown’s plea for them to consider Diversity, and they cut out Mr. Damon’s beginning response to Ms. Brown – which was that the Team she wanted – which was Leo Kei Angelos and Kristen Brancaccio – were the ones that were most enthusiastic about the script ‘as is’.

All the other Directors that came in, and The Farrelly Brothers, Mr. Damon himself, and Jennifer Todd, President of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s production company, Pearl Street Films, all think that there is an issue with the female character of Harmony.

He then tries to catch Ms. Brown in a you say you want diversity but they are our most diverse team and we can’t pick them based on that because we might wind up with a more typical film than we want kind of thing since they already like the script as is and we all think there are problems with it.


Which was not what happened either in their interview.


Before their interview, those in the room agreed that “Team Diversity” were the most solid filmmakers. Then they walked in the door and started their interview, and what they really wanted to know was “Well where did you guys meet?”

Which, to TFP read like a “Well what country are you from?” kind of question for Mr. Angelos – but they knew they could not ask it. “Team Diversity” did say they really liked the script, all of it, but to be fair to them, most people would not walk in and tell the people who could potentially hire them and hand them 3 million dollars to make a film of a script that they had already chosen, well we HATE it. Their opener was that they liked it, and then they got a bit more ‘into’ some concerns.

Ms. Brancaccio specifically said that one of the concerns she had about this broad comedy which has a black female prostitute getting slapped by her pimp, was that she wanted to make sure that the film did not ‘slut shame’ this character. To his credit, Mr. Angelos added that there were things, since meeting Ms. Brancaccio, that he had never thought about as a Director and that he valued her point of view.


“Slut shame’ was not at all what the other directors interviewing seemed to be concerned about – and that is an example of how a female voice at the helm – can start to treat a story differently from the very beginning. It also speaks to the way they work as a Directing team, they listen to one another and can ‘give’ on issues and compromise.

Mr. Damon was not recalling that in his rebuttal to Ms. Brown – because he liked the emaciated-difficult-to-work-with Director who is uber Caucasian and named, hilariously, Jason Mann.

Matt Damon wanted THE MANN and he got him.


THE MANN was able to walk in and say he hated the script, and still they hired him, because….THE MANN.

The Farrellys did not like THE MANN, and they will probably be prophetic, but they have only made bajillions of dollars in comedy, and are the mentors on the show, so…what do they know, anyway?


On his way to…well, getting HIS way – Mr. Damon said these words in regards to Diversity:

“When we’re talking about diversity, you do it in the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show!”


Meaning, they’ll hire actors to show that they are acknowledging that Diversity on film broadens it’s appeal, but here in the back room where the decisions are made, things will always remain as they are, because in the back room, no one cares about Diversity because there is none and they are FINE with that.


 They might hire one diverse person on a project by project basis who they then can talk over, even though they hired her for her taste and knowledge and success rate, but it will ONLY be one person, and they better not speak up!


So what we are now going to see on Project Greenlight is a bunch of white guys, making a broad comedy where one of the main characters is a Black prostitute. Who gets slapped. By a pimp.


Just kidding. Please don’t kill Matt Damon, there are lots of Bourne books that have not made it to the big screen yet – and TFP has read all those books! Anyway – here is our ‘Team’, here is the White Guys that chose another White Guy and Effie Brown who has real credits, taste, and concerns that they are probably going to ignore all season.


At the end of the day, this is very typical of Hollywood, where you are more likely to get into a accident on the 405 than hired as a Female Person of Color who directs feature films. This is very typical of the mindset – “Diversity only when people can give us credit for it’.

Here’s what – Diversity in front and behind the camera, on the page, and on the stage is important. It’s vitally important because if there is only one kind of person telling stories, then only one kind of story gets told. This is how we get Directors trying to convince us that Emma Stone is a Chinese Hawaiian Hapa- a story, btw, that Director Cameron Crowe made up!


Only Caucasians telling stories…even stories based on previous existing artistic works like comics that show what a character looks like means that Tilda Swinton is now at 500 year old Tibetan man,


and then she turned around and said that it was a win for Diversity because a woman got a part over a man!

tumblr_lijgebRYLP1qadkreo1_500When only Caucasians tell stories, when they are the gate keepers and the tastemakers, without fail, it opens the door for casual societal racism that it becomes ‘impolite’ to acknowledge.

When film goers riot because a little girl in a film looks like the description of the character from the book. A book they were too busy reading to realize that everyone in the book was not white, that even the lead character was supposed to be Native American, but was not cast that way – we, as a society, have a problem. Part of that problem, is that Diversity is left to the imaginations of people who think like Matt Damon.


Matt Damon chose THE MANN in all the possible ways he could by talking over Ms. Brown, and that was surprising, since he usually defaults to ‘loveable movie star who awww shucks just happened to make good’.


TFP actually met him in a Coffee Bean on Sunset Blvd a long time ago, he was behind her in line and tapped her shoulder to say he left his wallet in the car, could she hold his place in line. She said yes, without looking up from the book she was reading, and so imagine her surprise that when he touched her shoulder so she DID look up, to say thank you – it was MATT DAMON. Getting his own iced mochas. And when they asked his name for his drink he said Matt, and then he slunk down at a table really low pretending he wasn’t Matt Damon. So he missed them calling his drink. The Barista was yelling “Matt! Matt!” and by now all of us had realized it was him, so we all kind of hissed “MATT” at the same time. At which point he flushed, jumped up, got his two giant frozen drinks and raced out. Ever since then, TFP liked him because he used his real name to get his drinks.


Acknowledging that you look for diversity does not weaken anyone’s talent or ability, everyone there was in the Top 10. If Jason Mann was the best choice, he was the best choice – but to not realize that there are issues that may be better handled when told by a person with a different viewpoint? That IS an issue. To not WANT to hear that Diversity may help tell a story? That is an issue as well.

The color of one’s skin and one’s gender influences many things – if your opinion is considered on a regular basis, if you feel safe at night walking to your car, your ability to get a raise, your ability to get hired, your ability to rise within a company…. to inspire people to strive for their dreams, for their very American dreams, they have to be shown a possibility.

Even if it is ‘only’ a television show.


Even if it is ‘only’ a film.


Even if it is ‘only’ a play or a musical.


Diversity matters behind the camera, because there are more stories in the world than Matt Damon and his buddies can tell.

TFP for one, is ready to hear more of them.

Fifty Whacks of the wand to Matt Damon – you don’t browbeat a Producer expressing an opinion, and you should ask yourself Mr. Damon – would you have responded to Effie Brown’s question quite so stridently if it had been expressed by a Farrelly Brother?

Methinks not.

Also, you looked like a jerk.


Hold your head UP, Ms. Effie Brown – we all saw your struggle, and you kept it together and professional. Made your points, and we all see what you are up against – hope the season winds up working out well (but it won’t because it is Project Greenlight) and that you go on to bigger and more diverse stories to tell!

Applause for Ms. Brown, Children – Respect and let’s dance it out!


The Fairy Princess would just like, first, before anything else, to wish Queen Lesli Margherita a fond farewell from Matilda and excited squeals of joy as she heads to The Broadway in DAMES AT SEA.

