Monday, July 16, 2012

LA JOLLA PLAYHOUSE'S "PAGE TO STAGE" MUSICAL SPARKS CONTROVERSY AND DEBATE

For Immediate Release

Contact: Seema Sueko 858-761-3871
Lee Ann Kim 858-922-8383

CASTING CONTROVERSY HEATS UP AT LA JOLLA PLAYHOUSE, CRITICS ARE CALLING FOR PUBLIC APOLOGY

(July 20, 2012 San Diego, CA) -- Hundreds of community leaders, artists, and arts supporters are expected to attend a public panel on Sunday, July 22 at 3:45PM at the La Jolla Playhouse in response to the controversial casting of The Nightingale, a musical adaptation of a Hans Christian Anderson story set in feudal China. The majority of the cast is non-Asian.

The creative team behind La Jolla Playhouse’s Page To Stage production of THE NIGHTINGALE, running July 10 - August 5 in the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre (L-R): Duncan Sheik (Composer), Mois├ęs Kaufman (Director) and Steven Sater (Author and Lyricist); photo by Dana Holliday.
The casting decision, explained by the show’s director Moises Kaufman as intentional and “multi-cultural,” has drawn sharp criticism.  “This is a professional theater with a budget and access to any and every Asian American Actor in the country,” wrote Erin Quill, whose blog sparked national attention to the
issue. “There are no Chinese people in a show set in China.”

Sunday’s public panel follows a private meeting between local arts leaders and the creative team of the La Jolla Playhouse earlier this week, during which an apology from the Playhouse was requested.  Leaders of the Asian American Performers Action Coalition (AAPAC), who will be in attendance at the Sunday panel, say, “The idea that a play that takes place in feudal China can be cast with only 2 Asian American actors out of a company of 12, with the lead role of the Chinese emperor played by a white actor, is in step with a long history of appropriation and misrepresentation of Asian people that has consistently denied Asian artists a voice in shaping how they are represented.”

According to the AAPAC, 1.5% of all new roles were given to Asian American actors in the last five seasons on Broadway.

Kimiko Glenn (center) with Steve Gunderson and Matthew Patrick Davis in La Jolla Playhouse’s Page To Stage workshop production of THE NIGHTINGALE; photo by Craig Schwartz.

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