The Fairy Princess was very pleased to attend the Opening Night for Actor and Playwright, Daniel K. Issac‘s new play produced by Ma-Yi Theater Company, “Once Upon a (Korean) Time”.

Directed by Ralph B. Peña, the play deals with the diaspora of Koreans in America juxtaposed with traditional Korean fairy tales who never have happy endings, and how this plays out through the generations.

TFP had both Mr. Peña and Mr. Issacs on her BroadwayCon panels, video of which is now available on Lia Chang‘s website.

TFP has to acknowledge Ms. Lia Chang or her tireless work in regards to representation of under represented groups in the Arts, please go to her website and check out her new cable tv show.

Other guests included on the playwrights panel were KPop’s Helen Park, and on her Actor’s panel, Beetlejuice’s Kelvin Moon Loh, and Aladdin’s Shoba Narayan. All videos are from BroadwayCon.


More celebration is due now that WARRIOR S3 announced the addition of Broadway favorite, TELLY LEUNG to the cast!

Slay the people, Mr. Leung!

Who says there cannot be show tunes and martial arts? Not TFP!

Not to mention that the musical, ALLEGIANCE is coming to London in January 8, 2023 – April 8th.

This newly reimagined production is starring Mr. Leung and Mr. George Takei, (on whose story of his family being illegally imprisoned during WW2 this show is based).

The tickets for the Charing Cross Theater, start at Twenty Pounds – and for tickets.

Bravo to the Creatives and Company for COME FALL IN LOVE, which has opened down at The Old Globe – running till Oct 16th, getting more South Asians visibly on our stages in America is never a bad thing – and adapting for living and loving in America by introducing a interracial couple is simply an acknowledgment of growth and change – also never a bad thing.

Check out the rehearsal video, looks fabulous!

SHOBA NARAYAN and VISHAL VAIDYA have both appeared on TFP‘s panels at BroadwayCon, and it is killing her to not see this show till it hits NYC, but toi toi toi!

It is the 20th Anniversary of the founding of the Asian American Film Lab, and to celebrate that milestone, under the direction of Jennifer Betit-Yen, they are releasing a new film called Discrim*NATION, which will be looking at violence against AAPI’s and which will air on television.

In LA & NY it is Spectrum Channel 1519, San Francisco Xfinity Channel 238, Seattle Xfinity 152, and Minnesota, St Paul’s Xfinity 175 on September 18th at 5:30 pm in all markets.

The MIXED ASIAN MEDIA FEST aka MAM Fest begins in New York City in the third weekend of September – tickets are still available, and TFP will be there to intro the short film, BESSIE’S GIRL – which she wrote and appears in.

MAMFEST is the only NYC based celebration of Mixed Race Asians, and all projects selected have Mixed Race Asians either in front or behind the camera.

Sept 16th -18th

Congratulations to Alex Chester-Blank and her staff – this is an online and in person event.

Finally, a fond farewell from the Woods (Into the Woods, that is) on Broadway to PHILIPPA SOO, who is the first to lead the role of Cinderella on Broadway in this show. Ms.Soo is of Chinese descent and China is where the fairy tale originated – who else is going to make cutting off the feet of the step sisters a thing?

Had TFP in her feelings…

It was TFP’s pleasure to see and acknowledge the many Cast Members of Color who populate this show, it was fabulous. She may go back when she has a minute to see the latest Cast changes, but first she has to finish writing this blog….

There’s the ‘good stuff’, aaand now…tirelessy, egregiously, two steps forward and one giant leap backly – is…the United Kingdom.

This time it is not about “Diana’s Boys” or whom they married, but the resurgence of..bum..bum.bumm…. YELLOWFACE!

Now, TFP has been writing this blog for 10 years. It is a 10 year old blog and as with most things 10, TFP has thought, once things have been covered and call outs made, people will learn. Then, when they know better, they will do better. Then she can stop writing it – the ultimate goal of this blog for her, is when she gets to NOT write it because these issues have been ameliorated.

However the U.K. is gonna U.K.

Frankly, it’s bullsh*t.

“WE” have to acknowledge that the damage is deliberate and hidden behind protestations of “Art for Art’s sake“.

