The Fairy Princess is flapping her wings a bit slower today – because BEETLEJUICE on Broadway is closing – despite huge box office, and she is not ok with that.

The Cast ‘announced’ it in a cute little video by one of the stars, Alex Brightman.

This is a question of real estate, to some extent – there are only 41 Theaters that qualify as Broadway Houses, and they are all unique to some extent, The New Yorker’s VULTURE has done a humorous if appallingly accurate job in breaking them down, which you can read here.

However TFP does want to list the theaters, because…well you will see – you can totally skip this list, and go to the next part.

Al Hirshfeld – MOULIN ROUGE!

Ambassador – CHICAGO

American Airlines Theater – A SOLDIER’s PLAY, then BIRTHDAY CANDLES

August Wilson – MEAN GIRLS

Belasco – GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY

Bernard B. Jacobs – COMPANY (coming up)

Booth Theater – FREESTYLE LOVE SUPREME, then Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Broadhurst – JAGGED LITTLE PILL

Brooks Atkinson – WAITRESS, then SIX

Circle In The Square – OKLAHOMA (that f…) then AMERICAN BUFFALO

Cort Theater: Derren Brown SECRET, upcoming, THE MINUTES

Ethel Barrymore: THE INHERITANCE

EUGENE O’NEIL – THE BOOK OF MORMON

George Gershwin – WICKED

Gerald Schoenfeld – COME FROM AWAY

Hayes Theater – GRAND HORIZONS

Hudson Theater – AMERICAN UTOPIA, upcoming PLAZA SUITE

Imperial – AIN’T TOO PROUD

John Golden – SLAVE PLAY, upcoming HANGMEN

Longacre Theatre – THE LIGHTENING THIEF, upcoming DIANA (as in Princess)

Lunt Fontanne Theater – TINA

Lyceum Theater – A CHRISTMAS CAROL (nothing announced upcoming)

Lyric Theater – HARRY POTTER AND ALL HIS PARTS

Majestic – PHANTOM OF THE OPERA

Marquis Theater – TOOTSIE (Closing JAN 5) – NOTHING ANNOUNCED

Minskoff Theatre – THE LION KING

Music Box Theater – DEAR EVAN HANSEN

Nederlander Theater – Harry Connick Jr. then, THE LEHMAN TRILOGY

Neil Simon Theatre – EMPTY

New Amsterdam Theatre – ALADDIN

PALACE THEATRE – EMPTY/Under Construction

Richard Rogers Theatre – HAMILTON

Samuel J. Friedman – MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON, HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE

Schubert Theatre – TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

ST. James Theatre – FROZEN

Stephen Sondheim – SLAVA’S SNOW SHOE and then, MRS. DOUBTFIRE

STUDIO 54 – THE SOUND INSIDE, then CAROLINE OR CHANGE

Vivian Beaumont Theatre – FLYING OVER SUNSET

Walter Kerr – HADESTOWN

Wintergarden Theatre – BEETLEJUICE, then MUSIC MAN

There are currently 26 musicals playing on Broadway – give or take, some closing, some about to open, but 26 is a good number – TFP has made them bold, so you, Dear Reader, can see them.

The ones in blue are empty and have no announced productions listed. Frankly, The Palace may never open in our lifetimes again, because ‘construction’ that forced SPONGEBOB the Musical, to close, happened – and that was a shock as well.

There are 4, ’empty’ theaters – and no, none of them are ‘perfect’, and yes, all could use an update. Will the Palace ever come back? Who knows?

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Also- YES John Mulaney and Rachel Bloom both of you asked on Twitter about the whole closing of Beetlejuice and the optics of either adding more theaters or not – there could be more theaters –  you would have to be advocating for this with the Producer’s Guild and the Theater owners –  definitely there could be more theaters opened on Broadway.

However, it would take either – a consortium of VERY WEALTHY PEOPLE WHO NEVER EXPECTED RETURN ON IT IN THEIR LIFETIMES to do such a thing, OR it would take Corporations who have a vested interest in owning their own spaces to advocate for their own pieces, to do it.

But if they won’t impeach the Orange, why should we expect them to have a soft spot for theater?

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Because everything in show business is Real Estate.

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One wealthy Actor or Actress is not going to do it. If you can get all the people in MARVEL movies and pair them up with Brad Pitt – it would still be not enough to build a Broadway theater from the soup to the nuts. (Although someone TALK to Brad Pitt, he loves construction, apparently).

Let’s say there are now 3 empty theaters.

Forget the Palace for now. Apologies to Judy Garland.

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Now, in this scenario, you are Scott Rudin, and you have Hugh Jackman on speed dial and on hold for this production – and undoubtedly, Hugh gets a tidy sum if you have tied up his schedule and a full production has NOT come to fruition – however, you do not have a theater yet.

However you have announced the cast. You, Scott Rudin, have a tick tick ticking in your head because if this show does not go up, you are out some drachmas. Sets have to be built, costumes, choreo has to be learned, it is a nightmare of logistics and you need to know where you are going.

Producers play the guessing game, and that, frankly is why people love producing. Producers are gamblers by nature. To be a Producer you have to invest in what you THINK is going to happen, what MAY happen, and how you facilitate that happening, and not only on your dime

It is about money, but it is also about taste level.

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After all, if you pick a project that is a commercial success, that is one kind of ‘win’ as a producer – but the HOPE is, you pick a commercial AND ARTISTIC kind of success. Thus shoring up your ‘taste level’ points, and making people more likely to invest on your say so.

Scott Rudin is used to, deservedly so, being seen as a tastemaker – because he usually stacks the deck with celebrity actors and beloved shows, even when he does take a change on a ‘new’ project, as with SHUFFLE ALONG or TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, it is stacked with celebrity talent – both on the stage and as creatives.

So if TFP were Scott Rudin and she had a Hugh Jackman type person who needed a theater – she would have been looking, of course, at not only what was available, but what seemed like it may BECOME available. She would be looking at shows that were up and running that had a shaky box office draw, had run a while and were limping along, perhaps she could get their space….

Hmmmm….remember looking for blood in the water.

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What?

Nature, innit?

Looking around, looking around…

LION KING?

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FROZEN? Hahahahha.

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HAMILTON?

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There are just some long running shows that are simply not closing any time soon, and we all know it. PHANTOM, WICKED, HADESTOWN, DEAR EVAN HANSEN, MEAN GIRLS…all king of the rock, no one is going nowhere, no how. It is somewhat crazy how long running shows at the moment are – vacancies are particularly hard to find.

CHICAGO? That would be more realistic, honestly,  as a dogged production that has has some real life drama in recent history, but the tourists love it. Last year, New York City hosted 65.1 MILLION Tourists! With overall attendance up  on Broadway to 9.5 per cent.

Hence it keeps running.

It would be a negotiation to get the Barry and Fran Weissler  to close it, and given that it is beloved, it would have been a steep negotiation. However the show has been running since 1996.

1,114 Seats in the Ambassadorjust sayin’....

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TFP thinks Rudin could have managed it, seeing as it was another Shubert Property, but you would have to strike a deal with them, and they have seemingly always ‘made’ their ‘minimum’.

The “Minimum‘ is the amount of money the box office has to clear, to keep the show open in the theater. Dependent on reaching ‘that number’, the owners of the theater can evict the show from the theater. Theater owners are also a cagey bunch because they never want to have a space be empty. A long running hit like PHANTOM or WICKED is ‘the dream’ if you are a Producer or a Theater owner, because the longer a show runs, the more money you make off of it.

Then when you go on tour …another money maker…so ‘everyone’ wants a long running show that you can ‘kind of’ forget about, that just keeps meeting expectations. It gives you, the Producer, freedom to run around and look for the next big thing.

The cycle continues.

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With CHICAGO, the Weisslers and the Shuberts are still making money. They knew what they were doing when they put it all together – no sets to speak of, everyone in black dancewear, even with the Dancers and the Orchestra – they were always going to get a return on that – those are smart producers.

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For some reason, CHICAGO was not chosen to be given the ouster.

It is a good show, it has just been running for quite a while – and BY THE WAY….they have NEVER had an AAPI in a Lead Role on Broadway – they had one gal playing, TFP believes, Roxy, but she was over from Japan, having done the show there. No Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders. Mama Morton could EASILY be played by a AAPI, but again, crickets on AAPI Representation in CHICAGO.

OK fine, it is staying like the Koch Wing at the Natural History Museum…

Where then,  it is a particularly robust long running Broadway as of late,  do you go?

Where does a bear poop in the woods?

Answer: Anywhere it wants to.

In that question, the bear is Scott Rudin.

Scott Rudin decided he liked the Winter Garden, and why not? It has 1,526 seats. It has it’s own stand alone building (ok it has other things attached, like businesses, but no other theaters) , GIANT marquee for advertising the show and because it is stand alone, he can advertise in two spots, and it is owned by the Shubert Organization.

You can take the 1 train right there! Easy!

But it was not empty.

It has a show in there about a teenage girl grappling with her Mother’s passing.

That is the crux of it, it was not empty.

What to do, what to do? If you are one of the most powerful producers, a show making money and showcasing minority and diverse talent driving a female-centric narrative is not going to get in your way.

Da dum…da dum…da…dummmmm….

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Let TFP break it down for you about the families/organizations that own the Broadway Theaters, or Theatres – there are 3.

The Shuberts, The Nederlanders, and The Roths.

That’s it.

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Three.

The Shubert Organization –  16 theaters.

The Nederlander Organization –  9 theaters.

Jujamcyn – five theaters.

Obviously there are people in those organizations that are not blood relations anymore (Shuberts), and hold very high offices and positions of power, but pretty much, they are family owned businesses, or began as such.

Then there are the four non-profit theatre companies that have Broadway theaters – Lincoln Center Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Roundabout Theatre – and all of them belong to what was known as the LEAGUE OF RESIDENT THEATERS, now know as, The Broadway League.

They are the ‘Big Dogs” – they are the deciders. They wheel and deal, they are in the ‘room where it happens’, and they pick the room.

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The only exception being that Second Stage Theatre is the non-profit owner of the Helen Hayes Theater, but is not a member of the LEAGUE.

The Shuberts own:

Shubert Theatre, Broadhurst Theatre, Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, Cort Theatre, Imperial Theatre, Ambassador Theatre, Broadway Theatre, Booth Theatre, Lyceum Theatre, Longacre Theatre, Music Box Theatre, Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, Majestic Theatre, Winter Garden Theatre, Belasco Theatre, and the Forrest Theatre.

The only above property (remember that list TFP said you could skip? Well you are going to need to skip up there now) that is currently ’empty’ that is Shubert owned – Lyceum Theatre, (950 Seats), not big enough to pay for Hugh Jackman.

Had TFP been Scott Rudin, she would have potentially looked at The Broadway Theater, with it’s over 1700 seats and a revival that has had some troubling issues from the go.

Most recently, KING KONG played The Broadway Theater, which has also been home to MISS SAIGON, BOMBAY DREAMS, and will be housing the WEST SIDE STORY Revival that has cut/added back numbers and recently hired Serge Trujillo as a Consultant“.

