Oct. 17: André De Shields, Kate Baldwin, Britney Coleman, Tina Fabrique, The Naughton Family, featuring James Naughton, Greg Naughton, Kelli O’Hara, and Keira Naughton; Brenda Pressley, Amanda Robles and More Set for Westport Country Playhouse’s PLAYHOUSE AT THE DRIVE-IN Benefit 

Westport Country Playhouse will present “Playhouse at the Drive-in,” a one-night-only benefit event and screening of special filmed performances and a short-form documentary celebrating the theater’s 90-season history, on Saturday, October 17, at the Remarkable Theater Drive-in, 47 Imperial Ave., Westport.

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

The event is also available for online screening at home. Gates open at 5 p.m. for a cocktail hour and picnic dinner. The screening from attendees’ own cars and online begins at 6:30 p.m. Due to the pandemic, “Playhouse at the Drive-in” is in lieu of the theater’s annual Fall Gala fundraiser.

“In these extraordinary times, our usually extraordinary annual gala is going to be more extraordinary than ever!,” said Mark Lamos, Westport Country Playhouse artistic director. “In fact, it’s turning into an extraordinary virtual (at least partially) and brand new kind of fundraising event that we think is going to be extraordinarily enjoyable.”

The benefit evening will be highlighted by a short-form documentary saluting the Playhouse, its history, and many of the artists who have lit up the stage. It is created exclusively for this event by Playhouse artistic director Mark Lamos and filmmaker Douglas Tirola, who is also the director. Tirola was raised in Westport and is a current resident. One of his first jobs as a teenager was as a Westport Country Playhouse beautifier. Tirola’s films have premiered at festivals around the world including Sundance, Berlin, Tribeca, and SXSW. His movies have also been released on HBO, Netflix, PBS, and Showtime. He is president of New York-based 4th Row Films.

The evening will include filmed performances by Playhouse alumni and friends Kate Baldwin; Britney Coleman; Tina Fabrique; The Naughton Family, featuring James Naughton, Greg Naughton, Kelli O’Hara, and Keira Naughton; Brenda Pressley; Amanda Robles; and a special performance by André De Shields. Filmed appearances will be made by Jane Alexander, Lissy Newman, Christopher Plummer, Stephen Sondheim, Richard Thomas, and many more who have been associated with the historic theater.

Lamos noted, “Though you can’t be in the Playhouse proper right now, you can relive favorite memories and hear behind-the-scenes tales from stars and stagehands, staff, donors, trustees, and longtime audience members – people who have made a difference to the life and the ongoing health of the Playhouse over its extraordinary history.

“Our survival now depends more than ever on your belief in the Playhouse and your generosity,” said Lamos. “Please join me (I won’t be virtual, I’ll be there) at the Remarkable Theater for a really fun evening. It’s a completely unique event, and you won’t want to miss it.”

On-site benefit tickets are limited, starting at $500 per car (maximum car occupancy five people). Online film screening from home is $25 for a non-shareable link.

The benefit event’s Executive Producers are Judy and Scott Phares, and Barbara and John Streicker. Producers are Athena and Daniel Adamson, Paige and Jodi Couture, Ellen Petrino, Kerry and Maggie Lehnerd-Reilly, and Marietta White. Event Corporate Producer is BNY Mellon Wealth Management, and Corporate Sponsor is RDM Financial Group. Event Leadership includes Paige Couture, Maggie Lehnerd-Reilly, Judy Phares, Barbara Streicker, Joanna Romberg, and 3wishesevents.

In-Kind Support and Community Partners include Teresa Nardozzi and Dr. Pietro Marghella, Judy and Scott Phares, Balducci’s, Castle Wine & Spirits, The Fresh Market, and Remarkable Theater.

Special thanks to Playhouse donors Maureen and Edwin Schloss, Roz and Bud Siegel, The Streicker Family, Stacy and Howard Bass, and Yvette and David Waldman (in memory of Jessica Waldman).

For the safety of guests and staff, complimentary treats and beverages at the event will be pre-packaged, sealed, and handled by Playhouse staff wearing gloves and masks. Parking spots will be marked with at least six feet of distance between each vehicle.

Westport Country Playhouse is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization; contributions are tax-deductible as provided by law.

For more information, to purchase tickets, or to become a sponsor, please contact Gretchen Wright, Playhouse director of development, at (858) 945-0493 or gwright@westportplayhouse.org. Stay connected to the Playhouse at westportplayhouse.org, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields is the triple-crown winner of the 2019 awards season, having won the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Tony A wards for best featured actor in a musical for his critically acclaimed performance as Hermes in Hadestown. The Actors’ Equity Foundation followed suit with the Richard Seff Award, honoring veteran stage actors’ best supporting performances of the year. Mr. De Shields recently received the 2020 Grammy Award for Musical Theater Album for Hadestown, an honorary Doctor of Arts Degree from Boston Conservatory at Berklee, the 2019 Project1Voice Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2019 SAGE Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award, The York Theatre Company’s 2019 Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre, and was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. He received the Key to the City of Baltimore from Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young in August, 2019. Prior to his Tony Award win, Mr. De Shields was best known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway productions: The Wiz , Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Emmy Award), Play On! (Tony Nomination), and The Full Monty (Tony Nomination). In a career spanning fifty one years, he has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director, and educator, receiving in 2018 the 8th Annual Off Broadway Alliance Legend Award, and the 33rd Annual Bob Harrington Life Achievement Bistro Award. Among his other accolades are the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival’s Living Legend Award and the 2007 Village Voice Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance. De Shields can currently be seen on Netflix as the Algebra Tutor in “John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch” and on The CW as Chubby in “Katy Keene.” De Shields is a proud member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and SDC. www.andredeshields.com/

Broadwayworld.com: Westport Country Playhouse Presents PLAYHOUSE AT THE DRIVE-IN Benefit Event

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Broadway & Beyond Theatricals to Present North American Tour of the Signature Theatre Production of Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND

Broadway & Beyond Theatricals will present the North American tour of the Signature Theatre production of Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee, featuring songs by Dengue Fever, directed by Chay Yew, during the 2021-2022 season. The tour, which is the first ever Signature Theatre production to embark on a tour, will play Berkeley Repertory Theatre and many other stops to be announced along with on-sale dates and casting.

Joe Ngo, Abraham Kim, Francis Jue, Jane Lui, Courtney Reed and Moses Villarama in CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND. Photo by Joan Marcus
Joe Ngo, Abraham Kim, Francis Jue, Jane Lui, Courtney Reed and Moses Villarama in CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND. Photo by Joan Marcus
Lauren Yee. Photo by Lia Chang

Playwright Lauren Yee said, “When I first wrote Cambodian Rock Band, I never could have anticipated the deep investment and love audiences have shown for this moving, universal father/daughter story. Thanks to that incredible momentum from those across the country, we have been given the opportunity to share this work with an even broader audience, especially in the Bay Area, where I was born and raised.”

