The Fairy Princess loves Canada, been there several times.

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She has relatives there, she skis (badly), she loves the film industry there – she enjoys the orca whales…and they have the hottest Prime Minister ever.

Justin Trudeau

You gotta just…anyway, take a moment to drool over Justin Trudeau.

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Now, the issue with Canada and it’s Prime Minster being so friggin’ cool, is that we, the people, believe that Canada in general, is much like the man they elected – very ‘woke’ (as the kids say), very much in favor of human rights and dignity. They have a diverse population, national health care that pays for almost everything, and it has wide open spaces that are unreal – all that is true.

The Fairy Princess would consider that most Canadians are like Justin Trudeau – just not all of them. She is now going to tell you about two of the ‘not quite as deserving to be in Trudeau’s Canada as we thought’…

Like the ones who run Calgary Opera.

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Calgary Opera has decided to do SOUTH PACIFIC by Rodgers and Hammerstein, and they decided to cast Mezzo Soprano Megan Latham.

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She is to play the character of Bloody Mary. She is not of Asian descent.

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In the original novel, the island in question (the name is fictional) is off the coast of Vietnam. On Broadway, National Tour, and regionally, in the last decade, that role has been filled by Actresses of Color.

For example, Loretta Ables Sayre who was TONY Nominated for her Broadway Debut in this role in 2007. She is from Hawaii.

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TFP could name a whole slew of Asian American Pacific Islander Actresses that have played this role in the past – Lori Tann Chinn won the Helen Hayes Award for this role at the Arena Stage and played it in the TV film version with Glenn Close.

(photo by Mark Garvin)

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Marlene Sai played the role at Hawaii Opera Theater

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There are many more, but one gets the idea. Yes, there are Actors out there who are both Asian Pacific Islander descent, and able to sing. South Asian is also another way to go, or First Nation – but you get the idea?

Performers of Color. Always.

One must actually grasp and hold on to the idea that Vietnam is an actual place and though the Isle of Tonka is fictional – Vietnam is still a place where people look Asian descended.

Everyone understands this, TFP is not going to pull a map…oh wait, she is…

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TFP is a gal who loves her maps.

Ah, Vietnam, you can see it boarders the countries of Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and is a water trip away from the Philippines, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, India, and Bangladesh. In other words – though fictional – it is based on reality – and in reality, Bloody Mary should look somewhat similar to those peoples. There is a range of course, because in any place where there are ports and ship travel, people cross pollinate – but within the realm of that area of the world.

According to Board Chair of Calgary Opera, Michael Brown:

“Calgary Opera has been searching for a person of ethnic background to fulfill the role, and will soon be casting an appropriate Bloody Mary,” says Brown in the statement.Every effort is being made to present this socially important production of South Pacific, and we intend to do the production justice in all aspects.

Whilst that may happen, (but likely will not as the only person of Asian descent they find acceptable is a soprano), emails from the original director of the piece, Mark Bellamy demonstrate that when he, the Director of the piece, objected to a Caucasian being cast as a native of a Vietnamese island, he was sent this in an email by Interim Artistic Director, Taras Kullish:

I know you’re not going to like that decision, however I feel we did our due diligence in trying to find an Asian person to sing the role, however none of the options were vocally appropriate. For the opera world, the quality of voice is of utmost importance.”

Did Kullish just say there are no Asian or Asian descended Opera Singers that were acceptable to sing in Calgary?

That a Canadian mezzo soprano cannot be found?

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The Fairy Princess is not amused.

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What was not said was – ‘We have offered it to this person, this person, this person who are all Canadian and none are available, so we are going to invite appropriate artists from the United States and see if someone is available.

What was not said was, “We know this show is a musical, though we are doing it for our season, and we understand that in 2017 it is not appropriate to paint people yellow.

No.

What Calgary Opera said was they did their ‘due diligence.’

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TFP decided she would do HER ‘due diligence‘ and see if she can find a Bloody Mary that would be in keeping both with where Canada is today, and honor the vocal traditions of the company and the piece.

In short – she went looking for Opera Singers of Asian descent who are Mezzos and Canadian.

Guess where you can find them?

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Right there on the world wide web.

It took one internet post about how she was looking and then some research and then…BOOM, BABY!

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Emma CharCanadian. Mezzo Soprano.

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Ms. Char captured her role well, singing with tremendous composure. Her Lucretia was overpowering at times, emotionally terrifying in its final tragic dissolution. But what I appreciated most is that Ms. Char is a very intelligent singer on multiple levels… incorporated the necessary dramatic quality, all the while making you feel as though her musical lines were poetry set to music. That demands a very special kind of performer, one who can sing her lines as though they were speech, yet speak musical prose into song. Those qualities delivered the production securely over the top, and made the horror of Act II live in multiple dimensions. We owe Ms. Char a great deal for the success of the production… a scene in which Ms. Char must give a sparse, gut-wrenching account of Tarquin’s assault. It was a powerful, stomach-twisting performance combining disconsolate mood swings of psychological distress and distraught dissolution leading to a complete collapse into self-abasement and shame… She bemoans to her husband that “Our love was too rare for life to tolerate” — lines Ms. Char seemed to utter as though from direct experience.” – Stephan Bonfield, Calgary Herald, July 2016

 The Calgary Herald. Said. That.
 Repeat after TFP – The Calgary Herald, ostensibly read by people in Calgary, which is the third largest city in Alberta, thought she could sing and act.
 How many people in Calgary?
 1.214, 839 million. It is has more than 240 different types of people and is ranked third highest in visible minorities in any city in Canada.
 Of the visible minority population of 28.1% – South Asian makes up 7.1%, Chinese makes up 6.3%, Filipino makes up 4.1 percent, Southeast Asian 1.8% .
 No, they are not all Opera Singers, they are the general population – but a company that is trying to build audiences by doing a classic musical would be wise to not whitewash a character of Asian descent in a city where they know good and well what Asians look like!
So how much due diligence was done, really?

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Grace Chan.
Canadian.
Mezzo Soprano.

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The word on the street is that Ms. Chan rocks the house, but hard.
Here is some info from when she was a Guest Artist:
 “Widely praised for her natural voice, dynamic presence and audience rapport, Manila-born Chinese-Canadian Mezzo-soprano Grace Chan has sung with major opera companies in three continents; her strong reputation in the Canadian industry is evident in press reviews in publications such as Opera Canada, The Globe and Mail, Time Magazine, The Toronto Sun, Stratford Festival Theatre, The Vancouver Sun, The Georgia Strait and many other community dailies. A history buff, Grace is passionate about stories of peoples and civilizations. Grace obtained her BMus. (Opera Performance) and MMus. (Voice Performance) at the University of British Columbia, and extensive training in Vienna and New York. Grace is a teacher, clinician, adjudicator, conductor, and mentor with affiliations with Trinity Western University and the BC Conservatory of Music.”

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Mezzo Soprano.

Married to a Canadian.

Nina Nelsen, Santa Barbara, Oct 2012
Here is a bit about what she has been up to from her website:
 Hailed as a “rich voiced, expressive mezzo-soprano” by San Francisco Classical Voice and “appealingly direct and honest in tone and bearing,” by Richard Dyer of the Boston Globe, Nina Yoshida Nelsen recently made her New York City Opera debut as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, conducted by George Manahan.

In the 2016-2017 season, Nina Yoshida Nelsen returns to the Santa Barbara Symphony as the Alto Soloist in Beethoven Symphony #9 and debuts with the Guelph Symphony Orchestra as the Mezzo Soloist in the Verdi Requiem. In the 2014-2015 season, Nina was thrilled to return to Utah Opera to perform Suzuki in Madama Butterfly. She then made her debut singing the same role with The Atlanta Opera.  She also sang Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Southwest Florida Symphony. Nina made her Seattle Opera mainstage debut summer 2015 singing the role of Mama in the world premier of  An American Dream

For those following along at home – that is TFP 3 – Calgary Opera – 0
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Finally, there is Dr. Soon Cho. 

Mezzo Soprano.

NOT Canadian, no one is perfect.
Still, on the same continent. She teaches in Texas.
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Hailed by Opera News for her “potent presence” as Mrs. Clemm in Argento’s Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe, lyric mezzo-soprano Soon Cho has gained recognition as a versatile performer. 

As a recitalist, chamber musician, oratorio and concert soloist, and equally at home on the opera stage, she began her professional singing career under the batons of world-renowned conductors such as Alan Gilbert, Kristjan Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Erich Kunzel, Julius Rudel, Mischa Santora, and David Zinman.

As Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Cincinnati Post praised her performance as “regal in bearing, with vocal endowments to match. The tears were listener response to her heart-wrenching performance of “When I am laid in earth.”

Hmmmm, and then there were four.

Now look see here, oh Calgary Opera – TFP is going to ‘splain you what you did when you chose – and yes, she said CHOSE to ignore the three employees who quit over this casting when you did it and then you said ‘well maybe a soprano‘, but you still have the Caucasian lady ‘on hold‘.

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What you did was decide that Asian descended people only exist in your Operatic Space when you deem it appropriate.

What you decided with this casting is that Asian descended people or Native Peoples do not ‘have the chops’ to compete with actual Caucasian singers, and therefore are able to be pushed aside.

You did no due diligence.

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This is 2017.

TFP always takes the answer of ‘well there weren’t any” very personally – because these decisions are personal in that they deal with people, and personal in that she is an Asian descended person who works in the performing arts.

Regardless if you believe that you have done your ‘due diligence’ in trying to cast appropriately in a show that deals ENTIRELY with prejudice and racial politics, you have NOT.

You just wanted to work with someone who was not Asian descended.

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If that is the case – pick a different show. There are  3 major shows in the Rodgers and Hammerstein canon that are amenable to opera companies interpretations – OKLAHOMA, KING AND I, and SOUTH PACIFIC.

All deal with prejudice in their own ways.

The reason they do is because Hammerstein was as ‘woke’ as a guy could be who wrote musicals in the 1940’s and onward.

By the way, he also wrote PORGY AND BESS – and so the question then comes to you –

WOULD YOU CAST BESS AS A WHITE LADY CUZ YOU COULD NOT FIND ANYONE?

You damn well would not.

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Exactly.

Now, Megan Latham has gotten a lot of flack for accepting this role. The truth is she should get a lot of flack for accepting this role.

