Scholars Protest Madison Run of MISS SAIGON Following Cancellation of Panel Discussions In A Season That's 'A One-Two Punch to Asian Americans'

The British mega-musical written by a historically all white team is notoriously divisive amongst theatre aficionados & has sparked similar debates in other cities.

By: Mar. 29, 2019
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Scholars Protest Madison Run of MISS SAIGON Following Cancellation of Panel Discussions In A Season That's 'A One-Two Punch to Asian Americans'

Madison.com reports that following the cancellation of a moderated panel after a performance of Miss Saigon at the Overture Center, scholars and educators from the local university took to protesting outside the venue to educate theatergoers as they arrived for the show.

Many take issue with Miss Saigon due to the 'damaging stereotypes [that] persist about Asian women as property, Asian men as weak, and white, Western guys as saviors.'

Overture said in a statement to Madison.com that it hopes to reschedule the Asian American panel talk for after the show has finished its run to give "everyone ... the opportunity to see the show and be more informed about the content, which is the central focus of our anticipated discussion."

"Many actors have defended 'Miss Saigon' for the jobs it's provided for generations of Asian-American actors," Diep Tran, Editor of American Theatre, wrote in 2017. "But what kinds of jobs are these? Playing stereotypes, people who hate their skin and idolize whiteness to the point of suicide?"

The Overture Season also includes The King and I - another production which prominently is driven by the white-savior narrative and played back to back with Miss Saigon. Speaking outside the venue protestors noted that this was "a one-two punch" to Asian Americans in Madison.

The Overture Center released a statement noting "We have a misunderstanding with the people that we were collaborating with for this dialogue. It appears that we were not all on the same page as to our goals, objectives and the purpose for tonight's event."

Conversations about Miss Saigon's stereotypes are not unique to Madison, and have been prevalent during other stops along the tour, including San Francisco.



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