Archives for the month of: April, 2014

The Fairy Princess has been writing about diversity in theater for close to two years now – and the message had been heard around the Globe – except, apparently by Opera Australia.

Luckily though, after reading this blog by Diva Knows Best, she knew that all was not completely lost – it just feels that way sometimes.

This is what was puzzling – Director Christopher Renshaw won the Tony Award for directing The King & I on Broadway, and as the King, he cast Lou Diamond Phillips, who is of Asian Heritage.


The Fairy Princess had several friends in that production, which was beautiful and award winning, and who inhabited the Small Musical of Rogers and Hammerstein with their usual professionalism, grace, and ability.

It is to their credit that the production was so well thought of, that Lincoln Center is planning another revival of it in 2015, which has not been announced officially, but which everyone knows is coming.

Even – who, no, has still not issued an amendment to their Twitter Contest to ‘name the next King” when they egregiously overlooked the fact that they published 4 Caucasian choices as potential Kings. (All talented men, all not of Asian Heritage).

The Fairy Princess is waiting, for that new article she suggested. Ahem. Seriously, where is it?

Anyhow, The Fairy Princess was troubled to see that though Director Renshaw had worked with talented Asian American leading men, when casting the new Australian National Tour with Opera Australia, he…ummmm…forgot?

It seems that everyone forgot that the King of Siam was a real person and this is what the King of Siam looked like:

Phra Bat Somdet Phra Poramenthra Maha Mongkut Phra Chom Klao Chao Yu Hua (Thai: พระบาทสมเด็จพระปรเมนทรมหามงกุฎ พระจอมเกล้าเจ้าอยู่หัว), or Rama IV, known in English-speaking countries as King Mongkut (18 October 1804 – 1 October 1868), was the fourth monarch of Siam (Thailand) under the House of Chakri, ruling from 1851–1868. He was one of the most revered monarchs of the country.

Phra Bat Somdet Phra Poramenthra Maha Mongkut Phra Chom Klao Chao Yu Hua (Thai: พระบาทสมเด็จพระปรเมนทรมหามงกุฎ พระจอมเกล้าเจ้าอยู่หัว), or Rama IV, known in English-speaking countries as King Mongkut (18 October 1804 – 1 October 1868), was the fourth monarch of Siam (Thailand) under the House of Chakri, ruling from 1851–1868. He was one of the most revered monarchs of the country.


How do you work on a musical that once won you one of the highest honors in your profession, and forget who you worked with and why the show ‘worked’ in the first place?

Seems odd.

Because here is who Opera Australia chose to go with for The King, and of course, they insist it had nothing to do with the fact that he is dating the woman who is currently playing Mrs. Anna:

Teddy Tahu Rhodes is The King...of????

Teddy Tahu Rhodes

He looks more like he would be the King in some kingdom we have not reached yet on Game of Thrones because we are trying to read the books in conjunction with the television show so that we do not ‘spoil’ it for ourselves.

He does not look like this:

King Mongkut of Siam, now Thailand

King Mongkut of Siam, now Thailand


The Fairy Princess was upset, not only because she knows this is a huge cultural mis-step – but because…wait for it…The Fairy Princess is an Aussie.


In Cairns, with my Grandma

In Cairns, with my Grandma, I am the baby.

Oy vey, oy vey, oy vey.

Yes, and my Chinese Australian Family has been part of the Australian Cultural Landscape since the 1870’s.

Yes, I said the 1870’s. We have all sorts of fun folks in the Family – War Heroes, Artists, Business People  – people who have helped shape Australia, so it seems odd to me that in all of Australia – which, I know personally, has been diversifying since, well, the late 1800’s, that they could not find ONE person of Asian descent to play The King.

Not one?

But they found a Tuptim (Jenny Liu), a Lady Thiang (Sh-Cheen Yu), and a Lun Tha (Adrian Li Donni) ?

Just no King.

In all of Australia, with all the Asians, and Eurasians, and Asian influx….not one? Really?

Ruh- Roh

Ruh- Roh

Dear Opera Australia, I guess you missed my speech last year.


And just between us, Opera Australia – The Fairy Princess could have informally polled her rellies, quite honestly, and found someone. Her Grandmother was one of 13 – she has hundreds of relations. Tons of musicians.

