It has been a week since TFP took herself to see GETTIN THE BAND BACK TOGETHER...and her mind….was blown.

The Reviewers were wrong.

The show was funny.

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Not perfect, but that was part of the charm of it. She observed people gasping for breath to the left and right of her, she herself had a roaringly good time – as did every Broadway professional she consulted about their experience seeing this show.

Everyone enjoyed it.

No one could figure out the reviews.

 

Let the record show:

From Jesse Greene at The New York Times: The show aims so low that all it achieves is a ruckus in the tuchis.

From Frank Scheck at The Hollywood Reporter: Director John Rando (Urinetown, On the Town) keeps things moving at a sufficiently brisk pace, but it’s a mystery why he felt the need to have the performers constantly jump offstage and race down the aisles as if heading for the exits. It makes it look as if they’re trying to escape before the reviews come in.

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Photo by Cherie Tay

David Cote, Observer: Having sat through the sweaty, janky garbage fire Gettin’ the Band Back Together, I strongly suspect that producer and book writer Ken Davenport has a chest tattoo that reads (in Gothic script), “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” Davenport, who is also responsible for My First Time (about losing your virginity), The Awesome ’80s Prom and That Bachelorette Show, seems to never hesitate in grabbing, shall we say, the fruit that hangs low.

Adam Feldman, Time Out New York: You can smell the flop sweat before Gettin’ the Band Back Together even begins, as Ken Davenport-the show’s lead producer and also, not coincidentally, its principal author-takes the stage with a handheld mic to deliver a curtain speech. “What you’re about to see is one of those rare things on Broadway these days: a totally original musical,” he claims. But although the show is not based on any single preexisting source, it is, in fact, supremely unoriginal, from its formulaic ’90s-movie plot to its instantly forgettable ’80s-rock score. A community-theater vanity production that has somehow surfaced at a Broadway house, it is schlocky at every turn.

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Photo by Cherie Tay

Tim Teeman, The Daily Beast: This is a show, directed with a loopy Labrador’s energy by John Rando, that sells itself shamelessly to its intended audience. Perhaps in the next few weeks, the company will start handing out fliers at Penn Station. You’ll roll your eyes at that repeated geographical gag, and at much else in this musical, not least its hackneyed rock ‘n’ roll, ageing dreamers, reclaiming-past-glories storyline.

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Photo by T. Charles Ericksen

Elisabeth Vincentelli, Newsday: You can’t say the new musical “Gettin’ the Band Back Together” doesn’t try hard. At one point somebody shoots T-shirts into the audience from a cannon. Marilu Henner, who plays the lead’s mom, passes along Rice Krispies Treats during the intermission. Throughout, the game cast sells the action with undeniable energy – if Broadway quality was measured in sweat, “Gettin’ the Band Back Together” would be a shoo-in for a Tony. Unfortunately, other factors must be considered. The show is a willfully silly piece of cheese, but that stuff is actually hard to pull off – and “Gettin’ the Band Back Together” is no “Head Over Heels” or “Rock of Ages.”

Jesse Oxfeld, New York Stage Review: The show is too long. It’s plot mechanics are creaky. Some of those character numbers should be cut, delightful as they are-darlings waiting to be killed. (Bart’s, which is hilarious, is also too dirty for a family show.) And yet it’s all just a really good time.

TFP read those reviews and she had some feelings….

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TFP gets it, part of the bargain that theater people enter into when they invite critics in is that critics have the right to write whatever they want.

These reviews are very pointed in their disdain for

  1. The Producer, Ken Davenport
  2. New Jersey
  3. Humor that is funny to the audience, but not British humor = therefore ‘low brow.’

We are the country that invented vaudeville and burlesque based on theatrical traditions from other countries.

We are ‘high brow’?

The people who kept MAMMA MIA open? CATS? ROCK OF AGES? (Yes, yes, they are all super fun and campy shows and we love them, but Shakespeare they ain’t)

Those ‘high brows’?

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These are the people who get into raging debates  on the internet over being allowed to wear tank tops and shorts and flip flops to the theater, over dress pants and a nice wedge heel?

Because they want to be comfortable?

Like they are in their living room?

Does that sound like ‘high brow’ behavior?

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The critics wrote those reviews for New York City’s mythical 400, those lofty robber barons who aped European standards to create New York High Society around the turn of the century in the late 1800’s. In short, not the average theater audience. People come to the theater for all kinds of different reasons, but escaping ‘real life’ for two short hours is a legitimate reason to grab a ticket, no matter where your family origins hail from.

The critics did not, with rare exception, point out how talented the cast was, or that they were delivering stellar comedic moments in a solid manner.

The cast did their jobs – they sang and danced and made people laugh. The Critics failed to realize that the comedic rule of three – first one, tiny laugh, second one, bigger laugh, third one, hysteria – was well in play in this production, and used to great effect.

The point of these reviews seems to be to punish Producer Davenport, who had the temerity to get up and give a pre-curtain speech on opening night about the fact that this show began as an improv.

A show that began with an improv, not with a film or television show establishing it’s provenance, which makes it a risk. Which is to be lauded, but apparently not ‘too’ much and not by a person of mixed race.

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There has to be, on Broadway and Off, and regionally, of course – room for all kinds of theatrical experiences. There can be a rainbow – it is freaking BROADWAY, folks!

Sometimes your show experience will be DEAR EVAN HANSEN and sometimes your show experience will be GETTIN THE BAND BACK TOGETHER – and it is ok. The important thing is for the audience to have had a good time – theater is  a service industry.

Theater people serve at the will of the people – just like public office. Yes, theater ‘makes people think‘ or ‘have the feels‘ or help them reach a ‘realization‘ – but  theater, as much as it is a magical, unicorn band of people who create it – create the work to be part of a service industry.

A luxury service industry.

Frankly, not everyone with money necessarily has high brow taste, and even those who do sometimes need to go slumming. The world is too tense right now to have to ignore that  the basic inalienable right to laughter, is one of the best reasons to go to the theater.

There is room for both EVAN HANSEN and GETTIN THE BAND, both shows, which yes, TFP has seen and enjoyed and where she viewed the casts do their jobs.

Or did, in the case of GETTIN THE BAND. It did it’s job, and TFP is sad that it is closed.

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Photo by Lia Chang

It was not nearly as raunchy or dirty as these reviews made it out to be – in fact, AVENUE Q has equally if not more room for parental concern, if we are to be honest. Singing about having sex with someone’s Mom is not as graphic as watching puppets with no genitals go at it for an extended number.

It is TFP’s considered opinion that the show should still be open. The audience she viewed it with went WILD, and upon further investigation, she was told that audiences consistently went wild as the show ended. That has to count for something. Audience response should count.

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Photo by Lia Chang

While attending the matinee, TFP sat next to a woman who, at intermission, informed TFP that she had seen GETTIN THE BAND BACK TOGETHER five times already. She had seen the show FIVE TIMES.

It opened in AUGUST.

Closed SEPT 16th.

FIVE TIMES!

TFP was astonished, she needed to know this story.

Here, paraphrased, is what she was told.

It is a good time.  It is a solid good time. You know, I started coming to the theater when I was a caregiver for my husband, and…my Brother In Law would come and watch my husband and then _______ and I would take the bus in – you know the bus is around $3 as a senior…Anyway, I saw the name.

I thought “That sounds fun”. I am from New Jersey, this show is set in New Jersey. I knew of one of the performers. So I came. It was so funny. I had a great time. The next time, she asked me what I wanted to see – I said GETTING THE BAND BACK TOGETHER.

So I came again, and again. Five times. Oh – they are so talented. You know, if you see it more than once, you see SO MUCH TALENT on that stage, not just the lead – well, I do love Brandon, he is so handsome – but the supporting cast. They all play instruments, and sing and dance, and are funny….there is no reason not to love this show.

I am sick that it is closing. Sick. What are all those talented performers going to do? Oh, it makes me sad. The show is happy, but it makes me sad.

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Photo by Lia Chang

Thank you for that, Jersey Jenny – you were feeling sad and GETTIN THE BAND helped you feel better.

It did what it was supposed to do.

Let’s all take a moment – because this show will be done regionally and people will get to enjoy it – and decide that Broadway, for all it’s lofty aspirations, began it’s reign as a pastime for the regular folks of New York, and that as long as there ARE still ‘regular’ folks of New York, there was room for the band to get back together.

Plenty of room. Eight shows a week.

RIP GETTIN’ THE BAND BACK TOGETHER, you did your job.

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The Fairy Princess kinda went on hiatus for most of August, she had to get ‘back into the grind’ of New York – however she wanted to take a moment to share that she had a chance in her career to work with the luminous Marin Mazzie.

