Once again, yellowface in The Mikado rears its ugly head. The New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players are defiantly producing this show in the worst way possible, with an “F– you” to the Asian American community, declaring that this production is for Gilbert and Sullivan “experts” (theatre experts need not apply, apparently) with a mostly white cast (many Asian Americans performers, some with Broadway credits, were simply not seen).
- Leah Nanako Winkler details her conversations with NYGASP, which were left on a less than satisfactory level.
- Erin Quill blogs on the last time they performed it and it was made even more racist than most ham handed dunderheads make it. Axe Coolie, fer’ Gawd’s sake….
- Howard Sherman, noted national theatre blogger, talks about this.
- Chris Peterson writes a blog at Onstage.
And gets responses. Really….interesting…responses (My sympathies, sir).
- Ming Pfeiffer blogs about this for 2amtheatre.
- The ever fabulous Melissa Hillman blogs “But I Get To Be Racist Because Art“
- And national publications, such as BroadwayWorld and the venerable Playbill are taking note.
- Reappropriate comments.
(And just note that the Revue has read the script and seen productions of The Mikado, and there’s simply not that much there that’s overtly racist; it’s all put in there by the producing companies).
Well, here’s the list of links about the original controversy (the Seattle G&S folks have yet to talk to members of the community for this one….)
(Revised to add Leah Nanako Winkler’s blog post [after all, she brought this to our attention])
The Fuse is Lit
- The original editorial from Seattle Times’ Sharon Chan: “ The yellowface of ‘The Mikado’ in your face.”
The Brew bubbles: First Reactions
- The Gilbert and Sullivan Society’s response to the editorial.
- Sharon Chan’s reaction after seeing the show: ‘The Mikado,’ yellowface and seeing the Seattle show”
- Dave Ross (a cast member) and his defense of the show (and it can only be described as dunderheaded): Seattle Times editorial columnist and Dave Ross go head-to-head over “yellow face” in “The Mikado”
The Community Reacts
- Prof. Josephine Lee’s academic underpinnings to objections to “The Mikado”
- The Revue commenting (in a rather dull fashion) on the controversy.(Sorry, but it IS about 25 minutes or so….)
- Former Mu Artistic Director, Rick Shiomi, who created a 2013 Minneapolis version of “The Mikado” without stereotypes or yellowface acting: “Making ‘The Mikado’ without Asian stereotypes”
- Westfield State University Professor Robin DiAngelo who writes about whiteness and white fragility: “What does it mean to be white?”
- Community heavyweight Jeff Yang comments on CNN: “Yellowface staging of ‘Mikado’ has to end”
- Super-heavyweight The Angry Asian Man weighs in: “Real-life yellowface! Now playing in Seattle”
- International Examiner editorial board: ” ‘The Mikado’ controversy an opportunity to create and educate”
- ReAppropriate guest post by Sean Miura: “Undoing ‘Mikado’: Japan is not an imaginary place, and I am not a metaphor”
- Bo Lim, an associate professor of Old Testament at Seattle Pacific University, used “The Mikado” to discuss about stereotypes still used in evangelical teachings in a post for the Sojourners website: “Why Evangelicals Should Care About ‘The Mikado’ Controversy If They Care About Reconciliation in the Church”
- WQRX, the New York classical music rado station, news story: ” ‘Asian blackface’ in ‘The Mikado” stirs controversy in Seattle”
The wider community makes comments
- NPR segment by Sam Sander: “Why We’ve Been Seeing More ‘Yellowface’ In Recent Months”
- NPR Codeswitch’s Kat Chow also did an online chat: “Roundtable: The Past And Present Of ‘Yellowface’ “
- MSNBC news segment by anchor Richard Lui: “Stereotypes in ‘The Mikado’ Stir Controversy in Seattle”
- Seattle Times commentary by theater critic Misha Berson: “The ‘Mikado’ controversy: A call for calm discourse”
- The Atlantic commentary by Gwynn Guilford: “It’s time to stop using ‘exoticism’ as an excuse for opera’s racism”
- Seattle’s groundlevel rag The Stranger comments by Brendan Kiley: The problem with The Mikado
- CBC Radio segment by host Stephen Quinn: “The Mikado controversy: Does opera have a race problem?”
- NBCNews.com: “Stereotypes in ‘The Mikado’ Stir Controversy in Seattle”
Sometimes, humor is the best approach
- YOMYOMF “6 Times When it’s OK for white people to don yellow face”
- The 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors explains the controversy in Yellow Face Rock.
The ultimate expression
- Erin Quill nails it, with a Little List parody and a devasting argument, that ends
The Mikado is not racist
How you do it can be racist.
The contagion spreads
- Providence Opera does The Mikado
- Petition to protest
- And Providence Opera basically tells critics to STFU
- And…..the NYGASP tells the community to STFU (new)
Seattle community follow up (where The Revue makes just one pithy comment)