Francis Jue as Duch in Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND. Photo by Joan Marcus

The Signature Theatre production of Cambodian Rock Band played on the Irene Diamond Stage at the Pershing Square Signature Center during the 2019-2020 season. Hailed as “the first great play of 2020” (Theatermania) this darkly funny, electric new play with music tells the story of a Khmer Rouge survivor returning to Cambodia for the first time in thirty years, as his daughter prepares to prosecute one of Cambodia’s most infamous war criminals. Backed by a live band playing contemporary Dengue Fever hits and classic Cambodian oldies, this thrilling story toggles back and forth in time as father and daughter face the music of the past. Directed by Chay Yew, the New York premiere of this intimate rock epic about family secrets is set against a dark chapter of Cambodian history. It launched Steinberg Award-winning playwright Lauren Yee’s Residency 5.

Signature Theatre’s Off-Broadway production of Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band received a 2020 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play, a 2020 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play for Francis Jue and Obie Awards for Joe Ngo for Performance and Mikhail Fiksel for Sound Design. The production was nominated for a 2019-20 Off Broadway Alliance Award for Best New Musical, 2020 Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Play and Outstanding Actor in a Play for Francis Jue, a 2020 Drama League Award nomination for Outstanding Production of Play and a 2020 Drama League Distinguished Performance for Joe Ngo.

For the most up-to-date news about the upcoming Cambodian Rock Band North American tour, please visit BBTheatricals.com.

Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND #CRBChallenge Fundraiser Raises $6,500; Joe Ngo and Mikhail Fiksel Receive 2020 Obie Awards 

Asia Society WEBCAST – Telling Stories: CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND’s Francis Jue and Lauren Yee In Conversation With Diep Tran

Lauren Yee’s KING OF THE YEE’s Garners Five SFBATCC Excellence in Theatre Awards; Francis Jue Wins for Principal Actor in KING OF THE YEES and Featured Actor in THE LANGUAGE LESSON 

CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND’s Francis Jue Wins 2020 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play; Full List of Winners 

CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND, HALFWAY BITCHES GO STRAIGHT TO HEAVEN, A STRANGE LOOP, ROMEO & BERNADETTE, THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES and More Nominated for Off Broadway Alliance Awards 

2020 Drama League Awards Nominees 

SOFT POWER Receives Eleven Drama Desk Nominations, HALFWAY BITCHES GO STRAIGHT TO HEAVEN Receives Eight Nods; Full List of Nominees 

Theater Mu Artistic Director Lily Tung Crystal Hosts Mu-tini Hour with CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND’s Lauren Yee, Joe Ngo and Jane Lui 

CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND, Chay Yew, Daisuke Tsuji, HOLD THESE TRUTH’s Ryun Yu Win San Diego’s 2019 Craig Noel Awards; Full List of Winners 

Yellow Sound Label to Release the Original Off-Broadway Cast Recording of Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND Featuring Francis Jue, Abraham Kim, Jane Lui, Joe Ngo, Courtney Reed and Moses Villarama on May 8

Inside Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND Opening Night; Extends Again at Signature Theatre Through March 22 

Video and Photos: Inside the 2nd Asian American Night of Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND at Signature Theatre 

Inside Asian American Night at Signature’s First Preview of Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND 

Lauren Yee and Jackie Sibblies Drury Receive 2019 Steinberg Playwright Awards at the 12th Annual “Mimi” Awards

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Priya Mahendra​ Channels Her Inner Disney Princess for Video Series: THE PRINCESS POSSIBILITY PROJECT

South Asian actress Priya Mahendra channels her inner Disney princess for The Princess Possibility Project, her 7-part video series.

Directed and edited by Garth Kravits of cut & dry films with COVID-19 regulations and social distancing guidelines in full effect, Ms. Mahendra produced the series and is accompanied by James Rushin on piano, who also mixed the tracks.

The videos bring to life the hopes, constraints, dreams and desires of 7 popular animated princesses – Ariel from The Little Mermaid, Anya from Anastasia, Jasmine from Aladdin, Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella and Mulan – through their “I Want” songs.

“I created The Princess Possibility Project to raise awareness of the way these universally known and loved characters are traditionally portrayed in Entertainment, and the need to expand it in a consciously inclusive direction,” shared Ms. Mahendra. “These Disney Princesses fight to belong while being themselves, and have the potential to be powerful igniters of this change. My project illuminates the power of possibility, perspective, and resilience — especially in times when we need it the most.”

Check out her interpretations of “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid; “Journey to the Past” from Anastasia, and “In My Own Little Corner” from Cinderella.

The Little Mermaid
Ariel is rebellious and resilient. She feels like an outsider in her environment, constrained by rules and regulations, and fights for the possibility to be a part of a different world that she yearns to belong in.

Anastasia
Anya is a seeker and a searcher. She follows her heart even in the face of fear, to find love and the place she belongs. Anya is clever, strong-willed, and builds her own fate. She purposefully chooses the unknown path, and the possibilities that could exist by doing so.

Cinderella
Cinderella is compassionate and filled with wonder. She is a visionary who realizes the power that exists in her imagination. Optimistic and determined to be a dreamer, Cinderella and reminds us that no matter what our circumstances are, “if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true.”

These videos are released weekly on Wednesdays, via Instagram and YouTube.

Priya Mahendra is a New York City based actress who believes that theater can be a space and place where everyone feels like they belong.

For more information and to follow the project, please visit www.priyamahendra.com/tppp​ or @priyamahendra on Instagram.

2020-2022 WP Theater Lab Class Includes Gethsemane Herron-Coward, Nambi E. Kelley, Haruna Lee, Zizi Majid, Daaimah Mubashshir, Miranda Haymon, Chika Ike, Sophiyaa Nayar, Machel Ross, Katherine Wilkinson, Iyvon Edebiri, B.J. Evans, Kristin Leahey, Ayana Parker Morrison, and Cynthia J. Tong

WP THEATER has announced the 15 artists selected for the 2020-2022 WP Lab. The two-year residency begins now and culminates with the biennial WP Pipeline Festival.

The 2020-2022 WP Lab is:
PLAYWRIGHTS: Gethsemane Herron-Coward (she/her), Nambi E. Kelley (she/her), Haruna Lee (they/them), Zizi Majid (she/her), Daaimah Mubashshir (she/her)

DIRECTORS: Miranda Haymon (they/them), Chika Ike (she/her), Sophiyaa Nayar (she/her), Machel Ross (she/her), Katherine Wilkinson (she/them)

PRODUCERS: Iyvon Edebiri (she/her), B.J. Evans (she/her), Kristin Leahey (she/her), Ayana Parker Morrison (she/her), Cynthia J. Tong (she/her)

“In this time of isolation and division, it is such a gift to be able to enter into community with these 15 exceptional writers, directors and producers,” says Lisa McNulty. “We feel so grateful to welcome them into the WP family, and to grow with them over the next two years.”

