The Fairy Princess is counting down the days to November 8th like…

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let this be DONE already!

Randy Rainbow is the only thing getting her through this election season…and if the USA knighted people, she would write him in as a candidate, because…seriously though…

Now, TFP never has officially endorsed anyone – did not have to, this blog is only 4 years old and President Obama was doing great- but she will now. 

With 11 days to go in this election, it is her opinion that  ANYONE who could vote for the Orange Hate Pumpkin over one of the most qualified candidates to ever run for office who also happens to be a woman, well….ANYONE who could vote for THAT guy?

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Let’s just say that not only will Houston have a problem if you try and list all your reasons why you think he’s a good candidate to TFP.

Done with the election BS, and done with all the arguing. TFP does not want to hear about your trust issues that stem from your Mommy issues that stem from your innate need to think your opinion is more precious than civil rights of everyone else in this country. If you did not get enough love in your childhood, go watch CHICAGO a few times and remember even Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly could not do it alone.

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TFP sat through 3 Presidential debates, one VP debate and endless Social Media rhetoric and she’s finished with it all. Her friends are all well aware, as is probably all of the Twotter, but she is now, and forever, just like CATS…supporting the Democratic candidate.

TFP does not care about your third party ‘does not know where Aleppo is, sunk all their mutual funds into big oil candidates’.

They don’t know squat, and they are not qualified.

If you want to know who TFP supports for the highest office in the land – it is former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

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Now here is some Asian American Broadway News….

Our favorite School of Rock-er, Miss Isabella Russo is leaving the show in November. She opened this Original Musical on the Broadway in the role of Summer, and is leaving it an older and wiser pre-teen.

TFP is sure you are going to hear much more about this multi-talent, and that is all she is going to say at this particular point. (But it’s good)

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MISS SAIGON is coming back to Broadway and they are having their OPEN CALL in November.

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An OPEN CALL – which was pretty much pioneered by the first production of MISS SAIGON low those many years ago – is when people can audition for the show regardless of if they are a member of the Stage Actor’s Union, ACTOR’S EQUITY, or not.

Please note, that you will have to join AEA should you land a role in the show.

Here is the ‘official’ notice from the Casting Office of Tara Rubin, which was sent to TFP earlier today:

“MISS SAIGON”

Producer: Cameron Mackintosh
Music: Claude-Michel Schonberg
Lyrics: Richard Maltby Jr. & Alain Boublil
Adapted from original French Lyrics by Alain Boublil with additional lyrics by Michael Mahler Director: Laurence Connor
Musical Supervisor: Stephen Brooker Musical Staging by Bob Avian
Additional Choreography: Geoffrey Garratt
Production Design: Totie Driver and Matt Kinley based on an original concept by Adrian Vaux Costume Design: Andreane Neofitou
Lighting Design: Bruno Poet Sound Design: Mick Potter
Orchestrations: William David Brohn
Casting: Tara Rubin Casting

Coming to Broadway Spring 2017

OPEN CALL IN NEW YORK

Friday, November 11th
Sign in for Men: 9am – 10am
Sign in for Women: 10:15am – 11:30am

Dance Call:
10am – 11am – Men 11:30am – 12:30pm – Women

Actors MAY be kept to sing later in the day.
Women should please come prepared with a legit soprano song and bring your book if you have one
Men please come prepared with a song that shows your range

Pearl Studios
500 8th Avenue, 4th Floor, NYC

SEEKING:
ASIAN AMERICAN ACTORS

FEMALE ENSEMBLE – ASIAN; Strong Sopranos with excellent dance ability to play prostitutes, bar girls, refugees, Go-Go dancers.

MALE TUMBLERS – ASIAN; Advanced acrobats and tumblers; singing ability a plus, to play barmen, officers of South Vietnams Army, inhabitants of Saigon, vendors.

What to Bring:

Picture and Resume if you have one

Now, TFP knows that there is some reactions to MISS SAIGON that people have and she has some thoughts on that- which she has covered in the past.

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However – she will defer to TONY Award Winner Lea Salonga (Now doing FUN HOME in the Philippines), whom TFP interviewed last year in regards to ALLEGIANCE:

TFP: …I think if you are looking at MISS SAIGON and only see prostitution, you are missing the point.

LS: You are missing the point.

Y’all can click on the link and go and read the entire interview – but basically – if you are saying you will not perform in a musical that mentions or shows aspects of prostitution, fine – but if you are only upset about Asian prostitutes being portrayed and not protesting equally shows like THE LIFE, or LES MISERABLES, or CABARET, or BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS…or the endless list of musicals that deal with prostitution – OLIVER, GIGI..then you are not really protesting because of the portrayal of women.

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You are protesting a show that you do not want to see based solely on the fact that it has Asian performers – and that is ridiculous.

If  the Asian American Broadway performers or in this case, those who wish to be Asian American Broadway performers, want to go and audition for this show- it is their right to do so.

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In theater, you vote with your ticket. You do not want to see the show – do not audition, do not purchase a ticket.

Those who choose to audition…may the odds be ever in your favor.

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SPEAKING OF SHOWS THAT GET PROTESTEDTFP is appearing on a panel in regards to the new NY Gilbert & Sullivan production of THE MIKADO that is rapidly approaching.

The Mikado in the 21st Century:
A conversation with New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players

New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players will host a public forum on November 3, 2016, at 6:00PM onstage at Kaye Playhouse(68th street between Park and Lexington Avenue). The forum continues a dialogue between the Asian-American theatrical community, the NYGASP staff and creative team, and the Gilbert & Sullivan audience.

The program will feature speaker Dr. Jonathan Jenkins Ishikawa, professor of epistemology at University of British Columbia who is also a Gilbert & Sullivan expert and performer.

The discussion will revolve around broad issues such as the existence of orientalism in our culture and the need for diversity in casting, as well as the need for change in performance practice of The Mikado specifically.

The panel will share steps NYGASP is taking with the new production they are mounting this Dec 28-Jan 8 at the Kaye Playhouse. The discussion will raise questions of how a repertory company imagines new ways of presenting a classic work while maintaining the work’s artistic integrity.

The event will be moderated by Robert Lee, professor of Graduate Musical Theatre writing at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Panel members include Assistant Director for the new Mikado production Kelvin Moon Loh (Broadway’s The King and I, Side Show); actor Scott Watanabe(Allegiance, Broadway Bounty Hunter); actor Erin Quill (The King and I, Flower Drum Song, Avenue Q); NYGASP Associate Director and director and conceiver of the new Mikado, David Auxier; and Producer/Executive Director David Wannen.

TFP is pretty sure you are all going…

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because of course, TFP did ‘help‘ NYGASP come to the decision to table their production of THE MIKADO that was in their repertory, by writing a few (this one, and this one) pointed blog posts, based on the fact that she had actually seen their past production of the show.

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That was then, this is now – let’s all get together and slug it all out and sing some high notes and patter songs in a civilized manner.

Won’t you join us?

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TFP out.

The Fairy Princess has learned, as have many others (Angry Asian Man, Racebending,) – that a super secret first draft of Disney’s promised live action version of MULAN has surfaced, and…it had a white guy saving the day.

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Yes, apparently those screenwriters were a bit too in love with the show, MARCO POLO – (which should of course be called, KHAN),

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and they decided that a Roman soldier somehow found his way to China, (Obviously he got a ride from Matt Damon and slept on Tilda Swinton’s floor as he made his way through Tibet) fell in love with an under-aged Chinese girl, (because that old trope is not as gross as we all think it is) and they he is able to train her so that she can go and save China.

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A white guy ‘training’ a Chinese teenager.

Anyone with the ‘ick’ factor on high alert?

Anyone? Bueller?

