Archives for category: Diversity

The Fairy Princess has her tiara in a tilt. She was all chill from being at

BC16_NewLogo2x

and she wrote about it and she thought she was done with talking about Diversity in Casting for a while. Until she read this response from Joel and Ethan Coen to Jen Yamato from The Daily Beast who asked a question based in part on the recent controversy of #OscarsSoWhite started by @BroadwayBlack Managing Editor, April Reign.

The Coen Brothers – who earlier in the interview called The Oscars unimportant and diversity important, quickly changed their tune when it came to the spotlight being turned on their own new film, Hail Caesar!

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 9.43.17 AM

72784a51682a006df4e05feb27beccfd

(Did he just indicate it is difficult to tell Chinese people from Aliens?

That is totally ridiculous – you go to film specifically to see Aliens because they are a long accepted part of our cinematic landscape!

3544101

Asian Americans could only dream of being as popular as Aliens in American cinema!

tumblr_nn4bwe1aWi1qm2cmfo1_400

Plus everyone seemingly can tell all the different kinds of Aliens apart!

Alien franchises, species, prequel or sequel etc, but according to literally every Asian American TFP knows, no one can tell if an Asian person’s ancestors hail from China, Japan, Korea, The Philippines, Myanmar, Thailand

mrw-the-girl-iv-liked-for-seven-years-texts-me-saying-no-ones-in-come-over-then-five-minutes-la-haha-13909

….New Zealand, India, Sri Lanka, one need only list half the planet and get the point –  IF ONLY AMERICA WOULD LOOK UPON ASIAN AMERICANS WITH THE FONDNESS THEY HAVE FOR ALIENS….oh wait, they are not done talking yet…)

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 10.24.03 AM

To be honest, TFP cannot tell the Coen Brothers apart – but she does know that one of them is married to Frances McDormand.

tumblr_m5tpj0X4ZF1qlvwnco1_400

However, she would simply say YES your film IS set in the Hollywood of the 1950’s, in which the image was strictly controlled to represent one kind of look.

tumblr_nmd5suiSBv1u9d7sxo3_500

Despite the white washing of virtually every ethnicity by that power machine – including religious cleansing – Hollywood has always had some diversity behind the scenes, never overwhelming, but there. The Coens seem to think that because they did not know about them, Hail, Caesar did not have to include them, but PoC were there, getting defensive and arguing artistic freedom does not negate the fact that they existed.

tumblr_m5vqjyOQeH1rxrchno1_500

The Coen Brothers HAVE INDEED USED PEOPLE OF COLOR as leads in films – THE LADYKILLERS in particular, was a diverse cast – Tzi Ma, Marlon Wayans, and Irma P. Hall right up there with Tom Hanks. Steve Park was in FARGO, and of course, Javier Bardem in NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. In TRUE GRIT, they cast Hailee Steinfeld, who of course, has Filipino heritage.

Hailee-Steinfeld-Pics

No one is calling The Coen Brothers racist or any kind of thing like that – that is very far from what this conversation is – don’t get it twisted!

This IS the point of Ms. Yamato’s question – your job as a filmmaker is to tell the best damn story there is, everyone is agreed, and you pretty much do on a consistent basis. Ken?

sF3L5vP

However, telling the best damn story does not have to mean that everyone is #AllLookSame – obviously in a film about the film industry in the 1950’s, those in front of the camera had the appearance of being white. The definition of what was considered ‘white’ at that time, was very loose. People spent an inordinate amount of time ‘passing’, and Hollywood helped them do it.

Rita Hayworth born Margarita Carmen Cansino, Kirk Douglas born Issur Danielovitch, Tony Curtis born Bernard Schwartz, Lauren Bacall born Betty Joan Perske, Anthony Quinn born Antonio Rodolfo Quinn Oaxaca – to name a few.

JasmineOLD

Here are some inspirations you could have looked to, real life Asian people who existed in Hollywood -for example:

220px-Sessue_Hayakawa_1918

Sessue Hayakawa – was as popular as Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks! He was a one of the FIRST movie stars of the United States. He became a heartthrob to American audiences after starring in Cecil B. DeMille’s film, The Cheat. He threw ‘wild’ parties that were famous and drove a gold plated Pierce Arrow car! In addition to that, he turned down the iconic role of “The Sheik” that went to Rudolph Valentino and made him a star. He founded his own studio and produced 23 films and made $2 million!

His first ‘talkie’ picture was in 1931 opposite Anna May Wong. He journeyed to France to work on a piece and got trapped by the German Occupation, where he supported himself by selling watercolors and joined the French Resistance! In 1949, Humphrey Bogart’s people found in him France and offered him a role in Tokyo Joe – after which he came back to the USA and wound up being nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in The Bridge on The River Kwai. He lost to Red Buttons. He also received a Golden Globe nomination for that role, became a Zen Master, an Acting Coach, wrote an autobiography called Zen Showed Me The Way.

The only thing that limited his work, was the the anti-miscegenation laws that existed in the 1930 Hollywood Production Code, that prevented portrayals of interracial romances on screen.

giphy-2

Let’s go of course, to his aforementioned leading lady, Anna May Wong – born and raised in California, who was definitively, America’s FIRST Asian American Film Star – Mr. Hayakawa having been born in Japan – she appeared in her first film at the age of 14 as an extra in Alla Nazimova’s The Red Lantern.

annamaywong01.jpg

Ms. Wong’s career has typical actress highs and lows, however hers were tinged with the racism that pervaded the country in regards to Asians. 

For example, when MGM refused to even consider her for the character of O-Lan in Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth, and went with a German actress, Luise Ranier.  O-Lan, of course, was supposed to be Chinese. Anna May Wong was Chinese American, feted all over the world, and a marquee name, and yet…they preferred eye tape. However, in the 1950’s – which is when Hail, Caesar is set – she was starring in her own television show in the United States, called The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong.

So…was there an Asian American film star floating about in the 1950’s, well yes there was – and she had been in Hollywood, in films, since 1919.

shade_gif

Merle Oberon was a giant film star, who was of mixed heritage, what they called at the time Anglo-Indian.

Merle_Oberon-publicity

She tried to conceal that by saying she was from Australia, and there was a fire with all the birth records destroyed.

9588a05cc73a19118225c32632ca3e16

However, she was born in Bombay, India to a 12 year old mother. She was raised as a daughter by her Grandmother. It was complicated.

Ms. Oberon was a bona-fide star, cementing that title with several films that remain iconic – Wuthering Heights, The Dark Angel – for which she won an Academy Award, A Song to Remember, and literally dozens more. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Ms. Oberon’s first film in a role was in 1933, The Private Life of Henry VIII and her last film was Interval, filmed in 1973.

Vivian Leigh, considered one of the greatest stars of all time for her role as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind, was also of mixed heritage, some say Indian Parsi, and some say Armenian – whatever the case, she was a glorious actress. A legend.

Vivien_Leigh_Gone_Wind_Restored

Her role in A Streetcar Named Desire created an indelible image of a Tennessee Williams’ heroine on film, both of the aforementioned performances earned her an Academy Award. A Streetcar Named Desire, for those keeping track of the timing of Hail, Caesar, was released in 1951. Ms. Leigh also has a star on the Walk of Fame.

Keye Luke was the first Chinese American contract player signed with RKO, Universal Pictures and MGM. Born in China, he grew up in Seattle and was also an accomplished fine artist.

220px-Keye_Luke_publicity_1

He was known for playing Charlie Chan’s Number One Son in the Charlie Chan films, the original Kato in the Green Hornet film serials, he was in the Space Ghost cartoons, and appeared on Broadway in the original production of Flower Drum Song.

James Hong! Still working!

MV5BMjM0MTQxOTA4MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODE1OTcyMjE@._V1_UY317_CR131,0,214,317_AL_

Mr. Hong began his career in the mid 1950’s with television roles, but he is one of the most prolific Asian American actors around- and is in fact, currently in the theaters represented by his work in Kung Fu Panda 3. TFP‘s personal favorite performance is as Lo Pan in Big Trouble In Little China

Besides the Actors, there were People of Asian descent working in Hollywood behind the scenes, for example:

Winnifred  Eaton Reeve, was America’s first Asian American screenwriter and was a popular book author.

me

She was half Chinese, although she usually told people she was half Japanese as she published under a pseudonym, Onato Watanna. She spent six years at Universal and MGM, she was sent to Los Angeles from the New York office by Carl Lemmle himself. While she wrote hundreds of stories, treatments, scripts, she only received credit on six of them – one of them being the 1929 version of Showboat.

Obviously not everyone who was of minority status in the United States and working in Hollywood was in the Industry, many people of color were involved on the support side, and one such man was Toriachi Kono, the longtime assistant to Charlie Chaplin.