The question to ask prior to taking a role where you are expected to don another ethnicity in a musical is – would I be comfortable playing a role in another musical where I would have to paint myself?

If the answer is no – turn it down.

You are not ready for this jelly.

Yes, it is totally Calgary Opera’s fault for putting you in this position – but they would not have been able to put you in this position if you had not accepted the role.

It was very naive to think that people would not say anything in a city that has the third largest minority population in Canada. Perhaps it was not ill-intentioned, but it was wrong just the same.

At the same time, if a Caucasian does accept the role, they have to accept what comes along with it.

You need the check?

TFP totally gets it. Everyone has bills.

You are going to have to suck it up then, you are going to get checked twice, Boo.

That’s just life.

What should happen is Calgary Opera should pay Ms. Latham out and replace her, similar to what Dallas Summer Musicals did when they had to replace a Caucasian actor who they had hired to play The King in THE KING AND I.

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There is some other sh*t in Canada that is pissing off TFP(maybe she is transferring because of YOMYOMF’s story about the television shows Fresh Off The Boat, Dr. Ken, Quantico and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. all being on the bubble of potentially getting cancelled.) but here it goes…it’s super annoying…still grateful for Sandra Oh and Grace Park and other Canadians on US Television, but…something needs to be said.

Yes, Canada has Kim’s Convenience as an award winning television show and that is cool as hell. However when you are, well Justin Trudeau’s Canada, your television station and it’s representation have to up it’s game.

C’mon Canadian Broadcasting Corporation – where are the diversity initiatives that in the United States have actively affected change? Your casts are NOT reflecting the Canadian scene, as we say in the States. That should be a mandate.

Right now for scripted comedies, they have four – Mr. D, Working Moms, Kim’s Convenience, and Schitt’s Creek. Still Standing, is a hybrid comedy/reality series.

(Yes, It’s a super fun show.)

There have not been comedy shows featuring Muslims or South Asian people on since the show, LITTLE MOSQUE ON THE PRAIRIE which ended in 2012.

Of those, only Working Moms has an Asian series regular, who is Jessalyn Wanlim (Yes, she was also amazing in Orphan Black, but…she was killed off). She is excellent, we enjoy her.

However of those four scripted comedies, Ms. Wanlim is the only Series Regular who happens to be of Asian heritage!

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Canada is also the country that gave us the incredible Sandra Oh.  Dance it out!

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Another Canadian Ex-Pat that grace’s US television is…actually, Grace Park.

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(We sort of owe you for those last two, #SorryNotSorry.)

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But again, this is Justin Trudeau’s Canada and we expect more – there needs to be more Series Regulars on their Television shows that are of Asian and South Asian descent – because of course, the CBC serves the country. It is more similar to the British television system than the American one.

A country that has a very visible minority population of 19.1 per cent.

South Asians are the largest visible minority in Canada with 4.9% of the general population, yet…where are they in the scripted comedies?

Yes, Asians are on the news and specific shows that deal with documentaries, travel, they are hosts and reality show contestants, and a few dramas and all – but when on Canadian television are they being funny?

TFP tries to watch television from around the English speaking world, when she can, to keep up with what is going on. Thank goodness for the internet. So imagine TFP‘s surprise when she saw this Vanity Fair photo by Andrew Eccles which announced their three new Series Regulars and…

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NO RAY THE REALTOR!!!!!

HE HAS BEEN THERE SINCE THE BEGINNING!

TFP is upset.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has a low number of scripted comedies, and they have no South Asian series regulars – that is disgraceful.

Also, they have RAY THE REALTOR right there – working every scene hilariously – that he is ‘allowed’ to be in.

Of course TFP is going to be sad that there is not more of Actor, Rizwan Manji on Schitt’s Creek – it is a brilliant show, and he is brilliant in it.  While no one should feel sorry for a guy that has been in as many films  as he has (he has 101 credits on IMDB)  – it is still weird.

Guess we will just have to look for him recurring on the breakout hit, MR. ROBOT on US Television – but here’s the thing many people may not know about Mr. Manji…

He is Canadian.

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Not many people can go toe to comedic toe with Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara, and leave you wanting more, but Rizwan Manji can, eh?

However, he’s not in that photo, and he’s not a Series Regular – no wonder all the Asian Actors leave Canada – we may have elected a Cheeto Small Hands Combover Twitler, but at least we embrace more diversity in our comedies.

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With such a large South Asian population…it really is a puzzlement how this kind of thing continues to go on – how we ‘miss’ definitive diversity in a specific genre because we look at the broader picture – television as a whole. However, when you look at the scripted comedies – it’s hilarious but very, very, very Caucasian.

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Here is why TFP is writing about Canada, er…Justin Trudeau’s Canada…we are asking you to be a beacon for the USA right now, eh?

The USA is at war within it’s own boarders – we have racial tension, we have Nazis in the White House – we need some hope, Canada.

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You have some of the funniest people on the planet – for heaven’s sake you give the world brilliant comedians like Russia gives us vodka and wiretapping –  so we need you to show both your own visibly huge minority population, and the rest of us who follow you on the internet that we, one day, will have a real shot at being half as good as Canada.

For two Canadian Companies – one Opera, one Broadcast, who fail to realize the erasure of Asian Canadians…TFP fines them all a hundred lashes with the wand.

You could do something a-fresh-off-the-boat this, so why not do it, eh?

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TFP out.

 

The Fairy Princess was perusing periodicals when there was, she noticed at casual glance, a mention of The Tony Awards, she was mildly interested.

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Absolutely no one noticed her interest, it was subtle.

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As she read on MacDuff, she noticed that the big kerfuffle in announcing a host was that Tina Fey had dragged the poor Tony Awards along like a third string prom date, and ultimately had to just tell them flat out, it was a no.

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TFP was left wondering – who was going to watch the TONY Awards this year with her, if there was no host?

Who had they asked?

Hugh Jackman? Busy.

James Cordon? Busy.

That guy with the three names who always does a great job?

Totes Busy.

For consolation, TFP resorted to the internet…and she remembered THIS video!

Upon first viewing – she had thought this was genius, and since then…well, Rachel Bloom has gone on to have a hit television show on the CW….that is produced by CBS Studios…which is broadcasting the TONY Awards!!!

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TFP had a VISION – the Cast of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend should host The Tony Awards this year!

First of all – there is, of course, Rachel Bloom – totes hilarious, great writer, obviously an lover of all things Broadway – obvious because a bunch of the main cast of characters of her television show have actually BEEN on Broadway!

Let’s start with this lady – Ms. Donna Lynne Champlin!

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Drama Desk Winner.

FIVE Broadway Shows!

Donna Lynne Champlin belongs to the the theater – however we are letting the television world ‘borrow’ her so she can make a lot of money and more people will fall under her spell.

Let’s face it, she is so talented, she will one day HAVE a TONY Award, so why not give her a hosting gig and see why people all over the country fall in love with her Paula every week?

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Moving on….

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Santino Fontana.

SEVEN Broadway shows!

WHAT? Seven in one…er… career?

Plays and Musicals.

And…Disney Prince – possibly the only Disney prince who turns out to be a villain – but let it go, Folks, it was AMAZING!

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He gave you full on “don’t trust the good looking guy, he only wants your castle’ realness.

He can sing and dance – as can the entire cast – and isn’t that what we want to see on The Tony Awards?

Triple threats?

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Everyone’s favorite Asian “Bro” – Vincent Rodriguez III came right out of the National Tour of ANYTHING GOES, performed in HERE LIES LOVE at NY’s The Public Theater…

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Mr. Rodriguez can sing and dance his ass off….

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As well as tap!

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BEST OF ALL – because he IS the love interest, Josh Chan – he comes with a whole host of Asian Americans playing his family!

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including fellow Broadway Performer, Amy Hill as his Mom and the one and only TONY Award Winner, Lea Salonga as his slightly self-absorbed Aunt who insists on singing at his sister’s wedding.

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(The funny part being that no one would actually argue with that.)

Shall TFP continue?

She shall!

Gabrielle Ruiz!

THREE Broadway shows!

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Pete Gardner!

Yasss, gurl – Broadway Show!

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Vella Lovel!

She’s a West Coast gal! There is time! 

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Not to mention, not to mention –the guest stars!!!!

Mega Broadway – TONY Winner Patti LuPone and TONY Nominee Tovah Feldshuh!

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In fact, the only thing more Broadway than the TONY Awards on television now is the cast of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

C’mon -they even do throw away musical references that only a few hundred people get and make no big deal out of it….

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That is like, everyone that TFP hangs out with!

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TFP is voting yes! She is voting all the yes-es!

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Come on CBS – who do we need to talk to? If you are not going to go ‘snarky female comedian power show runner’, why not make it a #TonysSoWoke ?

Why not make it the cast of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend for the win? 

Er, the Hosts?

Why not?

Other people are booked – there is still time for them to write and learn a kick ass show – and it would be great to see all those Broadway folks who left us for television have a big, warm welcome home.

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Best of all – this time there is no Electoral College to screw up the voting!

CBS – they’ll be swell, they’ll be great- plus they clean up good, and they’re funny as hell – a no brainer!

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Get it!

TFP out.

The Fairy Princess was feeling good…

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Nothing is “perfect’, but there was some good news out there – and by the way -there still is:

MISS SAIGON is opening this evening on Broadway tonight, and we wish them very well – break everything and slay the people!

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Several people have booked pilots, and several series with API leads were renewed – more on that later but very quickly – off the top of the head – Congrats to B.D. Wong, Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park, Masi Oka, Kunal Nayar, Parvesh Cheena, Leonardo Nam, Rodney To, Isabella Russo, Amy Hill, someone TFP is not supposed to say because he is believes in curses and bad luck, and all others who are waiting to hear if their shows were renewed or whatever – may the odds be ever in your favor. (Also, she may have missed a few names, she will get there)

The 72 Hour Shootout by the Asian American Film Lab has applications open and here is the trailer.

This year’s shootout will take place from June 1-4th and will be judged by ABC’s Exec Dir of Casting, among others – and prizes range from cash to NBC Mentorships!

The one requirement for the Shootout is that one of your key production members be of Asian descent, and one of your principal cast members.

You get 72 hours to write, cast, film, and produce your masterpiece – so get your teams together and get ready for summer!

