The management of Overture Center for the Arts has managed to upstage their run of Miss Saigon even before a note’s been sung. In response to objections over problematic narratives in Miss Saigon, the story of a romance between a young Vietnamese woman and an American G.I. during the Vietnam War, the Overture Center partnered with area academics and activists to plan a panel discussion that was billed as an “open conversation about the portrayals of Asians in the Broadway show.” The panel was scheduled for Wednesday evening, but was cancelled just hours before.
The disinvited panelists took to the streets, with a teach-in happening outside the Overture instead.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Ed Holmes, the senior vice president for equity and innovation at the Overture Center, said that the center canceled the panel out of concern that it was “becoming more of a lecture than a dialogue,” but characterized that decision as a “mistake.” The debacle in Madison has made local and national headlines.
Joining 8 O’Clock Buzz host Jonathan Zarov in the studio are two experts who were scheduled speak inside Overture on Wednesday evening—and who ended up giving their remarks standing on a milk crate outside the art center. They are Timothy Yu, Associate Professor, English and Asian American Studies at UW-Madison, and Lori Kido Lopez, Associate Professor of Media and Cultural Studies in the Communications Department at UW-Madison.
Note: This segment was booked before Overture announced they would be cancelling the panel.