British Asians and diaspora including the entire world, have to acknowledge that the U.K. has moments of unabashed racism and they frankly do not care if they are called out on it – and this is the most hilarious attempt at a ‘reverse racism’ claim TFP has seen in a while – the Royal Opera House has called it racism to insist that roles that are written with an Asian storyline feature Asian descended people.

Those are fighting words…

TFP can literally hear the scramble at the Royal Opera House as they try to walk back their ‘reverse racism’ comments on their current production of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly...see here…

Now, to their credit – The Royal Opera House has made some changes to their production of Madama Butterfly, which they have performed over the years over 400 times – and this time round, they did add consults and experts in Japanese culture to the team behind the table. Expertise was added to the costume and movement team, and all of that is great. The opera is much beloved and a huge $$ maker for them.

However wonderful the designers and movement experts were, the easiest way to show you are moving forward with the times, is casting this particular opera with Asian performers in the lead roles. After all, ROH vowed not to cast Otello with a non-POC singer, so why is Madama Butterfly being given a facelift but not a redux in thought as to Casting?

As of now, the cast that is visibly in front of the people looks like this and is re-opening Sept 12:

That is Kseniia Nikolaieva and Lianna Haroutunian playing Suzuki and Cio Cio San.

Ms. Haroutunian (to the right) is Armenian, Armenia is in Western Asia.

TFP is going to acknowledge that Asia is Asia.

Armenia is an Asian country. However, Ms. Haroutunian does not appear traditionally East Asian in the slightest. Nor South Asian, nor Southeast Asian.

Cartographers have done some damage here with a lack of thesaurus, but ok.

TFP is not going to get frantic about Ms. Haroutunian, she is Western Asian.

Talk about the Caucasus Mountains among yourselves.

Does she look in any way East or South Asian appearing? No.

She looks European, but as a Mixed Race person herself, TFP is unwilling to play that particular game of “Asian enough“.

However….we see what we see.

Ms. Nikolaieva is is another story and her story is, she is Ukrainian, everyone in the world is now aware of where Ukraine is (Stay strong Ukraine). However you may not have been aware that the Mongols invaded and won the city of Kiev – then Kyiv – in 1240, in a battle called the Siege of Kyiv.

Yes Mulan, the Mongols!

Out of 50,000 Kiev residents, post invasion and plunder 2,000 remained.

TFP googled it, and learned that the most Mongol DNA a modern day Ukrainian, (whose family are not recently mixed with Asians), might have would be potentially 2%. At Best. Read the report, it’s boring. Essentially there have been a bunch of genetic studies and Ukrainians are not people of color.

2% is not going to cut it – just like TFP’s recently revised DNA showing she is 3% Scandinavian is not going to make her play a Viking.

It’s interesting it is there but.. Scandinavians can rest easy, TFP is too short for shield-maidening.

What we are are not going to do is say that her likely less that 2% of possible Mongol heritage entitles her to realistically sing a role as an Asian female – even if she is “Becky with the good kimono”. Casting purely by voice type would be amazing, but if it does not matter what the singer looks like, then stop window dressing the singers in this opera when they are not sung by East, South or Southeast Asians. Do it in concert dress, do it in modern dress, but do not think an authentic kimono is in any way ‘fooling’ anyone into believing that these are East, Southeast or South Asian women.

Where the ROH missed the mark in their statements, we will get to, however here is what was stated:

Except for the fact that operas are cast years in advance. In general 3-5 years, in a ‘pinch’, it’s about 2 years lead time – so the ROH knew a few years ago they were not going to include East Asians or Southeast Asian or South Asian singers – they knew this years ahead of time. In fact, the one East Asian singer they did cast was last minute and only because one of their well scheduled in advance singers could not get her visa straight. (And she was available…)

(TFP had a relative who worked as a manager in Herbert Breslin‘s office, the noted manager of Pavarotti, so yes, she knows this. Also Abigail Breslin’s grandfather btw)

ROH had no intention of casting East Asians, and this is a bob and weave to turn around and j’accuse BEATS Organization of being reductive, by releasing their statement, is ludicrous, as is bringing in – at what is last minute timing in opera, within the last year prior to it going up, the Japanese experts.


The world has been shut down for two damn hell soaked, protest-laden, mask wearing, anti-vaxxer fighting, talking abut equity and inclusion till we are all painted as blue as a James Cameron Actor of Color YEARS – and did they make an effort to re-cast?

