Sunday, 27 April 2014

Playbill King and I Poll

So I thought I wrote a very nice and respectful email to the editors of, and I was rather disappointed that they didn't even respond to me.  Disappointing, to say the least. This is what I wrote:

Dear Andrew and Andrew, 

Can I please respectfully request that you remove the non-Asian suggestions for Broadway stars to play the King on your "King and I" poll?  Namely, Paulo Szot, Michael Cerveris, Raul Esparza and Hugh Panaro.  While I respect that these are reader suggestions and they are all very exciting and talented individuals, I do think it is irresponsible for Playbill to promote these suggestions. I regularly read your website and have a lot of respect for your content, and for you to condone, encourage, and promote these very offensive, yellowface suggestions seems misaligned with the usual integrity in your reporting. 

Playbill had at this opportunity to use its brand and reputation to educate its readers in racist practices and to promote a very under-represented minority, but in this opportunity has taken a step backwards.  The world of theatre is generally a very liberal place, and thus it has surprised and disappointed me that Playbill has fallen back into a very racist and antiquated stance on equality, hearkening back to the Jonathan Pryce casting in "Miss Saigon" 25 years ago, where Asians fought so hard for the right to play ourselves.  To question you even further, if this poll had been about the character Coalhouse in "Ragtime," would you have printed these four suggestions if they were suggested by readers?  Would you implicitly say it was okay in this day and age for actors to "black up?"  If so, then this "King and I" article is in line with what you promote, but then I'm afraid I have had very wrong notions of your website.  If not, then I implore you to take down those four suggestions immediately, and ideally apologize. 

If you have any other questions or concerns, I'm happy to discuss with you further. 

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