Archives for the month of: June, 2022

The Fairy Princess has not written since Uvalde, and there has been so many great things that have happened to AAPI’s and others in terms of representation, she is not going to bother catching you up – because you already know.

However she did want to congratulate AAPAC on their Honorary Tony Award for Activism. AAPAC, for those who may be unaware, does the Broadway Diversity survey for the past 10 years – yes, TFP knows the AAPAC members – which has helped people understand the sheer scarcity of roles in front and behind the stage for specific groups. TFP has used their research herself – and in fact, before they did this research and published it, she would literally go through the cast of each Broadway show and try and do a ‘count the Asians‘ type thing – it was as bleak as, well to quote Mame, “It was as bleak as my puberty in Buffalo”.

Now, thanks to their work and the work of others – it is slightly less bleak. Slightly. Although the current Broadway season would have you wondering where some groups of POC are.

However, THIS Fall, we have KPOP coming up AND next YEAR…The Thanksgiving Play by Larissa Fasthorse – which will be….drumroll…the FIRST Native American Play written by a Native American Writer on Broadway!!!!!!!!

Bravo!

For those keeping score it is 2022. The Pilgrims landed in 1620. That’s 402 YEARS of not being represented on the stages of America, other than as a punch line or a trope. Broadway is technically supposed to have started in 1735, so that is 287 YEARS of not seeing their stories on the stages that were built on land we stole. (We, being America)

The Thanksgiving Play is a satire piece and you can order the play, which TFP has, if you want to read it first – which actually is a great idea and will help support Ms. Fasthorse – so do that. Then buy a ticket, and wear three masks – one for you, and whoever is sitting next to you on each side.

Now to announce TFP’s Panels at BroadwayCon – on July 8th and 9th –

First up – FRIDAY JULY 8 RISE: AAPI’s and Pop Culture in Theater 3:40pm – the New Yorker Hotel, Grammercy Park Suite

Shoba Narayan (ALADDIN) and Kelvin Moon Loh (BEETLEJUICE)

Join two of the landmark performers for Broadway’s current age of enlightenment in terms of casting AAPIs in Musicals.

Shoba Narayan has been seen across the country in HAMILTON, as well as on Broadway in THE GREAT COMET and WICKED, and is now the first ever South Asian to play Jasmine in ALADDIN on Broadway.

Kelvin Moon Loh is an actor and a writer, who has been seen at The Public in HERE LIES LOVE, on Broadway in THE KING AND I and SIDE SHOW, and created the role of Otho in the original Broadway Cast of BEETLEJUICE and the re-homed and re-opened production back on Broadway. He is currently working on a pilot for Hulu that he wrote with Conrad Ricamora about LGBTQ Life in New York City.

Saturday, July 9 – 3:40 – 4:40 – The New Yorker Hotel, Grammercy Park Room

Writing our Way Out – When you are not satisfied with the status quo, you create opportunity! Scarcity breeds Creativity!

Our Panelists :

Helen Park (K-Pop), Daniel K. Issacs (Once Upon A (Korean) Time), Director, Ralph B. Peña (Founding Director Ma-Yi Theater Company)

HELEN PARK – is a South Korean born Composer who won the 2018 Lucille Lortel Award and the 2018 Richard Rogers Award, her work K-POP, premiering on Broadway in Fall of 2022, was nominated for 3 Drama Desk Awards. She holds an MFA from NYU Tisch and is an alum of the BMI Lehman Engel MT Workshop. She wrote the songs for OVER THE MOON, which was a Neflix animated film whose voices included Philippa Soo, Sandra Oh, Daniel Dae Kim and others.

DANIEL K. ISSACS – is an Actor and Writer, who created the hashtag #AccordingToMyMother which morphed into a short film, and then a tv pilot – According to my Mother, which premiered in October 2016 at the NY Television Festival and won the award for Best Drama, as well as winning an individual award for Mr. Issacs as Best Actor in a Drama. As an actor, he has played the role of Ben Kim on the television show, BILLIONS, as well as recurring on HBO’s THE OTHER TWO. His play, ONCE UPON A (Korean) TIME will premiere in NY in August with the Ma Yi Theater Company, directed by Ralph B. Peña. He was most recently seen at The Public Theater in Lloyd Suh’s THE CHINESE LADY.

RALPH B. PEÑA – is a Playwright and Director who was born in the Philipines. He is a founding member and the current Artistic Director of the Ma-Yi Theater Company, which is an OBIE and DRAMA DESK winning AAPI Theater Group in NYC. He has written FLIPZOIDS, THIS END UP, LOOSE LEAF BINDINGS among others. He won an OBIE Award for his work on THE ROMANCE OF MAGNO RUBIO, he directed the world premiere of Hansol Jung’s AMONG THE DEAD, Lloyd Suh’s THE CHINESE LADY and countless other works. Ralph is leader in the industry and has always been a staunch advocate of AAPI’s in theater and beyond.

