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

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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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The Fairy Princess has been sitting on a secret, which – SO UNCOMFORTABLE -and now The New York Times has done the big reveal, she can share that because of her participation in the Internet Where it Happens, she has become a very small part of a project she is thrilled to have worked on – hold on to your hats:

Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez‘s RICANSTRUCTION: Reminiscing & Rebuilding Puerto Rico, an Anthology with contributions of 130 Writers and Artists from the Comic Book Industry announced today that it drops on May 23rd! (But you can pre-order on Amazon)

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One of the reasons TFP is so excited about this anthology is because it is, across the board, incredibly inclusive. In fact, when Mr. Miranda-Rodriguez and she were communicating back and forth and he proposed she pitched a story – she was like…

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because TFP is not Puerto Rican, so she figured she would support by helping get in touch with a few people she knew that were famous and Puerto Rican and then purchasing the anthology.

As you do.

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BUT THEN...Mr. Miranda-Rodriguez told her about La LaLa Boriqueña‘s BFF who is…wait for it…1/2 Dominican and 1/2 Chinese!

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Then TFP was all…ok, yes, Gawd, I will send you a pitch!

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Which was then accepted, which allowed her to experience the genius of not only Mr. Miranda-Rodriguez, but the team he sent La La’s story to – Alex Lins, Christopher Sotomayor, and Arian Martinez, it was beyond an amazing experience!

TFP thinks that it is the coolest thing she has ever been involved in. Professionally.

TFP has ALL the feels about being able to contribute to this Anthology.

ALL of them.

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When she later found out that her pals Greg Pak and Keith Chow were also involved in the project, she was even happier! Because they are fierce, fun culture warriors!

Keith wrote of his own involvement as Assistant Editor on his blog, The Nerds of Color, read it here.

PLUS she found out that there were quite a few reasons for Fans of Broadway to purchase this Anthology, namely – Javier Muñoz (Hamilton), Rosario Dawson (RENT movie), Lemon Anderson (Def Poetry, TONY Winner), Mayda Del Valle (Def Poetry, TONY Winner) and Rubén Blades (Paul Simon’s CAPEMAN), oh and herself, TFP (Avenue Q).

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Honestly, it could not get better – to work on something like this with people who are so generous with their time and artistry, and so devoted to righting an unjust wrong.

The story began by TFP‘s attending a lecture at NY’s own Natural History Museum, where she is known to wander with her kid, looking at dinosaurs. Now there is an Anthology. Crazy.

TFP very seriously hopes that you will pre-purchase this Anthology on Amazon

OR

Visit your local Comic Book Store on May 23rd using the Diamond Code JAN189143

For more information, click here.

Listen Folks, in this country right now – and Puerto Rico is in fact, part of our Country, people are seeing that our Government under POTUS CHEEZUS is not down for helping people who are not already billionaires.

He will not stand up to the NRA, he is dismantling the EPA and our Department of Education from inside the House, he will drunk dial Putin and profess his love but chastise the rest of us on Twitter while his wife takes some ridiculous stand on anti-bullying – it’s a crazy time…TFP is all Dorinda, all the time.

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However what we are seeing, which is gratifying – is that ordinary citizens are standing up.

Whether they are kids marching alongside their parents, or teens taking charge of the gun control discussion, or athletes taking a knee, people are saying “enough”.

This is another one of those instances – Artists of all different mediums coming together to contribute their talents to help raise money – it’s a beautiful thing. However we cannot do it without you, the fans, purchasing it.

So buy it – please.

It took a Herculean effort by Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez to put this project in motion – TFP wants to give tremendous thanks for even being slightly involved it it – and please, after you have purchased RICANSTRUCTION, consider grabbing yourself a copy of La Boriqueña on the SomosArte website – we all need to support interesting and original voices, and Mr. Miranda-Rodriguez is definitely one of them.

 Viva #RicanStruction!

TFP out.

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The Fairy Princess is busy, Folks – so this has to be short – which all but guarantees she is going to run on and on, but one can dream, can’t one?

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Not even going to sugar coat it – we could definitely discuss the Asian Americans who have landed pilots and so forth, but again, TFP has lines to memorize to go in front of a Nemesis, so…quickly then, on we go.

In the past few days, she has been sent quite a few things this week that should be commented on…first up...North Shore Musical Theater.

Yes, AGAIN…

What have they done? Well, not content with making sure their EVITA in no way resembled Argentina, as they did a few months ago – they are busy keeping hold of their Rosetta LeNoire Award for Casting by advertising for an Asian American Male Performer thusly:

(ITO) Asian male, 20-40 – Chinese accent. Ito is employed as a houseboy by Mame Dennis.

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Only one problem – ITO is a Japanese Immigrant character.

From Japan.

Not China.

Which is an entirely different country.

Which, btw, did NOT host the most recent Winter Olympics.

That was South Korea.

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You see, TFP would love to believe that this is a honest mistake, except for the fact that once again, North Shore Musical Theater is getting it absolutely wrong when it comes to what they are even going for in regards to casting People of Color.

They neither know nor care that Ito is Japanese, and therefore should not be asked for a Chinese accent.

They only chose to do MAME because they have not bothered to do any research whatsoever, and wow – what a great, methodical choice it IS!

Producer Bill Haney of the “Patti LuPone played Evita in the original production so it is acceptable to not have a Latina in the show” Haney’s. No one caught this description – not even Director, Charles Repole or Musical Director, Milton Granger nor even the Casting Director, Matthew Chappell.

To them, Asian is Asian – no one cares, all look same dot com, up at North Shore Musical Theater.

They do not care.

