The New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players (NYGASP) will host a public forum entitled “The Mikado in the 21st Century” November 3 at The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College. The company’s 2015 winter production—scheduled to feature a company of mostly Caucasian actors playing characters of Japanese descent—was canceled following a backlash from the Asian community during the fall last year.
The new production of The Mikado is set to play December 28-January 8, 2017, at the Kaye Playhouse.
The forum, kicking off at 6 PM, will feature keynote speaker Dr. Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa, a professor of philosophy at University of British Columbia and a Gilbert & Sullivan expert and performer. The event is aimed at continuing a dialogue between the Asian-American theatre community, the NYGASP staff and creative team, and theatregoers.
“The discussion will cover a broad range of issues including awareness of orientalism in contemporary culture, the importance of diversity in casting, and the need for change in performance practice of The Mikado specifically,“ reads a press statement from NYGASP.
The forum will be moderated by Robert Lee, a book writer/lyricist and an associate professor at the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Panel members include the assistant director for the new Mikado production, Kelvin Moon Loh (Broadway’s The King and I, Side Show); actor Scott Watanabe (Allegiance, Phantom of the Opera, Pacific Overtures); actor Erin Quill (The King and I, Avenue Q); NYGASP’s associate director and director of the new Mikado, David Auxier; and David Wannen, the executive director of NYGASP.
Admission is free to the public. For more information about the forum call NYGASP at (212) 769-1000.