This in the midst of continuing protests and on the eve of the musical’s return to Minnesota for the third time.
Most of the leadership at the theater is of Asian Pacific Islander descent.
From the photos posted, it appears not all roles are performed by APIs, but APIs are figured prominently and in lead roles at the theater, which is located in the Sacramento region.
It appears the cast list is set already, though the production isn’t scheduled to take the stage until April. The one unfilled role is for Kim, the lead. She’s the one who kills herself at the end — how original. It appears the musical will be the theater’s 20th anniversary production.
Says Greg Watanabe, artistic leader of 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors and a strong community activist voice, “It’s a terrible choice. I would want to connect them with those in the Vietnamese community so they can have a conversation about it. I feel like those who are protesting in Minneapolis have articulated a strong case against ever performing Miss Saigon.”
In an official statement, Jeannie Wood, Executive Director, replied to an inquiry, “Absent any emergency or catastrophe, we are moving forward with Miss Saigon. 2014 represents our 20th year, and this accomplishment is a major feat for a community theater company…. We were not aware of these controversies with Miss Saigon, and our community, as well as the Sacramento region, is really looking forward to this production. We are now mindful of the controversies. As I mentioned, we are heavily invested in Miss Saigon, with expenditures incurred that are not recoverable.”
Adds Watanabe, “I believe this is the same company that produced Teahouse of the August Moon several years ago? I don’t think they’re well versed in Asian American cultural politics.”