The artistic heart of WP Theater, the two-year Lab residency provides rising stars in the industry with a vital professional network, entrepreneurial and leadership training, rehearsal space, and most significantly, tangible opportunities for the development and production of bold new work for the stage. As the culmination of the Lab, the Pipeline Festival provides a unique opportunity for audiences and industry to access five new plays at various stages of development, ranging from staged readings to full-length workshop productions. True to its name, the WP Pipeline Festival serves as a pipeline to funnel talented women+ artists and their work to the forefront of American theater. The WP Playwrights Lab is led by WP Producing Artistic Director Lisa McNulty and Mellon Foundation Playwright in Residence Cori Thomas; the Directors Lab is led by WP Associate Artistic Director and Lab Alum Rebecca Martínez, Tony Award-nominated director Leigh Silverman, and Working Theater Co-Artistic Director and Lab Alum Tamilla Woodard; and the Producers Lab is led by Lab Alums Roxanna Barrios (Associate Producer of Artistic Programs, Public Theater) and Nidia Medina (Associate Producer and Director of the Studio, Theatre for a New Audience).

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Pipeline Festival shifted to a virtual celebration called #pipelineonline with each director/producer/playwright pod creating their own unique presentations of the work – including live conversations with the teams, readings from the plays, behind-the-scenes looks at the creative process, and design inspirations. The plays highlighted in the festival were: Phases of the Moon (written by Bryna Turner, directed by Rebecca Martínez, produced by Stephanie Rolland; sandblasted (written by Charly Evon Simpson, directed by Victoria Collado, produced by Ilana Becker); Tobias: A Novel in Performance (written by Christina Quintana (CQ), directed by Arpita Mukherjee, produced by Marie Cisco); Grace, Sponsored By Monteverde (written by Vanessa Garcia, directed by Sarah Hughes, produced by Alyssa Simmons); and My Baby (written by Sukari Jones, directed by Candis C. Jones, produced by Lucy Jackson).

The 2018 Pipeline Festival took place March 29-April 29, 2018 at WP Theater (2162 Broadway) and featured work from writers Donnetta Lavinia Grays, MJ Kaufman, Sylvia Khoury, Zoe Sarnak, Leah Nanako Winkler, directors Melissa Crespo, Morgan Gould, Ellie Heyman, Tyne Rafaeli, Mo Zhou, and producers Roxanna Barrios, SallyCade Holmes, Nidia Medina, Laura Ramadei, and Yuvika Tolani. Four of the five plays in the inaugural 2016 Pipeline Festival were included in the 2016 Kilroys List, an annual industry survey of extraordinary new plays by female and trans playwrights: Cygnus by Susan Soon He Stanton; Kings by Sarah Burgess; The Rug Dealer by Riti Sachdeva; and queens by Martyna Majok. Work from the Pipeline Festival regularly goes on to production at major theaters in New York and beyond, including: Kings by Sarah Burgess (Pipeline 2016) at The Public Theater, queens by Martyna Majok (Pipeline 2016) and Power Strip by Sylvia Khoury (Pipeline 2018) at Lincoln Center Theater.

PLAYWRIGHTS:
GETHSEMANE HERRON-COWARD (she/her) is a playwright from Washington, D.C. She has developed work with JAG Productions, The Hearth, The Ice Factory Festival at the New Ohio Theatre, Classical Theatre of Harlem, The Fire This Time Festival, The Liberation Theater Company, Roundabout Theatre Company, and Ars Nova, where she is a member of Ars Nova’s Play Group. Additional residencies from VONA and the Millay Colony, where she was the recipient of the Yasmin Scholarship. Winner of the Columbia@Roundabout Reading Series. Winner of the 45th Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival. Semi-Finalist for the Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival. Finalist for Space on Ryder Farm’s Creative Residency, the Dennis & Victoria Roth Playwright’s Program, and the Van Lier New Voices Fellowship at the Lark. MFA: Columbia University. Proud member of the Dramatist’s Guild. She’s enamored with Sailor Moon, witches and other magical girl warriors. She writes for survivors.

Award winning playwright and actress NAMBI E. KELLEY, (she/her) was chosen by literary legend Toni Morrison to adapt her novel, Jazz, for the stage (Marin Theater Company, Baltimore Center Stage) and penned an adaptation of Richard Wright’s Native Son which has been seen across the country, including Off-Broadway Premiere at The Duke on 42nd Street (Acting Company) Yale Repertory, and the world premiere at Court Theatre in Chicago where it is the highest grossing production in the theatre’s 65 year history. Nambi is a former playwright in residence at the National Black Theatre, The Goodman Theatre, and Steppenwolf. She most recently served in residence at New Victory Theatre and as a Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow. She’s been recognized with several awards and nominations including the Prince Prize 2019, Writers Alliance Grant (Dramatists Guild Foundation), the Francesca Primus Award 2015, 2019 (finalist); and The Kevin Spacey Foundation Award (finalist). Current notable commissions include a play based on the life of Stokely Carmichael (Prince Prize/Court Theatre), and African American icon Dr. Maya Angelou (North Carolina Black Repertory Theatre) which is embarking on a pre-Broadway run in Spring 2021. Nambi’s just completed work as a season three writer on Showtime’s “The Chi”, and is in development on a feature film project with an Oscar winning production company in Los Angeles, TBA. Nambi earned a BFA from The Theatre School at DePaul University, and an MFA in interdisciplinary arts from Goddard College. http://www.nambikelley.com

HARUNA LEE (they/them) is an Obie award-winning Taiwanese/Japanese/American theater maker, educator, facilitator and community steward whose work is rooted in a liberation-based healing practice. They are committed to promoting arts activism and emergent strategies for the theater through ethical and process-based collaborations that challenge systems and legacies of power, while inviting the fullness of marginalized bodies and the complexity of lived experiences to this practice. Their play Suicide Forest (Bushwick Starr & Ma-Yi Theater Company) is published by 53rd State Press. Lee is a Mohr Visiting Artist Fellow at Stanford University, a recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship, The Map Fund grant, Lotos Foundation Prize for Directing, a New Dramatists Van Lier Fellowship, and has received support from the Mental Insight Foundation, FCA, NYSCA, and the NEA. They were a member of the 2019 artEquity cohort, and is the lead facilitator for the Women-Trans-Femme-Non Binary Asian Diasporic Performance Makers Potluck. harunalee.com

ZIZI MAJID (she/her) is a playwright based in New York City whose plays advocate for a shared humanity. Plays include How To Gild An Eagle (Finalist, Columbia@Roundabout New Play Reading Series; Semi-Finalist, Athena Project); Return To Fall (Finalist, Blue Ink Playwriting Award; Semi-Finalist, National Playwrights Conference; Semi-Finalist, Bay Area Playwrights Festival; Reading, Valdez Theatre Conference. Being In Time (International Human Rights Arts Festival, NYC), Coast (Climate Change Theatre Action, NYC), Zulfiqar (Semi-finalist, Red Bull Theatre Short New Play Festival, NYC), How Did The Cat Get So Fat? (nominated Best Play, Life! Theatre Awards, Singapore); Not Counted (World Premiere, Journey@Beijing Festival) and Yusof (Festival Commission, Pesta Raya, Singapore). For five years, Zizi was Artistic Director of Teater Ekamatra (Singapore), successfully breaking into the mainstream during her tenure, tripling audiences and garnering multiple awards. Awards: Young Artist Award (National Arts Council, Singapore). Member: Cut Edge Experimental Theatre Collective, NYC. MFA: Columbia University.

