Race in musical theatre;Musical theater;Asian American actors
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2017.032.007 Oral History Interview with Ronald Banks, August 1, 2003

Ronald Banks was cast as Chao in David Henry Hwang’s 2001 Broadway-bound revival of "Flower Drum Song” at Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. In addition, Banks understudied two leads, Wang Shi Yang/Sammy Fong and Chinn, for this show. In this interview, Ronald discusses his experience on “Flower Drum Song” and what it was like being a performer in New York City and Los Angeles. His interview covers such topics as the production, rehearsals, changes in the script, the impact of 9/11, Asian stereotypes, his Japanese heritage, and reflections on being an Asian American and American actor. This interview is one of a series of 18 interviews that author David Lewis Hammarstrom conducted in 2003 as part of research for his book, Flower Drum Songs: The Story of Two Musicals (2006). Please note that this interview was conducted by phone and the audio quality is extremely poor throughout.