Over on the “I Love Newton” blog, Mia Wenjen questions the decision to stage the musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie” at Newton North High School. It’s a long post, with several related links, here’s one excerpt…
While I appreciate that effort was made to educate Asian American students at Newton North High School about anti-Asian bias in the media, I am surprised that this production is embracing the egregious Asian stereotypes in Thoroughly Modern Millie.
It’s one thing to point out the stereotypes and quite another to reinforce it by moving forward without addressing the changes. It is saying to me: “Here are anti-Asian stereotypes. Look, they are quite common. That’s why we are ok with promoting them in our musical. And it’s just for a laugh so that’s ok.”
Senior Kelsey Fox explained her role in the show could potentially cause much concern among the audience. Fox is playing Mrs. Meers, a white woman who pretends to be Asian. Fox said that she will be playing a very politically incorrect and “derogatory, to say the least” role in the musical. Motivated to not offend people in the audience, Fox explained, “My job is to make sure the audience laughs at my character and not at Asian culture.” Fox has been, “learning and listening to our Asian community,” in order to limit the offensiveness of her role.