TFP honestly ‘cannot‘ with the WSS revival, she wishes all the performers the best and yadda yadda yadda Break A Leg, but the idea that a White European Director and a White Female European Choreographer with no Latinx knowledge in the year of our Drag Queen 2019 or…anyway, happy for Mr. Trujillo.

Look at how happy TFP is…

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However the point being that IF the WSS revival crashes and burns…MUSIC MAN could simply move right in and Hugh could still have the ‘stand alone’ theater with a huge marquee and seats – and in fact – that stage is much larger than the one at the Winter Garden.

TFP knows, she has stood on both.

More seats = more money.

If WEST SIDE STORY, which opens momentarily, does not do well, it could close just as quickly, and the The Broadway would be available. However previews for MUSIC MAN are slated to begin in Sept. 2020, with an opening night of October 15, 2020.

Granted, a lot can happen in six months.

This ‘deal’  that was just released has been in place since the one bad week BEETLEJUICE had several months ago, and Rudin took advantage of it.

It is what Producers do – hate the game, not the player – even if the player in this case does not play well with others.

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BEETLEJUICE  is pulling in record box office. Indisputable.

Even with non-raves as reviews (which, honestly TFP did not understand, as she has seen the show), and a box office that one week earned 53% of it’s potential,  it was the come back kid, in terms of Broadway Musicals, flipping the switch and earning it’s highest grosses thus far the week of Dec. 1.

So, to put this all together – BEETLEJUICE is:

  1. Making Money
  2. Diverse Cast
  3. Female Driven Narrative
  4. Bringing in New Audiences
  5. Winning Viral Game with Tick Tock Videos and TV Appearances

Whatever they were doing over at Warner Bros Theatrical, it was working.

It was totally working.

Why screw with a winner?

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Which is why the frustration of all at the news that it is closing – this lovely show, with People of Minority Status and People of Color as a majority in this FEMALE DRIVEN NARRATIVE , in leads, in supporting roles, in the ensemble,  all very visible – and also, a variety within the POC spectrum, it falls to the guy who is doing his best to –  it must be said, MAKE BROADWAY GREAT AGAIN, and that is infuriating.

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Scott Rudin has had some very notable sucesses (EGOT)… and some lapses, let us recall what he said about the announced MUSIC MAN, led by Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster:

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Uh huhhhhhh.

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What he ‘learned’ from DOLLY, was that some people were dismayed with an inclusive cast, when they had been expecting an exclusive cast –  because they are bigots.

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That is what he learned.

YES, Virginia, you can love musicals and still be a bigot.

You can ‘love’ musicals and prefer the casts as segregated as a Pre-Rosa Parks Bus Ride, which ALSO makes you…wait for it…. a bigot.

You can ‘cloak’ your bigotry in claims of ‘historical accuracy’, but as TFP has pointed out AGAIN and AGAIN – Port Cities have always had People of Color, from time immemorial. New York City and shows that are based in New York City, have always had People of Color and should always HAVE People of Color in them. Casting should reflect the American Scene of the city in which it is set and the city in which it resides, as much as possible.

(Ask TFP about COMPANY if you really want her to lose her mind.

Not now, later. She will lose her mind later)

However your comments were duly noted.

Keeping things “The Golden Age Way” means no People of Color in that world.  That is what it means.

Picture a show Stephen Miller would enjoy.

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Let us recall that Mr. Rudin was one of the involved parties in great “leaked email’ SONY scandal in Hollywood in 2014. There is a lot of troubling material to wade through there, including the way he wrote about OSCAR Winner Angelina Jolie, and President Obama’s movie tastes that he had to apologize for.

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Mr Rudin sued over the pregnancy of the GODDESS THAT IS AUDRA MACDONALD for…becoming pregnant during SHUFFLE ALONG, and instead of just replacing her for the time she would be away, he closed the show completely – sending the Cast, almost all African American and which included TONY Winner BILLY PORTER, off to unemployment!

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That as he produced TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD on Broadway, he then threatened to sue small theaters ACROSS THE COUNTRY who had already been given permission to stage a different version of the show, and ALSO sued Harper Lee‘s estate!

She wrote the book, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, in case anyone forgot.

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He has had some ‘moments’, we would all agree. He is the biggest Producer on Broadway and he rarely loses a fight. He got what he wanted and he wanted what he got.

BEETLEJUICE is out and MAGA MAN is coming…

So be it.

It just stings.

Losing a beautiful rainbow of a show such as BEETLEJUICE to a white wash is hard. It is hard for TFP, it is hard for, she is sure, the Cast and the Crew, it is hard for the Broadway community – this is over 100 jobs that are going away for no good reason.

MUSIC MAN could have added at least 100 jobs to Broadway without subtracting those in BEETLEJUICE, and that is the rub.

That is the rub, indeed.

It is a damn shame.

A tour is announced, however a transfer within the Broadway theater scene – such as they did with Les Miz, which then went on to run for years, has not been, although again – a lot can happen in six months.

You have six months left – it is not leaving until June – get your tickets – it will be a party every night.

Au Revoir Beetlejuice – the whole being dead thing was one of TFP’s absolute favorites.

Rest In Peace Out….sing us off, Brightman!

 

 

 

The Fairy Princess is not going to ‘Cancel Madama Butterfly“.

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No one can.

“We” have to find a way to have the conversation about what is the issue, for all the shows and musicals and operas, rather than “Well, I am _____, and I don’t like it.”

Rolling up and declaring on social media that you are the authority simply because you share heritage with the purported origin of a show, or because you are tired, is not – ultimately helpful.

Not because you are not entitled to your feelings – of course you are – but because one person not liking something, is not enough – within the power structure of things – to ‘cancel’ it.

Not if it is in the ‘beloved’ category.

That is not the way the world works.

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In the theater, the opera, we vote with our tickets. You do not want to see something – you do not buy a ticket – but you do not get to choose what everyone else sees or purchases tickets to….that is just the way it is.

We have to find a way to have these conversations – and TFP has had them – she in fact has had them in public, with the NY Gilbert And Sullivan Players in fact – and what did they do with THE MIKADO?

After the conversation?

They went back and re-imagined it and also opened up the company to more People of Color, and that – People, is how change is made.

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Now, on to Madama Butterfly by Puccini.

Whatever you think about the story line and tropes, they have been around since Butterfly premiered in 1904.

Butterfly is intrinsically ‘complicated’, n’est pas?

First based on a short story by John Luther Long, an American lawyer, which was based on stories told to him by his sister, Jennie Correll, a former missionary in Japan.

Also, there was a French novel, Madame Chrysanthème by Pierre Loti that was floating around at the time (that another opera of Butterfly was based on , composed in 1893 by André Messager), which may or may not have been used as a reference.

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Long’s short story was the one that was made into a one act play called – Madame Butterfly: A Tragedy of Japan, and that was the one that was made into a play, Puccini saw it, and now we have Madama Butterfly.

So it is ostensibly, a word of mouth Japanese accounting by Americans who had been missionaries in Japan, a situation RIFE for mis-translation,  written in both French and American English, dramaticized, and then translated and sung in Italian.

It’s a mess if you want an ‘authentic’ story and provenance.

Don’t look to Butterfly and frankly, do not look to ANY Opera to ‘get it historically correct”.

Here is why – Opera is by nature, dramatic. Drama has to come from a heightened sense of reality and normal people – normal people who do not burst into song do not make for good operas.

Taxi drivers are not breaking out into a devastating aria as they prowl along Eighth Avenue.

Your local Wall Street Nightmare of a Trader is not staggering on the stock market floor with a weapon plunged in his side and dying tragically.

The PTA Leader you cannot stand is not standing wistfully by the playground swing set and singing about her isolation.

Going to the grocery store does not involve a tortuous lament. (wait, that one…maybe).

Your local graphic designer is not engaging in a witty duet with the neighbor who lives above them who coincidentally shares a staircase, which makes the situation rife with possibilities for romance.

Not that they do not have those feelings – they just keep them inside. Where ‘we’ do not see them. Nor are ‘we’ inspired by them – they are just people going about their day, their problems are only magnified to them.

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In short, Operas are written about highly exaggerated people in highly exaggerated situations and no one – no sane person would equate any opera performance with an actual person. They are people, made in broad strokes, because the music in opera is what makes it transcend the origin story.

Becoming a world class opera singer takes years of study, the right teachers, some selfish behaviors like excusing oneself from parties so one can sleep, and wearing endless scarves and talent that is extraordinary. Becoming a world class opera singer takes the right combination of genetics and fairy dust, and it happens to some and not to others – and it is the wonder of viewing and hearing those unique performances that make people return to the opera again and again.

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Which is why ‘cancelling’ an opera is not going to happen. Just stop with that – enough already – it is glorious music and even if everyone wore modern clothing and no wigs and just ‘sang’ it – it would be just as glorious.

Operas are supposed to be ‘exotic’ tales – and here is where we get into a tricky situation – because when most operas were written, travel to far extremes was not possible or too time consuming. They were also written by largely European composers, writing for company members and what they did best. What was most ‘exotic’ for their audiences were placing things in “Non Europe.” – aka nowhere European.

Many operatic works are based on plays or novels – and again, if you were writing a play or novel at that time, while one may have had the historic events as a backdrop – essentially the plots and characters were made up.

SO WHAT THEN IS THE ISSUE, OH TFP?

The issue is, and always will be – representation.

Now, from a ‘representation’ point of view – this is an issue. Writing stories and characters when you have never been to the point of origin can lead to some serious assumptions and/or outright mistakes.

In the United States and elsewhere, there are actual People of Color who are singing and dancing and seeing these operas and  engaging in the very American tradition of aping Europeans, and they are going to the theater and the opera and the ballet and there is a major issue that keeps rearing it’s head.

Get ready…

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It’s not the music – it is the makeup.

TFP will say it again – it is not the music – it is the makeup.

In short, this is what true East Asian performers look like:

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This is from the Broadway revival of PACIFIC OVERTURES, with Michael K. Lee.

See how majestic? Understated, noble, and full of emotion.

But in Knoxville, Tennessee, this is what they did when they chose to do the opera, Madama Butterfly:

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These people do not look East Asian.

They do not look Japanese.

They look like what they are, which is Caucasians playing dress up.

Badly.

This is the image that they used to advertise the show, which comes under the category of false advertising.

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Which is why the ticket buyer who first posted and asked for help with this was so confused when she viewed the cast. She thought she was going to see East Asian American performers, so she purchased a ticket. This is right out of the RSC’s Orphan of Zhao playbook from several years ago. They too used images of East Asians and then had almost none in the actual staging.

Knoxville Opera took a stock image of an Japanese Woman in Traditional Garb, and then presented…what they presented. Which is hackneyed caricatures of East Asians, specifically Japanese people, and they went for the cheap laughs – they made their portrayals about the fun they had ‘playing’ East Asians, and not about the seriousness and passion of the music.