TFP saw Ms. Margherita in MATILDA and she was fabulous, so if you missed her in that, you should definitely try and catch her in DAMES. Because there will be nothing like Ms. Margherita for quite some time, she is a force of nature, everyone should witness it at least once in a lifetime.

Likewise, Billy Porter is leaving KINKY BOOTS for his new Broadway show – SHUFFLE ALONG, and TFP is very thrilled that he is going to shine his beautiful light on a new work.

Moving on – TFP is sorry to miss WILD RICE, the Theater company from Singapore which is adding an appearance at the Brisbane Festival (A Festival, A FESTival...) to their repertoire…


It’s the word “Festival”, TFP cannot help it.


ANYWAY….WILD RICE is bringing it’s landmark production of THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST by OSCAR WILDE there this coming weekend – September 11, 12, and 13th, and one can find out all the relevant information here.

The show is being done with an All Male Cast, with stunning visuals and costuming – take a look:

Looks pretty great – and nice to see an All Asian Cast on the world stage.


Randy Rainbow took on Kim Davis and her refusal to recognize the law in a hilarious musical theater send up –

TFP has a particular fondness for parodies of CHICAGO…they are, indeed, her jam.


All right enough of theater for the moment – let’s move on to television…specifically ABC.


Y’all ABC is winning at Diversity.

Winning in a an “in your face’ kind of ‘take that other networks’ kind of way.


NOT ONLY did FRESH OFF THE BOAT get a Season 2 order…

They put THE MUPPETS on the same night!!! What does that mean? It means that when people of all colors tune in to see the amazingness that is the MUPPETS, on the same night, they will be seeing an Asian American Family acting just like any other family, and everything is copacetic. 

FOTB had an AMAZING first season – but this means ABC is not going to sit around and stand back and see how Season 2 does – it is throwing programming support behind it. It means that Tuesday nights on ABC is going to define Children’s Evening Viewing and that means that API’s are going to become part of the American consciousness in a larger way than ever before – at least on television – and that’s F***ING Awesome.


But they did not stop there –

They have programmed the DR. KEN show for Friday Nights, again, showing Asian Americans as funny and smart in Prime Time hours on nights when young impressionable minds and their Parents, will be home – more APIs in the living room during Family time! YAY!

Not to MENTION – Not to MENTION…but TFP is OF COURSE going to mention this – for those later evening hour viewers, aka grown ups – they have cast in a LEAD ROLE – PRIYANKA CHOPRA!!!


(Click the above link for the trailer.)

In fact, TFP points out that the very description of the show is “A diverse group of recruits has arrived at the FBI Quantico base for training.”


TFP said “DIVERSE“…or rather, ABC said it, right in the description.


ABC is getting it – getting it quicker and smarter than quite a lot of the other networks – maybe their Diversity Department is better than everyone else’s?


I mean, actress Amy Okuda was ‘discovered‘ in ABC’s Diversity Showcase and is now going to have a recurring part on How To Get Away With Murder.

You cannot talk about Diversity without “Shonda Thursdays” (although…c’mon Ms. Rhimes…we need API season regulars in professions such as law, politics, and medicine set in cities like Washington D.C., Seattle, and Philadelphia), they are fantastic.

Great to hear about Amy Okuda!


She joins Conrad Ricamora


and Tamlyn Tomita


as a recurring on that show.

When was the last time you heard of someone going from a Diversity Showcase to a Network Show? In recent years?


Seriously – have you?



Because having been a part of one of “A Network to be Unnamed”‘s Diversity Showcase, TFP can tell you the one she was in had some issues, but that may have been because that Head of Diversity told TFP, when TFP tried to give notes (written notes, handed in, not given to the Actors) that “Television is a Director’s Medium!” and “Writers do not give notes“.


TFP has to apologize to API Actresses in New York, because after that contretemps, her scene was pulled from consideration for the New York showcase – a scene that was specifically written FOR an API female. It was pulled because TFP gave notes and did ‘not seem grateful enough’ to the people in charge. TFP was also j’accused of quite a few things which include but are not limited to homophobia, racism, sexism…(there were a LOT of isms in there), for not knowing the difference between theater and television and best of all…this all occurred at the reception, in full view of about 100 people.


TFP had been under the assumption that it was a showcase for her as well, something that was later pointed out by a colleague to be untrue – it was not, actually a showcase for the writers per se, it could not be- because the shows were already staffed up by the time the showcase was presented. Thus it is truly a showcase for the Actors, which is great, but…let’s be honest about it, oh Unnamed Network. If a writer’s response was not wanted, then invitations to rehearsals should not have been issued. According to the Director of the scene, the scene was about collaboration – but only that between Director and Actors and TFP should ‘lower your expectations, in fact, you should have no expectations in a showcase, I don’t.”


TFP has to apologize to all the Actresses who submitted with that scene – if you were not in the NY Showcase of a specific Network, if you looked to that scene and it gave you hope, TFP is very sorry. She did ask the Head of Diversity to not yank it for all APIs just because that Head of Diversity did not like the API that wrote it. TFP even said that if they found the right actress for it – while she would appreciate them letting her know, she would not attend (in case her notes again were found to be too out of bounds of a writer’s purview) – but that has NOT been the case.

TFP apologizes.


So TFP would like to give ABC some fist pumps…


ABC…you are KILLIN’ IT!


Keep it going, keep it going, keep it going….

It’s about representation, everyone – not representation everyone is comfortable with – just Actors being able to tell interesting stories – and in television, you vote with your remote…hope you click it to the above mentioned shows and keep this trend going, for in television, where those who make money succeed, others are sure to follow.

These are but a few shows TFP mentioned, there are more, but we gotta keep the Networks on their toes, so we’ll get to the other stuff soon enough.


TFP out.

The Fairy Princess was having a good week – she moderated a very successful live reading for the Asian American Film Lab‘s Unfinished Works series, featuring a script by Jennifert Betit-Yen, and one by Alice Cox, both of which – The Opposite of a Fairy Tale and The Plains, were well acted and well attended, as well as Live-streamed.


Photo credit: Peyton Worley

She was able to view the phenomenal talents of Lesli Margerita before she leaves the Broadway show MATILDA for the new Broadway version of DAMES AT SEA

Trevor Nunn decided to respond to ‘critics’, and it was all things “get off my privileged lawn‘ and ‘after all I have done for you lot‘ and…in general, super fun, especially when Danny Lee Wynter in The Guardian asked – “If Trevor Nunn is staying true to history, where are the pox ridden actors?”


Or when Jonathan Owen at The Independent wrote

Critics have questioned the verisimilitude of the production which amalgamate Shakespeare’s Henry VI trilogy and Richard III and is sponsored by Norway’s largest financial service group DNB, Norwegian actor Kare Conradi was chosen to play Edward IV and two British actresses, Joely Richardson and Imogen Daines, play the French characters Margaret of Angjou and Joan of Arc


Critics have, tis true.

Nice one, England, standing up for Diversity on your stages!


In more good news on American stages her AVENUE Q buddy, Natalie Venetia Belcon is returning to Broadway in MATILDA – she will be spectacular (here she is singing HAPPY TIMES from The Music of Alex Wyse at NYTB @ The Duplex)

Broadway vet J. Bernard Calloway is in this NBC Pilot you may view online and vote for called “The Bar Mitzvah Club”


ABC Family is renewing a show with Rex J. Lee…GO REX!