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Anyway, those screenwriters have already been taken off the project, and it has been handed to others who deal in dinosaurs – and Disney has avowed that they are not going to give Mulan a Caucasian love interest, but here is the question TFP wants to pose – are they going to go so far off the template for this live action that the songs and the basic story line – which is compelling on it’s own – is not even a part of the landscape of this film?

Well then, what is the point?

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Also,  what about using Asian American talent in front of the camera, much as you did with the majority of the voices of the film? In point of fact – Disney used a great deal of Asian American voice talent on the second MULAN film as well, so it is not like Disney does not know they are out there. They have been pioneers in the past, so TFP thinks it HIGHLY unlikely that they would not continue in this manner, but well…Hollywood.

Not to mention the fact that, well…we have had quite a few more APIs on Broadway since that first film,

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so there is rampant talent available.

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In fact, Disney has recent TONY Nominee, Philippa Soo, singing in their new MOANA film.

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Also Dwayne “The Rock’ Johnson, who has Samoan heritage has a lead role which requires singing.

NOT TO MENTION THAT the Original Voice Actors and singers of MULAN all look crazy hot and talented like they have been all along...

This whole argument that Asian people have to be ‘schooled’ by a white protagonist as to how to save their own country – a country which, by the way, managed to build that Great Wall so well it is able to be seen from SPACE – is annoying.

Why do they all of a sudden need help? They were making amazing art, poetry, and paintings while most of Europe were wearing homespun and living as serfs.

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If the other musical projects that have been adapted for live action all incorporated the songs in a great cinematic way – why cannot this new live action MULAN be sung and acted by American performers who both appreciate the greatness of Alan Menken’s songs, and who grew up in love with this film and the voice actors in the first place?

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Make the cast international if you wish, ok fine – but keep this Asian story with Asian talent. Because…we do not want to see this kind of thing happening with this story…

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Scarlett Johannsen, Emma Stone, Matt Damon, Tom Cruise, Tilda Swinton....the list actually goes on and on back to the beginning of America cinema.

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It has to stop.

Please make it stop.

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No matter WHO eventually writes whatever draft gets the nod to go ahead – please remember that not only do Asian Americans have an innate attachment to this film, the Disney audience in general has an attachment to this film – and TFP is fairly certain that loving an animated film that is without a white protagonist saving the day means they will love a live action version with the same kind of focus.

TFP knows that this first draft is not going forward and likely there are going to be many revisions with this new team, but she is just so agonizingly tired of having to reiterate that representations of Asian peoples and their history – even history that has been ‘liberated’ (ahem), from it’s land of origin, are staggeringly important.

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TFP wants her kid to be able to see Asian people in American films where they are celebrated and loved, as much as she personally celebrates and loves her kid.

Isn’t this “all for the kids’ anyway? What is the end goal here? Isn’t it fostering integration and expanding minds and finding narratives of various cultures worthy of examination and study? Isn’t it?

A lot of people are finding that audiences have no issues with learning about the variety of heritages within the United States, in fact, they enjoy it.

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Otherwise, it’s going to be a total sh*t show – why not call Justin Lin or Ang Lee or someone who does not have to start from the ground up, and see what they can do with it?

Or someone who directs musical films? Bill Condon? He is doing a bang up job on Beauty and the Beast – can’t we book him ahead of time to give us a glorious live action piece?

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Can’t the stupidity go away? Isn’t it time yet? If not – when WILL it be time?

TFP is looking at noon next Friday, to be honest, oh powers that be.

TFP out.

 

The Fairy Princess has been watching these Presidential Debates like

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She has also been directing a show, teaching a class, and getting ready to appear in a show at Feinstein’s/54 Below THIS COMING FRIDAY NIGHT at 11:30 PM called MUSE MATCH – where they take a composer, match them with a singer and have a night of original songs. TFP is working with Andrew David Sotomayer, who has written a great, thoughtful number, and all the proceeds are to go to a charity that deals with the gun violence.

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She will fully admit that the ONLY way she is getting through to Election Day is watching Randy Rainbow videos and hugging small children.

Amazing.

Can he get a medal for these? He should totally get a medal for these for cultural contribution at times of extreme stress.

Speaking of the Arts in terms of extreme stress – how about asking kids and their parents to pay for being in a school play?

Yes. Harford County, once again, has reiterated that to participate in school plays, the Parents must pay a fee of $100 in order to do so. To play sports, the students/Parents must also pay $100.

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In fact, the school board hopes that they can get 500 kids to participate in their plays so that they can then pay for the Swim Team!

Now, just paying the fee does not guarantee a role, nor does it guarantee that any coach will play the child on the team or in the pool. Nor should any parent pay ahead of time, because on the off chance you paid, should your child not be ‘chosen’, you will not get a refund.

What does it guarantee?

Nothing except that the school in some small way makes up for it’s incompetent administration of the school budget which is collected from tax payers – and which ‘used to’ be enough, but is no longer enough to fund extra-curricular activities.

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Again – this is the Arts and Physical Activity we are talking about. This concerns the health, happiness, and well being of the children who are forced to attend in this County because this is where they live.

Now, picture yourself either a single parent, or a family on a strict budget. You would like your child to participate in an after school activity, in part, because it would give them something to do after school, and keep them in an academic adjacent setting.

In other words, they would be safe after school.

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Parents no longer all get an option of running to meet the bus the minute it stops and ushering the kids home to cookies and milk. Most Parents have to work. Most school districts realize that, and after school activities are, in part, to develop life-long habits based on physical activity and the Arts, but ultimately to keep kids actively engaged in a positive way.

Because kids without focus can get into trouble – and that is not just stats and studies, that is personal observation from where TFP grew up – which was a very nice Upper Middle Class suburb in New York.

 Any ‘kid’ who is bored, who is unsupervised even peripherally by an adult, is likely to get into harmful situations.

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(Photo Credit – Howard Sherman)

The kids who do not have an activity after school that is supervised by an adult, have more than enough time to learn how to be rude, be aggressive to one another and to any adults that happen in their way, and frankly – they do not learn to contribute to anything. They learn how to be selfish, because they only have themselves to consider.

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When you are in a play, or on a team – and TFP has been participants in both kinds of activities – you learn how to work with others. You learn how to think both as an individual, and to how to contribute to the end result as a whole.

Plays and Musicals are generally not dependent upon one individual, it takes a village – building sets, costumes, setting lights, learning lines, learning staging – none of that happens in a vacuum.

Sports is similar – you can be an outstanding individual player – but that may be in only one position – you cannot play every spot at every time.

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One develops not only your ‘outside’ interests in these activities, but they contribute to mental happiness and happier students perform better in schools.

Penalizing the kids because the Adults that are ‘in charge’ are not able to handle the job that they accepted to do, is the wrong attitude.

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Now the School Board will start yelling about Unions and Insurance and Overtime and Electric Bills, New Uniforms…all valid points.

All valid points – but a more valid point is – what is the end goal?

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Education.

Education is the end goal.

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Engaged kids perform better – test scores go up. Do not all High Schools and Middle Schools have to maintain a test score standard upon which Federal Funds are granted to them? So if you take away activities that foster individual achievement and goals, which lead to better test scores, aren’t you sinking the academic ship here as well as the after school activities?

Obviously the School Board in this case did not participate on teams or in plays to understand what is actually at stake here – what is at stake are human beings.

Human beings whose minds and bodies could remain closed simply because their Parents have financial strictures in place that cannot accommodate an extra few hundred dollars.

To attempt to make money for the district on the backs of the Artsy kids so that you can pay for the Swim Team to keep the pool open, seems ludicrous.

It seems small minded and honestly – perhaps the School Board should stop penalizing the children who want to participate and their parents – stop looking at them as a ticket to fix budget shortfall and instead get a competent accountant in there to figure out this mess they have gotten themselves into.

