Archives for category: Diversity

The Fairy Princess would like to extend her condolences to the Actors, Nico Santos (Superstore, Crazy Rich Asians) who lost his Step-Father, Sonny,  to COVID-19, and to Yuji Okumoto (Karate Kid 2, American Yakuza) whose In-Laws, Liz and Robert Mar, were both taken by the virus.

TFP would also like to acknowledge the passing of Actor, Garret Sato, (Only The Brave, Hawaii 5.0) and extend condolences to his wife, Stacie Lee Sato.

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May their memories be a blessing, and may they all Rest In Power.

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By now, it is universally acknowledged that America was ill prepared for a virus this dynamic to spread with such power, and many States remain on ‘lockdown’ orders to stay at home.

As we are all ‘trapped’ in this situation – please acknowledge that there may be people in your life that are unable to remain at home, because they are essential workers in the Health, Armed Forces, Civil Forces, and the Grocery Supply chain – and the best thing you can do for them is to STAY HOME and slow the spread of COVID-19.

If you are in the enviable position of working from home, and not being  financially stressed – please consider that people in the Entertainment Field and related areas – that you know – Restaurants, Small businesses, Cleaning Services and so on – may really be feeling the stress due to no income currently and no income for the near future.

Make sure to check in with them and if you can offer assistance, please do so through The Actor’s Fund or, hey, just Venmo them their rent.

Obviously only if you have the means to do so.

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Now for some things to watch that may help you be able to get dressed today – first off – a little bit of music from Telly Leung, Rich Ceraulo, and Alvin Ing from the 50th Anniversary Concert of FLOWER DRUM SONG.

TFP loves Broadway people, check out their ‘clap back’ at the New Yorkers who yelled at Trevor Noah for singing out the window – re-edited and lots of fun, from the people who are/were in the show:

Go AHEAD Broadway!

It is great that in this time of trouble, PBS is opening up it’s GREAT PERFORMANCES library for streaming, and it is free – so if you are a theater nerd like TFP, you will not want to move from your device as you peruse all the shows that are available.

Of particular interest to TFP’s crowd may be the full production of THE KING & I with Ken Watanabe and (TONY Winner) Ruthie Ann Miles, HAMILTON’S AMERICA with Philippa Soo, and in a rather ‘irksome‘ moment, a concert production of SOUTH PACIFIC…. with no Pacific Islanders.

Perhaps if you have given up working out and want your blood pressure to just RISE?

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Honestly perusing the GREAT PERFORMANCES – particularly looking at those from the Opera World, it is shocking how other than orchestrally, there is not a ton of AAPIs in the content available. Which makes TFP appreciate her fellow AAPI Artists just a bit more, because when you go to a website to see the ‘best of the best’, and you clearly are not included quite that much…what is this saying?

Would have liked to have seen ALLEGIANCE, SOFT POWER, FLOWER DRUM SONG, BOMBAY DREAMS, BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM included, but alas, it seems it is not the case – however, plenty of musicals, plenty of plays, plenty of time in purgatory while we flatten the curve.

Shows you can watch on Network TV, where you can see some AAPIS include:

CBS – ALL RISE, MADAME SECRETARY, HAWAII 5.0 (Announced cancellation), NCIS, S.W.A.T, STAR TREK DISCOVERY, BIG BROTHER

NBC – PERFECT HARMONY, SUPERSTORE, SNL, NEW AMSTERDAM, CHICAGO MED,

ABC – THE GOOD DOCTOR, GREY’S ANATOMY, STATION 19,

FRESH OFF THE BOAT (Series Ended)

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CWLEGACIES, BATWOMAN, NANCY DREW, THE OUTPOST, BURDEN OF TRUTH

Yes, other than H50, and ALL RISE, you are not going to see more than one AAPI on a show. It should be acknowledged that only Kristin Kreuk on the CW in BURDEN OF TRUTH is ‘carrying’ the show on her star power as a headliner.

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Therefore BACK TO INDIE FILMS WE GO….

WEST 32nd, Directed by Michael Kang has a Grace Park after BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and before H50, PLUS a John Cho before SELFIE, STAR TREK and SEARCHING.

This film is available on DVD on Amazon.

21 & OVER features more Justin Chon, and why NOT?

The night before his Med School interview, Jeff’s friends take him out for a serious night of partying… Avail on NETFLIX

Now we go to the darker side with Karyn Kusama’s psychological thriller, THE INVITATION.

This is what happens when your Ex hosts a dinner party, and you accept the invitation.

Clue – DO NOT ACCEPT THE INVITATION!

Reader, he accepts the invitation.

Make sure to check out Michelle Krusiec in this.

Continuing in the tradition of psychological thrillers directed by Females, Jennifer Phang has given us, ADVANTAGEOUS, starring Jacqueline Kim, as a woman who must submit to a experimental procedure.

That is all TFP is going to say.

Reader, this is supposed to be set in a dystopian future but UNDER HIS EYE, we are kinda there now.

This is also available on NETFLIX.

If you like your Fashion Challenge shows heavily Asian, please check out NEXT IN FASHION on NETFLIX!

TFP loved it!

Hosted by Alexa Chung and Tan France, this fashion emergency has all the drama of Project Runway, but in the hands of experienced designers who just need that last big push.

It is Asian AF people – in all the diaspora glory that is our current culture – and you should for sure, check it out from your couch.

Finally, SINGAPORE SOCIAL has entered into the reality genre – and it is JUST as EFFED up as any other reality show out there – again, on NETFLIX – NETFLIX is killing it, eh?

Asians being messy AF is what this should be called, but grab the popcorn and take sides, folks – you can relax with this one, cuz it is not hard on the brain.

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If you are looking for a series that is a bit twisted – TFP is suggesting HUNTERS on AMAZON PRIME, where you can catch Louis Ozawa Changchien in all his Nazi Hunting Glory – and this show really seems to be, POC and Jewish Folks are going to rid the world of white supremacy…and if there was EVER a show HITTING THE POINT WITH A ‘EFFIN MALLET – it is this one, check it out:

There you go – stuff to see…mix it up…keep your loved ones that do not live with you in your abode at a social distance and hold it down, hold it down – you can do it!

TFP out.

The Fairy Princess posted a blog yesterday about what you, dear Reader, can do to quell the pandemic panic you are feeling in self isolation – and then, she thought of some more things – so here we go –

First off, The New York Youth Symphony (which has a large AAPI contingent) has been practicing social distancing and social distance practicing as an orchestra – they are confined, but not out – so before you read this blog, please promise to watch this video in it’s entirety while you BREATHE…

No, TFP cannot center it – it’s a tweet – let it go – all of this is about letting it go.

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Speaking of letting it go – AAPIS are going to have to say bye to the revised production of THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE at NY’s City Center. This production was to have starred Tony Nominee, Ashley Park as Millie, and was being advised by CAMBODIAN ROCK STAR scribe, Lauren Yee – so this is upsetting, yes.

However, they are cancelling the rest of their 2019-2020 season, including their 5 borough community production, ON THE MOVE, and the rest of their summer. Not just the Asians – so…pandemic mode, be forgiving.

TFP would like to thank NY City Center for taking this huge step – and yes, it totally stinks, but she understands, and hopefully, a revamped production will show up next season!

Congrats for taking Governor Cuomo’s mandates seriously.

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Best thing to do is order a candle, and settle in for the long haul.

Now for more things to watch while you are at home – and forgive TFP if she does not expect oil paintings or gourmet meals while you are confined – if you do it – GREAT!

Yay for YOOOOOUUUUU – if you happen to have a small child you are trying to keep off screens but who keeps grabbing screens because screens are everywhere….and today you are just letting it ride because it is Saturday and you can do NO more – then – perhaps do the best you can….

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First up, and we are going back a ways – have you all seen TIGER HUNTER (2016)?

It is on NETFLIX, available now.

Taking place in 1979, engineer Sami is excited to leave his village in India for a job in Chicago, but he soon runs into issues when pursuing his American Dream.

Also on NETFLIX comedy specials by Ali Wong, Ken Jeong, Ronny Chieng, Jo Koy – should keep you laughing for at least an hour.

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A film TFP enjoys is SEOUL SEARCHING from 2016 – about Korean American teens who head back to Korea for summer camp and wind up getting in a whole lot of trouble. Look out for one of Justin Chon’s early breakout performances as the badass KoreAm who is a rebel – think literally ANY teen film in America – and then put Asians in it.

It’s a laugh riot from start to finish – and KoreAms especially are going to love it.

Be prepared for co-option, which is explored, but can be jarring – and questionable moral choices – again, just like any other American teen film.

It is a win. ( A salty, insane, diaspora win)

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In a time when AAPIs are getting attacked – and we are – and not ‘just’ Chinese Americans but all because, well, white people have no idea, the idea of self defense may resonate with you, in which case, you can check out THE SENSEI from 2010.

Written and Directed by Diana Lee Inosanto, it riled up the martial arts community and caused the team to get death threats – because the right to defend yourself from hatred, and self-hatred is…challenging to some.

Set during the rise of the AIDS crisis, an HIV Positive Female Martial Arts Instructor goes home to make peace with her family, only to take on a student who is being bullied for being Gay and needs to know how to defend himself.

TFP was an Associate Producer on this film – but that is not why she is sharing it, perhaps the time of THE SENSEI has come again.

It is available to watch for free, on TUBI.

Taking it back “Old School’, you can check out where a lot of the AAPI film stars got their start in films like SAVING FACE.…avail on AMAZON PRIME.

THE MOTEL – available on TUBI for free

THE MIKADO PROJECT – avail on DVD order from Amazon

BETTER LUCK TOMORROW – avail to rent on GOOGLE PLAY

And one of TFP fav’s – KARMA CALLING avail on Amazon Prime

Ok Kids, time for TFP to grab the screen from the child – have fun – don’t touch anyone anytime soon – and wash your hands, you know the drill.

If you do not – here is Daniel Matarazzo to remind you.

TFP out.

The Fairy Princess is so tired of all the ‘winning’ we seem to be doing as a country – we now have more cases of infection than the country where the virus first appeared, and that says a lot about the ineptness of our leadership – except, everyone’s Zaddy Crisis Manager, NY Governor, Andrew Cuomo.

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You’re doing GREAT, Sweetie!

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So, there you are – self isolating – AS YOU SHOULD BE – and going out for solitary activities and/or groceries, and that is it – but…you are bored.

Perhaps you have Netflix and Chilled yourself into a coma?

Perhaps you have a small child you have to teach at home during this crisis and you now want to give every teacher a million dollars and send them back to school because you just CANNOT take it ANYMORE?

Perhaps working from home without pants was fine for the first few weeks, but now you miss your pants – which is something you never thought you would think in your life?