Mr. Kono and Charlie Chaplin became estranged after Mr. Chaplin began his relationship with Paulette Goddard, however prior to that, he was known as The Gatekeeper to Mr. Chaplin. He began as his driver, and ascended to a position of complete trust where he oversaw businesses and all manner of things. Mr. Kono parting with Mr. Chaplin had a deleterious effect on his life, he was accused of spying for the Japanese, and imprisoned prior to the Internment Camps. Still, for many years, he was a player in Hollywood – he was the man you had to get past, to get to one of cinema’s greatest stars.

426

Look, this is TFP’s point – there is always an opportunity to make diverse films that represent Hollywood because Hollywood is not just one type of person -it’s many.

People of Color have always been in the system, whether in front of the camera, behind the camera, writing scripts, catering, being a grip, or a dresser,  or a driver, working in the wardrobe department, set design, or a production accountant or an assistant or anything else, SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE FRIGGIN’ INDUSTRY! This list could have probably been longer, but the point is not the number of names, the point is – they were there.

People of Color were there.

If we are making films today that reference the 1950’s studio system and all it’s intrinsic problems then casting diversely is a way to illustrate there was more to the story than we have all been shown in the past. Why let Louis B. Mayor and his view win? Why let those guys at the top that told us what we could like and what was attractive – why continue their vision?

Casting without a wide range of people is really just the effects of The Production Code still trickling down after all these years.

Asking a question about diversity in light of all the #OscarsSoWhite was an appropriate journalistic thing to do, the answer though, could have used some polish.

anigif_enhanced-buzz-25652-1405627896-5

For downright rudeness, when the reporter was just trying to do her job, TFP sentences The Coen Brothers to 20 whacks with the wand – each.

The answer that Ms. Yamato received reeks of sexism – really, you are telling a female reporter that she doesn’t know what she is talking about?

After they began the interview by saying that Diversity is what is important and not the Oscars? So she asked them about the diversity in their film and they lose it? C’mon.

tumblr_ngnk84UI2o1togmudo1_500

No. Just, no CoBros…not cool.

TFP out.

 

 

The Fairy Princess has been pretty sick – tis the season, but she did not want you to miss out on some truly unique stuff that is coming up in New York City – according to the Groundhog Spring is but a breath away, don’t miss out!

FIRST UP – The Asian American Film Lab is opening registration on MARCH 1, 2016 for  it’s Annual 72 Hour Shootout!

What IS that you ask?

Well, Contestants are given a theme and 72 hours to make a short film on that theme and submit it for a prize. Completely make it – write, shoot, edit and submit it in just 72 hours.

anigif_enhanced-buzz-10415-1365535406-14

THIS YEAR Teams compete for access to a year of free educational and networking events, mentorships with executives at NBC and more, cash, prizes and the chance to have their films screened at film festivals, both nationally and internationally.

The competition creates a valuable opportunity for filmmakers of color – focusing on Asian American filmmakers – and women to demonstrate their talent, gain exposure in the entertainment industry and impact the visibility of diverse stories and characters in film. One of the Shootout requirements is that at least one key production member (e.g., director, producer or writer) and a principal actor from each team must be of Asian descent.

Here is a trailer from 2013 to give you an idea.

Past films are able to be viewed on their YouTube Channel, and you can follow them on Twitter – @asamfilmlab

TFP has been at the initial kickoff party before, and at the end of the Shootout and it is a good time, truly. The energy is high, the filmmakers are enthusiastic, and every year the caliber of material gets higher and higher. Last minute crew ups only lend to the festivities – if you are an aspiring filmmaker, this is your shot, shot.

200_s-1

Next Up, the delightfully talented and gorgeous Havilland Stillwell will be performing her solo show at Joe’s Pub on Superbowl Weekend…

giphy-4

Yeah, TFP doesn’t get the football mania that much, but it makes people paint their faces and tackle one another, so she supposes it’s a happy thing?

tumblr_inline_nqtd4c38nB1t16ovi_500

Anyway, Havilland and TFP have performed on the same bill several times, and honestly, she is a wonderful talent and she could use your support at Joe’s Pub in NYC.

Click here for ticket link.

7I_HUi4r

If you have not already checked out the new play WASHER/DRYER by Nandita Shemoy it is running courtesy of the MaYi Theater Company from February 2-20th in New York City.

WASHER_DRYER-BANNER-COLOR1-copy

The Playwrights Realm, a company devoted to finding Playwrights who are on their own journey and helping them achieve their goals through wide ranging support, have mounted a new work – SOJOURNERS by Mfoniso Udofia. The show opened January 21 and is closing on February 13th, so if you have not made it over there, you only have a few days left.

Sojourners-banner-flattened

2econdStageTheatre over on W43rd Street in NYC, is having their say with the new play, very diversely cast – SMART PEOPLE by Lydia R. Diamond. That is running until March 6th, so you have a bit more time to get to that than the others.

26a08faf-21f5-4d66-9485-157eb645fa22

Also…ALSO…

tumblr_o0jx96yr0T1qe6vjyo1_500

ALLEGIANCE is closing on Broadway on Feb 14th, 2016 after 37 Previews and 113 regular performances.

If you have not had a chance to see it, TFP requests that you take a moment and try and see if you can get a ticket.

After all, if this guy liked it…

FullSizeRender

Maybe you will too…just sayin’

TFP out.

Hamilton--Bway

The Fairy Princess was lying snug in her bed, when she got the call – er, the Direct Message on the Twittah, asking if she would be interesting in attending the FIRST EVER BroadwayCon and speaking on a panel.

WHAAAT?????

BC16_NewLogo2x Then they asked TFP to speak on a panel…about Diversity? Maestro!

tumblr_n7jzizEPyI1tuvo8oo1_500

Along she went and she had no idea how much the work of MISCHIEF MANAGEMENT (@MischiefMgmtMelissa Anelli & Stephanie Dornhelm), Anthony Rapp (@albinokid), and PLAYBILL, would rock everyone’s collective world. It was exciting, exhausting, and almost existential.

Hamilton--Bway

She wound up speaking on two panels – one called A BRAND NEW DAY: DIVERSITY ON BROADWAY (Moderator – Andrew Shade, Panelists: Quiara Alegria Hudes, Alia Jones-Harvey, Telly Leung, and Roberta Pereira)

AND:

INSIDERS, OUTSIDERS, and MASKED AVENGERS: YOUR ROLE IN THE BROADWAY COMMUNITY (Moderator – Jennifer Spitulnik, Panelists: Aaron J. Albano, Andrew Breidis, Laura Heywood, Patrick Hinds, and Nikka Graff Lanzarone)

The rest of the time, she attended lectures, panels and performances by a variety of people (WOW were there a ton from CMU) and in each and every one, she learned something.

tumblr_nwgd2uqHwK1sg6teeo4_500

TFP spoke on Diversity for her first panel, and truth be told, a bit about it on her second panel and this is what she said and she’s just going to hit on some of her points, which she shared to that audience.

First point – there are 40 Broadway Theaters and 30 Shows currently listed on IMDB.

Of the 30, 22 are musicals and 8 are plays.

Of the 22 musicals, there are 2 directed by women.

Of the 8 plays, 3 are directed by women.

Broadway audiences are 68% women.

TFP brought note cards (apologies to Ruthieann B), to ensure she had her facts straight.

tumblr_ndnq41G0z81qdsjzio1_250

YES, this has been a banner year for Diversity on Broadway in terms of casting -these are our new musicals –  HAMILTON, ALLEGIANCE, ON YOUR FEET, FIDDLER, THE COLOR PURPLE, SCHOOL OF ROCK – all with Diverse casts!

tumblr_m72rqfCLBL1qih9gi

SIDEBAR:

That ALLEGIANCE is closing before it’s time on February 14, 2016 is something TFP holds you ALL responsible for.

If you are API and can afford a ticket, and you didn’t go – this is your fault.

TellyLea

And if you are ANY other kind of American and can afford a ticket and didn’t go – this is ALSO your fault

smash_borle

you should have gone and seen what happens when American citizens are incarcerated because of what they look like. You should have gone and faced this dim part of American history and seen the show and vowed “No, it’s not happening again, not on my watch.”

Is it a perfect show? Nope. Few are. So what?

The closing of this show prematurely is going to affect the rise of another opportunity for Asian Americans to tell an Asian American story on our Broadway stages.

Look,  if composers who are of API heritage and who have won TONY awards are not writing shows about the API experience, what does that say about things changing in that regard? Not a lot.

END SIDEBAR:

They join the Diverse Musical Casts already on Broadway: ALADDIN, BEAUTIFUL, BOOK OF MORMON, FUN HOME, THE KING AND I, KINKY BOOTS, LES MISERABLES, THE LION KING, MATILDA, SOMETHING ROTTEN and CHICAGO.