They do not care about People of Color in the slightest.

They are not pretending, they are not ‘mistaken’, they simply do not give a…

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WHEN IS ACTOR’S EQUITY GOING TO TAKE AWAY THAT ROSETTA LENOIRE AWARD FROM THESE DAMN PEOPLE WHO NEVER EARNED IT IN THE FIRST PLACE?

You know how we have a white washing T-shirt with all the names of the film stars?

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Perhaps we should have one for theaters that casually ‘lose’ any reference to People of Color in roles where they should be, or when they disregard the kind of specific person that they are, even when the role calls for it.

(Now, TFP is not saying that Koreans cannot play Japanese or anything like that. She did her DNA and you know what came back? Just East Asian. No actual definable difference between the East Asians, although they are able to differentiate Southeast Asian, Central Asian, South Asian and Central Asian etc.

So if a Japanese American is playing a Chinese American, as a Chinese descended American she will personally roll her eyes a bit, but there is NOTHING WRONG WITH IT, it is more like a Austrian person playing a German person, in terms of genes. We all have to grow up a bit about this issue. Cousins, we are all cousins.)

On to the next bit of hideous news – there is an Acting Teacher, if you can call her that. Anyway, her name is Lesly Kahn and she is a LA Acting Teacher, with studios in Hollywood and Santa Monica.

She calls herself a teacher.

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Here is a sample of what she teaches…this was taped and sent to TFP by Lexi Alexander via Twitter

Lesly: …That you’re Latin

Student: Fernanda?

Lesly: I can’t be the first person that suggested this.

Student: Yeah you are. I mean, I get ethnically ambiguous all the time, I mean, I did 23 and Me and I am 100% Ashkenazi Jewish. But yeah, no one’s ever told me to change my name.

Lesly: I 100% thought you were Latin.

Then they go on a bit, she is a young actress she has not done professional work and here is the kicker, if you will….

Lesly: …Go to Headshot Shop, tell them you are Latin. Wear something f*ucking red. Wear some f*cking sparkly earrings. Change your goddamn name, and let’s just do an experiment.

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Lesly holds a BFA from NYU and an MFA from Yale – and she is one thousand per cent teaching super damaging and racist practices that have little to do with acting, and everything to do with stereotyping.

Basically, she is acting like a bigot.

Although, TFP does not believe Ms. K is a good actor, given various feedback she has read from past students who had nothing good to say about her in FB posts of Actors who are regularly seen on our televisions and stages, she is acting like she has many, many racist and sexist things to say.

If she is not a good actor – then TFP has to take that lesson from Maya Angelou, you know the one….

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the one about believing someone the first time they show you what they are?

Ms. Kahn  has shown bigotry, she is de facto, a bigot.

TFP is showing Ms. Kahn the respect of believing her the first time she shows herself to be a bigot.

We have to, in show business, be comfortable with who we are. Professional actors who have an unusual look or a look that is not able to be ‘pinned down’ by narrow minded Casting professionals, does not mean that actors who are professionals or who want to be professionals should be told to ‘paint themselves’, using stereotypical tropes to portray ethnicity that they are not familiar with.

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Now we do turn to Hollywood and basically, we need to start using the sleeves of the shirt – because Natalie Portman is playing a Hapa and Jennifer Jason Leigh is playing a Native American – and in the same film.

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Yup.

This is the film, Annihilation – and yes, there are People of Color in the film – and if you want to support the film because of that reason – that’s fine. TFP will not be going.

Now, the argument from the Director is that this film is based on the first of a trio of books and he had not read the second book, which identifies more clearly, that the characters have an ethnic heritage.

Except the first two books came out the same year. Just months apart.

Ms. Portman was signed the following year to the project.

Now, this is an Actress who starved herself and learned ballet for that dance movie she did, but in this case, she did no homework and did not read the second book that was available by the time she signed on to the picture.

We are supposed to believe that?

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Another thing we are supposed to buy, is that the Yakuza was doing crime all wrong until Jared Leto got there to show them all how it is done.

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Hmmmm…..

So the shirt adds two names – three if we want to include Jennifer Jason Leigh on the ice bridge theory of evolution that has Native Americans and Asians distantly related….TFP is feeling…she has MANY feels right now…

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Lines to learn. Gotta go.

Everyone mentioned gets fifty smacks of the wand and a tiara up the tush – this is simply not acceptable in any way, shape or form.

TFP out.

 

The Fairy Princess was kinda thrilled that Hungary got called on it’s BS production of an All White Porgy & Bess.

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She was looking forward to celebrating the positives in American theater, like for example this guy:

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Manu Narayan, the star of BOMBAY DREAMS is back on Broadway in one of the iconic shows that define Broadway – MY FAIR LADY. Manu will be playing the role of Zoltan Kaparthy, the Hungarian who has one of the best descriptions of any musical theater character around “…Oozing charm from every pore, he oiled his way around the floor”

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He will ALSO be appearing in the upcoming Broadway musical, GETTING THE BAND BACK TOGETHER, from director John Rando, with a book by Ken Davenport, score by Mark Allen, with additional material from Sarah Salzberg. This is exciting because…the musical was first ‘found’ through improv comedy with the improv group, Grundleshotz.

So count ’em, TWO Broadway musicals in a year for ^^^ this guy! Incredible!

PS Photo by Lia Chang.

And also big UPPPS for Albert Guerzon,

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who joins the rest of his cast of ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE on Broadway when it begins previews on February 16, 2018.

Which brings the grand sum of Asian Americans on Broadway to 25.

Currently.