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Just once.

It was not an extended run, or an intimate concert – it was the first workshop of the musical DAVE, written by Thomas Meehan, Nell Benjamin and Tom Kitt. It had a different director than the show that was just closed in D.C. at Arena Stage, it was somewhat of a different show. Ms. Mazzie played Ellen Mitchell, the First Lady, and TFP played a news pundit.

When TFP walked into rehearsal that first day of that first musical and saw Ms. Mazzie, her heart skipped a beat.

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There were ‘more famous’, technically, people in the room. There were some in the room that are part of the television and film ‘firmament’, and good times were had by all – but Marin Mazzie was the voice that had been so intrinsic to TFP developing her own sound….and TFP went SILENT and stopped dead in her tracks when she saw her.

(Which, let’s face it, is very hard to make her do.)

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Ms. Mazzie could not have been more gracious or kind. She joked around, she made everyone feel welcome around her, and she knew – as all great theater Diva’s know – that sometimes their power makes others feel intimidated. There are two ways to deal with that – and Ms. Mazzie chose the kinder way.

It was how she was.

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That was a glorious week.

We had a great new show, and yet, all through rehearsal, on every break, if she would look over at Ms. Mazzie, all TFP could think about was this glorious sound, a sound that her heart had absorbed from the moment she first heard the notes. The richness, it was effortless.

Listen. Close your eyes. Majestic.

WHICH IS WHY ALL THE THEATERS SHOULD BE DIMMED FOR MS. MAZZIE – ALL OF THEM!

BROADWAY HAS 41 THEATERS and WE ARE TALKING ABOUT A DAMN KNOB THAT HAS TO BE TURNED DOWN FOR ONE MINUTE!

ONE MINUTE!

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Three TONY Nominations in 6 years – and we cannot give her a MINUTE?

A tireless performer who, even with her illness, continued to fundraise and to sing, and to take to the stage, because she was a creature OF the stage?

The Broadway League cannot dim for one damn minute for the 41 theaters that are part of the League?

Why?

Honestly and sincerely, WHY?

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For someone whose Cast Recordings and videos of performances, intimate and grand  will live ad infinitum and inspire generations of young kids to try?

For someone who changed the way we listened and thought about acting through song?

Who was literally the definition of an Actor who Sings and a Singer who Acts?

The Broadway League cannot give her one minute?

When she gave a lifetime?

Ain’t that a kick in the head?

TFP is TIRED of the disrespect shown to Female performers – remember when there was a big fight to get everyone to#DimForJoanRivers? Recall that for Jan Maxwell, a five time TONY nominee, only two theaters dimmed the lights?

Oh yes, everyone LOVES or LURVS or YAAAAASSSess the Divas, but now is the time for respect.

Now is the time for actual homage.

Now is not the time to count theatrical lights and a dimming switch like they are priceless jewels.

Now is the time, oh Broadway League, to acknowledge that you could not do what YOU all do so well, without women like Marin Mazzie.

She did straight theater and musicals. She was gifted. She put butts in seats.

So weird cuz like, when Tony Soprano, Actor, James Gandolfini unexpectedly passed – there was no question the lights would be dimmed.

All of them.

James Gandolfini had a TONY nomination for his performance in GOD OF CARNAGE, and in 1995 appeared in “On the Waterfront” and “A Streetcar Named Desire” in 1992.

They dimmed them all.

When men pass, great men, btw, great men of the theater – there is no actual question asked, naturally the lights dim for NEIL SIMON. Of course they should, OF COURSE THEY SHOULD!

They dimmed the lights for ROBIN WILLIAMS – on Broadway twice, once was a concert, no TONY nomination – and of COURSE they should. He was ROBBIN EFFIN WILLIAMS!

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However you see it, right? The automatic ‘female tax’ that is applied when deciding these things?

Shall TFP tell you what she thinks of you?

For Performers who are considered part of theatrical history – the lights should be dimmed. We should not be ‘tallying up’ as to someone’s worthiness.

Well this one had that many awards, and over here, that person was on a television show.

It is ridiculous. Blah, blah, blah.

They are Actors. They lived and made an impact on people around them and their craft. They changed the world, for GOOD. They let light and magic in where it once was not, and they did it eight shows a week, sometimes five on a weekend.

Period.

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Marin Mazzie was a theatrical legend, a wonderful person, with a loving and devoted Husband and Family.

Give her her GODDAMN MINUTE.

Or TFP is going to ouija board the crap outta Elaine Stritch,  till she comes and berates you for trying to minimize the passing of one of the great voices of our time.

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Rest in Power, Marin Mazzie.

Rest In Power.

The Fairy Princess would like to just have a ‘check in’ with folks, so here it goes….

A big personal THANK YOU to the Writers, Producers, Original, and Current & Past Casts of the TONY Winning Show, AVENUE Q . There was an extra special reunion concert this past Monday, and TFP would not have missed it for the world.

(Jen Barnhart was there, but she was off kibbutzing when we were taking photos!)

L-R: Erin Quill, Carmen Ruby Floyd, Jordan Gelber, John Tartaglia, Stephanie D’Abruzzo, and Rick Lyon

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Not ‘everyone’ was able to make it – but though they were missed, the show went on, and it is incredible to know that one has this ‘second family’ out there, who share common experiences and humor…especially the ones who were there the first go ’round. The names to add there (in alphabetical order) are Natalie Venetia Belcon,  Jodi Eichelberger, Aymee Garcia and of course, Ann Harada.

(Apologies for not really knowing where the camera was, but CLEARLY Jen was there)

First of all – the incredible Ruthie Ann Miles returned to her TONY Award winning role in THE KING AND I in London, and that gives TFP all the feels. We are swept away with multiple emotions at her strength and fortitude, and we hope that this marks a positive change for her and her Family.

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SecondTFP binged watched on Netflix, the Canadian show, KIM’S CONVENIENCE, which was first a play, and then a television show – and she is, without a doubt, totally obsessed with the Kim family dynamic. It is an endearing, hilarious show with a lot of heart and laughs, and for any child of immigrants – of ANY KIND – you will see yourself and your Family in this show. It gets just about everything right – and no, you do not have to be Korean to enjoy it.

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Third – CRAZY RICH ASIANS, directed by John Chu, has it’s US released date on August 15th – which is, inexplicably, a WEDNESDAY.

This film was highly anticipated as soon as the book came out and entered the zeitgeist – TFP would appreciate it if everyone purchased a ticket – not just AAPIs, that is not going to be ‘enough’ to tip this over into ‘yes, we will fund another AAPI major motion picture’.

It has to be everyone. Everyone no matter the color of their skin. Everyone, including 53% of White Women who like romantic comedies. It has to be Everyone who is a Person of Color that wants to see, if not ‘exactly’ them, a film with a group of people also not regularly represented in our mainstream entertainment scene. It has to be Everyone that has a ‘thirst trap‘ for Simu Liu, as well as Henry Golding….

(Ooh wow, look at AAPI America – having two opportunities for star gazing instead of putting these two in the ultimate death cage match where we have to declare supremacy of one over the other!)

By the way – neither one is American – Simu is Canadian and Henry is based in Malaysia and Singapore.

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TFP was joking about having to ‘choose’ between watching KIM’S CONVENIENCE and CRAZY RICH ASIANS, because there has been some debate about that. We do not have to choose one over the other!

This is not like picking one kind of dumpling and staying with it for life! My goodness can you imagine if you were asked to pick ONLY one kind of dumpling?

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There is room for everyone at an AAPI Banquet Hall, and if you do not get in during the first 1,000 people sitting, you can certainly come back in two hours and get in the next round.

That is what entertainment is – food for the soul when you are hungry – and everyone gets hungry at different times!

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Ok, now we have to get to the bitter with the sweet…and this will be brief cuz Mama’s got a matinee…our beloved Ali Ewoldt, first APPI to do the role on Broadway,

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currently playing Christine in  PHANTOM OF THE OPERA recently got ‘trolled’, and here is what was said:

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Now, Ali did respond, quite graciously to this jealous, nasty woman…probably a 53% er..

Now TFP is going to weigh in – especially given that audiences do not seem to know how to be respectful anymore.

Here is the thing, Folks – you bought a ticket.

A ticket is an agreement that you would like to view the event, and that the performers would like to show you the event to the best of their ability. It is, in fact, a contract in which certain behaviors are, in common parlance, not acceptable.

TFP is going to list those behaviors right here – so we are all in, once again, agreement – and because your Parents did a crap job.

