Headed to Salt Lake City with Jason Ma’s GOLD MOUNTAIN Musical as Part of the 2019 Golden Spike 150th Anniversary Celebration of the Completion of the Transcontinental Railroad

Jason Ma and Lia Chang

I am headed to Salt Lake City on Delta Airlines for my latest adventure with Jason Ma and his company of Asian American actors who will be performing semi-staged concert presentations of his new musical Gold Mountain, which has sold out its Salt Lake City run. Those hoping to catch one of the Spike 150 celebration performances can see this original musical in nearby Ogden.

The cast features Ali Ewoldt (The Phantom of the Opera), Jonny Lee Jr, Joseph Steven Yang (Aubergine at Playwrights Horizons), Darren Lee (Allegiance), Kiet Tai Cao, Lawrence-Michael C. Arias, Steven Eng (CSC’s Pacific Overtures), Eric Bondoc (Pacific Overtures, 2004 revival), Daniel May (Soft Power), Alex Hsu, Eric Elizaga, Viet Vo, joined by Utah actor Robert Scott Smith.

Ali Ewoldt and Jonny Lee Jr. in Gold Mountain at The TimesCenter in New York City. Photo by Lia Chang
Ali Ewoldt and Jonny Lee Jr. in Gold Mountain at The TimesCenter in New York City. Photo by Lia Chang

Direction will be provided by Alan Muraoka, choreography by Billy Bustamante, and music direction by Kristen Lee Rosenfeld. Performances in Ogden will take place in partnership with Ogden Musical Theatre at the historic Peery’s Egyptian Theater at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 10 and at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 11. The sold out performances in Salt Lake City are set for the Regent Street Black Box at The Eccles Theater on Wednesday, May 8 and Thursday, May 9, both at 8:00 p.m

GOLD MOUNTAIN Director Alan Muraoka, Ali Ewoldt, Jonny Lee, Jr. and Creator Jason Ma at TheTimesCenter in New York on October 21, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang
GOLD MOUNTAIN Director Alan Muraoka, Ali Ewoldt, Jonny Lee, Jr. and Creator Jason Ma at TheTimesCenter in New York on October 21, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang

Other events that will be a part of the Spike 150 celebration of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad include two staged readings of David Henry Hwang’s The Dance and the Railroad, directed by Billy Bustamante for Salt Lake Acting Company on May 6 and 7, followed by a panel discussion with Hwang, Ma and Paisley Rekdal, the poet laureate of Utah on the 6th. Brian Stokes Mitchell and Megan Hilty will headline a concert with the Utah Symphony and The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square on Friday, May 10.

David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang
David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

Spike 150 is expecting around 600,000 people will attend the celebration events planned and that the activities planned will reach approximately 2.5 million people.

About Gold Mountain:

Gold Mountain, a new original musical, is a love story set against the backdrop of a pivotal event in America’s history: the construction of the first transcontinental railroad. It is a heartfelt, universal tale that celebrates the striving immigrant spirit, the redemptive power of love, and the ultimate nobility of self-sacrifice among a team of Chinese railroad workers.

Gold Mountain was most recently presented at TheTimesCenter in New York City by the National Asian Artists Project in partnership with Prospect Theater Company as a part of their 2017 IGNITE series. It was also selected for presentation at the 2016 ASCAP/DreamWorks Musical Theatre Workshop in Los Angeles, for development by Apples & Oranges Studios in their 2017 THEatre ACCELERATOR, for a staged reading at San Francisco LaborFest 2016 in The Aurora Theatre, and for a 2017 eStudio grant for a developmental workshop at The Masie Center.

About the Writer and Director:
Jason Ma (Writer) is a son of an immigrant family, and a grateful descendant of a long line of those who were able to persist, overcome and succeed on their way to becoming Americans. He wrote book, music and lyrics for Gold Mountain and is the 2017 recipient of the ASCAP Foundation’s Cole Porter Award for his work as a composer/lyricist. Along with writing, he is an actor who has been seen on Broadway and Off-Broadway stages, in regional theaters and many international venues. Please visit: www.goldmountainthemusical.com

Alan Muraoka (Director) NY directing credits: Avenue Q (Off-Broadway Resident Director), Telly Leung: Telly on a Sunday (Birdland-November 2018), The Report (NY Fringe), Kung Fu (Signature Theatre-AD), Ann Harada: American Songbook (Lincoln Center), Awesomer& Awesomer!!!(Triad Theatre), The King and I (Harbor Lights Theatre), Telly Leung: Playlist and What Makes a Man? (54 Below), Ali Ewoldt: From Phantom to Phantom (54 Below) Grand Hotel (NYU/Cap 21),Falsettoland(NAATCO), John Tartaglia AD-LIBerty(Joe’s Pub) & Christmas Eve With Christmas Eve (BC/EFA Benefits). Regionally: South Pacific &Once On This Island (Olney Theatre),The King and I, Xanadu, Disney’s High School Musicaland Disney’s High School Musical 2 (all at Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma), Disney’s High School Musical(MUNY, Casa Manana), Urinetown(Trinity University), and Up In The Air(Kennedy Center-AD). Television:Sesame Street,Macy’sThanksgiving Day Parade. As an actor, Alan is most recognizable for his role in the Emmy Award winning series, “Sesame Street,” where he plays “Alan,” the proprietor of Hooper’s Store. He has appeared in 7 Broadway shows; “Aladdin”, “Pacific Overtures,” “Mail,” “Shogun, the Musical,” “My Favorite Year,” “The King and I”(with Lou Diamond Phillips and Donna Murphy), and most notably “Miss Saigon,” where he played the lead role of the Engineer. Member SSDC & DGA. Website: www.alanmuraoka.net Follow on Instagram: #alanathoopers

About Production Partners:
Spike 150: Spike 150 is an initiative of Utah’s Transcontinental Railroad 150th Celebration Commission. The Utah State Legislature and Governor Gary Herbert established the Commission in 2017. Utah’s Transcontinental Railroad 150th Celebration Commission will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the “wedding of the rails” by the driving of the Golden Spike at Promontory Summit, Utah in 1869 on the weekend of May 10 – 11, 2019. The Commission is also engaged in promoting other commemorative events and activities that inspire, unify, educate and advance the legacy of this historic moment. More at: https://spike150.org

CRWDA: The Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association is a national, membership based, charitable organization which seeks to preserve, promote and protect the contributions made by Chinese railroad workers to the United States. Through our educational and philanthropic efforts, we support academic research, historic preservation and artistic projects that further the understanding and appreciation of the sacrifices, struggles, hardships and contributions made by generations of Chinese and Chinese Americans to the United States. Learn more at https://www.goldenspike150.org/

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Lia Chang
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 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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