In any case, you need momentary breaks – and TFP has compiled a few for you, so that you can get away and get happy – or as happy as you are going to get during this crisis – and no, TFP does not expect you to write a book, create award winning drama, or come up with a new style of au gratin potatoes – that is some bullshit.

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In any case – here are some things you could ‘catch up on’ while you are just me, myself, and I-ing –

ALEC MAPA, BABBY DADDY is available to watch on SHOWTIME

 

A riotous special about the ins and outs of adoption as a Gay Parent, it will make you laugh as hard as it makes you cry about the state of the Foster Care System today in America. TFP was lucky enough to be in the audience for this taping – she stans it.

Broadway’s JAYGEE MACAPUGUAY, (School of Rock) has just put together this short film – The Language Lesson, based on the Filipino Song Cycle, “On This Side Of the World” – which mirrors her pride in her heritage and her hopes for the future – directed by Garth Kravits and choreographed by Karla Puno Garcia.

 

TFP‘s recommends the webseries, JADE DRAGON, a faux docu series about a struggling Chinese takeaway in the UK.

 

Lots of British East Asians doing ‘their thing’ – being funny – written by Rebecca Boey , directed by Joseph Brett, starring Daniel F. York, Rosie Revan, Rebecca Boey, Anna Long Brophy, Stephen Hoo, and William Harry – it is a fun way to spend some time.

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Not just to recommend things that can be streaming on the internet – have you all seen FAMILY KARMA on Bravo TV?

In terms of reality shows, this one is lining up to knock it out of the park – Feuding Aunties! Kids who are not Married and in their Thirties! Divorce! Rumors! Diwali! Hot Cast!

It is LOADED, and TFP is obsessed:

 

Come ON!

Also available on Network TV – NBC – now it will be ‘on demand’ is the show, PERFECT HARMONY which features a diverse cast and music as a main component – and who does not love that?

 

Lynn Chen‘s Directorial Debut film – which she wrote as well – will be available on Apple TV beginning May 26 ‘on demand’ – hopefully quarantine won’t go that long, but if it does – here is the trailer, and something to look forward to:

 

But to ‘prep’ for May 26th, you could go watch the previous two films, Dave Boyle’s SURROGATE VALENTINE (2011) and DAYLIGHT SAVINGS (2012) – and then you will be ready!

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Again, with Lynn Chen, as an Actor – and a cast of very funny AAPI Actors comes, GO BACK TO CHINA, a film available on iTunes as of March 6th – about a spoiled rich Chinese American, whose Dad decides to pull her funding unless she comes back and works at the Family factory in China for a year.

Starring Anna Akana, Kelly Hu, Lynn Chen, Richard Ng, Kendy Cheung, Michelle Lukes, Akemi Look, Brittany Finamore, Ines Laimins, and Aviva Wang – you can view it right in your own home!

 

Alan Yang‘s new film, TIGERTAIL is coming out on NETFLIX (a format which has been beyond responsive to the AAPI audience and their need for content – Ali Wong, Jo Koy, Always Be My Maybe) and now….

 

What is it about? – According to Netflix – ‘A Taiwanese factory worker leaves his homeland to seek opportunity in America, where he struggles to find connection while balancing family and newfound responsibilities in this multi-generational drama from writer-director Alan Yang.’

Starring Tzi Ma, Christine Ko, Hayden Szeto, Hong-Chi Lee, Kunjue Li, Fiona Fu, James Saito, with Joan Chen.

It will debut on April 10th – again, something to look forward to

 

Please remember that you can also catch up with AKWAFINA IS NORA FROM QUEENS on demand, on Comedy Central,  as the season has ended now – here is a great interview with show runner, Teresa Hsiao, on the past season.

Remember, this show has a guaranteed second season! So if you missed it, you can pick it right up.

Starring: Akwafina, BD Wong, Lori Tan Chinn, Bowen Yang

If you think you cannot watch these shows and not be an über critical ass- we all trash talk one another – TFP is an expert on being on the receiving end of THAT- you CAN.

You can watch all of these talented people and not be dismissive.

Just remember, years ago – AAPIs would not even have been considered for shows/films like this – just as BD Wong states in this interview, TFP was told the exact same thing – multiple times – that Asians were not funny, and/or charming/charismatic enough to be anything other than bit players.

TFP was told this. To her FACE.

So she has tried to show you here – that statement is simply not true.

There are a variety of AAPI performers with talent and a sense of humor- and they have been walking against the wind a long time. The least we can do is turn on the TV or stream their work.

All the sh*t people talk about others – to elevate themselves, to make themselves feel safer, or more confident – it simply is not true.

Facts are facts. Science is science.

This virus could have happened anywhere in the world that humans and animals interact.

Keep your heads up, Kids – walk around like a badass – and wash your hands.

TFP out.

 

 

 

The Fairy Princess DOES NOT have COVID-19 – despite her being of Chinese heritage, and she says that simply to remind you that

  1. Viruses do not adhere to boarders – where one starts is not where it ends.
  2. WASH YOUR HANDS FOR 20 SECS at least!
  3. Social Distance is staying 6-10 feet away from people
  4. Stay home as much as you can
  5. Hoarding supplies when we do not have a supply chain issue is stupid/selfish
  6. Most people who contract the virus will recover, although we do not know if that means that they will then become immune from a re-infection
  7. This is transmitted via airborn droplets – not by race, not by blood, not by sexuality

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Now, TFP has been ‘fighting’ – that is correct, she said ‘fighting’, the recognition fight for a long time.

By that, she means, she has been fighting for the right of Asian heritaged people (and btw, let us remember she has fought for not ONLY for AAPI people) to be visible on our stages and screens for nigh on…eight years come July. That is eight years of showing some of the best that humans can be – operating and creating art on the highest levels, and eight years of seeing some of the most racist crap to ever grace the stages and screens of the world.

Lucille Ball was quoted as saying she could walk into any living room in America and be welcomed with open arms – and that is what TFP wanted for AAPIs.

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This virus and the resulting attacks on AAPI people falls in part, at the feet of the Entertainment industry for NOT embracing diversity, for NOT including AAPIs as main characters on a variety of shows, and for NOT having a variety of types of APPIs on our televisions.

They have not seen us, they have been, as Oscar Hammerstein wrote, “carefully taught’ not to see ‘us‘, and racial attacks during a pandemic is the result.

As we have NOT, for the most part, been seen by the mainstream of America, it does become easy for prejudiced people to dismiss us AS Americans – to ‘other‘ us – and the Entertainment industry  – Creatives, Casting, Executives – has been complicit in enhancing the bias that ‘we’ are not ‘real Americans.’

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When a little kid gets knifed in the face at a Sam’s ClubTFP remembers that only ABC had a prime time AAPI family on television.

When her pal, Filmmaker/Writer/Actress Lucy Sheen gets harassed on public transport, with a man feeling comfortable enough to whisper in her ear, TFP recalls that though PARASITE won the multiple Oscars – not one of the Actors in the film received recognition or three picture deals from any studio.

CRAZY RICH ASIANS was hot for a summer, but did not lead to a huge bump for any of the actors save Henry Golding and Gemma Chan.

TFP could cite a million examples – but when the President goes on television and repeatedly calls COVID-19, “The Chinese Virus“, it perpetuates racism towards AAPIs. The only way ‘we’ could have repudiated it and challenged it was by having a multiple and varied representation in place well before this POS POTUS got there – and we did not.

Now, there is a Facebook group regarding attacks on AAPIs – every day she sees the numbers go up – let us be clear – though it originated in China – the chance of your average American being able to discern who is and who is not of Chinese origin in next to nil.

They are going crazy attacking everyone- particularly people who look vulnerable- the elderly, women, young kids…

Therefore, AAPIs of all shapes, colors, genders – we all need to be prepared.

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We cannot be walking around without the B.D.E. – Big. D*ck. Energy.

You have to move like you are going to punch a mofo OUT, like out of nowhere you can pull a roundhouse kick, and you are going to have to walk TOUGH, my People.

This is some base level intelligence that we are dealing with – and the only way to survive is to be aware of who is around you at all times.

Do not look down, maintain aggressive eye contact and make them think you are a martial arts expert – walk like you expect trouble.

TFP does not want anymore senseless attacks on AAPIs in America – and if you call yourself an Ally – then she expects you will say something at the same time you are DOING something to stop the attack – you are witnesses.

Don’t just film it – stop it.

RESTING BITCH-WHO-WILL-KICK-YOUR-ASS-FACE is our new normal.

Make it happen, TFP has faith in you.

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TFP has also – since the advent of HIV and so many of her friends and co-workers getting infected and dying – been a huge reader on the subject of viruses. Some might say, obsessively so.

She did not just pick up THE HOT ZONE and read it, dust off her hands and say “welp, problem solved’, she has been actively reading about viruses since the 1990’s.

She reads the CDC website on occasion.

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Which is why she is ‘not surprised’ by the current situation – it was always going to come, the issue was going to be would ‘we’ the United States, be prepared for it.

Obviously we are not – because we have a person in charge who seems to be ‘sundowning‘ every news conference. He put someone in charge of it whose talents are better suited to being a televangelist, meanwhile his Senators, instead of warning people about how to prepare, are dumping stock left and right as early and as sneakily as they can.

The United States is not prepared.

We had been prepared under President Obama, and we would have been under President Hillary Clinton, but we have the Electoral College, so she was not POTUS despite being 3 million votes ahead and now we are not prepared.

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TFP is not a virologist – she is not a part of the CDC – however she has done a lot of reading about viruses, and this is what she has learned from people far smarter than herself so she wanted to share some of their videos and what she has picked up over the years.

She hopes this will calm you.

To begin with, Viruses are looking for a host.

All viruses want a host that they can exist within. This is basic biology – they do not want to ‘die’, they want to live in symbiosis with their host. Finding the right ‘host’ will also have the virus finding a lot of ‘wrong’ hosts, and if that host is unable to bear the virus, in the first wave of infection – the host may die.

Most of the people who contract the COVID-19 virus will live, because that is what the virus is designed for – to find a living host. Many people will die, because that is also part of a virus that is respiratory in nature, and anyone that has a weakness is particularly vulnerable.

Most lethal viruses are not of human origin. They come from another ‘source’, aka species and likely they have lived within that source for a while, and then a ‘trigger’ happens, and where HIV has lived quite steadily in monkeys for a while, or while coronavirus occurs naturally in bats, the virus gets an opening to jump species, and it does. Usually there is a ‘secondary’ host for the virus and it is that host that ‘actually’ transmits it to the humans.