IN THE THEATER, AS AN AUDIENCE MEMBER, IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE TO:

  1. TOUCH YOUR PHONE EXCEPT TO TURN IT OFF BEFORE THE SHOW AND TURN IT ON AFTER THE SHOW
  2. MANSPREAD IN YOUR SEAT, OR ON THE AISLES w/your limbs or baggage!
  3. EXPRESS YOURSELF OTHER THAN BY CLAPPING or LAUGHING
  4. DEMAND THAT PERFORMERS SIGN EVERYTHING YOU BROUGHT WITH YOU AND THEN CHAT WITH YOU FOR TWENTY MINUTES REGARDLESS IF THERE ARE OTHER PEOPLE THERE WAITING FOR THEM TO SIGN
  5. TAKE PHOTOS WITHOUT ASKING – asking for a photo is fine, taking one without permission is not.
  6. THE TAKING OF ANY VIDEO DURING THE SHOW IS ILLEGAL, AS ARE PHOTOS!
  7. DENIGRATE ANY ARTIST WHO HAS BEEN ON THE STAGE THAT EVENING

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If you did not like the show, that is on you – talk to your friends about it, fine. Have a beverage. You are cranky, ok – did you eat before the show? Did you have a bad day?

Guess what?

Even if those two scenarios happened, or dozens of others, it is not the ‘done thing’ to contribute MORE toxicity to a world that has to attach an office in front of a name that is linked to bankruptcy, fraud, extortion, non-payment of bills, kids in cages and white supremacy!

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What you do not do, is search down the Artist’s Promotional Social Media Page so that you can flagellate them with your ‘opinions’.

Opinions are like a**holes, everyone has them.

You, along with hundreds of other people, got the fulfillment of your ticket purchasing contract – you viewed Artists at the top of their game, your contract was fulfilled.

Go home. Look longingly at your Playbill. Dream of other shows you wish to see, or that you wish to be in.

Most of all, try kindness.

Because TFP is not here for your bullshit.

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TFP out.

 

 

 

OK, as previously stated, The Fairy Princess is busy.

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So one cool announcement – she will be appearing at 54 Below with some of the other Cast Members of the Original Broadway Company of AVENUE Q, along with composers Jeff Marx and Bobby Lopez, singing some cut songs, some show favorites, and celebrating the 15th Anniversary of the Broadway Premiere of that TONY Winning Best Musical.

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Let’s get to the thing that she’s kinda wondering about – and she is being careful about the wondering because this could very easily be an error.

Here is what – y’all know that European Director, Ivo van Hove

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and fellow Belgian, choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker.

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have decided that the next project they will take on, on the Broadway, will be WEST SIDE STORY.

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TFP was a bit…nervous about this announcement for a few reasons – and by the way, none of those reasons concerned the creative brilliance of either of them.

She was nervous because Maria being Puerto Rican is a giant part of the storyline, right?

THERE SEEMS TO BE NO LATINX IMPUT ON THE CREATIVE TEAM.

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WHEN HALF THE SHOW REVOLVES AROUND LATINX CULTURE OF THE 1950’s.

WHEN THERE ARE, IN FACT, PEOPLE OF LATINX HERITAGE ABLE TO CONTRIBUTE BRILLIANTLY TO THIS STORY – Directors and Choreographers, Assistant Directors, Lighting Designers, Stage Managers, Costume Designers…lots of Latinx “behind the table’ talent around in New York City!

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If only there was someone who knew all about the brilliance and diversity of Latinx culture in New York, who might even perhaps, be of Puerto Rican heritage?

Who possibly has worked on WEST SIDE STORY in the past?

If only…

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In fact, WEST SIDE STORY examines race relations between two groups of different culture and physical appearance. (No, you do not get to respond with ‘why is everything about race?” because the answer is – it IS, it is categorically about the clash of ethnic groups, who are specific, in New York City)

Each side spouts derogatory remarks about the other, in the period of the time, in order to eventually prove to the audience that…these things do not matter. Love is what matters in WEST SIDE STORY, ( love, high notes, and dancing) and if everyone would just get out of the way of love, and the color that they believe it has to look like – we would all be stronger for it.

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By the way – this is a concern for all POC, this is not one of the times you get to say “not my problem”, because this is a problem, Peg + Cat – not including POC to help tell a story about THEM…that is a problem.

Belgium is not known for it’s influx of Puerto Ricans, nor actually, Latinx people in general – they get their immigrants (and they do have quite a lot) from conflicted countries in Europe – Over the last decade, the main countries of origin have been Russia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, and Serbia and growing numbers from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro, and India.

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Belgium has not been a hot spot of Latinx immigration in recent years.

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Of course, these are people that are international travelers and artists….but they would, TFP believes, have to seek out in a really active way, exploring Puerto Rican culture during the post signing of the law that anyone born in PR is a US citizen.

Though Spain is close, in Europe everything is relatively close – Spain is not Puerto Rico.

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Which is why the characters in WSS are at the point they are at – because jobs and opportunity were few at the time, so they came to America to pursue the American dream. They are Americans who are bilingual. Also they hold dual citizenship, that of Puerto Rico and the United States. However, they were seen at the time as immigrants, because they were multi-lingual and because they came from a culture that had been invaded by the Spanish.

However, once here, they run up against the children of previous groups of immigrants who happened to be Caucasian – TONY is supposed to be Polish American – who have already assimilated into the New York City of the 1950’s.

The cast is equally split between Caucasians and Latinx roles, and they re-tell the story of Romeo and Juliette in the ‘modern’ era of the 1950’s.

Thus it was very surprising that the casting breakdown of the character of MARIA…

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currently on the internet for several days now, who is, definitively newly arrived from Puerto Rico, does not have Puerto Rican listed in the description. Or even Latinx.

They do not even list her as a soprano, which, she is an ingenue soprano!

DEFINITIVELY!

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TFP does not know why this is, and she does not want to…it could just be an oversight.

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Is it not listed because….everyone knows that Maria is Puerto Rican and this musical premiered on Broadway in 1957 and then was revived in 2009, so they just think everyone knows this?

It is not listed because….an intern wrote the casting breakdown?

It is not listed because…it is being directed and choreographed by Belgians and it has escaped their notice?

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TFP does not know.

However, it is concerning to her. VERY concerning to her.

Yes, we should all trust these very talented European Creatives whose work has not heretofore revolved around anything dealing with Latinx culture that TFP can find on the internet, to do their research.

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TFP has absolute confidence that they are doing their research while, apparently, erasing one of the Musical Theaters greatest choreographers work – Jerome Robbins, looking at you….and know that they will do an amazing job. Their past work has been breathtaking and mind-blowing and she hopes that will happen with their reinvention of WEST SIDE STORY.

But it is not off to a good start, Folks….

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Erasing Maria being Puerto Rican is not the way to begin WEST SIDE STORY.

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TFP out.

The Fairy Princess was taking the summer off. She is working – and, as she said low those many moons ago – if Producers would just keep her employed, there would be no blog, because she would not have time.

Something to keep in mind….

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First off, let’s have some GOOD news, and there is a ton –TFP‘s Favorite, Ms. Sandra Oh, was the first woman of Asian descent was nominated for an Emmy Awardfor a lead role.

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Which is both sad and amazing.

Sad this is just the first time in the millions of years since the EMMYS were founded in 1949  – that a person of Asian descent has had a meaty role on television in a leading category.

Amazing because…Sandra Oh is flat out, amazing!

As both an Actor and an Activist, she never gives an inch, and that is what makes her an outstanding person and creative artist. TFP is proud to know her and her work.

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TFP doesn’t take too much personally, but if Sandra Oh does NOT win, oh EMMY voters….

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In more surprising news – Sandra Oh is NOT the only Asian Descended Person nominated this year – Darren Criss is also nominated as a Lead Actor in the Television Movie category. The show, WESTWORLD – which features Aussie actor, Leonardo Nam, was nominated. DRUNK HISTORY, which this year featured Randall Park retelling the story of the Frank Emi, was nominated. Eddie Shin is part of the nominated show, Alexa and Katie, awesome. As was Japanese born American television director, Hiro Murai for the show, ATLANTA.

So how about that!

Then across the pond, Daniel York is doing us proud by not only being a brilliant Actor and Activist, he has written a play specifically about Chinese people in the UK, around World War 1, and it is being produced by the Arcola Theater!

Hereis the link for tickets!

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Forgotten 遗忘 is inspired by the little-known story of the 140,000 Chinese Labour Corps who left everything and traveled half way around the world to work for Britain and the Allies behind the front lines during World War One.

TFP is thrilled about this because, Mr. York saw a need, and filled it –  and while it is not a great time to be an East Asian Actor in the UK, it is getting better with Artists such as he is leading the charge and also making room for up and comers.