Amy Hill’s character on UnReal stepped up and demanded more screen time in the fauxreality reality show about a reality show…which is great because she is SO gifted and TFP was like, “Are they actually going to USE her and all her gifts or…?” and it looks like that is where it is heading, so that is a WIN for Amy AND the fans of the show!

unreal-107What TFP is saying is that, in general, in showbiz is diversifying, and in general, everyone gets – especially Asian Americans – how important diversity is on our stages and on our screens…well, everyone except perhaps fellow Hapa, Anne Akiko Meyers, the famed violinist – and here we go….


In a nutshell, British double bassist, Chi-chi Nwanoku and his Chineke Foundation, have formed Europe’s first professional all Black orchestra!


Not only have they formed it, but there is a premiere date of Sept 13, 2015 at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall where the 60 plus members of the ensemble will be led by Tai Murray and conducted by Wayne Marshall. The foundation is attempting to “champion change and celebrate diversity in classical music”, as well as to be a catalyst of change in the industry.


Now, here is the thing that many Asian American artists who work in classical music, both as performers and behind the scenes do not often acknowledge – people expect there to be Asian and Asian Americans in classical music!

John Q. Public who attends classical music events regularly, he/she expects to see Asians and Asian Americans on the stage!

There is such great representation of Asian and API talent in the classical world that if TFP is feeling sad, she strolls past Lincoln Center or Carnegie Hall and almost always, there is an Asian or API performer coming soon to a fancy concert hall near you that did not fail their parental expectations.


There are a ton of examples from Conductors,

Conductor Alan Gilbert of the NY Philharmonic

Conductor Alan Gilbert of the NY Philharmonic

Seiji Ozawa, former Music Director of The Boston Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for 29 years

Seiji Ozawa, former Music Director of The Boston Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for 29 years

Tomomi Nishimoto - Artistic Dir/Principal Conductor of IlluminArt Philharmonic Orchestra

Tomomi Nishimoto – Artistic Dir/Principal Conductor of IlluminArt Philharmonic Orchestra

to Instrumentalists

Lang Lang

Lang Lang



to singers – check out Yin Huang in the movie version of Madame Butterfly

one could literally go on and on- and in fact, you will seemingly find more Asians and APIs in classical music regularly performing and being lauded than in ANY OTHER PART OF THE AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY!


People expect Asians and APIs in Classical music.


Quite similar, in fact, to the way that people who view classical music expect to see Caucasians performing. Asian and Asian American performers are actually sought out when they have talent in classical music – which, again, is TOTALLY DIFFERENT FROM THE AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT COMMUNITY IN ALL OTHER MEDIUMS.


One might even venture to say that Asians and API classical musicians of a certain level have a great deal of privilege.


Which is why it is so sad to TFP that Violinist, Anne Akiko Meyers, a woman who has released 32 albums and was the top selling traditional classical instrumental soloist of Billboard’s charts in 2014, could be such a brat.

She posted on her FB page something about fellow People of Color that was ‘questionable’ at best, and at the worst could be considered….


TFP leaves it for the reader to decide- but it is not good.

First of all, just from a mixed raced perspective, Ms. Meyers, you need to check yourself.


because if your parents had been married prior to 1967 in the United States of America, they would have been subject to the type of Bon mots that you so casually threw out and soooo much more, because America has not always been welcoming to what was termed “Mixed Marriages”.

Your website says you were born in 1970 and raised in San Diego, your Mom is Japanese and her Dad is American – they would not have been considered married at all. They could even have been arrested had they gone to a state where it was not legal for people of different skin tone to marry.

In point of fact, America has had a huge problem with Japanese people and no matter how insular it was in San Diego in the 70’s, TFP is fairly certain your Mom would have been victim to a bit of that good ol’ recovering from World War 2 kind of thinking – particularly given that it is a military area. It would not have been easy.


California repealed anti-miscengenation laws in 1948, ahead of the curve by almost 2 decades, but it could have put a crimp in their travel plans, no? Plus the day to day kind of stuff that she, and probably you yourself would have felt or seen could have made things uncomfortable…. on occasion.

Which makes it more annoying that you grew up and decided to turn around and judge people based on skin tone!

TFP knows a little something something about growing up as a Hapa kid, you cannot tell her it was all wine and roses.


In the sea of PoC, we all gots ta swim together Hunty, or no one is going to make it to dry land.


Second, according to your website, ahem –

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 9.36.54 PM

I regularly support classical music organizations around the world. Please support your local orchestra, concert society, chamber music festival, or radio station. Long Live Music!”


That is what you, Ms. Meyers, wrote for us all to do – support classical music organizations? And in order to support classical music, a realm in which you live and breathe the fanciest of air wafting from your amazingly fancy violin on lifetime loan…

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 9.41.13 PM

you saw a news item about classical music and wrote- supportively –

“I wonder if you have to be black to be invited to solo with this orchestra? #reversediscrimination”




One supposes you were trying to make some sort of joke.


The only thing that is hilarious about this is that you hashtagged #reversediscrimination .


Only White People use that!


Hold up – REVERSE DISCRIMINATION – what say you? Aahmer?

There is no reversing discrimination, not even when it is shown by a very talented, pretty Eurasian lady on social media!


You looked at THIS photo which, btw, contains mixed raced people, aka people who, once upon a time, would have had parents whose marriages were also outlawed in this country…..

All-Black-Chineke-Orchestra-Coverand then you mocked them from your seat of faux-alabaster privilege. Their orchestra has NOTHING to do with you or your 32 albums or your being named a top Billboard classical artist in 2014…you were, to put it mildly – offensive.


On the heels of all the violence that has been plaguing the United States, on the graves of the People of Color whose cries go unheard and who wind up wrongfully incarcerated or worse…you took a moment from the Chineke Orchestra- a moment that should have been a celebration heard around the world, and you shat on it.


Then when people tried to comment on your website, you took their comments down – which does not negate what you have done.

It compounds it.


From where TFP is sitting, it means that you feel you are above acknowledging that with actions come consequences. Just because you do not like what people have to say, does not mean that they are wrong. They called you on it. You are responsible for your own gaffs – take it.

Own it.

You messed up. Even though you have a fancy violin and a Julliard education- you messed up.

What you should have done is written a statement and apologized. Here, TFP will write it for you.

To the Chineke! Orchestra,

I am writing to apologize to you for my social media outburst.  I took what was supposed to be a proud moment for all of us in Classical Music, a celebration of Diversity that has been slow in coming and should be lauded – particularly by those of mixed race who enjoy privilege and success in our field and know how rare it is – and I tarnished it. As a Mother, I try to teach my daughters to not judge people according to the color of their skin and it is shaming to know that I failed to realize that i did exactly that on social media. I will endeavor to do much better, and I wish you every success at Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Play Wagner if it makes it more comfortable to write, but write something!

Give your kids a good example. Ms. Meyers everyone has already noticed.


Chineke Orchestra – TFP wishes you much, much success – and to negate Ms. Meyers comments – TFP suggests this – if you are a person of Mixed race heritage or a person of any kind at all – please buy a ticket and go see the performance because #BlackLivesMatter – in Art and in Life.

Let’s stand together – not because we are keeping invisible score cards of rights and wrongs, but because standing together is the right thing do to.

