Target: Trip Cullman, Off Broadway Casting Director
Goal: Support the efforts of those who create opportunities for Asian American actors
Asian American actors experience limited opportunities in Broadway shows, and the shows that are on Broadway, like “Miss Saigon” and “The King and I,” convey stereotypical stories that fail to capture their viewpoint. Nevertheless, Asian American actors are making progress, not only creating roles that truly reflect themselves, but also earning roles that typically are not cast with an Asian American actor. No longer should Asian Americans settle for roles in which they force themselves to look the part, coated in makeup and weighed down by wigs.
As African American and Hispanic actors are gaining roles in America, Asian Americans are too. A show not associated with Broadway, “Here Lies Love,” has earned prestige across the globe. It is one of the few shows that has an Asian female lead, centering on the former first lady of the Philippines. Furthermore, in small, local theatres, Asian Americans are earning title roles in mainstream plays, like “Romeo and Juliet” and “Oliver.” Additionally, Asian American written plays are emerging onstage.
Asian American actors in New York have been staggeringly low at 3 percent, whereas white actors compose a dominant 79 percent. Considering the history of Asian Americans in the arts, it is no wonder why Asian American actors are low in number. Without opportunities to fill the few roles that feature Asian Americans, without the support from their families to enter the arts, and without the desire to act in a way that can be demeaning to their culture, Asian Americans need assistance to reach the top. Supporting roles have been available in Broadway for Asian Americans, but starring roles should be available for deserving Asian American actors as well. With the industry being tough for any actor, Asian Americans actors need their first big break.
Please show your appreciation for the opportunities arising for Asian American actors.
Dear Mr. Cullman,
Thank you for giving aspiring Asian American actors a fair chance to audition for roles that are not explicitly meant to be played by an Asian. I appreciate your viewpoint of having a moral and political duty of expanding the notion of who could be right for the role.
Please continue to allow Asian American actors to shine in the spotlight, so that they can drive out stereotypes and tell the history of Asian Americans.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Raymond J. Lee via AA Risings