Changing the Stats: Asian Americans on Broadway

In a rendition of “We Can Do It,” a hilarious number from The Producers, Max Bialystock (played by Herman Sebek) encourages Leo Bloom (Raymond J. Lee) to join in him in his rather groundbreaking producing scheme.

Picture it: “A hit show with Asians in it. Something new and innovative — hardly ever seen. On Broadway! Asians playing anybody.” 

During “Changing the Stats: Asian Americans on Broadway,” presented by the National Equal Employment Opportunity Committee of Actors’ Equity and Relmagined World Entertainment, on Nov. 2, 2015, fourteen Asian American actors performed a few of their musical theater dream roles.

“As national chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Committee,” said Equity Councilor Christine Toy Johnson, “I’m so proud of the many ways that Actors’ Equity Association stands up for the inclusion of all our members in the American landscape of storytelling — and tonight’s concert of dream roles not traditionally cast with Asian American actors was a true celebration and extension of our tenacity in achieving more and more.”

Iconic characters such as the exuberant Rose from Gypsy (Ann Harada), brooding Bobby from Company (Jose Llana), elegant Margaret from The Light in the Piazza (Johnson) and the tantalizing Ulla from The Producers (Emily Hsu) were showcased in front of a sold-out house at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Peter Norton Symphony Space in New York City.

The actors, accompanied by Ming Aldrich-Gan on piano and Joshua Samuels on percussion and directed and choreographed by Rommy Sandhu and Marc Oka as well as Johnson, set

out to prove that inclusion on stage is vital — and with the wealth of talent featured at the performance, there’s no shortage of Asian American actors. 

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The ensemble of “Changing the Stats: Asian Americans on Broadway.”
Photo: Bruce Alan Johnson