Daaimah Mubashshir (she/her) is based in NYC. Awards include a 2019-2022 Core Writer Fellowship (Playwrights Center, MN), a 2018 Audrey Residency (New Georges), a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, a Catwalk Institute Residency, and a Foundation of Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant. Published works include Molasses and A Blue Coat – Kenyon Review Online, The Zero Loop (No Tokens Journal), Come with Me – Solve for X in The Occasional 2, edited by Will Arbery (53rd State Press), and The Immeasurable Want of Light (3 Hole Press). Selected full length plays include The Immeasurable Want of Light (3 Hole Press), Room Enough (Magic Time @ Judson Church, Clubbed Thumb), The Chronicles of Cardigan and Khente (Soho Rep) and Emily Black is A Total Gift (New Georges). For upcoming presentations visit http://www.daaimahmubashshir.com.

DIRECTORS:
Miranda Haymon (they/them) is a Princess Grace Award/Honoraria-winning director, writer and deviser of performance. Recent projects include Really, Really Gorgeous (The Tank), Everybody (Sarah Lawrence College), In the Penal Colony (Next Door @ NYTW, The Tank) and Mondo Tragic (National Black Theater). Miranda is a Resident Director at Roundabout Theatre Company and The Tank, a New Georges Affiliate Artist, a Space on Ryder Farm 2019 Creative Resident, member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, and the Wingspace Mentorship Program. Miranda has held directing fellowships at New York Theatre Workshop, Manhattan Theatre Club, Roundabout Theatre Company and Arena Stage. BA Wesleyan University. Upcoming: Exception to the Rule (Roundabout Underground). http://www.mirandahaymon.com

CHIKA IKE (she/her) is a theatre director, dramaturg, and teaching artist based in New York and Chicago. Recent productions include Everybody (Atlantic Theatre School/ NYU), Kentucky, A Swell in the Ground (The Gift Theatre), Franklinland (Jackalope Theatre Company), In the Blood (Red Tape Theatre), No Child (Definition Theatre), Dontrell Who Kissed the Sea (First Floor Theatre). She has also worked with A.R.T., Signature Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Playmakers Repertory Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens, Faultline Theatre, The Lark, Vagabond School, About Face Theatre Company, Chicago Inclusion Initiative, and Chicago Dramatists. Upcoming work includes Antigone (Atlantic Theatre School/ NYU) and Revolt. She Said. Revolt (DePaul University). Achievements include Drama League New York Fellow, SDCF Gielgud Directing Fellow, the Bret C. Harte Directing Fellow, and member of Victory Garden’s Directors Initiative. She is an ensemble member of the Gift Theatre, where she also serves as the director of the 4802 New Play Residency. http://www.chikavike.com

SOPHIYAA NAYAR (she/her) is interested in creating interdisciplinary and genre-bending work that places (im)migrants and POC at the center of the narrative. Recent work includes, Dream Projects Series with Milwaukee Rep, Being Julia Roberts by Abbas Salem (Director, Jackalope Theatre), MLK Project by Yolanda Androzzo (Director, Writers Theatre), EthiopianAmerica By Sam Kebede (Director, Definition Theatre) which won BTA Awards for Best Play, Featured Actor and Actress and a Jeff award for Fight Choreography, Big Little Eyes with Stir Friday Night (Director, Steppenwolf LookOut Series), Nollywood Dreams by Jocelyn Bioh (Assistant Director, MCC Theatre) and A Doll’s House, Part 2 (Assistant Director, Steppenwolf Theatre). Sophiyaa is an ensemble member with Definition Theatre, member of Director’s Lab Chicago 2017, and a resident in Milwaukee Rep’s 2017/18 season. She is part of the SDC Foundation’s Observership Class, through which she worked on Soft Power by Jeanine Tesori and David Henry Hwang at The Public.

MACHEL ROSS (she/her) is a Dominican American director and creative collaborator based in NYC, who specializes in the development of new work and aesthetic world building. She’s developed work with Aziza Barnes (NANA), PigPen Theatre Company (Phantom Folktales), Ellen Winter (This House Is your Home), and directed the world premiere of Jeremy O. Harris’ Black Exhibition at the Bushwick Starr this past fall. She’s worked as an associate for Lileana Blain Cruz (Marys Seacole, The House that Will not Stand), Drew McOnie (King Kong), Lila Neugabauer (Mrs. Murray’s Menagerie, The Antipodes, The Wolves) and Annie Baker. Machel was a 2020 Sundance Theatre Lab Fellow, as well as a 2019 grant recipient of the Women’s Fund for Film, TV and Theatre for her short film Signs He Made at Home. BFA – NYU Playwrights Horizons Theater School.

KATHERINE WILKINSON (she/they) is a queer director based in Brooklyn. Katherine has spent the last decade creating new ensemble-driven performance throughout the US and abroad. She has developed work in Australia, India, Japan, Greece, Mexico, and England. Katherine uses imagination, intuition, and chest-pounding-jump-squatting energy to build trusting communities and invigorating transformative experiences. Katherine’s theatrical work questions how we can transform our fears and silences into a mutual language of action. And how we can uplift each other with both radical tenderness and rigor. Katherine has developed work with The New Ohio (Ice Factory 2019), Classical Theatre of Harlem, Juilliard, Signature, Columbia Stages, The Atlantic, Magic Theatre, Corkscrew Festival, SITI Co., Zen Zen Zo, Medea Electronique, Fusebox Festival, The Watermill Center, The VORTEX, The Oklahoma Contemporary, among others. Katherine has Associate/Assistant Directed for Anne Bogart, Sam Gold, Whitney White, Christopher Renshaw, and Robert Wilson. MFA Columbia University.

PRODUCERS:
Iyvon Edebiri (she/her) is a Nigerian-American independent creative producer, company manager, and dramaturg hailing from Brooklyn, NY. Iyvon is the co-founder, Artistic Director and Host of The Parsnip Ship, a radio-play podcast series. Iyvon is a recipient of the Fulbright Scholarship, Gilman International Scholarship, and The DO School’s Future of Audio Entertainment Fellowship in Berlin. Iyvon was the recipient of the 2019 Mark O’Donnell Prize awarded by The Actors Fund and Playwrights Horizons for emerging, anomalous theater artists. Iyvon has worked at Joe’s Pub, Sundance Institute Theater Program, The Public Theater and as the Associate Producer at ArKtype. B.A. Brandeis University. M.A. Baruch College (CUNY) Arts Administration. @iamiyvon

B.J. EVANS (she/her) is the Senior Producer for Performing Arts at BRIC in Brooklyn where she is the manager of the BRIClab Residency Program and producer for BRIC’s theater and dance programs and short-term and long-term performing arts residencies. She has worked with 80+ artists at BRIC across a spectrum of disciplines; from theater and dance, to poetry, non-fiction and visual art. Her creative producing career spans nearly a decade and includes producing and serving in the artistic departments at The Dallas Theater Center, Working Theater, The Public Theater, Our Town (off-Broadway), and Sleep No More. B.J. is also a freelance dramaturg specializing in participatory, experimental, and devised performance, and holds an M.A. in Applied Theatre.