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These numbers will change by one or two, possibly as much as FOUR when MEAN GIRLS, FROZEN, SUMMER, PRETTY WOMAN, THE CHER SHOW, THE PROM all hit the boards. (The only one that TFP knows of as having a larger role going to an Asian American performer is MEAN GIRLS, Ashley Park is one of the “Plastics”)

(Now – special note here – the numbers of Asians on Broadway DO go up a bit more, if you happen to consider Middle Eastern Countries part of Asia. On a map they ARE a part of Asia, called Central Asia.

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However, TFP has not spoken with any of the cast members of THE BAND’S VISIT, so she does not know how THEY self identify, and that is a big important point – some people prefer the common understanding of The Middle East being Arabic – however it is, on a map, more the middle EAST than The Middle East. (See China there, right to the right of the map?) So if the Central Asians on Broadway want to self identify as Asian Americans, s’all right by TFP because our numbers go up then.

They can totes email her.)

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Special mention of course goes out to playwright, Young Jean Lee, who’s play, STRAIGHT WHITE MEN, directed by Anna D. Shapiro, will open in June – making her the FIRST ASIAN AMERICAN FEMALE PLAYWRIGHT ON BROADWAY….EVAH!

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Frankly, TFP wanted to focus on the good rather than the bad, but two things have occurred this past week that make her have to put fingers to computer.

The first is the continued display of the character, Juanito Bandito which is brought to you from it’s home ofThe Pickleville Playhouse, in Utah. The show then is ‘traveled’ aka ‘tours’ to two other venues – one is The Grand in Salt Lake City, and the other is the Logan space at the Ellen Eccles Theatre in the Cache Valley Center for the Arts.

Now, TFP does not know why this is funny.

She watched as much as she could online and frankly, she had to do an immediate mental douche of alternating episodes of RuPaul’s All Stars and the new Queer Eye for the Straight Guy to recover her equanimity.

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Without getting too personal, this character (a melding of Frito Bandito, a character that sold chips for years and comedian Bill Dana’s Jose Jiminez)is the creation of actor, TJ Davis.

From Utah.

Long known as diversity sink hole.

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Apparently he dropped out of dental school (please start fanning your Asian Mom if she is reading this over your shoulder)  to fulfill a lifelong dream of debasing Latinx men for laughs based on prejudices by Caucasians.

All TFP has to say is…if she had been able to go back in time and counsel him – she would have told him that dentistry is very well paying and would support both his family and society more than engaging in campy racial stereotypes.

Now, a few people have written about Juanito Bandito – Arts Advocate, Howard Sherman, BloggerBitter Gertrude, and TFP is sure more are coming. Howard and Gertrude are going to give you backstory and context, so TFP is leaving that to them.

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TFP got sucked into a whole different end of this drama, when she was contacted by a Board Member of THE GRAND from Salt Lake City via Tweets from Playwright, Diana Burbano.

TFP ain’t mad about it.

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Here is why – hate crimes in Utah are up, according to the FBI– as reported by the Salt Lake Tribune’s Paighten Harkins. They are expected to continue to rise – and these incidents have landed Utah the 23rd spot out of 49 in the reports of hate crimes in America.

The one thing that keeps Utah lower than other states is – it’s lack of diversity.

Not a ton of people of color, people of varying sexual orientations and identifications. Therefore not quite as many available people to be victimized as in our larger metropolitan areas.

Most of these hate crimes in Utah were racial, meaning based on the victim’s race, ethnicity, or ancestry – with religion and sexual orientation coming a close second.

Now, Pickleville Playhouse is a ‘Family’ Playhouse – and they do ‘wholesome Family entertainment’ and have for 40 years.

TFP thinks The Pickleville Playhouse is a lost cause, frankly.

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They know what they have, and they are exporting it to the masses of Utah – and they are ok with it. They are good at The Pickleville Playhouse, they are drinking the pickle juice that they made to ferment all that good, honest, xenophobia.

What better way to train baby racists than to gather them when they are young and ready to absorb, and feed them a show that mocks people that have different melanin than them?

Bring them young, and raise them wrong, Folks.

This is a two-fold battle plan – because it helps alleviate the need to have to be aware of other people’s humanity AND it guarantees that the hate crime numbers will continue to climb – because it has been established that ‘those people’ are not like ‘us’. “They” are merely here to cement the superiority of Caucasian people – so go UTAH!

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When TFP was initially contacted by a self identified Board Member of The Grand Theater in Salt Lake City – a theater that is the recipient of Federal Money, because it is on the campus of a community college – she thought that this was a chance for real dialogue.

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Now, TFP responded to each tweet – and she hopes that the Board of The Grand will take this in the spirit with which it was intended. These are slightly expanded from her Twitter responses – which are available @Equill

When you ‘rent’ your ‘house’ aka theater, what you do is, you open your ‘home’.  Whatever is housed in your theater – rental or original production – is tacitly endorsed by The Grand.

The Grand has viewed the show, thought that they could make money off of their audience with it, and therefore regardless of The Grand’s role in the creation of this racist show, The Grand participates in this show as a purveyor.

Madams get arrested for Prostitution too, ‘Boo.

Just saying.

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Even if your theater does not make money off the Merch sold, the Merch is still presented. Caricatures debasing a group of people become symbols with which to devalue their contributions to this country. It makes it easier for their pain to be denied, it makes it easier to attack them.

Hate crimes are UP, ‘Boo – they are UPPPPP!

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No, The Grand did not create the show, but they are complicit. They are taking the money and they are looking the other way.

Haven’t we had enough of that kind of thinking in this country?