Dance break!

gloria2

Now, by “Diversity”, TFP is not just talking about skin color – that is not, actually what Diversity means – Diversity means representing all kind of people – it means varying Ages, Sizes, Genders, Ethnicities, LGBT, Religions – the Diversity umbrella is broad – exceptionally so, which is why it is actually – infuriatingly easy to accomplish.

tumblr_nodmhecs5T1qcwyvco2_500

As a fellow panelist, Olivier Award Winning, Tony nominated theater producer Roberta Pereira said “Someone said “We should do HAMILTON casting” and I said, ‘To me that is just casting’.

Hamilton--Bway

So yes, for Musicals – the 2015-16 season has been a revelation, on stage – but has it been a  revolution?

AndreaBurns

Let’s look ahead to the NEXT season….these are the musicals (Sticking to musicals, we’ll get to plays) that look to have somewhat Diverse casts:

These are upcoming and have theaters etc, according to Playbill.com:

SHE LOVES ME, NERDS, BRIGHT STAR, AMERICAN PSYCHO, WAITRESS, TUCK EVERLASTING, SHUFFLE ALONG, DISASTER

tumblr_n5zo9mqnxt1sfi00ko1_400

Potentially coming, again, according to Playbill.com are:

GOTTA DANCE, MOTOWN, CATS, SMOKEY JOE’S CAFE, HOLIDAY INN, NATASHA & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812, GROUNDHOG DAY, HELLO DOLLY, THE BANDSTAND, FALSETTOS, PIECE OF MY HEART, THE BERT BERNS STORY

fiona1

Now let’s go behind the table – behind the table is generally a boy’s club.

anigif_enhanced-buzz-20559-1361817064-14

Of all the above musicals definitely coming and potentially coming, only 3 will be directed by women – NERDS by Casey Hushion, WAITRESS by Diane Paulus, NATASHA & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812 by Rachel Chavkin.

This is an improvement, because currently on Broadway, female directors of shows that are on stage now number TWO– and that is Julie Taymor for THE LION KING and Diane Paulus for FINDING NEVERLAND.

Shout out to JoAnn Hunter, who choreographed SCHOOL OF ROCK. She joins Ann Reinking who recreated CHICAGO in the style of Bob Fosse and Mia Michaels who choreographed FINDING NEVERLAND. Gillian Lynne also is up on the boards as choreographer with PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.

tumblr_n1cs74fr1g1qzqoygo1_r1_400

Of all the above musicals, only BRIGHT STAR (Edie Brickell- music), WAITRESS (Sara Barellies-music & lyrics, Jessie Nelson-book, Adrienne Shelly-original screenplay), TUCK EVERLASTING (Claudia Shear – book), and GOTTA DANCE (Nell Benjamin – lyrics), have female writers.

On the ‘current’ Broadway, there is the FUN HOME (Lisa Kron – Book & Lyrics, Jeanne Tesori – Music), ON YOUR FEET (Gloria Estefan – Music), BEAUTIFUL (Carol King – Music & Lyrics), KINKY BOOTS (Cyndi Lauper – Music & Lyrics), THE COLOR PURPLE (Marsha Norman – Book, Brenda Russell, Alle Willis – Music & Lyrics w/Stephen Bray), and WICKED (Winnie Holzman – Book), that have female writers.

giphy-2

So…while there is change behind the scenes – it’s not overwhelming. TFP focused on Women who are part of the writing/directing process – but do not discount the fact that there are few female designers – lighting, sets, costumes, technical – that are continually working, so there is a long way to go in terms of getting behind the Broadway fully integrated. If TFP were to look for PoC that were behind the scenes…well, that area is ripe for some changing of the guard as well.

NEXT YEAR – Let’s break it down – from what TFP can surmise from released Cast lists – SHUFFLE ALONG is leading the pack in People of Color. WAITRESS, DISASTER, and AMERICAN PSYCHO all have some variety of performers. Those are four out of four that are coming for sure.

1

Now, except for SHUFFLE ALONG, not one of those shows is about telling the story OF People of Color, they have one or so PoC in the casts, but they are not telling the story OF any diverse people. There is a difference.

This was the ‘fear’ that TFP mentioned at the panel – that because ALLEGIANCE is closing prematurely, the investment by producers, writers, and performers in stories where APIs figure to tell their history in America will not happen again any time soon because – and this is really the only reason, not because it was not a compelling story, but because it did not make it’s investment back.

money-liza

Telling stories that include PoC is wonderful – equally wonderful and equally important is having those shows where PoC show their journey in America.

tumblr_njbdu72RfJ1qdzk15o2_400

Of the 9 plays that are upcoming, only 2 tell ‘diverse’ stories – ECLIPSED starring Lupita Nyong’o, and HUGHIE starring Forrest Whittaker. There are 4 revivals, and 5 new pieces – most of which star celebrities like Frank Langella, Cate Blanchett, Gabriel Byrne, Jessica Lange, Jesse Tyler Fergusan, Jeff Daniels, Michelle Williams…so for revivals and new works in terms of plays, casting is remaining generally as it ever was.

ONLY ONE revival, that of THE CRUCIBLE,  which stars Sophie Okonedo as Elizabeth Proctor, is presenting many actors of color. This is excellent, because America is a seafaring nation, and as TFP has mentioned over and over again – seafaring nations are never only ‘one kind’ of color. They cannot be – because people travel from abroad and vice versa.

tn-500_photo-015

(Otherwise how would we wind up with all those crazy stories that involve Caucasian people in China? They had to get there some kind of way.)

This is what TFP said at the panel and this is what she believes – that stories that are specific are universal. Universal stories can be told in a variety of ways. The world is ever changing in terms of population and for Broadway to continue to make their over 13 billion dollars per season, they must invest in finding new writers, they must invest in presenting a variety of stories – both revivals and new works – to reflect our American scene.

MJS

To answer the overwhelming question that was posed at BroadwayConIS BROADWAY CHANGING?

The answer is…sorta.

TFP’s other fear is that because of the success of HAMILTON, ON YOUR FEET, SCHOOL OF ROCK, KING AND I,  etc, that the ‘diversity box’ for many producers is checked, and since those examples DO exist, they do not really have to worry about it when casting their new show.  Let’s keep an eye on that shall we?

tumblr_lkw693yQOn1qcafht

Much depends on the theater owners who ‘curate’ the season – if you purchase a ticket for something, you are voting. Simple as that. That is the ‘best’ way to reach the theater owners, so if you want to continue to support a broad panoply of stories on Broadway, you have to purchase a ticket to represent your point of view. Same holds true with the Producers – yes, they do it because it is exciting and because they love theater and everything, but the bottom line is ever looming, and Producers need and want to make moneytumblr_m11yofCTuU1qzlhg1o1_r1_500

Off Broadway Producers tend to have more cojones when it comes to exciting and color conscious work, so if you are a PoC and you want to see yourself reflected in the plays you give your money to, may TFP suggest you check out a variety of new works – WASHER/DRYER by Nandita Shenoy at MaYi Theater Company, SOJOURNERS by Mfoniso Udofia at The Playwrights Realm , A DREAM OF RED PAVILLIONS by Jeremy Tiang at Pan Asian Rep, and SMART PEOPLE by Lydia R. Diamond at 2ndStageTheatre – these are some of the most exciting new plays out there, TFP encourages you to take a look. If you are looking to keep abreast of new shows, keep in mind that NAATCO is having it’s Silver Anniversary Season, and their last piece, CHARLES FRANCIS CHAN JR’s EXOTIC ORIENTAL MURDER MYSTERY by Lloyd Suh was a groundbreaking piece.

Much depends on what writers are writing – however, TFP was much encouraged that every writer she met at BroadwayCon talked about how important it was for them to tell a wide range of stories.

When TFP says ‘writers’ she includes theater bloggers and tweeters and podcasters that keep the conversation going – for example: BroadwayBlack (@BroadwayBlack), Howard Sherman (@HeSherman), The Ensemblist (@TheEnsemblist), TheaterPeople (@PatrickHinds), Laura Heywood (@BroadwayGirlNYC), Andrew Breidis (@Actor_Friend) – and of course, the fine folks over at Theatre Communications Group, which includes Educators and Scholars  – they all are actively active in addressing the needs of theater today – from the audience, to the education, to the issues at hand.

Much depends on Casting – often the word ‘revival’ is a chance for change that is not taken, it is a reason to harken back to the casting of the play when it was written – and that is a low percentage choice, and there is no reason that Casting cannot reflect more of America.

Broadway is kinda sorta changing, and it is breathtaking to see.

tumblr_msjq06V7Fe1qc7yw7o8_r1_250

However, since we are all only as good as our last show…we’ll just have to see where this goes.

no-duh-13-5

Thank you to BroadwayCon for having TFP be part of the conversation. Looking forward to next year for sure!