Flu naturally occurs in birds. People and birds have lived with one another for thousands of years and thus, the flu we get now is a watered down version of what it once was. Unless you go back to 1918, when a quarter of the world was killed by a virulent flu that had people drowning in their own body fluids, because for some reason, nature went back to the ‘pure’ form.

Did the practice of eating wild game contribute to this virus?

Almost certainly.

Did the practice of ‘wet markets’ – where live animals are sold for consumption and/or pet ownership contribute to this virus being able to jump?

Very likely.

You have a ‘market’ where you have panicked animals, in cages, from all over the world, possibly trading viruses among them, then they ‘nip’ a finger of a human, or they are consumed – and BOOM – there is your ‘jump’.

These ‘wet markets’ exist throughout the world – and it is not just Asia that has them. North America and Latin America also – it is a market that sells live produce.

Back in 2009 in the USA we had ‘Swine Flu” – which was basically a recombination of the flu that birds get, the flu that humans get, and then it found itself back in pigs.

Did we call it “San Diego Flu” because that was the point of origin?

No, we did not.

Did we call it “The 10 Year Old Flu” – because the first patient was 10 years old?

No we did not, that would not have been accurate and every parent of a 10 year old would have lost their mind.

It was named for the animal most likely responsible for the transmission to human hosts.

Which is why calling COVID-19 “The Chinese Virus” is racist.

It implies only Chinese people pass it, when in actuality, anyone that has it, is able to pass it.

It is an airborne transmission, and the ability to infect can be undetected, until it reaches a ‘vulnerable’ host. There have been just as many, if not more cases in Italy, and no one is attacking Italians or refusing to eat pasta.

However infection from an Italian citizen is generally more likely for Americans than one from a Chinese citizen, given that we pop back and forth to Europe like we are going to the market – not to mention, it was just Fashion Week.

Viruses can be anywhere, and pandemics can start anywhere there is human/animal interaction.

It is only by circumstance that the virus originated overseas. We have plenty of chances here in the USA to start a pandemic, and scientists have been screaming about it for years.

YEARS.

Right here in the American South for example, there was a pig farm in the USA who spilled excrement into the Mississippi River and now there are fish with holes right through them – meanwhile people continue to bathe and swim and wash their dishes in the river – that was just as likely  to cause an infectious virus, and it very well might.

We have in America “farmed fish’, where the sanitation is deplorable and they are eating their own feces as well as, on occasion, taking a nibble of others of their species. We have deer that are being shot and consumed that are not always screened for Chronic Wasting Disease, we have cow meal that until recently was being made of cow parts and which has a ‘human form’ it is possible to contract- leading to Mad Cow Disease.

The point is – wash your hands.

The point is – do not be racist.

The point is – self isolate/quarantine/social distance until they figure this out.

The point is – check in on your elderly or imuno-compromised neighbors and see if they need help.

The point is – panicking is not beneficial to your mental health.

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TFP is really concerned not just about transmission, but about how people are going to economically survive this period.

If you have the ability to be financially generous, please look for places to give – meals for medical workers, vemo a financially vulnerable friend, give to a charity.

If you belong to a Union, see what they are going to do to help their members, and consider contributing.

We are going to get through this – if you are lucky enough to not contract it – good for you.

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If you have contracted it, TFP sends you her very best wishes for a full and complete recovery.

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If you have lost someone close to you to COVID-19, TFP sends you her deepest condolences and this hug.

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Finally, TFP asks you to keep in mind that is it kindness that will ‘save’ us – not toilet paper.

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Be well.

Wash your hands.

 

 

In the past day and a half, The Fairy Princess‘s I-phone screen has cracked, her new jacket got torn to shreds by a villainous door handle not retracting, and her Kindle has gone to the grave.

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The Mercury in Retrograde is obviously taking the blog quite seriously.

Maybe it is telling her to get back to work – post BroadwayCon has been super cool – and btw you can catch both her Playwrighting and Actor Panels on the Official FB Page where they will stay forever, ad infinitum – but since all this absolute shite is going on – suppose the universe is also saying ‘get back to work’.

There ARE some great things happening – some endings, but more importantly many BEGINNINGS, and sometimes, when your life seems to be tanking out while everyone else is #Winning #humblebragging #SoGrateful – it’s good to look OUTWARD for inspiration.

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TFP is particularly grateful it was not her laptop, this go round – that is all she is saying.

FIRST – TWO plays by AAPI Women have opened Off Broadway, TFP has seen them both – and they are exciting and clever and should be supported because they are both signaling a new wave of Playwriting that does not separate music from the message the way ‘traditional’ plays have – and TFP is HERE FOR IT!!

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Last evening, CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND by Lauren Yee opened at SIGNATURE THEATRE, and TFP really cannot say ENOUGH about the Cast – two of whom she knew prior, and four of whom are new to her and she is so glad she knows them now. It has already been extended – twice.

Please keep these names on your lips and in your hearts, so that they are able to tell AS MANY stories of diaspora as possible: Courtney Reed, Francis Jue, Joe Ngo, Moses Villarama, Jane Lui and Abraham Kim.

Directed by Chay Yew, it is a simply stellar bit of storytelling.

WE’RE GONNA DIE – by Young Jean Lee has opened at SECOND STAGE – and it is a life affirming show about…death, but not only death and not death specifically – it is more like how you find the will to go on when bad stuff happens – and…you should see it, because without giving too much away, it is a storytelling cabaret of epic proportions, yet only just over an hour.

Directed by Raja Feather Kelly it opened on February 25th and runs till March 22nd.

The fun thing is – more people are writing! Yay!

TFP can share that playwright, Christopher Chen has his new show, THE HEADLANDS being produced at LINCOLN CENTER THEATER. 

The Cast includes, Laura Kai Chen, Edward Chin-Lyn, Mahira Kakkar, Mia Katigbak, Harry Stram, Johnny Wu, and Aaron Yoo.

Directed by Knud Adams, the show runs till March 22.

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Nandita Shenoy’s new work, THE RAGE PLAY will open on March 28th at the Abrons Arts Center on Grand Street, and is inspired by the #MeToo movement.

Starring Leila Ben-Abdallah, Alexandra Curran, Yolanda K. Wilkinson, and Chris Wight, directed by Lori Elizabeth Parquet – this show is being produced by the Flux Theater.

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LOTS OF THINGS HAPPENING – for example, TFP’s MVP, Sandra Oh has some good news – in addition to the next season of KILLING EVE on the BBC, she will be Executive Producing and starring in a 1/2 hour Dramedy written by Amanda Peet. The show will be on NETFLIX and it has a GAME OF THRONES team behind it – all exciting.

LYNN CHEN has had her DIRECTORIAL DEBUT film – I WILL MAKE YOU MINE, picked up for distribution by Gravitas Ventures – and it has not even premiered yet at SXSW!!!!

THAT. IS. BADASS.

Check out when Lynn was Kickstarting and just think of her NOW!!!!

Congrats to the Team, and of course, DAVE BOYLE.

Knock it outta the Park, folks!

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TWO highly regarded films of the past season directed by Asian heritaged folks,  available to watch in the privacy of your home, – THE FAREWELL by Lulu Wang is already on Amazon Prime , and PARASITE by Bong Joon Ho will stream on HULU in April.

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FINALLY – because TFP is really just trying to get over all the stuff that keeps breaking around her – FOLKS, here are shows that TFP is watching, that she wants to keep on the air  – let’s hear it for diverse storytelling and casting and keep it going, we need second season ORDERS:

ALL RISE on CBS – it is a female driven narrative with a world that looks both like Los Angeles and the Court System.

PERFECT HARMONY on NBC – a music driven comedy about a choir and a crusty conductor is more of what we need right now – and TFP watches it because it contains music done in a way that is naturally integrated into the show.

It is not a competition show, it is not fantasy moments that we, the audience understands is not really happening – it is music as many of us grew up learning – in a choir.

These two shows give TFP hope!

As we journey forth into an election year – what the country needs most right now, is a way to have a conversation. Network TV is the way most Americans spend their evenings. It is what they talk about the next day at the water cooler, it is a way to share time with people you love, but do not necessarily want to argue with all the time.

When ALL RISE had an episode about ICE being allowed to pull people out of the courtroom, and the Court (Simone Missick) refused – when PERFECT HARMONY tackled the disconnect of a child not feeling like she belonged because of the dominant culture all around her – until the Rev. Jax (Rizwan Manji) was able to show her how everything can connect to us – those were television MOMENTS with a capital M.

They gave TFP hope that acceptance and understanding is possible – even in a world divided, which is what we are now.

We are divided – and divided, as we all know – is how we fall.

Let’s not fall.

Let’s give these shows a second season order.

Also – vote your asses off!

TFP out.

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ATTN- Darlinghurst has recast the role of Connie, while putting back the role of Vicki. Thus an Asian Aussie will be in the role of Connie and the original casting for Connie will be moved to Vicki and will also take on the strenuous duty of Dance Captain.

TFP thanks the Equity Diversity Committee and the Darlinghurst Theater for this very rational and well thought out solution.

Here is their statement:

Here is the original post :

The Fairy Princess, much like the rest of the world, has been glued to the news of the fires in Australia, and the earthquakes in Puerto Rico.

Here is a list of organizations you can give $$$ to to help with Fire efforts in Australia – it includes groups that assist volunteer fireman, animals, and people – and it is the most comprehensive list TFP has seen. It lists explanations as to where the money will go and it lists organizations that are doing the work.

TFP encourages you to also give to Puerto Rican Disaster Relief, in particular a rather easy way to give, is to purchase a copy of #RICANSTRUCTION, a comic book anthology she contributed a story to.

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To this date, they have given $140K in direct grants. TFP also likes BStrong which, again, is a boots on the ground organization, giving cash and other supplies to people who need them.

Please give what you can. Anything is great.

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TFP also would like to particularly thank Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, for it’s donation to Fire Efforts – she is an Aussie, an American, and a longtime AEA member, and she is very touched that an organization she has raised money for, and donated to – would extend themselves this way.

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Right now, she is fully understanding the point of view of the Aboriginal Elders and Indigenous Peoples around the world who say that Mother Earth is angry with ‘us’, the humans categorically destroying it so a few billionaires can head towards being trillionaires, haphazardly using plastic, and drilling, and over taxing resources like…the OCEAN, and the LAND, and the AIR – and honestly – where do people think they are going to go?

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TFP cannot EVEN with the lack of leadership in both the United States and Australia that allows Climate Change to continue on unchecked, simply because it does not make the oil and coal industries money.

She is exceedingly angry, all the time. All the time. Because she is a dual citizen of Australia and the United States. Not through immigration, through birth – her Mother was born in Australia, thus she registered TFP when she was born in the USA. That was the law at the time, TFP‘s child is not an Australian – which is upsetting but…one supposes he can get a visa to visit his VERY LARGE EXTENDED FAMILY in Oz.

