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  • Sorry for another Asian American Musical Theatre non-eq actor post but... 02/13/2018  8:38pm

    Question for all my asian musical theatre folk...Do any of you guys have experiences with certain theaters that come to NYC every year to audition where you are LITERALLY THE ONLY ASIAN IN THE ROOM and no matter how well you did you would never get a callback? I want to know which theaters to not waste my time with because it's just starting to hurt now...Plus I'd like to work if there's no theaters that would cast me that day...And also sleep...

    For example, the other day I was in a dance call where I was EASILY the best male dancer in the room (no offense to non-dancers) and of course was still not asked to sing...This happens at EVERY dance call I go to...

    Look, I understand that in order for us Asian-American actors to be taken seriously, we have to continue to show our faces at these calls, but at the end of the day if a theater won't cast you, they won't cast you...Also, I constantly get typed out anyway so if you want to make that argument...I appreciate any insight anyone has!

    Also, for the NAATCo Henry VI EPA the other day, WHY did I see a bunch of white people at this EPA? It's literally called the National Asian American Theatre Company...I'm sorry but unless you just looked at the "Henry VI" show title on the Ripley Grier board and just decided to show up that second, there is NO excuse for you to be there, period...That's all for now.



    karatemaster111 02/13/2018  9:28pm

    There is definitely racism in this industry. Thankfully, a lot of your colleagues are actively fighting this, and you can be a part! Even just your posting about this raises awareness.

    And to answer your question about why those white actors showed up -- because they are silly actors who either 1. didn't read the breakdown 2. read it, but didn't understand that that meant they weren't invited (and it's not like the monitor can say "no, you're not the right race, go home," so they stay and audition, and I PROMISE YOU that the people behind the table are like WTF?) or 3. They didn't care and just showed up because they have poor judgment. I'm sorry that happened!

    cclpiglet 02/13/2018  11:51pm

    I don’t have a list, but pick and choose. Look at the Breakdowns. Are you right for the roles? Look at the theatre websites. What are the production pictures like? Where are they located? Make your best judgements and go for it.

    Yes, you’ll be typed out often, but it’s much better than being seen and clearly not considered. At least they’re not wasting my time. Look at what else may be going on Audition wise. Do something fun/productive with your day. Take a class. Do some research at a library. Meet up with a friend. Remember your personal happiness has to come first.

    As for non Asians showing up to Asian calls. Unfortunately, it will continue to happen. I’ve been in for many a King and I where the girls dress ‘oriental’ and do crazy hair and make up to look as Asian as possible. It sucks and it’s honestly offensive. But all you can do is focus on you in those cases. Casting will know what they need. Do your best to educate friends and others when appropriate, but remember to first and foremost give the best Audition you can give. That’s what you’re in control of.

    Bwayluver 02/14/2018  9:28am

    Yeah- White guy here. I went to the Teenage Dick audition EPA last week because the breakdown didn't say asian anywhere. I wasn't alone. In fact, there weren't any Asian Americans in line when I was there. I was so excited that the guys itr reacted to my audition as if I was the most hilarious person they'd ever encountered. Now I guess they were just laughing at the ridiculousness of me being there. My bad.

    twd 02/14/2018  9:49am

    Theaters are not racist. Maybe they cut you because of your height, weight it Equity status. Stop seeing the biz as your enemy. Keep auditioning and do your thing. Talent always wins.

    CalltheBitchOut 02/14/2018  9:53am

    I'll say this, ok theaters may not be racist, but racism is so engrained in the DNA and structure our society/entertainment business/school system/(insert quite literally anything here) to a point where it is easy to look past it and see it as "well that's just the way it is, it's not racist". Maybe one reason it is so hard for POC to get these roles and to get seen is because it has been fed to us that the leading man/woman/superhero/businessman is white. I have so many friends who grew up saying they never saw someone of their ethnicity represented on TV or movies. So while a person might not be racist, society might have groomed them to see things a certain way. That does not make you a bad person, but we should all be conscious of it so we can try and start seeing things in a different light. I'm having to deal with this myself as a white person. Just a thought.

    HeyIlikefootball 02/14/2018  10:35am

    Okay, I was frustrated and tired when I made this post. I do NOT believe theaters are inherently racist and I'm always up for a debate.

    However, if anyone wants to make a blanket statement implying that there aren't representation and diversity issues in the entertainment industry as a whole, please don't post here...It just hurts too much knowing that there are still so many people that want to ignore the issue altogether because they don't see it or it doesn't affect them.

    Like every actor, they just want a shot. I understand that it's hard for every actor to get that shot, but actors of different backgrounds have different hoops to jump through, and I just wanted to see if there was anyone out their that had a few pieces of advice for someone like me. Thank you.

    karatemaster111 02/14/2018  1:17pm

    I am here for THIS!

    And also @luver- that seriously happens?? Gals trying to dress ‘oriental’? That is offensive A F and I’m sorry...

