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‘‘Courage to Do What Is Right’’ on Cold War Broadway: Leonard Spigelgass’ A Majority of One

Throughout the 1950s, the United States experienced major alterations in its global defence alliances and trade treaties. The Cold War threat of Communism initiated the need for pro-democracy allies in Asia. Subtle pro-America and pro-democracy themes were commonly incorporated into theatre, film, and television. Various productions contained Asian or Asian American characters who were depicted as peace-loving, law-abiding, and non-threatening. This essay examines the 1959 Broadway production of Leonard Spigelgass’ A Majority of One with regard to the changing mainstream representation of Asian identity in the historical context of the Cold War. The production’s portrayal of a dignified Asian identity, a message of racial tolerance, and a progressive positive identity change are examined using the published play-script and other primary source documents from 1959 and 1960. The concept of spatial identity developed by Ulrich Best and Anke Strüver is applied to character behaviour in four separate spaces: a Brooklyn apartment, a trans-Pacific ship, a Tokyo house, and a diplomatic residence.