Tags: la stage alliance | shuts down | asian nominee

LA Stage Alliance Shuts After Misidentifying Asian Nominee

LA Stage Alliance Shuts After Misidentifying Asian Nominee
EWP Producing Artistic Director Snehal Desai at East West Players in Los Angeles, CA on Thursday, May 16, 2019. His company was the first to revoke its membership in the L.A. Stage Alliance. (Sthanlee B. Mirador/Sipa USA via AP Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 06 April 2021 11:43 AM

The Los Angeles Stage Alliance has shut down after multiple representational errors, including the misidentification of an Asian nominee, during the virtual 2021 Ovation Awards.

As a result, dozens of local theaters, including the Geffen Playhouse, the Pasadena Playhouse, and the Deaf West Theatre, have withdrawn their memberships, forcing the non-profit organization to cease all operations, Variety reported.

The Los Angeles Stage Alliance announced the news Monday in a statement posted on Twitter.

"We have come to this conclusion with a heavy heart - Our intention was to represent and promote the entire Los Angeles theater community," the statement read. "LASA has existed for the past 46 years and has worked to acknowledge, support and celebrate artists, theatres, from all communities. We believe in equity, diversity and inclusion at all levels."

The organization added that it had faced "many challenges" and was unable to continue. 

"We wish the entire theatre community and stakeholders success. As individuals we are committed to continuing our support of this community which we hold dear."

The Los Angeles Stage Alliance sparked outrage in March when it mispronounced the name of one of its Asian nominees, Jully Lee. The actress was in the running for her performance in "Hannah and the Dread Gazebo," but when the nominees for best-featured actress were read, her name was mispronounced. Fueling backlash, a photo of a different Asian actress was displayed on the screen when her nomination was announced. 

The Los Angeles Stage Alliance swiftly apologized to Lee, as well as the greater Asian American and Pacific Islander community, for the error.

"There's NO excuse for mispronouncing Ms. Lee’s name nor for the error in the image used," the organization's chairman, Marco Gomez, wrote in a statement on Twitter. "We take full responsibility for the oversight & we deeply regret any harm this may have caused. We will continue to take appropriate steps to correct this."

The Los Angeles Stage Alliance then announced it would be undertaking a "visible and transparent transformation." The plan included intentions to create a task force, advisory board, and to "create new partnerships and develop relevant programs for the benefit and equitable treatment of all its members."

However, the organization was unable to put its plan into effect as more and more local theatres revoked their memberships. Among them was East West Players, which served as a co-producer on "Hannah and the Dread Gazebo," but was not named during the awards.

"The mispronouncing of our names combined with the sentiment that all Asians look alike is not new," East West Player wrote in a statement posted to Instagram. "However, it particularly stings when the evening is supposed to be about raising the visibility of LA’s theater community and celebrating our artists. It is not hard to Google Jully’s name and come up with hundreds of photos of her with her signature grace, poise and good humor all facing forward. She is a well established actor and should be held in that regard."

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The Los Angeles Stage Alliance has shut down after multiple representational errors, including the misidentification of an Asian nominee, during the virtual 2021 Ovation Awards. As a result, dozens of local theaters, including the Geffen Playhouse...
la stage alliance, shuts down, asian nominee
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2021-43-06
Tuesday, 06 April 2021 11:43 AM
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