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The New York Times Issues Response To Criticism Of KPOP Review

Last week, the musical's cast and producers publicly criticized Jesse Green's review of the show, which they deemed offensive in an open letter to The Times.

The New York Times has released a statement in response to the criticism of Jesse Green's review of the new Broadway musical, KPOP.

Last week, in response to Green's review, KPOP producers Tim Forbes and Joey Parnes issued a response letter, requesting that Green "issue an apology to the cast and creators of [KPOP] for the insensitive and, frankly, offensive review."

In a statement released today, the publication writes in response, "We saw the open letter written about The Times's review of KPOP and quickly convened a discussion among editors and members of our standards department. This group was in agreement that Jesse's review was fair. More importantly, we wholly disagree with the argument that Jesse's criticism is somehow racist. We always welcome feedback and reaction to our journalism, and have conveyed a similar reply to the producers who wrote the open letter."

Following the publication of Green's review, cast members took to social media to address aspects of the critic's assessment, namely the critic's use of the phrase "squint-inducing lighting." The letter from producers took 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 addressed 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.

The production, which officially celebrated its opening night on November 27 at the Circle in the Square Theatre, announced its closing earlier today, and will conclude its run on Sunday, December 11.

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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Theater Community to Gather Celebrate Asians on Broadway Photo
The theater community will gather to celebrate and uplift everyone in the Broadway community especially KPOP Broadway!

KPOP Concludes Broadway Run Today Photo
The Broadway run of KPOP sadly comes to a conclusion on December 11 at Circle in the Square Theatre.

KPOP Announces Final Performance on Broadway Photo
The producers of KPOP announced that the groundbreaking new musical will have its final Broadway performance on Sunday, December 11 at Circle in the Square Theatre.

KPOP Producers Issue Letter in Response to New York Times Review Photo
In response to Jesse Green's review of KPOP from the New York Times, the producers of KPOP 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.'


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