Or she can just show him photos of what it used to look like.

When the Great Barrier Reef was full of color and not bleached out and dying.

When the Barramundi were not in danger of being fished out.

When the koalas still had habitat and the kangaroos, emus, Tasmanian devils, wallabys and so on, were not being burned alive like hell’s barbeque.

Actually, she would like to send a lot of those politicians swimming off the Reef and just…paddle the boat away, frankly.

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What’s the worst that could happen?

She would advise wet suits for the chill and so that they look much more like seals or sea lions.

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However amidst all THAT – all the world’s attention on the fires, TFP does have to mention that the Darlinghurst Theater Company – a professional theater in Sydney, is doing A CHORUS LINE.

You know- the very famous musical about American Chorus Dancers auditioning for a Broadway show for a (manipulative, and controlling pyschopathic) Director who makes them give him their lives before he allows a small number of them to work in his show.

It was concepted by Michael Bennett and his extended circle of dancers spent HOURS meeting and talking into a tape recorder about their lives and then he purchased their stories from them for a DOLLAR, someone brought in Marvin Hamlisch and the rest is Broadway history – except for the ‘kids’ who spent lots of time talking whose stories did NOT make it into the show.

That is what theater IS, to a very large extent. Lots of white guys taking the pain of lots of people of color and turning a profit.

Yeah, harsh – but think about it.

This is also why now AEA monitors workshops and readings of shows.

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One of the dancers was Baayork Lee – and let’s see her work for a second, she is in the green dress here, on the 1969 TONY Awards show, repping for PROMISES, PROMISES.

Here she is with ‘The Michael Bennett Dancers”, clogging, in ‘A JOYFUL NOISE” – and she has the FIRST close up and is at the far left.

Here she is at the CHORUS LINE REUNION

Here she is, ACCEPTING HER SPECIAL TONY AWARD for not only her choreography and directing and dancing career – but for starting her own Theater Company – NAAP – National Asian Artist Project.

She is one of the O.G.’s for Asian Americans in Theater.

A Chinese American, born and raised in New York City’s Chinatown, who went to see theater as a child, and chose to dance.

She was the inspiration and the ‘Original Broadway Cast” member for the role of CONNIE WONG in CHORUS LINE.

Everyone knows this.

EVERYONE knows that Connie is Asian in the show.

(Baayork Lee and TFP have had our differences, but…BUT…that does not change things in terms of respect, history, or the right way things should be done)

Michael Bennett asked her to come and share her story, he asked her to be in the show, he created a role for her – an example of the dichotomy that was Michael Bennett – so that there would always ‘have’ to be an AAPI person in the role of Connie Wong.

This has helped countless young dancers over the years – but it is not going to be the same in Australia, unfortunately. Because local Helpman Award Winning Director/Choreographer, Amy Campbell said that

“I didn’t precast any of the roles … everything was up for grabs,That’s what A CHORUS LINE is all about – it’s about auditioning for a show – so I felt that everyone should be given a chance.”

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As you can see, at first glance, the cast appears to be diverse – for Australia, which has has some issues with that in the past, which is a nice improvement – here is the cast – and the theater is in Sydney, which is a theater hub- plenty of folks around to audition.

This screen shot has been grabbed straight from their website.

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So the show that is supposed to be about multi-ethnic dancers in New York – with surnames to match – Wong, Morales – those surnames are specific and related to text in the show.

Some of the characters discuss name changes, self acceptance, body changes (plastic surgery), changes oh, down below, up above... However there are specific surnames that go with specific parts – because there are quips written into the script about the dancer’s background.

“But I said to myself, “Hey it’s only the first week – maybe it’s genetic. They don’t have bobsleds in San Juan!” – Diana Morales – Song “Nothing”, from CHORUS LINE

Obviously, the Actor/Dancer in that role, is supposed to reflect that experience. Does that mean that everyone who plays Morales should be Puerto Rican?

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In a perfect world, yes.

We do not live in a perfect world, so within the diaspora of Latin and/or Hispanic countries would of course, be acceptable – much more so than say, someone in a bad wig.

Let’s look at Connie Wong, the Character, in this production.

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The surname she has is rooted in Malta, and then Greece – and then ostensibly, Australia.

We need to ask the Helpman Award Winning Director, Amy Campbell how she imagines that this performer – who seems to be an excellent dancer, having just appeared as Anybodys in WEST SIDE STORY, is going to pull off the following dialogue which is from the script.

TFP will give you one answer – she won’t be able to ‘sell this’ – and no one should ask her to.

CONNIE: Connie Wong. Always Wong and never White. Sorry, bad joke. Born in Chinatown.

Zach: How old are you?

CONNIE: I was born in the year, four thousand, five hundred and sixty two the Year of the Chicken.

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The other question to ask is why the actress in question chose to change her head shot for the CHORUS LINE poster to the current one – was that because the theater company was trying to make her look Asian?

Because that, oh dear reader, is yellowface.

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Now, everyone in Australia, don’t go after this Actress – she did not hire herself. She just auditioned and she is playing the hand she is dealt. She is likely an amazing dancer.

But everyone can play cards, and one has been dealt already….

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This casting is forcing us all to look, YET AGAIN, at the innate racism that Australia routinely shows to Asian performers of their own.

Anyone remember the Caucasian King in The King & I at Sydney Opera House. Lisa McCune and Teddy Tahu Rohdes?

His Girlfriend was Mrs. Anna, so he got to be “The King” = they had to fly Jason Scott Lee in from Hawaii to fix that mess.

Mr. Lee broke his ankle, so Lou Diamond Phillips flew in to replace him.

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Then we had the thing at The MUNY where they were doing yellowface in Jerome Robbin’s Broadway, and the Actress they got to be Tuptim? Australian. And she was apparently gutted that that kind of ‘thing’, which was acceptible ‘at home’, did not fly in the States!

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Remember this show that had to be pulled from last year’s Melbourne Fringe – Aisha, the Aussie Geisha?

From self proclaimed comedienne, Kate Hanley Corey?

Do NOT tell me that Australia, and it’s performance community does NOT have an issue with Asians on the stage, because CLEARLY when you have to import them from another country, when you have been known to label your country “The Gateway to Asia”, so you can make $$$ off tourism, something is wrong.

Fair Dinkum, Mate – the Bloody Climate Change burning everyone to hell and back – and you throw racism on the top like a beetroot on a burger?

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So again, nothing to do with the Dancer in question except she cannot pull this dialogue off.  Year of the Chicken, which is a joke about the Year of the Rooster, but likely if you are not Asian, you won’t know this.

TFP does not ‘buy’ that out of the hundreds of dancers that Ms. Campbell purportedly saw for this role, she could not find someone of Asian descent to do it.

TFP thinks this for several reasons – the first being, her Mum, who was born and raised in Australia during a much less open time than now, went through the British Royal Ballet system and became a Certified Advanced Teacher – and she was from CAIRNS – if you can be from CAIRNS and rise through the ballet world – it is possible to find one Asian Aussie who can do the choreo that TFP learned as a child in musical theater class at the age of 11 because her teacher thought she would eventually need it!

Because she was shorter.

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Literally we are not known for our towering heights – so no, Ms. Campbell, you just wanted to work with someone you knew, and you  thought that the dancing outweighed the ethnicity.

TFP wants you, Ms. Campbell, to really look at what you did here – you took a work that was written to reflect EVERYONE and you made it something else. Yes, you have many diverse faces in the company – but having a diverse face, does not negate erasure of a KNOWN ROLE, and it does not negate the fact that you think changing the Actress’s headshot would get you out of a sticky conversation!

This is not acceptable.

If you are going to turn to us and say that this is the “non Asian” version of Connie, ‘Ms. Connie Edna May Sue MacKenzie from Greenville, North Carolina” – a version that yes, can be done, and is allowed for by licensing, then WHY IS HER HEADSHOT ON THE POSTER SO DIFFERENT FROM HER ACTUAL HEADSHOT?

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Finally, Ms. Campbell – and yes, there are other things in the world TFP is worried about and really, she just wants her little cousins, who are Chinese descent, to be able to go to a friggin musical and see themselves once in a BLOODY while – TFP would like you to watch Ms. Yuka Takara, who did the revival of CHORUS LINE on Broadway and what she has to say about representation and what this show and Baayork Lee’s being there meant to her.

She says she did not know that theater was ‘for her’.

Theater is for everyone.

However thanks to people like you, she did not know that.

Thanks to people like Baayork Lee, she now knows that.

People need to see themselves once in a while. Frankly, you have done a huge disservice with this casting to Asians in Australia – my Family is now up to 6 Generations in Australia. TFP really did not think that Aussies ‘saw’ her, so she does not live there – although she would much prefer it.

You have just proven that point. Even when we are written to be ‘there’, you do not choose to see ‘us’ – and that is a definite choice.

200 Smacks of the Wand to you. TFP sentences you to make a wildlife contribution of at least $100 AUS.

Yes, TFP is choosing the wildlife!

TFP picks the koalas and kangaroos over this production – and she advises Asian Aussies to do the same.

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The Fairy Princess is flapping her wings a bit slower today – because BEETLEJUICE on Broadway is closing – despite huge box office, for no other reason than Producer Scott Rudin wanted his show in there, and she is not ok with that.

The Cast ‘announced’ it in a cute little video by one of the stars, Alex Brightman.

This is a question of real estate, to some extent – there are only 41 Theaters that qualify as Broadway Houses, and they are all unique to some extent, The New Yorker’s VULTURE has done a humorous if appallingly accurate job in breaking them down, which you can read here.

However TFP does want to list the theaters, because…well you will see – you can totally skip this list, and go to the next part.

Al Hirshfeld – MOULIN ROUGE!

