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KPOP Producers Issue Letter in Response to New York Times Review

KPOP Producers Issue Letter in Response to New York Times Review

KPOP is currently running at the Circle in the Square Theatre on Broadway.

In response to Jesse Green's review of KPOP from the New York Times, KPOP producers Tim Forbes and Joey Parnes have issued a response letter, requesting that Green "issue an apology to the cast and creators of [KPOP] for the insensitive and, frankly, offensive review."

Earlier this week, cast members took to social media to address Green's review, namely the critic's use of the phrase "squint-inducing lighting." The letter from producers takes issue with this as well, stating that "Mr. Green's choice of words to critique a work created primarily by API artists plays to harmful stereotypes and the historic infantilization of Asian people in media, immediately devaluing and diminishing them. Using "squint-inducing" to describe the work of a Korean lighting designer, whatever the author's intent, is a particularly egregious example."

The letter addresses several other aspects of the review, including "cultural insensitivity [and] underlying ignorance of and distaste for K-pop as a genre." According to the letter, "Mr. Green criticizes the "mostly electronic arrangements" when that is the K-pop genre; he criticizes the "minutely detailed choreography" when that is a hallmark of K-pop; he implicitly criticizes the costume design that embodies the K-pop style. That he doesn't like these elements or this genre is his prerogative as a critic, but he appears to deny their very legitimacy as part of a Broadway musical, an implicit assertion of traditional white cultural supremacy."

The full letter can be read in the Facebook post below from Tara Rubin Casting.

KPOP officially celebrated its opening night on November 27 at the Circle in the Square Theatre. Starring K-pop super star Luna as MwE, KPOP is directed by Teddy Bergman, features a book by Jason Kim; choreography by Jennifer Weber; music, lyrics, music production and arrangements by Helen Park; and music and lyrics by Max Vernon.

In addition to Luna, KPOP stars Julia Abueva, BoHyung (from the K-pop group SPICA and half of the duo KEEMBO), Major Curda, Jinwoo Jung, Jiho Kang, Amy Keum, James Kho, Marina Kondo, Eddy Lee, Joshua Lee, Jully Lee, Lina Rose Lee, Timothy H. Lee, Abraham Lim, Min (from the K-pop group Miss A), Kate Mina Lin, Aubie Merrylees, Patrick Park, Zachary Noah Piser, Kevin Woo (from the K-pop group U-KISS), and John Yi.

The exhilarating energy of a stadium concert meets the talent and passion of your favorite musical in KPOP! Packed with pulse-pounding new music and electrifying choreography, this original musical explores the relentless discipline, raw talent, and commercial ambition behind the international sensation. As global superstars put everything on the line for a special one-night-only concert, they face struggles both cultural and personal that threaten to dismantle one of the industry's hottest labels. Featuring a cast of K-pop and musical theater stars, it's a multimedia experience unlike anything else on Broadway.

Photo Credit: Evan Zimmerman and Matthew Murphy

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