Then TFP got this response:

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Fossen in 2018 has a point – the First Amendment does protect Mr. T.J. Davis and his ‘right’ to write/produce/star in whatever he, personally so chooses.

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However, Mr. Fossen, though you are a Board Member and likely very eager (to support the theater) to take rental money – because of course, the theater gets a percentage of that money in the box office – the theater is NOT obligated to book that rental.  

Once they do book a rental, the theater is not allowed to censor it – that is true.

That does fall under the First Amendment, once it is booked.

However – what happens before the show is booked?

For example, say TFP had a theater (Jordan Roth, you wanna give TFP a theater to run?) she would have many, many options of what to choose to put in the space. She would decide upon many factors – would it be a long running show? Would it be an expensive show? Would it be a star vehicle? A Play? A Musical?

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However she would be under NO OBLIGATION to provide a space for any proposed show. As a Producer, TFP would be trying to make practical decisions for that theatrical space based on her knowledge of the theater going public. That is what Producers DO. That is how they operate. It is show business, not show friendship.

One of the other ‘rules’ taught in this country – mainly by Moms, not by enough Dads, frankly – curiously though by The Rolling Stones – is that YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT.

No one is under any sort of obligation to provide anything that you do not deserve.

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Ok so you are a guy who wrote a show – hundreds, if not thousands of people write shows every year in this country.

They write plays and musicals and situation comedies, rom coms and dramas, they even have writers for reality television (oh yeah – didn’t realize that did ya) and not ONE of those writers – established or not – is guaranteed a place to showcase their piece.

People of Color, Gender Fluid Persons, People of Minority Status – they all write shows – and even the most talented, even the most earnest and well meaning – they are NOT guaranteed a venue.

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Frankly, TFP is very surprised by this booking simply because of the mission statement of The Grand.

See, perhaps you have not watched the video on your website…TFP has,

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and here is what Richard Scott, Exec. Dir of The Grand Theater & SLCC Cultural Programming said – right there on your website ( at about 3.32 min into it) – of which you are the Master – “The Grand is unique – because it is many things – we are a community theater company, we have artistic productions that we produce, pick, generate…we produce concerts, we produce lectures...”

Now, ‘to pick‘ – you have to have choice available to exercise. Once the choice is made – for example in granting a rental, then no – you cannot induce the show to limit itself, but be yes, you can pick what goes into a space.

Now, as to having made this choice to allow the show to rent – this was where the conversation went horribly awry – the hiding behind the supposed protection of the First Amendment.

The Grand had AMPLE information to make the decision of what to bring into your theater space. Not only were there several videos on YouTube, you had a trailer to sell the show, and a copy of the script – a script that has had only minor changes in ten years.

You knew what it was. There is no deniable plausibility.

Ten years of abject racism that y’all found funny. Or perhaps you thought no one would find out, being that you are out in Utah.

Funny thing about Utah, you know what else is there?

Sundance Film Festival.

You know what THAT means, right?

Film actors and other celebrities roaming around Salt Lake City, perhaps on a day off from the Festival? (The FESTival, the FESTival) – many of whom might take the existence of Juanito Bandito in your space rather personally…(and no, they are not all Mexican heritage and TFP knows that – but on these issues, Latinx people tend to come together)see how now you are uncomfortable with this show being in The Grand?

Yes. THAT. Go with THAT feeling.

If you cannot present it to Salma Hayek, you should not present it.

No, we of the Internet may not be able to get TJ Davis to see the light – he is fine with what he is doing, and in insulated Utah, he will get away with it for as long as he wants to – however we of the Internet, and the PoC and the Gender Diverse of Utah have the ability to vote with our dollars to support this theater.

Again, it comes down to choice….

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the question is – can The Grand, in beautiful Salt Lake City, continue to make the choice to provide a venue for this kind of racist theater?

You cannot hide behind the First Amendment and think it provides protection unilaterally. There are checks and balances.

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Disturbances in The Force are ALL our business – because we, the people, have had enough – enough of the flames of ignorance fanning the forest fires of hatred.

This show is a log on that fire of ignorance which is elevating the hate crimes in Utah.

If you provide it a home, you showcase the message. 150 Whacks of the wand for The Grand – you had ten years worth of evidence to show that your minds and hearts are as open as your theater on a double show day – and you blew it.

It ALL matters.

All of it.

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The second incident, was something that gave TFP hope for the future.

Teens in Ithaca, New York, wrote a letter and protested about the casting of Esmerelda in HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME being whitewashed at their high school.

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We all know what Whitewashing is, yes? No one needs refreshers, yes? We get it?

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Back to the story – Hunchback is of course, a seminal piece in the Disney canon – is steeped in prejudice – both against deliberately segregated minorities and people with disabilities, and how kindness and love can eventually triumph.

Esmerelda is a Romani – now, the interesting thing that has come to light about the Rom – is thataccording to DNA,they are descended from India’s Dalit class.

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According to this article in Live Science, 1500 years or so ago, the Rom migrated from Northwest India, in one massive group, and arrived in Europe – where they spread and became entrenched in Europe.

Now, due to migration and intermarriage or, if not marriage, sex – their skin color has many different varieties, but the way Disney Studios drew Esmerelda is fairly accurate for a 15th Century Romani Girl.

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This makes the evolution of The Romani more understandable, if you understand that Dalit was/is a term that is representative of the aboriginals of India, that are considered ‘untouchable.

In Sanskrit it means ‘oppressed’. Prejudice that exists even now in India towards Dalit people. They have higher instances of crimes against their non male persons, and higher rates of poverty, of hunger…in short, it is something that India needs to solve –  it is simply a travesty.

From a narrative though – it makes total sense.

