(TFP apologizes ahead for the formatting issues, WordPress has changed and eventually she will figure it out, but that day is NOT today…)


The Fairy Princess is...back again…she needs to speak to White Theater People around the world and no one is going to be happy…

Broadway and Theater and Movie Theaters are still closed in the USA because the Trump Administration decided to let the “Blue” States die, so…if one writes about theater, and there is no theater going on, what is the point?

However theater is happening in places all around the globe, and TFP was reminded of that by a few very dear friends who need to draw attention to stuff going on, and so she sallies forth, into the breech once more, dragons blazing….

That was not a MULAN joke, btw.

TFP is not wading into that one for some personal reasons – she has friends in the film. According to DNA she now knows that in her Chinese side she has some Northern Chinese heritage which is, you guessed it, Uyghurs and Mongols and such…so…she is not discussing it.

The UK has had it’s ‘usual’ complicated relationship with the British East Asians – they love using them for

  1. Putting White People in ‘Exotic Locals” and implying frustration when the people in said locals ‘object’ to British occupation, and then rebel.
  2. Demonizing the appeal of East Asian Women and any of their progeny that happens to fall into the ‘mixed race’ category
  3. Yellowface makeup – they LOVE the yellowface makeup

They have two entries into the “Offensive Announced Production of the Month” – which really is something because like the USA, The West End is still shut down – despite the herculean efforts of a multi-millionaire composer Andrew Lloyd Webber getting a possible vaccine on camera, and multi-billionaire, Cameron MacIntosh firing everyone he can while still living a very grandiose lifestyle. The West End is closed till it is open.

The first of course, was broadcast on the BBC – titled THE SINGAPORE GRIP – and what it was SUPPOSED to be, according to the novel that was written by an Irishman J.G. Farrell, published in 1978- which was a send up of the Colonial Mindset of said pasty Brits.

Needless to say it has lost a bit in translation from Irish English to English English, where sarcasm has been flattened into something more amenable to Anglo British tastes.

Ask Daniel York Loh, prominent British East Asian Actor what his thoughts are, and he will tell you. BEATS, has also released a statement to Variety, as to the subject matter. Neither of these statements are wrong – and that is the issue. Once again, the iTV has gotten it wrong, and once again, it is the lack of British East Asians and Southeast Asians in positions of decision making – both in front and behind the camera that has made the ITV think what they did was perfectly fine.

When produced by iTV, all the satire of the book, all the delightfully shady examinations of the premise of white British supremacy has melted away, and one is supposed to really feel for these poor Brits who have inserted themselves in a country (YET AGAIN) where they have no right to be, and then they turn around and blame their son’s fascination with an East Asian Woman as to why the ‘world has gone mad”.

That is the subtext – the mysterious East Asian is to blame – no shade to the actress who is playing the role.

They show reinforces stereotypes and yes, 15 years ago, even with all the inherent flaws that are reinforced with this narrative, it would have been groundbreaking to see an East Asian Female ON the BBC and speaking English – but now, post at least 3 feature films that have gone on to worldwide recognition – what can TFP say but

The second is the Royal Opera House’s production of Madame Butterfly – which is broadcasting now in the UK – in which of course, they did a ‘traditional’ production – which again, means yellowface makeup.

TFP fails to understand WHY Caucasians think they look good in the makeup. It staggers the mind to see photos of non Asian people who yes, sing well, but also somehow believe they look good performing in this manner.

Perhaps they lack the mental capacity to understand the concept of ‘painting’ oneself and emotional damage caused to an innocent BIPOC person there in the audience, and society in general – or perhaps it is too much inbreeding

Not a hard concept to grasp – do not paint yourself another race, you look stupid.

Wigs, fine. Costumes, fine – the makeup needs to go.

TFP has said this a hundred million times already, you are not fooling anyone, you are just literally painting your racism on your face.

This opera was scheduled and then postponed due to COVID-19. So they are playing it on television to build an audience.

This is soprano Ermonela Jaho who is Albanian, singing the title role in 2018, and she was scheduled to reprise in 2020.

Anyone think she looks convincingly like a Japanese female?

Didn’t think so. Come ON English National Opera – DO BETTER!

Now, much as it pains TFP to admit it, she has another shattering moment to deal with, which involves Australia.