TFP out!

Katherine-After-Midnight

 

In light of the upcoming release of the film, and the egregious comments by both Marvel and Ms Swinton herself, TFP thought it best to reblog this

fairyprincessdiaries

In light of the recent and stupid comments by MARVEL and Tilda Swinton, in regards to casting of the new Dr. Strange Film – TFP is reissuing her post from last year, when casting was announced.

Ahem:

The Fairy Princess is in a bad damn mood. First, because she went to a routine trip to the dentist and was like “Hey, this tooth kinda hurts”, and twenty minutes later, she had no tooth – because it needed to be removed. Her Dentist was lovely and no reflection on his profession but she was thinking of two things while in the chair…

Steve Martin

images

And The Wild West.

And when she says the Wild West she was actually thinking “Thank goodness I don’t live in the Wild West where they would have tied a string to the tooth and the other end to a saddle of a horse and then…

View original post 2,614 more words

The Fairy Princess has had a busy month and a half personally. She was off doing the SPARKLE Concerts for The Actor’s Fund,

Sparkle 2015 12.6.15 - photo by Andrew Werner, AHW_6226

(Photo by Andrew Werner Photography) and truthfully, that requires a bit of time and travel.

She must congratulate the wonderful Scott Nevins, from Bravo’s The People’s Couch, for once again, producing two smashing shows on two different coasts, all to raise funds for people in need.

Scott+Nevins+Thirst+Project+3rd+Annual+Gala+fh_F50VGeHBl

so YES, she knew about what was going on with AbFab, she put it on the back burner to handle some personal stuff, at least in terms of the blog. She apologizes for the delay, she was asked back in November to blog on this issue, and she meant to, she just ran out of time.

Sometimes following TFP on The Twittah (@Equill) is a better way to gauge what she is thinking about current events.

IMG_9647

Now, TFP is an AbFab Addict – she spent much of her formative years swanning about like a desicated British lady ‘of a certain age’ who was either drunk or stoned or both, that’s right – these two.

abfab1

Edina and Pats – played by Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley. These two have had so much influence on pop culture, nightclub culture, and the international perception of aging fabulously and entirely flawed, that it’s hard to quantify.

anigif_enhanced-5225-1396484234-19

In the history of television, both in the UK and parts abroad, never has drunken debauchery looked so very appealing and so radically unafraid of watching panicked women aging – look, if you could wind up like Edina and Pats, a wrinkle or two really was nothing to worry about.

Aging is Fabulous, absolutely.

abfab_special1_03_web

In their ridiculousness and inability to accept aging, we, the audience, came to accept what was so grand about being the last to give any f**ks at all about what people thought.

tumblr_n2wgsrf7k21toamj8o1_400

They insulted everyone, and made themselves the butt of just about every scenario – but there was a magnificence about it, that made it work.

Until now.

Because now, they have – or rather Jennifer Saunders who created and starred in the show – has made a huge misstep.

She has taken the fabulous of AbFab and given it a racist turn. The two ladies that could accept just about anything have now crossed the line and have decided to accept yellowface.

anigif_enhanced-20100-1396482706-3

Now, there is a comedienne from Scotland, and she’s half of a team known as The Krankies.

Now that ‘little boy’ aka “Wee Jimmy” (‘Wee‘ is how Scottish Folk imply small  or young – doesn’t mean a bladder problem) is actually a woman, and that woman is named Janette Tough.

Janette has been chosen to play, in the new AbFab movie – a Japanese Designer named, wait for it, Huki Muki. Not just a ‘designer’, specifically the character is ‘a Japanese designer’. Named Huki Muki.

Which no, does not mean anything in Japanese.

tumblr_m8s5mtj1381qffn6mo1_500

Huki Effin Muki!

9b8b8c36881ec3ebd618f02c7f96cb36e1c935fd5d00897ca09b2312ab04b50a

Now, apparently, Ms. Tough is appearing as a caricature character based on an actual Japanese writer and artist, Yayoi Kusama….

Yayoi-Kusama-monograph1

to be fair, Ms. Kusama’s look seems to have inspired other film depictions…

fifth_primary

however, Leeloo in The Fifth Element was not supposed to be Asian or of Asian descent, she was supposed to be one of the Supreme Beings of the Universe.

Again, the character of Huki Muki is specifically described as “a Japanese designer”

Here is Huki Muki swanning about with Eddie and Pats:

CT0PX_pVAAAfDqh

Awash in polka dots, a bob hairstyle stolen stolen from Andy Wharhol’s reject pile, and Anna Wintour’s “absolutely not’ pile of dark sunglasses.

hXGtYfh

Some have compared this to British pantomime and that is absolutely ridiculous, this has nothing to do with pantomime, or ‘panto’ – first of all – it’s not live and playing to children.This film is largely going to play for Gay Men and the women that love being friends with them.

And old drunks.

Let’s be real.

tumblr_inline_njroncdDa01t6lxtf

Second, Panto is generally based on a fairy tale.

ABFab is not based on a fairy tale.

AbFab is based on PR Agent Lynn Franks and Bananarama.

Yes, Bananarama.

You got it, baby, you got it!

jomaQfw

The only similarity between this film and panto is that they have a female character dressed as a man aka-  Drag. 

Panto” has drag.

What ‘Drag” means is, from the Shakespeare, “DRessed as A Girl”.

 (Not to be confused with people who are in any way transitioning)

55a65ebb35e7b66f25936d975fd4aeba5e7c62bccf08dd8f11eace2856e070f5

This Actress is dressing to play a Japanese man. Technically, should we return to the ‘Shakespearean meaning’- it’s not drag, per se, as the actress will not be Dressed as a Girl.

A Japanese person. Drag is entirely the wrong term to use. She is a woman playing a man, but she is crossing ethnic boundaries.

o8em4ibcmwrj5awk1qeu

There are elements of racism in ‘panto“, particularly in Aladdin, but again, to try and justify this as an ‘ode’ to classic British form is a misstep. Although it is jumping into the racism with both feet, toes pointed.

Then there was the outrageous suggestion that white people playing Asian are just ‘acting’!

Tina_why_god

TFP knows that Asians are so gorgeous that everyone wants to be us, and well, who wouldn’t? We are stunning.

However it always looks ridiculous and everyone forgets to pay attention to the ‘acting’ per se, because we are all wondering how an “Actor’ of any merit could bask in the light of their own ethnic blindness and delusion as to their abilities. Fifty years ago people excused it by saying there were no Asian actors available, which is how we wound up with this list –

image27

which looks absolutely dreadful from today’s perspective.

Japanese people are an ethnic group, from an actual and real country, which means, this is NOT Drag in any way shape or form, it’s dressing to specifically portray a person of another ethnicity. Dressing to portray a person of Asian ancestry.

We all know how TFP feels about that, but it bears repeating.

photo

THIS is what happens when Caucasians dress up as Asians, generally in The Mikado (Although NOT in the English National Opera production of The Mikado, which is beautiful)

mikado3_c29dc589b9fe9ed6c94e6d09824a58e8.nbcnews-ux-600-440

Hideous, yes?

Yes.

Though Huki Muki is better dressed than the above pictured folk,  if Ms. Trough is using an accent and in any way altering her eyes, or using caricatured gestures to portray a person of Asian heritage – it’s YELLOW FACE.

YELLOW FACE is makeup and gestures that mock Asian peoples and heritage. TFP does not know why everyone across the UK and USA realizes that Blackface is horribly offensive, but when it comes to Asians, they think we should all suck it up because they (the Caucasians) find it funny.

pagano_ddos_word_cloud

It’s not funny.

Here’s Blackface:

blackface_nocap

Here is Yellowface:

Syracuse Opera

There is actually no difference, and if anyone argues that there is, or that Yellowface is done because of artistic merit or tradition, they need a talking to. Without the talking.

1408573535774

TFP gets the AbFab humor, she absolutely does. Everything is grand and ridiculous – that is all fine. If the character were just playing a designer named Huki Muki, TFP would have to shrug and assume it’s just a takeoff on over the top well dressed fashion designers of which we have numerous examples:

Alexander McQueen

19ffafa8cafe3b4fad3130d1f0cccb0a

Karl Lagerfeld

karl-lagerfeld.gif

America’s Christopher March

59682072c9d239facca5ff0fe51395f2.jpg

If AbFab is about mocking the PR and Fashion Worlds – which it has always been – then why did they have to make Huki Muki a Japanese Designer specifically?

One can surmise that there are going to be some jokes about ethnicity and stature, as they have cast a Scottish sketch comedienne of shorter height to play the role.

TFP wants to know, Ms. Saunders – if you were casting a Japanese Fashion Designer, why didn’t you cast someone Asian? What is in the writing, or in the setup that does not allow for an Asian person to play an Asian person? 