Compassion is infinite.

Expressing concern about an issue is not taking it away from other things.

Another person’s success does not pull down our own.

(Jeez writing about Hapas behaving badly is depressing….embarrassing too. Cuz, TFP is one as well, just ick. )


For exhibiting discrimination on social media and then compounding it by disallowing people to comment on it, TFP fines you 30 whacks with the wand – Ms. Meyers, get it together!


The Fairy Princess was excited about the new show – CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND  on The CW for several reasons –

It’s a Musical – whaddaya talk, whaddaya talk…conceived of by Rachel Bloom, who TFP has been a bit in awe of for a while because of THIS video…

The show has an API Male, JOSH CHAN – ( Vincent Rodriguez III) as a romantic goal (NOT since SELFIE!)


Has one of TFP‘s very dear friends as one of the principals – get to know Ms. Donna Lynne Champlin, one of the most talented people on the planet…


So it was not a huge surprise that she loved the trailer – take a look!

It’s like if Ariel got legs, jumped animated films, fell for General Shang in summer camp, but will probably wind up falling in love with Prince Hans of the Southern Isles (no, truly, cuz the character GREG is played by…wait for it…Santino Fontana, who voiced Hans), even though she will truly NOT realize she is in love with Hans until many, many seasons later, even though she has the venerable advice and encouragement of a Charlotte La Bouff to encourage her to believe in love and….anyway...


The show has it’s premiere MONDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2015 on The CW (website)

TFP thinks the show is going to be SUPER FUN and she is all for more theater people going and working in television.


However, being THEATER people…and for the Brits it is, of course, THEATRE people, the actors involved have a triple threat background – sing, dance, act, AND give to charity.

(Ok, yes, that is FOUR, but TFP did not get the math gene)

Because…theater. It’s what we do. We do charity, a LOT!


In fact, it is SOOOOO much a part of what we do, there is an organization devoted to it called BC/EFA – Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS –  and they raise money all year and fund programs all around the country through grants for research, medical equipment, free clinics for health care…well, take a look:


To that end, the brilliant cast of CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND on The CW has issued a #TAPCHALLENGE – and here is what – FOR EVERY #TAPPED video made by people on another television show who accept –The CW is going to donate some money.

But why should people on TV have ALL the fun?

YES, PEOPLE AT HOME – YOU CAN DO IT TOO! (Variety Article Here)

  1. YOU, the Tapper must donate to BC/EFA something, be it Baubles, Bangles, and Beads, or $10, $20, $200…
  2. The TAPPEE, the one that has been challenged, IN ORDER TO ACCEPT IT, must ALSO donate something to BC/EFA


Currently the CW Cast of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has #Tapped people in Modern Family, Madam Secretary, The Flash, Jane The Virgin, Supergirl, and the ENTIRE Cast of Blood and Oil!

However, with regards to that…seems they only picked people who they knew could tap…Bebe Neuwirth?





(Dr. Ken will have his show on ABC on Friday nights this fall)….but back to the MT folk and who else could be challenged…

Harry Groener, most may know him from the films Road to Perdition, or About Schmidt… or more specifically as Mayor Wilkins from the Buffy The Vampire Slayer series….but also he can…

Maybe you may have missed Erich Bergen from Madame Secretary and his Bob Gaudio? He comes in at 1:31

Or Patina Miller – ALSO on Madame Secretary...well….

That Madame Secretary Cast is overrun with talent….second season!

Heck…even their Guest Stars like BD Wong are musical!

What about Aaron Tveit from Graceland? He might have a shuffle ball change in there…pick it up at 4:01

TFP is just sayin…there are a lot of people and TV Casts who could help the Cast of CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND raise some big money for BC/EFA


So let’s get to steppin‘ there Hollywoodland Peeps!

No one cares how good it is, the important thing is to have fun and raise some money for charity!


Also, Hollywood TV Show stars, it is ok – no one expects you to go to Nationals…so, no pressure at all!


Just kick ball change your way to a fundraising place and tap all our troubles away!



TFP out.

The Fairy Princess has had an interesting week since that Playbill article came out about people in theater to ‘follow’ on social media.

Not one, not two, but four colleagues rang or emailed to ask about diversity in casting, from all different genres of entertainment – opera, local theater, children’s theater, and television – and the International breakdown of those people happened to be Canadian and American, in case one needed to know.


Honestly, she was quite touched, because truly, she never really thinks anyone actually listens to a damn thing she writes.


She should probably do a blog just on the conversations she has had in the past week, but she wanted to take a moment and congratulate the cast and crew of HAMILTON, which just opened on Broadway, on all it’s rave reviews, and extended box office bonanza since said reviews came out.

ONE MILLION DOLLARS in tickets were sold before the Opening Night party ended, and that puts them at about $33 MILLION DAMN DOLLARS in advance ticket sales.
make-it-rainRise up and take a shot, shot – Lin Manuel Miranda….you deserve it, and thanks for all you do, TFP is a fan.

50f8d9810e7c2642056c8c31d202ece1Across the pond, another play is giving jolly old England a run for it’s diversity dollars – WE KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE produced by the Finborough Theatre, congrats on your successful opening! Tickets are apparently quite hard to come by, which is great news for London’s premiere Off West End theatre.

It is a play about the changing face of London as it heads towards a historic housing crisis – ie, no one can afford to live there because of constant gentrification – and TFP wishes she could see it in person.

Here is a link to purchase tickets if you happen to read this in London, and good on you for going! One should always try and support live theater if at all possible, and buying a ticket for this particular show, is supporting diversity on stages as well, so you will get double theater heaven bonus points!


The Cast: Ritu Arya as Asma, Gary Beadle as Roy/Policeman, Ross Hatt as Estate Agent/various roles, Paddy Navin as Mary, Matt Whitchurch as Ben, and Daniel York as Keith/Policeman 2 have all been working on this new play written by Steven Hevey and directed by John Young.

To quote HENRY V – “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more...” – off you go then, have a hit on your hands, why don’t you?

All this pond jumping has had TFP looking into what else is happening in London theatrically, and whilst yes, Finborough Theater is doing it’s best to uphold the pact it has to reflect the London scene, there were other companies that, sadly, were not – and it is not a mistake that TFP uses the words of The Bard to usher in this section, read on, dear friends…read on….


TFP was reading about the  Trevor Nunn directed The Wars Of The Roses piece that is being produced by The Rose Theatre Kingston. It is being adapted from Shakespeare’s plays HENRY VI, parts 1, 2, and 3 and combining them with Shakespeare’s RICHARD III – with the compilation is being done by John Barton in collaboration with Peter Hall.


Now, truthfully, The War of the Roses is one of TFP‘s favorite periods to read about in British History, and of course, it IS British History – and in case you were wondering, no, there are no BAME Actors cast in this production – because the team wanted this production to be….wait for it….’historically accurate”.

British Actors Equity, the union for Actors, has issued a response of their own, and good on them for doing so.


Here is the issue, in a cast of twenty two – which, by the way includes Joely Richardson of the very famous British Acting Family, The Redgraves, there was no room for an expanded palette that would honor the England of yesteryear but include the United Kingdom of today because…wait for it…‘history’.


