HOLD THESE TRUTHS by Jeanne Sakata (Off Broadway’s Hold These Truths), directed by Jessica Kubzansky (The Pasadena Playhouse’s Pygmalion and Co-Artistic Director of Boston Court), and starring Ryun Yu (Geffen Playhouse’s Take Me Out), opens tonight and runs through June 25, 2017. The play began preview performances on May 30. HOLD THESE TRUTHS, produced in association with East West Players, is a cautionary tale of the injustices perpetrated when nationalism, fear and hysteria collide. The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101.
75 years ago, Executive Order 9066 called for American citizens to be ripped from their homes and forced into internment camps, detained solely based on their heritage and ancestry. Amid the chaos, one young student stands up for what he passionately believes is right in the face of a country deeply divided between national security and freedom for all. Based on a true story which follows the life of civil rights hero Gordon Hirabayashi, HOLD THESE TRUTHS is a shockingly relevant cautionary tale of the injustices perpetrated when nationalism, fear and hysteria collide.
Gordon Kiyoshi Hirabayashi (1918-2012) was an American sociologist best known for his resistance to the Japanese-American internment during World War II. He was one of the only three to openly defy it. After being convicted for curfew violation he was sentenced to 90 days in prison. The verdict was appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Hirabayashi v. United States (1943). They unanimously ruled against him. He later spent a year in federal prison for refusing induction into the armed forces after they had sent out a racially discriminatory survey to Japanese-Americans demanding renunciation of allegiance to the emperor of Japan. In 1987, the U.S. Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit overturned his conviction from 1943. In 2012, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Hirabayashi for his principled stand against Japanese-American internment.
“I had the privilege of meeting this play of Jeanne Sakata’s in a very early stage of development, and was blessed to get to develop and direct it from then forward to its world premiere production and beyond. It has been an extraordinary gift, said Director Jessica Kubzansky. She added, “Not only because playwright Jeanne Sakata is herself an extraordinary light and spirit, and Ryun Yu, the actor who created the role, a beautiful man and a hugely gifted actor with enormous passion and integrity, but because, as I worked on this play, which is in some ways a love story between a man and his Constitution, I began to realize that for the first time in my life I was encountering a hero. A true hero. An American hero.”
HOLD THESE TRUTHS premiered at East West Players in 2007 under the title Dawn’s Light: The Journey of Gordon Hirabayashi.
Tickets for HOLD THESE TRUTHS range from $25 – $80 with premiere seats at $115. Tickets are available online at PasadenaPlayhouse.org, by phone at 626-356-7529 or at The Pasadena Playhouse Box Office (39 South El Molino Avenue).
The Pasadena Playhouse will present post-show engagement activities for every performance in order to help facilitate conversation around these timely topics. The free post-show events are in cooperation with community organizations throughout Los Angeles. The post-show engagement activity line-up will be released at a later date.
PERFORMER Ryun Yu
Ryun Yu’s credits include: Mark in the film adaptation of David Henry Hwang’s Bondage; the fictional David Henry Hwang in Yellow Face in the first adaptation of a major theatrical play for YouTube; Takeshi in the world premiere of Tokyo Fish Story at South Coast Repertory; the West Coast premiere of Richard Greenberg’s Take Me Out at Geffen Playhouse; Philip Kan Gotanda’s Sisters Matsumoto at Seattle Repertory Theatre and Huntington Theatre Company; the world premiere of Lloyd Suh’s American Hwangap at San Francisco’s Magic Theatre; Art and the Los Angeles premiere of Julia Cho’s The Language Archive at East West Players; and Sea Change at the Gay and Lesbian Center. Film appearances include Only the Brave, The Brothers Solomon and The Mikado Project. TV appearances include “Fuller House,” “Bones,” “Good Luck Charlie” and “Castle”. Yu co-wrote, co-produced, directed and starred in the feature film The Last Tour that debuted at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival earlier this year. Yu was the first Korean-American to train at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and has the first theater degree ever awarded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths was recently produced at Perseverance Theatre, Portland Center Stage and the Guthrie Theater and included