Let TFP clue the viewing public in- Asians are not allowed to be in on the joke, because we ARE the joke. It is clear as the mirror Pats snorts Coke off of.

In your next film, Ms. Saunders, are East and South Asians all going to play Scottish people? And by the by – if you ARE going to cast a Scottish person as an Asian person, how about…say…KATIE LEUNG!

Scottish AND Asian! Wow, one stop shopping!

katie_leung_5570635.jpg

Katie Leung was voted THE MOST STYLISH PERSON IN SCOTLAND!!!!!

If the designer did not have to specifically be played by a Scottish person portraying a Japanese person, you could have just cast an Actress who happens to be of Asian descent (obviously authenticity is not your issue at all Ms. Saunders) – for example, you could have gone with Bai Ling –

bai-ling-leaves-katsuya-restaurant-in-los-angeles-08-5-2015_3

Or if you wanted an Designer who is outrageous and Asian, you could have gone with Bobby Trendy!

183694611

Or let’s say what everyone is thinking – Ms. Saunders, you could have called on the one who is calling you out in public, Ms. Margaret Cho, who by the way, is KILLING it on FASHION POLICE here in the States. She is a comedic actress, a writer, a standup and she talks about fashion!

Maybe that would have been too much competition, eh Ms. Saunders?

mgid-uma-image-logotv

The truth is, you probably did not look, Ms. Saunders.

You just thought it would be cool to make fun of Japanese people, so you called up your Mate in Scotland and said,

“Darling, Darling, Darling, could you lose your r’s and l’s and wear tape on your eyes and mock those darling little people who run about in the fashion world? No, the Asians darling, not the PA’s, for f*ckssake, who cares about PA’s!?”

Jennifer+Saunders+Cef5Bp3KJ_Om-1.jpg

And then, as Eddie, you leaned over to Pats and yelled “She thought I meant the PA’s! Do you care about PA’s Patsy?” and Pats said back

tumblr_mpu3aqBN9S1qap3owo1_500

then you all had a good laugh and a bottle of champs and went off about your day – did you ever find that doorknob?

 TFP thinks Naomi Campbell knows where it is…and that you should perhaps duck?

naomi-campbell-italy-e1272546114770

Naomi Campbell is of Asian descent too….TFP is sure she would take your call…

anigif_enhanced-buzz-10415-1365535406-14.gif

For employing YELLOWFACE in order to fill your film with racism instead of it’s usual good hearted debauchery – TFP fines Ms. Jennifer Saunders 100 whacks of the wand.

You could have said some really funny things about the Fashion Industry and acknowledged that Asian designers make a real and valid contribution to world fashion, but instead, you chose mockery.

Darling, darling, darlingyellowface is not absolutely anything but appalling.

Thanks to Margaret Cho for speaking up and speaking out.

TFP out.

tumblr_inline_na5nlhX7fO1sp8zt4

 

 

The Fairy Princess was flitting about the world wide interweb today and it is..damn, the news is awful. Truly awful. She absolutely does not want to send condolences one more time to any school, town, church, or city where terrorism – domestic or otherwise has occurred. She wants these things to stop occurring.

tumblr_mmqykm7uiz1ql5yr7o1_400

In other countries, when they have had these things happen, they have restricted guns and guess what? They stopped happening. Australia. Sweden. Ireland. England. Germany.

tumblr_mn7lilBTsO1sqykc2o4_r4_250

It’s time to shut this all down, and vote out the people who protect the NRA and fail to protect the innocents who are the victims of our lax gun laws.

Everyone is saying it – but you all, come Election Day, can change it. It does not matter if your opinion is conservative, or if you don’t like the Democratic candidates – you have to actually vote the conscience you are supposed to have.

You have to make this election, this coming election about one issue, and one issue only.

Establishing gun control in America.

You have to vote against random acts of violence by voting for people who believe in gun control. You have to vote for this on a local level, on a state level, and a national level.

You don’t like someone’s fiscal policies, or you think they are too left wing? Who cares?

TAKE ONE FOR THE TEAM!

tumblr_n2z7azDC6j1qcluu2o1_250

If you do not,  then you know what? If you do not vote these people out, you are the endorser OF gun violence. If you do not vote these people out of office, you know what you are – you are an enabler of gun violence.

It’s really that simple.

Gun control in this country is the issue. If you cannot vote for people who believe that gun laws should be tougher and mandatory, then you are allowing guns into the hands of these terrorists that are homegrown.

Jujubee-library-reading-to-filth

Write to your elected officials and tell them what is important to all of us in this country, before any other family loses a member to senseless violence – write them RIGHT NOWhere is the link.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

The Fairy Princess wanted to take a moment to tell you about a campaign that she is supporting, yes, she knows one of the writers, but this is a unique situation, it’s a bit more interesting than the normal crowdfunding campaign.

She is talking about THE AMERICAN SIDE.

10659196_715021128586731_3897501618217470969_n-e1413656127547

What makes this campaign different is – the film is completed.

giphy

That’s unusual with a Kickstarter campaign, usually the project is not complete.

In this case it is. Seems also to have some very fine acting going on – Matthew Broderick, Jeanne Garafalo, Camille Belle, Grant Shaud, Robert Vaughn, Alicja Bachleda, and of course Greg Stuhr all look to be turning in fascinating performances.

So – first reason – film completed, second reason – excellent acting.

Third reason she is supporting it is because the plot revolves around the work of Nikola TeslaTFP has always had a soft spot for Nickola Tesla. His genius got a raw deal.

Finally, TFP liked the pitch trailer – and…as they are not asking her to help fund the film (that is a big peeve of hers), but to help with the theatrical release of it, she gave them some money. Just like buying tickets ahead of time on your phone or computer – all those services charge a fee – this is her fee prior to getting tickets to the film.

can+never+have+too+much+of+a+good+thing

It seems like a smart action film – and the world could use more smart action films. Also, it’s a noir film, and TFP truly loves noir films…

6a00d8341c730253ef01b8d10a6b6f970c-800wi

This one is set in Buffalo, New York – which, when you think about…surprising more films are not set there, it’s kind of perfect.

If you would like to see THE AMERICAN SIDE at a theater near you, take a digital walk to the KICKSTARTER link.

This is their last week.

Let’s hope they make their goal – TFP really wants to see this one.

giphy

The Fairy Princess got up and watched The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and was honestly thrilled. So many Broadway shows featured!  Her child, who is only three years old, was able to experience the magic of a Broadway musical, if only in small segments, for the first time, and he was transfixed. (Particularly by KING AND I, and SOMETHING ROTTEN, which he adores probably more than most 3 year olds)

His Mother was also transfixed because of, of course, the diversity that is this current Broadway season – On Your Feet, Fiddler on the Roof, The King and I, School of Rock, Something Rotten, The Wiz – there was something for everyone, no matter how you identify and that is HUGE!

giphy-14

Thus, TFP wanted to take a moment and say what she is grateful for – in terms of representation this past year.

She is going to begin with theater, because that is where it always starts for her.

TFP is thankful ALLEGIANCE has made it to Broadway and is telling the story of Asian Americans in America.

AllegiancePlay

Whilst TFP is not a ‘reviewer’ of shows, per se – she can speak to how moved she was to see ALLEGIANCE. The performers are of course, wonderful – Telly Leung, just magic in his character’s willingness to go to war to ‘earn’ his being called an American hero all while hitting ‘money notes’ for days!

2A5E2A298-ACAD-4490-C0D8A6C197C743D8

Greg Watanabe’s thought provoking Mike Masaoka, as a man trapped between so many rocks and hard places that any move he made would continue to be the subject of debate and conjecture to this day.

Greg+Watanabe+NpDNNIMs5SSm

(Also, just to be on point, the JACL owes the creators and performers, particularly Greg Watanabe, a huge apology for releasing their statement prior to seeing this incarnation of the show. The show uses Mr. Masaoka’s own words and actions to show his situation, and it is nuanced and heartbreaking, to be frank.)

Michael K. Lee, back on Broadway, after reigning as one of South Korea’s leading Musical Theater Performers – giving the voice of the ‘resistors’ a powerful character to stand behind, even as he winds up going to prison for his decisions.

tn-500_allegiance_opening18_web

Katie Rose Clarke, representing the bewildered people of White America, who thought they were doing the right thing to protect their country in the beginning, but who change significantly and realize what an evil thing it is, to lock away a group of people simply because they look like people you are at war with. Under the skin, we are all the same, as Shakespeare’s Shylock told us, ever so long ago.

latest

Lea Salonga,

lea salonga

so much has been said and written about her performance, TFP will only add that in case you were wondering, she does indeed sing her face off as Kei Kimura, caught between a ‘traditional’ upbringing and her changing perception of what ‘allegiance’ actually means. Ms. Salonga has helped shape this role during her long alliance with the show, and to TFP that means that she has much directing in her future. Just throwing it out there.

giphy

Then there is George Takei.

allegiance06feb2015

The power of Mr. Takei in this role, is something that cannot be underestimated. The story is moving, but when he walks onstage, the weight of the understanding of what went on in those Internment Camps is given a living being to speak for it. George Takei, a vibrant activist for human rights, for the acknowledgement of the injustices against Japanese Americans, he lives and breathes this role, and he is a mighty Archangel bringing America to task with his own life’s story.