TFP wants to thank Daniel, and Lucy Sheen, and Anna Chen and many others for continuing the fight, and ALSO because she knows that they were out there protesting the American Cheeto POTUS, and that makes her happy.

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Now in totally awful ‘representation’ news, from Down Under,

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which has the casting sensitivity of a goana, the Sydney Opera House has announced that they have set the two main principals for their production of WEST SIDE STORY, and is Maria Latinx?

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NYET!

(TFP figured we should all start casually throwing in Russian phrases in casual conversation so we are ready when Putin calls in his markers)

Now, Sydney Opera House has cast a local soprano as Maria, and let’s – even though photos do not ever adequately represent a representation of the Latinx diaspora – they do show the people at home the soprano, Julia Lea Goodwin.

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Adorable.

Not Latinx. Nor Spanish.

She is well known for playing Maria on an Australian national tour, but prior to that, she was ‘plucked from obscurity’ to cover the role of Christine Daàe in PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, starring Anthony Warlow in 2007 when she was 19. She has done a heap of concerts and operas, and in general, seems like a true Aussie Sheila, and has a lovely voice.

She does not, upon TFP‘s searching, represent or claim to be anything other than Caucasian in Australia – and there is nothing wrong with that.

Boring DNA is no one’s issue.

It is what it is.

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There IS, however, something wrong with her being hired to be Maria in West Side Story because…wait for it, Maria for those unfamiliar with the show, is Puerto Rican.Which is not a group that Australia is overly familiar with, to be blunt. The production is being directed by Francesca Zambello, who was born in America, but grew up abroad and is fluent in several languages, but not Spanish.

That seems like it is going to go GREAT!

As far as TFP can see, this is a WSS being done and directed by people who have only seen the West Side on a postcard, and thus far, there is no Puerto Rican influences within the creative team – which is not the best thing for the world in general.

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First off – Where is Puerto Rico? Screen Shot 2018-07-15 at 2.19.27 AM

Puerto Rico is off of the end of Florida, for those who know where to look, and if you do not, in the right corner, marked PR?  Right there.

The USA ‘annexed’ Puerto Rico in 1898 as a result of the Spanish American War.  ‘Annexed’ is a nice way of saying that the USA took it from Spain, who had previously claimed it. This was all part of an ongoing plot by the US Government to ‘annex’ strategic territories like Guam, American Samoa, US Virgin Islands, and Mariana Islands for military and economic purposes, but hold off on granting them statehood.Which would mean they would get rights. As it is, they are in a weird limbo.

It was a super selfish and sh*tty thing to do, and totally self serving, but it was done. What it really does is allow the United States to treat Puerto Rico as part of the USA when they want, and as a foreign nation, when they legally choose to.

In 1940 Congress ruled that anyone born in Puerto Rico, was a US Citizen.

West Side Story premiered on Broadway in 1957.

Puerto Rico is a set of islands that united to become the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in 1952. They are an unincorporated territory of the United States.  People who are Puerto Rican can be both citizens of the United States, and citizens of Puerto Rico. Concurrently.

Languages spoken in Puerto Rico are Taino, Spanish, and English.  Spanish & English are the ‘official’ languages of Puerto Rico.

Now, Australia has an awful track record with minorities – we see that every day if you have an internet connection and a penchant for watching minorities get attacked on public transport. As a matter of fact, TFP‘s Great Grandad was murdered there in 1922 in Innisfail- partially for being wealthy and partially for being Chinese. His murderer got off because they thought it would be problematic for a White Man to be convicted of killing a Chinese.

So TFP knows from whence she speaks.

Combine that with Opera casting which tends to be traditionally problematic, because they disregard background in favor of the desired sound. So many Butterflies, So many Radamès and Aïdas, Otellos, Carmen’s…operatic stages fully embrace the sound alone – and in a perfect world, that would be fine.

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Australia still is very reluctant to cast with authenticity – and time and time again, whether it is IN THE HEIGHTS or EVITA, (Also produced by Sydney Opera, with a non Latinx Eva Peron) they get it wrong far more than they get it right for Latinx performers.

When on occasion queried by TFP, at a conference and such, Aussie creatives blatantly reply that there are not trained performers of minority to put forth from conservatory, and thus, they rely on wigs and makeup to represent those people, time and time again, ad nauseum.

This was at a Musical Theater Educators conference at NYU where TFP was an invited speaker.

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The comfort they have with the erasure of peoples of different cultures is ingrained in the country, and as the country is majority Caucasian, they see no reason to change, while at the same time they market themselves as a tourist destination, the Gateway to Asia, and plug diversity anywhere the world’s eye can catch it to fuel the tourism industry. However in practice, the performing communities of Australia tend to be dominated by Caucasians – they are both the gatekeepers and the perpetuators of the status quo.

Like, can’t they just pop the lid on their stubbies and get down to the task of authenticity in casting? What is the delay? Are they really just THAT entrenched in their own bullshit that they cannot smell the stink on this bit of news?

Currently Sydney Opera has doubled down on the Whitewashing.

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This is the same company that thought it was appropriate to cast a non Asian person as The King in THE KING AND I.

Boyfriend of the woman set to play Mrs. Anna, wasn’t it?

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The resulting uproar was such that they had to place a call to Hawaii and ask Mr. Jason Scott Lee to come and save their tushes until he broke his ankle and asked his buddy, Lou Diamond Philips, who had done it on Broadway, and yes, for those in the back, is Filipino heritage, to fill in for the rest of the tour.

Even though recent casting uproars in Australia – some of which have led to either postponing the show or cancelling it

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to just soldier on with more ridiculous notions of casting in the 1950’s, rather than step up to the plate and evolve with current times, and cast as most benefits the story.

For those who need a refresher on WEST SIDE STORY:

Based on a modern retelling of Romeo & Juliet by Shakespeare, this one is written by three brilliant men, Leonard Bernstein (music), Stephen Sondheim (lyrics), and Arthur Laurents (book).

Originally, it was going to be a modern retelling of R&J with a forbidden romance between a Jewish ingenue and an Irish hero. They were in familiar territory, because they had experienced anti-semitism in its many forms, and they thought they could write about it.

With various delays, stops and starts over 8 years, and after glancing at a newspaper article about the gang wars in Los Angeles, but feeling that it had to be set in New York because they knew the geography better – and since director/choreographer Jerome Robbins loved the idea of working with Latin rhythms on a show, the location changed, as did the name.

What once was EAST SIDE STORY, became WEST SIDE STORY, and warring New York gangs were the backdrop. As they knew enough to know that at the time, New York had more Puerto Ricans than Mexicans – the basis of the original article was about gang wars between rival Mexican groups in Los Angeles – the Sharks were written to be Puerto Rican.

Thus a landmark musical was born, in which songs and dance bled into one another without the jarring formulas of earlier musicals – dance expressed emotion, and not just a dream ballet. It was earth-shattering at the time, and has remained sacrosanct in many productions around the country even as it grew older.

The show grew into a musical theater staple with performers all around the country, because of the diaspora of the Puerto Rican culture, throwing on dark wigs, and a deeper base makeup to give stereotypical representations of what they imagined Puerto Ricans to be. Even though they could look at the film, and see EGOT winner, and actual Puerto Rican, Rita Moreno, play the role of Anita.

In the original Broadway production, it was played by Chita Rivera, while non Latinx performer, Carol Lawrence played Maria.

According to Professor Brian Herrera of Princeton University, the most recent Broadway production in 2009 acknowledged that there were issues with the representation of Puerto Ricans in the original – the language that they used, the syntax, was changed, and Lin-Mañuel Miranda was hired to translate some of the lyrics into Spanish.

Was it entirely successful? Not entirely – the translation went from English to Spanish, and lyrics that worked in English did not necessarily work in Spanish – however, it was the brainchild of Arthur Laurents, writer of the book of the show. Both he and Sondheim have stated that they have had issues with the show, and that they could have done better.

Hindsight is 20/20.

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In Australia, Latinx immigration waves started in the 1970’s with people immigrating from Chile, Uruguay and Argentina, while in the 1980’s this expanded to include El Salvador and other Central American countries. Primarily now, the largest numbers still come from Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, and El Salvador.

In the 2006 Census, there were just under 90K Latinx people in the country who were born elsewhere and immigrated and then there were just under 100K people born in Australia of Latinx heritage. In general, they make up, or did make up 0.91% of Australia.

Now, of those around 200K people, TFP estimates that there are a least a few sopranos that would be appropriate for Maria.

Who reside in Australia.

Who did not get to audition or even get a call about checking their avail.

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Likewise, she is fairly certain that Sydney Opera can find Latinx singers and dancers to play the Sharks, Bernardo and Anita. That is only half the cast. The remainder can be as white as white can be. The remainder can be typical “true blue, fair dinkum, g’day mate, prawns on the barbie, violet crumble, mates at the pub after work‘ typical Aussie.

