Tony Award-winning Broadway star Lea Salonga to guest star on CW’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” finale

Broadway World:

Lea Salonga broke the news on Facebook that she would be appearing in the season finale of the CW‘s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. And of course, how could a Tony Award-winner join a musical show without singing? Don’t worry- her musical talents will be utilized.

Salonga wrote, “I guess the news is out!!! I’ll be appearing on the season finale of the CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend! And singing, too! How fun is that?!

No word yet on which role Salonga will be playing.

Emily C. Chang joins the cast of “The Vampire Diaries” (CW) to play “the quintessential girl next door with an unexpected wild side”


Angry Asian Man:

 

Emily C. Chang has joined the cast of the CW supernatural drama The Vampire Diaries as “a new character who may not be who she seems.”

Emily will play the recurring character of Ivy, who is described as “sweet and sincere,” and “the quintessential girl next door with an unexpected wild side.” And that’s about all the information we’ve got. Maybe she’s a vampire! I don’t know. I guess we’ll find out, because I will definitely be tuning in to see homegirl Emily.

 

On the heels of Eureka star Colin Ferguson joining the sixth season, The CW drama will be introducing the recurring character of Ivy, described as sweet and sincere. Actress Emily C. Chang, whose credits include Days of Our Lives and Total Recall, has booked the role.

Not much is known about Ivy, only that she’s “the quintessential girl next door with an unexpected wild side” — but knowing Vampire Diaries, the tide will turn sooner rather than later. She will first appear in the sixth-season premiere.

 

You may recognize Emily from her scene-stealing turn as the “Ba-zing!” gal in that Ruffles commercial from a few years back.

The sixth season of The Vampire Diaries premieres October 2 on The CW.

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Maggie Q and Lucy Liu: Asian-Americans as Leading Ladies

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NY Times: The CW series “Nikita” begins its fourth and final season on Friday — an abbreviated run to tie up story lines, as the reluctant assassin Nikita stands falsely accused of killing the president — and while there’s still a chance, I’d like to celebrate a small but significant milestone. For six more weeks, two of the strongest and most interesting female leads on television are being played by Asian-American actresses.

I’m talking about Maggie Q, finishing her turn as Nikita, and Lucy Liu, in her second season as Joan Watson on CBS’s “Elementary,” where she is every bit as central as Jonny Lee Miller’s Sherlock Holmes. Both shows have their formulaic elements, but Nikita and Joan are noncartoonish, reasonably complex, multidimensional characters, and in prime time, there aren’t too many actresses getting that kind of opportunity in a lead role. Julianna Margulies in “The Good Wife,” Connie Britton in “Nashville,” Claire Danes in “Homeland,” Lizzy Caplan in “Masters of Sex.” It’s a short list.

Of course, that broader look also indicates that the overall picture for Asian actresses (American, Canadian and otherwise) isn’t so happy. A lot of them are working, but in roles far down the food chain from Nikita and Watson, and often playing characters conceived or shaped to reflect longstanding stereotypes about Asians.

Even Maggie Q and Ms. Liu haven’t completely escaped those archetypes. Both are playing the latest iterations of durable characters traditionally inhabited by white performers, so it would seem that race shouldn’t have any particular bearing. But the truth is that they resonate with two of the most common sets of images — or clichés — about Asian women: the high-achieving, socially awkward Dr. Joan Watson is a refined example of the sexy nerd, and the lethal, sometimes icy Nikita, able to dispense violence while wearing tight, microscopic outfits, evokes a long line of dragon ladies and ninja killers.

(You could argue that the association exists only because Maggie Q was cast as Nikita, who is based on a French film character, but it’s a self-canceling argument: The men who created the show sought her out for the role.)

In both cases, though, the actresses and their writers have avoided or transcended easy stereotypes. A lot of effort has gone into humanizing Nikita, and making her a sisterly or even maternal figure for the younger assassin Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca), and the emphasis on violent action has decreased over the show’s run. In “Elementary,” Watson has embraced her role as apprentice detective after suffering a catastrophic failure as a doctor, taking some of the shine off her super-competence. And unlike other characters in the same mold, she appears to have a normal, nonneurotic romantic life.

Clothes also tell a tale. Maggie Q fought some battles over her costumes in the early days of “Nikita,” and she has spent progressively more time in plain, covered-up (though still closefitting) workout-style ensembles and less in skimpy red dresses. Ms. Liu’s outfits, mostly chosen by the costume designer Rebecca Hofherr, have attracted a following of their own. The majority opinion seems to be that they reflect Watson’s quirky but confident style. To my eye, they have a clever awfulness, making Ms. Liu look good while signaling that perhaps she doesn’t spend as much time as she could in front of a mirror.