In short – they let Puccini down.

Everyone is just sitting in the audience thinking “How do they think that is ok?”

Instead of listening to the music.

Just what every composer wants, to be upstaged by bad makeup.

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Now, TFP first heard of this on a FB group and the Original Poster was attacked by some members of the cast, on her opinions, as a East Asian woman, viewing these images. They have taken down the images off their FB and washed their lily white hands and thought that was the end of it.

However, her thoughts made it on to the internet, and they matched TFP‘s own about them.

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These leads in Butterfly were not locals, they were hired. The singers were hired from out of town. Which means that representatives from Knoxville travelled to audition them elsewhere- hired space to hear them, a pianist, and house themselves for however long it took to do so.

Perhaps they had one day? Perhaps two.

Which means Knoxville Opera has the money and time to ‘travel’ people, which means they had the money and time to find ‘the right’ people if they insisted on doing a ‘classic’ interpretation – they just did not feel like bothering.

Guess when else they did not feel like bothering to get the right people?

This next image is from their  production last year of AIDA, which takes place in Egypt. It involves forbidden love between an Ethopian Princess, Aida, and an Egyptian warrior, Radamès.

It also involves blackface.

Which, TFP was pretty sure that every American knows is wrong….

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Map of Ethiopia…

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Do you imagine ANY of the above singers originating in Africa?

No.

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Here is the thing, Opera World and all those who inhabit it – the paint has got to go.

TFP gets you have old sets and costumes that you have to use – she understands – and whether a robe is bedazzled around the color or tied with a floral fabric – she does not particularly care.

Wigs are fine – as long as they are ‘good wigs’.

If you are wigging a production, COME CORRECT WITH THE HAIR!

You should change the wigs to match the natural hair or within range of the natural hair color of the performers….it is honestly not difficult and it looks a heck of a lot better….your performers will look more natural. Makes it easier for them to wear natural looking makeup.

AND, by the by – ASIAN HAIR IS NOT ALL BLACK!!!!!

It has variety and texture – and you keep using these sad, $2.99 wigs from the local Halloween store – it’s an insult to any performer to have to wear them, but wear them you do – it’s tragic.

If you cannot do a good wig – cut the wigs.

The Paint though, the paint has GOT to GO!

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The MET has cut it, The Royal Opera in London has cut it. If you are an Opera Company, you have to keep current. You have to make sure you understand that what was acceptable then, can change. Look, Ballet Companies have been cutting the problematic portrayals in The Nutcracker, a holiday staple – if they can do it – an art form that evolved at roughly the same time as Opera… so can you.

There is no need for it – the audience understands that this is a story and it takes place in Long Ago, Far Away Land Not Really That Country In Truth.

In Long Ago Far Away Land, Not Really That Country In Truth, there are fantastical sets and circumstances – and that is ENOUGH  – don’t ADD!

No one needs to see cartoonish made up creatures built in the Hell’s Basement and brought to horrific life here on the stage, which can blithely be washed off with the audacity of a Caucasian thinking they have the right – when they have not walked the walk or sung the talk of a Person of Color.

Y’all really going to go out on the stage wearing two sets of eyebrows?

And think that is a handsome Asian male?

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TFP knows that the South is not known for welcoming minorities but this has been an eye opener. She has a file of the ‘worst’ photos – most from productions of The Mikado from around the country – which btw is fairly depressing and these photos rival those!

She reminds you all that being Asian is not a costume, even if you think it is.

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Then she read THE FOLLOWING is posted on their website:

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WAIT just a MOMENT here – you have the audacity to claim that this opera is ‘for the community’, and then you ‘teach’ them yellowface?

What does that teach, oh TFP?

Well that ‘teaches’ that People of Color, no matter their talent level, are allowed on  stage at Caucasian say so, oh pupil.

That is what it teaches.

The societal role of denigrating People of Color for Caucasian entertainment.

Whilst claiming it is about education?

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Driving TFP outta her damn mind!

So how do we fix this? We, the People of Color who want to go to a show and not come away feeling like the butt of a joke? Well, the opera in question has closed – but the company still exists – and that company relies on Patrons. That is, dollars.

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As those listed above are their patrons, one could, one imagines, write to them and give them your thoughts on this issue.

If you can fly a Singer from out of town, or bus or truck them, you can fly an Asian Heritaged Singer  – if you do not have a line on an Asian Heritaged singer, lose the paint or do not do it.

By the by, we are all watching very closely now because they have they have announced HARRIET TUBMAN as their next piece….TFP gotta search for her eyeballs now because they have dropped out of her head…

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Knoxville Opera, TFP fines you 1000 whacks of the wand – if you cast people based on their voices and their voice type – then celebrate them for who they are – do not paint them into racism, it’s just not cool.

You are messing up the music with this bullshit!

It wasn’t cool ‘then’, and it still is not now.

TFP out.

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The Fairy Princess is processing a few things right now –

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First – sending good, healing wishes to John Cho, who has kneecapped the production of COWBOY BEBOP because…yeah, knee injury. Totally bad joke, please commence eye roll immediately.

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Thank you for that.

TFP wishes a speedy recovery and painless PT to Mr. Cho – and extends her heartiest condolences to the Cast and Crew – and hopes they are up and running in the next 7 months, and not 9.

But…to quote Steven Lutvak, “it takes the time it takes”, so if he needs the extra few months – go for it. Good health to all.

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Congrats to Justin Chon – because, well, he is Justin Chon, a relatively new Dad, and has announced his third feature as a writer/director entitled BLUE BAYOU which is co-starring Oscar Winner, Alicia Vikander.

In the category of Asian Familial Realness, which Justin has been serving with his previous films, GOOK and MS. PURPLE, BLUE BAYOU is about a KoreAM adoptee raised in the US who has to examine his past, and – as is happening in so many places across the country in real life – now faces deportation.

Also, super exciting to see TONY Winner, Ruthie Ann Miles as a series regular on the CBS show, ALL RISE – which is a cool show about a vibrant new Judge, and the courts of Los Angeles. One of TFP‘s other favorites, actor Reggie Lee, is also on there as the District Attorney.

TWO AAPI’s not related, on a show together?

 

Progress.

Now, for the turd sandwiches of the week  – first up – Dallas.

Not the Real Housewives.

TFP wishes.

She WISHES she wrote a blog about Real Housewives – but she doesn’t. She writes about inclusion.

For all peoples.

So here we go –

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Let TFP get this straight – an Actress in the cast of IN THE HEIGHTS, had a fall and gashed her face. HER FACE.

Not a twisted ankle or anything that could be ‘taped up’ – she gashed her face. She hurt her nose, and they had a makeup artist cover it up so she could continue to go on.

This is egregious.

She was, quite obviously, feeling unwell – TFP does not know how she was able to sing with the injuries she had, however, in “the Big D”, they feel that they would rather have more elaborate sets and costumes.

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One has to wonder – and TFP wonders all the time – what part race played in this drama. Did they not take it quite so seriously because she IS a POC? Seems off the charts crazy to put makeup on a gash and various facial injuries and send the person on the stage to sing and dance and be funny.

That is something TFP knows.

IN THE HEIGHTS takes place in Washington Heights. When TFP saw the Original Broadway Company, everyone was wearing modern clothing – and the set was lovely however it was Brownstone buildings with insets that reveal interior rooms and locations.

It did not require a barricade. It did not require a helicopter. There is no swinging chandelier – in short, it is not an over the top musical from the 80’s or 90’s. Not a dancing cat or indoor roller rink in sight. No car flies away to a 50’s doo wop. A plant does not eat a human. Puppets do not have sex.

You could have afforded understudies.

Over backdrops and sequins – you could have afforded understudies, Dallas Theater Center – your budget is over 10 million a year.

You could have afforded understudies.

Thanks AEA President, Kate Shindle for getting them to apologize.

100 smacks of the wand to Dallas Theater Center – IN THE HEIGHTS is one of your biggest sellers in years – diversity = dollars, but not at the cost of the actor’s safety or peace of mind once the accident had occurred.

Don’t do it again.

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Which brings us to the next finger sandwich de turd – and here is what.

COMPANY – the new one, the gender bender one where Bobby becomes Bobbi – (not entirely a new thought, ask anyone TFP went to college with when ‘we’ did that production as written) has announced the full company and guess what?

No Latinx or AAPIs in the, well, COMPANY.

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Phone rings, door chimes, in comes…..not AAPIS or Latinx performers.

There are two African Americans in the Cast – and TFP wishes them bon chance.

Now, this is not about the Cast per se – they did not cast themselves, and they are all very talented – TFP has seen them many times, in many, many shows.

She knows that some may feel ‘under attack” – but if you do feel that way, ask yourself, truly ask yourself how you would feel if you never or very, VERY intermittently saw any sort of representation of yourself on the stage, how you would have sustained your careers?

Would you have wanted to play the smaller parts, and only that- Ito in Mame, or the revivals that come around once every decade or so, that specifically revolve around or in fair proximity to your ethnic heritage?

Or would you be hoping that a show set in New York City would be available to you, as a resident New Yorker. You know, a place that HAS The Public Theater where the saying is ‘All are Welcome’.

So please, wear different shoes for the moment and realize that this is not an attack on white performers- after all TFP is 1/2 Caucasian, right now she is the Lorax, speaking for the trees.

And some of those trees grow in Brooklyn or the Bronx or Queens, and some are not White Elms.

Some might say ‘luck’ or ‘being the most talented’ – are ways to obtain a role- that definitely is a theory. However if you are unable to get in the room because the deck is stacked from the ‘go’ – that could Drive a Person Crazy.

Dooo Do Do Doooo.

Which is why the announcement of this casting IS driving a few of us, well…crazy.

Being in a show every season on Broadway is how one becomes a polished and seasoned professional. They all have proven track records and nominations behind them – and perhaps that was the qualifier to be offered a part in this star studded redux.

Would that all had the same kind of opportunity.

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However a show set in New York City, about an eligible single gal which virtually eliminates two ethnic groups that this city is known for – that is kind of hard to swallow in this day and age.

It is almost 2020.

As much as everyone loves – and yes, LOVE is the word to describe the way TFP sees Patti LuPone – the fact that this is ANOTHER revival with only two POC and a hint of bisexuality is…an issue.

The fact that there is a bisexual female as the focus of the show does not excuse it’s whiteness. It does not solve any issue for People of Color, however they identify – to be shut out of a story dealing with bisexuality or being a New Yorker or any combination thereof.

How many POC were called in? How many would have met the ‘multiple TONY nominations” requirement? Not the AAPIS. We only have 3 winners for performers and they all “only’ have one, each:  BD Wong, Ruthie Ann Miles, Lea Salonga.

David Henry Hwang has 3 TONYS for Playwrighting – 1 for M. Butterfly, 1 for the new Book in the Revival of Flower Drum Song, and 1 for Golden Child.

If he could sing and dance, perhaps he would have gotten a call to come in and sing Sondheim?

