2022 Tonys Honors Asian American Theater Artist Advocacy Group
The Tony Awards Administration Committee has announced that they will present the 2022 Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre to five outstanding contributors to the Broadway industry including the Asian American Performers Action Coalition (AAPAC).
Asian American Performers Action Coalition’s (AAPAC) mission is to expand the perception of Asian American performers in order to increase their access to and representation on New York City’s stages. For over a decade, AAPAC has been a leader in discussions and forums on diversity with artistic institutions and the Broadway community.
Each year, AAPAC publishes The Visibility Report: Racial Representation on New York City Stages, tracking employment statistics by race on Broadway and at non-profit theater companies in New York City, going back to the 2006-07 season. What began as a search for the answer to the question, “Where are all the Asian actors in mainstream New York theater?” became a yearly documentation of the inequities baked into the theatrical eco-system.
The only publicly available report of its kind, it tallies racial breakdowns of actors, playwrights, composers, librettists, lyricists, directors, designers, and gatekeepers including producers and company managers on Broadway as well as artistic directors, general managers, and board members at the non-profits. The report provides further analysis by tracking nuances like how often actors of color were cast in roles not defined by their race, principal vs. chorus contracts, and how often white directors were hired to helm stories about marginalized groups.
Their recent report included the first in-depth analysis of racial equity in arts funding in NYC, looking at the disparity in grants from foundations and government sources given to predominantly white non-profits vs. theaters of color, as well as the economic impact of hiring inequities when it came to actual dollars earned by actors of color vs. their white counterparts. The report has been an important resource in the national conversation on diversity within the industry, raising awareness, tracking trends over time, expanding perceptions and opportunities, and helping to define the solutions needed to transform the industry to be more inclusive.
Throughout its 11 years, AAPAC has also addressed inequities head on, working in closed door sessions with institutions seeking to do better as well as leading public campaigns against exclusionary and biased hiring practices such as the Beyond Orientalism initiative against the continued use of yellow face casting around the country created in partnership with Theatre Communications Group (TCG), The Asian American Arts Alliance, the Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.
From its inception, AAPAC has sought to empower Asian American artists through community. Most recently, to address the devastating rise in Anti-Asian violence in New York City, AAPAC has partnered with IndieSpace/Indie Theater Fund, the American Theatre Wing, the Dramatists Guild Foundation and The Actors Fund to launch the AAPI Emergency Transportation Fund to help keep AAPI theater workers safe while commuting to and from work. The AAPAC Steering Committee is comprised of: Pun Bandhu, Cindy Cheung, Angel Desai, Vichet Chum, Christine Toy Johnson, Peter Kim, Julienne Hanzelka Kim, Kenneth Lee, Eileen Rivera, Nandita Shenoy & Lipica Shah.
Other 2022 Tonys winners include Broadway For All; music copyist, Emily Grishman; Feinstein’s/54 Below and United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829, IATSE.
Check out more on the Tonys at https://www.tonyawards.com/