No, they did not.

Opera casting is based on voice type, aka fach. It is the tone and tenor of your voice and not all sopranos, tenors, basses can sing every role – it is a really, really nuanced art form. The ‘color’ and quality of one’s voice is completely responsible for one being cast in a role. Singers spend years working on repertoire, and they usually sing that repertoire around the globe – which is why ‘we’ of the world do face this issue.

This is a Puccini Opera and it requires heavier voices, Cio Cio San does need a richness and darker quality to her voice, because that is what the composer wrote – however there are Asian descended singers available, and yet Opera Houses continue to mine this role and others written with Asian characters in them out to non Asian singers. Even after all the social justice/diversity/equity/inclusion discussions that were had – they had no intention of changing their cast.

Opera is the stronghold of Yellowface – it is ‘holding the line’ and we are going to have to keep climbing this hill until people ‘get it’.

It will take a trebuchet to tear down the walls of privilege.

Well if they are going to cast like it’s medieval times, we should meet them where they are…

In America, we are no better – TURANDOT at the Met made TFP incredibly sad, even though she knew there were world class singers on the stage. She saw the photos and the chinoiseríe of it all and it made her realize that the greatest singers in the world, can be willfully blind to the roles they play in perpetuating stereotypes.

Willfully blind. They take the voice they have as a benevolent blessing from above to sing whatever role suits it, even if there are singers of the same caliber and fach available, just because they can – because they have had more opportunity to sing internationally. Are Asian Opera Singers able to be cast to sing La Boheme and Le Nozze de Figaro with such ease?

The answer is, it is getting ‘better’ for Opera Singers of the Global Majority, but the world is ‘not there yet’. Casting Asians in Opera in non-specific roles remains out of reach for many -at the very LEAST, Opera companies should make a mandate that these East, Southeast, and South Asian singers should be granted the opportunity to sing roles that closely resemble them in order to make the story more genuine and less egregious with makeup.

ROH could have looked online and seen singers like Hiromi Omura

Or looked up Sumi Hwang‘s number…

Sae Kyung Rim has done Cio Cio San more than 100 times:

Hui He is a Chinese soprano that specializes in Puccini and was the first Chinese soprano to sing TOSCA at (effin) La Scala (which if you do not know Opera, you won’t know, but it is a big friggin’ deal)

However they did not – which makes their whole statement easy to disregard.

These are but 4 singers, it took TFP 10 minutes on the internet to show how qualified they are, to find ‘proof’ that there are Asian singers the world over who can do Butterfly, and she is damn sure they could have found someone to sing at the most prestigious Opera House in London for this production.

It is a storyline that reflects race and racism, and what is more racist than asking the audience to believe that the best people to tell that story are white people?

Yes, the Puccini sopranos who are not of Asian descent are going to take issue with this but – sing it in concert, as yourself, don’t try and mimic Asians, it never looks good.

TFP repeats – it NEVER looks good.

It might sound fantastic, but if you want to keep these operas around, it is time to either expand your rep or figure out how to do Butterfly that is not offensive. Same with Turandot, same with Abduction from the Seraglio, Otello …it’s time.

On to Scotland….and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where, it must be said, there is somewhat of a vetting process to get in, and it is prestigious to go to, but where there is no actual editing of pieces or even full understanding of what they are ‘putting up’ under the guise of “Festival”.

(The Festival, the FESTIVAL! Oh stop, Sondheim is gone, let TFP celebrate him in her own way!)

Listen, writing this all is exhausting…TFP cannot tell you how exhausting, but the poor folks from BEATS having to view this absolute shite and then having to come up with a term paper as to why they are upset, when this KEEPS happening at the Edinburgh Fringe is beyond.

It was but a minute ago when TFP was writing about imported yellowface from America at the Fringe – – Beijing Cake ring any bells – there has to be some rules, folks – there are Asians in Scotland, there are Asians in the U.K. – and have been since the 1700’s – so FFS, can we LEARN a lesson here?

The Tea Ceremony sees Marios Ioannou (pictured), a Cypriot performer, wearing white face paint as he 'leads the audience on a journey of modern-day abuse, child labour, human trafficking, torture and slavery'. according to the official Fringe website

Marious Ioannou, who is from Cyprus, thought he could mimic a tea ceremony as he takes the audience on a journey through child sex trafficking. Er…hold up, let’s get it correct – ‘leads the audience on a journey of modern-day abuse, child labour, human trafficking, torture and slavery’.