(Go see SOFT POWER at THE PUBLIC)

COMPANY is a show that sells itself. It always has. A story about a 35 year old that cannot commit – without being too on the nose, that is 100 people on each subway car deliberately not clocking the other 100 people, about every 3 minutes, or 75 on the weekends.

With the last Sondheim revival being the fearless revisiting of MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG, which starred, among others, Manu Narayan – who btw, was one of the leads, it is not that anyone is saying AAPIS cannot sing Sondheim.

PACIFIC OVERTURES was revived in 2004 and again Off-Broadway in 2017. Clearly, ‘we’ sing Sondheim – and Sondheim himself knows this. Angel Desai  was in the LAST revival of COMPANY just a few years ago…and she had to sing and play the damn piano!

Well, she went to Oberlin.

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This is something else. This is the unseeing. This is the repetition of the ability to laser focus on one issue – in this case, bisexuality, and don’t spare the horses. To choose when to be open minded, and when to not listen to input from other people who may know a city better than you.

This is growing up NOT seeing AAPIs and therefore allowing yourself to continue to NOT see AAPIs or Latinx people – of which, again – is part of that 2.2% of those seen on TV in the U.K., and part of the 38% of the BAME people seen on the West End. Of those 38%, 85% of those are Black Performers – as they call it in the U.K.

We do not need to import that mindset.

Was not casting – Cindy Tolan cast many an AAPI – she likely has a folder on her laptop that has nothing but Christmas Eve as the title, and nothing at all about the holidays within it.

So this falls directly at the feet of the Director, two time TONY Winner, Marianne Elliott. Ms. Elliott hails from the U.K., her Father was the Director and Co-Founder of the Royal Exchange Theater of Manchester. A strong familial theatrical tradition, and begun in England – a land where, according to a report East Asian Actors make up 3% of the casting in the West End, and South Asians 7%.

Not a lot. NOT A LOT, U.K. – pretty damn shite-y.

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Right, Baga? Innit?

However New York City, AAPI’s are 14% of the population – roughly a million people.

In a city comprised of 20+ million, give or take, it is fairly simple to say that when and if Bobbi met people at a party, friends of friends, who she’d never know – she might meet…one or two AAPIs.

SOMEONE could have mentioned that when offers were being made.

Not like Ms. Bobbi is fanning about on British TV where the BAME representation is absolutely abysmal and getting worse…2.2 % of the characters on television?

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Latinx population in New York City is estimated at 29% of the city’s population – or around 2.4 million.

So for sure, even if, by some remote chance, Bobbi was unable to meet or be friends with even ONE AAPI in her life, she would – for certain – have double the chance to have a Latinx friend or lover.

For real though.

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Marianne Elliott is a wonderful director.

TFP is fairly sure this will be a wonderful production – it has, after all, truly gifted people in the cast,  but it is not the beautifully multi-culti NYC that TFP knows.

This is not the COMPANY that would make her feel like a New Yorker.

TFP might as well travel back to 1970 and get her Stritch on.

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After seeing the announcements for MUSIC MAN, this is just too much…

It burns.

TFP did this show in Uni. It has a place in her heart and her repertoire.

She played Joanne.

LIKE A DAMN BOSS!

Now, she is just thinking about this show and….

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500 Whacks of the wand for deliberately excluding New York from a Musical ABOUT New York.

How do you not see us?

Aren’t you exhausted from having tunnel vision?

If you don’t see color – HOW DO YOU DRIVE (ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD)?

TFP out.

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The Fairy Princess tries really, REALLY hard to ignore a good, let’s say eighty per cent of ‘the stuff’.

Because it is overwhelming.

Sometimes she cannot, and that is what today’s piece is about.

There are some things for AAPIs to be happy about – Wu Assassins on Netflix is doing great…

Many people in the cast, Byron Mann and Lewis Tan have been announced for very exciting upcoming projects…

Justin Chon has a new film coming out later this month, MS. PURPLE,  and he is quite the film auteur – take a look…

And then there is Broadway, also known as The Great White Way.

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Now, yes, very exciting that shows like HADESTOWN is holding it down with a few AAPIs including the lead, Eva Noblezada and one of the feature players, Kaye Trinidad as one of the Fates.

Thrilling that in the Broadway production Marc dela Cruz is alternating as Hamilton in HAMILTON and Marcus Choi is playing George Washington.

HAMILTON has been a leader in diversity since the go – and on their tours, they have people like Shoba Narayan as Eliza. Aaron J. Albano has also been dancing and singing up a storm on one of the touring companies.

BEETLEJUICE – selling out – with TFP‘s buddy and frequent BroadwayCon panelist, Kelvin Moon Loh, doing the whole undead thing in a show about death.

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Maryann Hu is holding down the role of the Queen in FROZEN, while the former Queen, Ann Sanders is appearing as Mrs. Murphy in DEAR EVAN HANSEN.

Also in DEH is Zach Pisner, previously of the Off Broadway Pie Shop set production of SWEENEY TODD, as one of the Evans currently playing the role. (Who will be on TFP‘s BroadwayCon Panel)

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Off Broadway is moving forward with the very exciting NY Premiere of SOFT POWER by one of our Greatest Living Playwrights, David Henry Hwang – and starring a cavalcade of AAPIs – which, hey TFP is gonna pull from the website – so you know their faces:

Remembering that these are the shows that are selling out years in advance and literally backing up vans filled with cash to the great Broadway Producers/Investors banks and that the lesson that diversity means dollars has been pounded into all our heads (by yours truly and others) for the greater part of the several years and you can see why TFP thought that things were changing.

Not JUST for AAPIs, but for everyone – why she went to see ANNIE GET YOUR GUN out at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, and you could have knocked her over with a feather to see a talented, inclusive cast. Somehow, they sidestepped all the problematic issues with that show because, TFP believes, they had a woke Director, Sarna Lapine, and they made it a point to be specific and inclusive in the casting of the show.

Take a look: Alexandra Socha as Annie Oakley opposite Matt Saldivar as Frank Butler. The cast also featured Jennifer Sanchez as Dolly Tate, Jonathan Joss as Sitting Bull, George Abud as Charlie, Isa Mooney as Jessie, Meaghan McInnes as Nellie, Oge Agulé as Pawnee Bill, Orville Mendoza as Buffalo Bill, Stephen Lee Anderson as Foster Wilson, and Will Hantz as Little Jake.

In SAG HARBOR.

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So with all the positive movement on and Off Broadway, and even at the tips of Lawn Guyland,  and with all those POC now available since the closing of several shows on Broadway in the late summer, with more coming up – could someone in the name of all that is banana pudding with a vanilla graham crust topped with Cool Whip, explain to TFP why the cast of the upcoming Broadway revival of MUSIC MAN is so….so VERY….

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Ivanka-friendly?

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It is universally acknowledged that Jackman is friends with the Kushners, and as much as TFP loves the Jackman as a performer, as a fellow Aussie, this makes her soooooo uncomfortable – it is like sending a Bat Signal to the KKK in song and dance.

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It dismisses all the progress that has been made. Frankly, with Jackman and Foster heading it up- that is kinda all you need in terms of ‘wattage’.

Why is this happening? This chock o’block prevention of access by anyone with pigment- what are ‘we’ learning from this?

It tells us, the POC of Broadway, that we are there merely to set the stage for the prevalence of Caucasian dominance.

When we – and by that, TFP is including ALLLLLLLLL the POC of the Broadway – the eight show a week, don’t call out, miss the birthdays and the holidays because the show sets the schedule, the folks that spent half their childhoods in class, those folks – look at the casting of MUSIC MAN – where not ONE ROLE in a supporting capacity has gone to a Performer of Color, we see what is thought of us.

The following is a comment by Producer Scott Rudin on the current announced production

‘In a Golden Age way’ aka ‘In a way that is all Caucasian’- this is the Production that will #MakeMusicalsGreatAgain.

We are the ‘soy sauce’ – (to quote the very bold and brave Screenwriter and TV Scribe, Adele Lim, who walked away from CRAZY RICH ASIANS 2, when she found out about the pay disparity between her and her co-writer.) for the productions.

Hashtag Not All Productions.

No, not all.

But a lot more than should be.

The POC of Broadway are feeling some sort of way about that…..

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Jackman, who has been super inclusive and supportive on his solo tour just, what…got too busy to realize that Keala Settle could have Gingold-ed Mrs. Shinn to the DEATH?

Here is a reminder of who we could have seen as Mrs. Shin(n).

There is no reason, in 2019, almost 2020, that Performers of Color need to continue the fantasy that we are only here to ‘frame’ a white hero.

There is NOTHING wrong with being in the Ensemble – it is a proud, noble, theatrical tradition and role – but it is NOT all that ‘we’ can do. “We” have been in many, many productions where ‘we’ have been included – enough so that this casting of MUSIC MAN should be shocking enough to audiences that they should have to wear shades.

Many will say “In 1912 in Iowa…there were no People of Color” which to that, TFP says…

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There were People of Color across the United States by 1912.

There were Native Americans, in Iowa.

Literally Iowa is a Sioux word, and the name of one of the Tribes.

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Tribes in Iowa include the Illinois, Iowa, Nez Perce, Pahodja, Pawnee, Winnebago, Missouria, Moingwena, Omaha, Otoe, Ottawa, Peoria, Ponca, Potawatomi and the Winnebago (also known as the Ho-Chunk Nation). Other tribes included the Chippewa, Dakota Sioux, Fox and Sauk.

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According to the Journal Of Negro History by James L. Hill, on pages 289-303, while the state was not a primary path west for The Great Migration, Iowa did have African Americans, and by 1912 – which is when the MUSIC MAN is set, they had a solid population.

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Read that again, 5,762 by 1870…and 1912 is still…let TFP do the math….42 years in the future!

They had 42 years to increase the African American Population in Iowa from when that number was taken.

Wow.

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In fact, the AAPI population in the Midwest was almost nil, because of course, of the Exclusion Act of 1882, and for subsequent laws prohibiting Asian land ownership – but a gal can dream, can’t she?

TFP has never met a non-Asian person named Shin.

She is aware that in the show, the character name is Shinn and has Irish heritage, but because she is…well…HER…she knows that Irish Asian people actually EXIST, and some of us went to really great schools that are known for stellar performers.

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Hispanic populations in the Midwest can be explored thusly:

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TFP doesn’t even need to CITE anything, use your eyes!

Three states away from Mexico you find Iowa.

The likelihood of Hispanic presence is HIGH, isn’t it?

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The answer there is no matter what brand of Caucasity you indulge in, you cannot erase People of Color, and by extension, Performers of Color from anything occurring in 1912.

Cannot be done.

EVEN IN IOWA!

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People of Color do not have to prove we belong in this country, and yet, y’all keep asking us to. Each time, TFP has been able to do it because there have been scholars determined to show that America is made from the bones of those who came before – and those bones do not belong to one group.

Stew on that for a while, won’t you?

500 Smacks of the Wand to the upcoming Broadway Production of MUSIC MAN and it’s Producers (who are honestly ducking that #MeToo movement like it’s dodge ball).

