Broadway Vet Darren Lee Joins 29 Hour Industry Reading of Lainie Sakakura and Paul Fujimoto’s New Musical, CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET

Darren Lee. Photo by Lia Chang

Broadway Vet Darren Lee joins the cast of Lainie Sakakura and Paul Fujimoto’s New Musical, Corner of Bitter and Sweet to portray Mr. Okada.

The 29 Hour industry reading of Corner of Bitter and Sweet features a book by Lainie Sakakura, music & lyrics by Paul Fujimoto and is being presented by The 5th Avenue Theatre, Abingdon Theatre Company and Ann Ramsay-Jenkins on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 at 2:30pm at Theatre 71, 152 West 71st Street in New York.  Lainie Sakakura directs.

Based on the New York Times bestseller, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, Corner of Bitter and Sweet tells a stunning multigenerational story about a boy’s coming of age during WWII Seattle, and the depths and longing of deep-heart love. The Seattle Times called it “A Chinese-Japanese variation on Romeo and Juliet, (that is) so revealing and so well rendered.”

Paul Fujimoto, Lainie Sakakura and Jamie Ford. Photo by Lia Chang

The previously announced cast includes Jane Bernhard, Darius de Haas, Carly Gendell, Rick Faugno, Kenny Ingram, Sala Iwamatsu, Spencer Jones, Kathleen Kwan, Jonny Lee Jr., Fenton Li, Jason Ma, Zach Mackiewicz, Mary Beth Purdy, Alex Sanchez, Avelina Sanchez, Isabela Sanchez, Ian Saraceni, Virginia Woodruff, and Timothy Yang.

The creative team includes Cantonese Consultant Fenton Li, Music Supervisor and Dance Arrangements by Sam Davis, Music Director Evan Alparone, Kory Grossman on Percussion and Stage Managers Anita Shastri and Nicole Marconi.

Day 1 of Rehearsal – 1st Row: Kenny Ingram, Darius de Haas, Virginia Woodruff, Isabela Sanchez, Fenton Li, Kathleen Kwan, Jason Ma. 2nd Row: Nicole Marconi, Mary Beth Purdy, Spencer Jones, Ian Saraceni, Carly Gendell, Isabela Sanchez, Avelina Sanchez, Timothy Yang, Anita Shastri, Richard Vida. 3rd Row: Sam Davis, Zach Mackiewicz, Evan Alparone, Lainie Sakakura, Paul Fiujimoto, Jane Bernhard, Jonny Lee, Jr., Rick Faugno, James A. Rocco. Photo by Lia Chang

Attendance is limited to industry only. For further information, please contact James A. Rocco, Associate Producer, The 5th Avenue Theatre,

Lainie Sakakura and Paul Fujimoto. Photo by Lia Chang

Lainie Sakakura (Book) is a Japanese America writer/director/choreographer. Recipient of the 2015 Joe A. Callaway Award Outstanding Choreography and 2002 Joseph Jefferson Award Best Choreography. Daughter of Japanese American WWII concentration camp survivor, William Norio Sakakura, and granddaughter to his mother, Kiyome who did not survive the medical conditions caused by her imprisonment there.

Paul Fujimoto (Music and Lyrics) is a composer/lyricist, 4th-generation Japanese-American, born and raised in Seattle, now based in NYC. His songs have been recorded by Tony-winners and nominees and have been showcased in many concert venues around the world. Paul also dabbles in jazz composition and an award-winning trumpet player. Dedicated to his grandfather, Tak Akiyama, who was interned in Minidoka. Training: University of Washington, BMI Musical Theatre Workshop

Day 1 of CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET Rehearsal at the Open Jar Studios in New York on October 17, 2019. Photo by Lia Chang

Abingdon Theatre Company (Chad Austin, Artistic Director) is dedicated to developing and producing brave, new American work by emerging and established artists. The company provides a safe home where playwrights, directors and actors can collaborate within a supportive and nurturing environment. We search for stories about the human experience that reflect our social, political, historical and cultural diversity. We are acutely aware of the theatre’s power to unite disparate population groups through stories about common human interests, and we strive to shed light on a variety of perspectives.

The 5th Avenue Theatre (Bill Berry, Producing Artistic Director; Bernie Griffin, Managing Director) is one of America’s leading musical theater companies. We enrich the community we love with the art form we love—giving the Pacific Northwest a front-row seat to original powerhouse productions that go on to light up marquees and audiences all the way to Broadway. From the page to the stage, we bring passion and epic scale to every musical we create. With big talent. Bigger-than-life productions. And did we mention dazzle? As a nonprofit theater company and our region’s largest performing arts employer, we spread the joy of great musicals with people of all ages across our region and state. Each year, we reach more than 75,000 young people through our nationally acclaimed education programs. Programs designed to develop new musicals ensure that the next generation of great musicals will be there to tell the stories that captivate tomorrow’s audiences. On the national stage, we are a leading voice for the power of this American art form to lift the human spirit.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits. Photo by 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 and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and

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