The Battle of ‘Miss Saigon’: Yellowface, Art and Opportunity

March 17, 2017
Miss Saigon

By: Michael Paulson | The New York Times

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[...] “Miss Saigon” opened in London in 1989, with an acclaimed white British actor, Jonathan Pryce, wearing prosthetics to alter the shape of his eyes and makeup to alter the color of his skin as he played the show’s leading man, a scheming Eurasian pimp called the Engineer. But by the time the show reached Broadway in 1991, Mr. Pryce had abandoned those practices, and, after he won a Tony Award and left the show, the producers changed their approach — in the years since, they have chosen only actors of Asian heritage to play the Engineer, both on Broadway and on the United States tours.

Not every controversy has been calmed. The show’s critics, who tried and failed to stop the initial production and have periodically protested it since, say the production perpetuates an unwelcome view of Asians. [...]