Is this irony? At the same time that Mu Performing Arts was running a show called "Yellow Face," inspired by the controversy that exploded when the producers of Miss Saigon cast a white actor in an Asian role, the Children's Theatre Company was prepping for their upcoming production of Disney's Mulan with a noticeable dirth of Asian actors.
You may have already seen the article in the Star Tribune summarizing the issue. Now, CTC and Mu Performing Arts are co-sponsoring a forum with Peter Brosius, Rick Shiomi, Randy Reyes, Faye Price, and Michelle Hensley.
I'd pay money to listen to the five of them chat, regardless of what they're talking about.
This forum will take place at CTC from 6-8 on Monday, April 5. It's free to attend, but reservations are recommended. Minnesota Public Radio's Marianne Combs will be moderating, and she has a good summary, with all the info you need, on her mprnewsq blog, "State of the Arts."
I don't know the particulars of this controversy now, but I know that my instincts that make me more sympathetic to one general side than another general side. However, I also think that these forums can be valuable to help us see all the complex considerations that go into both casting and casting mistakes. (Is it ever good to take sides based on generalities?)
If mistakes were made out of ignorance, or even a simple lack of thoughtfulness, than this type of dialogue between reasonable people (and all these people have, as far as I can tell, acted reasonably) these types of dialogue can make problems less likely in the future. If conscious choices were made for clear philosophical reasons (and that seems possible in this situation as well) than people are entitled to disagree with those reasons and, at least as far as I'm concerned, a good argument between reasonable people can also improve situations in the future. (And when I say "reasonable," I don't mean "unemotional.")
So, I'm going to this forum with an entirely open mind. I think it's an essential issue in the theater, and in the culture at large actuallyhas been for a while and still is todayand I'm very curious to hear the various perspectives that different people (with both different life experiences and different practical concerns) have on this issue.
Hope to see you there.