TheatreWorks Silicon Valley kicks off its 2018/19 season with Hold These Truths by Jeanne Sakata, an inspiring true story following Gordon Hirabayashi, a Japanese-American student who fought internment to a relocation camp during World War II. This Northern California premiere celebrates the human spirit as it chronicles Hirabayashi’s journey from college in Seattle all the way to the Supreme Court, and eventually to a Congressional Medal of Freedom. Directed by Lisa Rothe, with Joel de la Fuente starring as Hirabayashi, Hold These Truths shares the story of a young man who passionately defends his Constitutional rights against an unexpected adversary: his own country. The play began previews on July 11 and will continue through August 5 at the Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Rd., Palo Alto. Opening night is tonight. For tickets ($40-$100) and more information the public may visit TheatreWorks.org or call (650) 463-1960.
Hold These Truths made its world premiere in 2007 at East West Players in Los Angeles. In 2012, the solo play made its Off Broadway premiere at Epic Theatre Company starring Joel de la Fuente, and received a 2013 Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance. Since its world premiere, it has gone on to play throughout the nation including theatres in Boston, Honolulu, Washington, D.C., Portland, and many others. Critics have lauded the period piece as “a top-notch production” (The New York Times), “particularly impactful” (TheaterMania), and a show which “gives hope that the arc of the moral universe does indeed eventually bend toward justice” (Los Angeles Times).
The production team includes Sound Designer/Composer Daniel Kluger, Scenic Designer Mikiko Suzuki MacAdams, Scenic Design Assistant Joo Hyun Kim, Costume Designer:Margaret E. Weedon, Lighting Designer: Cat Tate Starmer, Casting Director Jeffrey Lo and Stage Manager Randall K. Lum.
Joel de la Fuente makes his TheatreWorks debut as Gordon Hirabayashi. He has been seen in movies and on many television shows and such as “The Man in the High Castle,” “Madam Secretary,” “Hemlock Grove,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Hawaii 5-O,” “ER,” Red Sparrow, The Adjustment Bureau, and more. De la Fuente has also performed throughout the United States at theatres including New York Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, The Public Theater, and others.
Lisa Rothe (Director), who last helmed Confederates at TheatreWorks, is returning to direct Hold These Truths. For her work on the Off-Broadway premiere of Hold These Truths, she earned a nomination for SDC’s Joe A. Callaway Award for Direction, with The New York Times noting the production was “elegantly directed.” Rothe has worked with New York Theatre Workshop, is an Artistic Affiliate with New Georges, a Drama League alum, a Women’s Project Director’s Lab member, a Fox Fellow recipient, a member of The Actor’s Center, a recent board member of the League of Professional Theatre Women as the VP of Membership, and a new member of the National Theater Conference. She received her MFA from New York University’s Graduate Acting Program before being invited by mentor Zelda Fichandler to be a part of the inaugural class of the Directing program. Rothe has workshopped, developed, and directed a multitude of new works with award winning writers and presented work across New York, including HERE, NYTW, New Georges, The Lark, The Culture Project, The Foundry, Ensemble Studio Theater, The 52nd Street Project, Naked Angels, Epic Theater Ensemble, Summer Play Festival, among others. As the Director of Global Exchange at The Lark in NYC, she expanded opportunities for playwrights to advance new works to production, both nationally and globally (connected to programs with Mexico, Russia, Romania, and China).
Jeanne Sakata (Playwright) is an actor and playwright whose work spans across theatre, film, television, and voiceover. She has been seen on television shows and movies such as Big Hero 6, “Dr. Ken,” “NCIS Los Angeles,” “NUMB3RS”, Tyler Perry’s “Meet the Browns,” “Desperate Housewives,” “ER,” and John Ridley’s I Got You. Sakata has performed throughout the nation at theatres including The Public Theater, South Coast Repertory, Lincoln Center Theater, Kennedy Center, A Contemporary Theatre, American Conservatory Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Syracuse Stage, Arizona Theatre Company, and TheatreWorks Silicon Valley where she starred in the 2017 production of Calligraphy. Her script for Hold These Truths was published in 2010 by the Japan Studies Association Journal, and is currently on display at the Library of Congress Playwrights Archive in the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection in Washington D.C., where the Jeanne Sakata Collection was established in 2011. She is a recipient of the LA Ovation Award for Best Lead Actress, the 2016 lee Melville Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Los Angeles Theatre Community, Los Angeles’ Pacific American Friends of Theatre Outstanding Artist Award, Best Actress Award Entertainment Today Best Supporting Actress Award, and the Drama-Logue Outstanding Performance Award. Sakata resides in Los Angeles and is a member of the city’s acclaimed classical group the Antaeus Company.
With some 100,000 patrons per year, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley has captured a national reputation for artistic innovation and integrity, often presenting Bay Area theatregoers with their first look at acclaimed musicals, comedies, and dramas, directed by award-winning local and guest directors, and performed by professional actors cast locally and from across the country.
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 Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.
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