Great! Everyone coming! YES!

Now, let’s talk some ish….about this new Mask Mandate that allows audience members to choose whether or not to wear a mask…

The audience should still wear them.

Producer Chris Harper, incidentally, seems like he heard this was coming down the pike and quickly decided to take his TONY Award Winning revival of COMPANY and close it – he seems to be thinking ahead to the rip-roaring fight he would have with Patti LuPone, among others, should he choose to expose them to COVID Part 72 in an unmasked audience.

Ms. LuPone has FU money – she does not have to do anything she doesn’t want to – and, frankly, she should have FU money and she should be able to do anything she wants as a multi-talent and multi-award winner. #TeamLuPone

There is no reason in the world that the audience of the Broadway show should not wear masks except that the Producers are trying desperately to bring more right wing audiences to theater, because they can afford the egregiously overpriced tickets to Music Man, and TFP thinks it is a mistake.

Superspreader Hugh Jackman brought Covid to the TONY Awards and could have taken everyone in there down! Here is a man that has every precaution in the world taken because he is so ‘valuable’, and yet, the ‘Rona got him – even with PCR testing and masks and all that.

No one is immune to Covid.

Covid does not care if you are good looking, or tall, or famous, or Australian – it does not care if you have been vaccinated or boosted or if you are red headed and left handed. Just to clarify, Mr. Jackman is a brunette… TFP has no idea if he is left handed, she was just going with it.

Likely Mr. Jackman did infect people that night – took out quite a few that no one is talking about. Everyone suspiciously silent on that, but YAY for the Understudies.

It seems to TFP that Broadway Producers aka The Broadway League have spoken through the guise of Charlotte St. Martin and said – “Hey Performers, we do not care if you get a life threatening illness as long as we have a packed house”– and performers – particularly those with independent means and income from other sources (which, by the way is quite a lot MORE folks than people realize because lessons to get that good are really expensive) are going to leave theater.

Those big marquee names that sell a show? Nope, they are not going to do a show – because it is not safe. Clearly the TV/Film industry does not feel the same as Broadway , they are still masking and testing – because if a tv show gets shut down, millions of dollars are gone. Broadway however, can ‘Hunger Games’ the Understudies till spouses are called in, apparently.

A Producer’s job is to keep their company safe to perform.

Always.

This is why there are equipment tests and stage managers and unions – all to keep the performers safe. So that the performers can do their jobs. Performers want to do their jobs. Audiences want to see them do their jobs – it is a win/win – so long as we are able to keep the houses masked.

A show is around two and a half hours maximum. Unless it’s Angels in America or some other cycle kind of play – people are absolutely capable of dealing with masks for 90 min and a bit longer. If they complain, please remind them kids at school, nurses and other medical professionals wear masks all day. Two hours and a bit? Should be no problem- ya big baby!

Masks have been shown to be effective as to keeping the risk down. Or the shows will be shut down.

How can immuno-compromised performers venture into the theater now? How can immuno-compromised audience members decide to go to a show?

You cannot SEE people with weakened immune systems. They are not always visible.

TFP thinks this is a mistake. The Broadway League should follow the science, or the Broadway League will kill Broadway.

Masks are not why audiences are staying away from theater.

Covid is why audiences are staying away from theater. Masks help alleviate, very slightly, the panic everyone is still prone to in regards to catching COVID – and taking them away – no one will come. No one will come to the theater – not the Actors who are wealthy enough to say no, and not the audiences who do not want to die. There will always be those who will risk it all – those who have no choice but to go to work – and they will be risking life threatening illness every damn day, but apparently, that is a risk Producers are willing to take.

During the plague in England, the theaters were closed entirely.

Have any fancy new ventilation, air cleaning systems been implemented on the Broadway that would prompt this move? No? What happened to all the money they were given as an industry bail out for lost income? Has everything been cleaned and updated and virus transmission proofed? TFP has not heard anything about that – so we are all sitting ducks the minute we enter the theater. Hence, people will not be able to enter a theater.

If that is what The Broadway League wants, they should continue with maskless audiences. See how many Covid cases come crashing down and how many they have to cancel per week. If by chance, a few shows survive? Ok, they lucked out…for now – but the morale in that theater will be low.

This will be every ensemble member on Broadway that doesn’t have FU money:

The Broadway League needs to change their minds – or the stars need to align – with one another and refuse to go to work till that move forces The League to make changes for them.

There, TFP has effin‘ said it.

TFP out.