Asian American actors are cast in only two percent of the roles in Broadway and major Off Broadway productions according to new data released by the advocacy group, the Asian American Performers Action Coalition.
The two percent number is dismal. The data disclosed that of the 6,639 total roles cast in the past five theater seasons, only 54 Broadway parts went to Asian American actors, and 100 Asian American actors got work at nonprofit companies.
Asian American Performers Action Coalition advocates point to these statistics as proof that there is negligible representation of Asian Americans on stage, and a serious lack of true diversity.
Asian Americans are New York City's fastest growing ethnic group, currently comprising 12.9 percent of the population.
More than 400 people, mostly performers attended the RepresentAsian conference at Fordham University on Monday February 13, 2012 to listen to a roundtable discussion about the topic moderated by Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang (Chinglish, M.Butterfly) and 17 other members of the theatrical community.
Theatre industry veterans at the round table discussion included Broadway director Bartlett Sher, Vineyard Theatre's Doug Aibel, playwright Douglas Carter Beane, producers Nelle Nugent and Stephen Byrd, and Actors' Equity boss Mary McColl.
NPR's Randy Gener covers the RepresentAsian conference