More than 25 Los Angeles space theater corporations, together with the Geffen Playhouse, the Pasadena Playhouse and the Deaf West Theatre, have revoked their memberships within the L.A. Stage Alliance after the nonprofit group misidentified and mispronounced the title of Asian actress Jully Lee at an awards present earlier this week.
The L.A. Stage Alliance has issued an apology and pledged to undertake “a visible and transparent transformation.”
The incident occurred Tuesday night time on the digital Ovation Awards for native theater productions. Lee’s first title was mispronounced when the nominees for finest featured actress had been learn, and a photograph of one other Asian actress was proven onscreen.
Lee was nominated for her efficiency in Jiehae Park’s Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, a co-presentation of East West Players and the Fountain Theatre. The following day, East West Players left the group, posting an Instagram assertion saying, partly, “The mispronouncing of our names combined with the sentiment that all Asians look alike is not new. However it particularly stings when the evening is supposed to be about raising the visibility of LA’s theater community and celebrating our artists.”
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East West additionally decried the Alliance’s conventional follow of recognizing just one theater per manufacturing, even within the instances of co-presentations or co-productions. “Every time East West Players co-produces in an effort to bring Asian American actors more visibility in LA theatres, the other, predominantly white organization is solely listed and uplifted,” the assertion says. (Hannah and the Dread Gazebo was introduced with the Fountain Theatre, which was credited all through the awards ceremony.)
In solidarity, a rising variety of theater corporations have revoked their memberships from the Alliance all through the week, together with the Pasadena Playhouse, Geffen Playhouse, Center Theatre Group, Deaf West Theatre, A Noise Within, Rogue Machine, Boston Court, Latino Theatre Company, Playwrights’ Arena, 2 Cents Theatre Group, Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, Inkwell Theater and Artists At Play, amongst others. (Deaf West Players, whose acclaimed manufacturing of Spring Awakening received a 2016 Ovation and was nominated for 3 Tony Awards, additionally cited the Alliance’s failure to offer closed captioning and ASL deciphering as a motive for its departure.)
“We stand with @EWPLayers and are revoking our membership from the LA Stage Alliance, effective immediately,” the Geffen tweeted. Pasadena Playhouse tweeted that it “stands with our producing partner #EWPlayers in revoking our membership to the @LAStageAlliance following last night’s Ovation Awards.”
The roster of exiting theater corporations posting the hashtag #LeavingLASA grew so shortly that final night time East West Players tweeted a thank-you to its allies together with a “quilt” of the supporting corporations:
We are uplifted by the assist of our LA theatre neighborhood as we speak within the wake of #LeavingLASA. You helped us flip this from a second right into a motion. Quilt of allied #LAthtr corporations by @ho_howard
— East West Players (@EWPlayers) April 2, 2021
Lee, a Korean-American actress and director, wrote in a tweet that she “was not the only person misidentified with a wrong photo/name mispronunciation. I was just the 1st one of the night. #DoBetter doesn’t even scratch the surface.” On the LA Stage Alliance’s Facebook web page, Lee wrote, “Can you also post public apologies for Mike Millan and Joshua Bitton? I’m sure you have a list of other people who felt slighted or disrespected at the ceremony… owning up to these mistakes would be to acknowledge all of them instead of focusing on the mistake that had the most attention on social media.”
LA Stage Alliance, which has its origins in two separate organizations – the Los Angeles Theatre Alliance service group based in 1975 and The League of Producers and Theatres of Greater Los Angeles commerce affiliation based in 1983 – serves greater than 500 arts organizations from throughout Greater LA, in keeping with the group’s web site. More than 300 of are dues-paying members.
Last July, the Alliance furloughed a number of staffers because of the Covid pandemic however later introduced that it might proceed with its annual Ovation Awards. The pre-recorded present, during which the nominees’ names had been learn in a voice-over, was hosted by Celebration Theatre Artistic Director Michael A. Shepperd (who, by varied experiences, appropriately introduced the winners’ names.)
In its apology, LA Stage’s board of administrators wrote that it “takes full duty for the errors made within the Ovation Awards presentation on Tuesday, March 30. We sincerely apologize to Jully Lee and to the AAPI neighborhood, in addition to to our members, voters, and the neighborhood at giant.
“A written apology,” the group continued, “can only do so much, especially when there are underlying issues that need to be addressed. LA Stage Alliance takes its dedication to equality and support of its diverse theatre community and representations seriously. With that in mind, effective immediately, LA Stage Alliance will focus on undertaking a visible and transparent transformation so it can be held accountable to the community it serves.”
The group stated it can take what it known as the next “initial steps”:
- “Create a task force of diverse theatre representatives and artists to review, assess, and modify LASA’s mission, services, and allyship to the BIPOC and marginalized community”
- “Create an advisory board with diverse theatre stakeholders to review and revise its Ovations Awards policies and procedures and assure adequate BIPOC representation on all Ovation committees”
- “Create an operations plan that supports its members, voters, and programs at large.
Create new partnerships and develop relevant programs for the benefit and equitable treatment of all its members”
— Fountain Theatre (@fountaintheatre) April 1, 2021
— Geffen Playhouse (@GeffenPlayhouse) April 1, 2021
— Deaf West Theatre (@DeafWest) April 1, 2021
✊🏽 We stand in solidarity with East West Players and revoke our L.A. Stage Alliance membership till it aligns with our mission of reflecting artists from all communities of Los Angeles in all of our variety and intersectionality. We are the worldwide majority. #LeavingLASA pic.twitter.com/jPtT2STtRn
— Latino Theater Co. at The LATC (@LatinoTheaterCo) April 1, 2021
Pasadena Playhouse stands with our producing accomplice @EWPlayers in revoking our membership to the @LAStageAlliance following final night time’s Ovation Awards.#LeavingLASA pic.twitter.com/JHLgUbzLy6
— Pasadena Playhouse (@PasPlayhouse) April 1, 2021