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Minorities on Stage

December 02, 1990

I was delighted to see four Calendar articles in one week raising questions about opportunities for minorities and women in the performing arts: "Gotta Sing? Gotta Dance?," "It's Still a Lousy Relationship" and "But Is There Any Hope for the Future?" (all Nov. 11) and, earlier, "Setting the Stage for Minorities in the Theater' (Nov. 8).

However, I was also surprised that none mentioned the most visible focal point for issues of artistic representation, the controversy surrounding the musical "Miss Saigon."

No other artistic dispute this past year has so clearly shown the dissatisfaction of a marginalized community (the Asian American) with its portrayal in popular media and at least one producer's concerted efforts to maintain that compromised level of representation.

Now that "Miss Saigon's" producer has successfully equated the limitation of opportunities in the theater with "artistic integrity," one might wonder if the entertainment industry as a whole has a vested interest in restricting the visibility of minorities and women, a vested interest that goes beyond economic considerations. If so, then the difficulties confronting minorities and women in theater, film and TV seem even more insurmountable than they did before.

ROBERT PAYNE

Studio City

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