We all know that Marvel has released IRON FIST and the reviews have been less than stellar

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Now, they sent their, ahem, first string – their FIST string if you will, out there to defend the casting of a white male as Iron Fist and…it did not go well.

Poor Finn Jones.

It got so bad – he quit the Twittah!

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YAAASSS Gurl, QUIT IT!

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(For like, a week)

He had to get his ‘zen’ back so he could look at that ridiculous poster.

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Then in an attempt to “clap back” as the kids say, the co- creator of the comic – Roy Thomas, said in a interview with Inverse:

“…I have so little patience for some of the feelings that some people have. I mean, I understand where it’s coming from. You know, cultural appropriation, my god. It’s just an adventure story. Don’t these people have something better to do than worry about the fact that Iron Fist isn’t Oriental, or whatever word? I know Oriental isn’t the right word now either.”

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First Marvel casts the Iron Fist as a white guy – (which, btw, TFP always thought they were going to do, because the character was written that way originally and though MANY thought, and TFP agreed, that this would be a perfect time to re-imagine the character as either Asian/American or someone of Asian descent – to both negate the co-option and to still give the character an ‘otherness’ when he went to China – they did not) and then Mr. Thomas decides, deliberately, to insult Asian/Americans by negating their concerns in a half-assed manner.

Hold my earrings!

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However,  Iron Fist Co-Star, Jessica Henwick tweeted back at him that

Oriental is a term used to describe rugs, not people”.

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Which is pretty badass.

She can come sit next to TFP at the next Hapas of Hollywood round table.

Totally kidding – no such roundtable.

Yet.

Ok Mr. Thomas – yes, we all realize that the casting of Iron Fist was problematic, essentially because – if you are going to whitesplain China to us, you are going to have to pick someone with a bit more, shall we say, range.

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However, TFP realizes everyone already discussed the many shortcomings of Finn Jones as Danny Rand – and whether it is fair or not – it is already out there and she is not going to add to it.

It’s been done.

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What she will do, however, is give you just a little lesson on using words that you realize are not the correct words – in fact, your use of them is designed to set us all spinning and simultaneously remind us all of our ‘place’ within the Marvel world.

Which is that we are there at all, only by your good graces.

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Which is not, really, as we soldier on into our intersectional world, something that we want to encourage. It is not something we will even tolerate, given the disdain that you have repeatedly shown for Asian/Americans and their viewpoints.

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“Oriental” is a word that was used back in yon olden days until likely the last 25 years or so to yes, describe Asians.

Now – it came originally from a map perspective – what was Occidental was Western, and what was to the East was Oriental. This was from the map maker’s perspective, which was a Eurocentric perspective. After all, they were making maps of what they knew, and not everyone at the time, way back in the day knew a hell of a lot about China and so on because…no internet, no planes – just boats, and things that could be pulled by animals.

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Makes sense, except however this usage extended to everything – grouped everyone together and made ‘us’ and our many variables one giant mass of “Not White People“.

To put in language that you can best understand, our origin stories, if you will, got lumped together into one big morass of “Other’. We were not Persian, or Chinese, or Japanese, Korean, Thai, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Indian, Pacific Islander, Pakistani…we were just them.

All look same dot com.

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Terms like exotic and foreign and Far East were also used adjacent to “Oriental‘ and that is part of the whole ‘appropriation‘ that you scoffed at, but which you made money from. You had the character go to China, learn martial arts and mystical stuff and then return to the USA, inherit a fortune and then solve crime, all the while relying on his ‘mystic martial arts’ to pull it off.

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It was part of a movement that pandered to the dominance of white culture – and we see it’s effects even to this day.

(It is the kind of thing that well, led to electing the Orange Combover Twitler to office.)

Now, do white people get described in terms of their relevance as objects?

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As Rugs?

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Would TFP ever say Oh, don’t invite those Shag Carpets, the last time there were here they got wine all over the linens.”

Does she say “That is a Caucasian vase from the Early Elizabethan period known as an Occidental, notice the etchings on the side?

Has she ever uttered “Darling, wherever should I place this lovely painting that the Wall to Walls sent us? So thoughtful. It’s part of their culture you know….”

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Even with as much as a pain as those fans are, how their devotion to a comic book character interrupts your ability to sip whisky by the fireplace and contemplate your navel – they need to be given more dignity by you. “Nerds’ that have literally funded your life and art who are weighing in and campaigning for what they would like to see going forward – you should give them more respect than the rug that you are likely walking on even now in your study and address their concerns with thought.

Not to mention your Actors who happen to be of Asian descent – Jessica Henwick and Lewis Tan – who are working on your show and helping it have life again and thus ensuring a very comfortable retirement for you – don’t they deserve more respect than being compared to a rug?

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Because you have been a very poor student if you do not realize one of the basic tenants of Chinese culture, of Japanese culture, of almost every Asian culture – is respect.

Especially when you know that they can do this?

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One would think you would do everything you could to keep them happy.

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So when you speak of us again, and you will – you WILL – please remember – it is Asian/American or East Asian or South Asian or even just Asian and not, ahem – RUGS!

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TFP fines you 500 lashes with the wand!

It wasn’t so much that you ‘accidentally‘ used the word Oriental, TFP could just chalk it up to your ‘generation’ and mark it as a misuse of an outdated term.

It is how you used it to show that, for you, Asians do not really have a valid viewpoint and that they should just shut up. You used it deliberately to hurt people and why?

You already won – sorta. Iron Fist is Finn Jones. Got it.

Everyone likes Lewis Tan better, because…well…they do.

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So take it – take all the backlash – and you think about it.

Think hard.

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TFP Out

The Fairy Princess has been disgruntled with the ‘whole thing’.

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Like, the whole Orange Combover Twitler POTUS and his Deatheater cronies destroying the country in plain sight, with the rest of us left to observe in abject horror. It is a combination of absolute power and absolute disregard for anyone who is not a white heterosexual male who makes a living on Wall Street.

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It is staggering.

In a nutshell, she has not been writing because of the supreme sh*t show that the United States of America has allowed itself to become.

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Also, there are people to whom that category does NOT apply, and for those of us hanging on like that friggin’ cat – yes, TFP acknowledges that the above does NOT apply to everyone, although she does not NOT apologize for that generalization.

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You just have to be strong enough to weather the ‘does not apply to me’ burden and carry on like you are British royalty or something.

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However – there have been some GOOD things happening and TFP thought she better list them because some are SUPER cool, and she would be remiss if she did not do a little dance over their news – so onward we go. (Yes, country still a sh*t show, but like James Thunder Early says ‘”There have GOT to be some good times!“)

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of SNOW IN MIDSUMMER is coming to the end of a VERY successful run – it closes on March 25th. The reviews were stellar, The cast was, for the very FIRST time in RSC history – ALL East Asian, and they told an East Asian story.

This would NOT have been possible without the advocacy work of the British East Asian Artists, Daniel York, and Lucy Miller-Sheen. They have been ‘hammering away’ at the British Establishment for a number of years, and what this shows all of us, is that advocacy works.

Standing up for yourselves and your talent – your writers, your composers – it works. Eventually, as was sung in RAGTIME, you can ‘Make them hear you’.

This show will be making it’s U.S. Premiere at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival next season! 

As we leap back across the pond, we find some more good news – for example, here on Broadway, we have the opening of AMELIE starring Philippa Soo, it has begun previews and we wish it a long and happy run. Also in the cast is Maria Christina Oliveras, who is amazing – so...toi toi toi!
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GROUNDHOG DAY, which features Raymond J. Lee and Vishal Vaidya, has also begun previews. Toi, toi, toi to them, them, them as well!

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Other Broadway shows that have API Cast Members include HAMILTON, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, CATS, SCHOOL OF ROCK, COME FROM AWAY, IN TRANSIT, and of course, coming BACK to Broadway is MISS SAIGON.

So there are PLENTY of shows that do have API Cast members, and that is a great thing to remember as we head into this next Broadway season.

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Off Broadway, there is some rather excellent news – The Classic Stage production of Stephen Sondheim’s PACIFIC OVERTURES has broken box office records for pre-sale!

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Directed by John Doyle, performances are scheduled from April 6-May 27th.

This has a cast headed up by the inimitable George Takei, and features some of Sondheim’s most beautiful music – it is also worth noting for those who were quick to point out that ALLEGIANCE did not SRO- that THIS show, which features all ALL ASIAN AMERICAN CAST – is doing just fine

Which negates to TFP, the argument that “Asians don’t sell tickets” – this crew will knock it out of the park, and that…is pretty awesome.

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BD Wong and his writing partner, Drama Desk Winner, Wayne Barker, are turning the 1995 film, Mr. Holland’s Opus into a musical! Very exciting news that this TONY Winner is continuing his journey, whilst being made a Series Regular on the TV Show, GOTHAM, as an author.

 Our very best wishes to both Mr. Wong and Mr. Barker as they head down to San Diego State University to work with the students in the MT program there on the workshop of this piece.

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SANDRA OH IS BACK ON TELEVISION!!!!

That is a pretty great thing – she is a phenomenal actress and frankly, television has been missing her. 

She will be on the third season of AMERICAN CRIME, in a multi-episode guest star arc -helmed by John Ridley.

The show began on March 12th on ABC, and reviews are great!

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New on Disney Channel is the ANDI MACK show, which premieres on April 7th at 8:30pm.

The later time is because, for a ‘kids show’ this has a rather mature story line – ie, much like Jack Nicholson, the child, “Andi” finds out that “Mom” is really “Grandma”. 

This alone would not be enough to get you ‘there’, except for the fact that, of course, “Bex”, her cool older sister returns home after an extended time traveling about. 

The trio of Family is played by Lauren Tom, Lilan Bowden, and Peyton Elizabeth Lee as Andi.

Finally, Trans Actress, Ivory Aquino starred in the miniseries WHEN WE RISE, penned by Dustin Lance Black.

This is very exciting and huge breath of fresh air!

They totes WIN!

 

Good times!

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THUS, ABC is WINNING!

They have consistently been the best at incorporating diversity in front and behind the camera.

They also have FRESH OFF THE BOAT and DR. KENTFP is very pleased with ABC, very pleased. 

They keep this up and she’ll retire the blog!

Thanks, Y’all!

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Just because, you know TFP cannot go one blog without trying to scold someone – she wanted to bring up the live action version of MULAN – which now, reportedly will NOT have music.

