L.A. theater leaders to hold forum on Asian Americans, diversity


Leaders from some of the largest theater companies in Southern California are scheduled to take part in a forum this month to discuss the issue of racial diversity and the inclusion (or lack thereof) of Asian Americans in stage productions. The forum is to be held at the David Henry Hwang Theater in downtown L.A. on Oct. 22 at 2 p.m.

The forum, which is invitation-only, is to include participation by Michael Ritchie, the artistic director of Center Theatre Group; Christopher Ashley, artistic director of the La Jolla Playhouse; Sheldon Epps, artistic director of the Pasadena Playhouse; and Marc Masterson, artistic director of South Coast Repertory.

East-West Players is hosting the forum. Tim Dang, the group’s artistic director, said invitees will include theater company leaders throughout Southern California as well as leaders of various local Asian American groups.


He said a limited number of seats might be available to the public and that the event might be streamed online.

The forum was organized in response to the controversy this past summer at the La Jolla Playhouse involving the casting of the new musical “The Nightingale.” The musical, set in ancient China, was criticized for including only two Asian American actors in a multicultural cast of 12.


Heated exchanges at La Jolla Playhouse over multicultural casting

Asian American theater leaders react to “The Nightingale” controversy

Christopher Ashley discusses Asian American backlash at La Jolla Playhouse