    Rain On my Parade 02/14/2018  2:25pm

    I relate to this a great deal and am glad it is being discussed. I’m just one person, but this is my take: I think it’s important for asian americans to get out there as much as they can, anywhere they can. Making our talents visible is a huge part of what we can do to push things forward. That being said, it’s a lot of energy and heartache (and I mean, that’s a general fact of the industry, though we have particular woes in certain subsets of the community) - so go out only as much as you can sustain, only as much as allows you to keep putting your best foot forward. If you have a particular theatre that has typed you out again and again, when you’re low on energy, give it a rest if you need. Be strategic about what calls will give you the most probable return on physical and emotional investment. But I’m disinclined in *most* circumstances to give up on any one theatre or CD altogether. The industry is improving one show, one theatre, one booking at a time - we are in a period of great change and upheaval. You never know what show, theatre, booking it’s gonna be. You never know if a CD or director has been wanting to cast you for years, waiting for the right time to make a more progressive hire, or if new blood or initiatives in the creative leadership of an organization will sway things your way one season. Less probable with places that have a homogenous track record, for sure. But consider, say, pioneering black american entertainers over the years who in so many cases have fought and fought and continued to show up to people that doubted them until their huge talents could no longer be denied..... In short: 1- Take care of yourself so you can continue to show your product in the best light. 2- Allowing that, keep showing up everywhere all the time. Be encouraged by those who are breaking barriers right now, because they are signs of our upward trajectory (Allie Ewoldt, Telly Leung, Constance Wu, Kimiko Glenn, Alan Yang...) At least that’s how I’m playing it, and I feel each year like I and the scene are improving.

    nemichan 02/14/2018  3:00pm

    (**addendum if you don’t know this already - but Ali Ewoldt, for example, went in several times over the course of many years for Christine before getting cast.)

    nemichan 02/14/2018  3:04pm

    asian guy here. Not sure about the musicals side, but for plays that search for asian guys (20s-30s) there are about maybe 3-4 shows a year that are looking for us specifically. You'll see the same couple of guys at callbacks, but for non-eq, self submitting works well for those.

    Theaters program seasons to attract their audiences...and audiences are old and white. So a lot of white family dramas, and then occasionally the "black show" of the season or they'll put up Disgraced or something. Taking risks is too risky for on the edge theaters (although the best regional houses are the ones putting up ballsy more diverse shows) so they bow down to the pressure of staying alive.

    Eventually you'll find the casting directors that bring you in for everything you can do (because they believe you're a good actor) and the other CDs that ONLY bring you in for asian stuff (which is pretty disheartening to be honest). My best advice is to target your auditions.

    roaringweasel 02/15/2018  3:16am

    I just want to say that this has been enlightening to read and I am sorry that this has been your experience. I wanted to point you in the direction of the wonderful Sheri Sanders, on Facebook, Instagram, etc. She is a rock/pop teacher/activist/goddess and recently posted a fantastic video regarding Caucasian actors going in for non-Caucasian roles (specifically in this case, Maria in WSS). She is actively working to raise awareness for the issue of celebrating ethnicity in casting and encouraging caucasian actors to hang back when the role is not ethnically appropriate. It may have been ten or twenty years ago, but not anymore. Anyway, check her out on Facebook!!! She is fighting for you!!

    Emsmcgee 02/15/2018  10:22am

    I'm sorry to butt in again- but I GENUINELY WANT to understand this.

    In situations such as the Teenage Dick auditions.... where there was no suggestion of a specific race on the break down..

    I'm kind of new to this EPA thing, and as stated before, I am a white guy.

    Here's the thing- I DON'T want to waste my time auditioning for a role that on paper looks like it's perfect for me (and in the past has been played by a youngish white guy- making me think OMG FINALLY a role for me!!!) when the company is looking for a POC.

    FOR FECKS SAKE - if company's would just be clear about what they are looking for. Don't waste my time . I seriously don't GAF if you want to cast your entire show with POC- I won't show up...

    twd 02/16/2018  12:04am

    @twd to be honest, I'm not sure why the Teenage Dick auditions didn't specify it better. I never went to it, so I can't comment. What I can say is, the Henry VI NAATCo. call did specify they were intending on casting all Asians, so that's what I didn't understand...And thanks for the general support and advice guys, it helps knowing that there ARE people that can at least acknowledge the issue or is interested in learning and helping, and won't just flat out deny the it. Thanks guys!

    karatemaster111 02/16/2018  1:14am

    @karatemaster111 I am truly sorry that happened. I agree completely with you. I can't get my head around why anyone would waste their time and take spots away from other people when the breakdown is specific regarding type.

    twd 02/16/2018  6:52am

    OMG, Teen Age Dick did not list ethnicity. It only said 18typ. But, I couldn't go, so glad I didn't. Here's the thing on Caucasians, sometimes you are forced to go by your overbearing Caucasian. For an all girls band, and the characters name is Sun Li, and you're the only Caucasian in the room. You want to die, but if you say know to your agent, then it's a ding on you. It's not always about being clueless. Sometimes it's about being young and dumb and scared of your agent. And then, you grow a backbone, and start saying no to these ridiculous auditions and then said agent dumps you.

    whattheheck 02/16/2018  9:17am

    **Caucasian Agent

    whattheheck 02/16/2018  9:18am

    I feel you. Asian Equity actor here.
    First of all, don't let this discourage you. Keep going, keep showing up. It may seem like a waste of time, but if you stop then how will you get cast in anything? Like others have said, do your research and really examine which calls/auditions you feel right for as well as look at the theatre's history. It's no secret that there are some theatres that are more open to diverse casting than others. I wouldn't throw around "racist" to describe a company's hiring sensibilities, however, I would say that there are companies that are less inclined to hire actors of color based off of past production history.

    It's tough, and I've been through the ringer and am still constantly fighting to prove that I'm not just an Asian to fill token Asian roles.

    Don't be afraid to go to calls where you feel you fit a role that isn't traditionally cast with an actor of color. (Again, research to make sure that race is not a driving part of the show/plot)

    I'm proud to say that out of a relatively extensive resume, I've only played 3 Asian specific roles. The rest of my resume are roles that are traditionally not cast with an actor of color. Some people have told me I'm lucky for that, I call it working my ass off for years. I showed up, I waited, and I proved that I was more than just my race.
    Don't give up. Do the work. It will pay off.

    achoice 02/16/2018  11:03am