At some point, 1500 years ago, there was a mass migration OUT of India with members of this group. Likely it was not voluntary.  They had learned by then that they were not wanted, that in fact it was dangerous to try and live among people, so they developed a tribal mentality – a wandering tribe. Their wagons and the constant movement was self preservation.

As they got out of the heat and terrain of India, and intermixed with local European groups – depending on where they were in Europe – their hair color and skin color would likely lighten. However the ‘glamor’ of The Rom remained – the thick hair, the love of bright patterns and colors, of dancing and singing

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– let’s face it. India is where the Kama Sutra was written, these were sexy folks.

Now, are there currently, Romani descendants who have light skin and hair and eyes? YES. Particularly those who managed to make their way to Ireland and Scotland, where they renamed themselves ‘Travelers”.

But in the 15th Century…that would not have been the case yet, right? 1,500 years is only 18 generations, let’s say. Allowing for early marriages and deaths that would not occur with modern medicine. In the 15th Century, they were only perhaps 10-12 generations out of being “pure” Dalit.

Which, TFP is totally geeking out about, because she enjoys a good genome puzzle – but the long and short of it is, Esmerelda would have been a person of mixed heritage, and that is the way she was drawn.

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Now, the Kiddos at Ithaca auditioned and when the cast was posted, there was a non PoC cast as Esmerelda. However these are super smart kids and look – here is a portion of the letter that they wrote to the school –

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TFP is just the PROUDEST OF YOU!!!!

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Whitney was RIGHT – you ARE the future!

Now, because the kids took such a strong stand, and because it was covered in the papers, and  of course, people are horrible, some of the students got ‘doxxed(which is a fancy way of saying someone hacked them worse than a federal election) and had their ‘business’ put out for the world to see. They have received threats and the production was cancelled.

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Hunties– this is to be expected. Frankly, in the long run – it will not matter. (Change your passwords though.)

Let TFP tell you something – theater has always been the place where you discover your true selves. You can put on a character, temporarily, but when the curtain descends, you are always left with you. How thrilling to know that the people you are RIGHT NOW, at a time when many have no idea where their moral compass points, are True North kind of people.

TFP is not afraid for you – (Although she does think you all deserve a trip to New York and tickets for THE PROM – who do we know who can make that happen?)not if you decide to pursue theater, or law, or dance, or art, or medicine, or computers or anything at all because you are using logic and reason to approach a situation and amend it.

Standing up, is SOOOOOOO much harder than sitting and watching life go by – but it is worth it.

Cuz as we all know – if you stand for nothing, what do you fall for?

GREAT JOB!

GO CHANGE THE WORLD!

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TFP out.

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is coming, and the second annual Asian American Performers Panel is fast approaching…and The Fairy Princess has put together some of the most frequent breakers of the yellow ceiling to talk about how they got there, how far they have come, and where they intend to go.

FAN TAN FANTASTIC!

Ali Ewoldt, Shoba Narayan, Raymond J. Lee, and Telly Leung

January 27th at 10AM at The Javits Center

Bring coffee.

UPDATE- after the following blog was written, the Gershwin Estate and licensing company avowed that Hungarian State Opera did NOT have permission to do a Non Black Production of P&B.

They are still going ahead with it.

Because as Christmas Eve says ‘Everyone’s a little bit racist’.

HERE IS THE ORIGINAL POST-

Now…TFP learned of something today that really has her like…

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Because she has learned that The Gershwin Estate…the Estate of George and Ira Gershwin…that allows/does not allow people to perform/not perform the works of the two brothers…has LIFTED the rule that was put into place by Ira Gershwin, of having the landmark opera, PORGY AND BESS, performed by an All Black Cast.

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This is, as the kids say, fer realz.

The Hungarian State Opera petitioned and received permissionfrom The Gershwin Estate, to have non-Black performers do the quintessential opera that represents the time period of post Civil War, economically depressed 1930’s in America, where many people were free, technically, but still bound by their lack of education and job mobility, to poverty.

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For those of you not familiar with the story, TFP will sum up:

It follows the story of Porgy, who is a disabled man living in the slums of Catfish Row in Charleston, South Carolina.

Porgy attempts to ‘rescue’ Bess, a good girl gone wrong, from the clutches of her violent lover, Crown. This is complicated business because while Bess has initial affection for Porgy, she is always being tempted to run off as well with her drug dealer, Sportin’ Life.

There are additional plots going on – for example, Crown murders a fellow dice player, Robbins. This has Crown fleeing to Kittiwah island off the coast, and leaving Bess to fed for herself against the police. She knocks on all the doors in Catfish Row, but only Porgy will open his to hide her from the police. This is where the romance between Bess and Porgy begins. She cleans herself up, starts going to church, but then she goes to a picnic on Kittwah Island and boom, just like that, she is back in Crown’s clutches.

Eventually, there is a struggle between Porgy and Crown, with Porgy winning. However, while he is held in jail for refusing to look upon the body of Crown (Because the thought was that if a murderer looks on the body he killed, it will bleed), Bess ‘falls’ with ‘help’ from Sportin’ Life, and runs off to New York.

Porgy winds up walking free for lack of evidence, and when he finds Bess not at home, he decides to head off to New York and find her.

The opera was adapted fromDuBose Heywards novel, Porgy. The novel became a play, also called Porgy, and then with Mr. Heyward, the Misters Gershwin turned it into PORGY AND BESS.George Gershwin wrote the score, Ira Gershwin wrote the lyrics, and DuBose wrote the lyrics and libretto.