KRISTIN LEAHEY (she/her) served as the Director of New Works at Seattle Repertory Theatre, the Resident Dramaturg at Northlight Theatre, and, prior to that post, the Literary Manager at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. She has freelanced as an artist with the O’Neill Theater Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Play On Shakespeare, Arizona Theatre Company, Trinity Repertory Theatre, Primary Stages, Classical Stage Company, the Playwrights’ Center, Dallas Theater Center, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Guthrie Theater, Jungle Theater, Village Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, The Lark, The Kennedy Center, The Old Globe, the Indiana Repertory Theatre, Cleveland Play House, Victory Gardens Theater, American Theatre Company, Collaboraction, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Redmoon, New Repertory Theatre, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Galway Arts Festival, Teatro Luna, Teatro Vista (artistic associate), Steep Theatre Company (ensemble), and A Red Orchid Theatre, among others. She is an Assistant Professor, Dramatic Literature & Dramaturgy at Boston University and holds a Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin.

AYANA PARKER MORRISON (she/her) is a digital and theatrical Creative Producer. After graduating from NYU Tisch School of the Arts with a degree in Acting and a minor in Africana Studies, she shifted her focus to develop new projects that speak to the spectrum of stories from the African Diaspora. Ayana was the inaugural Producing Fellow with New York Theater Workshop’s 2050 Administrative Fellowship. Afterwards, she went on to freelance produce shows throughout New York City. Some of her producing credits include Joan with Colt Coeur, Tender Napalm at HERE Arts Center, Saints Of Failure, a solo show performed in Fort Greene’s Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, and NY Times Critic’s Pick Eureka Day with Colt Coeur. She has also served as Creative Producer at Checkmark Productions for the past two years developing the work of the theater industry’s most exciting emerging artists and is currently the Manager of Artistic Production at MCC Theater.

CYNTHIA J. TONG (she/her) is an Asian-American creative producer working across commercial (Broadway and off-Broadway), non-profit, and regional theatre. Her artistic roots are in dance; she spent the first 22 years of her life in the studio. Rich collaborations with artists feed her soul, where process matters as much as product. Currently, she is the Producing Associate for Tom Kirdahy Productions, Line Producer for 600 Highwaymen, and a founding member of The Industry Standard Group. Highlights from past independent producing projects include Playbill’s Women in Theatre Concert (Virtual, 2020), LORDES (New Ohio Theatre, 2019), Dishwater Blonde (Torn Page, 2019), If Sand Were Stone (NYMF, 2018), and Noah Wise (independent feature film). Based on her fast talking and walking, most people don’t believe this, but she’s originally from a laid-back sunny beach town called Rancho Palos Verdes in California. She now lives in a place much better suited to her anxieties: New York City. Education: Wesleyan University (B.A., Sociology) http://www.cynthiajtong.com

LAB LEADERSHIP BIOGRAPHIES:
ROXANNA BARRIOS (she/her) Roxanna Barrios resides at The Public Theater as the Associate Producer of Artistic Programs, supporting projects within Joe’s Pub, the Mobile Unit, Public Works, Under the Radar, Public Forum, and Public Shakespeare Initiative. She is the former Associate Director of the Mobile Unit, which brings theater and music to community centers, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, and more. As a producer, she has worked with globalFEST, LAByrinth Theater Company, WP Theater, The Cherry Lane Mentor Project, and UglyRhino Productions. Prior to her time in New York, she did a brief stint in film in Los Angeles and spent just under a decade working for a children’s performing arts training company in South Florida. She is a graduate of the University of Florida and a South Florida native.

REBECCA MARTÍNEZ (she/her) Rebecca Martínez is a director, choreographer, deviser, facilitator, ensemble member of Sojourn Theatre, and BOLD Associate Artistic Director at WP Theater. Originally from Denver, Colorado with deep ancestral roots in the Southwest, she’s now based in Brooklyn, NY. Recent projects include: I Am My Own Wife (Long Wharf Theatre); Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis), Miss You Like Hell (Baltimore Center Stage), Wolf at the Door (Milagro Theatre, NNPN rolling world premiere), Anna in the Tropics (Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, Henry Award for Outstanding Direction). Member of: Sol Project Collective, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, INTAR’s Unit52, SDCF Observer, Latinx Theatre Commons Advisory Committee, 2019 Audrey Resident, New Georges Affiliated Artist, 2018-2020 WP Lab, 2017 Drama League Directing Fellow, Member of SDC. She is the recipient of four Portland, Oregon Drammy Awards and the Lilla Jewel Award for Women Artists. Rebecca is an artist with the Center for Performance and Civic Practice. rebeccamartinez.org

Lisa McNulty (she/her) is an award-winning Broadway, off-Broadway and regional theater producer in her seventh season as the Producing Artistic Director of WP Theater. Lisa comes to WP from Manhattan Theatre Club, where she served as Artistic Line Producer for eight seasons, working on more than 30 productions both on and off Broadway, including plays by Lynn Nottage, Sarah Treem, Harvey Fierstein, and Tarell Alvin McCraney, among many, many others. Lisa has a long history with WP Theater. She was originally hired by the company’s founder, Julia Miles, as the Literary Manager from 1997-2000, where she dramaturged work by María Irene Fornés, Julie Hébert, and Karen Hartman, among others, and in 2004, she returned to WP as its Associate Artistic Director, working on projects with artists including Diane Paulus and Dierdre Murray, Rinne Groff, and Lisa D’Amour. From 2000-2004 she was McCarter Theater’s Producing Associate, and her independent producing career includes projects with Sarah Ruhl, Todd Almond, Lucy Thurber and Lear deBessonet. Lisa’s leadership is underwritten by the BOLD Theater Women’s Leadership Circle, an initiative to support and promote women’s theater leadership funded by The Pussycat Foundation.

NIDIA MEDINA (she/her) is currently the Associate Producer and Director of the Studio at Theatre for a New Audience, bringing classic and contemporary works to life on TFANA’s Brooklyn mainstage and working hand-in-hand with artists on theatrical experiments in The Studio. Other producing positions include being a Line Producer at The Public Theater, Associate Producer at INTAR, and producing internationally touring one-woman show The God Box that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities across the United States and beyond. Independent producing projects include off-off Broadway shows, fundraiser performances, and some wacky variety shows. She’s held a variety of other positions in the theater, and has spent the past ten years backstage, onstage and in the offices of some great NYC theater companies – including Cherry Lane, Ars Nova, MCC, MTC, and LAByrinth Theatre Company. She holds a BFA in Acting from Emerson College and a Master’s degree in Arts and Cultural Management from Pratt Institute.

