• Did Anyone Else Not Like OOTI? 12/06/2017  9:21pm

    Is it just me or was it super offensive that a white director took a black show that will probably not be revived in a long time... and dressed the entire cast in trash??? Saw it and I thought I was watching a Springtime for Hitler the entire time... I found the entire thing really offensive. I was shocked because the reviews were so great... I felt like I was watching a different show!!!

    I also thought the message was totally fucked up. The dark skin girl never had a chance with the light skin guy. She legit gives everything up for him... and turns into a tree?! I saw the show at a high school and don’t remember it being so dark and racially charged.

    It felt like a joke show some rich white kid put on in school to make fun of his black cast mates!!!

    Mr. Noodles

    That IS the storyline. Just because you don’t remember it as such doesn’t make it so. The whole point is that the separation between the peasants and the higher ups is based on skin tone. It was in 1990 and still is today. Personally, I preferred the original production because it was so minimalist and relied on imagination. But i think this current production is lovely as well, in a different way.

    Zisazisa 12/06/2017  10:16pm

    I don't think you ever knew what this show was about you should do your research before making comments like this lol. IT's a beautiful piece of theatre and also , you saw a high school production.......I don't think I need to say more about that.

    WhereTheDreamTakesYou 12/06/2017  10:21pm

    Yeah, that literally IS the storyline. They didn't change the book (except for a few cuts for time). And there are multiple interviews with the designers who spoke about grounding the piece in a realistically Hurricane-stricken island--hence the costumes being made of things that you would find on an island after a storm. You're looking for trouble where there isn't any.
    Now, the discussion of a white director telling a black story...could be a discussion. But I happen to think this production is fantastic.

    texicalyorker 12/06/2017  10:21pm

    Wow... yes, I know that’s the general plot... but the HIGH SCHOOL production I saw was nuanced enough to show that the tree she became broke down the wall between the two sides of the Island and we saw both light skinned and dark skinned kids playing together during the finale to show that Ti Moone’s sacrifice actually meant something!

    Hurricane cop out. Why is it when white directors take on black fairy tales, they dress everyone in trash?!?!?! It happened with the movie version of The Wiz and it’s happened here with this revival. It’s gross. This is the black Little Mermaid. It’s set on a tropical island. It should be bright beautiful and filled with magic.

    White people would NEVER be okay with one of their fairy tales being told where everyone is dressed in trash.

    It’s so offensive. Wow...

    Mr. Noodles 12/07/2017  6:25am

    So because they didn’t show you multiple children playing, it wasn’t enough? It’s in the lyrics. The entire part where they raise up the tree, they’re singing about how it broke down the gates and blessed Daniel’s descendants. Have some imagination.

    texicalyorker 12/07/2017  8:15am

    Wow... this is Broadway. If Elphaba can fly and a chandelier can crash on stage... I shouldn't have to use my imagination at the black Little Mermaid.

    If this was a black director... specifically a black FEMALE director... and there was true meaning to their vision to the piece as a story about a strong black female character, that's one thing. Not some spoiled white actor who couldn't make it so decided to direct instead. Oh the privilege!!!

    Mr. Noodles 12/07/2017  8:20am

    Ok, this is like the fourth or fifth troll-y post Mr. Noodles had made in the last week or so... time to go away buddy. Why do you need attention so badly 🙄

    broadway94 12/07/2017  9:05am

    I call troll.
    No one is genuinely this awful.

    Juror #8 12/07/2017  9:16am

    Noodles is a pill. He/she goes to tea with his trolls and comes up with ways to bait the real actors.

    whattheheck 12/07/2017  9:42am

    Have you ever been to a poor Caribbean island before? An island like the one in the story of OOTI, with massive wealth and deep poverty? I have, several times. And I walked into the theatre and immediately got misty-eyed because I felt like I'd been transported right back there. Those beaches ARE covered in trash. They are also populated by people singing, dancing, laughing, lounging, and telling stories. Also, yes,the occasional chicken and/or goat. The director might have been white, but I can't imagine a more accurate depiction of the island. It felt very well researched to me.

    If you found the trash offensive, you may have missed the point. They don't start dressed in trash. They start in normal clothes, and as they tell the story, they use the trash creatively to create something beautiful. What once was trash is transformed into something vibrant, beautiful, and exciting.

    As for the lack of children on stage...my friend saw it earlier in previews, and apparently there was a children's chorus who came on stage at the final number. It was cut, and I agree with that decision. I think it would have felt like overkill. But the director did try it. The high school production was not the only one who had that idea.