However, I will say this for Opera Australia – they had a bit of a backlash when they announced Mr. Rhodes as their King – (and by the way, this is not an indictment of Mr. Rhodes or his abilities, no performer hires themselves after all) and they listened to it – because people spoke up!

Way to go Oz!


The Fairy Princess is going to imagine that they did not understand that by hiring Mr. Rhodes they were doing this:

Why yes, they ARE all Caucasian Actors in bad makeup and NO, they do not look Asian AT ALL

Why NO, they do not look Asian AT ALL

Perhaps they did not understand that Diversity = Dollars.

Which means, that quite a lot of people, theater bloggers and so forth, loudly stated that the casting of Mr. Rhodes was not something they were eager to see.

So when it dawned on Opera Australia that they were being ‘culturally insensitive’ and more importantly, that it would cost them money – they very quickly did this thing that they should have done in the first place when they decided that no one in Australia would ‘suit’.

They sent an email.

Isn’t technology amazing?

And they hired this guy:


Jason Scott Lee.

Beginning the tour in Melbourne.

He was in Hawaii.  The Fairy Princess can tell you from  many flights from the USA to OZ and back – Hawaii is actually a fairly reasonable flight Down Under- once we were in Hawaii, we were halfway there.

Right on, Opera Australia! (You should have done it in the first place, but…at least you paid attention)

So you see, my fellow Thespians – there is always hope. If people speak up, if people write, if people stand up for things that are simply right (diverse casting, freedom from captivity for cetaceans, no child trafficking), things CAN change.

My Friend, Anderson Jones always used to say “If they knew better, they would do better” and The Fairy Princess would like to acknowledge that Opera Australia and Director Christopher Renshaw have demonstrated that while, yes, it is too late to change the first leg of the tour, they can adapt to our more modern sensibilities about Casting.

As The King himself sings “Every day I do my best for one more day’

So, break a leg, Jason Scott Lee – we are all pulling for you, and that flight from Hawaii is not so bad…maybe you’ll get to fly over with these guys…




The Fairy Princess has had a terrible bout of food poisoning, shared by her toddler. Recommendations include never, ever eating again at a mall in Glendale. Even if you have successfully eaten there in the past.

The Fairy Princess is recommending to just say no, or if you are, as an actor, going to eat at a mall in Glendale, do it before Pilot Season because then you will be almost the exact rate beloved by television execs everywhere, which is about 30 per cent under the recommended daily weight for your personal height.

The Fairy Princess vows to not eat at a mall in Glendale till next January at least. And then she hopes to book a series regular. Other than that, this bout of food poisoning is totally wasted on me.

Although, I must say, my collar bone looks fantastic right now.

A singer who moves well, after several days of food poisoning....just LOOK at my collar bone! IT. IS. GORGEOUS!

A singer who moves well, after several days of food poisoning….just LOOK at my collar bone! IT. IS. GORGEOUS!

So to say she was feeling a bit ill, was, honestly, gilding the lily at this point – but I should have suspected that it would not be long before I was feeling like I was witnessing gilding the TIGER LILY, because then I read an article from on who should be the next King in the as yet, not officially announced, (but every Asian American Actor knows it’s been coming since War Horse was going to move), production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s The King and I. At Lincoln Center.

Who doesn’t love The King & I?

Ummm, from what I hear tell, people from Siam. (Now Thailand). The film was banned because it was disrespectful. And likely, people from Burma. (and you have to hiss when you say Burrrrma, because that is how it is done in the show) (Burma is now Myanmar).

Of course there are all sorts of reasons for that, but the musical is based on a book by Anna Leonowens (who was, actually Eurasian of mixed Angl0/Indian descent born in India) which posits Anna as the great white savior-ess of the poor, befuddled, savage-adjacent King of Siam. So already, you know you are in for a bit of white-washing, ahem. There are all sorts of historical errors in the book, but you know, it was a ‘memoir’ technically, so if that’s what she remembered…?

Did you know that Tuptim was later reported to have actually married Chulalongkorn, who had 36 wives, so…no death by beating? History is so tricky, right?