The music that George Gershwin wrote for this piece, he self described as ‘a folk tale.’ – and he has been bothpraised for the lushness of the score anddecried for the image it set forth about Black Americans and how they were viewed. Both are valid points of view.

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The piece was original presented in 1935, and has been edited and adapted several times, for a variety of venues, Broadway, The Metropolitan Opera, a Film Version, and Opera Companies around the world.

Which is not the point of this post at all, except to say – yes, PORGY AND BESS has been viewed quite a variety of ways by the Black American Community – but that is their purview and the rest of us – and whatever color we happen to be, or how we identify – have to acknowledge that though it was written by non Black people, it was written FOR Black American performers.

Specifically.

That was the intent.

Always.

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In the 1980’s, Ira Gershwin, knowing that time was a ticking and he was not going to be around forever, Ira, one of the lyricists of the piece, put in place the ‘rule’ that there were only to be Black Performers in PORGY AND BESS.

This rule has now been broken, after two years of negotiation with the Estates.

While it is a great piece of music and theater and opera – and should be heard more often around the world, it should not be heard at the cost of negating it’s essential casting.

While TFP understands that the Hungarian State Opera may have empathy or some sort of connection to the American Deep South,

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their willingness to blithely displace performers who have connection to that heritage is troubling to say the least, racist to say the most.

It’s racist.

Yes, she said it. It is racist to do PORGY AND BESS without the People of Color that the Composer, Librettist, and Lyricist intended.

When you erase People of Color, in this case, specifically Black Americans from stories that are theirs alone to tell, it is not only wrong, it is racist. It is dictating how and when People of Color are ‘allowed’ to get on the stage and sing a story that has been written for them.

This story was not written for Hungarian singers – it was written for Black Americans. To deny them their right to sing it, is to deny them one of their essential stories – whether or not individuals have issues or not with it, it is their story to tell.

The show does NOT work without the nuance and the majesty that an All Black cast can give it.

Does it represent ALL the Black people in America?

No.

Does it tell a story that some have issue with?

Yes.

Have there been non Black performances of PORGY AND BESS before?

Yes, there have.

In 1943 in Copenhagen, which was Nazi occupied at the time. The singers wore blackface. It has also been performed in Europe in Switzerland and Sweden where they had all white singers in 1945 and 1950 respectively.

Not ok.

Let’s put it this way – if the Nazis thought it was a good idea – ‘we’ of the world should be against it.

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Some of you out there will say – “Well, TFP does that mean only Egyptians should sing AIDA?” Or only Japanese people should sing BUTTERFLY?” “Should OTELLO only have a Black or PoC person as OTELLO?”

Ideally, yes.

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Cue people raining down on TFP about not knowing too much about classical music and the requirements for those roles. They would be wrong.

TFP is well aware that there are specific kinds of voices that are needed for those roles, and they do not always live in the body that would be most ideal for that story – Heldentenors do not grow on trees….nor do Puccini Sopranos – however this is a specific case, it is different from those roles. This is not about one voice type for a specific role, this is about an entire company.

This show, this opera, is written specifically for Black Americans.

It is not set in Ancient Anywhere or Foreign Euro-pea or Geishaland – no one is dying of consumption on a couch, sorry, chaise – these are meant to portray a specific instance in the American South that – while fiction – does represent what could have happened to people at that time.

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For PORGY AND BESS to work, it needs to have a few feet grounded in reality – and the toll that it takes on it’s audience – of all colors – is what is needed right now in America.

We are battling racism every day in this country – every, damn, day. So what we do NOT do – oh Gershwin Estate – what we do NOT do – is allow ourselves to EXPORT racism to other countries.

We do not allow them to white wash PORGY AND BESS, hate it or love it,  in all it’s glory.

If they want to do it, and they do not have the singers – there are two options:

  1. Import the singers and show the opera as it is supposed to be.
  2. Do not do it.

There are hundreds of operas by composers that Hungarian State Opera could do – and this is where white privilege really gets TFP’s goat.

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She knows that People of Color are gorgeous and talented and alluring – but their culture and skin tones are not to be picked up and put down as a matter of whim by White Creatives and their staffs.

If you want to do a show, to diversify your stages – give them diverse faces, and not just on stage – Directors, Stage Managers, Crew!

To the Gershwin Estate…TFP does not know what Intern allowed this to go through, or if y’all just want to make some money and you thought no one in the States would find out about this…but this is a HUGE mistake.

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We are living in an America DIVIDED. We have NAZIS in the White House. We have a POTUS who uses terms like ‘shithole or house” to describe African and Island Nations! Who regularly calls People of Color derogatory names! Who robs from the poor to give to the rich?

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Who lies – not just about policy and what he said or did not say – but he lies about EVERYTHING! He says that he is 239lbs and passed a mental health test – the only way he passed a mental health evaluation is if the paper it was written on fell on the floor and he stepped over it! His whole team will look the American public in the face and tell them nothing resembling the truth and you think this is a good time to say that there are no Black People in PORGY AND BESS?

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Two Jewish Men who made their living writing songs in Tin Pan Alley and ascended to the highest heights this country has to offer would NOT be pleased about this.

You need to rethink this.

And Hungary? Gurl – you are out of line, maybe you don’t know any better over there – maybe you are the kind of country that would add mustard to mac and cheese, but this is not right.

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Not right.

TFP fines both The Gershwin Estate and Hungary – an actual country, but it has white people so our POTUS is fine with it – two hundred whacks of the wand.

WTF is going ON Folks?

Artists are supposed to do BETTER!

And ESTATES who represent the Artists who DID DO BETTER should not just go for the money – they should rep for the values that the Gershwins stood for! Or what are they? Just a clearing house for show tunes?