    If you came here to get affirmation of what you already believe, sorry. If you came here to genuinely ask if you were the only one (or at least in the minority) who found this offensive, then you gotta be prepared for the answer to be yes. We are suggesting (some more delicately than others) that you take a step back, do some research (like the director clearly did) and consider if this is really a place worth taking such deep offense. There's a lot of beauty that you may be missing. If the show didn't reach you, that's fine, but a lot of your responses are coming off short sighted, poorly researched, and passive aggressive (see: beginning every post with a sarcastic "wow"). That is what we find offensive. You do raise some interesting questions, but you gotta respect that we have answers that don't match the ones you want.

    ProfessorSnugglebutt 12/07/2017  9:51am

    Assistant Director- Nikki M James

    FinallyGettingThis 12/07/2017  11:10am

    Wow... I guess it's awesome that Nikki M James, a Tony-winner, can be some white guy's assistant...

    Really?!

    Mr. Noodles 12/07/2017  11:52am

    ..... and the racist shit storm is here by Mr. Noodles. QUICK WHERE THE FUCK IS THE BACKSTAGE ADMIN WHEN YOU NEED HIM...... oh wait.....

    12/07/2017  11:54am

    If she’s never directed a high profile show before, then yes. It is appropriate for her to be an assistant director. Her talent and ability as an actress has no impact on the fact that she has no directed a broadway show before.

    ALSO, SHE👏🏻IS👏🏻NOT👏🏻HIS👏🏻ASSISTANT👏🏻

    She is his assistant DIRECTOR, those are not the same. As someone who has worked both as an assistant and as an assistant director, I can tell you those are not the same.

    Icanseeyou 12/07/2017  12:26pm

    Assistant regional manager and Assistant TO the regional manager are two different positions ;)

    (Ok sorry but I had to. Carry on)

    Fatniss_Neverlean 12/07/2017  12:35pm

    Guess what? they didn't have a real tree or a chorus of kids in the original production either? Directed by Graciela Daniele, who has done a thing or two in her lifetime. And she isn't black either. Is that ok with you, Noodles? So your racist theory that only black people can direct a "black" musical hold no weight.

    Zisazisa 12/07/2017  1:20pm

    NOODLES! SHUT UP!!!!
    The “Some white guy” is Michael arden- another celebrated actor and Tony nominated director.

    “Assistant director” is a major title in our business. HUGE for a first time director.

    Once again, your post has shown a real naïveté and a complete misunderstanding of our industry.

    Nowayjosefina 12/07/2017  1:38pm

    I hate to be another voice in a useless cacophony of noise, but this is something I do feel strongly about.
    Mr. Noodles, just because you didn't understand what they were trying to do (and doing well) doesn't mean the staging is racist, nor does it take away from the beautiful job Michael Arden and the entire creative team has done. Also, before you get upset about the fact that the director and creatives are white and that Nikki is his AD (which is not the same as an assistant, to be clear) perhaps you should look at every director on Broadway and notice that EVERYONE starts out as an assistant. Why? Because you don't bet your money on a horse who has never run a race before.
    ADDITIONALLY, perhaps you should take the time to understand that most producers of color passed on this project because they thought it was too much of a gamble. The message is important and the staging is damn good, and it is one of the finest casts I have ever seen.

    FasterThanSound 12/07/2017  1:45pm

    Michael Arden is a celebrated actor? For what? Bare 20 years ago? That video of Run Away With Me? More like a wannabe that never made it...

    Personally, I don't think white people should be telling black stories. A lot of the real world would agree with that statement!

    I'm sure a lot of producers in general turned down this show... When it flops it'll be two for two for Arden! Hopefully he'll stop working after his second show doesn't make a dime!!!

    Mr. Noodles 12/07/2017  1:57pm

    ...you know spring awakening was a limited run?

    Fatniss_Neverlean 12/07/2017  2:00pm

    ^^^ Look, I'm not the biggest Michael Arden fan, myself—but you are out of control.

    There's zero need to insult him/his past work or hope his current project fails.

    This is an industry where we support each other, and we've seen from other negative backlash that we HAVE to be there for each other.

    Your tone reeks of inexperience and jealousy, you really need to relax.

