New York Daily News

Mishap kills L.A. theater organizati­on

- BY NANCY DILLON

The L.A. Stage Alliance is shutting down for good after it grossly misidentif­ied a Korean-American nominee at its recent Ovation Awards ceremony, the organizati­on said Monday.

The 46-year-old nonprofit is ceasing operations amid a mass resignatio­n of members following its disrespect­ful treatment of Jully Lee (photo), who was nominated for Featured Actress in a Play for “Hannah and the Dread Gazebo,” a co-production of East West Players and the Fountain Theatre.

Lee’s name was mispronoun­ced when the nominees were read during last week’s ceremony, and a photo of a different Asian actress was shown onscreen.

“We take full responsibi­lity for the oversight and we deeply regret any harm this may have caused,” the organizati­on said in a written apology that failed to stem the tide of outrage.

“It is with deep regret that the Board of Governors has unanimousl­y decided to cease all operations for LA Stage Alliance,” the organizati­on said in its Instagram post Monday.

“We have come to this conclusion with a heavy heart — our intention was to represent and promote the entire Los Angeles theater community,” the group said.

After the disastrous 2021 ceremony, several Southern California theater companies withdrew their membership from L.A. Stage Alliance, citing not only the mistreatme­nt of Jully Lee but the group’s practice of only acknowledg­ing one theater company per production.

The practice disenfranc­hised prominent BIPOC [Black, indigenous and people of color] groups such as East West Players, a national troupe founded to showcase Asian-American work beyond the narrow roles most common in mainstream Hollywood, the departing members said.

“Every time East West Players co-produces in an effort to bring Asian-American actors more visibility in L.A. theatres, only the other, predominan­tly white organizati­on is solely listed and uplifted,” East West Players said in a statement calling out L.A. Stage Alliance.

“This is what erasure of our work and our community looks like,” the statement said.

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