The Fairy Princess got up and watched The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and was honestly thrilled. So many Broadway shows featured! Her child, who is only three years old, was able to experience the magic of a Broadway musical, if only in small segments, for the first time, and he was transfixed. (Particularly by KING AND I, and SOMETHING ROTTEN, which he adores probably more than most 3 year olds)
His Mother was also transfixed because of, of course, the diversity that is this current Broadway season – On Your Feet, Fiddler on the Roof, The King and I, School of Rock, Something Rotten, The Wiz – there was something for everyone, no matter how you identify and that is HUGE!
Thus, TFP wanted to take a moment and say what she is grateful for – in terms of representation this past year.
She is going to begin with theater, because that is where it always starts for her.
TFP is thankful ALLEGIANCE has made it to Broadway and is telling the story of Asian Americans in America.
Whilst TFP is not a ‘reviewer’ of shows, per se – she can speak to how moved she was to see ALLEGIANCE. The performers are of course, wonderful – Telly Leung, just magic in his character’s willingness to go to war to ‘earn’ his being called an American hero all while hitting ‘money notes’ for days!
Greg Watanabe’s thought provoking Mike Masaoka, as a man trapped between so many rocks and hard places that any move he made would continue to be the subject of debate and conjecture to this day.
(Also, just to be on point, the JACL owes the creators and performers, particularly Greg Watanabe, a huge apology for releasing their statement prior to seeing this incarnation of the show. The show uses Mr. Masaoka’s own words and actions to show his situation, and it is nuanced and heartbreaking, to be frank.)
Michael K. Lee, back on Broadway, after reigning as one of South Korea’s leading Musical Theater Performers – giving the voice of the ‘resistors’ a powerful character to stand behind, even as he winds up going to prison for his decisions.
Katie Rose Clarke, representing the bewildered people of White America, who thought they were doing the right thing to protect their country in the beginning, but who change significantly and realize what an evil thing it is, to lock away a group of people simply because they look like people you are at war with. Under the skin, we are all the same, as Shakespeare’s Shylock told us, ever so long ago.
so much has been said and written about her performance, TFP will only add that in case you were wondering, she does indeed sing her face off as Kei Kimura, caught between a ‘traditional’ upbringing and her changing perception of what ‘allegiance’ actually means. Ms. Salonga has helped shape this role during her long alliance with the show, and to TFP that means that she has much directing in her future. Just throwing it out there.
Then there is George Takei.
The power of Mr. Takei in this role, is something that cannot be underestimated. The story is moving, but when he walks onstage, the weight of the understanding of what went on in those Internment Camps is given a living being to speak for it. George Takei, a vibrant activist for human rights, for the acknowledgement of the injustices against Japanese Americans, he lives and breathes this role, and he is a mighty Archangel bringing America to task with his own life’s story.
These are not ‘reviews’ they are merely how TFP felt, upon reflection, after viewing the show – it is exceptionally powerful, and there is no getting away from it. Once the audience watches Ensemble member, Rumi Oyama as the character Mrs. Tanaka break down upon learning that the latrine has no walls for privacy, and that all eating will be done en masse in the mess hall, the audience is transfixed. Or they were when TFP saw it.
TFP is thankful that ALLEGIANCE is on Broadway – and urges you all to see it.
TFP is also thankful for HAMILTON, with the lovely Philippa Soo making her mark as Elizabeth Schulyer Hamilton.
She is thankful that “The Littlest Witch” from the National Wicked Tour, Ms. Isabella Russo, followed in her Broadway Parent’s footsteps and is now in SCHOOL OF ROCK playing the character of Summer.
Also making her Broadway debut in that show, is TFP‘s buddy, Jaygee Macapugugay, playing Isabella’s ‘Show Mom” – always exciting!
TFP is of course thankful for KING AND I having it’s open ended run at Lincoln Center, it’s a breathtaking production and she highly recommends it. Big ‘ups’ today to the Cast for bringing tropical Siam to 50 Degree Farenheit New York City. Where else but in New York City would TONY Winners come out and give their performances to the crowd? Bravo, Y’all!
TFP is thankful that the Dramatist Guild came out in support of Playwrights Lloyd Suh, Katori Hall, and Stephen Adly Guirgis, in their fights to defend their work from less than appropriate casting. That was very well done, a play under copyright belongs to the Playwright, significant changes are only allowed with their express permission.
TFP is also thankful to note that The Asian American Film Lab is producing a short film to highlight Elder Abuse in the Asian Communities
It is a great thing when an organization like AAFL creates work to show real social problems and bring attention so that, hopefully, these things will come to an end. It’s significant. Thanks to Jennifer Betit-Yen for heading up this project, and to the Asian Women’s Giving Circle for giving the grant so the project could be funded.
Turning to Television, TFP is very thankful that CW’s CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND has had additional episodes ordered, after they showed the world the very first Filipino American Thanksgiving!
Additional episodes means that more of the world gets to fall in love with Josh Chan and his family- and pictured here are Coryn Mabalot, Tess Paras, Alberto Isaac, Rachel Bloom, Amy Hill, and Vincent Rodriguez 111.
Also the longer the show is on, the more the world gets to see the phenomenon that is Donna Lynne Champlin as Paula, and really, that is just the best gift on television right now.
ABC is also ‘killing it’ with Asian American Thanksgiving’s this year – first there was Huangsgiving –
Nothing says Thanksgiving like cradling the last frozen turkey left in the restaurant freezer…and then again, on DR. KEN it was an Asian American Multi-Cultural Throwdown where they come together to prove not only are they American, but that they can acknowledge their cultural heritage as well.
Nice to see Clyde Kutsatu, Dana Lee, and Jeanne Sakata joining the rest of the regular cast for this episode.
So that is THREE significant Network comedies recognizing the greatness and hilarity of breaking Thanksgiving bread with Asian Americans!
For TFP’s last bit of thankfulness in regards to Asian Americans in Entertainment, she wants to acknowledge that she saw an episode of a show she has not really been following, TRUTH BE TOLD on NBC.
TFP only recently learned of it, and while the premise is a Caucasian College Professor and his Hapa Spouse live next door to an African American couple, who are their best friends, the truth is – Mark Paul Gosselar has Asian heritage.
Which means that this is the first ‘Hapa” marriage on television. This may not seem significant to many, but to TFP, who is also mixed Asian and Caucasian heritage – from a family that has been mixed for several generations now – this is mind blowing.
Particularly as she saw a recent episode where Vanessa Lachey is trying to explain to her daughter, why she should love Filipina Barbie just as much as good ol’ Blonde Barbie. TFP is not Filipina, but she ‘got’ this episode in a way that went to her core, that just the thought that this stuff is now on television is incredible.
So there you go, Asian American peeps – there are some things that TFP is grateful for today – at least in regards to Media and Representation – nothing is perfect, but it is getting better.