These are not ‘reviews’ they are merely how TFP felt, upon reflection, after viewing the show – it is exceptionally powerful, and there is no getting away from it. Once the audience watches Ensemble member, Rumi Oyama as the character Mrs. Tanaka break down upon learning that the latrine has no walls for privacy, and that all eating will be done en masse in the mess hall, the audience is transfixed. Or they were when TFP saw it.

2015-11-8-rumi-oyama_allegiance_photo-by-lia-chang176

TFP is thankful that ALLEGIANCE is on Broadway – and urges you all to see it.

giphy

TFP is also thankful for HAMILTON, with the lovely Philippa Soo making her mark as Elizabeth Schulyer Hamilton.

tumblr_inline_nw18qyHOkU1r9k478_500

She is thankful that “The Littlest Witch” from the National Wicked Tour, Ms. Isabella Russo, followed in her Broadway Parent’s footsteps and is now in SCHOOL OF ROCK playing the character of Summer.

104266

Also making her Broadway debut in that show, is TFP‘s buddy, Jaygee Macapugugay, playing Isabella’s ‘Show Mom” – always exciting!

12289458_10153264458989157_7568283072666214676_n

TFP is of course thankful for KING AND I having it’s open ended run at Lincoln Center, it’s a breathtaking production and she highly recommends it. Big ‘ups’ today to the Cast for bringing tropical Siam to 50 Degree Farenheit New York City. Where else but in New York City would TONY Winners come out and give their performances to the crowd? Bravo, Y’all!

images

TFP is thankful that the Dramatist Guild came out in support of Playwrights Lloyd Suh, Katori Hall, and Stephen Adly Guirgis, in their fights to defend their work from less than appropriate casting. That was very well done, a play under copyright belongs to the Playwright, significant changes are only allowed with their express permission.

The End.

tumblr_n43u2ys1cf1rdutw3o1_400

TFP is also thankful to note that The Asian American Film Lab is producing a short film to highlight Elder Abuse in the Asian Communities

facebookbanner

It is a great thing when an organization like AAFL creates work to show real social problems and bring attention so that, hopefully, these things will come to an end. It’s significant.  Thanks to Jennifer Betit-Yen for heading up this project, and to the Asian Women’s Giving Circle for giving the grant so the project could be funded.

tumblr_inline_mf7xxos7T41ry4qim

Turning to Television, TFP is very thankful that CW’s CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND has had additional episodes ordered, after they showed the world the very first Filipino American Thanksgiving!

crazy-ex-picture-smile

Additional episodes means that more of the world gets to fall in love with Josh Chan and his family- and pictured here are Coryn Mabalot, Tess Paras, Alberto Isaac, Rachel Bloom, Amy Hill, and Vincent Rodriguez 111.

Also the longer the show is on, the more the world gets to see the phenomenon that is Donna Lynne Champlin as Paula, and really, that is just the best gift on television right now.

josh-text

ABC is also ‘killing it’ with Asian American Thanksgiving’s this year – first there was Huangsgiving –

recaps-fresh-off-the-boat-02

Nothing says Thanksgiving like cradling the last frozen turkey left in the restaurant freezer…and then again, on DR. KEN it was an Asian American Multi-Cultural Throwdown where they come together to prove not only are they American, but that they can acknowledge their cultural heritage as well.

1280x720-5Ml

Nice to see Clyde Kutsatu, Dana Lee, and  Jeanne Sakata joining the rest of the regular cast for this episode.

So that is THREE significant Network comedies recognizing the greatness and hilarity of breaking Thanksgiving bread with Asian Americans!

tumblr_m5j3a7LLhb1r16z4vo1_500

For TFP’s last bit of thankfulness in regards to Asian Americans in Entertainment, she wants to acknowledge that she saw an episode of a show she has not really been following, TRUTH BE TOLD on NBC.

truth-be-told

TFP only recently learned of it, and while the premise is a Caucasian College Professor and his Hapa Spouse live next door to an African American couple, who are their best friends, the truth is – Mark Paul Gosselar has Asian heritage.

tumblr_m5tpj0X4ZF1qlvwnco1_400

Which means that this is the first ‘Hapa” marriage on television. This may not seem significant to many, but to TFP, who is also mixed Asian and Caucasian heritage – from a family that has been mixed for several generations now – this is mind blowing.

Particularly as she saw a recent episode where Vanessa Lachey is trying to explain to her daughter, why she should love Filipina Barbie just as much as good ol’ Blonde Barbie. TFP is not Filipina, but she ‘got’ this episode in a way that went to her core, that just the thought that this stuff is now on television is incredible.

giphy

So there you go, Asian American peeps – there are some things that TFP is grateful for today – at least in regards to Media and Representation – nothing is perfect, but it is getting better.

Happy Holidays!

 

The Fairy Princess has an Irish temper. That is one of the beautiful things about being multi-racial – you can call on a lot of different genetics in an effort to explain one’s own firebrand reaction to news items like those coming out of Clarion University.

Do not just take TFP’s word for it, read these very excellent blog posts by Howard Sherman and Bitter Gertrude to get some more information.

tumblr_n1cs74fr1g1qzqoygo1_r1_400

For those catching up, Clarion’s Drama Teacher, Marylouise Michel wanted to use Playwright Lloyd Suh’s play, JESUS IN INDIA. When she first approached him via his agent, he was told it was for classroom use. Later, after they made the decision to mount the play, they never executed a signed contract. However they went into production anyway.

tumblr_inline_msbz35ZWbu1qz4rgp

The Fairy Princess calls this…oh what is the word? Stealing.

giphy-facebook_s

They stole his play for production – a living playwright, not someone deceased over 400 years – they stole a living playwright‘s work and then, when he was trying to figure it all out and inquired about casting, he found out that not only did they steal his play, they stole the parts intended for Actors of India or South Asian descent and gave them to non Asian descended people!

Mr. Suh pulled his play from production – as any living playwright would.

giphy

Just like playwright David Mamet did when the Milwaukee based Alchemist Theater cast a woman instead of a man in the lead role of OLEANNA. Just as playwright Bruce Norris pulled his play CLYBOURNE PARK from production in Germany. Just as playwright  Katori Hall recently objected to the casting of THE MOUNTAINTOP where they cast a Caucasian as Martin Luther King Jr. Just as Stephen Adly Guirgis spoke out against the casting of his play, THE MOTHERF**KER WITH THE HAT by Theaterworks in Hartford, Connecticut with no Hispanic Actors in roles written for them.

Living Playwrights…they have thoughts and ideas about what they have written. They envisioned something in their head and they spent a great deal of time and effort and energy to get it to the page and then the stage – of course, OF COURSE, they would have and SHOULD have input as to how the work is performed.

Even on a college campus, or rather, especially on a college campus!

College is the place where teenagers become adults – they get exposed to things that they did not learn at home, the bi-product is that their minds expand, they open up their thought processes and decide who, as an adult they will be.

That is the idea, anyway.

9588a05cc73a19118225c32632ca3e16

Clarion University with it’s 9% minority student body was caught stealing a play. That’s what happened. There was no signed contract. The Playwright was unaware that a production was going forward, and when he found out the details, they were not to his liking.

So he shut them down.

AS IS HIS RIGHT.

As did some of the Playwrights mentioned above. Here is the thing though, and here is what TFP is most annoyed about….Clarion’s response.

Here is what should have happened – the Director of the show, Marylouise Michel should have written an apology to the Playwright, the school, and admitted that she overstepped. She should have admitted that in her eagerness to do something that she hoped would get protested by Evangelical Christians, she made many mistakes – beginning with not securing the rights to a full production and ending with the erasure of Indian actors from a play where they are supposed to be.

This is all the fault of one person – Marylouise Michel.

MMICHEL

It is her arrogance and disregard for the work of a living playwright that should be called into question. She put her hand in the cookie jar, got caught and then started proclaiming that none of this is her fault, that it is all the fault of that nasty Asian Playwright whose name she will not even type out.

Sorry – that Asian Playwright?

tumblr_m5m7lf1N3O1rul0hko1_400

This guy?