Leigh Silverman (she/her) was a WP intern in 1995 and directed Neena Beeber’s Jump/Cut in 2006 and Tanya Barfield’s Bright Half Life in 2015. BIO: Broadway: Grand Horizons (2ST; Williamstown Theater Festival); The Lifespan of a Fact (Studio 54); Violet (Roundabout; Tony nomination); Chinglish (Goodman Theatre; Longacre); Well (Public Theater; ACT; Longacre). Recent Off-Broadway: Soft Power (Public Theater; Ahmanson Theater/ Curran Theater; Drama Desk nom); Harry Clarke (Vineyard Theatre/Audible, Minetta Lane; Lortel nom); Tumacho (Clubbed Thumb); Hurricane Diane (NYTW); Wild Goose Dreams (Public Theater; La Jolla Playhouse); Sweet Charity (New Group); All The Ways To Say I Love You (MCC); No Place To Go and The Outer Space (Public Theater). Encores: Violet; The Wild Party; Really Rosie. 2011 Obie Award and 2019 Obie for Sustained Excellence.

Cori Thomas (she/her) is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter, and WP Theater’s Mellon Playwright in Residence. Produced plays: Lockdown; When January Feels Like Summer; Citizens Market; My Secret Language of Wishes; Pa’s Hat and more. Produced and Developed at: WP Theater; Rattlestick Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Page 73, Ensemble Studio Theatre; City Theater Co. Pittsburgh; The Goodman Theater; Pillsbury House Theater; Mixed Blood; Horizon’s Theater, Mosaic Theatre Co.; and others. She has won the American Theater Critics Osborn Award; Edgerton Foundation Prize; Was a 2017 runner up for The Dramatist Guild Horton Foote Playwriting Award; is a two-time Theodore Ward Prize winner. Cori is a New Dramatists Resident. She has been awarded Fellowships at O’Neill National Playwrights Conference; Sundance Theater Lab; MacDowell Colony; Bogliasco Foundation; Baryshnikov Arts Center; and more. Film and TV Projects include: Original screenplay for HBO Films and Tribeca Productions; JuVee Productions; and more. Cori is presently co-writing the memoirs of Sex Trafficking victim Sara Kruzan for Knopf/Random House. Founder: The Pa’s Hat Foundation a 501c(3) in 2012. Pa’s Hat is an organization focused on helping former child soldiers and other marginalized citizens of Liberia, West Africa with educational and work-related assistance. Ongoing volunteer at San Quentin State Prison with the anti-violence program No More Tears. Board of Directors: of New Dramatists, Pa’s Hat Foundation, Project FEEL, and No More TearsSQ. Cori is represented by Leah Hamos and Vernalis Co at The Gersh Agency, Kirsten Jacobson at Good-Fear Eve MacSweeney at Fletcher and Co. LOCKDOWN is scheduled for Spring 2021 at Milwaukee Rep.

Tamilla Woodard (she/her) is the Co-Artistic Director of Working Theater, former BOLD Associate Artistic Director at WP Theater, and the co-founder of PopUP Theatrics. She also served as the associate director of Hadestown on Broadway. This season her work includes the Lucille Lortel Award nominated Where We Stand by Donnetta Lavinia Grays for WP Theater and Baltimore Center Stage, Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls at American Conservatory Theater and direction and co-conception of Warriors Don’t Cry, a co-production of The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts and TheaterWorksUSA. Recently named one of 50 Women to Watch on Broadway, Tamilla is a graduate of Yale School of Drama, where she currently teaches. She is also a recipient of the Josephine Abady Award from the League of Professional Theatre Women.

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Ali Ewoldt and Derrick Davis Set for Astoria’s RADIAL PARK, a Broadway-Centric Drive-In Experience Featuring THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA Pre-show Concert

Ali Ewoldt in her dressing room at The Majestic in New York. Photo by Lia Chang
Ali Ewoldt in her dressing room at The Majestic in New York. Photo by Lia Chang
Ali Ewoldt in her dressing room at The Majestic in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

Friends of Halletts Point and Stark Production Group will keep the show going when they introduce Radial Park, a specially created Broadway-centric drive-in movie experience featuring live performances at Halletts Point Play, a 50,000 square-foot open-air space in Astoria, Queens, located along the waterfront, with views of the East River and the Manhattan skyline. The first-of-its-kind drive-in will feature a variety of experiences including live performances from Broadway stars, movies on the big screen, karaoke with Bluetooth speakers, movie-style concessions, and much more.

The new live drive-in experience will begin previews this Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 8:00 PM with the longest running show on Broadway, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera kicked-off by a special pre-show concert from stars Derrick Davis (The Phantom of the Opera National Tour, The Lion King National Tour) and Ali Ewoldt (Les Miserables National Tour and Broadway, The Phantom of the Opera Broadway and The King and I Regional Tour and Broadway), who will bring this all-time fan favorite to life alongside a live 11-piece orchestra.

The line-up at Radial Park will continue with multiple shows each week. Tickets ($75 – $150 per group) are now on sale and can be purchased online, where a complete schedule of events can also be found.

An official opening night celebration will be held on Thursday, October 1 with two musical favorites in a double-feature show: The Phantom of the Opera at 8:00 PM followed by Purple Rain at 11:30 PM. The cast for Purple Rain will be announced shortly.

Halletts Point Play is steps away from Citi Bike and NYC Ferry with direct connections from the Upper East Side, Midtown, Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Roosevelt Island and is just a short walk from the subway.

Guests will be able to enjoy the interactive, theatrical show from the safety of their own vehicles or via reserved picnic tables, which come with a retro boombox for audio. Reserved tables, spaced appropriately for social distancing, are available for those who prefer biking, walking, or taking the ferry to Halletts Point Play.

Ice-cold beverages and movie theater snacks will be available on-site for purchase.

“The Durst Organization is thrilled to host such a creative concept from Stark Productions,” said Helena Rose Durst, Principal at The Durst Organization. “Radial Park will provide a unique live entertainment experience that we are all craving during these difficult times, but in a safe and responsible way.”

“As the saying goes, ‘The show must go on!’,” added Jeremy Shepard, Stark Production Group Founder and President. “We are thrilled to be able to be presenting Broadway at the drive-in and are grateful to our partners, Friends of Halletts Point and The Durst Organization, for making it all possible. I chose Broadway because it has been a part of my life for the last 10 years. It seems a shame it is shut down when we all need it the most. Can’t wait to see you at Broadway at the drive-in!”.

Following the requirements of government and health officials, Radial Park will implement strict health and safety protocols including temperature checks upon arrival via an infrared, touchless thermometer; color-coded wristbands for social distancing; “lifeguards” on duty who will be ready to blow the whistle to enforce strict social distancing; and more.

