The Fairy Princess has been doing a lot of reading lately….for example she is absolutely obsessed with this book
SO obsessed with it that she has done her OWN Casting Breakdown for it, in case, you know, big Hollywood Producers who changed Katniss into a Caucasian should get confused and need some help remembering that ASIAN in in the title of the book, and that it is not supposed to be a book about whatever K-Pop star is hot right now, it is supposed to be a book about 30-somethings and their Parents, in SINGAPORE!
Dear Hollywood Producers should you get STUCK and think this would be a way better film called CRAZY, RICH because you think it is going to be too hard to cast – I double dog dare you to call The Fairy Princess -she will have the Casting Breakdown and options at the ready!
(OMG Hollywood Producers, you should TOTALLY call me – I would knock that Casting OUT OF THE PARK!)
(And when I say PARK, I’m not saying it in a “that is one of the very popular surnames for Korean Americans, way)
Crazy, Rich Asians has provided COPIOUS amounts of hilarity for The Fairy Princess, and she is pretty sure that she and Kevin Kwan should have Kiki’s on a regular basis, because HER OWN GRANDMA was actually a part of this kind of Social Circle in China, and actually gave The Fairy Princess her middle name, after one of the SOONG Sisters. (Kevin Kwan will know what that means).
The Fairy Princess and Kevin Kwan could totes be BFF’s! Or at LEAST we could go some piano bar in the Village and have too many drinks and sing too many showtunes – he mentioned karaoke in the book, Dear Mr. Kwan…The Fairy Princess will ROCK your WORLD with her MAD Karaoke skillz….
But that was not the ONLY thing that she read this week – and now, we are going to get into what is putting a dent in her wand….let’s digress…
As you may know, The Fairy Princess has done the show, FLOWER DRUM SONG.
Now, in FLOWER DRUM SONG there is a nightclub and it is based on a real nightclub that was in San Francisco where the only performers were Asian and the Customers were…well, they were mainly Caucasian. It was called…The Forbidden City, and it was owned by a businessman, Charlie Low.
And they had ‘Superstars”
And they had Fan Dancers….like Noel Toy
And in general, they were kind of kick ass….and once The Fairy Princess found out about The Forbidden City when she was younger, she found out it was like the Chinese West Coast version of The Cotton Club, she became equally obsessed with both nightclubs. But the Asian performers from The Forbidden City could never seem to jump to any sort of mainstream recognition – even though the novel about the nightclub by C.Y. Lee did very well – the performers themselves did not seem to continue on and get work or recognition in mainstream America.
The Forbidden City was not The Cotton Club.
The Cotton Club began in 1923, during The Harlem Renaissance. (Oh sure, I know ALL about it, I told you I was obsessed!) It was where, as my great friend who has now passed, Anderson Jones, used to tell me, “The 1920’s was where Black Men invented Men’s Fashion, Erin Quill”
Zoot suits and jazz and well…The Cotton Club.
It predated The Forbidden City and actually launched a heck of a lot of performers whose work we still, to this day, sing, hum, and generally think of when we see a beaded gown. People like…well….
And who can forget….Ms. Lena Horne? Or Cab Calloway? Or any of the other breathtaking performers that got their start, or made their careers bigger, by singing in The Cotton Club?
Now, The Fairy Princess does not condone the segregation that either The Forbidden City or The Cotton Club practiced, in terms of it’s audience being Caucasian and it’s performers being…ummmm…non-Caucasian. Because…let’s face it, it was racist. It was clearly racism, and it was clearly…not kosher. Not by today’s standards, but it is part of the history of America, and part of the history of the music of that era.
The best thing that came out of The Cotton Club was the music and the launching of careers for people who became the “game changers’. They became trailblazers – being on stage at The Cotton Club is what helped a lot of people become the legends they are today.
So The Fairy Princess was really, really excited to hear about the NEW Broadway show – AFTER MIDNIGHT – which IS, according to it’s website..