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For choosing to try and make money on the backs of kids, instead of giving those same backs wings so that they can fly into their future – TFP fines the Harford County School Board in Maryland $100 and 100 whacks with the wand – that $100 is their ‘participation fee’ for being idiots.

If you cannot administrate – get someone in there who can and fix this issue.

Your job is not to be the keepers of access to education – it is to PROVIDE education that the tax payers have already paid and voted on.

Do your jobs!

TFP encourages people in the Arts and in Sports and Human Beings in general to go to website of the Harford County School Board and write to the School Board.

Particularly if you are a voter in Harford County, MD.

(Which is looking way less fun than Harper Valley, PTA right now!)

TFP out.

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The Fairy Princess hates when things go down over a Holiday weekend – in this case, LABOR DAY.

Like, CAN WE NOT HAVE ONE DAMN HOLIDAY WHERE SHE DOES NOT HAVE TO OPEN UP TWITTER OR SOMETHING AND SEE PEOPLE OVERTLY PRACTICING RACISM IN THE CREATIVE ARTS?

Apparently not.

Vera, your thoughts?

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This will be quick, because TFP wants to take her kid to the Children’s Museum…but here it goes – recently the show that has likely run the longest in San Francisco – a city known for it’s diversity and open minded attitude – Beach Blanket Babylon – posted a casting notice on their website that was, let’s face it, pretty awful.

They have taken it down, but here is a screen shot:14237770_10153647760981567_3227100291063088177_n

TFP was thinking lots of thoughts….

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She tweeted them – hey, it was a HOLIDAY WEEKEND!!!!!

There was also an article by YOMYOMF

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and Tweets sent by a number of API Activists, like for example, the written word warrior, Jeff Yang…

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Thus after much furious social media backlash, Beach Blanket Babylon has taken down their casting notice and apologized.

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Here’s the thing – ok fine, all well and good you apologized but there are a few salient points:

  1. How long was that casting notice up there, and how badly did it make actors who wanted to audition, who were not Caucasian feel?

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  1. Never crossed anyone’s mind that stating preference by skin tone is wrong? Your Graphic Designer said nothing? Your Web Person? Artistic Director?  You find nothing wrong with asking the “magical People of Color’ to be twenty times better just to get your notice? NO ONE THOUGHT THIS WAS SUSPECT?

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  1. Though BBB is not an AEA house, there is what we call in the performing arts – and in every other business (Looking at you, Wells Fargo) – a thing called ‘Standards and Practices‘ – meaning, there is a need to adhere to the current industry standard of advertising for roles.

Yes, if the character is African American, or Asian, or Latina, you may say that the character has that background – but you may not- because after all, AEA is a Union, (remember it was Labor Day ) Unions are not allowed to practice discrimination based on race or religion, disability, or gender – and as AEA sets the Industry standard for theater – BBB should adhere to that example.

Been running over 40 years? It’s time to join the world of 2016.

Also, where are the ASIAN AMERICANS IN THE CAST?

In SAN FRANCISCO? Seriously, what is the implication here – you cover Pop Culture and APIS are not a part of it?

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Have you tuned in on ABC at all?

FRESH OFF THE BOAT? DR. KEN?

Ring any bells?

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Here is the other thing that has TFP scratching her head – there are 5 PoC in the current cast of BBB – how the heck do you think this whole thing makes them feel?

Presumably management likes them, presumably they auditioned and felt great about getting cast..how do you think hearing that one of the reasons they got their job is because they could ‘pass’ is going to make them feel?

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Let’s just keep it real for a second, BBB – yes, you apologized – but you did not actually think about what you did – you knee jerk apologized and you are going to try and turn it around on all the folks who read it and say yes, you didn’t realize, and you were trying to be funny.

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You were trying to be funny about basing qualifications on skin tone, and not on talent.

You were trying to be funny about racism practiced openly and without shame.

What you did was invoke the worst kind of privilege – the kind where the Creative people judge Performers of Color based on looks FIRST, before their talent will be considered.

TFP does not buy this fauxpology.

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The show started in 1974, if you have not changed your attitudes to Performers of Color and Ability since then, perhaps it is time to leave the beach?

San Francisco, the dynamic city in which you live – in which you probably take a walk through Chinatown regularly, order out Indian Food, go down and sample chocolate brought to you by Italian Immigrants, the city that fought so hard for LGBT rights…San Fran does not need this sh*t.

San Francisco is better than what you did with your casting notice.

You took it down, but did you learn anything?

TFP hopes so, she really hopes so.

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Because…Beach Blanket Babylon also has a cast running in London.

So what is going on across the pond? Same thing?

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TFP wonders.

For abject stupidity and racism written down where everyone could see it – TFP fines Beach Blanket Babylon 50 whacks with the wand – grow up and realize that your sense of humor is dated.  We don’t tell Performers of Color that they have to enter through the back door and they need to use separate bathrooms in 2016 – or have you not checked out the winners at The TONYS this past year?

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Check yourself before you wreck yourself, BBB – because you are on your way to making yourselves obsolete.

TFP out.

The Fairy Princess has, let’s face it, been very active in writing about productions of THE MIKADO in the past.

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What’s THE MIKADO, you ask?

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It is an Operetta written by Gilbert and Sullivan, and, frankly, it has some of their most lilting melodies and lampooning of British mores that they ever wrote.

It is also set in Japan.

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Which, as it has turned out over the years, has led to a whole HEAP of problems with yellow face portrayals, racist stereotypes run amok, and general ill will from Asian Americans at large, and Asian American Performers specifically.

After all, it’s great that you love us and all – but stop trying to skin us and wear us like a coat.

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One might even say, that because THE MIKADO has so frequently been performed by both amateur groups and professional rep companies with the aforementioned issues – Asian American performers have stayed well away from being involved in any production of it.

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The exception being of course, the Doris Baizley/Ken Narasaki play “The Mikado Project’, which later turned into a film directed by Chil Kong, which stars, among others – Tamlyn Tomita and Rizwan Manji.

After the furor that was let loose last year, on NY Gilbert and Sullivan Players by both TFP and other bloggers and activists, their production was cancelled – they said they needed another year to work on their concept, and wouldn’t you know…it has been a year!

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TFP was told by a friend who was at the callbacks (which, for non-theater folks is, essentially, those who have made it to the second or third round of auditioning) that everyone coming in was VERY diverse.

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After speaking with someone associated with the Production upcoming, TFP can confirm that YES, they will be having a diverse, multi-racial MIKADO, however, they would like to have more Asian Americans come in and audition.

NYGASP is actively pursuing diversity in recruiting new company members“.

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Likely because of past issues with this particular show,  few APIs came in to audition – which impacts casting -and will lead to, again, anger and disbelief and listen…no one wants to write another blog on THE MIKADO and ask the question of WHY WHY WHY don’t they have more APIs in the cast in a show that is set in Japan – even if it is a mythical Japan.

(BTW, the concept of how they are going to deal with the whole ‘mythical Japan‘ was run by TFP, and it sounds very much in the spirit of G&S, and smart, just in talking through it – TFP is ‘with” NYGASP on this concept – and that is a sentence she never thought she would write !)

The issues are a few with the need for more APIs singing the Gilbert and Sullivan canon –

  1. The Singer must sing classically – no ‘pop/rock’
  2. The Singer must audition w/appropriate songs
  3. The Singer is actually auditioning for a spot in the repertory company of NYGASP, not limited to just a spot in this current MIKADO.

Take a look at number 3 – APIs are actually auditioning for a spot in the Company.

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Which means, next time they do IOLANTHE, or PIRATES OF PENZANCE (Which, is TFP‘s favorite), or RUDDIGORE – there are likely to be APIs in the cast, as they make it a point to use members of the Repertory company.