The Durst Organization will underwrite 20 tickets (per showing) for the Astoria Houses residents. A portion of the proceeds from tickets sales will benefit Friends of Halletts Point, a community non-profit organization that enhances the infrastructure, transportation connections, community programming and beautification of the Halletts Point peninsula.

“The residents of the Astoria Houses are delighted to welcome this exciting drive-in experience to Halletts Point,” said Claudia Coger, president of the Astoria Houses Residents’ Association. “We thank The Durst Organization for their ongoing partnership and contribution of tickets to our residents.”

Halletts Point Play is a new cultural, recreational and events venue on the Astoria Waterfront. The space showcases the emerging arts and cultural district in Astoria and provides dramatic views of the Manhattan Skyline and the East River. Steps from the Astoria Ferry Stop, the destination opened summer of 2019 and hosts artistic and family-friendly events.

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Garrett Turner Receives 2020 Tanne Foundation Artist Award

Garrett Turner. Photo by Lia Chang

Garrett Turner is a recipient of the 2020 Tanne Foundation Artist Award.

This year the Tanne Foundation awards, totaling $81,000, honor five artists as well as three artist-run organizations in recognition of their artistic achievements. Click here for the full list of winners.

Garrett Turner, Lillias White, André De Shields at the opening night party of Paper Mill Playhouse’s production of HALF TIME in Millburn, NJ on June 12, 2018. Photo by Lia Chang

A proud native of Florence, Alabama, Turner is an actor, singer, poet, and playwright. He writes at the intersection of moral courage and joy. As a Jesus-loving free Black man, he perceives both joy and righteous indignation as an asset, a weapon, and a treasure. He is currently writing a play about a young Black man stuck between monogamy and a hard place entitled An Elegy for Patriarchy. He is also writing a musical entitled Eleanor: A Church Story about a young Black girl from Tennessee who stages a mini revolution in her own church when they ban her from preaching because she’s a girl.

Garrett Turner (Anger), Ryan Jamaal Swain (Love), Forrest McClendon (Depression), and Reynaldo Piniella (Lust) in the world premiere of THOUGHTS OF A COLORED MAN. Photo Credit: Michael Davis

Turner has worked as an actor in New York City and across the United States in venues such as the National Black Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, Papermill Playhouse, Syracuse Stage, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Miami New Drama, Flat Rock Playhouse, True Colors Theatre, Theatrical Outfit, Aurora Theatre, Theater Emory, and the Alliance Theatre. Upon receiving his Bachelors in Music and Creative Writing from Emory University, he spent a year of post-baccalaureate study at the University of St Andrews in Scotland on a Bobby Jones Scholarship. Subsequently he pursued graduate studies in London on a Marshall Scholarship. garrett-turner.com

Now in its twenty-first year, the foundation’s mission is to underscore the importance of supporting individual artists with unrestricted funding. The award acknowledges the remarkable dedication and creativity of artists in all disciplines and from all sections of the country.

Jerome Preston Bates, Brandon Dion Gregory, Forrest McClendon, Ashley Pierre-Louis, Reynaldo Piniella, Jody Reynard, Ryan Jamaal Swain, Garrett Turner and Hollie E. Wright Set for Baltimore Center Stage’s World Premiere of THOUGHTS OF A COLORED MAN by Keenan Scott II

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Oct. 4: Queens Council On The Arts and Flushing Town Hall Present Virtual Reading Of Marcus Yi’s Musical LUCKY 88 Featuring Ariel Estrada, Ya Han Chang, Xiaoqing Zhang, Charles Pang, Kaitlin Obien, Kennedy Kanagawa, Isabella Dawis, Michelle Cabinian, Andy Danh, DeAnna Choi, and Paulina Yeung

Queens Council on the Arts (QCA) and Flushing Town Hall are presenting a virtual reading of Marcus Yi’s musical Lucky 88, the first musical to be set in a Flushing food court. The show will be streamed online on October 4, 2020 from 2-4pm.

Written and directed by Marcus Yi. The cast features Ariel Estrada, Ya Han Chang, Xiaoqing Zhang, Charles Pang, Kaitlin Obien, Kennedy Kanagawa, Isabella Dawis, Michelle Cabinian, Andy Danh, DeAnna Choi, and Paulina Yeung. Video Editing by Shubhra Prakash. Music Direction by Sobina Chi.

Inspired by all of the food courts in Flushing, Lucky 88 uses the food court environment to explore the multi faceted lives of people that the average American might not otherwise get a chance to know. The show focuses on 3 food stalls and the people that work there: 60 year old Shen Zha Wang at the hand pulled noodle stall struggling to put his son through law school; 50 year old widow Mei Ling Fu at the dumpling stall who is ready to start dating again; and 50 year old Si Ling Xiu at the boba tea stall hiding her cancer diagnosis from her daughter.

Lucky 88 was originally scheduled to be performed at Flushing Town Hall as an immersive experience this September, but because of COVID-19, the production has been postponed. The upcoming virtual reading will showcase original songs, individual performances by actors, and elements native to the digital sphere.

The show was selected by local Flushing community members, or “art commissioners,” as part of QCA’s Artist Commissioning Program. Queens Council on the Arts (QCA)’s Artist Commissioning Program (ACP) democratizes the traditional commissioning process, which has historically been reserved for a privileged few. The program enables local community members, or “Art Commissioners” to fill gaps in American culture by awarding $10,000 commissions to choreographers, playwrights, and composers that tell untold stories highlighting underrepresented protagonists. Every year, the ACP focuses on two Queens neighborhoods: the 2019-2020 cycle highlights the communities of Flushing and Maspeth/Ridgewood. By commissioning artists to materials works resonate with these communities, the ACP aims to create a cultural sector more reflective of the diversity of Queens and the nation.

Click here to register for this free event.

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

May Adrales Joins Playwrights’ Center as Artistic Associate

May Adrales. Photo by Lia Chang
May Adrales. Photo by Lia Chang
May Adrales. Photo by Lia Chang

The Playwrights’ Center continues to grow its organizational strength in support of the communities it serves. The Center is pleased to announce: the hiring of May Adrales as artistic associate and Martine Kei Green-Rogers as fellowship associate; the elevation of Sarah Myers to lead higher education programs as the director of university programs and partnerships; and the movement of H. Adam Harris into the newly created position of engagement associate. The Center is also augmenting the Board of Directors, furthering its diversity and strength, with the addition of Jessie Houlihan, president of Stahl Construction, Cecilia Stanton Adams, chief diversity and inclusion officer at Allianz Life Insurance Company, Jonathan Jensen, market director at Chase Bank, and Leah Spinosa de Vega, executive director, global initiatives at Augsburg University.