“This thrilling experience puts you at the center of one of Harlem’s legendary nightclubs, in a hotbed of Jazz–its intoxicating rhythms, its innovative style, its unpredictable danger and fun. Award-winning fashion designer Isabel Toledo reinvents the distinctive looks of the era with dazzling, one-of-a-kind costumes. And, as directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle, AFTER MIDNIGHT blurs the line between past and present to prove that Jazz is more than music–it’s a state of mind.”
Well…I mean, they are talking about THE COTTON CLUB! The music OF The Cotton Club!
Oh. Mah. Goodness, The Fairy Princess is BEYOND excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Because the Cotton Club was a launching pad for all kinds of talented folks, and she is hoping that After Midnight will give us a whole new bunch of folks to sing along with and look up to….some we have been missing a bit on The Broadway….like Adriane Lenox…
Or people we might know more from television at this point in their careers…like Dule Hill
And, as The Fairy Princess said….people whose work she is excited to get to know, like…let’s look at the cast list:
This is Monique Smith, she seems nice. Actually there is a whole BUNCH of people in this show whose work The Fairy Princess does not know, and THAT is exciting, because THAT is Broadway…it’s discovering new people!
AND in KEEPING with the tradition OF The Cotton Club, they are going to rotate ‘Celebrities!” What a great gimmick. OK, so the FIRST Celebrity is….
But of course, Fantasia has other commitments too, she can’t be the “Celebrity” all the time! I wonder WHO they are going to get to replace her, you know in case she goes on vacation….Who, could it be? Oh you KNOW who would be GREAT?
Who else could they get? Wait….Toni Braxton has done Broadway –
Who else…who ELSE is like, SUPER Famous and has done Broadway…..
Or you…oh WAIT A MINUTE, THIS would be RIDICULOUS!!!!!!!!!
But here’s what was just announced….
Is this when The Fairy Princess yells “Stop the world, I want to get off?”
The Country Singer, KD Lang is going to be in AFTER MIDNIGHT?
Now, granted, there were Caucasian performers who DID perform, as Celebrity Guests on Celebrity Nights, and a small list would include : Jimmy Durante, George Gershwin, Sophie Tucker, Al Jolson, Mae West, Richard Rodgers, Irving Berlin, Eddie Cantor, Fanny Brice, Langston Hughes, Judy Garland, Moss Hart, and New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker, among others.
But it was only for a night….it was never, you know….an extended run in a show that celebrates the music of The Harlem Renaissance.
So that is not, technically, in the tradition of “The Celebrity Guest” night now, is it?
I don’t know, I’m guessing The Nicholas Brothers are probably breaking a hip in Heaven about this one….
What would Billie Holiday sing about this particular choice, I wonder –
You know that The Fairy Princess is all for Equality in Casting, but this seems wrong.
It seems wrong to put a Caucasian in this show and here’s why…because it is a celebration of the music and the people of The Cotton Club.
We can all agree to disagree, but WHO WERE the people OF The Cotton Club…..NOT THE AUDIENCE...THE PEOPLE?
Of course there WERE Caucasians IN The Cotton Club….you can see them RIGHT THERE….
But since I cannot find any photos from those Celebrity Guest Nights….I’m guessing that Caucasians on the stage was not actually the draw AT The Cotton Club.
The Fairy Princess finds it….an odd choice.She also finds it a bit insensitive and well…while she respects that KD Lang is a wonderful performer, she is not the type of performer who would have been seen regularly in The Cotton Club.
I mean, it would be different if the entire cast was mixed and it was all peoples performing the music of The Cotton Club – but it’s not.
As The Fairy Princess has said before, multi-racial casting is not supposed to be used because people do not want to expend the effort to cast it in the manner which is most respectful of the struggle and the time period and the tone of the show.
Choosing KD Lang for some reason, (not her talent), is, to me, a ‘low-percentage choice”.
The Fairy Princess is not African American….and she’s not trying to co-opt that experience, but IF I WERE, I would take a video clip that I like to use a lot and tell the Producers of this show that casting KD Lang to represent the music and times of The Cotton Club is wrong and that they should….KISS MY FAN TAN FANNIE!!!!!!!!!!!