On Thursday, September 24th at 7:00 p.m. PDT/10:00 EST, join a real-time conversation about musical theatre, theatrical dance and the state of the movement arts from true industry insiders, presented by Musco Center for the Arts and Chapman University College of Performing Arts (CoPA) at Online/Virtual Space. Informed by their extensive performance careers and creative pursuits, professional dancers, choreographers, and educators Wilson Mendieta, Rommy Sandhu, Lainie Sakakura, and Tommar Wilson discuss their personal lives, careers, and transitions as people of color in the musical theatre industry.
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Wilson Mendieta is a graduate of the University of Washington with an M.F.A. degree in Dance and a Nonprofit Management Certificate from the Evans School of Public Affairs. He also received a B.F.A. degree in Acting and B.A. minor in Dance from Montclair State University.
Prior to earning his Masters in Fine Arts degree, he lived in the New York City area where he worked as a performer for television, radio spots, commercials, concert dance companies and Off-Broadway and Broadway musicals.
Rommy Sandhu is a New York City based director and choreographer. He has been directing choreographing, and performing across the country for 20+ years, including as Dance Captain to Tony Award winning director/choreographers Kathleen Marshall, Susan Stroman, and Matthew Bourne. A mix of Punjabi-Indian and Scottish/Irish/German-American roots, Rommy trained in every style of dance he could find. He eventually moved to pursue his dreams in New York City. He worked his way across the regional theater landscape culminating in 11 Broadway shows and National Tours.
Lainie Sakakura, recipient of the 2015 Joe A. Callaway Award for Outstanding Choreography and 2002 Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Choreography. NYC based writer, director, choreographer, teaching artist. Currently developing Corner of Bitter and Sweet a musical adaptation of New York Times Best Seller, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Book by Lainie Sakakura, Music & Lyrics by Paul Fujimoto. NYC Director: Cherry Lane Theatre, Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, Theatre 71, Summer Stage, Neighborhood Playhouse. Original Broadway Casts: Fosse (dance reconstruction, onstage dance captain); Chita Rivera The Dancer’s Life; Flower Drum Song (2002); The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public; The King and I (1996 and 2015). In 1994 Sakakura became the second Asian NYC Radio City Rockette following Setsuko Maruhashi hired in 1985 (the first Rockette of color).
Tommar Wilson is a seasoned Broadway actor whose credits include: Hamilton, The Book of Mormon, Hair, Hairspray and others. TV/film: The Good Fight, Instinct, Boardwalk Empire, Elementary, Madam Secretary, Frozen and others. 2019 Nicholl Screenwriting QF and Drama Desk winner.
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.
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