 TFP was wondering – as the House of York and the House of Lancaster battle onward, if that was really true, and thus, she decided to go a’wandering through the world wide interweb and find out if England was truly a Caucasian only bastion for it’s entire existence.

As she begins to write this blog, TFP honestly does not know….so let us all find out together.

Were there only ever Caucasians in England?

Here is a map of the war of the houses of York and Lancaster and their many battles


Now for those of you not familiar with The War of the Roses, (which during it’s time was known not as The War of the Roses, but as The Cousin’s War) it happened as a series of small wars within England between two ‘houses’, aka branches of the Plantagenet Family, one was named York, and one was named Lancaster.


These wars took place in the years 1455- 1487 and were finally ended when Henry Tudor ascended the throne christening himself as HENRY VII and married Elizabeth of York, the eldest daughter of EDWARD IV. The two houses thus were united under the Tudors and that family ruled the throne of England and Wales until 1603.

Or you could just say one day the Royals all woke up and said….


The House of Lancaster had a red rose on their heraldic badge, and the House of York had a white rose – hence the name that was given to these dynastic wars later by historians. The war itself occurred over 30 years, but the significant battles were less than 20 –  the worst being the Battle at Townton where estimates are as many as 50,000 men were involved with potentially 28,000 killed.


While one could look at England think that there were only Englishmen fighting  – one would be wrong- there were mercenaries from other countries as well. The reason there were foreigners fighting on British soil was, of course, money. Ah, but how did the mercenaries get to England?


England was a seafaring nation. In fact, England and it’s denizens had been traveling the known and yet to be known world beginning in 1096 at least, for that was the time of the First Crusade.


You know – when the Roman Catholic Church decided it needed to conquer The Holy Land and sent soldiers over to rape and pillage the Saracens (as they were known at the time) into submission.


Today we would call them Muslims, and the territory The Middle East.


Did not work. All The Crusades did was slaughter people for no good reason, simply because the Pope decided that Jerusalem should be under the control of Rome. The Crusades led to the slaughter of everyone – Jews, Muslims, and Catholics alike – it was a terrible, terrible idea. And yet, there were  8 major Crusades and several minor ones.


What the Crusades did do, aside from slaughtering mass amounts of people, was open up The Mediterranean to travel and established trade routes. This lead to ports and cities being expanded, peoples began to travel. The Knights Templar established the first bank and lines of credit during the Crusades, which enabled people to travel their wealth with lines of credit, which led to the Knights’ rise in power, which led to their eventual slaughter on Friday the 13th, 1307.


Lest one think that only men went on The Crusades, that was not true – women went too – some fought, some accompanied family members, and some simply ‘followed the drum’, and served the various armies in various ways – washerwomen, cooks, prostitutes…and where there is potential for rape and pillage, there is potential for pregnancy.

In fact, you do not have to trust TFP, there is a book written by Natasha R. Hodgson called “Women, Crusading and the Holy Land in Historical Narrative” that tells you all about it.


So we have British people traveling to foreign countries, countries that are also port cities, port cities that have trade routes all over the known world – which included parts of the Middle East and the Far East – from 1096.

The War of the Roses started in 1455.

1455 minus 1096 equals = 359 years of potential racial diversity.


Generally the mercenaries in The War of the Roses came from France- port city – which again, potential for racial diversity.

Now, TFP is not saying that all of Britain was diverse at the time of the War of the Roses, that would not be true – she is simply pointing out that the world is never ‘as pure’ as any one person thinks it is.


Why? People travel and have sex. They travel for all sorts of reasons, and they have sex because that is – just like any other animal – what people are driven to do, repopulate. The war was not fought only by Brits – there were foreign mercenaries there as well, bringing non British DNA into the War of the Roses.

Which brings us back to the Cast and Crew of The Wars of the Roses and Trevor Nunn.


The Cast, has twenty two roles – TFP is sure that all of those Actors are talented…but no diversity amongst them…


Though the House of Lancaster and York were of course Caucasian, these stories have been around long enough that one can be more inclusive with them, particularly in the roles that are not the main family, and it would still have the potential for historical accuracy because of England’s brisk trade culture.

One could investigate, as TFP did, that there was the potential for racial diversity and that hiding your choices to not see or cast any BAME Actors in a cast of 22 individuals behind the label ‘historical accuracy‘ is not only lazy, it is detrimental to theater…sorry…forgot, British – theatre – because what you are doing, Sir Trevor Nunn ,


is drawing a demarcation between your production and the audience you desire.

What you are saying with this casting is that there is an ‘us’ and there is a ‘them’, and that this production is for the ‘real’ English people.

Though you did cast one Norwegian.

Would have understood more if you cast a Dane, but a Norwegian?


Did you also, Sir Nunn, make sure that all the roles that are to be representative of French natives…did they also go to French Actors? I mean…for example who is playing Joan of Arc? Really named Jeanne d’Arc, also known as The Maid of Orleans and considered a French hero?

Who is playing the Bastard of Orleans, a Frenchman?



No French people. First step to historical inaccuracy.


On to Richard himself, now Richard, as everyone knows, had an affliction – Shakespeare, that wonderful fellow whose words you are making a mash up of, spoke at length about Richard when Queen Margaret decides to speak of him thusly to Queen Elizabeth…

….The day will come that thou shalt wish for me to help thee curse that poisonous bunch-backed toad”

Because of these lines among others, Richard has always been played as having a severely malformed spine. Today we know that while he did have a severe form of scoliosis, his spine was twisted, not hunched – however it did affect the way he held himself, and it would have made him appear shorter.

Does the Actor cast have a severe form of scoliosis?


Because that would seem to TFP a prime opportunity to be both historically accurate and cast a less physically abled Actor.

Furthermore,  what about the inclusion of women at all in this production – historically there were of course actual women, but if you are in this muddle of ‘kinda sorta historic to Shakespeare’s time’ then should not the women all be played by men?


Which bit of historical accuracy are we involving, theatrical history or world history? How real is real?


TFP must call to the carpet this reliance on mash up history as a way of shutting out BAME performers, because this show is not historically nor theatrically cohesive….there are real and actual women playing female roles,  no French actors, a Norwegian, and an actor without a twisted spine….and the audience is meant to ‘buy into’ this simply because there are Caucasian faces on the stage?


This audience is supposed to be sophisticated enough to overlook these ‘inaccuracies’ but unable to see diversity on the stage? Because it might throw off their potential enjoyment?


If one is holding forth the holy grail of historical MUST be accurate, Sir Nunn.


You cast three young chaps fresh from Drama school who are making their professional debuts – hard to believe they would be better than a BAME professional actor with lots of experience, but…hey – both you and your Casting Director, Ginny Schiller have worked extensively with The Royal Shakespeare Company, and TFP always has thoughts when she reads those initials on a bio….


TFP knows that is your right as a Director to say that the history of England does not include any racial diversity – but, as she has pointed out, Brits have been traveling abroad for glory, honor, and financial gain since 1096…so that is not entirely true –  you could have tried a bit harder, methinks.

Or at least let people audition.

Because you see, England is changing


and being inclusive means that not only are you investing in diverse and vital talent to tell these classic tales, you are providing a chance for audience expansion for classical theater productions, something which the greater profession at large bemoans as being in the death knells.