TFP is not buying a ticket. She has a choice, as does everyone else, to put her money behind projects that support the people she admires, people who see PEOPLE.

All KINDS of PEOPLE.

No matter how much you love the performers in this revival as Artists, she is hoping that you, Dear Reader, ‘vote’ with your ticket – if you want to support growth in front and behind the table, why not use that outrageously priced ticket you were going to indulge in, and go see…HADESTOWN, HAMILTON, MOULIN ROGUE, DEAR EVAN HANSEN, SOFT POWER…in short…literally anything else.

Because if you do not, then this kind of thinking is going to linger and expand – and we will be back to where we started, as adjuncts to American stories where we belong in lead roles.

Do not reward it by making it a ‘hit’.

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TFP out.

 

 

UPDATE- The Melbourne Fringe has now pulled Aisha the Australian Geisha from it’s schedule. The Artist feels she is misunderstood because she knows many Japanese People and none of them said anything to her.

TFP thanks the Aussies who stood up and said that this show was unacceptable- they know who they are.

None of us are anything without Allies.

Please read the post if you so choose.

TFP

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The Fairy Princess is Australian.

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She has mentioned this many times, and yes, she has dual citizenship with the United States, and resides there, while most of her family remains in Australia. (The sheer number of which would leave you breathless).

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As the USA has been chock a block hideous – Latinx kids in cages, kids stolen from their families, rights being stripped away from the LGBTQ community, Trans peoples being murdered, Black Men being literally killed by Police for no damn reason, the list is endless…and so OFTEN she thinks, “I have my passport, screw the USA, I’m out!

Then she remembers that Broadway is located in New York City, and she realizes that commuting from over an 18 hour flight to make half hour would be impossible, which is never not depressing.

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So Australia has always been a thought, a nice little bubble of, “Oh, then could go back to Cairns, or maybe Melbourne, or Sydney” and then….TFP remembers how RACIST Australia is – JUST AS BAD AS THE UNITED STATES (particularly FLORIDA)  and she, again, becomes insanely depressed.

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It is just chilling to note that though one ‘belongs‘ to two countries, one is always going to run into issues in both of them simply because of small minded people – white people – Caucasian people – who simply think that Asian descended people exist for the sole purpose of mockery and to funnel fame to whatever white person wants to “Yellow Up”.

The latest voyager into this “Caucasity Audacity” is a show called AISHA, The Aussie Geisha.

Which has not only been programmed by the Melbourne Fringe, but given the Main Room at Coopers Inn.

“The strong narrative and themes keep it moving at a rapid pace … The songs are delightful … Mrs Okaytobashme made me laugh everytime.” – Aussie Theatre.

Now, some people – people who are not People of Color, will say that TFP is not seeing this correctly, that the show is about the white girl who lost her fella to the Japanese gal, and then enrolls in Geisha school to try and win him back.

Very fish out of water type hilarity.

But look at how Aussie Theatre stated the name of her teacher  from their point of view – Mrs. Okay To Bash Me.

If “Ok To Bash Me” is the way it is being pronounced, methinks there are some missing r’s and l’s and some accent work that is likely to be, how does one put this…troublesome.

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So the show is not just a play on an Aussie in Japan, it’s definitely using the tried and true tropes taught to us by insanely jingoist productions of The Mikado, added to the panic of the “invasion of the Yellow Peril’ that Aussie teachers taught my Chinese Aussie Mum in grades school, and just a bit of meaness.

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Because a  True Blue Fair Dinkum Gal cannot lose a man to a Japanese Gal – just ain’t right – is TFP getting that ‘right’? That’s the point of it, yes?

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It is marketed as Farce – but who is the focus of the farce?

Is it even an original thought? Didn’t Shirley McClaine do it in a movie?

So this concept is the two combined, but not charming or thematically challenging, just…well, kind of a rip off between other people’s concepts.

Look, TFP loved Muriel’s Wedding just as much as any Gay Man and their gal BFF’s could, but Porpoise Spit has been done, Luv.

Oh we get it- Small town gal from oddly named town goes to the big city, finds a gay husband, learns new stuff and becomes sophisticate adjacent?

Doors are opened for her, doors she never even dreamed existed, hmmm?

Ok so three films then- The Geisha, Mame, and Muriel’s Wedding- can’t you just PICTURE it?

TFP is sure it is, ummmm, breathtaking.

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That concept was thrown in a blender with elements from all and now the small town gal from Koo Wee Rup goes to Japan and dresses up like a Geisha and mocks a truly remarkable tradition, and it’s all for laughs for both the Creatrix and the Melbourne Fringe Festival?

Asian Aussies are all supposed to buy a ticket to be the butt of the joke – because we are not to understand that we are the butt of the joke? We are going to be fooled into thinking the lady who wrote on Blue Heelers holds people who look like us in the highest esteem?

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Fringe Festivals are supposed to be edgy, a bit jagged, not as polished as giant productions but full of passion and new ideas. Fringe festivals are supposed to be places of encouragement and vivid storytelling, painful stories and some that are lightening in a bottle. All are supposed to be welcome, a giant movement in creating Art.

This show, TFP is guessing, is not that.

Sadly Oz, once again, you have succeeded in completely disappointing me.

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It’s like my Grandma sending me to the shop in Cairns, only to get harassed on the street all over again.

It’s like being a bit worried to walk back to my cousin’s house in Manly after a night at the pub, because TFP heard some yobbos talking smack about what they would like to do to her.

It’s like growing up with the story of your Great Grandfather’s murder by a White Man, who served no jail time, because it would be bad policy to jail a White Man for killing ‘A Chinaman’.

1922 Innisfail. William Fang Yuen.

Google it.

TFP’s Chinese Aussie Family has lived in Oz since the 1870’s – served in the arm forces and won medals, made names for themselves in the Arts, Business, and Scholarship.

The Family has been awarded medals for service for various reasons from the Queen, but seeing that all that means absolute shite, and that Melbourne Fringe would give a platform to Yellowface and subtle, but ‘farcical’ racism?

Something has to change, and the start of it is White People, in the Arts, saying no to programming this kind of ‘entertainment’.

Anyway, there goes another dream.

TFP out.

The Fairy Princess had a good weekend – there were some cool things that happened this past week or so…

Simu Liu of Kim’s Convenience was announced as Marvel’s SHANG CHI.

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He is very talented and funny and he does backflips, so all that is good – Shang Chi is of course,  a martial artist. He was drawn with Bruce Lee, the mixed race martial artist, as a reference point for the artists.

There is one slight issue with the casting – and while TFP does believe that the writer, David Callaham, and director, Destin Daniel Cretton, (both of whom are mixed race)

went with a brilliant choice – SHANG CHI is supposed to be biracial, according to the Marvel origin story.

He is the son of Fu Manchu and an American Blonde that he kidnapped.

Icky origin story?

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Still, the guy is supposed to be biracial.

TFP would like that issue to be addressed – as all the AAPI world is busy pronouncing they are embracing Keanu Reeves, Dwayne Johnson, Henry Golding, Dave Battista, and Jason Momoa, and writing articles like the one by Jeff Yang, about the issues facing mixed race people in casting – she would simply like Shang Chi’s team to explain how they are going to ‘handle’ this origin story.

Because it stung a bit. “We‘ are not usually in an Origin Story, so being that this particular one was ‘supposed’ to be one for our team – and it’s not, a bit of an ‘ouch’.

It is still a win for AAPIs and in particular, Chinese Canada/US diaspora – but it is erasure for biracial people.

Remember all the backlash Henry Golding got for daring to rep as an Asian Man in CRAZY RICH ASIANS? All the ways he was told he was not ‘allowed’ to be representative of Asian men?

What if biracial people did that to Simu?

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Not gonna happen – we are all happy for him.

(That is biracial RuPaul’s Drag Race Queen, Manila Luzon giving that eye roll, btw)

TFP would just like some clarity because as Marvel goes on to proclaim “the first Chinese Superhero” (Guess we are not noticing all the AAPI diaspora that Maurissa Tanchoeren has been repping on AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. for the last seven seasons….) the truth is – the guy was never written as a Chinese superhero.

He was a biracial superhero.

And now, he is not.

Still good with Simu’s casting – just pointing it out.

Because the same thing happened in HELLBOY and TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE, and TFP noticed.

Again, not objecting to any castings in this case – just noticing.

#RepresentationMattersEVENifyouareHapa

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Here though, IS a win for multi-racial people celebrating their many sides – check out the trailer for HOBBS AND SHAW

Dwayne Johnson has become very vocal recently about being both African American and Samoan descent, and TFP would be lying if she did not admit to having a bit of a tear in her eye when she saw his character ‘go home’ and take on ‘the baddies’ on home territory with his Samoan family.

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On Broadway, along with the closings, ‘we’ have a win – ANN SANDERS has moved over from FROZEN on Broadway to taking over as the character, Cynthia Murphy  in DEAR EVAN HANSEN through Oct 20th.  Ann previously set the standard by being the first woman of Asian descent to play Mrs. Anna in THE KING AND I on Broadway – which was amazing because….the actual Anna Leonowens was of mixed Asian descent.

TFP knows Ann because they both were in AVENUE Q on Broadway and well….

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ONCE AGAIN, they have done an AVENUE Q production, or are about to and they have chosen to not cast an Asian heritaged person as the character, Christmas Eve.

Where?

New Zealand.

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Specifically at the Napier Operatic Society in Naiper, NZ.

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It is the second oldest existing theatrical society in New Zealand, having been established in 1887 – and it is renown for it’s amateur productions. Supposed to be very high quality and professional level talent.

You can look at the below photos, they seem to do a really great job – between the costumes and the sets, TFP has no indication how the performances are, but everything really looks great in New Zealand…then they decided to expand their repertoire.

Where DID they start?

Gilbert and Sullivan.

OF COURSE! In 1891 they started the season with THE MIKADO, and they have not looked back!

Now AVENUE Q being miscast as an amateur production is nothing new – this has for sure happened repeatedly across the United States – even with the New York Production only closing this past summer. So, there were 16 years of the ‘gold standard’ – on Broadway and Off, and folks in America still, deliberately, got it wrong.

On PURPOSE! (Get it, Q-tips? Get it? PURPOSE!)

However now that MTI has licensed the show internationally, the show is up for worldwide miscasting  – and again, normally TFP would not say too much about an amateur production, until she realized that this ‘house’ and it’s place in New Zealand is revered. After the earthquake, the city chose to rebuild this theater – that means it has significant value to them.

Still, when last she ‘checked in’, they were advertising for Asians for the role of Christmas Eve.

Here is the flier originally put up:

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So they knew what Christmas Eve was supposed to look like – significantly they have Ann Harada‘s photo on this flier, the O.G. of Christmas Eve’s.