TFP has noticed that some on the internet are ‘upset’ to put it mildly.

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Folks, this is ok. 

You will be FINE!

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Fa Mulan as a legend existed way before the animation team at Disney existed. Literally it has been around for thousands of years  – she was believed to have lived during the Northern Wei dynasty which is late 386CE – 534CE.

Frankly in a live action version – it will be very hard to sing whilst battling hordes of Mongols.

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Further more, no one wants to go up against the singing chops of Lea Salonga.

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She is, of course, a ‘double Princess’ in the Disney canon, and let it be known – she remains the Queen.

A Princess plus a Princess equals a Queen.

So let the animated film do what it does, let the live action film do what it does.

Heavy is the head that wears that crown, so we shall see how whomsoever is cast, does in coordinating the action and the acting.

After all – with the voice, they needed two people!

That is Ming Na and Lea Salonga right there – tough combo to beat. Not to mention talking dragons that were on pedestals and a lucky bug.

TFP is in a wait and see mode with this new live action MULAN.

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So there, see – TFP did a ‘feel good’ blog – we can feel good-ish about so many API’s working and being seen in America.

When MISS SAIGON closes, and goes on tour,  the numbers will go back in the toilet, but there are a lot of things to be grateful for and we should all #RESIST and stay focused, but also…be aware that whatever state the Country is in, we’ll always have Broadway.

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TFP out.

The Fairy Princess has been looking at this country’s new Regime (YES, SHE SAID REGIME) with angst. After which she has to instantly freebase some Randy Rainbow to keep sane.

As many know, TFP is a theater professional – who has ideas – and much of the new year has been taken up with panel discussions that has expanded upon those ideas.

In January, she spoke on a panel at the Musical Theater Educators at New York University on Diversity at the invitation of Prof. Kikau Alvaro from Virginia Commonwealth University. Thanks Kikau!

She felt many of the crowd were ‘up in arms’ at some of the issues raised… but still, she persisted.

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To sum up what TFP believes about, for example, putting a Performer in a role say, as Christmas Eve from AVENUE Q, and then not having them be Asian/American…

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What is taught when this occurs?

What is being taught is that ethnic identity and culture is something to be acknowledged only when Caucasians say they will acknowledge it. It teaches a basic disrespect for Performers of Minority Status.

This plays into the cultural disrespect that permeates this country that has currently boiled over to such a point where we have elected a man who TFP refers to as Comb-over Twitler, and if you, as a theater educator, are ‘indulging’ in the erasure of people of minority status from the Arts – YOU are part of the problem.

Be the solution.

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BroadwayCon had it’s first Asian American Panel called “Someone In A Tree“, to discuss representation on Broadway of Asian/Americans – and those on the panel were – B.D. Wong, Amy Hill, Manu Narayan, Kelvin Moon Loh and TFP

Here is what Playbill.com had to say:

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TFP thanks her panelists for their time and energy – these discussions are lively and fun, and need to keep happening. She knows, at times, they can be a drag…but there were BroadwayCon attendees who came up with tears in their eyes after, just from being able to see people they could relate to, talk about a life in the Arts.

Thanks too to the amazing BroadwayCon staff, who are so supportive of inclusion. BroadwayCon makes these panels a priority, giving them a forum when many in our business make a practice of ignoring them – and so, Bravo on a great second BroadwayCon – honored to be included.

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TFP then traveled to Princeton University to speak on a panel with Composer Robert Lee and Playwright, Lloyd Suh at their first Asian American Theater Symposium.

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The day was presented by Princeton’s newly formed East West Theater Company, who also mounted a production of Lloyd Suh’s Charles Francis Chan Jr’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery, ably directed by Peter Kim. Mr. Kim was in the original Off-Broadway production of the show, and is a dynamic and talented Actor/Writer/Director in New York City.

Earlier panels included a discussion with Professor Christine Mok, University of Cinncinnati and Professor Brian Herrera, 0f Princeton University.

TFP learned quite a lot, and she has to thank Professors Mok and Herrera for having a frank discussion called “The Privileged Conversation’.  One of those points IN their discussion, was Prof. Mok’s preference for writing Asian/American with the slash in between Asian and American. There is a long reasoning behind it, but in a nutshell, / let’s the term be both fluid and encompassing.

TFP is for it!

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This new East West Theater Company was founded by current Princeton senior, Kathy Zhao, in response to being cast the previous year in a role based on stereotype – and if this is how Ms. Zhao responds to being challenged, all TFP can say is, the future of Asian/American theater looks promising.

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Then she turned on the Interweb and read the response of Jack Viertel of ENCORES!to their New York Times Review by Laura Collins-Hughes.

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She thought the Times response was valid, but she wanted to add a few thoughts while she was fresh off all these panels…just some thoughts.

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First of all, the idea that the press should buckle to the whims of a president, er, producer is ludicrous.

The press and producers have a symbiotic relationship – Producers need to sell tickets, and Critics need shows to review. Everyone knows this. However to insist that the presenting the story of Big River should be devoid of comment about the current state of racial dynamics in the United States, even while it is being presented during Black History Month,

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is a far reach.

The character of Jim, who is an escaped slave cannot just be seen through the viewpoint of Mark Twain writing way back in the day, that is impossible given the internet and our current crisis that brought about the Black Lives Matter movement.

To be frank, Mark Twain would not have wanted that.

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He wrote the story of Tom Sawyer because he was opposed to people OWNING other people – and his setting of the issue to be seen through the eyes of a young white boy was because he wanted things to change. He also wanted his readers to but ‘gulled’ into reading what they would think is a ‘charming story of a young boy and his misadventures‘ and wind up with a damning indictment of white privilege.

Mr. Viertel’s response was painful to read for those who value the free press (didn’t the free press just strike a palpable hit against former Government employee, Mike Flynn?  Andrew Puzder?) and for those who are may also be one of the aforementioned minorities upon which those panels on diversity in which TFP participated, was based.

But the shock of reading her stunningly polarized, politicized, narrow-minded and unfailingly myopic notions about Mark Twain, Big River itself and the place of racial and gender diversity in American letters and the American theater is something I can only picture seeing in some crackpot journal put together by college undergraduates in the late ‘60s.

Mark Twain does not go in and out of style. Whatever one thinks of the specific success or failure of Big River’s efforts to translate The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to the stage, it is faithful to Twain. I’m stunned to read, for instance, that Ms. Collins-Hughes is upset about the character of Jim being the only important black character in the piece. That’s true. It’s true of Twain’s novel, but it’s worth noting that Jim is, in fact, the most important black character in all of American literature of the 19th and early 20th century. Isn’t that enough?

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No, Mr. Viertel – it’s not enough. You do not get to be the decider of when and where racial and gender diversity is appropriate. This may be hard for you to fathom.

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TFP ‘gets it’, America voted in Comb-over Twitler and some people are like, whew!

Back on top!

What a relief!

‘They’ were getting so close!

Even in the theater.

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Just because your wheelhouse is musicals of the past, which often do not deal with race as a construct (except Oscar Hammerstein shows of course) – we, the audience, cannot ignore where America is now.

For Old Man Encores to yell about a good review is a sign of nothing but panic at the thought of having to be concerned with social responsibility.

It is a cautionary tale for those who believe that all Artists live in a liberal bubble.

Still, it is surprising that a man in his position decided to ‘pop off’ the way he did.

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Inclusion does not come easy – we see this all over the world, for example in England with The Print Room yellow face debacle.

Look at the photo here, which shows a patron yelling at British East Asians over protesting a play set in China, where the characters are to be Chinese, and not having any British East Asians in the cast. One of the remarks made by him had to do with the British East Asians not understanding theater.

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TFP is pretty sure they ‘understand’ theater.

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What they, the British East Asian Artists understand, and what was also discussed this past weekend at Princeton, is that – just by being on the stage as a minority, you become a political act.

You are demanding that people turn off all the lights and sit together, almost breathe as one, to look at you and the story you are telling – your face, your history tells a story. They must acknowledge you. They must see you as a person, as an Artist, as a human.

The truth though, about political acts is that many times, they are ignored because the people for whom they are intended prefer to ignore them. Political acts are not convenient for a lot of people – upsets the apple cart.

Which is why, often when minorities demand more space on stage, or on screen, or to tell their own stories, we are shown ‘the one’ as an example for why we should be satisfied. In fact, they get all ‘alternative facts’ nutso if you try and explain things like population percentages in regards to the setting of the show, the professions shown – demographics make some people very uncomfortable.

But you have (insert noted minority talent) – you can’t say there aren’t any!”

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Actually what we can say is that the parts given to minorities again and again, do not – in any way, ‘reflect the American scene’ – our numbers are low, and often it seems, our cultures are up for grabs at the whim of those with more power.

Oh, by the by – could someone explain intersectional feminism to Scarlett Johannson?

She might be a few college credits shy of being able to understand that a white woman replacing an Asian woman in a film set in Japan,  about a Japanese Major is NOT feminism.

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It is something else…begins with an r….

Nah, she will never get it, because she does not want to. It is not ‘convenient’ for her, or Matt Damon, or Tilda Swinton, or Emma Stone to believe they are in a direct line of descent from Mickey Rooney.

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Personally, TFP thinks that any major film actor or actress who agrees to be in a whitewashed/yellowfaced role should go into a closed cage match with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and explain it all to him, in depth.

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But then…TFP gets testy.

Honestly, this is a F**KING exhausting because it seems like it is truly getting worse.

Look in March’s VOGUE Magazine, which FULL ON indulges in yellow face, (Angry Asian Man) but expects us to ignore it because they put a Sumo wrestler in there!

Because – Fashion Art.

Racism is pervasive – and “Artists‘ hide their innate disregard for People of Color every. damn. day. under the ‘premise‘ of Art.

(That is Karli Kloss, for those of you wondering – photographed by Mikael Jansson for Vogue.Yes, she has already apologized)

They ‘cannot’ tell us apart, nor do they even try – Dev Patel is Riz Ahmed!

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Just messing with you, that is Riz on the left!

Misidentified by Burberry, perhaps the whitest brand in the world – who just happened to have DRESSED Mr. Patel for that award show!

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Jeannie Mai (from THE REAL) is confused with Brenda Song (from THE SUITE LIFE)!