    AFTC 12/07/2017  2:03pm

    Also, did you miss the part where the composer and lyricist are white? They also wrote Ragtime and many other important shows. I think they know a thing or two about story telling. A woman can write a story about men, a man can write a story about women, etc. etc. etc.

    Artemis1 12/07/2017  2:35pm

    Y'all. He's a troll. Ignore him.

    broadway94 12/07/2017  2:41pm

    Hey buddy!
    Black girl here who loves the show and its message too.

    OOTI is NOT simply Black Little Mermaid, it's based off of My Love, My Love by Rosa Guy - a retelling of it. Important distinction.

    The OG production in my opinion WAS all vivd colors and beauty and whimsy. I personally don't think that is the point of the story. It's not a sparkly fairytale. It's a musical written by white people based off of a story by white people FOR white people. Furthermore, The Little Mermaid is not a pretty story either. It's dark and sad. She turns into sea foam and that's just the end.

    Though this revival is directed by a white man, we must keep in mind that the story My Love, My Love is a dark story meant to break your heart. It's the reality of colorism and the life of the Carribean. I think that his vision of the story is raw and REAL.

    There are many issues of race in entertainment and in this country and WE DO need more representation of black directors, however I don't think this is the avenue to go down

    sweet nettie 12/07/2017  7:48pm

    *CLAP* ONCE *CLAP* ON *CLAP* THIS *CLAP* ISLAND *CLAP IS *CLAP* NOT
    *CLAP* A *CLAP* BLACK *CLAP* STORY *CLAP*

    sweet nettie 12/07/2017  7:54pm

    It's really interesting how you're suggesting that the cast wearing trash for costumes is the fault of a white man's perpective, but the costume designer is a man of color... also, his associate and assistant costume designers are people of color as well. Representation does matter, and there WAS representation on this production team. Please educate yourself....

    justtryintob00k 12/07/2017  8:27pm

    I’m pretty sure that the trash concept has been Arden’s from the beginning. I definitely remember hearing about developmental workshops a year ago where the music was tested as being played on trash and found objects!!!

    Mr. Noodles 12/07/2017  9:49pm

    That's true....

    Smactor 12/08/2017  12:21am

    Yo Noodles-
    I think you need to have a bowl of 🍜 and CHILL the fuq out..

    Seriously it’s like every damn day with you....

    Rain On my Parade 12/08/2017  3:10pm

    Wow... coming from someone who’s been posting here for years and years.

    I would hope that people’s need for this site would graduate at some point... but some of you bitter non-eq queens just don’t have anything else do you???

    It’s beyond time for some new blood on here. Enough of the non eq bashing bullshit from 2012!!!

    Mr. Noodles 12/08/2017  4:05pm

    You just bashed non-eq and then in literally the next sentence said we should all stop bashing non-eq...

    SteveRogers. 12/08/2017  4:09pm

    Spring Awakening revival was a major flop regardless.

    And OOTI isn't selling well, but hopefully finds an audience as it's suppose to be great! And Lea Salonga, hello!

    Aktin 12/08/2017  10:10pm

    ^ya really think so? I always got the impression they were "it's a limited engagement. Idgaf give a fuck how much we make as long as the story is received" which it was so yolo

    Fatniss_Neverlean 12/08/2017  10:13pm

    Did I just have a stroke typing that?

    Fatniss_Neverlean 12/08/2017  10:17pm

    I mean maybe that is so, but a "flop" is any show that didn't make its investment back and the revival did not make its invest back, so therefore is a flop. And I'd think any producer would WANT to make their money back.

    Aktin 12/08/2017  11:24pm

    ^^^ I don't necessarily think making back an investment is the only mile-marker for flop/not.

    The social impact a show has on its audience and the industry definitely plays a factor in what makes a show successful in the history of musical theatre/Broadway.

    SA may not have made their investment back, but the representation and diversity displayed absolutely made the show a success. When I think of 'flop' I think of things like AMERICAN PSYCHO, HIGH FIDELITY, etc., that may have a cult following/actually be good but didn't really do anything to alter the industry at large.

    AFTC 12/09/2017  12:31am

    Wow... yes, SA flopped. As much as I’d love it to have changed the industry... the deaf and disabled actors thing was nothing more than a gimmick for the director and producers... one that they hoped would turn their limited run into an open one and turn a profit... In 10 years... no one will even remember the revival except the small group of people who saw it. Just like the Big River revival Michael Arden was IN... that no one remembers...

