In Response To The Asian American Performers Action Coalition And Others:

Posted on January 26th, 2015

Glenn Casale and I are in receipt of your numerous emails and form emails. The reason for the delay in answering is that during the holidays I was in the hospital, and I have been recovering at home from a deadly blood disease.

First, Mr. Casale, our Director, has directed multiple years of productions using not only Asian actors and actresses, but diverse ethnic groups. Second, I have produced probably the most shows using Asian actors and actresses. For example, Flower Drum Song on Broadway, Flower Drum Song national tour, Brooklyn the Musical, and Bombay Dreams, just to name a few.

I can assure you that neither Glenn Casale nor I ever intended or conceived a thought that this would be disruptive, negative or disrespectful to anyone.

It’s interesting. Going back in the history of The King and I, Mr. Yul Brenner was actually from Russia, and Mr. Lou Diamond Phillips was born on a naval base in the Philippines and is an American. Mr. Paul Schoeffler has played the role in theatres across America in the past. And after looking at several Asian prospects for the role, they were all “on hold” pending a call back from the Lincoln Center Production.

The cast for this new production consists of 28, of which 25 are of Asian-descent. Of the 15 children in the cast, all are of Asian descent. We even went to a Thailand Temple to audition children for the production to be as authentic as possible.

Both Mr. Casale and I would never intentionally do anything contrary or negative to your culture, and we have both provided numerous opportunities to the Asian community in the past.

Mr. Casale and I visited yesterday. We have heard your comments, and we have heard your concerns, and we are now going back to find an actor of Asian descent for the role of the King. WE HAVE HEARD YOU, and we are working to guarantee a positive result for both you and also for a quality production. We have heard you and we take your comments seriously.

Michael Jenkins