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Riedel: Kelli O'Hara in THE KING AND I coming to the Beaumont...

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Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
Where in Carousel is Carrie referred to by race? Her race is not a factor in the musical at all.

Stop coming up with false equivilances.
sara
Swing
joined:6/9/04
The setting for Carousel was Maine in the late 1800s,just a few short years after the civil war.Do you think Julie,s best friend would have been Black in that era? Times have changed my friend.And probably no character's race was mentioned by R&H as the original story was about a group of white people.
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henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05
"I would say the King is one of the toughest roles to cast, if one is looking to find an actor who is both right for the role and culturally appropriate. I'm having a hard time thinking of any actors these days who are right for it and the correct ethnicity, even with all the suggestions on here. I'm going to be very curious to see how they cast that role."

bwayfan, perhaps you don't realize that over 1/3 the world's population is East or Southeast Asian.
The fact that you have trouble thinking of anyone for the role who is East or Southeast Asian doesn't mean there aren't a great many talented actors of that ethnicity who would be right for the role. The fact that many of us can think of only a few people for the role who are East or Southeast Asian, only goes to prove the limited exposure we have to East and Southeastern Asian actors. Which is precisely one of the reasons why it is important for East and Southeast Asian actors to get more work. Including but in no sense limited to roles which are East or Southeast Asian in works in which race and ethnicity are thematic, and certainly including a role as high profile as the King of Siam.

Updated On: 4/19/12 at 05:48 PM
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bjh2114
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joined:4/19/06
sara, personally I think you're a moron. Stop trying to make arguments out of nothing. The time period is irrelevant in Carousel. Whether or not they would have been best friends doesn't matter. Color blind casting can occur in productions where race isn't a central issue. Because race doesn't come into play in Carousel, it makes no difference whether Carrie is white, black, chartreuse, coral, or navy. Race is a very central issue in The King and I, so color blind casting isn't an option.
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jimmycurry01
Broadway Legend
joined:5/28/05
Sara, racial issues are not a central issue in Carousel, they are in The King and I, as I have already stated.

As for Yul Brynner, he was cast in the role when things were quite different. At that time the entertainment industry was still focused on the buck toothed racial stereotype of Asians. When a project called for an Asian character to be strong or important the role went to a non-asian actor. The King and I is a fine example of such an occurrence for both Brynner and Moreno, as is Katharine Hepburn's performance as Jade in Dragon Seed, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Shirley MacLaine, Rex Harrison, Marlon Brando, the list goes on. They were all made up to look like Asians and took strong Asian roles because of the racism in Hollywood. It was no different than actors wearing black face, and you seriously don't see anything wrong with that? Seriously?

When a role calls for a specific race, I think it is high time that the role be cast as such, and people should be ashamed to argue otherwise. This is not the 1950s anymore, and a lot of the mentality of the that time needs to die.
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LizzieCurry
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joined:3/7/05
The fact that many of us can think of only a few people for the role who are East or Southeast Asian, only goes to prove the limited exposure we have to East and Southeaster Asian actors. Which is precisely one of the reasons why it is important for East and Southeast Asian actors to get more work. Including but in no sense limited to roles which are East or Southeast Asian in works in which race and ethnicity are thematic, and certainly including a role as high profile as the King of Siam.

and

They were all made up to look like Asians and took strong Asian roles because of the racism in Hollywood. It was no different than actors wearing black face, and you seriously don't see anything wrong with that? Seriously?


READ THOSE. EVERYONE.

Also, you know what? I think, since this is a Broadway production and all, they may do this thing called auditions wherein actors of Asian descent may show up. And some of them may be off your radar.

"Don't patronize me, alright?" - BroadwayStar4
Updated On: 4/19/12 at 06:38 PM
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henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05
Ah, the old days
JimmyCurry's list would not be complete without Dame Flora Robson who played just about every race in the movies. From Queen Elizabeth to the Dowager Empress of China to her oscar nominated turn as Ingrid Bergman's Haitian maid Angelique in Saratoga Trunk.