TFP supposes what is most troubling, is that Shakespearean productions have been really investing in diversity for the last decade or so – at least here in the United States. When one goes to see a classic Shakespearean play, usually ‘in a park’ – no one blinks an eye if the casting is diverse. In fact, the productions are usually quite successful and well received.





thus it is discouraging to think that your Creative team supposed that seeing diversity on the stage would divert an audience member’s attention from the story of the play. The subtext being that you, as a Director, find diversity on stage ‘distracting‘ in Shakespearean drama – that is the underlying message in this production with this casting.


No one disagrees that the Houses of York and Lancaster were Caucasian – but not every part in this production is that of landed gentry or noble – and yet you would rather choose three chaps fresh out of drama school, have women play women, engage a Norwegian actor, and non French people and then cite ‘historical accuracy’ rather than see any BAME Actors for these roles….

1408573535774Yes, very troubling.

Uneasiness is not just for the head that wears a crown in this instance….fie on you, Sir Trevor, TFP says FIE!

Fifty smacks of the wand to you and your Creative Team, you chose to be exclusive in casting, and ‘historically’ your casting is shaky, no matter how much you cite accuracy to justify it. On the plus side, we of the theater vote with our ticket purchase, do we not?

what-not-to-say-to-short-girls-7TFP knows which show she would purchase a ticket to out of the two productions in the UK mentioned in this blog – and it is Finborough Theatre all the way.

As for those at The Rose Theatre Kingston?

They can Kiss My Fan, Tan Fannie!

The Fairy Princess woke up this past Friday to find herself on a “little list‘ put together by –  she was totally flattered to be on the list of “useful” women in theater who utilize social media.


Who would not want to be any list that included Kate Shindle (@AEAPresident), Jennifer Ashley Tepper (@JenAshTep), The League of Professional Women in Theater (@LPTWomen), Audra McDonald (@AudraEqualityMc), Lia Chang (@LiaChang), Sydney Lucas (@SydneyLucasNYC), The Kilroys (@TheKilroys13), The Interval (@TheIntervalNY), and from the UK, West End Wilma (@WestEndWilma) ?

Certainly not TFP – she totes wants to be on that list, and she thanks the…ummm…The Playbill.


One likes to be thought of as ‘useful’,


must be America’s Puritan Work Ethic trickle down…but TFP certainly enjoyed being included.


Many thanks to Laura Heywood aka @BroadwayGirlNYC and Cary Purcell aka @PlaybillCarey for reading what TFP wrote, and thinking that it mattered to not just API Theater lovers, but to the community in general.


One often imagines that one’s writing is sent out to the Universe and gets left in the ether for aliens to come and find it – they would find it and and then decide it was good that they came in and took over since we cannot quite get it together here on this planet.


It was honestly thrilling to wake up and see oneself tagged by Playbill in an article, and in such a nice way.


This is perhaps the first blog post by TFP where she did not have to tell someone to Kiss Her Fan Tan Fannie at the end of it, and that in itself is a remarkable thing – since TFP usually has to be ironically enraged to do so…mayhap this will lead to a kinder, gentler TFP?


Probably not.

Lest one thinks that TFP was the only API on the list, TFP was very happy to note that the lovely Lia Chang, @LiaChang,


was lauded for her consistently excellent work, and this was an even bigger example of how the face of theater in New York and around the country is changing.

Heck, it was even picked up by AsAmNews – wow!

A sincere thanks to Playbill for noticing TFP‘s blog and for the encouragement….


TFP wakes up every day hoping she will not have to be quite as useful…but until that day comes – she will soldier on!


Also HAPPY OPENING to the play, WE KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE being produced by The Finborough Theatre in London – it looks like a wonderful piece and it also gives TFP hope that things will continue to change.



TFP out.

Happily out, which is odd, but out nonetheless.

Have a great week Y’all!


The Fairy Princess has had a busy week – she was able to go to the Asian American Film Lab’s 72 Hour Shoot Out Party, and hang with some of the very talented filmmakers and cast members. The AAFL is one of those organizations that TFP truly enjoys – under the direction of Jennifer Betit-Yen, the AAFL has it’s own YouTube Channel, which you can easily subscribe to.

AAFL helps bring diverse voices to the forefront – providing them access to information, seminars, screenings, workshops…anyway, it is a great organization, and TFP was thrilled to be able to support them.

She has been a fan a long time, and most recently co-hosted their “Focus On The Philippines” series –

You can watch all the winning films from this year’s 72 Hour Shootout (all the writing, production, and editing has to be completed within 72 hours) on their You Tube Channel, as well as on various local channels in your area.

Congrats to all the participants!


So…yes, TFP was feeling in a good place about Diversity and Representation, after all…ALLEGIANCE has put up it’s banner on a theater and their box office will open September 1, 2015.


HAMILTON is now on Broadway, previews, but….it is up – it opens ‘officially’ on August 6, 2015


not to mention that SCHOOL OF ROCK is coming November 9, 2015 and features a fun, and diverse cast….


Deaf West’s production of SPRING AWAKENING coming back to Broadway, it’s bringing Oscar Winner, Marlee Matlin with it for it’s limited engagement run that starts previews Sept 8, and opens Sept 27, 2015

There is some cool stuff going on on The Broadway, and people are noticing and commenting on it – both on social media and in the mainstream media – PoC are speaking up and asking why are we not represented, and being that there is no good answer, there has been a marked response.


Which is why TFP was chortling at the placement of this particular ‘item”


See that, right there? That on the bottom is an interview with TONY Winner, Lea Salonga, all about how encouraged she is with the diversity of Broadway, sentiments that TFP agrees with, it IS encouraging.


Until you realize that right above it, ABOVE Diversity, there is the announcement of the casting of the revival of NOISES OFF at The Roundabout Theater Company, and as it is the FIRST story, that takes precedence – ie, it was deemed more important.


Lea Salonga is hoping there is a shift, but her hope has been dashed as one can see because although she is a TONY WINNING LEAD ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL, who is opening a new show in the Fall of 2015, her interview was bumped from the ‘top spot’ by an announcement of a cast for a show that will not ‘open’ till January 2016!

Which is…wait for it…NEXT YEAR!


Journey with TFP now, let us take a look at the cast for the revival of NOISES OFF and see why it should be the lead story….


TFP is thinking something….


Now, before everyone gets all up in a tilt -a- whirl about ‘well, King and I is up and Saigon is coming back, and if Allegiance is coming too…you have nothing to complain about if we want to have an all white play up....” and whilst that is a point, there are two issues at hand with this:

1. The above cited pieces are all musicals, not straight plays

2. The Roundabout has an issue with casting minorities.

The Roundabout, in a study cited by dealing with the 2012 season, was the fourth LEAST likely to cast diverse in New York City. So that is the point – if it was another company producing, perhaps TFP would not have noticed (not like there is blinding diversity in straight plays on Broadway) – but it was particularly egregious to TFP that once again, The Roundabout is choosing to not cast minorities. While they did not hold the ‘top spot’, they were fourth down on the list, which is…troubling.


The first was the York Theater.


In fact, the last time TFP had to write about The Roundabout Theater company it was because they thought that brown face makeup was no big deal….


That is Andy Karl and TONY Winner Jessie Mueller all browned up for a production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, where they were portraying 1/2 Sri Lankan characters at The Roundabout.