The reason she is gutted about hearing of this moronic mess is because, well, she is Australian and the reason this mess got so damn messy is why she cannot live in Australia, along with all of her many cousins, who have resided there since the 1800’s and no, who were – none of them – transported.

Though she would love to. Truly.

That reason, friends, is racism.

Now, it is weird for a Person of Color residing in the United States to ‘call’ anyone on their systemic racism, because we have a whole lot of it here in the US to handle of our own.

However, much as it will kill those with Tall Poppy Syndrome to admit, Australia has long taken after America in many respects and the show biz model over there is almost a direct ‘lift’ of our systemic racist system. They do not do very many ‘home grown’ shows over there – they do mostly imported musicals from America and the U.K.

American Musical Theater has been exposed to very few Broadway transfers from Down Under – BOY FROM OZ, KING KONG and PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT.

That is over the course of the last two decades.

It is quite the opposite over there – you can see TONY Winning Broadway musicals literally within a year or two of their Broadway productions. For example, MOULIN ROUGE is going to open there in a matter of months, as is FROZEN and so on. It is literally Broadway OZ over there – but they would hate, hate, HATE to read that – and so to annoy them, TFP must state, again, it is like Broadway Down Under there.

Part of the reason, or rather, all of the reason Australian Musical Theater looks like the Scott Rudin Revival of THE MUSIC MAN starring Hugh Jackman is because of the way Australia picks it’s musical theater stars and stars to be. There are, just as there are in the USA, choice schools and getting into one of ‘those’ schools in Australia means you are going to have a much easier time pursuing theater.

Whereas in the States the student bodies have been diversifying for decades, so much so that we can look to the stars, say, of HAMILTON and see BIPOC people who are graduates of CMU and Julliard and Wesleyan, that is not the situation in Australia. Which, long story short, makes it almost impossible to make a living as a BIPOC performing artist there – people have done it, and continue to do it – but it is hard.

Let’s take a deep dive into what ‘pursuing’ musical theater requires – namely, classes. In the beginning, just dance classes – and not only one kind of dance class. You need to have a passing knowledge, and usually a very high proficiency in tap, jazz, and ballet – and the hybrid they call…wait for it, MT Dance. Eventually, if you discover you have a talent for singing, you will need classes in that as well – they are not cheap – potentially $50-$125 per hour- and then you need repertoire.

Building up your rep requires that you purchase sheet music, which can be quite pricey, and that you accomplish an enormous amount of listening to cast recordings and viewing hours of video footage so that you can, in the beginning at least, mimic the style of the art you would want to pursue. You will also need to ‘coach’ with someone, someone who can possibly charge you, minimum, roughly $75-$125 an hour.

Every single time you need to coach with them. Every single time you need to learn a new audition piece, or ‘build your book’ or ‘investigate an ingenue’.

These things take money.

Which is why the Rob Guest Endowment is such a huge deal – it awards the winners $65,000 AUS to pursue their dream of making it to Australian stages and beyond, as one person stated to TFP, it is the first step to Aussie Musical Theater superstardom.

There is just one issue, one glaring and blinding issue, as TFP scrolled through the website and looked at past award winners – they had no BIPOC people amongst them.

(BIPOC = Black, Indigenous, People of Color)

Retinas burning? No, just TFP? Funny…moving on to the backstory…

Now, as these scholarships are given out every two years, they were warned two years ago, that they needed to increase their diversity to more accurately reflect Australia and it’s peoples. Two years ago.

They said they would do it.

So as everyone started to approach this year’s finalists with excitement, guess what they found? Go on, guess…

The same damn thing – all 30 semi- finalists were white.

NOW – this is not the part where white people reading this get to have their “All Musicals Matter” moment, no it is not.

The Endowment and it’s winners have been so glaringly and exclusively Caucasian, that YES, many BIPOC Australians, who make up a quarter of the country – did not bother, to audition. However, that does not mean that you cannot make outreach and set up the system to change these outcomes – and that was exactly what the Endowment was supposed to do – and they did…NOTHING.

That is true – and that, my friends, is EXACTLY what Systemic Racism is.

The system works for white people, and they are fine with it.

Still not convinced – here is how it works:

You have set up the system to not include people. People feel excluded.