Lloyd+Suh+21w_QkQbmPjm

 Lloyd Suh is the author of American Hwangap, The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go!, Jesus in India, Great Wall Story, The Children of Vonderly, Masha No Home and others, produced with Ma-Yi, The Play Company, Ensemble Studio Theatre, La Mama ETC, Magic Theatre (SF), Denver Center Theatre Company, East West Players (LA), and internationally at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Manila, and with PCPA in Seoul, Korea. He has received support from the NEA Arena Stage New Play Development program, the Andrew W. Mellon Launching New Plays Into the Repertoire initiative via the Lark Play Development Center, and the New York State Council on the Arts, Jerome Foundation, Theatre Communications Group and Dramatists Guild. His plays have been published by Samuel French, Playscripts, Smith & Kraus, Duke University Press and American Theater magazine. He is an alum of EST’s Youngblood and the Soho Rep Writer Director Lab, and from 2005-2010 served as Artistic Director of Second Generation and Co-Director of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab. He has served since 2011 as the Director of Onsite Programs at the Lark.

The Playwright who currently has running Off Broadway, a NY Times Critic’s Pick?

26B23E9A6-9E30-CA15-CBD67F1E308C97BD

If David Mamet had pulled his play from her, would she call him “That Jewish Playwright“? Is Bruce Norris now “That White Playwright“? Is Katori HallThat Black Female Playwright” to Ms. Michel?

11955191_f496

Marylouise Michel now refers to an award winning writer as…”that Asian Playwright”

Jujubee-library-reading-to-filth

Did Clarion University, the bastion of 6,000 strong chastise Ms. Michel’s for her post which was steeped in privilege and racism? Did they say “you know what – you totally overstepped here, and you are teaching the wrong thing.

No. They did not.

If any other reputable Drama Department at a University had a faculty member go so far off the rails as to only refer to a living playwright by his ethnic heritage after stealing their play, they would be fired.

Yep_i_went_there

But not at Clarion – oh no – they hired a Publicist and sent out this bon mot:

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — The student actors of Clarion University never anticipated they’d be the latest headlines, punished for their race. Clarion University department of visual and performing arts was scheduled to open the off-Broadway musical “Jesus in India” on Nov. 18 until playwright, Lloyd Suh, yanked production rights and “condemned the way it had been cast.”

The small, state college in northern Pennsylvania has spent much of the year preparing for the musical only to learn by casting Caucasian and mixed-race actors in roles intended for South Asian actors, the production is canceled. With a student body of about 5,368 students, only 0.6 percent of students are Asian and no Asians auditioned for the play. The University claims their intent from the start was to honor the integrity of the playwright’s work, and the contract for performance rights did not specify ethnically appropriate casting. Despite the University’s attempt to give Suh a page in the program to explain his casting objections and a stage speech given by a university representative on the cast’s race, Suh rejected any solutions other then removing the non-Asian actors or canceling the production.

“We have no further desire to engage with Mr. Suh, the playwright, as he made his position on race to our theater students crystal clear,” says Dr. Karen Whitney, Clarion University President. “I personally prefer to invest my energy into explaining to the student actors, stage crew and production team members why the hundreds of hours they committed to bringing ‘Jesus in India‘ to our stage and community has been denied since they are the wrong skin color.”

Clarion University students and administrators were left stunned by Suh’s decision, including senior Kiah Harrington-Wymer who was set to play a main character in the musical. As reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Harrington-Wymer spent months preparing for the role, which was to be her senior-year capstone project, and was devastated by the news. Harrington-Wymer is of mixed race and has experienced her fair share of discrimination and claims this hurts just as much as any other time.

FOR MORE MEDIA INFORMATION   
RESSA TOMKIEWICZ       
THE ZIMMERMAN AGENCY 
(850) 668-2222 * RTOMKIEWICZ@ZIMMERMAN.COM

SOURCE Clarion University

1408299912

 

“PUNISHED FOR THEIR RACE”?

giphy-3

Sorry, have to say that again – PUNISHED FOR THEIR RACE?

large

Caucasian people? Punished for their race? Punished for simply appearing Caucasian in America? In the state of Pennsylvania? In a school that has 543 minority students out of a student body of 6,080?

tumblr_inline_njroncdDa01t6lxtf

Dr. Karen Whitney and students…

Save+your+tears+for+the+pillow

This is not okay.

In 2016 this is NOT okay. 

(Almost 2016, yes)

It is not okay to show the level of disdain to Mr. Suh that has been shown,  it is not okay to comfort yourself that you are a persecuted minority of Caucasians (Gad, TFP cannot even type that without gagging).

tumblr_m7oapdeKf71qhm6vbo1_500

You are not okay Dr. Karen Whitney – and neither is Marylouise Michel.

mrw-the-girl-iv-liked-for-seven-years-texts-me-saying-no-ones-in-come-over-then-five-minutes-la-haha-13909

The Students are not being punished. The Students are learning a lesson that the rest of the world seems to be learning right along with them which is – Asian Americans – South Asian Americans, East Asian Americans – Asian Americans who live on the Coasts, Asian Americans who live in the Heartland – we are not standing for this anymore.

photo

What Ms. Michel did was PAINT her students to look Indian!

Jesus-in-India-rehearsal

Let TFP break it down for you – if the play had been JESUS IN AFRICA and not INDIA...would you have put the students in Blackface makeup?

TFP bets you damn would not have.

tumblr_m5tpj0X4ZF1qlvwnco1_400

That is the point. The point is – a living playwright gets the respect to add his or her ‘two cents’ – and that respect has been given in the past. There are SO MANY FRIGGIN’ PLAYS WITH CAUCASIAN PROTAGONISTS it, in fact, BOGGLES the mind.

You cannot even COUNT the number of plays where the main players are ‘meant’ to be Caucasian – it would be like trying to deliver letters from children to Santa, beginning with the founding of the US Postal Service!

miracle-on-34th-street-o.gif

So stop with the excuses, stop with the righteous indignation – you had a Professor who STOLE A PLAY and she got caught – and instead of chastising her and showing your Student Body that Clarion  does not stand for stealing and co-option – YOU BACKED HER UP!!!! YOU BACKED UP AN ARTISTIC THIEF AND THEN TRIED TO BLAME THE PLAYWRIGHT!!!!

ee9dbb614c5853b3298413800d92f6dd

You know, TFP is a parent, and yes, of course, as a parent of a minority child in the United States, seeing this situation, she would not send her son to Clarion University.

However, even if she took after her Father, and looked 100% Caucasian, and her son did as well, she would STILL not send him to Clarion University. Because if this is any indication of how Clarion is broadening minds, then that is not a place to attend school, one cannot imagine why any International student would want to attend there either.

Lloyd Suh yanked his play JESUS IN INDIA because you were not serving the play. You were not serving the vision of the play, so you do not get to produce the play. TFP is truly, truly disgusted – you failed as educators in this regard and then you spread your failure around like seeds to plant more hostility towards Asian Americans in the Arts than there already is.

For stealing a play, defaming the playwright in print, social media, and in press releases and blaming him for your idiocyTFP sentences Dr. Karen Whitney and Ms. Michel fifty wacks of the wand and you know what – go see ALLEGIANCE and see the power of Asian Americans telling a story where they are supposed to be seen.

(And BTW Broadway composers, it’s been a hot minute since BOMBAY DREAMS…let’s get some shows going for the singing and dancing South Asians, of which there are MANY….)

AllegiancePlay

TFP out.

colbertmicgif

The Fairy Princess has done about ALL she can do to tell everyone about ALLEGIANCE and why it’s opening is so historic and important, if you still have not decided to go and see it, take a look at the trailer, and then decide to grab your tickets!

MOVING ON...While YES, it is November, and the weather in New York City is mild and lovely, there are people gearing up for their December fundraising efforts and two of these campaigns are actually fairly close to TFP – one because she is IN it – photo from last year –

IMG_5368

and the other, of course, because her First Cousin, James Burchill’s Ad Company – RUMBLE – located in Brisbane, Australia – has come up with it in partnership with the Cancer Council of Queensland.

That’s James on the far right, with Katie Clift the host of #LiveWellBeWell Radio wearing her ‘rashie’.

CTU1_C6UAAAP18a

First out of the gate – SPARKLE – now there are 2 SPARKLE Concerts this year – one in New York City on December 6th, and one in Los Angeles on December 15th. SPARKLE is a concert that is a fundraiser for THE ACTORS FUND, which does extraordinary work supporting those members of the Acting Community and extended players, when they need some help.

The lineup for New York City is first rate, and you should all totally and completely come and see it – there are some great, great people on the bill:

Sparkle NYC Poster Final

Sunday, December 6th at 7:30PM at The Cutting Room – 44 E32nd Street, NYC (212)691-1900 and tickets can be purchased at www.Purplepass.com/SparkleNYC – Please come and support a great cause.