The kerfuffle over that incident was supposed to lead to a ‘closed door’ meeting on their Diversity in Casting…one can only imagine that it was not quite as successful a meeting as it could have been.


Now, as stated, The Roundabout has little to no diversity amongst it’s castings – but that is a manifold discussion to have and here is what people who want to argue will say about it.

1. The Best Actors got the job.

No one knows if the ‘best’ actors got the job, because no one knows who was called in to audition for the job. In the case, and with this cast, it does seem that quite a few of them would have been a direct offer – which leads to the next argument.

2. They went with ‘stars’.

In the United States we have ‘stars’ of every different hue, and that it would in fact, be smarter of them to try and diversify the cast to get an influx of new audience members who would be interested in seeing varied countenances.

One would also have to point out, that not everyone in the cast – while all very talented one is sure – qualifies as ‘stars’ (that is not a diss, it’s a career trajectory point of fact) so the ‘stars’ thing is not a valid rebuttal.

3. The Actors require British Accents

Has one looked and seen the racial diversity of Britain?


Not everyone in London looks like any odd Royal in a Can anymore – there are diverse faces in the UK, or have you not heard Lenny Henry’s speech recently?

 You may need a refresher….

Plus which, they might decide to do it sans British accents. Regardless, ethnic minorities in the UK have accents from the UK, and that is not a valid rejoinder.

The interesting thing is that in London proper at the Finborough Theatre, they are mounting the new play- WE KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE, written by Steven Hevey and directed by John Young, and…well….take a look at the cast…Rita Arya, Gary Beadle, Ross Hatt, Paddy Navin, Matt Whitchurch, and Daniel York, yes,  a world premiere.


They are in rehearsal and opens in August, full production….look at that, everyone working together, innit?


And what is this new play, this very exciting, very promising looking play about?

“In a city buckling under the weight of a severe housing crisis, Ben and Asma have discovered a borough in London they can finally call their home. However with it’s earthy character and village feel, it isn’t long before this hidden gem becomes the prime location for every other trendy urbanite in the city. As they find themselves under siege from a brutal wave of gentrification, powerless to stop the many charms that had attracted them to the area from being erased, Ben and Asma reach out to the local community for support, but start to question whether or not the damage has already been done.

A timely and important play about the changing face of London.”


Well DONE oh Finborough Theatre! London’s leading Off West End Theatre Company, and one can see why!


Sadly we of The Broadway are casting London in 1982 –  she is gutted she cannot see this one.

Look, TFP loves this play, NOISES OFF,  she truly does – but this was a ‘no brainer’ in terms of what could be done to embrace the changing world we live in, and the world that this faux theater company is supposed to represent. The last time she saw NOISES OFF, she could not catch her breath from laughing so much, it is honestly that wonderful.

 She also knows that the playwright, Michael Frayn has gone back and rewritten things in the past in regards to this play, so the play itself is not set in stone, adjustments have been made in the past, and one assumes that he could make them again – if he so chose.


One of the things necessary to know about this particular play, if you are unaware of it,  is that some of the actors play the crew of a theater company, and the truth is, the production crews of a play are diverse.

 People who work in theater ARE diverse.

Here, this is a photo from an anniversary of a show about puppets, and there is Producers, Cast and Crew in it, ahem.

Top L-R: John Tartaglia, Carmen Ruby Floyd, Beverly Jenkins, Producer Robyn Goodman, Erin Quill, Phoebe Kreutz, Producer Kevin McCollum Lower Left Photo: Star of MEMPHIS: J. Bernard Calloway Lower Rt Photo: Carmen Ruby Floyd & Erin Quill

Top L-R: John Tartaglia, Carmen Ruby Floyd, SM Beverly Jenkins, Producer Robyn Goodman, Erin Quill, Puppet Wrangler: Phoebe Kreutz, Producer Kevin McCollum
Lower Left: MEMPHIS star: J. Bernard Calloway
Lower Rt: Carmen Ruby Floyd & Erin Quill

In fact, one could argue that there is reason to have a strong South Asian contingent playing the crew based on the changing demographics of the United Kingdom.


4. It is what their subscription base wants

Well TFP wants constant rainfall in California to fill the reservoir, but she understands that she cannot control the weather.

 In the case of the subscription base, arguing that people only go to theater to see themselves actually brings the argument back to the need for diversification. Also, one should give the subscription base more credit – they would still buy a ticket if the work was good, even if there was a face or two that did not look like they could share the same foundation shade.

No, no, there is no valid argument to ‘defend’ the lack of diversity in this casting except that it is what the director, Jeremy Herrin, coming from the UK and the director of the esteemed WOLF HALL, Parts 1 and 2, wanted. It is his right, he is the Director, and he had a vision. It is a classic British play, it is a farce, and he cast it as he saw fit – a ‘classic’ fit for a UK that existed in 1982, when the play was first presented.


TFP was curious about Mr. Herrin, and his background, so she did take a look.


Mr. Herrin hails from Scotland and has worked on several things with the Royal Shakespeare Company.


Ah, the RSC…. they are the ones that produced The Orphan of Zhao, a play adapted from the oldest play in China – and did not have East Asians play Chinese people.


TFP wrote about that once upon a time.


Once can say this for RSC AD Gregory Doran….his point of view is as strong as it is alarming – and as invasive as Asian carp.


Anyway, it did make TFP laugh that here we are, we pesky minorities, feeling like perhaps we are getting somewhere and things are changing, and yet…Diversity never made it to top billing….not even if the one talking held a TONY Award in her hand.


Fifty smacks of the wand to the Roundabout Theater Company -continuing on in your own grand tradition….


TFP  knows people vote in theater by purchasing a ticket….or NOT…she knows which one she will be doing.


As for – TFP is going to hope this was just some alphabetical, random kind of thing…but the irony was definitely there….most definitely.

Thanks for the reminder.


TFP out.

The Fairy Princess has been looking around at the television landscape, and she is greatly…ok, ‘greatly‘ may be exaggerating


…but she has been much encouraged about what is happening in American Television in regards to API Representation.

First off, this week – HELL ON WHEELS on TMC – they have finally included the Chinese in their story!

For those who do not know – HELL ON WHEELS is about the building of the railroad across the United States of America.


Now, TFP did like the first season, but she did not return for the second, third, and fourth because…while yes, she is Irish, she had a problem with the lack of representation of the Chinese on the show.

A show about the Railroad? With no Chinese? C’mon, HELL ON WHEELS, really?


Only because..well…without the Chinese, the railroad likely would not have been completed. The first Chinese workers were hired in 1865. They were paid $28 dollars a month, and had to pay for their lodgings and food – unlike the Caucasian workers.

Historians estimate that there were 10,000 – 15,000 Chinese laborers working on the railroad at any given time after 1867, until completion on May 10, 1869.


The number that died working on the railroad has no official number, but the work was brutal and back breaking, and one had the added danger of potentially being blown up.


TFP has watched the first episode of HELL ON WHEELS this season, and now, in Season Five – they have (Finally) started to delve into the Chinese workers of the Railroad, represented for the most part by actors Byron Mann as Chang,


Angela Zhou as Fong, and Tzi Ma as Tao. (More will likely show up, but this is only the first episode of the season)


Their inclusion has given her a reason to watch the show again. In fact, they seem to be laying the groundwork to go into the Chinese Railroad Workers Strike of 1867, which should be both historically and dramatically interesting.