But people in the United States love The King and I, and truly, The Fairy Princess loves The King and I because it was my first big ‘gig’, playing Lady Thiang, first wife, opposite Debby Boone as Mrs. Anna. (I had very good quotes, even though we tend to say we do not read reviews, actors love good quotes about the work)

With Debby Boone & Julie Garnye @ Jim Caruso's Cast Party

With Debby Boone & Julie Garnye @ Jim Caruso’s Cast Party

But this is what is made me thing my food poisoning was making it’s return: playfully tweeted “who should be The King and tweet us your answers‘, and people of the general public gleefully avoided ‘nominating’ anyone that was Asian American!




EXCEPT for Asian American Musical Theater Actors who actually took the question seriously and gave real answers based on both star power and those who had played the role before, some several times.

So LET’S SEE who the General Public picked which was PUBLISHED by as viable choices that should potentially be considered to play The King in the next up and at ’em production of The King and I:

Hugh Pannaro - who starred as both Raul and The Phantom on Broadway was chosen by a Twitter Fan

Hugh Pannaro – who starred as both Raul and The Phantom on Broadway was chosen by a Twitter Fan


Three Twits chose Michael Cerveris from The Who's Tommy and Titanic - possibly because of the hair?

Three Twits chose Michael Cerveris from The Who’s Tommy and Titanic – possibly because of the hair?


And a Twit chose Raul Esparza who is currently on NBC's Hannibal, but who also starred on Bway in a number of shows including Company and Leap of Faith

And a Twit chose Raul Esparza who is currently on NBC’s Hannibal, but who also starred on Bway in a number of shows including Company and Leap of Faith


Paulo Szot who earned a TONY Nomination for 2008 's South Pacific

Paulo Szot who earned a TONY Nomination for 2008 ‘s South Pacific


These four gentlemen are, yes, all brilliantly talented.

The Fairy Princess has seen each and every one of them live and in digital form, and they are Musical Theater Masters, each in their own way. So, to a certain extent, she does understand the General Public ignoring one glaring fact about any of them taking the iconic role of The King, because they are Broadway Superfans and fans tend to, you know, be FANS, and ignore things like –


Which, in this day and age, does make them ineligible to play The King of Siam. On Broadway.

Because we of ‘The Broadway’ do not find this:

Syracuse Opera


The Fairy Princess was dismayed, to say the very least, that an esteemed theatrical news outlet like would actually publish Caucasian faces as ‘potential’ Kings for The King & I. The reason she is so dismayed is because has been covering the change, in the last two years, of the way ‘yellowface’ is regarded in the Industry.

Change you say? Oh yes, The Fairy Princess gave a speech about it at LA Stage Day has, actually, been covering the changing attitudes in Casting, and doing a very good job of it, for the past two years. For example: They covered the uproar   at La Jolla Playhouse over “The Nightingale, they covered the protests at the last Miss Saigon tour, they have even quoted The Fairy Princess!

(Which, btw, I was very moved by, because I read it all the time)

As one can see it is not as if was unaware that Caucasians playing Asian is, thankfully, turning into a big ‘no no’.

So, they are familiar with me, and let’s face it, It is not like I have ever refrained from saying this:


So if you are aware,, of the changing attitudes why publish this list as you did?

Wouldn’t it be a stronger editorial choice to say “look, yes, there are superfans that tweeted names that are not Asian American, and that is all well and good, but  let’s concentrate on promoting and sharing potential Kings who have both the resume and the heritage to make this ‘tweet contest’ a list that Casting could look at seriously.”

Because if, say, there were going to be a revival of, oh, I don’t know, an August Wilson play, and someone tweeted you a photo of Tom Hanks – would you publish it?

Would you,

The Fairy Princess is being serious.

Because of all publications, is in the best position, better than almost any, to know the percentage of Asian Americans on Broadway, and to know how rare it is to have a show that can encompass a mostly API Cast, and what potential that has for us, as a group.

With all the coverage when there is a bi-lingual West Side Story, or of All The Way, which focuses on Civil Rights, or After Midnight, which so gorgeously highlights the music of an era and a people, why, when it is Asian American, is it ‘ok’ to publish a list that includes Caucasian faces?

The Fairy Princess doubts that you would do that to any of those shows,

The Fairy Princess is willing to bet that this was a light-hearted attempt to get everyone excited about a revival of a show that is a Musical Theater staple, as most Twitter things are, but there needs to be editorial responsibility.