by audience demand in Seattle’s ACT Theatre 2015 50th Anniversary Mainstage Season following four sold-out performances in the ACT Lab. Premiering at LA’s East West Players in 2007, Hold These Truths had its off-Broadway debut with the Epic Theatre Ensemble in 2012 (Drama Desk Nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance, actor Joel de la Fuente; Joe A. Callaway Award Finalist, Outstanding Direction, director Lisa Rothe) and has since been performed at PlayMakers Repertory, People’s Light & Theatre, Honolulu Theatre for Youth (co-produced with Daniel Dae Kim), Terra Nova Collective, Silk Road Rising/Millennium Park, and Coachella Valley Rep. Jeanne is also an acclaimed actor who has performed with the Public Theatre, Lincoln Center Theatre, Kennedy Center, the Mark Taper Forum, South Coast Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, the Intiman, Portland Center Stage, ACT Seattle, ACT San Francisco, Berkeley Rep, and People’s Light & Theatre. Screen credits include the internationally acclaimed indie film Advantageous (US Dramatic Special Jury Award for Collaborative Vision, 2015 Sundance Film Festival) and guest appearances on BRAVO’S True Fiction, Dr. Ken, NCIS Los Angeles, Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns, Desperate Housewives, Presidio Med, ER, Threat Matrix, Line of Fire, American Family, John Ridley’s I Got You, and Sex and Marriage, a Justin Lin YOMYOMF YouTube webseries. Special honors: LA Ovation Award, Outstanding Lead Actress, Red at EWP; 2016 Lee Melville Award, Outstanding Contribution to the Los Angeles Theatre Community, Playwrights’ Arena; Outstanding Artist Award, LA Asian Pacific American Friends of Theatre; establishment of the Jeanne Sakata Collection, Library of Congress Playwrights Archive, Asian American Pacific Islander Collection. www.jeannesakata.com, www.holdthesetruths.info www.facebook.com/holdthesetruths
Jessica Kubzansky (Director) last directed Pygmalion and the West Coast Premiere of Theresa Rebeck’s Mauritius at The Pasadena Playhouse. She has been the Co-Artistic Director of The Theatre @ Boston Court in Pasadena since its inception. Her most recent productions there were the world premiere of Sheila Callaghan’s Everything You Touch, and RII, her own three-person adaptation of Shakespeare’s Richard II. Her recent credits include the New York premiere of Sheila Callaghan’s Everything You Touch for Rattlestick at The Cherry Lane and Stupid Fucking Bird at ACT Theatre in Seattle. She is also an award-winning director working nationally in a wide variety of venues such as Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, the Cherry Lane, South Coast Rep, Pasadena Playhouse, The Geffen Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Silk Road, The Aurora, The Publick, La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, The Laguna Playhouse, Antaeus, ICT, The Colony, East/West Players, A Noise Within, Theater 150, 24th Street, EST-LA, Playwrights’ Arena, and more. She has also directed numerous productions, which have toured both nationally and internationally. Kubzansky does a great deal of new work development, and has had the privilege of developing work by an amazing group of playwrights, including Luis Alfaro, Bill Cain, Sheila Callaghan, Julia Cho, Jordan Harrison, Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, Zayd Dohrn, Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, David Wiener, Ken Urban, Christina Anderson, Carlos Murillo, Laura Schellhardt, Jean-Claude van Itallie, Diana Son, Nick Salamone, and many other wonderful writers in many new play development settings, including Ojai Playwrights Conference, Portland Center Stage JAW Festival, South Coast Rep’s Pacific Playwrights Festival and NewSCRipts, the Playwrights Center of Minneapolis, the Taper Labs, and many others. Kubzansky has received numerous awards and honors, among them the Los Angeles’ Drama Critics’ Circle’s Margaret Harford Award for Sustained Excellence in Theatre. Proud member of SDC.
Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director, Danny Feldman, The Pasadena Playhouse’s mission is to enhance the lives of our community through theatrical productions, community programs and education. This year, The Pasadena Playhouse State Theater of California celebrates its Centennial Anniversary.
For more information visit www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.
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 is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. 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 and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.com, Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.
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