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By the by – that last one, misidentified by Ms. Mai’s OWN network, TV One!

To add insult to injury, Jeannie Mai was with her fellow Cast Mates at the NAACP Awards!

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Artists of course, like and embrace People of Color, they will tell you that a million times – but the ‘rarefied air’ is allowed to be shared only upon occasion, and only with permission.

Of course, once ‘called’ to the carpet (the Red Carpet in these instances), they are quick enough to apologize for being unable or unwilling to tell us apart,  but People of Color are only ‘allowed’ to exist in that world when and where Caucasians say so, because…ART.

TFP finds that frustrating.

TEEN VOGUE better go have a ‘talk’ with Big Sister VOGUE, is all TFP is sayin….

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It was, of course, much ‘easier’ in the past to ignore sticky subjects like inclusion in theater and how people will view the show through the ‘matters of the day – because ‘such things’ were not discussed. Theatrical Producers of a certain age were raised in that tradition and they do not like to be questioned. They liked things as they were – and of course they would, for them, it was a nice world to live in.

However the rest of us no longer live in the world where men of a certain age, education and privilege are allowed to reign unchecked.

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 Good reviewers can separate performances from issues that are on the greater spectrum – which Ms. Collins-Hughes did, in TFP’s opinion. She gave the performers pretty much a rave, but she pointed out that choosing a show like this, at this time, is an odd choice, and that while Jim is a main character at first glance, he is not fully developed.

This is a critic who went and viewed the original Broadway production to put her points in context – it is, actually, an innately responsible journalistic approach to theater, and frankly – it’s refreshing.

Theater reviewing sometimes devolves into a cult of personality, rather than impartial viewing of a production on it’s own merits.

It is also telling that this is a Female Critic – and so there comes the additional debate of – if it was a MALE Critic who wrote this SAME thing, word for word –

WOULD YOU HAVE COME FOR HIM, MR. VIRTEL?

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Now, ENCORES Concert Series has been around since 1994 – and their ‘thing’ is to present American musicals of ‘the past’, sans too much scenery, for those who are avid musical theater fans. Some of those shows have, of course, gone back to Broadway because of the impact of the ENCORES presentation – for example, CHICAGO.

(Just an aside: CHICAGO as it exists now in the world and on Broadway, regularly uses Performers of Colors in lead roles – and that is a credit to the Producers and the staff that maintains this long running show)

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This is all well and good. It also should be applauded because American musical theater is rich with shows that have faded from general public memory.

However “the past’ of American Musical Theater history is mainly Caucasian.

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ENCORES does cast some performers of minority status – for example, last year they tried with a “Hamilton‘ style casting with their ‘1776’ – however in general they do not seem to embrace inclusion or diversity with any regularity in lead roles. In fact, they have not done many musicals that explore stories that have race as part of the setting of the show.

Out of the shows they have done – St. Louis Woman, Hair, Golden Boy, House of Flowers, Purlie, It’s a Bird, it’s a Plane, it’s Superman, Kismet, and The Wiz – only “Superman’ & Kismet have Asian roles written in the show.

In Superman, they are the evil “Flying Lings‘.

Kismet is set in fictional Baghdad during mythic Arabian Nights times. 

One hesitates to think what Mr. Virtual would think is appropriate for Asian History Month given his choice for the month of February! 

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TFP saw their “Wild Party”, yes, that had some diversity, however that reflected the original casting of that show.

Then of course, they ‘added on’ to their ‘shows that have minorities’ tally this season with Big River.

So while ENCORES does employ Performers of Color, it certainly does not seem a mandate of theirs to be inclusive. They are very happy with their status quo – and while it’s not awesome and amazing…it is worth pointing out that they still do way better than The Roundabout.

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What she is saying is, ENCORES could do better. Broadway could do better too.

TFP appreciates that Mr. Virtel tried to ‘clap back’ to a review.

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She realizes he was backed by many theater lovers (Including Frank Rich)  online who find being conscious of today’s society ‘exhausting’ and would really like minorities to take a nicely subservient role and exist to serve only adjunct parts where they ‘should’ be – that is not going to happen.

Theater and politics have always co-existed, and this will never change.

We saw it with HAMILTON‘s ‘noble call‘ to VP Elect Pence.

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We saw it with NYGASP’s updated production of “THE MIKADO”

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In fact to quote HAMILTONHistory is happening in Manhattan and we just happen to be in the greatest city in the world, the greatest city in the world. Look around.”

Yes, Mr. Viertel – LOOK AROUND!

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You can do BOTH – you can be a ‘woke’ Producer AND still love period musicals.

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As Oscar Hammerstein wrote “Impossible things are happening every day.”

Here in New York City – our critics SHOULD do the work, and they SHOULD put their reviews in the context of the time, absolutely.

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Maybe if Mr. Viertel took a nap, he would be able to see that her input in the context of this musical with her review, both prepares a modern audience and gives them the ability to figure out what may ‘bother’ them about it – it does not negate performances nor their wanting to see it.

The point is, just because styles are changing and one is bearing witness to it does not mean that there is not room for everyone.

The point is, just because something is not the same as when you first started in entertainment, does not mean it is wrong.

The point is, diversity equals dollars – and dollars keep musicals afloat.

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IN SHORT – GOOD JOB MS. COLLINS – HUGHES!!!

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Long Live a FREE PRESS!!!!!!

For trying to ‘shame’ a female theatrical critic on the basis of “Because the White Theater Gods Say So’….

TFP fines Old Man Encores a thousand theatrical listenings, each -of LEGS DIAMOND and CARRIE, the musicals!

Oh yeah, TFP knows a few old musicals too…

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TFP out!

The Fairy Princess went to see the ‘new’ Re-imagined Mikado.

As she told the Michael Cooper from New York Times, she was ‘cautiously optimistic’.

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Yes, on New Year’s Eve, she girded her loins, took her six foot Korean American husband in hand, and dived into the re-invention of Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Mikado”, as performed by New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players, which is in it’s 43rd year.

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This new production, which is double cast – was directed and choreographed by David Auxier and Assistant Directed by Kelvin Moon Loh. The scenic design was by Anshuman Bhatia, with costume design by  Quinto Ott.

TFP does not usually ‘review’ shows per se, and this is not a review – but having ‘ahem’, helped NYGASP come to the conclusion that their past productions needed revision with this blog, she wants those who read this follow up, to understand why this production worked and why Asian Americans should go and see this show which lasts until January 8, 2017.

Also to express to Asian Americans that yes, they CAN bring their children to this particular production, and feel at ease.

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Here’s how it was different than the last time TFP had seen it:

No yellowface makeup!

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(Katisha could go a bit easier on the brows, but a heavy brow is ‘in’ now, so?)

No outrageous shuffling of feet or excessive gestures meant to convey ‘orientalism’!

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Here is what was left – a very enjoyable romp of a G&S classic that in no way takes courage for an Asian American to sit through. It is enjoyable no matter what your background, and that is the point of Gilbert & Sullivan – that we all may enjoy absurdity and music in equal measure.

In fact, if one were a G&S afficianado, one might celebrate that this production has ‘renewed‘, if not ‘saved‘ altogether, this staple of the canon from those who very accurately charged that, as performed in many venues over the last few decades, The Mikado has been, to Asian Americans, an excuse to put racism on the stage.

This is what is different about this production – and, no, it is not a complete ‘win’, there are things – as there always are – that work and do not work about any new production – however this is not a ‘step’ forward, it is a gigantic leap.

One might even say….huge.

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Not that any thinking grown ass adult wants to use that particular word anymore, but it is applicable here.

The prologue – which was written by Director David Auxier – does work. It should become a standard around the country. Perhaps the dialogue at times could be tightened and some of the references not quite as broadly broadcast – but this is a rather appropriate way to enter the world of a Victorian Fictional Japan.

What happens is that Gilbert and Sullivan are in a meeting with their Producer, and as an incentive – he gifts them a trunk of treasures from the ‘new’ Japanese exhibition to inspire/bribe them to create a new show. Based on a story that is fiction, but one that was told by Gilbert himself, he is hit on the head with a sword from the collection, faints, and boom – we are ‘in’ his world of The Mikado.

This premise, and the way in which it is done, and the way in which Gilbert is thus a character in “The Mikado” he is imagining, makes vast amounts of sense. Instantly the audience is made aware that no, this is not Japan, this is a fantasy. In that fantasy are characters we have already been introduced to in the prologue – Gilbert weaves this dream with the faces he already knows – faces which are not altered in any way to be anything other than their own.

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TFP saw Chris Vaughn who gave the pompous and creative Gilbert a ‘life’, even when he was an observer in scenes. The way Gilbert is woven in and out of the dialogue is very smart – and again, keeps the audience aware of the ‘invention’ of the world.

The costumes are Victorian English, with elements of design that suggest Japan – or rather “Asia’ in the way someone who has never been to an Asian country, whose only exposure has been in fabrics and rugs and object d’art would suggest- in that of the trimmings and fabric choices.

TFP wants to give a shout out to the cast of the performance on Dec. 31 – they looked entirely at ease with the new setting and costumes. They were relaxed and adept – which made the crowd relax. No one was worried about ‘putting on’ another ethnic facade – and so they ‘played’ the show with every bit of honesty and fun that Gilbert and Sullivan intended. In that, it was one of the strongest Mikados that TFP has seen.

Onto the casting – TFP did help NYGASP try to broaden their reach, and the production she saw had Quynh-My Luu as Yum Yum.

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TFP can see that Ms. Luu could just as easily go into Mabel from Pirates of Penzance, as do The Mikado – and that is the absolute point of inclusive casting.

The point – and TFP does have one -is that there are people out there, performers of color and various minority status, that should indeed be seen based on their talent, and not because there is rigorous adherence to ‘the way it was’.

The romance between Yum Yum and her Nanki Poo, played by  Jesse Pimpinella, was authentic, youthful and delightful.

Caitlin Burke, who is of Asian descent, was properly terrifying as Katisha

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and then absolutely hilarious once she and Adam B. Shapiro’s Koko decided upon their romance – the two of them absolutely ‘killed it’, and with Mr. Shapiro’s only nod to Japan being in his leather obi and accented trousers, it freed him to round out Koko in a majestic way.