While The Fairy Princess is grateful for the coverage that has given to Asian American representation on Broadway, and the various Casting issues that have arisen over the last two years, she does think that in this case, they could have done better. They could have drawn a line in the editorial sand and said “we are going to stand with Asian American performers because it is the right thing to do’.

Because Asian American Performers who are delighted that they may get a chance to audition or be in the new cast of The King & I did not need to flip through that list, and see that General Viewing Public would be just as glad to see this revival if there were no Asian American faces in it.

We did not need to see that.

We see that every day.

We read all the time, and we rejoice for any and every friend and acquaintance that has mention, and we get delighted for any and all coverage on musicals because we love them so much – but we did not need to see one of ‘our’ industry ‘papers’, ‘zines’, etc, etc, etc, throw up NINE potential “Kings’, with FOUR of them being Caucasian.

C’mon – you published it. Which is…kind of endorsing it, doncha think?

We did not need to see that.

We see that every day.

The Fairy Princess does not want to get into a hashtag war with – there is no point to it, they do good work, and she is sure that there is a way to fix this.

In fact, she has thought of one:

The Fairy Princess thinks there should be a ‘revised’ list by reporters – who take into account the last time the show was in The West End, on Broadway, Regionally, who amongst API Actors started in Musicals and perhaps have gone on to popular television shows, things of that nature. They should compile this list and publish it.

Publish THAT list.

The Fairy Princess thinks that should lead the way in enlightening the General Musical Theater Going Public as to HOW MANY Asian American candidates there are for The King – and if there are 10, or 20, all the better.

The Fairy Princess is not going to debate who, now, should be the once and future King in the revival in 2015. Mainly because she knows most of them, and no matter what order they are put in, or how they are listed, she will hurt someone’s feelings.

She is going to trust that Casting, the real Casting Directors, will do their job wonderfully well, and put together a new and inspiring production of this show.

She wishes all of the potential Kings well – may the odds be ever in your favor.

Look, to quote the show, “Every day I do my best for one more day” – so come on, let’s just do a bit better

because if not…






The Fairy Princess is not a sports fan.

Well, she is not a football fan – mainly because she was in the Color Guard in High School and got pneumonia waiting for those endless games to end.

The Fairy Princess likes gymnastics, ice skating, and dressage. Yes, dressage.

Lee Cheng Ni Diani of Malaysia riding Antschar in the Asian Games

Lee Cheng Ni Diani of Malaysia riding Antschar in the Asian Games

The Fairy Princess could not care less about football.


Which is why, of course, she would go on to marry someone who plays Fantasy Football on a competitive level. (She doesn’t get that either, it’s a fantasy! It does not exist! Picking names of superstars that are already superstars does not make y’all Mr. Roarke! It makes it another reason to ignore taking out the garbage.)

You know what is a fantasy?


Here is The Fairy Princess on her yacht, cruising the islands of somewhere where there is no mobile phone access

Here is The Fairy Princess on her yacht, cruising the islands of somewhere where there is no mobile phone access

You know what is a nightmare?


Here is some asswipe trying to explain why he gets to mock someone else's culture because he likes to drink and watch people in way better shape than him, make millions of dollars, even when they miss

This is NOT ‘being a fan’. Trust me, I’m in Entertainment, I know what ‘a fan’ is. THIS is being an ASSWIPE – I also know what that is from working in Entertainment. Ahem.

This is not ok.

Or this:

1But THIS is not ok either:


Because it took away the focus of what Stephen Colbert was trying to say – which was that the name of the


Football team is offensive to Native Americans and should be changed. Steven Colbert’s comedic sketch was implying that the team in Washington knows that they should  change the name, but that they are stubbornly refusing due to some innate sense of white privilege.

He was saying that trying to hide the fact that they know that they should change the name by establishing a charity is bullshit. And then he pointed out that to call the  charity you are funding by the very name that is most offensive to the people you say you are going to help with this charity is, to put it in the mildest way possible – absurd.



This week, Asian American Bloggers have been asked to join with Native Americans whose opportunity to be the subject of a national conversation on the continued use of derogatory sports team names was co-opted by some folks very quick to hashtag.