Which means, times are changing! Where New York City leads, others will follow – and it is great to know that positive things CAN happen.

Which means that the concept of Asian Americans playing Asian characters on stages in New York City and beyond, is happening.

Which means, Asian Americans will actually be able to relax a bit and not have that instant reaction that often accompanies the announcement of a MIKADO production.

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So listen Kids, NYGASP is having another day for MIKADO auditions and it is THIS COMING FRIDAY.

SEPTEMBER 2, 2016

Now, NYGASP does NOT use an independent Casting Professional for their shows – they announce auditions and people submit themselves for a time. That is the way it has always been, and that is the way it will continue to be.

Do not take it as a ‘diss – it’s not.

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Singers who have classically sounding voices and backgrounds, you must contact them at  auditions@ngyasp.org in order to submit yourself.

They want:

ONE verse of ONE Song, in English – preferably from the G&S canon, but not required.

Accompanist provided.

Photo and Resume.

NYGASP has a special agreement with AEA Assoc, however the Company auditions both Union and Non-Union Members by appointment only. All AEA Members who request an audition will get one.

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Look, Asian American Singers of Classical Background – this is YOUR shot – there was nothing like this when TFP graduated from CMU, that she will swear to.

This is an opportunity that has been hard won by folks you will likely never even meet. So many API journalists and bloggers and activists have worked on and at this issue for YEARS – do not throw it away by not attending this call.

Did TFP help tear down this castle of a production that was NYGASP’s last vision of THE MIKADO?

She did.

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Is she willing to help get the word out now and help rebuild the flying buttresses of operetta?

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She is.

But, as the song goes from CHICAGOI simply can not do it alone‘.

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Please submit yourself and go in and sing your damn face off. Even if you cannot for schedule reasons do this particular production – Brian Stokes Mitchell it.

Make them hear you.

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Otherwise, when we see a ‘typical’ MIKADO come the Fall, we will have no one to blame but ourselves.

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They have taken the notes – they have API Consultants and Creatives behind the table, they have a new set design and so on – it is now up to us.

You wanted representation on those stages – brush off your vocalizes and go and represent.

TFP out.

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The Fairy Princess is enjoying her summer – she has done several workshops (NOT LABS) and has another one coming up for a musical she has seen through 2 years of development called I SPY A SPY, which is pretty brilliant (Contact Producer Eric Krebs if you are interested in investing), and her kid is in this new short film, BALANCING ACT

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as part of the YOMYOMF short film competition.

The interesting part of the film competition for TFP is that the dialogue was four lines written by David Henry Hwang, who is also having a pretty good couple of months – his new play, “Soft Power” is premiering at CTG in Los Angeles, AND…there is an AND…he was named the chair of the American Theater Wing!

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Wait – there is MORE good stuff of note for the API Theatrical Community – we have EJ Zimmerman holding down as an alternate Eponine in Les Miserables, Ali Ewoldt as Christine in Phantom of the Opera, Aaron J. Albano and Gina Pazcoguin in CATS for the foreseable future, Jenna Ushkowitz coming in to replace Kimiko Glenn in WAITRESS, Ari Afsar is playing Eliza in the Chicago cast of HAMILTON…little Isabella Russo holding it down at SCHOOL OF ROCK along with Jaygee Macapuguay who plays her Mom…and our stalwarts at ALADDINAdam Jacobs and Courtney Reed.

That makes it 10!

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Out of 29 Broadway shows currently running.

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The incoming Broadway season looks to be brought to you by Clorox –  even shows that would seemingly incorporate diversity – you know, ones that have international story lines about planes landing in a small town during 9/11, do not include APIs in the cast.

Guess Asians and Asian Americans don’t take planes.

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HAMILTON did not fix anything in terms of casting. It’s an amazing show, but it is a one off, and we all have to realize that essentially, while last year was a great season, this next one coming up…kinda not.

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TFP attended the Opening Night of the Asian American International Film Festival last  night in New York City, and the whole film festival is devoted to opening people’s minds and eyes to ‘see’ API people and their stories – and TFP suggests you check out their roster of films.

THE OPPOSITE OF A FAIRY TALE, which is about Elder Abuse will play Sat night at 8pm.

You should totally try and go see some of the films and their API faces and varying points of view, because you are not going to see too many on The Broadway any time soon.

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Anyway, into the fray of the unbearable whiteness of theater comes another entry – and this one is definitely taking their cue from Hollywood and it is…wait for it…PRINCE OF EGYPT.

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Now, this is a Dreamworks concert project based on one of their Animated films from years past, and it is being made free to the good people of Sag Harbor, NY. by Artistic Director Scott Schwartz of the Bay Street Theater.

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He is the son of TONY Winning composer, Stephen Schwartz. Stephen Schwartz wrote the songs for the film and some other shows you may have heard tell of like, oh…WICKED and GODSPELL and PIPPIN.

It is part of their stage reading series, and ostensibly, they hope to present it free to the public in Mashashimuet Park both for their enjoyment and for the Producers to see if the show has the legs they think it has. Truthfully, TFP thinks more Producers should do this – have large public presentations and see if shows ‘work’ sans multi-million dollar sets – more often. It would probably save a lot of money. And sequins.

However here is the issue. The show takes place in Egypt.

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Egypt is in Northern Africa. It is super close to Saudi Arabia. It has one boarder on the Mediterranean Sea. It had port cities for trading, and was not far from Greece, not even that far from Italy.

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THE PRINCE OF EGYPT is the story of Moses and how he began life as a pampered Prince of Egyptian nobility which he was adopted into and who led the Jewish slaves out of Egypt as an adult.

This show takes place in the time of Ramses the Great. Ramses was born in or about 1305 B.C. and died in or about 1213 B.C.  This is an Artist rendering from the time of Ramses.

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There are many, many theories about what race Ancient Egypt was –  TFP is not going to break it down except to say – they have tested a lot of Mummies, and there is DNA evidence of origins in North Africa and then, as one proceeds onwards in time, after invasions and such, more diversity in the DNA that includes other races as we classify them today.

Here is an example of Ancient Egyptian artwork that was found in a tomb to carry the pharaoh to the next life, you can see there are a variety of skin tones – which is not surprising. Port cities tend to have diversity, and Egypt if you look at the map above, was really quite close to many countries all of which would have had a variety of shades of people.

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In general, while there is HUGE debate over what ‘race’ Ancient Egyptians were, specifically – it is safe to say that they were “People of Color”, with all the range of skin tones and features that roots in Northern Africa and a general diaspora that included trade with foreign peoples, would lend itself to.

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None of the information listed above is surprising if one has, at all, studied, even casually, the history of Egypt.

What is surprising is that the cast of THE PRINCE OF EGYPT  for this concert   appears as though it was cast in the 1800’s. It embodies a Eurocentric vision of what Ancient Egypt was – which encompassed the  incredulity that People of Color would have their own nation with their own rulers- their own Kings and Queens.

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This view also had with it the refusal to believe that those ruling People of Color would enslave lighter skinned people to help them build pyramids and so on.

Left to right in the following roles – Casey Cott as Moses, Stark Sands as Ramses, Shuler Hensley at Pharoh Seti, Solea Pfeiffer as Tzipporah, and Marin Mazzie as Queen Tuya.

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This does not seem to, other than Solea Pfeiffer, to embrace anything other than the Hollywood status quo – which is that Egyptian means Caucasian when it is casting lead roles.

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That this is happening post HAMILTON and in light of all the recent troubles that have plagued the nation – Orlando, Philandro Castile, Alton Sterling, the Policemen shot in the line of duty both in Dallas, Texas and in Baton Rouge, the most recent debacle of shooting behavioral therapist, Charles Kinsey while he was with an autistic patient – it seems, how shall TFP put it?