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Poo-Bah (Andy Herr), The Mikado (Cole Grissom), Pitti-Sing (Jessica Rose Futran), and Peep-Bo (Lauren Frankovich) also embraced their roles with gusto, freed from imagined chains of what it means to portray someone of another culture – and congrats to them all.

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In point of fact, that is how TFP felt about this version of THE MIKADO, that it freed everyone from tired tropes and allowed those on stage and off to relax and enjoy the show.

“A Little List‘ has been delightfully rewritten to include references to Lin Manuel Miranda and Bravolebrities – fair game, as LMM has references to Pirates of Penzance in Hamilton, a G&S ‘quid pro quo” as it were…yes, that works too.

In short – this version of The Mikado by NYGASP is enjoyable.

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TFP has said all along that The Mikado does not need to be rewritten to not offend people – it simply should be performed in a way that embraces inclusion, embraces multi-culturalism, because it if does not, the audience and the actors for this type of entertainment, which has entertained people since the 1880’s, will disappear.

If you do not believe TFP, believe Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber.

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You can perform the show in a variety of ways – take it out of Japan entirely but keep the text, you can change the setting and the text, or you can find a new way to keep it in Japan that works.

There are two ways to do this – do what NYGASP has done, and embrace the fantasy aspect of what Japan meant to Gilbert, add a prologue, and keep a diverse cast.

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Or, hopefully sometime soon, have an All Asian Cast of The Mikado, deciding at the time whether or not to use traditional costumes and scenery of Japan.

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Congratulations to NYGASP, particularly Producer David Wannen and Director David Auxier – you definitely could have told us all to go jump in a lake, and continued with the tiredness of orientalism, but you took a good look at a classic piece, and created a new vision that will ensure it goes forward to 2085.

Well done, well done.

Let’s all keep talking and moving forward America’s Arts Community – let’s be there for one another and create the world we want to live in.

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TFP out.

 

 

The Fairy Princess would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy Holiday Season and is cheerfully slamming the door on 2016.

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There have been some good things happening in terms of Asian Americans on Broadway – for example, the opening of IN TRANSIT on Broadway, featuring the wonderful Telly Leung in a lead role.

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There was the announcement that the Broadway cast of GROUNDHOG DAY is complete and is featuring Raymond J. Lee and Vishal Vaidya (making his Broadway debut) in the cast.

The first shots of Philippa Soo as the lead in AMELIE, which will make it’s Broadway bow in 2017 are out, and they are charming.

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And FINALLY, TFP’s favorite, Miss Isabella Russo was featured in THE TOYCRACKER extended theatrical commercial for a major retailer, where she co-starred along with Chrissie Teigen and John Legend! (TFP knew this already but could not let the cat out of the bag, but she did say that this was a kid to keep an eye on!)

 So of course with all that goodness abounding, there has to be some abject f*ckery coming our way, and of course, it’s coming at us from a few different angles.

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First off, The Hollywood Reporter did one of their year end wrap up discussions at a table, and they asked a bunch of white guys how to not make an animated film not chock o block full of stereotypes.

The only bright light in this conversation which boils down to “All the White Guy had to do to appease the other people in the world and what a drag that was...”

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is that apparently John Lassester, the Disney Animation Chief, chose to demand that his team on MOANA (which, truly is beautiful), do actual research on the culture that they were going to be exploring in this film. 

Seemingly the recipient of that ‘enforcement’, kind of resented it, but it wound up enhancing the film!

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Imagine! Knowledge is actually good for you! This is soooo anti-alt-2016 this concept, but there you go. 

Asking and employing actual Pacific Islanders to inform on a film that is about Pacific Islanders can help make the film deeper.

It is still a ‘pan-Pacific Islander’ take on this story, however it is not a documentary, and it is closer than they have gotten since MULAN

They had sensitivity with the casting of the voice actors and there is no forced romance in MOANA, which is great for little girls to have as an image in their heads.

Although it seems like he much preferred the non-research his team invested in when they did ALADDIN – had they done that research, they may have learned that that particular story was not part of the original Arabian Nights, but was added later by a Frenchman. 

Also that the story of Aladdin was supposed to take place in a border town along The Silk Road in…wait for it, China.

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Also, TFP does NOT GET how asking Seth Rogan about sensitivity in animation really is justified since, in his animated film coming out, he has a character named FIREWATER.

Think about it.

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So there you go, Hollywood enjoying the perks of having people of color in their stories, but not having people of color direct those films, or even inviting them to the conversation. 

Where was the Director of KUNG FU PANDA 3 – Jennifer Yuh Nelson? 

Where was the Director of SANJAY’S SUPER TEAM – Sanjay Patel?

Tired. So tired.

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Also hot on the heels of the aftermath of BREXIT, comes this offering from the U.K. – In The Depths of Dead Love, presented by The Print Room at The Coronet coming in January.

It is a play. Ah, a play. TFP loves plays.

 Enjoys plays. Does plays.

Where, she wonders, is this play set, perchance?

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Specifically? Let us go to their website:

Set in ancient China, In the Depths of Dead Love tells of a poet exiled from the Imperial Court & the favour of the Emperor, who scrapes a living by renting his peculiar property – a bottomless well – to aspiring suicides. Among these is a married couple who exert an appalling influence over him. Told through Barker’s celebrated exquisite language and affecting humour, In the Depths of Dead Love is the witty and poignant tale of a man facing an impossible dilemma.

Ah, a play set in CHINA!

OF COURSE! WHY NOT?

CHINA of course, had a ton of intrigue and politics, and is one of the oldest countries around from which to draw cultural inference, and stories about China should of course, be told.

One problem.

There is no one, NO ONE in this play on the stage, who happens to be of East Asian heritage.

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Again, this is a play SET IN CHINA, telling a story of CHINESE PEOPLE, and there are zero British East Asian Actors in the play.

How many?

Zero.

Do we really have to go through this again?

Do we really have to try and figure out that China is a real and actual place?

Do we need to again, look at map?

 All right, esteemed playwright Howard Barker, here is a map of CHINA. TFP will even pick a Dynasty.

Here is one from the HAN Dynasty. BOOM!

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WHY do we need, again, to look at images of Ancient China?

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Also, which specific part of Ancient China, my dear Mr. Barker? 

Because…not listed. Not listed in the information TFP was able to glean – so it’s just some ephemeral part of Ancient China – no Dynasty, no actual researched period – which, btw, are all available to find out.

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On the magic of the Interweb.

So we know a few things – aside from no British East Asians on the stage- we know that the costumes are going to be wrong. Why? 

Because it’s Amorphous Ancient China.

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In Amorphous Ancient China anything can happen. It’s like an Animated film. Wardrobes can talk. Dragons appear from nowhere and cause documented events to occur.

Matt Damon can save China in Amorphous Ancient China.

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Tilda Swinton becomes an Ancient Asian One in Amorphous Ancient China.  (Which is potentially when Tibet’s status which all the fighting is currently about was more or less defined, but let’s recognize that really doesn’t matter to them)

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In Amorphous Ancient China, Scarlett Johansson can become Japanese – it is just THAT Amorphous and magical!

Because where countries lie on maps simply does not matter when words like Ancient and China are in the same sentence.

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Let’s put it this way – in Amorphous Ancient China, Elvis is probably still alive and ruling over it from a tricked out rumpus room in a basement room in The Forbidden City!!!!!

It. Is. Magical.

People fly in Amorphous Ancient China.

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Why not? It’s Amorphous. 

The air is different in an ‘exotic’ and ‘ancient’ way which causes Caucasians to become inebriated with the possibility of co-opting every bit of the Chinese experience and then white-washing the Chinese faces from the stories they want to tell!

After all, why have Chinese faces tell stories about things that happened in China? 

That just makes it all far too Chinese, right? 

Too many Chinese people in China and what DO you get?

Like, over a billion Chinese people.

Who can devalue the US dollar any time they choose. 

Just sayin’.

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How DARE ‘we’ think that British East Asian faces should represent heritage that actual British East Asians have? 

Why, we are upstarts! We are non-Public School, non-gentrified Gentlemen’s Club out of order! 

The bravado of us! The notion!

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Why, the sentiment that British East Asians should portray East Asians is enough to send the women to the powder room in a fit of the Vapors! 

Corset strings must be loosened! 

The whale bone industry will be in jeopardy! 

What WILL the mere presence of these faces lend to the proceedings, anyway?

Just veracity.

Just dignity.

Just authenticity.

In the theater, we fight, don’t we? We fight for veracity. We fight to find the dignity in characters. We fight to be ‘authentic’ in our portrayals.

Here, the Creative Staff and the Theater Company have done something completely different. They have invested in lies. Investing in lies is not theater. Investing in falseness is a betrayal of all that theater has become. The characters are betrayed. The text is not worth hearing.

Why?

Because you are starting with the absurdity that abject racism can be forgiven within the context of the play, simply because white people wanted to do this play.

Read that again – you cannot ignore the foundation and setting of the play, which is specific,  just because your personal hubris believes that being a Caucasian gives you the right to decide when and where ethnic faces will be allowed.

What was it the great Mick Jagger often sang? Sing it with TPF now, SING, DAMMIT:

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No, you cannot, oh denizens of THE PRINT ROOM, always get what you want.

You cannot decide upon a portrayal of China in which there are no British East Asians to tell the tale. It is categorically racist. It is unquestionably absurd in premise, and it is the epitome of elitism in British theater. 

Sorry, theatre.

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Would you do this if the play was set in Ancient Africa?

Would you?

If there was intrigue in Amorphous Ancient Africa would you be comfortable with portraying an Ancient King of Africa? Would you invite friends? 

Would you consider it ‘your right’ to get onstage and proclaim that you were, indeed, an Ancient King of Africa?

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Likely not.

Which is the point.

TFP could continue to go on and on, but the simply truth about racism is – people like it.

Artists like it. They must. Especially Artistic Directors, Producers, and Writers of a certain stature. They perpetuate it with glee. They delight in telling Actors and Writers of minority status where their ‘place’ is, they love the premise that we all exist when and where they say we do. That they ‘allow’ our stories to happen. They also ‘allow’ us to appear in them when they say so.

They hide their preferences about it – chalk it up to ‘well, this is who came in.’, or ‘an actor should be able to portray any role‘, or ‘we had no qualified people of color‘ – but that is all a lie.

You can find any actor.

