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Art by Jason Simon

Token Theatre Friends: Ming Peiffer on How Sex Ed Fails Women

The team behind the Off-Broadway hit ‘Usual Girls’ discuss female sexuality and unrealistic beauty standards. Plus, the Friends review ‘King Kong’ on Broadway.

Twice a month on the Token Theatre Friends video series and podcast, theatre critics (and theatre besties) Jose Solís and Diep Tran bring a POC perspective to the performing arts.

On this episode, the Friends are joined by playwright Ming Peiffer and actress Midori Francis of Usual Girls (Off-Broadway at Roundabout Theatre Company through December 23). The play chronicles the growing pains of Kyeoung, a young Korean American woman played by Francis, who we follow from elementary school through her early 20s, as she deals with sexual self-awareness, vicious boys, racism, and life-changing female friendships. Peiffer explains why she wanted to tell this story today, while Francis speaks about the excitement of working in a mostly female ensemble.

Both also discuss the ways sex education has failed young women, and how women are shamed for having body hair and having periods.

On the podcast, the Friends review two shows at two different price points:

King Kong, the new $35-million musical currently running on Broadway. Did the gorilla puppet live up to the hype? Listen to find out! (Tickets are $45-$175)

What to Send Up When It Goes Down by Aleshea Harris, produced by the Movement Theatre Company. In this ritual/choreopoem, Harris tackles anti-Blackness in America. (Tickets are $30 and the show runs through Dec. 16)

At the end of the episode, the Friends discuss why they wanted to be critics and why criticism is important. They also reference the following:

  1. This  tweet

2. Joel Schumacher’s Phantom of the Opera: A video essay by Lindsay Ellis

3. Peter Marks’s review of Dear Evan Hansen in the Washington Post

4. Tamara Best’s review of What to Send Up When It Goes Down in the Daily Beast

The podcast contains both the show reviews and the interview, and can be listened to below.

Download the episode here. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.

Subscribe to Token Theatre Friends videos on YouTube to get notifications about new friendly videos.

Have comments, suggestions for segments, shows to plug, or thoughts on how the Friends can be even better? Contact the Token Theatre Friends via email or Twitter.

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