Ambassador – CHICAGO

American Airlines Theater – A SOLDIER’s PLAY, then BIRTHDAY CANDLES

August Wilson – MEAN GIRLS

Belasco – GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY

Bernard B. Jacobs – COMPANY (coming up)

Booth Theater – FREESTYLE LOVE SUPREME, then Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Broadhurst – JAGGED LITTLE PILL

Brooks Atkinson – WAITRESS, then SIX

Circle In The Square – OKLAHOMA (that f…) then AMERICAN BUFFALO

Cort Theater: Derren Brown SECRET, upcoming, THE MINUTES

Ethel Barrymore: THE INHERITANCE

EUGENE O’NEIL – THE BOOK OF MORMON

George Gershwin – WICKED

Gerald Schoenfeld – COME FROM AWAY

Hayes Theater – GRAND HORIZONS

Hudson Theater – AMERICAN UTOPIA, upcoming PLAZA SUITE

Imperial – AIN’T TOO PROUD

John Golden – SLAVE PLAY, upcoming HANGMEN

Longacre Theatre – THE LIGHTENING THIEF, upcoming DIANA (as in Princess)

Lunt Fontanne Theater – TINA

Lyceum Theater – A CHRISTMAS CAROL (nothing announced upcoming)

Lyric Theater – HARRY POTTER AND ALL HIS PARTS

Majestic – PHANTOM OF THE OPERA

Marquis Theater – TOOTSIE (Closing JAN 5) – NOTHING ANNOUNCED

Minskoff Theatre – THE LION KING

Music Box Theater – DEAR EVAN HANSEN

Nederlander Theater – Harry Connick Jr. then, THE LEHMAN TRILOGY

Neil Simon Theatre – EMPTY

New Amsterdam Theatre – ALADDIN

PALACE THEATRE – EMPTY/Under Construction

Richard Rogers Theatre – HAMILTON

Samuel J. Friedman – MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON, HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE

Schubert Theatre – TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

ST. James Theatre – FROZEN

Stephen Sondheim – SLAVA’S SNOW SHOE and then, MRS. DOUBTFIRE

STUDIO 54 – THE SOUND INSIDE, then CAROLINE OR CHANGE

Vivian Beaumont Theatre – FLYING OVER SUNSET

Walter Kerr – HADESTOWN

Wintergarden Theatre – BEETLEJUICE, then MUSIC MAN

There are currently 26 musicals playing on Broadway – give or take, some closing, some about to open, but 26 is a good number – TFP has made them bold, so you, Dear Reader, can see them.

The ones in blue are empty and have no announced productions listed. Frankly, The Palace may never open in our lifetimes again, because ‘construction’ that forced SPONGEBOB the Musical, to close, happened – and that was a shock as well.

There are 4, ’empty’ theaters – and no, none of them are ‘perfect’, and yes, all could use an update. Will the Palace ever come back? Who knows?

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Also- YES John Mulaney and Rachel Bloom both of you asked on Twitter about the whole closing of Beetlejuice and the optics of either adding more theaters or not – there could be more theaters –  you would have to be advocating for this with the Producer’s Guild and the Theater owners –  definitely there could be more theaters opened on Broadway.

However, it would take either – a consortium of VERY WEALTHY PEOPLE WHO NEVER EXPECTED RETURN ON IT IN THEIR LIFETIMES to do such a thing, OR it would take Corporations who have a vested interest in owning their own spaces to advocate for their own pieces, to do it.

But if they won’t impeach the Orange, why should we expect them to have a soft spot for theater?

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Because everything in show business is Real Estate.

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One wealthy Actor or Actress is not going to do it. If you can get all the people in MARVEL movies and pair them up with Brad Pitt – it would still be not enough to build a Broadway theater from the soup to the nuts. (Although someone TALK to Brad Pitt, he loves construction, apparently).

Let’s say there are now 3 empty theaters.

Forget the Palace for now. Apologies to Judy Garland.

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Now, in this scenario, you are Scott Rudin, and you have Hugh Jackman on speed dial and on hold for this production – and undoubtedly, Hugh gets a tidy sum if you have tied up his schedule and a full production has NOT come to fruition – however, you do not have a theater yet.

However you have announced the cast. You, Scott Rudin, have a tick tick ticking in your head because if this show does not go up, you are out some drachmas. Sets have to be built, costumes, choreo has to be learned, it is a nightmare of logistics and you need to know where you are going.

Producers play the guessing game, and that, frankly is why people love producing. Producers are gamblers by nature. To be a Producer you have to invest in what you THINK is going to happen, what MAY happen, and how you facilitate that happening, and not only on your dime

It is about money, but it is also about taste level.

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After all, if you pick a project that is a commercial success, that is one kind of ‘win’ as a producer – but the HOPE is, you pick a commercial AND ARTISTIC kind of success. Thus shoring up your ‘taste level’ points, and making people more likely to invest on your say so.

Scott Rudin is used to, deservedly so, being seen as a tastemaker – because he usually stacks the deck with celebrity actors and beloved shows, even when he does take a change on a ‘new’ project, as with SHUFFLE ALONG or TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, it is stacked with celebrity talent – both on the stage and as creatives.

So if TFP were Scott Rudin and she had a Hugh Jackman type person who needed a theater – she would have been looking, of course, at not only what was available, but what seemed like it may BECOME available. She would be looking at shows that were up and running that had a shaky box office draw, perhaps she could get their space….

Hmmmm….remember looking for blood in the water.

Smell it yet? Looking around, looking around…

LION KING?

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FROZEN? Hahahahha.

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HAMILTON?

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There are just some long running shows that are simply not closing any time soon, and we all know it. PHANTOM, WICKED, HADESTOWN, DEAR EVAN HANSEN, MEAN GIRLS…all king of the rock, no one is going nowhere, no how. It is somewhat crazy how long running shows at the moment are – vacancies are particularly hard to find.

CHICAGO? That would be more realistic, honestly,  as a dogged production that has has some real life drama in recent history, but the tourists love it. Last year, New York City hosted 65.1 MILLION Tourists! With overall attendance up  on Broadway to 9.5 per cent.

Hence it keeps running.

It would be a negotiation to get the Barry and Fran Weissler  to close it, and given that it is beloved, it would have been a steep negotiation. However the show has been running since 1996.

1,114 Seats in the Ambassador…just sayin’….

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TFP thinks Rudin could have managed it, seeing as it was another Shubert Property, but you would have to strike a deal with them, and they have seemingly always ‘made’ their ‘minimum’.

The “Minimum’ is the amount of money the box office has to clear, to keep the show open in the theater. Dependant on reaching ‘that number’, the owners of the theater can evict the show from the theater. Theater owners are also a cagey bunch because they never want to have a space be empty. A long running hit like PHANTOM or WICKED is ‘the dream’ if you are a Producer or a Theater owner, because the longer a show runs, the more money you make off of it.

Then when you go on tour …another money maker…so ‘everyone’ wants a long running show that you can ‘kind of’ forget about, that just keeps meeting expectations. It gives you, the Producer, freedom to run around and look for the next big thing.

The cycle continues.

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With CHICAGO, the Weisslers and the Shuberts are still making money. They knew what they were doing when they put it all together – no sets to speak of, everyone in black dancewear, even with the Dancers and the Orchestra – they were always going to get a return on that – those are smart producers.

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For some reason, CHICAGO was not chosen to be given the ouster.

It is a good show, it has just been running for quite a while – and BY THE WAY….they have NEVER had an AAPI in a Lead Role on Broadway – they had one gal playing, TFP believes, Roxy, but she was over from Japan, having done the show there. No Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders. Mama Morton could EASILY be played by a AAPI, but again, crickets on AAPI Representation in CHICAGO.

OK fine, it is staying like the Koch Wing at the Natural History Museum…

Where then,  it is a particularly robust long running Broadway as of late,  do you go?

Where does a bear poop in the woods?

Answer: Anywhere it wants to.

In that question, the bear is Scott Rudin.

Scott Rudin decided he liked the Winter Garden, and why not? It has 1,526 seats. It has it’s own stand alone building (ok it has other things attached, like businesses, but no other theaters) and it is owned by the Shubert Organization. You can take the 1 train right there! Easy!

But it was not empty.

It has a show in there about a teenage girl grappling with her Mother’s passing.

That is the crux of it, it was not empty.

What to do, what to do? If you are one of the most powerful producers, a show making money and showcasing minority and diverse talent driving a female centric narrative is not going to get in your way.

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Let TFP break it down for you about the families/organizations that own the Broadway Theaters, or Theatres – there are 3.

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Yes, three.

The Shubert Organization –  16 theaters.

The Nederlander Organization –  9 theaters.

Jujamcyn – five theaters.

Then there are the four non-profit theatre companies that have Broadway theaters – Lincoln Center Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Roundabout Theatre – NFP negotiates under LORT Contracts. Different $$$, technically your tix are, what- a donation or something, so the Actors get less.

Go us!

The rest of them belong to what was known as the LEAGUE OF RESIDENT THEATERS, now know as, The Broadway League.

They are the ‘Big Dogs” – they are the deciders. They wheel and deal, they are in the ‘room where it happens’, and they pick the room.

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The only exception being that Second Stage Theatre is the non-profit owner of the Helen Hayes Theater, but is not a member of the LEAGUE.

The Shuberts own:

Shubert Theatre, Broadhurst Theatre, Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, Cort Theatre, Imperial Theatre, Ambassador Theatre, Broadway Theatre, Booth Theatre, Lyceum Theatre, Longacre Theatre, Music Box Theatre, Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, Majestic Theatre, Winter Garden Theatre, Belasco Theatre, and the Forrest Theatre.

The only above property (remember that list TFP said you could skip? Well you are going to need to skip up there now) that is currently ’empty’ that is Shubert owned – Lyceum Theatre, (950 Seats), not big enough to pay for Hugh Jackman.

Had TFP been Scott Rudin, she would have potentially looked at The Broadway Theater, with it’s over 1700 seats and a revival that has had some troubling issues from the go.

Most recently, KING KONG played The Broadway Theater, which has also been home to MISS SAIGON, BOMBAY DREAMS, and will be housing the WEST SIDE STORY Revival that has cut/added back numbers and recently hired Serge Trujillo as a “Consultant“.

TFP honestly ‘cannot‘ with the WSS revival, she wishes all the performers the best and yadda yadda yadda Break A Leg, but the idea that a White European Director and a White Female European Choreographer with no Latinx knowledge or…anyway, happy for Mr. Trujillo.

Look at how happy TFP is…

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However the point being that IF the WSS revival crashes and burns…MUSIC MAN could simply move right in and Hugh could still have the ‘stand alone’ theater with a huge marquee and seats – and in fact – that stage is much larger than the one at the Winter Garden.

TFP knows, she has stood on both.

More seats = more money.

If WEST SIDE STORY, which opens momentarily, does not do well, it could close just as quickly, and the The Broadway would be available. However previews for MUSIC MAN are slated to begin in Sept. 2020, with an opening night of October 15, 2020.

Granted, a lot can happen in six months.

This ‘deal’  that was just released has been in place since the one bad week BEETLEJUICE had several months ago, and Rudin took advantage of it.

It is what Producers do – hate the game, not the player – even if the player in this case does not play well with others.

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BEETLEJUICE  is pulling in record box office. Indisputable.

Even with non-raves as reviews (which, honestly TFP did not understand, as she has seen the show), and a box office that one week earned 53% of it’s potential,  it was the ‘come back kid, in terms of Broadway Musicals, flipping the switch and earning it’s highest grosses thus far the week of Dec. 1.