On the odd chance that you cannot read the names on the poster they are as follows:

BILLY PORTER (TONY and GRAMMY Award Winner), STEPHANIE J. BLOCK (TONY Award Winner), MAX VON ESSEN (TONY Award Nominee), ROBIN DE JESUS (TONY Award Nominee), ERICH BERGEN (MADAME SECRETARY),                LESLI MARGHERITA (OLIVER Award Winner), NICK ADAMS (PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT), JULIA MURNEY (WICKED), MATT DOYLE (BOOK OF MORMON), ALYSHA UMPHRESS (ON THE TOWN), JESSICA KEENAN WYNN (BEAUTIFUL), MARTY THOMAS (WICKED), ERIN QUILL (OBC AVENUE Q), NATALIE DOUGLAS (MAC Award Winner), THE DOO WOP PROJECT (Members from JERSEY BOYS & MOTOWN, the musical)

Hosted and Produced of course, and always by the one and only – direct from THE PEOPLE’S COUCH on BRAVO TV – SCOTT NEVINS.

TTIydYdovkG7n6xvGCY5QWjGBPO1u5v1IlGJx3FkZkI-1024x682

Buy your tickets for the NYC show quick folks – it sells out in a NY minute!

make-it-rain

Next up –

UGLY-XMAS-BUTTONA take off on America’s own unique and hideous tradition of dreadful knit garments that do nothing to enhance either the figure OR people’s view of the person wearing it – our Ugly Xmas Sweaters.

amaz-3

In Oz, around Christmastime, particularly in Far North Queensland, (which is the only place in Oz that TFP has spent that particular holiday) it is wicked hot. Like…fry an egg on the sidewalk hot, and most people stay near a large body of water – either an ocean or a pool.

1280px-The_Famous_Bondi_Beach_(6644010871)

Hence, an Ugly Sweater campaign would not, of course work – who the heck wants to wear those sweaters in that kind of weather?

giphy

The answer is absolutely no one.

images-5

Therefore, of course, one must come up with a campaign and a product that Australians and people the world over will use – and that is what we call in America, a swim shirt, and what they call over there, ‘a rashie‘.

UGLY-RASHIE-LUKE_F

So here it is – the #UglyXmasRashie as a fundraiser and as a useful product. If you purchase one, you’ll not only be saving your own skin, but you’ll be saving others as well – so…pocketbooks out – they are unisex and let’s face it – if you are having an issue in the water, the surfie (aka lifeguard) will have no problems spotting you in this get up.

UGLY-RASHIE-GROUP3

So there you have it – from the Family that brought you The Fairy Princess and a Creative Partner at RUMBLE – two Holiday Fundraising Campaigns that can help people as we head towards the Holidays!

There are, of course, a ton of causes one can give to, these are not the only ones, but these two in particular you can have a good time with and STILL give to charity – so let’s sing show tunes and prevent skin cancer!

beyonce-jay-z-tour

TFP out!

The Fairy Princess, continuing in her quest to bring you bring you all things ALLEGIANCE, as it heads to it’s big Broadway Opening on November 8th, has a very special treat for you now, Hunties….that’s right…five minutes with Ms. Lea Salonga!

3514

Lest you have been living under a rock since the 1990’s, let’s break it down for you – she is the Original KIM in MISS SAIGON in both the West End and Broadway productions, for which she won THE OLIVIER AWARD and THE TONY AWARD,

1.170953

she is the singing voice of Disney’s MULAN and Jasmine in ALADDIN,

913289_1325208559123_full

she has appeared as both Eponine and Fantine in LES MISERABLES,

E26774AD-EF93-8CD2-5BE2CC111CB7D8A5

Lea

she headlined the Broadway revival of FLOWER DRUM SONG with the new book by David Henry Hwang,

ne_106772

she’s done concerts worldwide, been an mentor on THE VOICE in The Philippines, recordings, films, countless stage shows –  it’s probably too endless to type out – and YET…and YET…with all of that, she still was kind enough to take a photo for TFP holding up a “Hi ____” sign, for one of TFP‘s students…in short…fancy – and nice.

So here we go –

tn-1000_13allegiance

TFP: We are sitting here with Ms. Lea Salonga to talk about ALLEGIANCE – don’t worry, the questions will be fun.

LS: Ok. (smiles)

TFP: Well, hopefully – where were you when you first heard ALLEGIANCE was going to Broadway?

LS: Crud, I can’t remember. I think I was in Manila, probably doing The Voice.

549248_621872851171459_556172899_n

TFP: (silently giggling that Lea Salonga said “crud”) What were your thoughts when you heard the news – immediate reaction?

LS: “OH…FINALLY!”

TFP: Right? No kidding. Who was the first person you told?

LS: (smiles) The Husband.

images

TFP: What is the thing, as an Asian performer, that you want the audience to take away from this show the most?

LS: There’s a lot to take away from this show – there are so many things we ‘hit’. The Japanese American Internment was such a dark part of American history. I’m hoping what people can take away from it (is) that, despite the darkness that happens, despite the rifts that take place within families, it is never too late to get a second chance at finding closure and finding happiness again.

TFP: What is the first big gift you bought yourself with your Broadway ALLEGIANCE money?

LS: The first rehearsal check I just put in the bank.

TFP: Oh, you are so Asian.

LS: (laughs) It goes into the bank, I didn’t splurge on anything. I’m waiting for big occasions like Opening Night.

TFP: I get that.

LS: I’m giving myself a video game console, probably, because there are all these cool games coming out!

noperaja-1

LS: I want to play the new Assassin’s Creed so bad!

go-kill-them

TFP: I did not see that coming.

giphy

LS: Then for Christmas, we’ll probably get more gadgets because…we’re Asian. (laughs)

TFP: You are totally Asian, I don’t know if you know that, but wow, yes you are!

rTC9wnFNHmmpioXX0X3NvnBM6JMu0D7WGfdk3GPhNcM6J0i9Kcqt6iUKIwM7GDICaZIY7wtsShpzGS4ArtI6OuORbFFTIF-ejuOFHW3pVejh5Oha9o-6_PB9biV-AnGvNOGghus

TFP: Last question…it’s not about ALLEGIANCE per se, but it led up to ALLEGIANCE, so..it’s about MISS SAIGON…

LS: (raises eyebrow)

photo

TFP: You know that with recent productions of MISS SAIGON, there have been protestors, there are petitions, and the are starting to get a reaction in some spots. Myself, I’m not for the protesting -my thoughts are, in theater, if you don’t want to see something, no one is forcing you to see it, don’t go.

I think if you are looking at MISS SAIGON and only see prostitution, you are completely missing the point.

LS: You are missing the point.

TFP: So I wanted to ask YOU, because no one has asked you what your thoughts are…

lea-salonga

LS: The pickets and the demonstrations and all of the rallies taking place, that’s not anything new. I mean, I remember being in Previews at The Broadway Theater and there were demonstrators that blasted into the mezzanine, and while we were doing scenes from the show -happened to be doing DREAMLAND – which is the opening of the show, where all of the girls are in their skimpiest and we could hear people screaming from the mezz and screaming at us.

I looked up and went “What the hell is going on, I’m trying to do my job here!”

The thing is that the portrayal of the prostitutes is such a small part of the musical – it’s there to set a scene. We don’t see prostitutes for the two hours and twenty minutes that the show is going on. We see where this girl comes from, we see where this guy comes from. And then we have to be invested in what happens to these two – that’s really it. Yes, there are prostitutes but they are there for what, 10 min?

TFP: I agree, and the fact is, we do not see German people out protesting CABARET, we do not see French people out protesting LES MISERABLES, or GIGI, or English people out protesting OLIVER…

LS: Right. You see “Lovely Ladies” (from LES MISERABLES) and what do you think they are? Just because they happen to be Asian Prostitutes? You’re protesting? If you are going to protest prostitution, then you have to protest things like THE LIFE.

TFP: YES! That is what I said!

LS: You have to protest other shows that portray that – ummm SWEET CHARITY. You have to keep going…so if you are going to protest one, you have to protest everything else… If it’s a generalizing this ‘looking down on the portrayal of women‘, then you have to go to each and every show that portrays prostitution then and protest that.

Because if you are focusing on the Asian prostitutes, ok – what makes the Asian prostitutes different from the Western?

tumblr_mn7lilBTsO1sqykc2o4_r4_250

The oldest profession is the oldest profession, no matter where it is performed.

TFP: Exactly.

LS: You have to see the forest for the trees, and some people just don’t.

tumblr_m5tpj0X4ZF1qlvwnco1_400

TFP: Thank you, Ms. Lea Salonga – and there you have it!

Library is closed, we can all go home now – Break Legs on Opening Night and here is to a long and successful run.

AllegiancePlay

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96 other followers