UC Law SF Communications and Entertainment Journal


Mabel Ng


In the summer of 1990, Actors' Equity Association tried to bar an awardwinning European actor from playing the role of a Eurasian in the Broadway production of Miss Saigon. In the controversy that raged, the theatrical world found itself afire with an issue that had simmered for decades: the practice of producers and directors casting white actors in racial and ethnic minority roles and their reluctance to consider ethnic actors for such roles. This note discusses the controversy surrounding Miss Saigon, the notion of non-traditional casting, artistic freedom versus affirmative action, and ways in which the theater might at last begin to catch up with an increasingly diverse society.