Here's what's up, the short version. There's a new musical in the works based on the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale The Nightingale, set in feudal China... yet somehow, magically, there is just one person of Asian descent in the entire cast. Huh?
The Nightingale, from the award-winning creative team behind Spring Awakening, is a new musical "about falling in love with world." It's supposedly set in China -- at least, the casting call indicated as much -- so what's up with the peculiar lack of yellow people in this show?
Here's some of Erin's justifiably irate rant:
You are probably sensing my frustration…and if you are not, your name is probably Moises Kaufman. Now, I have read that La Jolla Playhouse is calling the casting of this show "A Rainbow." Here's the funny thing about rainbows - the color yellow is rarely in that rainbow when it falls on other shows. Also, diversity has a time and a place - it's usually an unnamed place in the future, in a multi-racial world, or set in modern times - it's not in Feudal China. Let's get one thing straight about Feudal China - diversity was never an issue.Congratulations to the one Asian American actress in the entire cast, holding it down in the imaginary musical world where mostly white people ruled China. The Nightingale, directed by Moises Kaufman, starts this week at the La Jolla Playhouse. Mr. Kaufman, you can kiss mine too.
But here - take a look at the article from Broadwayworld. It's a little perturbing to see that only Kimiko Glenn has been cast in a show set in China, Feudal China - and for those who may not have picked up on it, Kimiko is a Japanese name - I don't care, happy she is working, I'm just using it to point out - there are NO CHINESE PEOPLE IN A SHOW SET IN CHINA.
This is not, Folks, like the time a Texas Children's theater did an All Caucasian Production of HAIRSPRAY and you can claim, as they did, that they had no African Americans around to cast - this is a professional theater with a budget and access to any and every Asian American Actor in the country. It also boasts a Director of International Fame (a New York City based Director) and a Writing Team that have won TONY Awards - all they had to do was say, "Hey, this show is set in China, let's cast some Asians up in here."
OR, if you are simply going to use the concept of the fairy tale, just do not set it in China, Feudal China!