    Spring Awakening’s legacy will lie with the OG! If things really changed for the better... where are all the deaf and wheelchair bound actors in other shows? Why isn’t whatsherface in Wicked as Nessa????

    Mr. Noodles 12/09/2017  8:08am

    ^^ I really hope you are just ignorant to how EXTREMELY offensive you're being.

    Firstly, I know Ali (who you refer to as 'whatsherface'). She cannot walk. Nessa has to walk in Wicked. That is not a role for a differently abled actor.

    Your strong opinions about your personal taste in what makes a show 'good' are very misinformed, as you constantly point to the casting choices as a 'gimmick'. That's a very privelaged perspective, as each production you've mentioned has given opportunities to either POC or differently abled actors.

    These aren't casting choices like 'the token black girl'. Please take a step back and understand your comments and thought process is offensively out of touch right now.

    AFTC 12/09/2017  9:30am

    Wow... “Good” and “bad” are subjective... ALL that matters on Broadway... which is the realm of “commercial” theater (I.e. the entire point is to make money) is whether it is a “flop” or a “success”. The ONLY determining factor in this is whether it makes money or not...

    It’s sad for us theater geeks... we all want to love our flops... but nothing is done on Broadway to lose money. That defeats the entire point!!!

    Mr. Noodles 12/09/2017  9:35am

    And to many people this Ali girl was nothing more than the wheelchair girl in the show. It felt very gimmicky... because we all knew that it was a one time thing. If she was so amazing, why didn’t she play Wendla? Why not give her the lead? Why relegate her to an ensemble track like we do for the token black girl or token Asian?

    Mr. Noodles 12/09/2017  9:37am

    AFTC: That's all good and great, but the definition isn't up for debate. A flop is a show that didn't make its initial investment back. Therefore it's a flop. Just like how the 42nd Street revival ran for nearly 3 years and didn't make its money back, and therefore was a flop.

    Aktin 12/09/2017  9:39am

    So you are going to completely dodge your offensive comments about Ali, and your viewpoints on what you consider a 'gimmick'.

    I see. Unfortunately, you are coming across extremely naive and immature.

    And just for clarification, SA *did* extend their run by two weeks...but a little show called 'Waitress' was coming in with Tony Winner Jessie Meuller...that may have been the reason they had to duck out as opposed to 'failing'.

    Recouping your financial investment is a poor example for the success of a Broadway show. Or rather, it's a very 'conservative' (read: Trumpian) perspective.

    AFTC 12/09/2017  9:40am

    Aktin, weren't you the original culprit of having multiple screen names to try and dodge people reacting negatively to your comments?

    Meet Mr. Noodles.

    Misery loves company...

    AFTC 12/09/2017  9:43am

    from a disabled actor: 'differently abled' and 'wheelchair-bound' are terms that are falling out of fashion (they're euphemistic and implies that using a wheelchair is sad or having a disability is something shameful)--use 'disabled' or 'wheelchair user' instead (unless your disabled friend has told you they prefer different language--for example, I like identity first language, like 'disabled actor,' while some people prefer person first language, like 'actor with a disability'--just ask your disabled friends what they prefer).

    re: Nessarose, I've personally taken a stance that I won't see Wicked again until they cast a disabled actor as Nessa. I know that Wicked doesn't care about my money, so I'm not holding my breath, but there's no reason for them not to cast a disabled actor. yes, she has to walk (briefly), but trained actors who are ambulatory wheelchair users exist, as do disabled actors who use different mobility aids (or no mobility aids at all) who would also be good choices for the role in the absence of an appropriate wheelchair user (consider the fact that Gregg Mozgala and Katy Sullivan, both disabled actors, used wheelchairs in Cost of Living, while they do not use wheelchairs in their day-to-day lives). I've been on tour, and it can be harrowing for a disabled actor--so many venues are not designed to be accessible backstage. Wicked could take a stance and say to presenters across the country "we're going to cast a disabled actor as Nessa on tour, and you won't be able to book this show unless your theatre can properly accommodate her," and a lot of theatres would have to change if they wanted to bring this cash cow in. Wicked won't do that, of course (for a variety of reasons), but they have the power to send a very strong message by casting a disabled actor as Nessa, and it's a shame that they haven't yet.

    re Ali Stroker: she wasn't Wendla in the Deaf West Spring Awakening because the mission of Deaf West is to center the voices and experiences of the d/Deaf/Hard of Hearing community. don't be obtuse.

    little dove 12/09/2017  12:56pm