Here is some of the continued efforts to expand their diversity within the company by advertising for two characters who are People of Color within the Avenue Q universe:

However it did not seem to happen- because rather insensitively, one of their company members, put this up on a public forum:

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Now, the person that put this up is self-admittedly not of Japanese heritage. She appears, in her photos to be Caucasian, and seems to be unaware that positing that she does not give a rat’s ass what people think of her is a position that is indefensible – especially in this day and age.

TFP is not publishing her name in this blog, even though she deserves it because someone said she might be young and misunderstood.

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Yes, this is an amateur production – but it is being done by a theater of significant size in New Zealand, one that sets the standard, apparently, for professional productions to aspire to. It charges for tickets, and it has a huge following, and makes enough money to sustain several productions per season, and also has a school training program attached.

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Therefore the ‘whitewashing’ of Christmas Eve is not an insignificant issue – because there is going to be a large audience for it.

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In New Zealand – there is a problem with systemic racism against it’s indigenous people, The Maori’s, and it’s ongoing issues with immigration.  The issue of a majority Caucasian audience laughing at a faux Asian person, has repercussions that we cannot even list, particularly as America has seemingly outsourced one of it’s most malignant exports – to New Zealand, white nationalism.

Whitewashing Christmas Eve plays in to that narrative.

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Again, TFP has no issue with membership companies or amateur companies – but here is what – she will say it again for people who have to hear it across the globe –

When you erase the ethnicity of that character

a character written by a Person of Color and specifically a person of Asian descent (Bobby Lopez)

a character who has, written into the script and score – an accent of an immigrant in America – you teach people that ethnic people are only allowed on the stage on Caucasian say so.

That ‘we’  are able to be mocked and ridiculed by offensive portrayals at any time, and that is not a message to send out to the people of NZ.

What is said by this casting is that ethnic people are of less value, that they are there to be made mockery of whenever white people decide to do so – that they have NO power over their own identities or heritages within the sphere of theater or anywhere else.

As lovely a country as it is, New Zealand is ‘catching up’ with many of the movements abroad, in a significantly terrifying way. The shootings at Christchurch are thought to show a growing White Supremacy movement there, (though they were carried out by a white Australian) as well as their very Trumpian New Zealand First Political Party – cited in this article in the Washington Post  casually cautioning people to be wary of Asian immigrants coming in and taking over the population of the country since 2004.

They do not need encouragement to mock and belittle Asian people.

New Zealand is already walking a fine, fine line every day of seeming tolerance vs. radical thought.

The entire population of New Zealand is just over 4.78 Million people in 2019.

Maori’s are the largest ethnic minority at 14.9 per cent.

Asians are the second largest at 11.8 per cent.

Non Maori Pacific Islanders come in a 7.4 per cent.

At 11.8% of the population, you should be able to find an Asian descended person to play Christmas Eve.

If you say you ‘cannot’, that is being lazy – and lazy people do not get to do musicals.

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This is not just about a miscasting in a community theater – this is about the arrogance and the hubris that Caucasians routinely employ to disavow the existence of minorities. To make them magical and therefore impervious to pain or humanity.

This is about a country that just experienced one of the most dreadful mass shootings from a single shooter and though they have learned to change their gun laws, by and large their arts institutions and their mindset remains static.

They choose, on their stages, to not see People of Color in significant ways.

Minorities exist in their world on their say so.

If they believe they ‘cannot find any‘, guess what?

They don’t.

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This is a significantly horrible message to send – and it never need have happened – because the Napier Operatic Society knows what it’s membership looks like – they know what they do well, and what they do not. They thought, perhaps, they could find someone – but they could not – but they did not cancel.

Why? Because the members that auditioned for those roles thought it would be fun to paint themselves. Bottom line – they thought they could get away with it. Obviously it has worked before.

Significant that a company around for as long as it has been has almost no minority representation. Perhaps, they do not feel comfortable auditioning for that group?

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Judging from the photos and past seasons, it is a very large membership company where overwhelmingly, the ethnic makeup is Caucasian. WHY choose a show that happens in New York City, which IS a melting pot, which DOES have minorities in a more than significant way, just asking for trouble.

If the show demands ethnic minorities, and you do not have any – do not do the show.

It is simple.

TFP knows that white people find this very thought offensive, that they would much prefer to paint themselves a face with another tone and engage in mockery – but in the end you have to look at yourself in the mirror and say – Amateur or not

“Did I do this character justice?

Did I represent to the best of my ability who and what the writers of the show intended?

Could I look a member of this show, any member of it who played in New York – on or Off Broadway in the face and be proud of what I have done?”

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If not, do not do the show.

It plays into mockery and offense to have a non AAPI person play that role –

Napier Operatic Society knows it.

You, the reader, know it.

TFP for sure knows it.

She fines Napier Operatic Society 500 whacks of the wand – the word Amateur comes from the Latin word for love – you love it so much, you devote yourself to that pursuit – you cannot tell TFP you love musical theater if you allow Caucasians to play Christmas Eve.

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TFP out.

 

 

 

TFP has noticed in the last week or so, an inordinate amount of BODY SHAMING recently, nationally, in the Broadway community, er…Off Broadway, and internationally. Movie stars, athletes, and stage actors have all faced it, and have spoken up about it, which TFP applauds.

When Katelyn Ohashi had a chance, winning her BEST PLAY Award at the ESPY Awards, she took her shot back at internet trolls who said some nasty things about her online.

 Good for her for calling them out. Women’s Gymnastics has had a shattering past two years, it is athletes like Ohashi that will turn it around.

As she said, the leotards in gymnastics seem to be primed to invite comment – but what about vacations?

Actors get no time off from the gym? From dieting?

Folks had an issue with Jason Momoa, a literal Gawd among us heathens!

They called him fat for his ‘Dad Bod” while on vacation!

That is not a Dad Bod, Dudes – for real. There is no beer gut or clear examples of a guy who was in shape when he was young, letting it go quite happily to deal with family and work.

Y’all, come ON – it is JASON MOMOA – he is not, has never been overweight.

Even if he is looking a bit less like Aquaman in this really bad, taken without his knowledge, photo – he likely falls into the healthy parameters for his height and weight.

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KIM CHI SLAPPPPP to the Folks feeling like they can climb on and attack these two mixed race people at the TOP of their professions!

Jason Momoa and Katelyn Ohashi –

EAT ALL THE THINGS!

ENJOY YOURSELVES! DO WHAT YOU GOTTA DO!

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Here is what – diversity or inclusion does not mean only skin tone and ethnicity, while it includes body shape and size, it includes performers with disability AND it includes people of the LGBTQ community AS WELL.

Get it, AS WELL.

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TFP was very sad to read and then hear the comments of Theater Critic, Peter Filichia and radio host/owner, James Marino as they reviewed the Off Broadway show, CAMP MORNING WOOD, on Broadway Radio.

They did not talk much about the show and it’s themes,  performances, the writing, the jokes –  NOPE!

What interested them most was the size and shape and genital endowments of the Actors, and commenting about them and what led them to be cast in a play that occurs within a nudist camp.

One can only listen to their giggly chortling as they discuss other males and their penis sizes, and shudder. It had nothing to do with theater, except that the show was viewed in a theater space.

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This was not theatrical criticism.

This was two men, who would likely never be asked to be naked in public, much less on the stage – making really bad dick jokes.

Though the two gentlemen in question are absolute beauties themselves with FLAWLESS physiques…

 Now, if TFP were to to on to criticize THOSE two bodies in particular, then all and sundry would be coming after her.

Because how DARE she criticize white men. Particularly white men of the extended theatrical community who have long thought they lofted above the fray.

What if she asked you to imagine them naked and try and guess their penis size – and then invited you to laugh at them because you did not guess, well, generously?

you-think-im-evil-gifWould that make you uncomfortable? Would you think, “Hey – that is not what I am looking for when I read an article,”.

Well, yes.

That is the point.

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These men whose jobs would not exist if Talent did not take chances and put their work on the stage and on the page, only to provide them with free tickets so they could come to a show and giggle like pre-teens in a locker room over something that is entirely natural.

After all – ‘Everyone is born naked and the rest is Drag” – thank you, RuPaul.

TFP wants to be clear – if you are a Theater Critic and you attend a show, you may talk/write about the performances (Nay/Yay), the writing, the scenery, the direction, the costumes, the lights, the sound, what you may NOT do, is conclude that Actors’ bodies are up for your disdain or amusement.

It means not only during interviews do you not touch performers’ bodies physically, it also includes not harming them in print and on social media by mocking the bodies that you are not touching.

You do not imply that their breasts are either not big enough or too big for a role. That they are “Too Black, too Asian, too Latinx, Not Native American ‘enough” to be in that role.

THAT IS NOT YOUR JOB!

We do not care what you think of our hips, noses, eyes, eye shape, legs, thighs, lungs, hands, arms or any other body part that a ‘critic’ could nitpick and that list DEFINITELY includes penises.

Heaven knows what these guys think of Performers with Disabilities!

Actors bodies are their instruments. Actors bodies are wonderful, fluid things that help ensure a great performance, but the manner in which genetics assembled their parts is not for comment. By a professional ‘critic’ or by anyone else.

TFP is fairly certain that the White Male Critics are circling like sauropods after a meteor strike – and the only thing that would ‘save’ them, would be empathy. But empathy – as we have seen with the current administration – seems to vanish the closer one gets to power. The more they believe in their own taste level, the more they feel that their knowledge extends past theater to any subject they would like to wax on about.

Where TFP and the rest of the Broadway Community are asking – after numerous troubling reviews by White Critics – is, isn’t it time that people without empathy stop reviewing shows? And Films? And Dance Pieces? And Art Installations? They do not seem to even like going to these shows, so why drag it out?

What is needed are Critics of differing background, different ways of identifying, people who still love it – even though for so long they have been shut out of it. Get people who love theater.

If you have no ability to do the research into what you are about to view – or indeed have no interest in doing so, and creating that empathy, creating that bond between audience and actor – why are you even doing it in the first place?

Broadway Radio sells subscriptions. It makes money on the love people have for the theater. Yet it seems to hold Actors in contempt. It gives space for promotion and interviews where they fawn over the ‘big fish’, but it is not what you do when ‘everyone’ is watching – it is what you do when you think no one can see you that matters.

The disdain they had for the Actor’s bodies in CAMP EVER WOOD is the disdain they have for all Actor’s bodies.

Frankly, if Broadway people decide NOT to do interviews or allow coverage to Broadway Radio – it would fold pretty fast. There are a lot of people out there making their living on Broadway that would be ‘fat shamed’ by these critics. Or “thin shamed” etc. etc. etc.

Time for Broadway Performers and Producers to take a stand as to what is allowed, and what is not.

Tick tock Broadway Performers, tick tock.

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Because if all Performers now have to meet the very rigid standards that these two men have decided upon, then stories will be less interesting. Stories will be unable to be told to be best of the shows abilities because everyone will have to meet the measurement requirements and weigh ins.

That is what Broadway and Off Broadway Actors do – we tell stories.

Theatrical Critics have degrees in theater criticism (one hopes) and not body policing.