Insensitive to the current climate of our Nation.

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To be fair, the last time, in 2015 that Bay Street produced a concert version of this piece, they did use TONY Nominee, Norm Lewis and TONY Winner, Patina Miller.

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TFP is not entirely sure what happened with this new concert – perhaps it was due to schedules or friendships… or that there are no People of Color with amazing voices available to come out to Long Island and sing a concert in the middle of the summer for some rehearsals and one performance…

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We will likely never know.

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Here is the real problem with things like what is going to go down in Sag Harbor – let’s put it in national context.

Sag Harbor, in the summer, is pretty much the dwelling place of ‘the 1 per cent’ – aka, rich people. Now, some will argue that year round residents are not all rolling on their beds awash in hundred dollar bills, and there is some truth to that – but not in the summer.

In the summer, there are high end rentals and there is a lot of money floating around – if TFP had a show that she wanted to go to Broadway, what better way to find investors than ‘give it away’ in the park for a bunch of millionaires sitting on blankets drinking wine?

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It is a genius strategy.

However – they are taking the story of two ethnic groups – Jewish and Ancient Egyptian which had Northern African roots,

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and they are whitewashing the ethnicity out of the story.

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When, in point of fact, we need MORE representations of diversity on our stages than ever before – people need to acknowledge that America is not a one raced nation. We are a melting pot- we do not need walls, we need understanding. We need more conversations about how we train people in high stress positions and we need to openly talk about racism both within America at large and then within smaller ethnic groups.

We also need to reach people who favor an Orange faced racist for President, and remind them that the world does not all look like Sag Harbor in the summer.

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Theater is supposed to enlighten as well as entertain. Removing ethnic faces from ethnic stories is not what is going to help America stay on track as a world power – it is going to deepen the divide.

Plus, these are educated people – don’t we think one or two or twenty is going to do a double take when the leads walk out?

Give the crowd some credit – these are the people that buy HAMILTON tickets! Like, they pay ridiculous amounts to a ticket broker without batting an eye, they don’t have friends in the cast that can get them house seats!

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TFP really likes Stephen Schwartz, she would probably like his son if she met him, and she  very much likes Sag Harbor spent many, many hours of her youth  there- but this casting announcement leaves her with a bad taste in her mouth.

Which btw, is NOT a reflection on the performers themselves – they did not cast themselves and they are all brilliantly talented – but, as one FB friend pointed out – didn’t we all skip on the feature film, GODS OF EGYPT because they did the very same thing?

This simply shows that what we all celebrated – the diversity of last season’s Broadway – did not trickle down whatsoever.

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Trickle down did not work – again.

No, we cannot ‘solve’ the various theories on what happened in Ancient Egypt to any one ‘expert’ opinion – however we could decide as a friggin’ theater community to have “Hamilton-esque” casting on shows that have their roots in countries other than Europe!

Otherwise what are all these damn panels on diversity and inclusion for?

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So the theater companies can all come and apologize AFTER they have done EXACTLY what they wanted to do, but they are annoyed ‘we’ called them on their blindness to diversity?

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WHEN IS EVERYONE GOING TO JUST START DOING WHAT THEY HAVE SAID THEY ARE INTERESTED IN DOING?

WHEN?

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For whitewashing Egypt – TFP fines The Bay Street Theater  50 whacks of the wand – while we were not in the ‘room where it happened‘, from this casting, we can see what may not be happening at all.

And KISS MY FAN TAN FANNIE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even The Fairy Princess gets tired, kids.

This is, not even kidding – the third blog in a day and a half, and quite frankly here is what you need to know – Marvel Comics Film Division is not going to cast Asian Americans – ever.

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The news came down today that the character of Ganke Lee is going to be in the upcoming film Spider-man Homecoming.

Ganke Lee?

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Yeah, the BFF of Miles Morales!

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Oh – catch up Buttercup – Miles Morales is the ‘new’ Spider-man now that Peter Parker is dead. He too was bitten by a radioactive spider, but check it – it was IN GANKE’S KOREAN AMERICAN HOUSE!

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So anyway, Ganke Lee quickly gets on the computer and does research and finds out that the now dead Spider-man was ALSO bitten by a spider and thus…the legend continues. Hurling Miles Morales into the malestrom that is the latest incarnation of Spider-man.

Honestly, it’s a great idea.

Because here is Miles Morales…

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and here is his BFF, Ganke Lee

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Now they are casting the major motion picture and here is a list from Unreality Mag giving you their top 10 of who should play Miles in an eventual film- NOT this Homecoming film, Peter Parker is somehow not dead, so Spider-man is still Caucasian.

Which is a shame, TFP would rather see Miles.

TFP is a fan of Jacob Anderson, because she loves Game of Thrones, but who knows who it will be?  The good part is, no one is saying that Miles will be cast in any way that would go against the very real triumph of having a Person of Color become a Marvel Superhero.

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So no, we do not know who is playing Miles yet. We don’t even know if Miles is getting a film any time soon. However because of the way Marvel has folded one incarnation of Spider-man into another- in a redonk cross pollination, Peter Parker lives and gets Miles’ BFF.

Again- don’t know who is playing Miles or when that will happen, but in 2017 there will be a new film released.

As of today, we know who is playing Ganke Lee.

This guy:

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This is Michael Barbieri, and he is going to play Ganke Lee – although the character will no longer have the surname Lee.

Because that would be too hard to deny.

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Now, the character will have the ‘characteristics’ of Ganke – the BFF relentless enthusiasm and support, but he will not be Asian American. If you are up for a read, Inverse does a great job of saying why this is not ok.

Several years ago…this would not have caused an eye blink – because America did not have a joyful, funny, husky child actor of Asian descent on television who could do anything like bring a giant audience with him to enhance the allure of this film, that we knew of.

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Now, there’s Hudson Yang from ABC’s HIT TV SHOWFresh Off The Boat.

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Which is so popular, it is making history by being renewed for a third season.

Now, Hudson is a bit younger than the Ganke character, so one can see if they wanted to do any of the icky kissing type things, that they might want to go older.

However that is an easy fix.

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They could have run out and done a Casting session or two to find the right kid to play Ganke Lee at the age he is written. 

Asian American teens are not something that America is running out of anytime soon – and with Hudson’s success, more Parents may be willing to take their kid on that audition.

Which is how Hudson was ‘found’ – FOTB is one of the first auditions he went on.

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Needless to say, this is pretty damn stupid – so much of whitewashing comes down to personal preference of the Director and Producers, and what MARVEL is telling us – yet again, is that they do not ‘see’ Asian Americans in their franchises…ever.

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Like never, ever, ever kind of ever.

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Honestly, APIs need to stop buying comic books unless they are written by Greg Pak!

TFP is tired.

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Three blog pieces in a day and a half about stupidity based on the inability to see Asian Americans as part of America – as a real, moneymaking, vital part of America – when every DAY you can look up an article on us and all our disposable income?

C’mon.

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Skip this movie, Folks.

Don’t go.

Not just ‘Asian Americans don’t go” – everyone don’t go.

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Because this is some Trump-like movie making going on, and we do not have to buy tickets to watch our own erasure from popular culture, we don’t.

Oh and MARVEL Casting?

Watching you try to pointedly and repeatedly erase Asian faces from cinema is damn exhausting. The relentless justifications makes TFP want to take a Silkwood shower.

TFB fines you 150 whacks of the wand for this unbelievably stupid addition to your history of whitewashing.

We have ALL had enough already! 

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TFP out.

 

 

The Fairy Princess was feeling ok about her last blog – which was published this morning, and she thought she had, like a hot second of respite from the abject foolishness that is show business.