So, to put this all together – BEETLEJUICE is:

  1. Making Money
  2. Diverse Cast
  3. Female Driven Narrative
  4. Bringing in New Audiences
  5. Winning Viral Game with Tick Tock Videos and TV Appearances

Whatever they were doing over at Warner Bros Theatrical, it was working.

It was totally working.

Why screw with a winner?

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Which is why the frustration of all at the news that it is closing – this lovely show, with People of Minority Status and People of Color as a majority in this FEMALE DRIVEN NARRATIVE , in leads, in supporting roles, in the ensemble,  all very visible – and also, a variety within the POC spectrum, it falls to the guy who is doing his best to –  it must be said, MAKE BROADWAY GREAT AGAIN, and that is infuriating.

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Scott Rudin has had some very notable sucesses (EGOT)… and some lapses, let us recall what he said about the announced MUSIC MAN, led by Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster:

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Uh huhhhhhh.

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What he ‘learned’ from DOLLY, was that some people were dismayed with an inclusive cast, when they had been expecting an exclusive cast –  because they are bigots.

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That is what he learned.

YES, Virginia, you can love musicals and still be a bigot.

You can ‘love’ musicals and prefer the casts as segregated as a Pre-Rosa Parks Bus Ride, which ALSO makes you…wait for it…. a bigot.

You can ‘cloak’ your bigotry in claims of ‘historical accuracy’, but as TFP has pointed out AGAIN and AGAIN – Port Cities have always had People of Color, from time immemorial. New York City and shows that are based in New York City, have always had People of Color and should always HAVE People of Color in them. Casting should reflect the American Scene of the city in which it is set and the city in which it resides, as much as possible.

(Ask TFP about COMPANY if you really want her to lose her mind.

Not now, later. She will lose her mind later)

However your comments were duly noted.

Keeping things “The Golden Age Way” means no People of Color in that world.  That is what it means.

Picture a show Stephen Miller would enjoy.

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Let us recall that Mr. Rudin was one of the involved parties in great “leaked email’ SONY scandal in Hollywood in 2014. There is a lot of troubling material to wade through there, including the way he wrote about OSCAR Winner Angelina Jolie, and President Obama’s movie tastes that he had to apologize for.

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Mr Rudin sued over the pregnancy of the GODDESS THAT IS AUDRA MACDONALD for…becoming pregnant during SHUFFLE ALONG, and instead of just replacing her for the time she would be away, he closed the show completely – sending the Cast, almost all African American and which included TONY Winner BILLY PORTER, off to unemployment!

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That as he produced TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD on Broadway, he then threatend to sue small theaters ACROSS THE COUNTRY who had already been given permission to stage a different version of the show, and ALSO sued Harper Lee‘s estate!

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He has had some ‘moments’, we would all agree. He is the biggest Producer on Broadway and he rarely loses a fight. He got what he wanted and he wanted what he got.

BEETLEJUICE is out and MAGA MAN is coming…

So be it.

It just stings.

Losing a beautiful rainbow of a show such as BEETLEJUICE to a white wash is hard. It is hard for TFP, it is hard for, she is sure, the Cast and the Crew, it is hard for the Broadway community – this is over 100 jobs that are going away for no good reason.

MUSIC MAN could have added at least 100 jobs to Broadway without subtracting those in BEETLEJUICE, and that is the rub.

That is the rub, indeed.

It is a damn shame.

A tour is announced, however a transfer within the Broadway theater scene – such as they did with Les Miz, which then went on to run for years, has not been, although again – a lot can happen in six months.

You have six months left – it is not leaving until June – get your tickets – it will be a party every night.

Au Revoir Beetlejuice – the whole being dead thing was one of TFP’s absolute favorites.

Rest In Peace Out….sing us off, Brightman!

 

 

 

The Fairy Princess is not going to ‘Cancel Madama Butterfly“.

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No one can.

“We” have to find a way to have the conversation about what is the issue, for all the shows and musicals and operas, rather than “Well, I am _____, and I don’t like it.”

Rolling up and declaring on social media that you are the authority simply because you share heritage with the purported origin of a show, or because you are tired, is not – ultimately helpful.

Not because you are not entitled to your feelings – of course you are – but because one person not liking something, is not enough – within the power structure of things – to ‘cancel’ it.

Not if it is in the ‘beloved’ category.

That is not the way the world works.

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In the theater, the opera, we vote with our tickets. You do not want to see something – you do not buy a ticket – but you do not get to choose what everyone else sees or purchases tickets to….that is just the way it is.

We have to find a way to have these conversations – and TFP has had them – she in fact has had them in public, with the NY Gilbert And Sullivan Players in fact – and what did they do with THE MIKADO?

After the conversation?

They went back and re-imagined it and also opened up the company to more People of Color, and that – People, is how change is made.

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Now, on to Madama Butterfly by Puccini.

Whatever you think about the story line and tropes, they have been around since Butterfly premiered in 1904.

Butterfly is intrinsically ‘complicated’, n’est pas?

First based on a short story by John Luther Long, an American lawyer, which was based on stories told to him by his sister, Jennie Correll, a former missionary in Japan.

Also, there was a French novel, Madame Chrysanthème by Pierre Loti that was floating around at the time (that another opera of Butterfly was based on , composed in 1893 by André Messager), which may or may not have been used as a reference.

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Long’s short story was the one that was made into a one act play called – Madame Butterfly: A Tragedy of Japan, and that was the one that was made into a play, Puccini saw it, and now we have Madama Butterfly.

So it is ostensibly, a word of mouth Japanese accounting by Americans who had been missionaries in Japan, a situation RIFE for mis-translation,  written in both French and American English, dramaticized, and then translated and sung in Italian.

It’s a mess if you want an ‘authentic’ story and provenance.

Don’t look to Butterfly and frankly, do not look to ANY Opera to ‘get it historically correct”.

Here is why – Opera is by nature, dramatic. Drama has to come from a heightened sense of reality and normal people – normal people who do not burst into song do not make for good operas.

Taxi drivers are not breaking out into a devastating aria as they prowl along Eighth Avenue.

Your local Wall Street Nightmare of a Trader is not staggering on the stock market floor with a weapon plunged in his side and dying tragically.

The PTA Leader you cannot stand is not standing wistfully by the playground swing set and singing about her isolation.

Going to the grocery store does not involve a tortuous lament. (wait, that one…maybe).

Your local graphic designer is not engaging in a witty duet with the neighbor who lives above them who coincidentally shares a staircase, which makes the situation rife with possibilities for romance.

Not that they do not have those feelings – they just keep them inside. Where ‘we’ do not see them. Nor are ‘we’ inspired by them – they are just people going about their day, their problems are only magnified to them.

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In short, Operas are written about highly exaggerated people in highly exaggerated situations and no one – no sane person would equate any opera performance with an actual person. They are people, made in broad strokes, because the music in opera is what makes it transcend the origin story.

Becoming a world class opera singer takes years of study, the right teachers, some selfish behaviors like excusing oneself from parties so one can sleep, and wearing endless scarves and talent that is extraordinary. Becoming a world class opera singer takes the right combination of genetics and fairy dust, and it happens to some and not to others – and it is the wonder of viewing and hearing those unique performances that make people return to the opera again and again.

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Which is why ‘cancelling’ an opera is not going to happen. Just stop with that – enough already – it is glorious music and even if everyone wore modern clothing and no wigs and just ‘sang’ it – it would be just as glorious.

Operas are supposed to be ‘exotic’ tales – and here is where we get into a tricky situation – because when most operas were written, travel to far extremes was not possible or too time consuming. They were also written by largely European composers, writing for company members and what they did best. What was most ‘exotic’ for their audiences were placing things in “Non Europe.” – aka nowhere European.

Many operatic works are based on plays or novels – and again, if you were writing a play or novel at that time, while one may have had the historic events as a backdrop – essentially the plots and characters were made up.

SO WHAT THEN IS THE ISSUE, OH TFP?

The issue is, and always will be – representation.

Now, from a ‘representation’ point of view – this is an issue. Writing stories and characters when you have never been to the point of origin can lead to some serious assumptions and/or outright mistakes.

In the United States and elsewhere, there are actual People of Color who are singing and dancing and seeing these operas and  engaging in the very American tradition of aping Europeans, and they are going to the theater and the opera and the ballet and there is a major issue that keeps rearing it’s head.

Get ready…

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It’s not the music – it is the makeup.

TFP will say it again – it is not the music – it is the makeup.

In short, this is what true East Asian performers look like:

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This is from the Broadway revival of PACIFIC OVERTURES, with Michael K. Lee.

See how majestic? Understated, noble, and full of emotion.

But in Knoxville, Tennessee, this is what they did when they chose to do the opera, Madama Butterfly:

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These people do not look East Asian.

They do not look Japanese.

They look like what they are, which is Caucasians playing dress up.

Badly.

This is the image that they used to advertise the show, which comes under the category of false advertising.

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Which is why the ticket buyer who first posted and asked for help with this was so confused when she viewed the cast. She thought she was going to see East Asian American performers, so she purchased a ticket. This is right out of the RSC’s Orphan of Zhao playbook from several years ago. They too used images of East Asians and then had almost none in the actual staging.

Knoxville Opera took a stock image of an Japanese Woman in Traditional Garb, and then presented…what they presented. Which is hackneyed caricatures of East Asians, specifically Japanese people, and they went for the cheap laughs – they made their portrayals about the fun they had ‘playing’ East Asians, and not about the seriousness and passion of the music.

In short – they let Puccini down.

Everyone is just sitting in the audience thinking “How do they think that is ok?”

Instead of listening to the music.

Just what every composer wants, to be upstaged by bad makeup.

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Now, TFP first heard of this on a FB group and the Original Poster was attacked by some members of the cast, on her opinions, as a East Asian woman, viewing these images. They have taken down the images off their FB and washed their lily white hands and thought that was the end of it.

However, her thoughts made it on to the internet, and they matched TFP‘s own about them.

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These leads in Butterfly were not locals, they were hired. The singers were hired from out of town. Which means that representatives from Knoxville travelled to audition them elsewhere- hired space to hear them, a pianist, and house themselves for however long it took to do so.

Perhaps they had one day? Perhaps two.

Which means Knoxville Opera has the money and time to ‘travel’ people, which means they had the money and time to find ‘the right’ people if they insisted on doing a ‘classic’ interpretation – they just did not feel like bothering.

Guess when else they did not feel like bothering to get the right people?

This next image is from their  production last year of AIDA, which takes place in Egypt. It involves forbidden love between an Ethopian Princess, Aida, and an Egyptian warrior, Radamès.

It also involves blackface.

Which, TFP was pretty sure that every American knows is wrong….

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Map of Ethiopia…

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Do you imagine ANY of the above singers originating in Africa?

No.