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The Actors in question were playing members of the LGBTQ community, and one in particular, Anthony Logan Cole, was targeted because within that community, he falls into the “Bear” Category.

The comments towards him were the most egregious.

TFP takes that very personally because Bears ( and they know who they are) are among her closest friends, and she will ‘stan’ for them as much as they have for her. She has attended their weddings, their funerals, their birthdays, viewing parties – they are part of her extended Family. She loves them.

Bears are reliable AF.

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“Bears” are men in the Gay Community who have strong, hardworking bodies, who are not afraid of what other people think of them, and they tend to have a robust way of looking at life. They are, in general, men who would be considered “thick” in common parlance – and all the variations that entails.

It is great that Mr. Cole was on the stage and proud to be so- and TFP would have enjoyed seeing/hearing a review of his performance.

Here is the cast photo, taken by Michael Wiltbank – see if you can find “The Bears”.

There are two.

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Mr. Cole was portraying a character whose body was supposed to look exactly as Mr. Cole’s looks.

Which is, let’s face it – AMAZING!

Yay playwright Marc Eardley!

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The LGBTQ community comes in all sizes and shapes and colors – and not everything is NAKED BOYS SINGING – sometimes it is CAMP MORNING WOOD – and that is ok.

It is a relief.

We need diversity in every aspect of the stage and productions – ‘we’ need it. It cannot continue to be the realm of people who have hit a genetic lottery with body type – it just cannot. It is unrealistic and leads to lower self esteem across the board – ACROSS THE BOARD!

These instances are people who are highly visible who know that this can be ‘part of the game’  – can you imagine what the effect is on a kid ‘following along’ at home – watching people at the top of their professions being ‘fat-shamed”?

What happens to that kid? Do they get an eating disorder? Do they self-harm?

People who do not fit into the expectations of White Male Critics of a Certain Age should be able to turn in a performance without worrying that the requirements of a script, and their commitment to it, is going to bring on attacks in platforms heard around the country.

In this case, the play and the actors made a commitment to being naked on the stage. Then a critic attends and instead of seeing the show – he starts looking at the penises.

Then he goes BACK to the place that sent him to review this show, and talks ABOUT THE PENISES.

He did a PENIS REVIEW!!!!!

alyssawhat-1503331755For those who think TFP is being ‘too sensitive’ or a ‘snowflake” – rest assured that OnStageBlog has done a quick review of this critic in the past, and it seems Mr. F cannot help himself but to allude to how attractive he finds someone in a show. Or what he thinks their weight should be. That the comments prior did not send up red flags, is a shame.

Think, before you make that charge about ‘too sensitive’ – what would that man say about you and your body? Really think on it.

What if it was your child? What if it was your Significant Other?

What if someone told you your hips were too big to be in a show?

What if they told you something about your lips or hair or you were too thin?

You were too ethnic?

Too ‘Normal”.

This is an insidious business.

a153673298cc4ab08f6c92abd53d1277ebc41df8_rTrue Story:

TFP once got a call from CBS, where WAS she?

Didn’t she KNOW she had to come in RIGHT AWAY!!! NO ONE ELSE COULD DO THIS PART! TFP had been in their Diversity showcase, so she was very flattered. She got off the plane and rushed right over.

She went in, she got her sides – the sides were “Morbidly Obese Asian Woman”.

TFP was between a size 6-8 at the time.

The Head of Casting thought she was “Morbidly Obese”.

The Casting Director walked in, shook his head and rolled his eyes.

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Go back and read what he said about other shows and the bodies in those shows – it’s an issue. He should not be reviewing shows – and especially not on the radio.

TFP sentences Broadway Radio to 150 whacks of the wand, a session of sensitivity training and early retirement of these problematic views and people.

And, she has been dying to say this, so here goes….

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THE FAREWELL a film by Lulu Wang is opening this weekend in New York and Los Angeles and soon, around the country.

If you are able to see it the weekend it opens when it comes to your town – please grab a ticket. AAPIs are not guaranteed a place in the showbiz pantheon due to the success of a RomCom that is a lovely RomCom, but nevertheless, a RomCom that had a huge theatrical opening.

Once.

As in it was the only AAPI Rom Com that has opened on a national level in theaters.

Ahem.

THE FAREWELL  looks to be a beautiful, gut wrenching comedy based on the Director’s real life, as to what it means to say goodbye, when one of you knows that it is forever.

TFP also had a Grandma that lived overseas….she is sure many others have as well.

It also highlights the differences between Asian Americans and Asians in the Homeland, wherever the homeland may be, which is a great discussion to continue to have.

OPENS THIS WEEKEND, JULY 12TH!

GET YOUR TICKETS AAPI AMERICA!

AND CALL YOUR DAMN GRANDPARENTS!

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Finally, would like those who are in New York City, or commutable distance to join TFP at the additional screening of Director, Leon Le‘s critically acclaimed film, SONG LANG on August 1st.

Tickets are avail HERE.

OOoh looks beautiful.

Showbiz can be as vast as the ocean and have as much diversity – it is these opinions from both Trolls and in the above case, two Theater Critics that keep it from being that way.

The Gatekeepers only want glam, well endowed, sexy AF GLAM or GET OFF THE STAGE!

Yep not here for THAT!

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TFP out.

 

The Fairy Princess has noticed a lot of AAPI ‘Winning” going on – much beyond, of course, the King, Keanu Reeves.

First off, on “The Broadway” attention must be paid to – no, NOT the TONY Winners, they have enough attention…the little show who was parodied but never mentioned, BE MORE CHILL by Joe Iconis.

Why, you ask?

Because in a show that is about – NOT a brothel, harem, warin a show with NARY a hoop skirt or scantily clad bikini to be found – in a show about HIGH SCHOOL in AMERICA – they had NOT one, not TWO, not THREE, but FOUR AAPI ACTORS ON AS PRINCIPALS in ONE NIGHT!

This is so remarkable that “Michael In The Bathroom“, George Salazar – who is, of course, one of those AAPIs – tweeted it out so that attention could be paid – and THANK YOU George, for doing so.

Please enjoy the song that was parodied on the TONYS – MICHAEL IN THE BATHROOM – and please BUY A TICKET TO THE SHOW!

Here’s why – when shows do not win TONY Awards…they close.

Because Broadway Math is hideous.

Because Broadway Theater Owners want to be reassured that they will continue to ‘make that nut’- and that is what a TONY Award tells them.

Because Broadway is just too damn competitive.

Has absolutely nothing to do with how good a show is or how many people it touches or how great the Cast is.

Not saying anything about BE MORE CHiLL’s box office at all- that is just Broadway and how it works.

The question is SHOULD a show that is this NON WORRIED about FOUR AAPI LEADS going on in one night – in a show that is not a ‘traditional’ AAPI musical – SHOULD that show not be supported by AAPIs?

It should. In droves.

Buy a damn ticket. Right HERE.

Because if it happened once, it will happen again – and don’t you want to take your teenager to see a show where they see themselves? Where the thought is – hey – this should be a commonplace thing, no biggie – but it has NEVER happened in TFP’s memory.

NEVAH.

In a show that is not about SPECIFICALLY AAPI stories, this has NEVER happened.

FOUR LEAD ROLES.

FOUR.

NEVER. HAPPENED. BEFORE.

(And don’t @ me with “Hamilton…” – that is a tour.

It is super great that it is happening on tour – but this is Broadway. Without any dissing intended- four AAPI leads has not happened in that particular show as it plays Broadway – though they have 2 AAPIs as Hamilton alternates (Eddy Lee, Marc de la Cruz– who also alternates for King George) dancers, etc.

HAMILTON is great. HAMILTON is genius.

HAMILTON did not replace an AAPI lead that had a TONY Nomination with another AAPI person, although on the tours – they have had AAPIs. That is not blowing things out of proportion or doing anything other than stating facts.

TFP loves HAMILTON. She is just stating facts.)

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Anyway, ALL HAIL BE MORE CHILL – long may it run!

ALSO super cool – in the U.K., across the pond, there is PROGRESS because the FIRST PLAY about British Vietnamese people has made it to the stage!

SUMMER ROLLS by Tuyen Do!

Tickets HERE

Full production!

Cast is 100% People of Color!

60% Vietnamese!

Here is the trailer:

If TFP was in London, she would go see it.

GO SEE IT – It opens June 19th!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qpipLfMiaYU

Congrats To Eugene Lee Yang from The Try Guys from Buzzfeed, who, during PRIDE Month has ‘come out’- and as it turns out, is quite the dancer.

Also – Jeremy Lin is the First Asian American to win an NBA Title – that must be a sportsball thing, but it is cool as hell – especially when he wears the Sandra Oh quote shirt that supports East West Players, so yeah for Sportsball!

Speaking of Sandra Oh – her show, KILLING EVE on BBC America had the highest ratings of any show on the network for it’s second season, so YAY!

Likely there will be a third and OH… speaking of a third season….

So the phenomenal show WARRIOR which is showing on CINEMAX here in the USA, and has just been released in the U.K. – was renewed for a second season, which is shot.

However they have NOT been picked up for a third season…yet!

Which has TFP like…what is going ON? Makes her head wanna go…

Which is important because it is a vision into the humanity of AAPIs in America. It is about the price that was paid, by our forefathers and mothers to get to a place where they had a chance to change their destiny.

If America is a country of immigrants, and it IS – then “our” story, or at least a reasonable facsimile of an aspect of it, needs to be told. Understanding and tolerance comes from acknowledging that we have all struggled to get to the United States – and along the way – we have all faced bigotry, we have all faced poverty, crime, but our people came ANYWAY.

It comes originally from the mind of Bruce Lee, and has been brought to you by his daughter, Shannon. It is everything we would like to see about our true arrivals, our first arrivals to this country.

She is asking y’all to watch WARRIOR in whatever form it is available to you – not JUST because it is about the beginning of AAPI America – but because it shows us sexy, virile AAPIs who are fighting back against the power structure – and who knows, if they had won – the whole world might be different, no?

And then she is asking you to TWEET @Cinemax to ask them to give WARRIOR a third season, come on Folks – you know the drill. #WarriorMaxS3 or whatever, maybe that is not catchy enough – but…you get the idea, yes? Let them know you watch the show and you want more of these stories.

In between watching ALMOST BE MY MAYBE on repeat, on NETFLIX, you have time to send a tweet or an Instagram.

If you want to see yourself you have to show up – buy a ticket to an AAPI Film Festival– the ASIAN AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL – aka AAIFF is happening in NYC JULY 25th – August 3rd – BUY SOME TICKETS!

Here is just a sample of the outstanding work that you will be seeing:

This is SONG LANG, which will premiere in NYC on July 7th – it has already won 22 International Awards and will play at Lincoln Center! Directed by Leon Le, it looks phenomenal. Congrats Leon!

Which concludes TFP‘s shilling for projects she is not associated with, but thinks you should be aware of.

Remember – it is not enough to smile softly when you see something good happen – you have to support the people and programs that helped put that smile on your face.

TFP out.

