Here is the review in question:
Green Day’s American Idiot Toronto Production Intelligent-enough idiocy, until Jan. 15.
I was in my dressing room today when it was brought to my attention: "Hey, have you read the review where they call you a token."
From the review by Mr. Kerry Doole, "It’s hard to fault the dancing or singing of any of the cast, though for a bunch of punks everybody was a mite too freshly scrubbed and wholesome-looking. The actual dance routines could have done with more pogoing, moshing or slam-dancing to be punk-credible, while the inclusion of Asian and black actors seemed a little token."
It is certainly hard to fault the cast for their performances (wouldn't have minded if he did). Instead, it is much easier to fault the creatives for assembling a diverse cast of actors in 2012.
"...while the inclusion of Asian and black actors seemed a little token"
Upon further discussion with my castmates, we have decided that the meaning of this quote is to imply one or many of the following:
-In a suburban USA and later urban NYC, there are no Asian or black people.
-The punk revolution is a whites only counter culture.
-Actors of color are only cast, not based on merit or talent, but to fulfill some unspoken professional quota of minority performers. Broadway's own Affirmative Action plan, if you'll have it.
I would list that I have followed the punk culture pretty much my entire Asian life. I would list that Long Island is as suburban as it gets and I call it home (where I was one of a few but still many Asian teenagers in my town. Oh yea, I'm pretty confident that black people also live on Long Island). I would list the ever growing list of bands emerging out of the Asian hardcore punk scene developing worldwide. I would list that if Broadway Affirmative Action were actually real, I would be a much happier, and richer actor today.
Alas, Mr. Doole.... I need not list anything to demonstrate how blatantly ignorant your self-posturing comments have come off.
We have been so well-received in Canada with positive reviews and wonderful audiences. I expect along the way we'll receive similar reviews to Mr. Doole's and that will be fine with me because it's much easier to write a scathing review than to do a "squeaky-clean theatre" piece like American Idiot.
But Mr. Doole.... he is a self-proclaimed "lover of first generation punk" and wishes that American Idiot would more embody the true spirit of punk. Among his astute observations, he suggests that, "surely it wouldn’t have hurt the bassist to trim his long locks, in the spirit of the show." Just like one of the undeniable patriarchs of punk, the well-groomed, hair-trimmed Ramones:
1. The Ramones hail from Forest Hills, Queens.... aka The Land of No Asians (ahem. cough, cough).
2. Without "tokens" in the American Idiot family we would have to find the all white counterparts for-- Krystina Alabado, Nicci Claspell, Justin Guarini, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Gabrielle McClinton, Jarran Muse, Corbin Reid, Wallace Smith, Okieriete Onaodowan, Josh Henry, Christina Sajous--- among many others to represent Mr. Doole's narrow view of the punk demographic.
3. The term "token" traditionally refers to ONE of any category being represented. The tour currently has three "token" black actors appearing at the same time from Principal to Ensemble characters.
4. If I were hired as any "token" perhaps "token gay". And who has every heard of gay punk rock besides the virtually unknown Pansy Division ?!?! (again, ahem. cough, cough).