She was wrong.

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According to an article in The Guardian, screenwriter David Franzoni, who wrote the blockbuster film, GLADIATOR which starred Russell Crowe – and which, btw, though not historically accurate, was an enjoyable film – has a new project.

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The subject of the new film is the 13th century poet Jalaluddin al-Rumi.

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Rumi was a Persian poet, born in what today is known as Afghanistan.  He was an Islamic scholar and a Sufi mystic. His writing has been translated and appreciated the world over since the 13th century! Go on with your bad self, Rumi!

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Rumi believed in the the use of poetry, music, and dance as a path for reaching God.

Let’s look at some Rumi quotes in case you are unfamiliar with his writing.

“Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes around in another form.”

“Dance, when you’re broken open. Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you’re perfectly free.”

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”

“When I am with you, we stay up all night. When you’re not here, I can’t go to sleep. Praise God for those two insomnias! And the difference between them.”

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

Sounds like a great guy!

Does Rumi merit a biopic?

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Absolutely – this is a great choice for a biopic. Rumi was a spiritual man who was both scholar and artist and his life has touched millions of people since the 13th Century. He escaped the Mongol invasion, traveled widely, and finally settled in Turkey, where he passed from old age.

Two of his works, the Masnavi and the Divan, are considered among the best poetry ever written, so yeah, of course – give this man’s story the full Hollywood treatment – especially now, when we could all benefit from the story of this Sufi teacher – a man of peace and love, who meets the fellow with whom he has conversations that change both his life and his poetry.

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This should be a win!

This should be more than a win, this should be a happy dance kind of time!

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Rather specifically, it should be a Sufi swirling dance kind of time!

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But it’s not.

Sadly, screenwriter Franzoni and producer, Stephen Joel Brown definitely want to give Rumi the full ‘Hollywood’ treatment.

They want Leonardo DiCaprio to play Rumi.

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They would also like Robert Downey Jr. to play Shams of Tabriz.

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Who was an Iranian Muslim.

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 They want to, in full Hollywood tradition – erase the Middle Eastern roots of the men whose stories they want, so desperately, to tell!

This is what they say in The Guardian article:

“David Franzoni, who wrote the script for the 2000 blockbuster Gladiator, and Stephen Joel Brown, a producer on the Rumi film, said they wanted to challenge the stereotypical portrayal of Muslim characters in western cinema by charting the life of the great Sufi scholar.”

They want to challenge the stereotypical portrayal of Muslim characters in Western cinema, by having two stars of Western cinema who have no ethnic ties to the Middle East play the roles.

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Well, that is pretty stereotypical – hate to break that to you, Mr. Franzoni.

It’s whitewashing.

It’s the erasure of ethnic people in the stories of their own lives.

It is the essence of what TFP always likes to say:

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Oh sure, they ‘love’ the Rumi story. They ‘love’ it as source material.

What they are failing to ‘love’ is the very real point that these two men are ethnic men.

What they are failing to realize is that in 13th Century Afghanistan, as men who were religious scholars, their heritage both religious and ethnic played a vital part in their lives and influenced how they came to their work – work which is still selling, hundreds of years later!

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Look, this film is not even written yet, the writer and producer are on their way to do research – and no, the two actors mentioned are not attached in any way – one hopes they would be too intelligent and too aware to agree to star in a film that is supposed to be about two men with Persian heritage.

If not, someone for the love of all that is holy please go and whisper these two titles in their ears “PRINCE OF PERSIA” and “GODS OF EGYPT” – should wake them up like a kimchi slap in late August.

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This is the same issue that happened when the writer for Dr. Strange decided to give us all a lecture on the vagaries of casting an East Asian Actor, as he saw it – for which Marvel later smacked him with a wet noodle and made him apologize for – these writers do not see ethnic peoples as anything but source material for the basis of a script in which Caucasians will star.

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This is a very real problem that is enabled by the entire way Hollywood writes and casts films.

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It is a problem of entitlement. It is fueled by past successes and enormous egos, and there needs to be a reckoning.

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That these two men feel quite comfortable in saying their end goal, to tell the story of one of the world’s greatest poets, includes having him played by a man with no Persian background, all to change the stereotypes of Muslims…

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For announcing their intent to whitewash the roles of two of the most influential Muslim men who were ever born, TFP fines Mr. Franzoni and Mr. Brown to fifty whacks with the wand and a WGA diversity training session, which they are to be locked in like it’s a Scientology debriefing until they ‘get it’.

Seriously, Dudes…think about it – GODS OF EGYPT and PRINCE OF PERSIA, but you want to do the same damn thing…

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TFP out.

The Fairy Princess has been out of sorts lately – several deaths in the Family in a short period of time, some travel, some charity work – and therefore has not weighed in as yet since The Ancient One was crowned Celtic by Marvel.

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Which is not to say she has not been paying attention – she has attended panels and discussions, so let’s get to it.

The Good:

Asian American Film Lab is lighting it up again with their annual 72 Hour Shoot Out. This is when contestants have 72 hours to write and produce a short film that centers around a theme. This year’s theme was “Lose the Labels’.  All eligible films have been submitted now and the top ten winning films will premiere on July 23rd at the Asian American International Film Festival in New York City.

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In more AAFL news, their short film, The Opposite of a Fairy Tale, will premiere at MOCA on Thursday June 16th at 6:30pm. The short is about elder abuse in the Asian and Asian American communities, and is based on a true story.

The Bad:

THE KING AND I revival on Broadway has posted their closing date – June 26th.

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We have to be happy to have had this sumptuous revival on Broadway, which gave us our second (ever) API Female TONY Winner in Performance, Ruthie Ann Miles…

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however with the closing of the show, the API representation on The Great WHITE Way is now being represented in leading roles for women by TONY Nominee, Philippa Soo of HAMILTON,

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Miss Isabella Russo in SCHOOL OF ROCK,

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and Courtney Reed in ALADDIN.

 

JUST ANNOUNCED Casting of Ali Ewoldt as the first API to play Christine in PHANTOM on Broadway. (The role has been played by an API previously – Margaret Ann Gates in Canada).
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TFP did not get the ‘math gene’, but in case you were wondering that is 1 plus 1 plus 1 plus 1 equals 4. (stop singing that number from SIDE SHOW!)

For MALE representation on Broadway in a lead role there is…ONE, as of June 26,2016.

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In ALADDIN.

Adam Jacobs. Here he is with his Parents.

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Yep, once KING AND I is closed, the only API Male Lead on Bway will be Mr. Jacobs.

Until MISS SAIGON gets here, we had hopes of a more Jellicle representation, but…

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We can do WAY better with that, Broadway, can’t we? Don’t give in to the perception that APIs cannot sell tickets, or that people will not go and see shows with APIs in lead roles. It’s  the ‘No Fats, Femmes, or Asians” esthetic that keeps infiltrating our ability to be called in, to be truly considered, and finally to be cast.

Broadway should be better than that. Broadway should be better than what TFP likes to call ‘accidental racism’ – the ‘OH, there just aren’t any”, or “We don’t know if they have broad appeal…”

There are a ton of shows coming in and guess what – other than MISS SAIGON, GOTTA DANCE and one cast member of CATS…there are no APIs. Feel free to email TFP if she is wrong, but judging by what is coming in…nope.

The only lead role for an API coming into the next season is Lori Tan Chinn in GOTTA DANCE. Which will bring the number of lead roles – assuming the casting announced at the top of this blog remains intact – to FIVE.

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UPDATE: Philippa Soo has announced that she is leaving the cast of HAMILTON in July- so…back to FOUR.