 

The Fairy Princess has been watching the fervor over #AlwaysBeMyMaybe – written by Ali Wong, Randall Park, and Michael Golamco, which is now appearing on #Netflix.

It’s fun. It’s funny. It has Daniel Dae Kim as an asshole and Keanu Reeves as….Keanu Reeves – and it is a true win, for those involved and for those who get to see it across America.

PLUSTFP‘s Pal, Peggy Lu plays Ali Wong’s Mom, so that is a nice Easter Egg surprise!

What keeps resonating with her, and pissing her off, quite frankly, is that everyone is ‘surprised’ about how good Keanu Reeves is. He is a goddamn movie star with a career that spans over 30 years, and all the AAPIs are ‘surprised’ that he can turn it out!

Everyone is now shouting about Keanu being of AAPI descent because he was in a film with Asian Americans – this was not his first film with Asian people!

TFP is frustrated with this reaction – all the ‘surprise’ is rooted in passive aggressive non-acknowledgment that one of the biggest stars in the damn universe is Hapa.

Come ON now….

Surprised that JOHN WICK has staying power?

“No one’ seemed to know he was funny…he was in BILL & TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE, AAPIs!

“No one’ seems to know that he is, in fact, all the letters in the #AAPI  – even though his name, literally translates to “Cool Breeze” in Native Hawaiian.

Even though he did 47 RONIN (which TFP actually kinda liked, but…was not a box office sellout)!

The fact of the matter is – Keanu has always be ‘repping’ as a person of mixed heritage, a Person of Color. Always. Right from the go.

Right from when he introduced himself as Keanu.

Let’s face it, it is not a “John”, “David”, “Chris” aka ‘safe, non-ethnic” name.

Not a “white’ name.

It is KEANU!

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Can you imagine how long it took an overworked Casting Assistant to learn how to say it during cold reads? A bit longer than it took America to learn to say “The Rock“. (And TFP fully LOVES Dwayne Johnson, but DJ did not take the ‘ethnic name’ road less traveled – that was not his journey)

The fact is the AAPI community has a hard time with Hapas. Halfies. Mixed Race People.

However you say it.

Back in the day, people called TFP ‘Eurasian’.

There is so much to unpack and it has to do with a lot, but basically – it is due to lack of representation. There have not been accurate representations of Asian and Asian descended people, enough so that there seems to be room for everyone. Even though there IS room for everyone. There is – it just has been ‘sold’ to the world that there is not enough room for People of Color, that we all get x many spots, and that is it.

Not true. TFP knows you have been ‘raised’ to think this – but it is not true. No one knows another person’s path or where they will wind up, but the universe is open.

People see Halfies, and they say “oh, that person is responsible for watering down my heritage” or “that person’s Mom/Dad was a race traitor” or some such nonsense. It seems to be that they think we ‘choose’ how to look when we are in utereo. That ‘we’ exist to ‘take their jobs‘.

The fact that our eye shape may be a certain type of way or color, that our skin can be a variety of shades,  that we cannot be seen to be AAPI by the AAPI community unless there are awards involved…it’s a toxic won ton soup on the best of days – and that is some bullshit.

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That kind of thinking leads to ‘uproars’ on the Internet over Darren Criss being Filipino. He has ALWAYS said he had Filipino heritage. Always. That was one of the first things TFP read about him, back in the GLEE days…but because AAPIs do not seem to know the length and breath of what Hapas look like….to them, he did not ‘register’ as Filipino until he won an award for “The Asassination of Gianni Versace” – where he ‘played’, an actual mixed race person of Filipino descent, Andrew Cunanan.

Then it was all “HOW DAAAAARE HE SAY HE IS FILIPINO WHEN HE HAS NEVER SAID IT BEFORE!!!!”

He did. You just did not have him on ‘your’ radar. He said it.

It’s due to the lack of representation that #AAPI people “roll their eyes‘ at the casting of ALADDIN – when, if Aladdin took place in Switzerland and the actors cast were 1/2 French and spoke French everyone would fall over themselves to say ‘How lucky” it was that they were able to get an Actor that spoke French!

But y’all don’t – do you?

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TFP is tired of people seemingly ‘not seeing’ that Keanu has AAPI heritage and then being surprised by his talent and surprised he ‘identifies’ as a Person of Color.

Click that link – he does not want to be a spokesperson for Asians in Hollywood because…why?

Guess who never made him feel welcome?

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There are more of ‘us’, by the way…- Folx like –  Dwayne Johnson, or Dave Bautista, or Pom Klementieff, or Screenwriter/Director Mike Dougherty (Godzilla), Comic book Scribe Greg Pak, Karen David, Gemma Chan, Sir Ben Kingsley, Youngest EGOT Winner Composer/Lyricist Bobby Lopez, TONY nominee Philippa Soo, Jason Momoa, Daniel York, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, TONY winner RuthieAnn Miles, Russell Wong, Henry Golding, Sonoya Mizuno, Ian Anthony Dale, Meaghan Rath, Jimg Lusi, Fiona Xie, Amy Hill, Musician Sean Lennon, Musician Bruno Mars, Musician Mahalia Barnes, Julia Nickson, Dave McInnis, Chloe Bennet, Lewis Tan, Nancy Kwan, Jessica Henwick, Darren Criss, Ali Ewoldt, Adam Jacobs, Sandra Allen, Courtney Reed, Thom Sesma, Zachary Noah Piser, Arielle Jacobs, Mark Paul Gosselaar, Drag Queen Manila Luzon, Sophie Miller-Sheen, Golfer Tiger Woods, Tennis Player Naomi Osaka, Gymnast Katelyn Ohashi, Shannon Elizabeth, Kristin Kruek, Kelsey Asbille,  Phoebe Cates, Michaela Conlin, Tim Lounibos, Rob Schneider, Chanel Iman, Cassie Ventura, Norah Jones, Kate Rigg, Meg and Jennifer Tilly, Devon Aoki, Ryan Potter, Merle Dandridge, Rich Ceraulo, Lindsay Price, Sam Tatsuo Tanabe, Ann Sanders, Miss Universe Brook Lee, Erin Quill, Olivia Oguma, Lisa Helmi Johanson, Isabella Russo, Manna Nichols, Alex Chester…

We have always been there – Merle Oberon, anyone?

Vivien Leigh?

Maybe we need to all get in a film together and save the world?

Maybe Mike Dougherty should write THAT one next.

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Until that happens, can AAPI people please stop being surprised that we exist, and can they also stop with the “prove to me how _____ you are!” challenges.

It is exhausting. TFP is exhausted.

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‘We’ will never speak the language ‘enough‘ for you.

‘We’ will never cook the food well ‘enough‘ for you.

Not because ‘we’ cannot – because you do not accept it.

‘We’ will never represent ‘enough’ for you, even if ‘we’ talk about representation and pride in Heritage in every interview given, ever on the planet that ‘we’ participate in.

Because one person on the internet will ‘miss’ that interview and make a huge ass deal over it and this is why ‘we’ cannot have nice things.

The one thing you can ‘count on’ AAPIs to do is rip apart Hapas. That is a loaded statement. It is also, true.

RANDALL PARK had to say ‘He’s ours’ in an interview for Keanu Reeves to ‘count’ to the AAPI community at large.

WHY IS THAT NECESSARY?!?!?

It should not be necessary.

A Mother asked TFP what to do recently – because her daughter had ‘self-identified’ in a class project as ‘a coconut’.

WTF?

Because “I am brown on the outside but white on the inside”.

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TFP’s heart broke and of course, she suggested all the books and all the ways in which this child – this CHILD – could see herself in the world. TFP explained that the child seemed to be looking through one kind of lense, but it was up to her parents to open her up to a kaleideoscope of what the world was, and what she meant to the world.

The child has multiple heritages- and thinks she is a friggin’ COCONUT!

Not ok.

That child means the world. All children do. We have to do better AAPI America. We have to – because chances are – your grandchildren (Unless the world ends in 2050) are not going to look like you.

Practice acceptance NOW – in all things.

Practice tolerance.

Representation DOES matter – and for AAPI Descended People btw, it is broad. It includes multiple shades and identities – from the deepest to the lightest, from cis to non-binary, and it is effin’ GORGEOUS.

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Can it with the ‘surprise’. Multi-racial people do not need your damn shock and amazement anymore – we just need you to stop questioning if we belong.

We do.

And we are fine JUST THE WAY WE ARE BRIDGET JONES!!!!!

And if you do not think so….

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TFP out.

 

 

The Fairy Princess is very happy to announce that Keanu Reeves is having a really good weekend, and it looks like it will translate into a great month of May for him.

Here are three reasons why:

First – he got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame – as did Ms. Lucy Liu earlier this month.

TFP loves that they both got it, however let’s keep in mind that Ms. Liu was only the second Film Star of East Asian Descent after Anna May Wong to get it, one supposes we should point out that Scarlett Johannsen already had one…

Merle Oberon was of South Asian descent, however Ms. Oberon was not open about her heritage. Likewise Vivian Leigh, who also is supposed to be of South Asian descent or Armenian – her Grandfather’s surname was Yackjee.

Which tells you all you need to know about the perception of mixed race peoples throughout time.

So it IS very nice to see Keanu and Dwayne Johnson ‘repping’ for the Halfies.

Mr. Reeves is not the first or the second AAPI to receive this honor : Philip Ahn, Yul Brynner (he is of partial Buryat (aka Mongol) ancestry via Russia), Jackie Chan, Sessue Hayakawa, Ben Kingsley, Casey Kasem, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Toshiro Mifune, George Takei, all came before – but as one can see…numbers are low.

There have been 2,600 Hollywood Stars Awarded throughout time, and when one considers that Victoria Secret – not the models, the store – have a star, one can see there is MUCH room for improvement.

AHEM, Hollywood.

You are moving, you are just as SLOW AF with the AAPIs – but take your claps….we are getting there…

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SECOND:  JOHN WICK 3, in which he stars alongside screen goddess, Halle Berry, beat AVENGERS by taking in $57 million in it’s opening weekend – which btw is still going on, run out and buy a ticket – though AVENGERS is in it’s 4th week since release, and has a few AAPIs in the cast – notably British East Asian Benedict Wong, David Bautista, Hiroyuki Sanada (who incidentally was beaten by Jeremy Renner in friggin’ SWORD FIGHT, wtf which took TFP right OUT the movie), Jacob Batalon, and the fab Pom Klementieff – this makes it a good weekend to be Keanu.

Third – he is rocking the sexual heat opposite Ali Wong in ALWAYS BE MY MAYBE which will premiere on NETFLIX on May 31st.

Look at this trailer – hot, hot, hot!

Anyway, the fact of the matter is – when good things happen to good people, you root for them – when good things happen to people with whom you share an ‘issue’ – like not being actually accepted in either ‘world’ because you do not fit the narrow confines of what they perceive x to be…you kinda do the world’s happiest dance.

Awesome, ‘Cousin!’

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If she is LUCKY!!!!

TFP out.