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Here is the thing, Opera World and all those who inhabit it – the paint has got to go.

TFP gets you have old sets and costumes that you have to use – she understands – and whether a robe is bedazzled around the color or tied with a floral fabric – she does not particularly care.

Wigs are fine – as long as they are ‘good wigs’.

If you are wigging a production, COME CORRECT WITH THE HAIR!

You should change the wigs to match the natural hair or within range of the natural hair color of the performers….it is honestly not difficult and it looks a heck of a lot better….your performers will look more natural. Makes it easier for them to wear natural looking makeup.

AND, by the by – ASIAN HAIR IS NOT ALL BLACK!!!!!

It has variety and texture – and you keep using these sad, $2.99 wigs from the local Halloween store – it’s an insult to any performer to have to wear them, but wear them you do – it’s tragic.

If you cannot do a good wig – cut the wigs.

The Paint though, the paint has GOT to GO!

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The MET has cut it, The Royal Opera in London has cut it. If you are an Opera Company, you have to keep current. You have to make sure you understand that what was acceptable then, can change. Look, Ballet Companies have been cutting the problematic portrayals in The Nutcracker, a holiday staple – if they can do it – an art form that evolved at roughly the same time as Opera… so can you.

There is no need for it – the audience understands that this is a story and it takes place in Long Ago, Far Away Land Not Really That Country In Truth.

In Long Ago Far Away Land, Not Really That Country In Truth, there are fantastical sets and circumstances – and that is ENOUGH  – don’t ADD!

No one needs to see cartoonish made up creatures built in the Hell’s Basement and brought to horrific life here on the stage, which can blithely be washed off with the audacity of a Caucasian thinking they have the right – when they have not walked the walk or sung the talk of a Person of Color.

Y’all really going to go out on the stage wearing two sets of eyebrows?

And think that is a handsome Asian male?

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TFP knows that the South is not known for welcoming minorities but this has been an eye opener. She has a file of the ‘worst’ photos – most from productions of The Mikado from around the country – which btw is fairly depressing and these photos rival those!

She reminds you all that being Asian is not a costume, even if you think it is.

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Then she read THE FOLLOWING is posted on their website:

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WAIT just a MOMENT here – you have the audacity to claim that this opera is ‘for the community’, and then you ‘teach’ them yellowface?

What does that teach, oh TFP?

Well that ‘teaches’ that People of Color, no matter their talent level, are allowed on  stage at Caucasian say so, oh pupil.

That is what it teaches.

The societal role of denigrating People of Color for Caucasian entertainment.

Whilst claiming it is about education?

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Driving TFP outta her damn mind!

So how do we fix this? We, the People of Color who want to go to a show and not come away feeling like the butt of a joke? Well, the opera in question has closed – but the company still exists – and that company relies on Patrons. That is, dollars.

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As those listed above are their patrons, one could, one imagines, write to them and give them your thoughts on this issue.

If you can fly a Singer from out of town, or bus or truck them, you can fly an Asian Heritaged Singer  – if you do not have a line on an Asian Heritaged singer, lose the paint or do not do it.

By the by, we are all watching very closely now because they have they have announced HARRIET TUBMAN as their next piece….TFP gotta search for her eyeballs now because they have dropped out of her head…

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Knoxville Opera, TFP fines you 1000 whacks of the wand – if you cast people based on their voices and their voice type – then celebrate them for who they are – do not paint them into racism, it’s just not cool.

You are messing up the music with this bullshit!

It wasn’t cool ‘then’, and it still is not now.

TFP out.

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The Fairy Princess is processing a few things right now –

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First – sending good, healing wishes to John Cho, who has kneecapped the production of COWBOY BEBOP because…yeah, knee injury. Totally bad joke, please commence eye roll immediately.

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Thank you for that.

TFP wishes a speedy recovery and painless PT to Mr. Cho – and extends her heartiest condolences to the Cast and Crew – and hopes they are up and running in the next 7 months, and not 9.

But…to quote Steven Lutvak, “it takes the time it takes”, so if he needs the extra few months – go for it. Good health to all.

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Congrats to Justin Chon – because, well, he is Justin Chon, a relatively new Dad, and has announced his third feature as a writer/director entitled BLUE BAYOU which is co-starring Oscar Winner, Alicia Vikander.

In the category of Asian Familial Realness, which Justin has been serving with his previous films, GOOK and MS. PURPLE, BLUE BAYOU is about a KoreAM adoptee raised in the US who has to examine his past, and – as is happening in so many places across the country in real life – now faces deportation.

Also, super exciting to see TONY Winner, Ruthie Ann Miles as a series regular on the CBS show, ALL RISE – which is a cool show about a vibrant new Judge, and the courts of Los Angeles. One of TFP‘s other favorites, actor Reggie Lee, is also on there as the District Attorney.

TWO AAPI’s not related, on a show together?

 

Progress.

Now, for the turd sandwiches of the week  – first up – Dallas.

Not the Real Housewives.

TFP wishes.

She WISHES she wrote a blog about Real Housewives – but she doesn’t. She writes about inclusion.

For all peoples.

So here we go –

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Let TFP get this straight – an Actress in the cast of IN THE HEIGHTS, had a fall and gashed her face. HER FACE.

Not a twisted ankle or anything that could be ‘taped up’ – she gashed her face. She hurt her nose, and they had a makeup artist cover it up so she could continue to go on.

This is egregious.

She was, quite obviously, feeling unwell – TFP does not know how she was able to sing with the injuries she had, however, in “the Big D”, they feel that they would rather have more elaborate sets and costumes.

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One has to wonder – and TFP wonders all the time – what part race played in this drama. Did they not take it quite so seriously because she IS a POC? Seems off the charts crazy to put makeup on a gash and various facial injuries and send the person on the stage to sing and dance and be funny.

That is something TFP knows.

IN THE HEIGHTS takes place in Washington Heights. When TFP saw the Original Broadway Company, everyone was wearing modern clothing – and the set was lovely however it was Brownstone buildings with insets that reveal interior rooms and locations.

It did not require a barricade. It did not require a helicopter. There is no swinging chandelier – in short, it is not an over the top musical from the 80’s or 90’s. Not a dancing cat or indoor roller rink in sight. No car flies away to a 50’s doo wop. A plant does not eat a human. Puppets do not have sex.

You could have afforded understudies.

Over backdrops and sequins – you could have afforded understudies, Dallas Theater Center – your budget is over 10 million a year.

You could have afforded understudies.

Thanks AEA President, Kate Shindle for getting them to apologize.

100 smacks of the wand to Dallas Theater Center – IN THE HEIGHTS is one of your biggest sellers in years – diversity = dollars, but not at the cost of the actor’s safety or peace of mind once the accident had occurred.

Don’t do it again.

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Which brings us to the next finger sandwich de turd – and here is what.

COMPANY – the new one, the gender bender one where Bobby becomes Bobbi – (not entirely a new thought, ask anyone TFP went to college with when ‘we’ did that production as written) has announced the full company and guess what?

No Latinx or AAPIs in the, well, COMPANY.

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Phone rings, door chimes, in comes…..not AAPIS or Latinx performers.

There are two African Americans in the Cast – and TFP wishes them bon chance.

Now, this is not about the Cast per se – they did not cast themselves, and they are all very talented – TFP has seen them many times, in many, many shows.

She knows that some may feel ‘under attack” – but if you do feel that way, ask yourself, truly ask yourself how you would feel if you never or very, VERY intermittently saw any sort of representation of yourself on the stage, how you would have sustained your careers?

Would you have wanted to play the smaller parts, and only that- Ito in Mame, or the revivals that come around once every decade or so, that specifically revolve around or in fair proximity to your ethnic heritage?

Or would you be hoping that a show set in New York City would be available to you, as a resident New Yorker. You know, a place that HAS The Public Theater where the saying is ‘All are Welcome’.

So please, wear different shoes for the moment and realize that this is not an attack on white performers- after all TFP is 1/2 Caucasian, right now she is the Lorax, speaking for the trees.

And some of those trees grow in Brooklyn or the Bronx or Queens, and some are not White Elms.

Some might say ‘luck’ or ‘being the most talented’ – are ways to obtain a role- that definitely is a theory. However if you are unable to get in the room because the deck is stacked from the ‘go’ – that could Drive a Person Crazy.

Dooo Do Do Doooo.

Which is why the announcement of this casting IS driving a few of us, well…crazy.

Being in a show every season on Broadway is how one becomes a polished and seasoned professional. They all have proven track records and nominations behind them – and perhaps that was the qualifier to be offered a part in this star studded redux.

Would that all had the same kind of opportunity.

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However a show set in New York City, about an eligible single gal which virtually eliminates two ethnic groups that this city is known for – that is kind of hard to swallow in this day and age.

It is almost 2020.

As much as everyone loves – and yes, LOVE is the word to describe the way TFP sees Patti LuPone – the fact that this is ANOTHER revival with only two POC and a hint of bisexuality is…an issue.

The fact that there is a bisexual female as the focus of the show does not excuse it’s whiteness. It does not solve any issue for People of Color, however they identify – to be shut out of a story dealing with bisexuality or being a New Yorker or any combination thereof.

How many POC were called in? How many would have met the ‘multiple TONY nominations” requirement? Not the AAPIS. We only have 3 winners for performers and they all “only’ have one, each:  BD Wong, Ruthie Ann Miles, Lea Salonga.

David Henry Hwang has 3 TONYS for Playwrighting – 1 for M. Butterfly, 1 for the new Book in the Revival of Flower Drum Song, and 1 for Golden Child.

If he could sing and dance, perhaps he would have gotten a call to come in and sing Sondheim?

(Go see SOFT POWER at THE PUBLIC)

COMPANY is a show that sells itself. It always has. A story about a 35 year old that cannot commit – without being too on the nose, that is 100 people on each subway car deliberately not clocking the other 100 people, about every 3 minutes, or 75 on the weekends.

With the last Sondheim revival being the fearless revisiting of MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG, which starred, among others, Manu Narayan – who btw, was one of the leads, it is not that anyone is saying AAPIS cannot sing Sondheim.

PACIFIC OVERTURES was revived in 2004 and again Off-Broadway in 2017. Clearly, ‘we’ sing Sondheim – and Sondheim himself knows this. Angel Desai  was in the LAST revival of COMPANY just a few years ago…and she had to sing and play the damn piano!

Well, she went to Oberlin.

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This is something else. This is the unseeing. This is the repetition of the ability to laser focus on one issue – in this case, bisexuality, and don’t spare the horses. To choose when to be open minded, and when to not listen to input from other people who may know a city better than you.