TFP wants to expand everyone’s idea of casting APIs, we do not have to just be in roles where ethnicity is ‘required’ – we can and should play any role that our talent justifies – and thus she throws this circumstance out there, just for your consideration.

Next season, the venerated East West Players is doing GYPSY.

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Yes, that is what TFP was told.

Now, traditionally, EWP has done what a great many ‘ethnic’ theaters do in America and has done for example, an All API Sweeney Todd – this is all well and good. However, recently AD Tim Dang, who is retiring after years and years of service, did choose to integrate his casting, particularly in their production of PIPPIN because, he believes this is the ‘next step’.

TFP is inclined to agree with him.

So when she started thinking about GYPSY and how it might be perceived, she had a thought, based on her own niece’s being blonde and blue eyed…

What if Mama Rose was Hapa? Aka ‘mixed race’. What if the father of Louise and Baby June (who is never seen) was Caucasian – thus Baby June is blonde and while Louise is a brunette, she also does not look what most people would view as Asian?

Then, all of a sudden you realize, without having to be ‘told’ about racism – you would ‘see’ why it was that Mama Rose singing to all those Shriners really did not have a ‘chance’, but why her kids would? It would also go along with many Hollywood stories – Viven Leigh, Merle Oberon…people who had Asian heritage, but who ‘passed’.

For example, just as an example – ALLEGIANCE’s Manna Nichols…as grown up Louise? TFP thinks audiences would relish this kind of reimagining of a classic MT piece.

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THINK of the EPIC and intrinsic anger that Rose’s Turn would have by the end of the show and the poignancy of Louise watching her and telling her “You would have been great, Mama.”

It would be a very interesting way to deal with APIs doing GYPSY in this day and age – and let’s be honest – Gypsy Rose Lee? LEE?

It’s just a thought.

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Back to the APIs of The Broadway – come on Producers – ALLEGIANCE is closed, KING AND I is closing – tick tock. Tick tock – we cannot just leave it to The Family Jacobs to hold it down for all of us.

Now…coincidentally, Mr. Jacob’s sister named…wait for it…Arielle, is going Down Under to play Jasmine in their production of ALADDIN and for half a second TFP needs to address some sh..some stuff going on as an Aussie.

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TFP is a dual citizen, and her family has been in Oz since the 1800’s. Her Chinese side of the family. So no, no one was transported – sit down, and let’s get to listening.

There has been quite a bit of push back in Oz about Ms. Jacob’s casting, as well as productions bringing over cast members from The States to do shows in Australia. The shows that are upsetting folks are – ALADDIN, KINKY BOOTS, BOOK OF MORMON, LION KING, HAMILTON...and everyone needs to stop moaning about it.

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You see, Aussie theater is even more closed to people of color than American or British theater – hard to believe, but it is true. The shows that are bringing over performers are not HEATHERS or MY FAIR LADY – both currently in production there – no – the shows that are bringing over performers are shows that require Actors of Color in the roles.

(* Correction: MFL does have one Brit, in the role of Henry Higgins, 3x Olivier Winner, Alex Jennings. He is Caucasian. 

The Australian Performers Union is trying to hammer out an agreement with Foreign Producers, which TFP supports without question. 

This post is not about that fight specifically- this is about reactions she has noticed on Aussie Actor message boards etc- it is not about performer visas or the ability to obtain a green card, it is about professional camaraderie.)

Whilst Oz has gotten away with ‘well we just don’t have any over here‘ for quite a long time – it was only a year or so ago they cast a Caucasian as The King in King and I, before internet uproar had them replace him with Jason Scott Lee, and then Lou Diamond Philips- that is simply not true. 

There are PoC Performers, but unless you go to Theater 4A or some such place, they are not visible.

Thus, when it comes to a visible presence on Aussie stages for Performers of Color, it is rare to non-existent. Which is why Producers often bring PoC performers from overseas.

Which led to some really ‘interesting’ comments that TFP saw on Aussie actor message boards etc.

So, my fellow Aussies – you need to stop.

Lola cannot be played by a Caucasian. Likewise The Genie, Jasmine, and so on and so forth.

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Again- this is NOT to say that there are no Actors of Color over in Oz, for example they are doing AVENUE Q over there and they do have an Asian Aussie playing Christmas Eve – which, let’s face it, is better than they did in Cincinnati!

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But the truth is, an overwhelming majority of roles in Australia, in musical theater, go to Caucasians – and it is this disparity, that leads to minority Aussie actors not having as much on their resumes and possibly less representation by agents and so forth – and the snowball effect is – if you are a big producer bringing a show over from The States or Britain, and your show requires an Actor or Actress of Color, you are going to bring someone in because they have the Broadway/West End experience of eight shows a week.

These castings are not, truly, something for Aussie Actors in Musical Theater who are NOT of minority heritage, to get upset about. Let’s also remember, than when an Aussie or NZ Actor is on Broadway – of which there have been many, no performers over here protest in the way that TFP has seen in the vice versa.

Hugh Jackman? Bring it. Hayden Tee? Sings like a boss. Kaye Tuckerman in MAMA MIA? No one blinked. There are SO many here they have their own night at 54 Below! 

US performers are fine with it.

No worries, Mate. No Worries at all.

Also note – the original story of Aladdin was added to Arabian nights later. The original story occurs in China along the Silk Road trading routes, so casting a person of East Asian descent is technically correct.

These producers are not doing anything except protecting the integrity of their show – and they have a right to do so. Relax. No, you probably will not be in HAMILTON unless you are King George, but that is called a ‘world view’ and that is something to be embraced and learned from.

In short…allow yourselves, Aussie Producers and Directors to embrace more diversity on your stages, look for local PoC Actors, but until then..if Actors of Color are coming over there to work, you need to…

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TFP now has to address a stupid thing said this past week – she will try and be brief…which, as we all know, is not her strongest suit.

So, the President of CBS Glenn Geller said, in regards to their picking up almost exclusively, shows that star mainly Caucasian males in their 40’s, 50’s, that though they have some diversity in their ensembles and shows (Madame Secretary, Mom, 2 Broke Girls) with a female leads, that “We’re not casting color-blind, we’re casting color conscious – the right roles for diversity.”

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The “Right roles’, as in…very few? As in “Supporting”? As in “Recurring?”

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The genius of this verbiage is that over the course of the years, people have stopped calling for ‘color blind’ casting – which came to mean to some, just sticking a diverse actor in a role simply to complete a picture, and they have started using ‘color conscious’. Meaning, please, if the show takes place in an area or field where there is naturally diverse people, please use variety when representing this location.

He is taking the ‘advancement’ of the language and turning it back on under-represented folks, in essence saying – Y’all would not like to be in THIS show, it’s not a place you would fit.

Like, in society? In America?

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TFP supposes it does not matter – ABC is totes kicking CBS’s tush in their casting and subject matter – take a look at this fantastic trailer from their new show, SPEECHLESS

Carry on ABC, you are kicking ass and taking names. 

The Dummer Award? Named for Exec Victoria Dummer? Acknowledging advanced ways of thinking and supporting a rainbow of talent?

Awesome! Rock on ABC!

Likewise, yay for The CW and the dope way Mark Pedowitz said he was renewing everything because he liked the schedule.

Baller.

Congrats to the TV Execs that show vision!

All the other ones Kiss My Fan Tan Fannie! They know who they are.

TFP out.

The Fairy Princess was feeling pretty good – she was in the Opening Number for the Easter Bonnet Competition for Broadway Cares/EFA – directed by T. Oliver Reed, written by Jed Resnick, and choreographed by Rommy Sandhu.

The number celebrated both the 25th Anniversary of The Will Rogers Follies AND the current Broadway season, which is rife with Diversity. TFP got to ‘play’ with Tony Award Winner, Cady Huffman, After Midnight‘s Carmen Ruby Floyd, and Hamilton’s own David DeGuzman, as well as all the beautiful dancers in cowboy hats, tap shoes, and chaps – it was a blast!