Playing New York kids of the 1950’s.

Put bluntly, if they were able to shut down and then re-emerge with an authentic IN THE HEIGHTS, this should be no issue at all.

The question is – will they?tumblr_n2psbdHELw1qm1vx8o1_500

Or will their general tone deaf, we can do whatever we want because we are Australia and no one can see us, vibe continue?

What of their American Director? Will she put her foot down, and embrace American Broadway standards, or is she going to say that it is another country, she didn’t choose the soprano, and she is just a hired gun?

Which is what Directors of Operas tend to say when there is an issue such as this.

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The other thing to note is that Opera Australia is not limited to only Aussie artists. They host foreign artists all the time, and cite all their international clout on their website – so why choose to elevate a singer that has no authenticity to tell this story?

If this story is something you want to tell, in this day and age, do it right, or do OKLAHOMA.

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Or SOUND OF MUSIC.

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Or WITCHES OF EASTWICK, CAROUSEL(wait, no, no one should do Carousel, forget TFP said that, it is gross – good music, but gross), MUSIC MAN, CANDIDE, FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, HELLO DOLLY, BRIGADOON, PAINT YOUR WAGON….literally we could be here all day if we chose shows that have nothing to do with Latinx culture that would feature a soprano!

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However, this issue of white washing starts with the top management at Sydney Opera and trickles through the company. People of Color are able to be seen only at the purview of the people at the top – and who exactly is at the ‘top’ of the Sydney Opera House?

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Lyndon Terracini.

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He is a former baritone, and is currently the Artistic Director of Sydney Opera. He likely sees nothing wrong with who he helped choose to play Maria because he is not thinking about the differences through which the world is seen.

Which is interesting, because his Parents or Grandparents would have been immigrants to Australia, and yet, he is not featuring Latinx people in either EVITA or WEST SIDE STORY – one of which is up now, and one of which is coming. He is comfortably enabling white washing, and one wonders – because Italians did not have the easiest acceptance in Oz following the war, if this is in some way, trying to prove something to himself internally.

What if it was an Italian story? Would it be important to be authentic then? Would you want someone with cultural ties to that community to be involved if it was MOST HAPPY FELLA? Or LA BOHEME? Or BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY?

Why would you tell 2 Latinx stories, without them, in a celebratory year for Latinx Australians? It makes no sense.

When they are all geared up for the Sydney Latin Festival which is one of the biggest gatherings of Latin dancers in the world?

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You would have to be an idiot to think they were not going to notice non Latina Eva Peron’s and Maria’s!

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He is also not, apparently, developing new audiences, because Latinx Aussies would love to come and see themselves represented in a story that purports to represent them. There are about 200K of them in Oz, and yet…no audience outreach.

Bloody Hell.

He wants them, because he chose the shows, but he will not cast them, because he doesn’t want their performances muddying up his sacrosanct space?

So weird.

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If TFP was on the Board of that Opera Company, she would be concerned that he is, once again, putting the international reputation of the Sydney Opera Company at risk, while at the same time ignoring revenue streams.

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What exactly is Sydney Opera teaching here? They are just reinforcing the view that minorities do not have the right to tell stories in which they are major characters.

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TFP knows this because she has three little 1/2 Brasilian, 1/2 Eurasian Aussie cousins who study music and dance, and their parents would likely fly them to Sydney to let them take in a more authentic representation of Maria and company.

Probably spend thousands of dollars.

But nope.

Sorry, nyet – that is thousands of dollars not being spend at the Opera House.

Look, Oz has a lot to answer for – they stole Aboriginal children from their families, they practiced blatant discrimination against the Chinese, domestic violence is very bad, there have been countless murders and attacks on people who are not the prototypical Aussie – but don’t they get that if they simply started telling authentic stories, that the rate of tolerance in the country would rise?

That is the true and honest power of casting.

That stories that make ‘us’, what is usually termed ‘the other’, the stories that make us human and portray us as having feelings and rationals and goals – those universal stories that people love without question – don’t you think seeing an actual minority face in the role will have an effect on the thousands of people that will come and see the production?

What hurts minorities and leads to racial violence is the ability to think you have higher status than someone else because of your race or gender.

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Using people that are within a reasonable scope of the ethnic requirements of the character helps people see them as human.

Denying visibility because you do not want to go through the extra step of making a goddamn phone call to a few managers, is, to put it bluntly – racist.

It’s racist. And lazy. But mostly racist.

We see you – the world sees you, and Sydney Opera, you are on notice – TFP is watching – every time you do it, she will call it out. The population of Oz is changing, and you have to keep up. A brown wig and cheap pancake makeup badly applied is not going to do it any longer.

We is in the 24 hour news cycle, now kids….

Sparkly lights, feathers and glitter all the time!

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Ms. Zambello?  No, TFP did not forget you. Not in holy Hannah Gadsby did she forget you…no, no, Nanette!

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You are an American, you know better. My friend, the late film critic Anderson Jones always told TFP that if people knew better, they would do better.

TFP has a word for you, intersectionality.

People of Color have stood for and are part of the LGBTQ community, a giant part – and seeing that you are a part of this whitewashing hurts TFP’s almost entirely dessiccated from having to explain this over and over again, heart.

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TFP sentences all the Creatives that are putting up this Whitewashed WEST SIDE 100 whacks of the wand, commands them to get their heads out of their asses where they have apparently lain dormant for some time, and decrees you must all purchase via Amazon, the graphic novel created to help save Puerto Rico, RICANSTRUCTION – because Hurricane Sydney Opera is comfortable with doing it’s own damage to those people who proudly claim it’s heritage.

And it ain’t right.

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TFP out.

The Fairy Princess is a lover of Dancing of the Stars – and she likes, as Scott Nevin’s and family says, ‘the glitz”

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She does not watch all the time, because…she is a grown ass person with -ish to do, but recently her buddy at Onstage Blog, Chris Peterson, tagged her in a photo he snagged and….here it is

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Yes, that is openly Gay Olympian, Adam Rippon – with body paint and a wig. A wig, btw, that he chose. He was told the other dancers were wearing a wig and so he wanted a wig – specifically a bowl cut wig.

Because what is funnier than doing some Asian inspired dance than making all Asian men look like the worst bus and truck non Equity tour of The King and I, starring a distant cousin of Stacy Keach?

Apparently Asian Americans and AAPI men in general are there as window dressing, and have no style.

 

Any of these guys have a bowl cut?

NOPE.

And what about the Ladies….all red wigs and fans?

Didn’t think so.

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Here is the Freestyle

Let’s break it down – we have the music, in Spanish – because K-Pop would have been a bit too on the nose, then we have the dancers all made up to resemble Asians – TFP says that without any irony – they are holding red fans and snapping them hither and yon. Even if you were trying to desperately trying to say it was ‘just wigs’ or whatever, the combination is supposed to reference Asian women.

In this routine there is bowing. There is shuffling. There is faux giggling.

All Adam is trying to do is serve ‘Full Non Specific Asian Pimp Realness’– not his best look.

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So all of the ‘badass-ness’ that could come with doing a tribute K-Pop number is lost, because it is not a tribute, it is number that has a lot of mockery behind it.

TFP has to land the choreo squarely on the shoulders of the choreographer, Jenna Johnson.

No Bueño, Ms. Johnson!

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Likely because it IS MAY, which is AAPI Heritage Month, they thought a K-Pop number would be a great fit.

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But it is NOT a great fit, it is YELLOWFACE and here is why – Adam Rippon is painted.

Yes, Adam Rippon, for those at home who do not get this, the role model and who is always spouting that he wants to represent for his peeps – is spray painted a different color and they put him in a bowl cut black wig, (at his request) and that – in a very, VERY nasty way, does make him resemble – not completely – another ethnicity.

Also, perhaps his Peeps, to him, are not AAPI – but that would be hard to fathom, as the LGBTQ Community in Cali does have quite a lot of AAPIS in it.

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Now, many of you will say, “Well, but Rippon is gay”, and the answer to that is this – even members of a minority group can display ignorance and racism to a different group.

If members of the LGBTQ Community can put on their Tindr or Grindr or whatever dr they subscribe to quantifications like “No Fats, No Femmes, No Asians“, or hide their racism behind the old trope “I’m just not attracted to that”  to hide that they do not consider people of other backgrounds sexually attractive  or just ‘less than’ – then the LGBTQ community has some issues they have to work out, ‘in house’.

In other words, you can be Gay, and still have problems with People of Color, Trans people, Trans People of Color, and LGBTQ people with Disabilities.