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Totally disgusted. TFP out.

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The Fairy Princess is gearing up for BroadwayCon and you should be too!

Come check out the second Asian American panel with my amazingly talented panelists – Ali Ewoldt, Shoba Narayan, Raymond J. Lee, and Telly Leung!

We are on the schedule officially, and it will be FAN TAN FANTASTIC!

We will be talking about where Asian Americans are on Broadway now, and where they intend to go from here – these are the folks that live and breathe #ChangeTheStage

 Jan. 27th, 10 AM at the Jacob Javit’s Center in the Hildy Parks Room, 1A

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Now, on to the BROADWAY...cuz TFP has some NEWS!

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That is RIGHT Ms. Carmen Ruby Floyd has joined in the cast of HELLO, DOLLY and she is – Bernadette Peter’s Understudy!

Ms. Floyd has been in LION KING, AVENUE Q, PORGY and BESS, and AFTER MIDNIGHT – so Broadway is what she does – but this is a #ChangeTheStage moment, and we are all here to witness it.

TFP spoke to Ms. Floyd, and here is what she said about the part, which, is DOLLY EFFIN LEVI, btw, in case you did not get it the first time!

Ms. Floyd, what are your thoughts on joining the cast of this show?

“I’m just happy to sprinkle some #BlackGirlMagic, especially for this show.

I grew up with Pearl Bailey playing Hello Dolly with Cab Calloway, so I ‘know’ that soundtrack – that is what I grew up listening to, dreaming to, singing along with.

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Legit singing! High B’s! Representation matters – this is one of the classic ‘practically perfect in every way’ shows, and I am legit thrilled to be there.

Jerry Herman! YES!

And when do you start?

Rehearsal starts tomorrow!

Tell TFP some of the things you are most excited about for this show?

I’m going to wear some amazing costumes and be fierce. This next week I get to see the show with Bette Midler before she goes. It goes dark for a week, and then…Bernadette Peters!

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It’s like opening a new show, and I am here for it. I met her when she came to AFTER MIDNIGHT, and she was so kind to me – that’s all you need after a show. I wrote that down in my journal after meeting her, that one of my dreams was to work with her, and now to understudy her? I am so joyous.

I’m taking it all in, all of that. Come see us in our Sunday Clothes!

Congratulations, Ms. Ruby Floyd, TFP is definitely coming to see you – having been blown away by your previous performances and it will be a thrill!

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Thom Sesma – last seen Off Broadway in the beautiful revamping of PACIFIC OVERTURES, will take on the title role of SWEENEY in the Off Bway Production of SWEENEY TODD on February 27th.

Thom is a well respected character actor on the stage and on film and television – holding down roles on Broadway since 1983! Thom has been the change he wants to see, and TFP could not be happier to see him take on this magnum opus of a role.

Here is what Mr. Sesma has to say about it:

I am profoundly grateful, not just for the opportunity to play the role, but in retrospect – just for the opportunity to have been taken seriously as a ‘candidate’ for the role.

It is equally surprising and ‘reassuring’ that the Producing and Creative team behind the Barrow Street SWEENEY have assembled a cast of Actors that reflects a distinct American landscape – Caucasian, African American, and now with Zach Piser and I, Asian American.

The most remarkable thing about this casting is how UNremarkably it has been recieved. We’re just actors – like I said, kind of crazy and kind of right. It’s how it should be.

I hope people pay attention.

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EXCITING!

Now we have some slightly sad news – the glamorous Merle Dandridge, who played the role of Papa Ge in the revival of Once On This Island, has had to leave the show because of her television show, Greenleaf – produced by OPRAH… (c’mon, that is so fab)

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TFP was very lucky to catch the her the Saturday matinee before she left and though she had seen the show in previews, it was so stellar now that it has opened and the cast is more settled. She would also like to give a shout out to T. Oliver Reid,

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who was on that day as Agwe – he was a spectacular God of the (cold) Water.

The whole cast was delightful, and as TFP looked at her 5 year old’s face, watching the show, being drawn into the magical world that was created, she could not help but wonder what effect it would have on his own creativity, now that he has seen this show.

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SIDEBAR: There was some Broadway Beef that went down over ONCE ON THIS ISLAND this past week, and this is what TFP has to say about it, as a person of mixed race herself.

As a person who is never easily identifiable and who often is told that she does not ‘count’ to claim one thing or the other it is time to accept, oh greater Broadway community that mixed race people  look all kinds of ways.

The way they present, does not negate their background or their culture.

We all need to come together and agree that when someone makes a mistake about a mixed race person ‘belonging’ somewhere or being able to tell one story or another – not only do we limit our understanding of the term, People of Color, we often fracture it without meaning to, creating distrust and turmoil, when what is needed is more understanding.

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Ok – back to fun news and then we wrap it up…

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Drama Desk Winner Francis Jue– taking the world by storm in various productions of KING OF THE YEES by Lauren Yee, will be joining his fellow cast mates, Sutton Foster, Gavin Creel and Harriet Harris, in a reunion of THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE for one night only, for the Actors Fund. Tickets can be found, here, and let’s keep raising money for people in showbiz who find themselves in a bit of a pickle now and then.

There you go – Folks who are #ChangingTheStage, one role at a time.

Chosen for their excellence, their passion, their commitment & cuz they are so damn cute.

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TFP out.

The Fairy Princess hopes you have a most excellent 2018.

She, among perhaps the great majority of the country, or at the very least, the great majority of the entertainment community, was thrilled to see the year of abject idiocy, 2017, fall by the wayside.