That was this past Monday and Tuesday and you can read all about it in Playbill.com as well as catch photos and the Sweeney Todd sketch by the company of Hamilton that made TFP simply howl with laughter both when she saw the rehearsal and during both performances.

The whole fundraising event raised over 5 Million dollars for one of TFP’s favorite charities, and thus she was filled with the spirit of good intentions – until she read the interview with screenwriter C. Robert Cargill, who worked on the yet to be released, but infamous for it’s whitewashing of The Ancient One character, Dr. Strange.

In the interview, Mr. Cargill says that casting Tilda Swinton was done, in part, to prevent China from boycotting the film, because as the world knows, China is forever trying to annex Tibet from being an independent country. Mr. Cargill said, in a nutshell, that if you consider that Tibet is a real place…

(IF?!?!)

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Continuing on…if you consider that Tibet is a real place and try and cast a Tibetan, China will not go, and the studio will lose bajillions and bajillions of dollars. Likewise if they cast a Chinese person as a Tibetan, they would lose…TFP does not know…she tried to find out Tibet’s spending habits in regards to film, but it is not popping up. However, for argument’s sake, let’s say a few million at least.

Thus he and the director had to make the character of The Ancient One a white woman from a Tibetan male.

Because…CHINA.

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Thank you so much C. Robert Cargill for your analysis of the situation, but you are talking out of your ass.

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Realizing that C. Robert Cargill’s statements were doing more harm than good – plus which, the person they were considering was Ken Watanabe, who is Japanese, and whose casting would not have offended Chinese or Tibetan people (other than in that pesky most Asian countries have a bad history with Japan kind of way) Marvel has ventured into the whitewashing fray and released a few statements of their own, to try and contain the poop volcano that seems to be spraying them every time one of their people tries to ‘defend’ this casting.

Also, Marvel made Cargill apologize:

I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, but none that I regret as much as choosing to answer a question to which I had no place in speaking. I tried to make it right by clarifying my position on Twitter Monday but unfortunately — perhaps ironically, given that this story gained so much steam on social media — those comments were not picked up by those reporting on my statements from the original podcast. Those original statements were my own personal musings about a character, and although I worked on the film script, I came to the project after the first draft and was not part of any casting discussions or decisions so I had no right or knowledge to speak about them as if I was. It was a moronic decision, and worst of all, I embarrassed my friends and colleagues by coming across as if I were speaking for them. I was not.

(Benedict Cumberbatch has wisely not commented, he is shoring up his good PR by doing fun Shakespeare videos with Prince Charles- wise man.)

Here is what Marvel is now asking us all to believe – that the  part of The Ancient One was so rife with racism, that they could not even deal with having an Asian play an Asian – no, they had to protect us all from seeing ourselves playing ourselves – so they CHANGED The Ancient One‘s origins.

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The Ancient One now is a revolving title that somehow gets passed along and in this case, has been passed to a bald Tilda Swinton in silk pajamas, because…wait for it, the NEW AND IMPROVED ANCIENT ONE IS….

Wait for it…

CELTIC!

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Marvel has a very strong record of diversity in its casting of films and regularly departs from stereotypes and source material to bring its MCU to life. The Ancient One is a title that is not exclusively held by any one character, but rather a moniker passed down through time, and in this particular film the embodiment is Celtic. We are very proud to have the enormously talented Tilda Swinton portray this unique and complex character alongside our richly diverse cast.

Well, now TFP has to, just HAS to say something because…TFP is Asian and…wait for it – IRISH.

A.K.A. Celtic.

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So now, as an Irishwoman, TFP has to brave these stupid Marvel-less waters and protest on behalf of the erasure of Celtic tradition.

Let’s go to the photo of Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One

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First thing one notices is of course, the baldness.

One problem – Ancient Celtic women would not have shaved their heads. It was a cold climate for one, and long hair kept one warmer than not, but also, charms and spells of protection could be woven into hair – hair was sacred.

NO ANCIENT CELT WOULD SHAVE THEIR HEAD.

Perhaps you were as unaware of Ancient Celtic Female Warriors as Marvel is.

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Well, click on the link for the tale of the legendary Scottish female warrior woman, Scathach. Or the the other woman she battled against – Aife.

They may have looked a bit like Keira Knightly’s character in King Arthur in 2004, when they depicted Guinevere. Perhaps less sexy. Perhaps more.

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Or take a look at the largest legendary Warrior Queen, Boudica as played by Alex Kingston,

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Is one getting the overall picture of what an Ancient Celt would look like? Long hair?  Leather? Iron weapons? Tatoos? Possibly blue body paint? Probably used furs for warmth and some kind of homespun for clothes. Cloaks?
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Then there are the adornments. Now, as most Asian people will tell you – at the time of The Ancient One‘s original origin story – the valuable jewelry would be made of jade in varying shades, ivory (which is why we will probably have no elephants left by the time TFP‘s son grows to an adult), gold, precious or semi-precious stones, and a variety of perfumed woods.

We have all seen images of Tibetan monks and so on with prayer beads, or necklaces of some sort – no one is immune from the status of adornment.We would expect to see some sort of adornment, because Tibetan traditions include wearing forms of wealth- and again, even religious people have items that have meaning, though they might not be made from precious metals.

If the new Ancient One is Celtic – there should be  a variety of adornments made of silver or gold – armbands, torques, bracelets, amulets, pins, necklaces – in Ancient times, they were supposed to protect the wearer. One did not go to battle without them, one’s status was seen immediately when one wore them. People were buried with them, so the Gods would recognize their status in the afterlife.

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TFP failed to notice any armbands, torques, bracelets or anything Celtic adorning Ancient Tilda Swinton.

Now, it is all very well to try and whitesplain your way out of a bad casting choice –

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TFP fully expected something of this sort. However, with this new explanation, Marvel is taking the offense to a whole new level!

Now they have TFP‘s Irish up!

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First they co-opted Tibet, then they took the Asian face out of Tibet, then they took the contribution of Tibet away, but kept the location of Tibet, and then they put a Scottish heritaged person in there and arbitrarily announced the character was now an Ancient Celt, but stripped the character of any of the defining looks or accompanying symbols of being an Ancient Celt!

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Is anyone else exhausted?

Tilda Swinton said that when she was approached, it was not to play an Asian character. Ok Tilda, we’ll play along then, given this new information – but here is the thing – you let them whitewash the Celtic out of the character!

YOU! Who actually has Celtic heritage!

They whitewashed the Celtic out of the character of ‘The Ancient One Who Is No Longer Tibetan But Celtic’ and Tilda Swinton let them! Tilda and whoever the Costume Designer was – guess they did not get the ‘switch it to Celtic‘ memo, they were still in the Asian-adjacent train of thought.

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This is actually hilarious. TFP thought she was annoyed about this as an Asian American – guess what? She’s more frustrated as a person of Celtic descent!

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Oh Marvel – you have made this explanation crazier than a rat in a coffee can and all TFP can think is….

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Marvel – you cannot just announce that you are co-opting yet ANOTHER culture in this mess of a film and expect us all to buy it – or buy a ticket!

Ancient Celts were actual people with long history of creativity, warrior tradition, they had a culture, they had music, laws – they are not a get out of jail free card to be thrown into  this mess of a miscasting.

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Trying to excuse the casting with this explanation dishonors two traditions – Tibetan and Celtic. Let’s clarify in case you still have not gotten it – you got it wrong, TWICE.

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TFP cannot EVEN!

OMG this is amusing beyond all reasonable measure!

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See you all next week when The Ancient One somehow becomes Incan.

TFP out.