TFP is not saying Adam Rippon has issues with any PoC in any category, but she is saying there is often a disconnect about the intersectionality of bias and how it affects choices made by various peoples.

Adam Rippon is a White Cis Homosexual Man – and while in many ways he did not have privilege because of who he is, in other ways, he does have it. For example, the idea of painting oneself did not seem offensive to him, because his skin tone is, ahem, without extreme melanin of any kind.

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There were several steps to get to ‘this approved look’, and literally any one of at least a dozen people at ABC could have pulled the plug on the wig and the spray tan.

A costume is a costume – this one looked like it was stolen from a regional production of La Cage Aux Folles out of Jacob’s closet of Albin’s cast offs, but…it was a costume with M.C. Hammer Pants and glitter.

The body paint and the wig – that is the issue here. White People do not get to be ‘Asian for fun!” – cuz TFP will tell you, when you turn on a television, and see people mocking you, it is not fun.

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The stylist, the make up artist, the executives, CARRIE ANN INABA, any of them could have said “Y’all, this is not flying as long as there is breath in my body, especially as this is AAPI Heritage Month, it’s about as sensitive as a meteor shower hitting Utah’.

But they did not. Because even though ABC is the home of breakthrough, landmark shows like….oh – FRESH OFF THE BOAT, which is the ONLY show on all of network television to portray an Asian American Family – it did not occur to them that YELLOWFACE was offensive.

So how far have ‘we’ come, honestly? How much are ‘we’ accepted? One must wonder.

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To the MUA and Stylist and to Adam Rippon himself, TFP is gonna say “You missed the Boat’ on this one, this one is fresh off the racism.

Check your privilege.

Or take it up with the Huang Family on Friday Nights this Fall.

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Also, Adam, how you gonna paint yourself when you are on the same damn show as Mirai, and you know personally the Shib Sibs, and Nathan Chen – what are you gonna say to them about this mess? How are you going to make this up to Kristi Yamaguchi?

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Also BOO to Carrie Ann Inaba, who, in her critique, did NOT call this sh*t out!

CARRIE ANN!

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This is not where you hold yourself back and say ‘Well I am a judge and ballroom dance is crazier than a rat in a coffee can with it’s costumes and spray tans and ruffles so I am not going to say a damn thing.”

Speak up and speak OUT!

This is where you say “Look, I know that you wanted to free dance and pay tribute, and everyone loves a good dress up, but this is not a tribute to K-Pop or in any way appropriate – what do you think you look like, what were you going for here?”

Cuz Carrie Ann, you are ON THAT SHOW!

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People look up to you!

AAPI’s watch that show, in part, because YOU are a representation of US – top of your field, visible, not acting, having opinions – you know you had opinions, you should have said all of them.

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However TFP doesn’t hold Carrie Ann responsible for the bad choices made by Adam Rippon, Jenna Johnson, the Make Up Artist, and Stylist, this mess is strictly on them and whatever Executive said this was ok.

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TFP fines them fifteen days of 8 hour barre class and a hundred and twenty whacks of the wand to all involved – Adam Rippon, Jenna Johnson, the MUA, the Stylist, the Wig person, and the Executive.

This was a big mistake, huge.

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TFP out.

 

Hey Y’all,

TFP here…you know me…

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Anyway, there has been a ‘sitch’ over in the UK – an Agent, who is white, who reps a reputable agency, wrote on a closed forum…oh here’s a hint – don’t think anything is closed, Gurl, cuz there is this thing called ‘screen shots’ and nothing is sacred....and TFP wants some cross support from Americans for the BAME Actors putting up with this ish.

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Here is what Gemma Hamilton, who yes, has since apologized, wrote – and yes, she is one of the headlining Agents for this agency – because it is called Lowy Hamilton Artists.

“I’m bored of breakdowns asking for BAME Actors. (That is Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic Actors)Casting them because of the color of their skin because it adds that va va voom to the cast list, or their skills in performance? And now I see a breakdown for BAME only that are actor/musos. It’s putting talented ‘white’ performers out of work. I think it stinks.”

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Which has caused some noise – rightly so.

Only now, TFP wants it to make some NOISE – and get American Actors of Color if you fall under BAME categorization, go for it – to Tweet and Instagram a photo of youself, at work, in costume, going to an audition, and so on – #VaVaVoom – ing.

All y’all – get them up!

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Broadway PoC – this is your moment, almost TONY time – eyes are on you.

Broadway has some truly extraordinary PoC working every day, 8 shows a week, telling the story , as does Regional theater (Looking at You #SoftPower) – and of course, on Television, Netflix, Cable, Cinema – and they are all valid stories, they are all people who should be seen.

Talented, hard working people whose skills and talents have put them on the top of their professions.

 

We are more than the color of our skin, we deserve more than to get some racist side-eye from some people who are sad that through will and skill we are slowly but surely beginning to #ChangeTheStage.

Get them UP, Get them Viral – because there are little kids out there who are not seeing themselves nearly enough. There are kids out there of all kinds, cis, trans, minority, who believe that there is not room enough for them in the world, that they are less worthy.

They are worthy.

Who can tell them better than YOU?

Who can show them, better than YOU?

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Points of view like that of Gemma Hamilton pervade our Industry – and it is time that we answer, once and for all, with a resounding roar.

 

Go ahead, #VaVaVoom yourselves.

TFP out.

The Fairy Princess wants you to know it is May….of course you know to basic people, that means it is Justin Timberlake month, however it is…drumroll please – ASIAN AMERICAN PACIFIC ISLANDER MONTH!

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Which means that for this month of May, the lusty month of May, AAPI’s are going to be deservedly ‘extra’, and will not apologize for it!

Get Crazy, Get Cultural, and Get IT, APPIs  

To prep y’all – here is a video from NBC Asian America

 

Everyone got it? Great!

Moving On….

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THE TONY AWARDS!!!!!!!!!!!!

For the non-theater going public they are likely confused, but for those who love illogically bursting into song while walking down a street, where then it magically rains, but you still survive the fall from the tree where you were trying to off yourself – there is a lotta leeway in musical theater. Of course, there are the requisite ‘straight’ plays – ie. no singing.

TFP feels some sorta way about straight plays,

no, no no – she is a kidder. She loves straight pe…plays too.

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No really, she saw LOBBY HERO, it was  great!

But of course, she does love the musicals…

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This season, unlike seasons of the past there are actually, AAPIs nominated in roles and in the technical categories.

Supercool – we maybe get one nomination every ummm, well in terms of performers there was BD Wong and Lea Salonga and then nothing till RuthieAnn Miles (Love you RA), and now, to add to that list –

Robert (Bobby) Lopez & Kristin Anderson Lopez  for Best Original Music and lyrics for the Theater –

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Ashley Park – Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical for

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Clint Ramos – Best Costume Design in a Musical –

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Kal Harada – Best Sound Design for

THE BAND’S VISIT

Speaking of THE BAND’S VISIT – it must be noted that if any of the cast would like to identify as Asian – specifically Central Asian because that is the region their heritage hails from, you may also know it as The Middle East...TFP is all for that, and it is completely  up to them, but if they wanna…let her know, we need the numbers.

This is a remarkable TONYs because there are more than a few female nominees, and TFP would like to acknowledge how special it is, and how difficult it is, on the Creative side, to ‘get there’ because you have to kick ass and take names – so if you see any of the Female Nominees, pour one out for them, they deserve it.

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The TONYS are broadcasting on CBS on June 10th at 8PM.

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Yet another cool thing –  Asian American Film Lab’s 72 Hour Shoot Out

Yes, you want diversity. When do you want it? Yesterday.

Check out the website, competition and rules to compete in the 72 Hour Shoot Out

If you were ever curious about what it takes to be an AAPI Filmmaker or even wanted to appear as an actor in a short film, this competition is the way to go.

You have 72 hours total to assemble your team, cast, write, produce, edit, add music and submit it before it is over.

You can win all sorts of cool stuff, including mentorships with Network people so…take TFP’s advice and check it out.

Also – full disclosure, TFP is a judge this year.

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May is also the annual Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, beginning today – may the Fourth be with you. Check out their schedules and information on all their panels and cool parties here!

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SOFT POWER is now in Previews at the Ahmanson in LA!

What better way to celebrate the month than by taking in David Henry Hwang’s latest work that is Broadway Bound?

 Looks great!

Listen you do NOT have to be in New York or Los Angeles to be a theater or movie going AAPI! There are Film Festivals celebrating this month literally EVERYWHERE – for example…

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Center for Asian American Media is in San Francisco and is a HUGE resource all year round for people with an interest in all types of representation. Check out what they do and how they do it, here.