This is growing up NOT seeing AAPIs and therefore allowing yourself to continue to NOT see AAPIs or Latinx people – of which, again – is part of that 2.2% of those seen on TV in the U.K., and part of the 38% of the BAME people seen on the West End. Of those 38%, 85% of those are Black Performers – as they call it in the U.K.

We do not need to import that mindset.

Was not casting – Cindy Tolan cast many an AAPI – she likely has a folder on her laptop that has nothing but Christmas Eve as the title, and nothing at all about the holidays within it.

So this falls directly at the feet of the Director, two time TONY Winner, Marianne Elliott. Ms. Elliott hails from the U.K., her Father was the Director and Co-Founder of the Royal Exchange Theater of Manchester. A strong familial theatrical tradition, and begun in England – a land where, according to a report East Asian Actors make up 3% of the casting in the West End, and South Asians 7%.

Not a lot. NOT A LOT, U.K. – pretty damn shite-y.

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Right, Baga? Innit?

However New York City, AAPI’s are 14% of the population – roughly a million people.

In a city comprised of 20+ million, give or take, it is fairly simple to say that when and if Bobbi met people at a party, friends of friends, who she’d never know – she might meet…one or two AAPIs.

SOMEONE could have mentioned that when offers were being made.

Not like Ms. Bobbi is fanning about on British TV where the BAME representation is absolutely abysmal and getting worse…2.2 % of the characters on television?

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Latinx population in New York City is estimated at 29% of the city’s population – or around 2.4 million.

So for sure, even if, by some remote chance, Bobbi was unable to meet or be friends with even ONE AAPI in her life, she would – for certain – have double the chance to have a Latinx friend or lover.

For real though.

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Marianne Elliott is a wonderful director.

TFP is fairly sure this will be a wonderful production – it has, after all, truly gifted people in the cast,  but it is not the beautifully multi-culti NYC that TFP knows.

This is not the COMPANY that would make her feel like a New Yorker.

TFP might as well travel back to 1970 and get her Stritch on.

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After seeing the announcements for MUSIC MAN, this is just too much…

It burns.

TFP did this show in Uni. It has a place in her heart and her repertoire.

She played Joanne.

LIKE A DAMN BOSS!

Now, she is just thinking about this show and….

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500 Whacks of the wand for deliberately excluding New York from a Musical ABOUT New York.

How do you not see us?

Aren’t you exhausted from having tunnel vision?

If you don’t see color – HOW DO YOU DRIVE (ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD)?

TFP out.

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The Fairy Princess tries really, REALLY hard to ignore a good, let’s say eighty per cent of ‘the stuff’.

Because it is overwhelming.

Sometimes she cannot, and that is what today’s piece is about.

There are some things for AAPIs to be happy about – Wu Assassins on Netflix is doing great…

Many people in the cast, Byron Mann and Lewis Tan have been announced for very exciting upcoming projects…

Justin Chon has a new film coming out later this month, MS. PURPLE,  and he is quite the film auteur – take a look…

And then there is Broadway, also known as The Great White Way.

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Now, yes, very exciting that shows like HADESTOWN is holding it down with a few AAPIs including the lead, Eva Noblezada and one of the feature players, Kaye Trinidad as one of the Fates.

Thrilling that in the Broadway production Marc dela Cruz is alternating as Hamilton in HAMILTON and Marcus Choi is playing George Washington.

HAMILTON has been a leader in diversity since the go – and on their tours, they have people like Shoba Narayan as Eliza. Aaron J. Albano has also been dancing and singing up a storm on one of the touring companies.

BEETLEJUICE – selling out – with TFP‘s buddy and frequent BroadwayCon panelist, Kelvin Moon Loh, doing the whole undead thing in a show about death.

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Maryann Hu is holding down the role of the Queen in FROZEN, while the former Queen, Ann Sanders is appearing as Mrs. Murphy in DEAR EVAN HANSEN.

Also in DEH is Zach Pisner, previously of the Off Broadway Pie Shop set production of SWEENEY TODD, as one of the Evans currently playing the role. (Who will be on TFP‘s BroadwayCon Panel)

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Off Broadway is moving forward with the very exciting NY Premiere of SOFT POWER by one of our Greatest Living Playwrights, David Henry Hwang – and starring a cavalcade of AAPIs – which, hey TFP is gonna pull from the website – so you know their faces:

Remembering that these are the shows that are selling out years in advance and literally backing up vans filled with cash to the great Broadway Producers/Investors banks and that the lesson that diversity means dollars has been pounded into all our heads (by yours truly and others) for the greater part of the several years and you can see why TFP thought that things were changing.

Not JUST for AAPIs, but for everyone – why she went to see ANNIE GET YOUR GUN out at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, and you could have knocked her over with a feather to see a talented, inclusive cast. Somehow, they sidestepped all the problematic issues with that show because, TFP believes, they had a woke Director, Sarna Lapine, and they made it a point to be specific and inclusive in the casting of the show.

Take a look: Alexandra Socha as Annie Oakley opposite Matt Saldivar as Frank Butler. The cast also featured Jennifer Sanchez as Dolly Tate, Jonathan Joss as Sitting Bull, George Abud as Charlie, Isa Mooney as Jessie, Meaghan McInnes as Nellie, Oge Agulé as Pawnee Bill, Orville Mendoza as Buffalo Bill, Stephen Lee Anderson as Foster Wilson, and Will Hantz as Little Jake.

In SAG HARBOR.

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So with all the positive movement on and Off Broadway, and even at the tips of Lawn Guyland,  and with all those POC now available since the closing of several shows on Broadway in the late summer, with more coming up – could someone in the name of all that is banana pudding with a vanilla graham crust topped with Cool Whip, explain to TFP why the cast of the upcoming Broadway revival of MUSIC MAN is so….so VERY….

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Ivanka-friendly?

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It is universally acknowledged that Jackman is friends with the Kushners, and as much as TFP loves the Jackman as a performer, as a fellow Aussie, this makes her soooooo uncomfortable – it is like sending a Bat Signal to the KKK in song and dance.

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It dismisses all the progress that has been made. Frankly, with Jackman and Foster heading it up- that is kinda all you need in terms of ‘wattage’.

Why is this happening? This chock o’block prevention of access by anyone with pigment- what are ‘we’ learning from this?

It tells us, the POC of Broadway, that we are there merely to set the stage for the prevalence of Caucasian dominance.

When we – and by that, TFP is including ALLLLLLLLL the POC of the Broadway – the eight show a week, don’t call out, miss the birthdays and the holidays because the show sets the schedule, the folks that spent half their childhoods in class, those folks – look at the casting of MUSIC MAN – where not ONE ROLE in a supporting capacity has gone to a Performer of Color, we see what is thought of us.

The following is a comment by Producer Scott Rudin on the current announced production

‘In a Golden Age way’ aka ‘In a way that is all Caucasian’- this is the Production that will #MakeMusicalsGreatAgain.

We are the ‘soy sauce’ – (to quote the very bold and brave Screenwriter and TV Scribe, Adele Lim, who walked away from CRAZY RICH ASIANS 2, when she found out about the pay disparity between her and her co-writer.) for the productions.

Hashtag Not All Productions.

No, not all.

But a lot more than should be.

The POC of Broadway are feeling some sort of way about that…..

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Jackman, who has been super inclusive and supportive on his solo tour just, what…got too busy to realize that Keala Settle could have Gingold-ed Mrs. Shinn to the DEATH?

Here is a reminder of who we could have seen as Mrs. Shin(n).

There is no reason, in 2019, almost 2020, that Performers of Color need to continue the fantasy that we are only here to ‘frame’ a white hero.

There is NOTHING wrong with being in the Ensemble – it is a proud, noble, theatrical tradition and role – but it is NOT all that ‘we’ can do. “We” have been in many, many productions where ‘we’ have been included – enough so that this casting of MUSIC MAN should be shocking enough to audiences that they should have to wear shades.

Many will say “In 1912 in Iowa…there were no People of Color” which to that, TFP says…

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There were People of Color across the United States by 1912.

There were Native Americans, in Iowa.

Literally Iowa is a Sioux word, and the name of one of the Tribes.

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Tribes in Iowa include the Illinois, Iowa, Nez Perce, Pahodja, Pawnee, Winnebago, Missouria, Moingwena, Omaha, Otoe, Ottawa, Peoria, Ponca, Potawatomi and the Winnebago (also known as the Ho-Chunk Nation). Other tribes included the Chippewa, Dakota Sioux, Fox and Sauk.

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According to the Journal Of Negro History by James L. Hill, on pages 289-303, while the state was not a primary path west for The Great Migration, Iowa did have African Americans, and by 1912 – which is when the MUSIC MAN is set, they had a solid population.

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Read that again, 5,762 by 1870…and 1912 is still…let TFP do the math….42 years in the future!

They had 42 years to increase the African American Population in Iowa from when that number was taken.

Wow.

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In fact, the AAPI population in the Midwest was almost nil, because of course, of the Exclusion Act of 1882, and for subsequent laws prohibiting Asian land ownership – but a gal can dream, can’t she?

TFP has never met a non-Asian person named Shin.

She is aware that in the show, the character name is Shinn and has Irish heritage, but because she is…well…HER…she knows that Irish Asian people actually EXIST, and some of us went to really great schools that are known for stellar performers.

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Hispanic populations in the Midwest can be explored thusly:

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TFP doesn’t even need to CITE anything, use your eyes!

Three states away from Mexico you find Iowa.

The likelihood of Hispanic presence is HIGH, isn’t it?

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The answer there is no matter what brand of Caucasity you indulge in, you cannot erase People of Color, and by extension, Performers of Color from anything occurring in 1912.

Cannot be done.

EVEN IN IOWA!

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People of Color do not have to prove we belong in this country, and yet, y’all keep asking us to. Each time, TFP has been able to do it because there have been scholars determined to show that America is made from the bones of those who came before – and those bones do not belong to one group.

Stew on that for a while, won’t you?

500 Smacks of the Wand to the upcoming Broadway Production of MUSIC MAN and it’s Producers (who are honestly ducking that #MeToo movement like it’s dodge ball).

TFP is not buying a ticket. She has a choice, as does everyone else, to put her money behind projects that support the people she admires, people who see PEOPLE.

All KINDS of PEOPLE.

No matter how much you love the performers in this revival as Artists, she is hoping that you, Dear Reader, ‘vote’ with your ticket – if you want to support growth in front and behind the table, why not use that outrageously priced ticket you were going to indulge in, and go see…HADESTOWN, HAMILTON, MOULIN ROGUE, DEAR EVAN HANSEN, SOFT POWER…in short…literally anything else.

Because if you do not, then this kind of thinking is going to linger and expand – and we will be back to where we started, as adjuncts to American stories where we belong in lead roles.

Do not reward it by making it a ‘hit’.

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TFP out.