While he plays a Geisha.

His producers call the work “Challenging’ and refute the charges of ‘Yellowface’.

Likely because the Geisha makeup has a white base color and they are choosing to take it literally.

You can comment, as a Caucasian male on things like sex trafficking WITHOUT dressing and parading yourself around as a Geisha.

Sir, you are not Shirley MacClaine!

Anyway, TFP wanted to leave y’all with the BEATS Statement on this, so here goes:

The first Edinburgh Fringe since pre-Covid recently drew to a close. To those who cared to listen, there was much discussion about the continuing overall whiteness and middle-classness of what is intended to be an annual event of open access, zany and cutting edge performance art, with the production company Nouveau Riches – who took a play (CASTE-ING written by Nicole Acquah) there about the discrimination of Black women in the entertainment industry – penning an open letter to the Edingburgh Fringe stating surprise ‘that little had changed in terms of diversity and safety for Black and Global Majority Artists’.

To add to this, then, it’s also something of a surprise that unashamed yellowface was taking a bow on the Fringe in the shape of TEA CEREMONY, performed in full geisha costume and makeup by Marios Ioannou, “As an icon of beauty, well trained to seduce her customers through movement, song and dance, the geisha leads the audience on a journey of modern-day abuse, child labor, human trafficking, torture, and slavery and the high price we pay for our joy and greed.

It is also a fact that to many of us who also bear the historical weight of those listed abuses in our family heritages, these lurid descriptions, danced upon by a yellowfaced performer, are extremely triggering and traumatic. The fact that on the booking site there are audience reviews from people who are not Asian of course ‘wondering what all the fuss is about’ is, though, no surprise.

Because, of course, it’s just a man in make-up and florid clothing unless you’ve ever sat there and felt that sense of casual but brutal erasure. Sadly, this is not the first time in recent history where this kind of lazy, racist practice has been seen in a festival that so many performers and makers go to to try and establish a name for themselves.

In 2013, Beijing Cake, performed by a group of Yale students conspicuously not of Asian heritage, caused a similar shock to East/South East Asian heritage artists who bought a ticket in good faith on the title alone and were confronted by a display of what can only be described as race-spoofing. Complaints were made to the venue manager who was apparently shocked that anyone would take issue with this.

Of course, the fringe is a deliberately unregulated free-for-all, its stated aim to be an event where “anyone who has a story to tell and a venue to perform in can put on a show”. We have no wish to see a sanitised and conservative fringe.

The problem is, though, that with outdated racist performance tropes, a sanitised and conservative fringe is exactly what we get. Already, as so well outlined in Nouveau Riche’s statement, the prohibitive costs of taking a production to Edinburgh render it off-limits to many artists of colour.

Add in the fact that at least twice in seven festivals in the last 10 years, people of East and South East Asian heritage are likely to be unsuspectingly subjected to what we can only describe as publicly licensed racism on stage, the likelihood of your intended ‘edgy’ fringe event ending up as corporate, middle-class, mainstream, white experience is greatly increased.

No one wants ‘rules’. Particularly at an event like Edinburgh Fringe. But surely there can be guidelines.

And let’s remember, there are unwritten ‘rules’.

A traditional one in the UK arts world has been that people of East and South East Asian heritage are there to be mocked, appropriated, exoticised, diminished and that our stories need to be told for us.

We reject this and we would hope that Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society does as well.’

TFP is pretty sure that the Fringe does NOT reject yellowface, as they keep putting it up – but…here’s hoping they change in the future.

1,000 Whacks of the wand, with the pointy part – to London’s Royal Opera House and Edinburgh Fringe – ROH because they did literally a quarter of the work they needed to do, and the Fringe because they endorsed yellowface by giving it a platform. Which ensures that TFP is going to have to keep writing this damn blog.

When does this ish stop happening? Wondering if it will be within TFP‘s lifetime?

It seems though, that white folks are very attached to yellowface – and they are not giving it up any time soon – which makes it all the more icky. They absolutely know better, and yet…with alarming frequency, TFP gets to wade through the racism to make her point.

What more could she possibly do or say to get them to stop?

Anyway…what else is there to say, but…

TFP out.