Social media should not be used if you do not have a basic understanding of the grammar of the language you propose that you speak, nor should it cater to people who only get their news from one source, the television, and one network in particular.

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Anyway, 2017 is over –

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So what is up thus far for 2018…

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BroadwayCon is at it again, year three!

Yes, Virginia, there WILL be an Asian American Panel again this year, TFP is calling it Fan Tan Fantastic!

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She has an absolutely stellar bunch of panelists – and yes, Gurl, she has enough panelists, there is a limit – and here they are:

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ALI EWOLDT has become known for being the first Asian American to play the role of CHRISTINE DAAE on Broadway in PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. She made her Broadway debut as Cosette in Les Miserables, and was also in The King and I in the recent Lincoln Center revival. (Which won a TONY) (Pretty Fancy) She has a ton of other credits and we’ll get all into that at the panel.

Not giving away the farm, you understand, you’ll have to show up.

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SHOBA NARAYAN has most recently been cast in the Second National Tour of HAMILTON. (Yes, that one) Prior to that she appeared on Broadway in Natasha and Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812, where she understudied the role of Natasha. Other theater credits include MISS SAIGON NAT’L TOUR, and workshops of MURDER AT THE GATES (written by Steven Sater, Tony Award winner) and PRINCE OF EGYPT (adaption of 1998 DreamWorks film).

Lots of TV stuff as well, but this is BROADWAYCON, so again, you’ll have to wait for it…wait for it…

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RAYMOND J. LEE recently originated the role of RALPH in last season’s GROUNDHOG DAY. On Broadway he has been part of the casts of HONEYMOON IN VEGAS, ANYTHING GOES, MAMMA MIA. Ray also has a ton of plays and television appearances and is an activist in his own right, founding the Asian American Actors Alliance.

and finally….drumroll please…..cuz we have ALADDIN!

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TELLY LEUNG  is currently playing the title role in Disney’s ALADDIN on Broadway. Other Broadway & National Tour credits: In Transit, Allegiance (with George Takei and Lea Salonga), Godspell, Rent (final Broadway company), Wicked (Boq, Chicago company), Pacific Overtures, & Flower Drum Song.

Again, tons of television, including GLEE, (stop that screaming), recordings…and lots of other stuff we will get into in the fifty minutes that this glorious chat will take place in.

TFP is excited about this panel.

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Also, TFP changed her hair – don’t worry, she is still repping, but yeah, she is shaking it up a bit…don’t freak out when you see it.

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So here are the details: Javits Center. Jan 27th. 10AM.

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Oh, BLESS, don’t you just LURVE CHICAGO CZ JONES?

Come ON!

Other Fun News:

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Lea Salonga and Merle Dandridge are holding it down over at ONCE ON THIS ISLAND on Broadway, and it is phenomenal.

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TFP saw it, and the cast and the direction is stunning. They are adding Norm Lewis and Tamyra Gray January 7th, but if you can, go see our Gals, because they are breathtaking.

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Young Jean Lee, the playwright, will become, in the upcoming season – the FIRST ASIAN AMERICAN FEMALE PLAYWRIGHT TO HAVE HER WORK ON BROADWAY.

This is a HUGE deal.

What is it called?

STRAIGHT WHITE MEN.

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Yes, that is what the play is called and that is pretty much what you are going to see.

Here’s why TFP is excited – because while the play will star white men, ostensibly but not necessarily straight – this is an Asian American playwright examining race and culture but not having Asian American actors up there and, frankly –  that is a relief.

Let’s pass the burden of privilege and calling it out to the people who have it.

Just this once.

TFP is looking forward to it.

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RuthieAnn Miles and Ramin Karimloo are going to play our favorite Russian smartypantses in CHESS. They will be where they want to be and how they want to be and do what they always sang they could and say they never sweat at all…

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(TFP may be a bit CHESS impaired.)

Anyway, they join Karen Olivio and Raul Esparza as the leads and this is going to play in D.C. on a pre-Broadway tryout and that should be SUPER AWESOME!

FROZEN, with music and lyrics by Kristin Anderson Lopez (In Transit) & Bobby Lopez (Avenue Q, Book of Mormon), based on the Disney movie is selling tickets for a February 2018 opening.

Everyone will be able to LET IT GO in no time flat.

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Felt like they opened it on New Year’s Eve in NYC, but nah – get those Elsa dresses at the ready!

Turning for a moment to cable….

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IRON FIST got a second season on NETFLIX – so while not everything was perfect round one, we still has some great fighting and there is a new showrunner – Raven Metzner from Sleepy Hollow – so…fingers crossed for some female kickassness, both in the story and in the fight scenes.

INTO THE BADLANDS done stole Lewis Tan from IRON FIST, so make sure you check out that show, which combines martial arts, a dystopian storyline and actually, more than one Asian lead character.

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Something only ABC has been able to pull off…speaking of which…

FRESH OFF THE BOAT and AGENTS OF S.H.E.I.L.D. are holding strong and continue to be fan favorites over on ABC, which also has BLACKISH and THE GOOD DOCTOR in a very strong first season, which helped boost their Network Report card to B.

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On their Network Diversity Cards.

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Sorry, automatic response to getting a B.

B!

That was the highest grade, the highest grade of any network – and it matches the highest grade given EVER. Had ABC kept Dr. Ken and a few others, it would likely be at least a B+, but there you have it.

The start of 2018.

(They will never get into their safety school!)

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And yeah, the other networks did worse.

WORSE THAN A B!

THEY DID NOT EVEN TURN IN THE ASSIGNMENT!

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TFP‘s inner Tiger Mom is a growlin’.

TFP out.