Either way, what Watson’s clothes don’t do is make her look ridiculous or hide Ms. Liu’s attractiveness. That’s the fate of some other Asian-American actresses in roles that play more obviously to geekiness or braininess, and are visually coded for easy comprehension. Liza Lapira wears fright clothes and dowdy haircuts as the sidekick Helen-Alice on “Super Fun Night” (ABC), something she already endured as the eccentric neighbor on “Don’t Trust the B — — in Apt. 23” last season. On “Awkward(MTV), Jessica Lu, as the rebellious daughter of strict Chinese parents, sports a hat with ears while Jessika Van, as her Asian rival, is dressed in starched outfits that make her look like an Amish schoolteacher. Both Ms. Lapira and Ms. Lu are accessorized with glasses — big black ones — something neither appears to wear in real life. Also occasionally donning glasses is Brenda Song as a video-game company executive in “Dads,” on Fox, though her most distinctive costume remains the sailor-girl outfit she wore in the pilot, part of an extended joke about the sexualization of Asian women that didn’t accomplish much besides sexualizing an Asian woman.

And there are other actresses playing less evolved versions of the Nikita-style action hero. Ming-Na Wen’s Melinda May, the black-leather-jacketed pilot in “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (ABC), is a stoic enforcer with a dragon-lady vibe; Grace Park’s Kono Kalakaua on “Hawaii Five-0” (CBS) is equally lethal (she often does most of the kicking and punching) but favors bikinis and tight jeans. On “Once Upon a Time” (ABC), Jamie Chung plays the Disney version of a mythical Chinese swordswoman.

It takes some looking to find Asian actresses in roles that don’t easily fit into one of these two broad categories. There are a few jobs in a third category, the manipulative or overly protective Asian mother: Jodi Long on “Sullivan and Son” (TBS), Lauren Tom on “Supernatural” (CW). On the entertaining but paper-thin “Beauty and the Beast” (also on CW), Kristin Kreuk stars as a cop who just happens to be mixed race. There is, of course, a major Asian-Canadian female television star not mentioned yet: Sandra Oh, whose Dr. Cristina Yang is not the lead but is a major member of the ensemble on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.” As with Nikita and Watson, Yang displays some typical Asian markers — she’s a hypercompetitive, socially awkward doctor — whose race is matter of fact because there’s so much more to know about her. Yang, along with Watson and Nikita, could be considered exceptions that prove a rule, but I think the real lesson here is probably that TV would be a better place for women of all races if Shonda Rhimes (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal”) could just write all the shows.

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Maggie Q and Lucy Liu: Asian-Americans as Leading Ladies

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CW’s “Arrow” casts Katrina Law to play Nyssa al Ghul

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In the second season of the CW network’s Arrow is bringing to the story yet another somewhat well known DC Comics figure. To be played by Taiwanese-American actress Katrina Law, most known for her role as Mira on Starz’s Spartacus, the newcomer delves deeper into the DC mythos than we’d perhaps expected to see.

We’ve already heard legendary Gotham villain Ra’s al Ghul name mentioned and it appears that in at least one episode upcoming we will meet his daughter. However, it won’t be the daughter you immediately think of. That’s right, instead of Talia al Ghul, Katrina Law has been cast as the lesser known, younger half sister, Nyssa al Ghul.

Who is Nyssa al Ghul? Well, she’s an assassin who was the product of a romantic Baltic night between Ra’s al Ghul and an unnamed Russian woman. She is a relative newcomer to the DC Universe, making her first appearance in 2003′s Detective Comics #783. She tracked down her absent father and he in turn took her in and showed her the ropes, aka the League of Assassins. This is likely (obviously) where the character of the comics will meet up with the character of Arrow.

Katrina Law (born 1 January 1985 in Deptford, NJ) represented New Jersey in the Miss Teen USA Pageant. Law is also the lead singer and bass player in her band “Soundboard Fiction”. In 2011, Law completed an action-oriented project called “3 Minutes” with director Ross Ching, producers Don Le and George Wang, starring Harry Shum, Jr., Stephen “tWitch” Boss, and herself. Law’s mother is Taiwanese.

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CW’s “Arrow” casts Katrina Law to play Nyssa al Ghul

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Fifty Shades of Beauty: Actress Kristin Kreuk of Beauty and the Beast

Kristin Kreuk has been in the spotlight for more than a decade, from the time audiences fell for her as Superman’s girl-next-door crush Lana Lang in the popular TV series Smallville, to present-day 2013, as star of The CW’s Beauty and the Beast, which is about to start its second season in October.

The Chinese-Dutch Canadian star is finally embracing all sides of herself: leading lady, producer, adventurer, blogger and, yes, even a bit of a fashion plate.

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Fifty Shades of Beauty: Kristin Kreuk of Beauty and the Beast

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