Why A White Christmas (Eve) Is Nothing To Celebrate On “Avenue Q”

March 9th, 2016 § 1 comment § permalink

“In America, where we have diverse populations, even if you’re in a community theatre, I think it’s better to not do the show rather than do it in yellowface or blackface.” “The show” in question is Avenue Q, the 2004 Tony Award winning send-up of Sesame Street. The speaker is Robert Lopez, the co-conceiver, co-composer and co-lyricist (with Jeff Marx) of the musical; Lopez is also an award recipient for his work on Broadway’s The Book of Mormon and Disney’s film Frozen. Continue reading...

What Are Those Geishas Doing In Penzance?

December 23rd, 2015 § 1 comment § permalink

Oh, New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players, what are we going to do with you? It was surprising to many that you thought you could do a “classic” yellowface Mikado in New York in 2015. But you also responded pretty quickly once there was an outcry against the practice, with the first blog posts of dismay (from Leah Nanako Winkler, Erin Quill, Ming Peiffer and me) posted on Tuesday and Wednesday and the production canceled by midnight on Friday morning. You’ve promised to bring your Mikado Continue reading...

Putting On Yellowface For The Holidays With Gilbert & Sullivan & NYU

September 15th, 2015 § 13 comments § permalink

Please consider the following two statements. In a description of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado: “The location is a fictitious Japanese town.” “There are no ethnically specific roles in Gilbert and Sullivan.” The conflict between these two statements seems fairly obvious since even in a fictitious Japanese village, the residents are presumably Japanese, and that is indeed ethnically specific, even if they are endowed with nonsensical names that may have once sounded vaguely Continue reading...