Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
Asian & Pacific Islander American Studies
Francis Tanglao Aguas
R. Benedito Ferrão
In my cabaret solo show your best (asian) american girl, I leverage and unpack the story of my experience as a biracial Asian American woman in American musical theatre to confront how the theatrical institution constructs “Asianness” as oppositional and inassimilable to “Americanness” and “whiteness.” The prevalence of exoticized, Othered, and otherwise stereotyped Asian characters and narratives within the musical theatre canon demonstrates how the “quintessentially American art form” mirrors American society in its view of Asians/Asian Americans as the perpetual foreigner. This cabaret flips that premise on its head by recreating the dynamics of how musical theatre racializes Asianness and whiteness to then disrupt them in service of a story of nuanced, specifically and explicitly Asian American biracial womanhood. The project interrogates our perceptions and presumptions of racial performance on stage and off and counters arguments that musical theatre cannot tell complex, racialized stories. My cabaret thus leaves room to imagine authentic and empowering possible futures for Asian American musical theatre even while condemning its so far failures. Further, in performing this cabaret I assert my own agency by telling the specific story of biracial “wasian” womanhood that I never saw growing up, and in so doing, I help fill the lacuna of diverse Asian American stories conveyed in musical theatre.
Yotsukura, Sumié, "Performing Asian & White Racialization: Sumié Yotsukura's Your Best (Asian) American Girl: A Cabaret" (2022). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1758.
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