The Fairy Princess joins this conversation, not only as an internet observer, not only as an “Asian American blogger’, but she joins the conversation as someone who has visited a Reservation.

She joins the conversation as the daughter of a man who was “Tribal Council Judge” to a Native American tribe.

My Father represented two Native American tribes as their lawyer in their quest for state recognition prior to a debilitating stroke that left him unable to work during the last five years of his life. It was one of his greatest regrets that he was unable to continue his work for those Tribes due to his illness.

You see, The Fairy Princess, as she has stated before, had a Father who was an excellent man. He was a man of learning, a man of science, and he believed in Native American rights, not because he was Native American – but because he was Irish.

My Father was an Irish American Lawyer, who grew up in New York City.



He was a Labor Attorney and he always considered himself an advocate for ‘the little guy’. My Father was a single practitioner of the law – he never joined a firm, although they were always after him to do so – he was not comfortable with the idea of ‘a firm mentality’ deciding who he should represent, he had his own moral code.

My Father, when asked by me, why he chose to devote so much time to helping these two tribes told me that Americans  – particularly he felt, Irish Americans who had done so well in this country  – had a responsibility to the Native Americans, because we decimated their cultures to make way for our own.


My Father, who was an avid student of history, often compared what Americans did to the Native Americans, to what the English did to the Irish with their ‘invasion’, although he would of course, say that the Native Americans had it far worse.

An image from the battle at Wounded Knee

A rendering  of  the battle at Wounded Knee

My Father would go up to visit the Tribes he represented – not often, so much can be done on the phone – but frequently enough to be a part of their councils. When he came back, he would be both energized and depressed – energized to help more, and depressed that so much needed to be done.


The Fairy Princess is not a casual observer of the fights that Native Americans have been involved in, she has been an  participant – helping with paperwork and research, phone calls and so on. She has actually been to “The Res”, where she felt the wind whip through her bones.  She has met and talked frequently with Native Americans in her life- obviously the ones her Father represented, and others whom she met and worked with in a show business career.

(The Fairy Princess does not believe this makes her better than anyone, she just wants to note that this is not her first time observing the way we ignore Native Americans and their issues.)

While The Fairy Princess is not Native American in any way, she understands, as a student of history and as a Person of Color in America, why images and names of sports teams, matter.

They matter because they hurt.


They matter because they are rooted in cultural misunderstanding.


They matter because they were created to substantiate the supremacy and the “Manifest Destiny’ of Caucasians in this country.


They matter because a President of the United States said this about them, to justify his attempt at extinguishing them:

“After a harassing warfare, prolonged by the nature of the country and by the difficulty of procuring subsistence, the Indians were entirely defeated, and the disaffected band dispersed or destroyed. The result has been creditable to the troops engaged in the service. Severe as is the lesson to the Indians, it was rendered necessary by their unprovoked aggressions, and it is to be hoped that its impression will be permanent and salutary. Andrew Jackson

The Fairy Princess is standing with the Native Americans in their quest to have the name of sports teams changed because she is following the example set by her Father. My Father gave of his time, he gave of his intellect, he gave of his knowledge of the law.

All that The Fairy Princess can ‘give’ is a blog of encouragement, and sign a petition or two.

It is not really enough, now, is it?

The Fairy Princess has this to say to say to ‘fans’ who believe wearing face paint and bastardized Native American head dresses is not offensive to Native Americans….get ready:

You are wrong.

A Football Fan

A Football Fan


You are offensive.


You denigrate the sacrifices of the Native American community so that you can play ‘dress up’.


The Fairy Princess has said these words before, in regards to Asian American representation, but she offers them to the Native American community, to use as they wish, for she believes that it applies to their situation as well.


The Fairy Princess will stand with the Native Americans – and she believes that Asian Americans have a responsibility to do so as well – because once again, some who believed they had ‘a right’, took away one more thing from the Native Americans with no regard for how it would affect them.

And it was us.





The Fairy Princess has observed people having a bad week or so – and she wanted to take a moment and publicly state that she stands firmly, in regards to the issues of the last two weeks, behind Jeff Yang, Phil Yu, Kristina Wong, Calpernia Addams , and Greg Watanabe and the positions they have taken.