Again, if you do not know some cool stuff to do – one search engine ought to do it for your city, helping you find some gems of representation that you did not know you needed before you saw it.

Like this one from HAMILTON – all the Asian heritaged Elizas, including TFP’s personal favorite, Shoba Naryan (She did the panel for BroadwayCon) however excellent, heartwrenching performances by Arianna Afsar, Lexi Lawson, Rachelle Ann Go, and Julia Harriman.

TFP was all….

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Though in the States, May is the month, last month in April, for British East Asian and Southeastern Asians there was a theater conference!

Supercool!

According to  reports, it was a doozy.

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There was verbal hostility between Academics, which…TFP thought the Brits were too reserved to do, but…anyway, it happened.

Hopefully apologies were given, if not, one imagines there will be long term ramifications, and honestly – the kerfuffle does dim the spotlight on what seemed to be a great event.

Chinese,Welsh, and British Dragons should all be able to get along…

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After all, TFP is all three of those.

Ahem.

Pull it together, Dragons.

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One of the highlights for those of us in the States who want there to be more recognition of British East Asian Playwrights, was the premiere of a new work.

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Yanks can obtain a copy of a newly published collection by British East Asian Playwrights – and guess what? You can get it on Amazon.com.

Plus, do NOT forget, on May 23rd, the anthology to help Puerto Rico recover – RICANSTRUCTION, drops – and TFP has written a story for La Boriqueña’s BFF, Lala, who is Dominican and Chinese!

Shazam!!! AAPI Tie in!

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Isn’t May AMAZING?

And lastly, you cannot see it in May, but you can think about it all summer before it drops in August…it’s out there, it’s coming….Crazy Rich Asians

There ya go…just a few things..history is happening….be there!

TFP out.

The Fairy Princess wanted to acknowledge some good things – every once in a while…we need some good news – and we have HAD some, so everyone give a big YAAASSS cuz the the trailer for Crazy Rich Asians just walked in on some early influencer screenings like..

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Take a look at the very first Rom Com that has Asian Americans, British East Asians and Asians from Asia, working together, speaking English and various other languages, but primarily English, in something that was not set in a mythical long ago-ness, that does not have a white haired witch, flying, bamboo forrests, swords or dragons….

Looks hot.

Looks really hot.

TFP would not be lying if she had been afraid that too much pressure was on this film, like we were all looking at it and coaching it to do better in math, piano, science, ballet, violin, open a charity, and get a perfect score on the SATS…

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But, it looks like it just might have…and that is #ALLTHEFEELS, and all the phoenix from the ashes BS that we are fed from cradle to the grave, and…that is some GOOD NEWS!

Special shout outs to Constance Wu and Nico Santos- having very very briefly known you at some point in the past, TFP is beyond thrilled for you to be featured in glorious technicolor, breathtaking cinemascope and stereophonic sound!!!!

Here is a commitment TFP asks you to consider…she would LOVE it if you can take the #TFPChallenge, all ye early influencers – promise to get ten friends or family to purchase tickets for OPENING WEEKEND, which is in August 17th.

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Come on, nothing big happens in August, everyone wants to be inside anyway, because it is too damn hot!

TFP does not want only AAPIs in this film – she would request that all People of Colorwho enjoy going to the movies, ALSO purchase a ticket.

AAPIs have come out in the past, not in ye olden days -in the very recent past, for movies where People of Color needed support to show that they are influencers and money makers just by being present in a story that needed to be told, and TFP would like to call upon those who have called upon us.

Quid Pro Quo, Clarice...we are all going to hear these lambs TOGETHER….

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Another big win for the world in general is that Sandra Oh, everyone’s favorite Grey’s Anatomy alum is on a new show on BBC America, KILLING EVE, for which, she said during an interview,she did not think she was up for the lead when she got the script.

She was all about combing it to look for a plucky sidekick.

But no one puts Sandra in a corner, so DANCE BREAK!!!!!

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Playwright Lauren Yee is on the bill at The Atlantic Theater Company in NYC – her play, THE GREAT LEAP is set to open on May 23rd. Directed by TAIBI MAGAR, and starring BD Wong, Ali Ahn, Tony Aidan Vo, and Ned Eisenberg.

Here is from the Atlantic’s website:

San Francisco, spring 1989. Manford Lum, locally renowned on the sidewalk basketball courts of Chinatown, talks his way onto a college team, just before they travel to Beijing for a “friendship” game. When they arrive, China is in the throes of the post-Cultural Revolution era, and Manford must juggle international politics and his own personal history. Inspired by events from her father’s life and (short-lived) basketball career, playwright Lauren Yee (The Hatmaker’s Wife) makes her Atlantic debut with this tender and fearless new play.

TFP thinks that one of Ms. Yee’s most dazzling qualities is that she has the ability to combine humor with stories of the past that are engaging, personal, and continually pose questions that need answering in today’s world.

You can grab that Off Broadway Ticket on the Atlantic Company’s website…

TFP is EXCITED!

LIKE DANCING IN A MIRROR LIKE A SERIES REGULAR, EXCITED!

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And now, we gots to have a moment….

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Now, remember when Ed Skrein stepped down from HELLBOY? Well, Broadway’s Sierra Boggess, has alsostepped down from a role that had a lot of repercussions about representation – the London Concert of West Side Story.

Which is something she certainly did not have to do, but she listened and showed openmindedness. Generally, when people stand up and do something that noticeably affects People of Color – you acknowledge it and appreciate it – it honestly does not happen often.

Having only briefly seen her as a ‘person’ on the stage @BroadwayCon and then of course, on the stage in performance, TFP always had a feeling that Ms. Boggess was a cool chick with raging high notes – and now we of the theater know, she is indeed a cool chick.

Thank you Ms. Boggess.

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The idea that concerts are not the same as shows, and that what ‘flies’ in an orchestral setting does not mean endorsement of long held problematic castings is…well, it is naive to say the very least.

Sometimes, those concerts give the spotlight to people who are underrepresented getting to show off their skills and open up minds about what the possibilities are when ‘we’ get the ‘same’ opportunities to shine.

Sometimes, they just let people sing songs that are culturally messy and the premise that they are just concerts allows them to do that.

A non-Latinx Maria is a problem.

Thanks to some activism spearheaded byProject Am I Right, and various other folks on social media, this concert – which is yes, to be filmed as a permanent record – will show that they can find an outstanding Latinx Maria, and no small Latinx girls who are watching will think that they do not matter.

Don’t make this super personal Folks, it is all about the kids.

Representation does matter.

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Speaking of which – “RICANSTRUCTION: Reminiscing & Rebuilding Puerto Rico” is, for the FIFTH WEEK IN A ROW – the NUMBER ONE PRE-ORDER on Amazon!

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TFP is thrilled about this because Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez is da BOMB for getting this all together and getting support from DC Comics, Celebrities, and Artists to pull off this 200 page comic anthology.

Please pick up a copy!

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The Good Doctor from Daniel Dae Kim‘s Production Company, got a pick up from ABC – showing us again, that they do have a commitment to Diversity and Inclusion.

Brava Tamlyn Tomita and the rest of the Company!

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Also…this just in…

BLACK PANTHER TOPPED $676 MILLION in the UNITED STATES and we get to see T’Challa and Company in AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR ON FRIDAY APRIL 27th!!!

Literally days away!!!!

SO EXCITED!!!!!!

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Overall…it has been a good week, Y’all – let’s remember that

TFP out.

The Fairy Princess has been taking note of a lot of things…lots of things…and there will be her usual ‘extra-ness’ at another time, this is gonna be a little bit of afternoon delight quickie realness…and it is specific and it is pointed and y’all may not like her after, but that is ok.

Recently she received this in the mail from Actors Equity Association

Dear Fairy Princess,

I wanted you to hear this news from me first. This season will be the last for the name “Gypsy Robe.” The tradition and the ceremony before opening night of a Broadway musical, in which Equity honors the chorus member with the most Broadway Chorus credits, will continue, but the name will change.

Equity’s National Council recommended this week that we retire the name “Gypsy Robe.” I supported this change, and as chair of the ACCA Committee, I led the charge at the committee level.

That is not where I started on this issue. If you had asked me when I first joined Equity’s Council, I never thought I would sit down to write this message.

When I think of the Robe, I think about the intent behind the tradition, which has become an institution of our community. For over 60 years we have celebrated our members with legs in the business with a fun event on opening night. Many people have received the Robe more than once and some have even passed on receiving it again, so that more of us can feel the pride of an event that celebrates lasting in a business most don’t even get started in.

But here is the reality: this name is no longer appropriate, particularly as we engage in our work to reduce hiring bias in the theatre industry. I hope you will join me and take a moment to consider the difference between intent and impact.

