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David Mura’s Essay “The Problem(s) With Miss Saigon…”

September 11, 2013
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Photo by Asian American movement photographer Corky Lee from the first Miss Saigon protests in New York in 1991.

 

The accomplished writer and activist, David Mura, recently wrote an essay “The Problem(s) With Miss Saigon (or, how many stereotypes can you cram into one Broadway musical). Here is an excerpt:

I am writing this essay in response to the Ordway Theater’s decision to bring back Miss Saigon a third time to the Twin Cities.  The Ordway Theater has taken this action despite numerous protests and criticism of the musical by the local Asian American community.  The twenty-year history of the Ordway’s indifference and disrespect towards our community and its leading artistic and activist voices is perhaps without parallel in recent Minnesota cultural history.

The offensive and problematic nature of Miss Saigon stems from its plot and its characterization of both the American and Vietnamese characters.  The Ordway and many white American audience members seem to have trouble seeing this.  But for many Asian Americans, the egregious stereotypes in this musical are patently obvious.

Continue reading here…

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