There is no need for any community of any kind, that acknowledges in fact, that they are a community, to turn on one another and try and destroy it based only a need to be ‘right’.

Maturity can admit mistakes, in as much as immaturity cannot be self- aware.

On to #GoodThingsThursday – here is what is going on:

1. The Fairy Princess is Co-Hosting Celebrity Doodles this coming Saturday, April 5, in Palm Springs with this handsome fellow –

International Magician of Mystery, Matthew Dowden

International Magician of Mystery, Matthew Dowden

Celebrity Doodles is an Art Auction/Fanciest Cocktail Party you have ever been to, type thing, and it is a blast! This year, they are honoring Suzanne Somers and Alan Hamel, Taylor Dayne  is singing, and the artwork is amazing. Click here for more information. There ARE still a few tix left.

Special THANK YOU to The Frank DeCaro Show on Sirius XM Radio for having me on to talk about Doodles and all sorts of other things – Frank and Doria Biddle run a great show, broadcast around the Globe, that focuses on Pop Culture, LGBT Issues, News and it is always a fun time. If you have not gotten a chance to hear them, you can click here for more information.

2. YELLOW FACE, the play by David Henry Hwang, is having another go-round in London! The last time it ran, just a few months ago, it had a four star rating. It will be at The Park Theater – and I encourage you, if you missed it the first time, to run off and view a great display of British Talent.

May 21 – June 16th. Break a leg, Everyone!

Gemma Chan & David Yip in DHH's YELLOWFACE, re-opening in May 2014

Gemma Chan & David Yip in DHH’s YELLOWFACE, re-opening in May 2014

This is great, because DHH’s Kung Fu, at NYC’s The Signature Theater

Cole Horribe as Bruce Lee

Cole Horribe as Bruce Lee

must close on April 6, 2014, so it is nice to know that his voice continues to be heard around the globe.

3. HERE LIES LOVE  is back at the NY’s Public Theater


AND…they have a Cast Album! Which you can Order!

Is anyone else 'trippin' just looking at this artwork?

Is anyone else ‘trippin’ just looking at this artwork?


4. Tiananmen, a new musical, under the aegis of director, Stafford Arima (who also directed Allegiance), made it’s NY Concert Debut in the best room in town – 54 Below.

Cast of Tiananmen, the musical, backstage

Cast of Tiananmen, the musical, backstage


5. The API’s of the new Broadway musical, IF/THEN made their Red Carpet Bows:

The lovely Ann Sanders

The lovely Ann Sanders


IF/Then Cast Members Marc DelaCruz, Pearl Sun, and Charles Hagerty

IF/Then Cast Members Marc DelaCruz, Pearl Sun, and Charles Hagerty

Alongside these Superstars –

LaChanze, Anthony Rapp, Idina Menzel from the Cast of IF/Then

LaChanze, Anthony Rapp, Idina Menzel from the Cast of IF/Then

Speaking purely from a Diversity standpoint – this show looks to be a standout. This is one of the more diverse casts I have seen, the show is set in New York City, this is exactly what Diversity means.

The Fairy Princess says YES, this IS what New York City looks like!

Good job, Telsey + Company!

6. This next one is pretty exciting – especially if you were one of those who were sad to see the end of the TV show, NIKITA – Maggie Q, one of the most bankable API’s on Television, is back in a new pilot by Kevin Williamson.

(Doesn’t that just make you want to SCREAM!)

Meet 'Detective Beth Davis" from the new pilot by Kevin Williamson

Meet ‘Detective Beth Davis” from the new pilot by Kevin Williamson

In addition to that, Maggie Q is also in the DIVERGENT Trilogy and a bunch more stuff. The Fairy Princess is particularly partial to Hapa Actresses whose surnames are Irish and start with Q, so many congrats to her.

7. And finally – a shout out to BD Wong, who appeared in a comedy sketch on The Colbert Report.

To put a period at the end of the Great Hashtag Wars of 2014.

Thank you, B.D. Wong, our only Asian American TONY Award Winning Actor.


And there you have it – seven (or 8, you can count HLL 2x if you want to) things to feel good about as we wend our way out of Pilot Season and into Broadway  – Happy Thursday, Folks!