Thanks, KingSpeed! When ''Miss Saigon'' is about the only depiction of Asian women in many theaters, it only reinforces racial stereotypes. From ''Madame Butterfly'' to ''The World of Suzie Wong,'' etc., Asian women have been depicted as submissive sex objects for white men. And I believe these racist and sexist tropes have contributed to a pop culture that probably fed into the Atlanta shootings that targeted Asian massage workers.
As for ''Pacific Overtures,'' not all Broadway Asian-themed musicals, written by white artists, are the same.
''Pacific Overtures'' was my gateway into theater. Growing up, the few images I had of Asians in movies were Caucasians in bad makeup, speaking in broken English: like Charlie Chan. Or they were ''inscrutable'' villains, like Fu Manchu or Ming the Merciless. Then a high school music teacher took me to see the original ''Pacific Overtures,'' then touring in San Francisco. It was so eye-opening to see a stagefull of Asians actually playing Asians as human beings. And in one number, ''Please Hello,'' Sondheim and Weidman turned the convention of ''yellowface'' on its head by having these Asians play ''Europeans,'' speaking in broken English. Since then, I've loved theater, especially Broadway musicals, always waiting to see what's ''Next!''