“May Adrales, Martine Green-Rogers, H. Adam Harris and Sarah Myers are incredible leaders in the theater field and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have them join the Center,” said producing artistic director Jeremy B. Cohen. “Our artist-service organization is in a period of unprecedented growth, and of course we are all in a moment of huge societal shift, so these new hires and promotions on our team is a huge boon. Most critically, our Fellows and Core Writers will benefit from their expertise and support as we respond to the needs of storytellers and theater artists during this critical time, and we will continue to deeply invest in how the work of the Playwrights’ Center supports an ever-changing theater field.”

May Adrales remarked, “I’m excited to be working alongside passionate and dedicated theater leaders of this artist centered organization as they re-envision the future of the American Theater. It’s the artists who are going to be the real change and revolutionaries in this time of upheaval and social unrest. I want to be part of an organization that centers the artists and provides an inclusive and nurturing environment for their creativity to thrive.”

“I think storytelling has always mattered and always will,” commented Martine Kei Green-Rogers. “Some of the earliest civilizations used storytelling to disseminate information, history, culture, emotions, ideas, etc. I think that what we call ‘theatre’ now is rooted in that same sense of love, connectedness, and desire to capture the pulse of our society. I hope in my role, I can aid playwrights in continuing to find their connection to self and society and document the things that are on their hearts, minds, and souls now.”

“I’m excited, as we continue to grow our higher education initiatives, and deepen our community engagement efforts, to have Sarah and H. Adam leading those conversations.” Cohen added. “They are the embodiment of the Center’s incredible program staff.”

“It’s inspiring to be somewhere as visionary and values-driven as the Playwrights’ Center, where we can reimagine what’s possible in higher ed and actually take concrete steps to serve students and faculty at a time when schools need our support and expansive thinking more than ever.” said Sarah Myers. “I truly believe that the work we’re doing in University Programs and Partnerships is on the cutting edge of what’s possible in the intersection of playwriting and pedagogy, when we really dream.”

Managing director Robert Chelimsky commented, “I’m a bit awestruck by our 2020-21 Board Class. We already have such a strong group of community leaders guiding our development, and now to have Jessie Houlihan, Jonathan Jensen, Leah Spinosa de Vega, and Cecilia Stanton Adams volunteer their strategic insights, their resources, and their energy to the Playwrights’ Center,” he continued. “In the midst of  a critical period of growth, it’s an embarrassment of riches.”

“Storytelling is one way that cultural values live on in our community,” observed Ceilia Stanton Adams. “It’s important that we find ways to fund this type of work and the talented artists that do this work for a living.”

Leah Spinosa de Vega added, “I am excited by the Playwrights’ Center’s commitment to inclusion and equity, as well as by their holistic approach to supporting artists throughout the creative process.”

Jonathan Jensen stressed, “Providing the resources and support to playwrights to focus on their work is a great way to ensure that the world continues to see art in action. I am excited about promoting the Playwrights’ Center’s work to help the organization to grow into the future and impact even more playwrights.”

These changes and additions to the Playwrights’ Center staff went into effect on September 1st. The new class of board members were elected unanimously over the summer and had their first Center board meeting on September 16th.

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Sept. 24: Mr. Miyagi’s Theatre Company’s Rodney To, Sekiya Billman, Cindy Cheung, Paul Juhn, Peter Kim and Hoon Lee Reunite for SIDES: Zoom Edition “Ding Ding’s Play”

In 2005, Ma-Yi Theater Company presented Rodney To, Sekiya Billman, Cindy Cheung, Paul Juhn, Peter Kim and Hoon Lee of Mr. Miyagi’s Theatre Company, in the critically acclaimed play Sides: The Fear is Real…, winner of the New York International Fringe Festival’s Best Ensemble Award in 2003, directed by Anne Kauffman.

Sides: The Fear is Real…, a comic parade of actors’ audition horrors — including nervous performers, bizarre casting directors and every manner of mishap — was written collectively by the company from their own experiences. It has been called “Whip-smart comedy — a bull’s eye (Wall Street Journal),” “High speed, chokingly funny (Washington Post),” “Smart, current and unapologetic -if you enjoy laughing out loud, go see it (NYtheater.com),” “Delightful! Although Asian American, these players amusingly, aptly and artfully represent young actors of any origin (Curtainup.com),” “A very exciting, talented and funny ensemble of actors (actor and playwright Charles Busch),” and “Hilarious fun (playwright David Henry Hwang).”

The company reunited recently for SIDES: Zoom Edition DING DING’S PLAY.

Paul Juhn, Rodney To, Hoon Lee, Cindy Cheung, Sekiya Billman and Peter Kim. Photo courtesy of Facebook

Watch them on Thursday, September 24 @ 1:15pm EST/10:15am PST when the video will go LIVE on YouTube.

“Magnum P.I.” Guest Star Rodney To Shares His Photo Diary of This Week’s Episode Which Airs on April 17 

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will lie in Repose at the Supreme Court of the United States on September 23 and September 24

An official portrait of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2016. (Photo courtesy of Creative Commons)

Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will lie in repose at the Supreme Court of the United States on Wednesday, September 23, and Thursday, September 24. The casket will arrive in front of the Court just before 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday. A private ceremony will take place in the Great Hall at 9:30 a.m. attended by Justice Ginsburg’s family, close friends, and members of the Court. Following the private ceremony inside, Justice Ginsburg will lie in repose under the Portico at the top of the front steps of the Building to allow for public viewing outdoors.

Former law clerks to Justice Ginsburg will serve as honorary pallbearers and will line the front steps as the casket arrives. Supreme Court police officers will serve as pallbearers. The Justices will remain inside the Great Hall where the casket will be placed on the Lincoln Catafalque, which has been loaned to the Court by the U.S. Congress for the ceremony. A 2016 portrait of Justice Ginsburg by Constance P. Beaty will be on display in the Great Hall.

The public is invited to pay respects in front of the Building from approximately 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Wednesday, September 23, and from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Thursday, September 24. Further guidance regarding the public viewing will be available on the homepage of the Court’s website.

Justice Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn, New York, March 15, 1933. She married Martin D. Ginsburg in 1954. She received her B.A. from Cornell University, attended Harvard Law School, and received her LL.B. from Columbia Law School. She served as a law clerk to the Honorable Edmund L. Palmieri, Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, from 1959–1961. From 1961–1963, she was a research associate and then associate director of the Columbia Law School Project on International Procedure. She was a Professor of Law at Rutgers University School of Law from 1963–1972, and Columbia Law School from 1972–1980, and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, California from 1977–1978. In 1971, she was instrumental in launching the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, and served as the ACLU’s General Counsel from 1973–1980, and on the National Board of Directors from 1974–1980. She was appointed a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1980. During her more than 40 years as a Judge and a Justice, she was served by 159 law clerks. While on the Court, the Justice authored My Own Words (2016), a compilation of her speeches and writings. President Clinton nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and she took her seat August 10, 1993. Justice Ginsburg died on September 18, 2020.

A private interment service will be held next week at Arlington National Cemetery.

In a video posted on Facebook, Yo-Yo Ma played Rachmaninov’s Vocalise in memory of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. T

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com