Repeat – YOU CAN FIND ANY ACTOR YOU NEED. There are things called ‘recommendations’, there are people called “Casting Directors’, there are places to advertise, there are Drama Schools to call – any actor of color needed can be found.

In this case, they simply did not want to. The Director, Gerrard McArthur -did not want to. The Playwright, Howard Barker- did not want to. The support staff were fine with promoting a play set in China, but not in promoting British East Asian faces to tell that story. The other issue is – white actors took the job. They had the hubris to take this job. 

All of that, all – is racism.

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It is societal, and it is both unconscious and conscious – the simple truth about why there are more working Caucasians in theater, and why their stories get told more, is because there is bias – they ‘default’ to themselves.

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What we have learned in America this past election, is that white people – and TFP, again, is ½ white – do not like to admit their biases. 

They KNOW it is wrong, they know it is small minded, and ignorant. They know their perceived moral and genetic superiority is a fallacy – but they like it. It makes them comfortable. They want the world to remain horribly pre-disposed in their favor.

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Theater artists are no different from anyone else. In fact, sometimes they are worse, because they are mostly politically liberal, they are mostly believers in equality – or that is what they tell you.

However this is not what we, the Artists of Color in the world are being shown. We are not being given an opportunity lightly – it is always conditional. We are not given the benefit of the doubt with our knowledge or experience – it must always be proven. 

Look at the plays of the West End – how many tell the stories of people other than Caucasian? Look at Broadway – same thing.

We are all talking more, yes. But are we changing things?

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TFP is giving The Printing Room the benefit of belief – they are showing her their bias and prejudice, and she is simply going to believe that is who they are.

Congratulations Old Chaps, you are Bigots!

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200 Smacks of the Wand to all at The Printing Room – you are whitewashing the Chinese from China! 

The audacity of that speaks volumes as to your worldview.

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Also – you are hereby banned from entering any Asian food eatery!

Why should we feed you when you erase us?

Oh yeah, this includes curry – how DARE you think it does not?!?!

TFP OUT.

 

 

This past weekend, The Fairy Princess was flown to Washington, D.C., to work on a journalism piece about the rise of Hate Crimes since the 2016 Election.

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Whist TFP was in D.C., VP Elect, Mike Pence was in New York City going to see…

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where the audience responded with some applause but also,

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See for yourself…

This is not an unusual situation for VP Elect to find himself in – after all, he has been booed at baseball games and quite  a few other places.

VP Elect Mike Pence has been booed   for defending Military Moms, for complimenting the Governor of Ohio… heck those last two he was being booed by ‘his own people’  – he is a man that knows how to handle it. 

People, not just New Yorkers, do not like him.
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At the conclusion of the show, the actor who plays Aaron Burr, Brandon Victor Dixon read a statement directly addressing VP Elect Pence, which was written by the show’s creator, Lin Manuel Miranda, the show’s Producer, Jeffrey Seller, and the show’s Director, Tommy Kail.

The rest of the Cast bore witness. 

There was booing from the audience, the Cast urged them to be quiet, so the statement could be read. 

The Cast did not boo.

Now, aside from the Orange Hate Pumpkin that is our President Elect who decided to tweet bad things about the show and demand an apology which is not warranted...

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there are many, on both sides of this issue taking issue with the treatment of Mike Pence, saying the actors overstepped, that the show should be boycotted..

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Like they could even get a TICKET

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Like, you just casually turn down tickets to HAMILTON?

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People who say that speaking truth to power is not the place of the theater – to them, TFP says – please brush up on your theatrical history – you are absolutely and categorically wrong.

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What the Cast and Crew did was follow a long standing Irish tradition called “The Noble Call’.

Here is an actual Irish person from Ireland to explain it to you:

A Noble Call occurs after the show – an actor in the show, or an invited guest, is invited to address the crowd on matters of the day.

It is considered, in Irish storytelling and theater, that everyone has a song to sing or a tale to tell in a unique way, and it is one’s duty to share it, by the sharing of it – using it to ‘call’ to others there, that it is Noble. 

This is a tradition that is ingrained in the Irish storytelling tradition.

TFP knows this because…wait for it, she is Irish.

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Ireland has, as do most other countries in the world, a much longer history than the United States.

As in, here is a ditty that is so oldthey don’t even know how old it really is…but Ed Sheeran is singing it now –  low those hundreds of years later – that is what is so very awesome about Irish music and theatrical tradition.

(Yes, Ed Sheeran who wrote that Justin Bieber song)

Ireland has been an invaded country and a politically divided country since almost the beginning- but the plays and songs and stories and artists and actors and dancers from Ireland, or with Irish roots – have given us all hopes and dreams in some of the most brilliant words and music and performances of all time.

Since wandering players were brought before the Kings and Queens of Ancient Ireland, artists and musicians, fools and artisans, have been speaking truth on the matters of the day.

You may recall the absolutely captivating Noble Call done at The Abbey Theater by Drag Queen, Panti Bliss, on the oppression that LGBTQ people can be exposed on a daily basis by ‘nice’ people, the sort of people you would feel comfortable leaving your children with.

Panti Bliss’s Nobel Call was filmed in 2014.

In 2015, Ireland legalized marriage equality.

Theater can make a difference.

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In fact, theater has always intended to make a difference, and it has always been used to speak truth to power – what is The Crucible if not an indictment of McCarthyism and it’s trials of Artists in America?

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What is Angels in America if not a call to arms for LGBTQ activism?

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Wise words by Playwright, John Patrick Shanley are assure us that it is right to ask the questions, it is just to find things immoral, it is powerful to look for honesty.

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The Cast and Crew of Hamilton did what they were supposed to do, by long standing theatrical tradition.

The cast of Hamilton is inclusive – it has people of various backgrounds, various sexes, and sexual orientations.

The policies that Mike Pence has backed in his work – are not inclusive, we of the theater, and we of the world, should not forget this.

We cannot forget what Mike Pence has stood for.

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We cannot forget the positions Mike Pence has taken towards our people.

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Now, whilst the Orange Hate Pumpkin was dodging and tweeting about a Broadway show he has not seen , trying to take the spotlight off the fact that he admitted he was wrong and paid $25 Million in damages in the lawsuit filed by former students of Trump University -(and as a lawyer’s kid, may TFP just add) he does not want you to remember that people do not ‘settle’ because they are nice folks.

People settle  because if they go to trial and get a judgement against them, it is likely to be much larger than what they were willing to pay. They settle and get the other side to sign something saying they will not reveal what was revealed, or they will not write a check,  and then they walk away shouting that there were never any judgements against them.

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So while that smoke and mirrors thing was happening – Mike Pence was being ‘the cool guy’ and announcing that what happened at HAMILTON did not offend him at all.

He liked the show, and that, since he is a ‘big history buff’- he had a great time and that he will encourage representation of all Americans when he sits at the hand of the Father.

This almost makes him appealing.

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But we cannot forget what Mike Pence is.

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The actor playing Hamilton is an Openly Gay, HIV Positive, Cancer Survivor who took care of both of his Parents when they were stricken with cancer.

VP Mike Pence would approve of electrocuting him to attempt to ‘make him straight’ – because that is a part of ‘conversion therapy‘, and Mike Pence is for conversion therapy. 

Mike Pence is also for denying serviceslike baking a cake – to someone if they are perceived to be Gay or if they state they are Gay. 

His is also, obviously, against marriage equality.

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There are women in the cast. 

Women whom Mike Pence would deny access to health care, deny contraception, deny basic control over their own bodies.

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There are People of Color in the cast. People whose lives matter – and the policies that Mike Pence has backed, marginalize those people. 

Policies that the Orange Hate Pumpkin has thought of as a good idea – such as stop and frisk, and torture – endanger us.

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The GOP announced plans to de-fund Medicare and Social Security.

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Mike Pence is anti-union

The people in that Cast are members of Actor’s Equity – which just won a decisive battle for them in the Off Broadway contracts.

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The people in that cast  are under attack from the GOP in a way that has not been seen in this country in a very long time.

This Country is under attack from the GOP in a way that has not been seen in a long time.

Mike Pence is a step behind the man who has a short temper, a large business empire that he does not seem to be stepping away from, the man who has appointed hatemongers to positions of privilege – that man will make mistakes.

One or ten of them may become impeachable. (Conservatively)

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Then we will be stuck with Mike Pence – and that is actually scarier.

The Orange Hate Pumpkin won because he was a ‘maverick’ and an ‘outsider’ – honestly, we do not know his record, because he does not have one.

Mike Pence is on record denying rights. Mike Pence is on record trying to control women’s bodies. Mike Pence is on record trying to bust up unions and saying that torture is within the realm of possibility.

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TFP was just in Washington, D.C. this weekend, and it was tense. She talked to ordinary, non-show folk people, and people are scared of this new team coming in.

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HAMILTON‘s Noble Call – it was warranted.

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It was in the very best theatrical tradition.

It spoke truth to power.

TFP commends the Cast on their composure.

 They have a great deal to risk – they are comprised of marginalized groups – many may not acknowledge their claim on American rights, many may not choose to hear their plea for representation.

Mike Pence is pretending to, and that is not comforting at all. 

His record shows he cares very little for representing all the people, his record shows he only represents people who look like him, who think like him, who worship as he worships.

They have the Presidency, they have the House, they have the Senate.

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We have the Theater. We have the Artists. We have the freedom to speak truth to power – until they take it away.

The Cast of HAMILTON spoke for all of us – even if you think they did not speak for you, they did.

TFP thanks them.

She thanks them as a minority, and she thanks them as a person whose Irish Grandparents came over on a boat, escaping oppression, because of their religion.

She knows her Grandparents would not even be able to comprehend what a ‘blog’ is – but she knows that they would definitely understand a “Noble Call’.

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See you all at #BroadwayCon

 

The Fairy Princess is feeling this kind of way about the National Election

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For those who may read this blog and who voted for the Orange Hate Pumpkin who is now putting a White Supremacist in the White House…which one supposes would make it the whitest of houses indeed, TFP has something to say – and this will not be long, and it will not be overly harsh and she has stated it on social media, so this is just an expanded version.

You may not consider yourself Racist.

You may not consider yourself a Misogynist.

You may not consider yourself a Homophobe.

However if you voted for the Orange Hate Pumpkin, TFP considers that you are.

