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Helen Park first Asian woman to be nominated for Tony for best original score

Helen Park has received a Tony award nomination for best original score. According to NBC News, she is the first Asian woman to do so.

Park and her co-composer Max Vernon earned the nomination for their work on the new musical “KPOP.” The musical premiered off-Broadway in September 2017 and made its Broadway debut in November 2022.

“A lot of us have been working on this show for eight years and for people to be recognized, it really feels like a celebration and recognition of the hard work that everybody put in,” Park said of the nomination in an interview with The New York Times.

A month after KPOP’s Broadway debut, the show announced it would be closing. Playbill noted that the closure came after a negative review from New York Times critic Jesse Green, which producers of the show described as “casual racism.”

“I’m still struggling with the closure of the show, because I do think that everyone who came to see the show really enjoyed it. It was a celebration of the genre and the diverse stories within the community of K-pop stars and Korean people,” Park said in her interview with The New York Times.

“We saw the potential and the growth of love toward the show after we opened. The fact that it was still too late to sustain the show — that was very painful.”

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