The word “Gypsy” originates as a slur employed against the Romani people. Romani (also called Roma) people didn’t travel from place to place because they wanted to. Historically, they traveled because no one, no country, no sovereign state, accepted them. Still today they suffer persecution and are treated as second-class citizens. They obviously didn’t have a union behind them negotiating their time or travel conditions or overtime rates.

It’s time to move forward together. Will you click here and tell us what you think the new name should be?

Good intentions don’t sanitize the huge impact an expression has, and how much the words we use matter. We can – and we will – continue the Robe tradition. But we cannot appropriate someone else’s identity without their voice attached to it. The Robe has carried as its name an insult to people who have literally not been allowed the same kinds of privileges and rights that we all have created a union to defend. That must stop.

History will not go away because of the change of a name. But what we can do is control our own actions. As a union, a collective created to champion actors’ rights and be their voice, we must lead by example.

This change may not easy for everyone. But it is right.

In Solidarity,

Kim Jordan
Chair, Advisory Committee on Chorus Affairs

The Fairy Princess is an AEA Member, she is also a SAG-AFTRA Member and she is also – a damn human being of color and she is THRILLED that AEA took, let’s be honest, the time to write this letter and send it out.

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She thinks this decision was done quickly and did not take a lot of time, because when something is ‘right’, it is ‘right’. As her friend, Anderson Jones used to say “If they knew better they’d do better”.  As this is the age of the Interwebs, people have a lot more access to information, information is power. The world wide web is great power.

What comes with ‘Great power’.Super Friends, ya got me?….is GREAT RESPONSIBILITY.

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Now, rather than respond on everyone’s social network that helped the POTUS CHEEZUS spread mis-information – she is gonna lay it all out here.

Cuz there is a reason that all People of Color and People of Minority Status – and those who have ever been of a persecuted group, should back this. The Rom are descended People of Color. Which is almost 100 per cent the reason that they were kicked out of wherever they were – the color of their skin.

You need to back this or you are going to wind up yelling at people to get off your lawn and no one will want to visit your grouchy butt because you will shout about equality – but equality for one is equality for ALL.

When you pop off about how pointless and stupid this motion is – you reveal your prejudice against a people who have suffered enough. You show us your bigotry.

And yeah, it is bigotry.

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The Romanichal People, which is what generally people refer to as “Gypsy” are known by several names. Now, because America co-opts literally everything – over here in the States, yes, the word Gypsy has been divorced in many people’s minds from what they were in Europe – which was a persecuted people. Which currently IS a persecuted people.

Yes, they went through the concentration camps. Yes, they suffered cleansings’where soldiers went in and slaughtered them. AEA members may be unaware of their suffering, y’all think they are out having fun dancing around a campfire, but that is not the whole story.

In America, we have been ‘sold’ the romance of what a wandering life is without dealing with the reality of what is has always been – people being chased out of every place they have ever decided to rest for a moment. This is not newthey still ask Rom people to leave – whether they call them “Travelers‘ or “Tinkers’ in Ireland, Gypsies – or not.

The reason that the Rom have always been chased away, is because they are descended from the Dalit people of India.

They are Asian descended people.

Intermarriage and rape – YES, RAPE- over the generations with Europeans changed the way they look, but they are ‘of’ us – which is why Asian Americans need to support this change in nomenclature for a theater tradition that was developed as part of a fundraiser to help raise money for people who were dying from a plague called AIDS.

Dalits are called “The Untouchables” and somewhere several hundred years ago, they were, as a giant group, chased out of a India. Because of the color of their skin and their inability to climb out of poverty due to no fault of their own.

You know who was also considered “Untouchable”  until people changed their minds and opened their hearts?

People who had AIDS.

Commonality. Compassion.

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Hmmm, so they had to leave en masse their homeland because of personal safety issues. Sound like anyone you know?

Sounds like TFP‘s Catholic Family from Ireland. Sounds like her Chinese Family in Australia. Sounds like friends of hers whose families may also be considered minorities either ethnically or religiously or both. Sounds like people now who need to flee their own countries because of who they love. Sounds like people who have to give up their families because they are now their authentic selves, and their families cannot handle it.

In short, it sounds like all of us, everywhere.

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Now, yes, AEA had used the term “Gypsy” – American Actors adopted it, in particular in relation to dancers and chorus performers who, yes, travel quite a lot. Who, yes, live a wandering type of existence.

That was then, and truly, when it started, it was meant with no offense. Many celebs proudly state their Gypsy status – but that was then, and this is now.

Again, what America had been sold was the ‘romance’ of it, and let’s be honest, Theater People love romance and they love living their lives a bit…how shall we put it…on an angle.

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We were fed the romance of it in books, operas, films, cartoons, and stage plays – and anyone who does musicals who says they do not love swishy skirts, dance numbers, and tambourines is lying.

The created myth of the Rom is not and was not the reality of the Rom.

What ‘we’ did not know at the time, was that to Rom who had lost their families toethnic cleansings in almost every nation in Europe, that term was offensive. It had been used to ‘other’ them so that they were easily wiped away with a clean conscience by those Governments and Peoples that killed them.

It is and was equivalent to saying things like what TFP has been called, and she will list a few here –

Chink. (Ya got me, tough guy, TFP is Chinese)

Jap.  (Yo, not accurate)

Gook.  (Whoops not Korean)

Flip. (Must be because she sings, but sadly, no – try Maori)

Half-Breed. (Well…that one…kinda yes, but still)

Skank. Whore. Fat. Fat Slut.Bitch. (Is that really all you got?)

Dyke. (She had short hair and a leather jacket)

In Australia they would call her all the above derogatory names  and more because she was American, so she developed a flawless accent to match her Aussie Passport.

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TFP saw this AEA communication, which had options for changing the name of the robe that is attached to that tradition of rewarding the ensemble member who has been in the most Broadway shows and she was down with it.

Until she read the comments posted by AEA Members who did not like the name change because

1. They did not consider it important

2. They believed it was a case of getting too politically correct

3. They thought the Council was wasting THEIR money having thoughts in their head other than contracts.

Listen up, Crusty People –  the tradition has not been changed in any way.

Still goes to the ensemble member with the most Broadway shows under their belt. Still is passed on from one show to another on opening night.All the running around in a circle and adding of the special patches from each show, STAYING.

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We’re just gonna call it “The Robe” – or something like that. Four options were given.

(TFP voted for “The Robe” – She is not for naming it after anyone, keep it simple.)

What this debate is really about – is prejudice. If you are not down with the name change, then that is becauseyou see the Roma as less than Which is what they are used to. Which is why we need to do better.

No one wants people telling them what to do. People like to do what they want, and they want things that they have enjoyed to continue to stay around exactly as it began, no matter who is upset by it because they are the only people that matter. They are comfortable with the status quo.

Only – there is never a status quo, Folks – not in theater.

Theater is ever changing.

If you were told that an entire Union spent time celebrating “The Chink Robe” as an elaborate opening ceremony – what would your thoughts be?

If you arrived in NYC to hear that the NY Theater Community put it’s moxie behind “The (insert your slur of choice) Robe” –  as a celebration – would you get it then?

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No, TFP has no idea how many Rom are in AEA, and IT DOES NOT MATTER if there is ONE OR NONE.

Does. Not. Matter.

“We” of AEA now KNOW that it is offensive.

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Keep the tradition, lose the name.

So let it be said, so let it be done.

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Didn’t Hammerstein write about what happens to people who are carefully taught? Y’all have been carefully taught to use this phrase, now un-teach yourself.

We all grew with terms that applied to the LGBTQ family, we learned how to call Asian Americans, well…Asian Americans, and then AAPI to include Pacific Islanders. We learned how to call people Latinx, South Asian, African American, Middle Eastern, Central Asian, Native American, Indigenous Peoples…we learn ALL THE TIME – so stop the foolishness.

No one is backing off of contract negotiations. The Union does not stop because they have many people and there is this thing called ‘multi-tasking’. To espouse the “My Union should be working for me” BS, is actually, just BS.

They are working for you – just not ONLY you.

You do not mourn the loss of a Slur added to Robe.

IT IS A DAMN ROBE.

You keep the beautiful traditions and call it something else – just like the Catholic Church did with Druid Traditions. Just the way we all say Happy Holidays.

If it did not have cool and interesting and beautiful or funny patches from different shows all over it, someone would be wearing it to cover their nekkid tush! We have to have internal war over this?

These traditions and celebrations help raise money and awareness for people and services ALL OVER THE UNITED STATES – and you know who is a part of the United States?

Romanichal people.

Listen,  if it was the slur that applied to YOU – and someone stopped it – you would be grateful, not grumbling.

TFP out.

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