Ordway CEO promises no further productions of 'Miss Saigon'

Ordway Center's production of Miss Saigon
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts' production of Miss Saigon angered many Twin Cities Asian-Americans for its portrayal of Vietnamese men and women.
Courtesy of the Ordway

A year after staging the musical "Miss Saigon" in the face of heated criticism, the head of the Ordway Center for Performing Arts in St. Paul has promised not to produce the show again.

Last fall, more than 200 people protested outside the Ordway at the "Miss Saigon" opening. They argued that the popular musical is a racist and sexist play that romanticizes prostitution and international adoption.

Patricia Mitchell, president and CEO of the Ordway, sent a letter this week to the "Don't Buy Miss Saigon" coalition, stating "the Ordway will not produce Miss Saigon as long as I remain President of the Ordway."

2013: 'Miss Saigon' protest draws hundreds

The Ordway has presented Miss Saigon three times since it made its Broadway debut in 1991.

Mitchell's pledge resulted from a contractual agreement with Ananya Dance Theatre, which the Ordway commissioned to create a piece for the opening celebration of its new concert hall in March.

"Don't Buy Miss Saigon" member Margie Andreason called the letter a huge win for the coalition.

"This is something that many of us have been fighting for over 20 years because of the dehumanizing depictions of the Asian community," Andreason said. "To have the President and CEO publicly write that she will never bring back that offensive play again — for me, itss a huge relief to hear."

Andreason added that the Ordway has yet to meet the coalition's other primary demand of a public apology.

"If The Ordway wants to do better, they can take action to ensure that this 'Miss Saigon' never comes back to this community, regardless of its leadership," Andreason said. "'Miss Saigon' is a relic that should be put on a shelf and only be used to study what not to do."

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