You advertise for them to come in, but when they do their research, they realize that they are not honestly welcome in your organization as you award white Australians above all others – something that Robert Guest himself, would likely be against.

Then you turn around, say “Oopsie we had to award the white kids because the other’s did not show up“, knowing full well, that those that did show up were not awarded anyway. All their showing up did, was help your ‘diversity numbers’ when Equity asks for them.

Then the white kids take the prize money and get into one of ‘those‘ schools – WAAPA, NIDA, VCA (In the States it would be CMU, Julliard, Northwestern, Yale, NYU) . Fair dinkum they get a great beginning don’t they?

Then those schools foot the bill to send their teachers and professors to conferences where TFP is speaking about diversity – a talk they were required to attend btw – and they stand up and practically have a meltdown because ‘What do you do when all the kids in your program are between 5’5 and 6’2” and white? How do you do justify not teaching them DREAMGIRLS?”

Yes, that was an actual question.

Which then somehow this becomes TFP‘s ‘job’ to explain to a Professor from Australia, from one of ‘those’ schools – why Musical Theater BIPOC people in Oz cannot seem to get a job there, and she is still yelling and this panel which is on diversity and which they all ‘had’ to attend is becoming a giant sh*t show because honestly, she was perfectly fine with teaching “And I am Telling You” to blonde gals between 5’5 to 5″9 .

She was not asking because she wanted to do anything about it – she was asking because she wanted TFP to give her the all clear to continue doing it.

This may be an actual image of her asking the question, but then again, perhaps TFP is being petty.

None of those professors returned from that conference and made any discernible changes TFP heard about. All remains as it ever was.

That is the system, and it totally works. It’s worked in Australia since it’s founding.

They like it. That is why it still exists.

Now, that professor did not like hearing TFP’s response any more than the Endowment liked their flaws pointed out to them – flaws they could have corrected much earlier – like diversifying their judging panel, going to areas where they know BIPOC singers might find more easily – churches or local teachers and inviting those students to apply…

When it was brought to their attention that the 30 semi-finalists – some of whom TFP has written about before in regards to Chorus Line, but she digresses…

were not going to attend because they felt it was unfair and biased – the Endowment quickly decided they were NOT going to award the prize money at all this year, and they released a statement to the Sydney Herald that said their semi-finalists had been bullied by…wait for it….BIPOC people who had not gotten into the semi-finals.

Categorically not true.

However as the semi-finalists’ names were now being bandied about in the Aussie press, they had to release their OWN statement about the excuses that the Endowment used to throw a hissy fit and storm off. Here is a quote

We now cut to The Rob Guest Endowment for a response….

Here is what the semi-finalists know, that the grown ass people do not – to ‘win’ against only yourselves, is not winning.

It is stacking the deck.

It will take a long time to redo theater in Australia to make it even remotely fair to BIPOC people – but these 30 semi-finalists are a start. They are a really good start. The enduring legacy of the Arts is to tell a story that lasts for generations, in musical theater, in Australia – the time is now to change the narrative and put BIPOC back in it.

As the Broadway/West End/NZ Musical Theater Leading Man, Hayden Tee -who is of Maori descent himself, said in a brief statement on social media:

Hey Theater Folks – be more like Hayden moving forward – have the discussions, have the inner reckonings, it is time.

Here is the full statement from the Equity Diversity Committee on the announced cancellation, but this is the tea spilling all over the place:

The Rob Guest Endowment has a lot of work to do – they have announced their intention to do it – but it is likely up to the Equity Minority Committee to keep them honest, and frankly, TFP does not trust RGE now.

Nor should any BIPOC performers.

But you all should audition.


If you are ‘not ready’, start now – they have grabbed their script and stormed off – Stage FAR Right – WRONG DIRECTION RGE!


You…oh nevermind….

Listen Kids, they are gone for the next TWO YEARS – so you have time.

If you are an an Aussie MT performer, or Agent, or Producer – the time is now to start mentoring, build on the promise you are trying to make to the world with your art form.

Because we are watching.

TFP does not like to repeat herself.

50,000 smacks of the wand to the Rob Guest Endowment. Your lies have hurt people, and worse, you have been strategically and deliberately unkind to those who trusted you.

Do NOT do it again.

TFP out.