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Cuz you endorsed it – with your vote. You voted against reason and science and rational discourse – you voted for hatred.

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Hatred did not bother you, it was not a deal breaker – and that is why you are a racist misogynistic homophobe.

Because you voted for it.  You endorsed it.

You have showed who you are, and TFP is doing you the courtesy of believing you.

You voted against TFP‘s Family and Friends, and their Families – you voted against Parents and their children and the kicker is – those who voted for HRC were voting FOR your Families – even if we disagreed, even if we didn’t know you. We were voting for you.

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A vote is something that you exercise because you want the country to turn in a particular way – and the way you want it, Trump voter, is full of a lot of hate. You cannot dispute economic reasons – Nobel Prize winning Economists said it would be a disaster.

Before you get up in arms about how you voted and your reasons why – they don’t actually matter, because sh*t just got real.

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There is a White Supremacist who is going to be Chief of Staff. They are appointing a Climate Change denier as Head of the Environmental Protection Agency. They are going to phase out Medicare. They are going to force members of a religion to register themselves.

Which violates the First Amendment, which reads:

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The Hate Popsicle that is a certain blonde spewer of vileness even suggested taking away voting rights if all four grandparents of a person, were not born in the United States.

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Now, TFP is actually a dual citizen of a fairly lovely country and so, if she is deported unlawfully because none of her Grandparents were born in the United States…well, at least she is not going to a conflict area. She is either going to be going to Australia or Ireland because…that is where both sets of Grandparents hailed from.

How many Americans could claim that all four of their grandparents were born in the United States? All four.

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There are many reasons that Hillary Rodham Clinton did not appeal to different demographics but the one area that people seem to be ignoring is education. It seems that there has been a lack of teaching critical thought, and if we do not all step up to that challenge, we are only going to sink down into the tar like the dinosaurs we have now become with this election. Everyone is so concerned with trigger warnings, that critical thought is going by the wayside, and that is one thing we have to stop.

There has been quite a bit of justifiable weight given to news pundits normalizing hatred – which they did. There has been quite a lot of weight given to Bernie Sander’s supporters and the vileness they spewed at Sec. of State Clinton during the primaries.

Calling someone a ‘corporate whore’, when the candidate is a woman, is not running a clean campaign. Calling someone a ‘bitch’, even if you yourself are a female, is not running a clean campaign.

By the by – no, Sanders did NOT denounce it right away – so look, there we are, 2 Caucasian men called upon to denounce hatred against females and minority groups and there – with both Trump and Sanders, no immediate response.

Sanders later told his supporters to stop, but they had already shown the way in to creating a nice wall of misogyny for Sec of State Clinton to have to scale.

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There has been quite a bit of weight given to Third Party Candidates and people who were just too damn lazy to get to their polling place, or who thought that waiting in line is a drag, or that they were just ‘not that into it’.

You did not have a candidate to ‘believe’ in? So what? Life is rough. Life is not about you and your precious feelings – life is about making the better choice for society.

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Life is about sometimes you have to ‘suck it up, Buttercup‘ and vote for someone who would keep us going in the right direction, who had been working for women and children for thirty something years and who knows how to make things happen domestically and internationally

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…or someone who repeatedly lies, but who happens to have a penis.

There is NO moral high ground here for anyone to look over the disaster the United States – which, we should really start by changing the name, no? – is going to become under the Great Hate Pumpkin and his tiny hands minions.

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TFP has had six friends report acts of confrontation and verbal assaults since the election – one accompanied by physical assault on a child  at school – on their social media pages. Without sharing too much of their personal stories – they are all well educated, tax paying, society minded, contributing adults, or in the case of the child, the Parents are. Some are white, but members of a minority community, some were of Asian descent, and some were of mixed race.

These were in Coast areas – so imagine how bad it will get in the middle of the country?

However – before we all totally and completely despair – TFP has a thought.

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The people on the front lines of changing America and American thought for tomorrow are…wait for it…Librarians and Teachers.

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YES!

Librarians and teachers can actively combat the lack of critical thought that is a pox on our houses right now. Librarians and teachers can introduce this thing called…wait for it…books.

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Books about other cultures, books about humanity, books about exploring, and kindness and manners – all those qualities we are desperately lacking right now in many areas.

Diverse books can help us all. Here is a list for teachers, that is pretty good – and here is another one.

Children are like seeds, you have to water them so they grow to be an actual plant. Librarians and teachers, along with parents, have an opportunity to show them worlds through books, that they have not dreamed of yet. Better yet, we should give librarians and teachers a mandate – to open one child’s mind, per day. At least.

Let us support Librarians and Teachers – approve their budgets! Pay them what they are worth! Pitch in, Parents and Community Leaders!

Creative and critical thinking is required to be a human. They are required to grow.

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Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton were not born with silver spoons in their mouths. They got to where they are now because of education.

Because they read.

Just like, in fact, this guy.

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So while we, the adults of this nation have royally screwed the pooch on this last election – inciting hatred and all kinds of bad behavior – we do not have to pass it along.

We have to help our Librarians and Teachers, and support their ability to teach subjects like science that is actual science, and math that is actual math, and reading that is not just about one book, but about ALL the books.

After all, if David Duke’s stepson, Derek Black can change his mind, so can anyone else.

We can all, perhaps take a page from the book that TFP reads, and has read to her child since it was given to him at about 3 months old.

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Because as Oscar Hammerstein wrote all those years ago – you’ve got to be carefully taught.

And it seems like much of America, has been – much to the shame of us all.

The Fairy Princess is still trying to make sense of this most recent of National Elections, so she has been sitting at home in a pantsuit eating leftover Halloween candy – obviously very productive.

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She does not want to accept the bigotry and racism and sexism that caused  people to vote against their own interests (Unless you happen to be the 1%), the environment, education and basically, people of minority status.

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She has already had two friends, in Coast cities, confronted by supporters of the Great Hate Pumpkin, and that is two friends too many for her to stomach.

She could go on and on, but she is going to do something else here – she is going to reach out to a bunch of kids that wish to do a play in their home community of Blue Hill.

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In Nebraska. Blue Hill, Nebraska – population 986.

You see, the kids of Blue Hill’s High School have been working on The Laramie Project, which is set to be performed this coming weekend – and well…as a result of the election, and because the Great Hate Pumpkin has not asked his supporters to tone down acts of violence and confrontation – these kids are being ‘asked(and one assumes not politely) by some, to cancel their show that is based on the murder of Matthew Shepard by two disenfranchised white young men in Laramie, Wyoming.

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Matthew was killed because he was Gay. He was beaten, robbed, and then driven to a deserted area, strung up on a fence and left to die.

His story has a resounding message for today.

TFP, as many know – does not back down from a fight. She does not. It makes her many things, a nasty woman?

Proudly.

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Educated?

Definitely.

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Compassionate?

Hopefully.

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This is what she wants to say to the people of Blue Hill and to the kids in the show.

(TFP hates ‘open letters’, so we shall forgo the “Dear Blah Blah Blah’. Open letters are as much a pox on our houses as anything else. TFP thinks – just write what you mean, so that is what she is going to do.)

Art can do many things in the world that acts of violence and rhetoric can not.

Art can lift people up. It can help them have empathy for those around them – whether those around them who need compassion are dealing with issues stemming from age, or unemployment, or lack of opportunity, or racism, or sexism, or disability, or LGBTQ discrimination, or either physical or sexual abuse – ART can help.

It can show people in the audience – whether in an art gallery, a museum, a symphony space – what it feels like to have another point of view – even if just for a moment. Art leaves people with emotions they did not know they had

In fact it is good to remember here that when civilizations have passed, what we the inheritors of the earth learn and identify those civilizations by, in fact – is the Art.

Great writers tell us stories of history and legend, and we are the better for it.

Great Painters and Sculptors ‘show us’ the world of their time, and we revel in the view of this looking glass through time.

Great Composers leave us their works for hundreds of years, so that we may viscerally feel what they felt and heard. Folk Artists pass along themes meant for simpler moments, quiet moments some of which have simply traveled through individuals over the course of eons.

Great Artisans show us through their crafts, as clearly as a photograph sometimes, how people lived and what they relied upon to make their lives bearable.

Art is what makes life bearable.

You cannot control what other people think, or how they vote, or what is in their heart – but when you share Art that comes from your soul – in this case, a play that you have all worked on diligently – you can show them what is in YOUR heart.

You can show them the purity of the message of The Laramie Project – that turning your head away from bearing witness to evil is the wrong thing to do. That ordinary people can make extraordinary choices to pull us all together when hatred tries to rip us all apart.

You can show them that no one should be scared to be who they are or fear getting killed for it.

You can show them that tolerance, one of the most basic tenants of any religion, is the way forward to healing any divide.

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Now, one should know that TFP has a personal connection to this piece, of sorts – other than having seen it and being a part of the Broadway community etc, etc, etc.

TFP worked with The Matthew Shepard Foundation for several years, helping them obtain ‘fancy’ items for their annual fundraiser. She has met Mrs. Shepard and talked with her, she helped get TMS foundation to endorse a film she was an Associate Producer on – The Sensei.

Not only is she more than familiar with this theater piece, this theater piece inspired her to help. Much as Matthew’s story inspired The Sensei‘s Writer/Director, D. Lee Inosanto to create the film.

That is what theater does. That is what Art does. It gives inspiration.

The kids of Blue Hill have TFP‘s complete support and admiration for tackling a show of this nature in High School – that they want to do this show, want to explore these themes means that the Parents and Teachers of Blue Hill are raising extraordinary people.

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Why let a few disgruntled people ruin the creation put together by these very compassionate and thinking leaders of tomorrow?

Artists – they put themselves ‘out there’ with their work, and push back happens – so even as these High School Students experience the joy of performing, they enter the pantheon of those attacked for free thought, and they should take comfort in knowing that they are not the first to have been berated, nor will they be the last.

TFP trusts that the good people of Blue Hill will stand behind their students, their very extraordinary students at this time. She knows that all Parents, all Educators only want what is best for ‘their’ kids – and what is best is that they grow, not only in height, but in dignity, in compassion, and artistry.

Break A Leg, oh Students of Blue Hill – the Broadway Community supports you and your choices – and we cannot wait to meet the people you are on your way to becoming in the future.

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Students of Blue Hill – Places, please.

TFP out.