And let's not forget that Brynner was born Taidje Kahn, a Russian/Swiss/Tatar-Mongolian/Jew in Siberia.... or so he claimed.


Flora in blackface
Updated On: 4/19/12 at 06:50 PM
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SondheimFan5
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joined:6/20/10
Yes, Gertie Lawrence wanted to do the show. And R&H tailered the score to her limited vocal range.
Ed_Mottershead
Broadway Legend
joined:10/20/05
I remember when in was playing -- I just didn't have any particular desire to see it.
BroadwayEd
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inlovewithjerryherman
Broadway Legend
joined:2/19/05
I would simply adore it if a complete and total unknown (unknown, at least, to the theatrical/film/tv circle) nets the King.

As if Sher would cast anyone but Kelli O'Hara in this part...he saw her for "Funny Girl", something even SHE felt she was wrong for. Nonetheless, I honestly can't think of anyone more perfect. This is far superior casting to even her star-making turn in "South Pacific". I just pray that she does not become the female Raul Esparza - doomed to forever lose the TONY to a showier or better-reviewed role.

(on a completley unrelated note, I hope Brantley writes her a massive love letter for NICE WORK - the woman deserves her TONY.)

I'm an old show queen , and I'm not even 30.
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ChenoKahn
Broadway Star
joined:6/12/11
Kelli will win a Tony at some point because her losing is due to timing. People in the industry don't seem to like Raul.
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broadwaybabytn
Broadway Star
joined:12/30/10
Honestly, for me, a black Stanley in STREETCAR is just as shocking as a white Mongkut in THE KING AND I. I know they made author approved edits to STREETCAR, I'm just trying to draw a parallel.
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bjh2114
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Kad
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It's not really a valid parallel, because Williams altered the story to suit that casting. The issue of race was changed. There is no version of The King and I where the King of Siam is instead the King of France.


It is 2012. There is no reason that Asian actors should continue to be marginalized on Broadway and it's patently ridiculous people think otherwise.
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EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Speaking of non-Asians in the past who have played Asian, I admit, only a few years back did I discover Juanita Hall was black...
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broadwaybabytn
Broadway Star
joined:12/30/10
I understand. I really don't have a valid parallel, but my point was that I would prefer for Thai characters in a racially themed piece to be played be actors and actresses who are at least of Asian descent, just as I would hope that white characters in a racially themed piece would be played be white actors and actresses.

Actually, here's an example. I would probably feel uncomfortable with an actress of Asian descent playing Anna, just as I feel uncomfortable with a white actor playing the King.
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bwayfan7000
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joined:3/28/09
"The fact that you have trouble thinking of anyone for the role who is East or Southeast Asian doesn't mean there aren't a great many talented actors of that ethnicity who would be right for the role. The fact that many of us can think of only a few people for the role who are East or Southeast Asian, only goes to prove the limited exposure we have to East and Southeastern Asian actors."

I totally agree with you, Henrik. I think it's too bad that many of these talented actors aren't on the radar, and I hope that the role is cast with someone brilliant and perfect who we may not have heard of. But I can't help but suspect they'll first look to a "name" (at least as much of a "name" as Kelli O'Hara is), and the options are, as we've established, somewhat limited if they want someone of exactly the correct ethnicity. As I said, I'm very curious to see how casting of this role pans out.
"Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos."-Stephen Sondheim
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EricMontreal22
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joined:10/31/11
I agree with Henrik's post completely as well. But I do get where some of the difficulty lies. I had a Japanese friend who actually now acts at Stratford, and she was so upset with the casting of the film of Memoirs of a Geisha--just the fact that they seemed to cast any Asian, and not typical Japanese who she insisted often looked different--going instead for bigger non Japanese stars in many cases. I mean in a way that's ridiculous (should we only cast Scandinavian actors for Norwegian characters), and I guess any progress is good, but she did make a few valid points... (though overall I admit, I didn't agree with her specificity).
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best12bars
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Watch them get someone like Jackie Chan.
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3
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Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
Hey, he does his own stunts.
vegas2
Stand-by
joined:12/5/09
Daniel Dae Kim played the King in London in 2009, at the Royal Albert Hall. I thought he did a great job.
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somethingwicked
Broadway Legend
joined:5/27/05
Much like Bart Sher conducted a global search to find the right Emile de Becque for his production of SOUTH PACIFIC, you can ensure the team involved will go to all lengths necessary to find an ethnically appropriate, significantly talented actor to play The King. It probably won't be someone you know, but it probably will be someone who's great (much like Paulo Szot.)