In 1867, Chinese Railroad workers went on strike, demanding higher wages – from $35 to $40 per month, and a reduction of the work day from approximately 12 or 14 hours to 10 hour shifts. That did not go quite so well – the owners refused, so the Chinese upped their request to $45 per month.

The workers did not riot, they did not scream loudly, they simply did not go to work, and they thought they had the upper hand – except for that pesky racism that pervaded the country in regards to the Chinese.


You know, the same kind of racism that led to that massacre in Rock Springs later in 1885….the kind where they do not consider you human?


Yeah, that kind.


Anyway, back to the strike – the owners refused to have food delivered to the camps of the Chinese Railroad workers- they also added an armed posse for ‘persuasion’.


The Chinese eventually capitulated – it was that or starve to death. Thus ended the 1867 Strike.


Some have mentioned to TFP that they are uncomfortable with Chang being a ‘bad guy’ because they do not like the idea of Chinese preying on their own.


This is counterproductive to TFP in this regard – if we try and self-regulate what parts Asian American Actors and Actresses get to play, they will not get to play anything. Why? Because when the API community starts demanding only ‘certain kinds’ of roles that fall more in line with the ‘model minority’ thinking, that is the death knell for creativity.


What we should want is for our Actors to have colorful roles.


Asian American Actors and Actresses should have the ability to play roles that make us uncomfortable, roles that make us think, roles that inspire them. To wish otherwise is to rob them of their tools, and eventually of their livelihood. If you get rid of the API Actors, by constantly second guessing or trying to ban their productions, who wins?


Not your children, who will grow up…as we all grew up…without almost any API representation on television.


Not yourself, who will look to things like the casting of Tilda Swinton as a 500 Year old Tibetan Man, and wring your hands, but know that once again, there is nothing to be done.


No one wins, it is that simple.


Actors do not go to your job and say you cannot do it simply because they do not like the look of your job now, do they?


In the theater, we say ‘you vote with your ticket’ ie: if you do not like something or you do not like what a show represents, or the message it sends, you vote by either purchasing or not purchasing a ticket.


In television is it actually similar – you vote by changing the channel, By watching or by not watching.


Before we decide, however – let’s just watch the show and see if it dramatically makes sense. If the characters are interesting. Not ‘moral’, not ‘good’, not ‘comfortable’, but are they interesting?

Because that is what ‘we’ should be concerned about – multi-layered, interesting characters with motivations, right?


TFP’s opinion –  the character of Chang is completely within the realm of possibility – particularly when one reads part of this statement by Leland Stanford, President of the Central Pacific Railroad at the time:


“….No system similar to slavery, serfdom or peonage prevails among these laborers. Their wages, which are always paid in coin, at the end of each month, are divided among them by their Agents, who attend to their business, in proportion to the labor done by each person. These agents are generally American or Chinese merchants, who furnish them their supplies of food, the value of which they deduct from their monthly pay. We have assurances from leading Chinese merchants that under the just and liberal policies pursued by the Company, it will be able to produce during the next year, not less than 15,000 laborers..…”

In TFP’s opinion, any time one is unable to connect directly with one’s workers, and relies on intermediaries, there is the opportunity for misbehavior. As is often said –


The character of Chang is a wealthy businessman with several interests including, lest one forgets, a brothel. Most people would say brothel ownership is distasteful but Chang, as a character, is interesting.

TFP has no issue with it, there is a historical basis for this plot – she looks forward to seeing more inclusion of the Chinese journey in the United States on television, and how, dramatically, this gels with the rest of the show.

Look again at that statement “…are divided among them by their Agents


Yaaaas you are getting it….let’s just see how this storyline plays out this season, all right?


One episode does not a season make…this could get very, very interesting….and we Chinese love to wish interesting times upon people, do we not?


Roll on, HELL ON WHEELS, Roll On…

TFP out.


There have been some super cool things that have happened for Asian Americans in the past few weeks – let’s start off with the biggest –


TFP is very, very, very happy she has lived to see Marriage Equality – and she thanks the Supreme Court, who did the right thing, even if not everyone in the Court was particularly happy about it.


This is a fun time to be a person with liberal thoughts and social concerns – right, Y’all?


Passing Marriage Equality benefits the whole country, and guess what – if you do not have LGBT friends in your life, it will not affect you at all, and also…


Congratulations to all whose marriages were validated by this decision, and she looks forward to all the marriages that are to come.


Also in the news, and of personal interest to TFP because her extended circle includes the Bailars, is the emergence of Schuyler Bailar as the first Transgendered Swimmer to swim for Harvard’s Men’s Team.

TFP extends the warmest of wishes to Schuyler as he starts his newest journey, and as always, is delighted to know this incredible Family. #HapasRule



Thus we are done with the Political and the Social news – and now on to Entertainment, which is NOT, for once, completely bleak.

FRESH OFF THE BOAT was renewed for a second season on ABC, which is history making. Yes, we will have a second season of the Huang Clan as they navigate the tricky streets of Orlando.


More exciting news…the trailer of the new DR. KEN show on ABC has just dropped – and it is funny!


TFP is very happy to see…wait for it…a second show about APIs hit the Network. Bravo ABC!


We have FRESH OFF THE BOAT, and now DR.KEN – proving yes, Asian Americans are funny folks, and that there is an audience for these stories.

Take a Look:

Did anyone notice the Katy Perry song “Eye of the Tiger” on the trailer?


Funny cuz it’s a play on the whole “Tiger Parent” thing- hey, if she can use ‘our’ stuff, we can use hers.

Finally, in some theatrical news…there is a new play being developed by writer, Daniel York over in England called “The Forgotten of the Forgotten” that is on the fast track to a full production.


Daniel has been a vibrant and staunch advocate for BAME Actors in the UK.  As a Equity Union Representative and as an Individual Multi-talent he has helped push forward the #ActForChange movement which is has made the British Entertainment Industry aware, for the very first time on a country-wide level, how the disparities in representation on television and in films only add to discord and racial tensions.


This is a great movement, because it started with Actors but it has grown bigger than they ever thought and should it continue to have the influence TFP believes it will, it will effectively change the British entertainment landscape.

Now, with Producer Gemma Lloyd, the hardworking Mr. York is in the final stages for a play that he has been working on about the Chinese Labor Corps in World War 1.


This is a fascinating subject, one he has put tremendous time and effort into researching, and which was put up in a workshop format by The Bush Theater in London.


What is most exciting to TFP about this project is that it is one of the unsung stories of Asians in the world, not just in Asia, and how their participation helped shape the world we live in today. This project is in full development. TFP could not be more excited to hear about Mr. York’s version – it was an idea that originated with him, and as such, will be as unique and special as he is.

TFP asks all the BAME Actors and Artistic Directors in the UK to support this very special project by purchasing a ticket to any future presented performances. Mr. York clearly is changing the theatrical landscape over there by bringing this subject to the foreground, providing a new voice and a new story for British East Asians to tell. He is the living embodiment of someone who lives a ‘life in theater‘, and to have such a visible contributing member is a good thing for all of us.

There you go – just a few “good things” that have happened in the past week for Asian Americans – let’s keep it going!



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