NEW YORK, New York (The Adobo Chronicles® ) – In response to backlash on using white actors to portray Japanese characters, the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players had just announced that their stage production of THE MIKADO, scheduled for the NYU Skirball Center for Performing Arts this December has been cancelled.
The musical, penned by librettist W.S. Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan (Pirates of Penzance, H.M.D. Pinafore) premiered at The Savoy Theatre in 1885. The play is set in the fictional Japanese town of Titipu.
Many modern-day critics and Asian American groups have called for the re-writing of the play and demanded that Asian actors play the characters in new productions. The cancellation of the New York production is regarded as a victory for political correctness in the increasing diversity of societies worldwide.
But as BroadwayWorld’s Michael Dale wrote in his column titled, “Is It Time to Rewrite THE MIKADO?” : “It’s unlikely that Gilbert had meant THE MIKADO to be taken as a serious attack on insensitive white people appropriating another culture for their own entertainment. He was more concerned with lightheartedly satirizing his countrymen’s foibles.”
THE MIKADO controversy is giving theater production groups some chills and they are being proactive in making sure that their stage productions will not be dealt with similar protests and controversy.
For starters, future productions of ‘Miss Saigon’ (where Filipino musicians have dominated the casting) will now only feature Vietnamese actors playing Vietnamese characters.
Likewise, “Les Miserables” productions will now ban non-French actors.
Political correctness gone too correct.