I know the idea's been mentioned before, but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Sher used Loretta Ables Sayre for Lady Thiang.
Tonya Pinkins: Then we had a "Lot's Wife" last June that was my personal favorite. I'm still trying to get them to let me sing it at some performance where we get to sing an excerpt that's gone.
Tony Kushner: You can sing it at my funeral.
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ljay889
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joined:8/4/04
, you can ensure the team involved will go to all lengths necessary to find an ethnically appropriate, significantly talented actor to play The King. It probably won't be someone you know, but it probably will be someone who's great (much like Paulo Szot.)

Exactly.

I can see Sayre as Thiang. But does she have upper register for it? It's not that easy of a sing. And I REALLY hope they keep 'Western People Funny.' It annoys me that the last revival cut that song and the overture!

#sadandtransparent
Updated On: 4/20/12 at 02:32 AM
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dreaming
Broadway Legend
joined:4/24/09
Ables Sayre does not have the upper register for the role and the character is supposed to be the same age as Mrs. Anna. It's a reason their characters relate so well-they both have sons who are the same age and they themselves are the same age.

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henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05
Wow, Daniel Dae Kim- interesting!

"I agree with Henrik's post completely as well. But I do get where some of the difficulty lies. I had a Japanese friend who actually now acts at Stratford, and she was so upset with the casting of the film of Memoirs of a Geisha--just the fact that they seemed to cast any Asian, and not typical Japanese who she insisted often looked different--going instead for bigger non Japanese stars in many cases. I mean in a way that's ridiculous (should we only cast Scandinavian actors for Norwegian characters), and I guess any progress is good, but she did make a few valid points... (though overall I admit, I didn't agree with her specificity)."

I also remember that some people were upset about famous non Japanese Asian actresses (Michelle Yeoh, Gong Li, Zhang Yiyi) being cast in Geisha. And while I can understand why Japanese actors might have felt that way, especially given how few roles in American movies there are for Japanese actors, I agree that its quite different than casting a white actor as The King.

Also at times objections can be more of a cultural right-for-the role nature than a "racial" one. I once suggested to an Italian friend that I thought Roberto Benigni would be wonderful as Gennaro in di Filippo's Napoli Millionaria. He immediately called my attention to the fact that Benigni is a clearly recognizable Tuscan type, (and somewhat limited to that type, not known for "range"), very much not a Neapolitan, and that to an Italian it would seem very wrong - akin to casting Fran Drescher as Blanche Du Bois (how hyperbolic the parallel was, I, not being Italian or living in Italy, am not in a position to say). He also understood how that distinction would be completely lost on me. Perhaps to a Japanese viewer, these actresses were simply wrong for Geisha because they were not believable in the roles (whether they were or not, I'm certainly not in a position to say because my ability to distinguish Japanese women from these particular Chinese and Malaysian movie stars is, at best, minimal).

"But I can't help but suspect they'll first look to a "name" (at least as much of a "name" as Kelli O'Hara is), and the options are, as we've established, somewhat limited if they want someone of exactly the correct ethnicity. As I said, I'm very curious to see how casting of this role pans out."

How much of a name was Brynner when King and I opened on Broadway Certainly not much of a name compared to Lawrence. As is clear from him winning the best FEATURED performance by an actor in a musical tony that season. Preposterous as that seems.





Updated On: 4/20/12 at 08:43 AM
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Mister Matt
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Though he may not be interested, I think Jet Li would be fascinating as the King.
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian

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