Kennedy Center’s Arts Across America “Winter Traditions” Digital Series Highlights GOLD MOUNTAIN and BROKEN GROUND Writer Jason Ma

Jason Ma. Photo by Lia Chang

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in partnership with Facebook is sharing stories and performances of diverse artists from across the country in their “Winter Traditions” series, part of their Arts Across America online programming. Jason Ma, the writer of Gold Mountain, shares stories of his immigrant family’s holiday gatherings and how they’ve become a time to celebrate and reflect. The segment ends with an excerpt from the new original musical Broken Ground, commissioned by Village Theatre and written by Ma and Christine Toy Johnson.  The episode, which also features bassist Mali Obomsawin (Tribal Lands, New Hampshire) and R & B guitarist Barbara Lynn (Texas), premieres at 1pm PT/4pm ET on Monday, December 21st, and will be available to view after on the Kennedy Center website and Facebook page.

Jason Ma (馬智培) 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. In addition to writing, he is an actor who has performed extensively on  Broadway and Off-Broadway stages, in regional theaters  and many international venues.  Jason is the ASCAP Foundation’s 2017 recipient of the Cole Porter Award for his work as a composer/lyricist.  He wrote the music, book and lyrics for GOLD MOUNTAIN, which was performed  as a key commemorative  event for Utah’s Spike 150 anniversary celebrations  in 2019.  GOLD MOUNTAIN was also presented  in a  2017 concert at TheTimesCenter in New York City  by the National Asian Artists Project in partnership with Prospect Theater Company, as well as  selected for  the 2016 ASCAP/ DreamWorks Musical Theatre Workshop in Los Angeles. With librettist/co-lyricist Christine Toy Johnson, Jason wrote music and lyrics for the full-length musical BARCELONA, which was subsequently selected for Village Theatre’s 2015 Festival of New Musicals  and currently, they are writing and developing the new original musical BROKEN GROUND, a commissioned work for Village Theatre. About Broken Ground:

Broken Ground (book and lyrics by Christine Toy Johnson, music and lyrics by Jason Ma) tells the story of a grief-stricken young woman in a small farming village in China who discovers her destiny through messages embroidered by her late mother in an ancient writing system created by and only for women. Taking place in 1912 on the cusp of a new era for China, Broken Ground tells the story of 18 -year old Xuě Lán, as she sets out on the path created for her by tradition and her family to marry a young soldier. Still grieving the recent loss of her mother and twin brother and yearning to make peace with the new life before her, she seeks guidance from both Guān Yīn, the goddess of compassion, and the spirit of her mother. Transported to another space and time of an ancient myth via an embroidered story in NüShū, the centuries-old writing system created by and only for women, Xuě Lán connects to her mother’s wishes for her and discovers that she can indeed find happiness by both speaking her truth and honoring her destiny.

Broken Ground is a new original musical and is currently in early development. The first draft was completed this past October, and the piece is a commissioned work by Village Theatre (Robb Hunt, Executive Producer, Jerry Dixon, Artistic Director, Brandon Ivie, Associate Artistic Director).

Check out the full lineup below:

Friday, December 18: Los Texmaniacs (Texas), Melody McKiver (Tribal Lands, Great Lakes Region), Rabbi Ariel Root Wolpe (Georgia), Robin Barnes (New Orleans)

Monday, December 21: Mali Obomsawin (Tribal Lands, New Hampshire), Jason Ma (California), Barbara Lynn (Texas)

Tuesday, December 22: Kiran Ahluwalia and Rez Abbasi (New York), Nadia Sirota (New York)

Wednesday, December 23: Cheeyang Ng (New York), Pamela Simonson (District of Columbia), Nicholas Ward (New York), Jazmin Sutherlin (District of Columbia)

Thursday, December 24: Renée Fleming, Amythyst Kiah (Tennessee), Jesus “Chuy” Renteria (Iowa), Ricardo Romaneiro/Metropolis Ensemble (New York)

Friday, December 25: Aaron Myers (District of Columbia), DuPont Brass (District of Columbia), Delores King Williams (District of Columbia), and Christmas Day Jazz at Home with Chuck Redd and Friends (District of Columbia) featuring Chuck Redd, Robert Redd, Tom Williams, James King, and Lenny Robinson

Monday, December 28: Kofi Hunter (New York), Kamalakiran Vinjamuri, Hermes Croatto (Puerto Rico), and Ronnie Malley (Chicago)

Tuesday, December 29: La Marvela (District of Columbia), Dong Xi (Maryland)

Wednesday, December 30: Makana (Hawaii), Tatiana Crespo (Arizona), Jannina Norpoth and Andres Martin (New York), and Enrique Quiroz (District of Columbia)

Thursday, December 31: Walter Seed (New Orleans), Kevin Wooten (Alabama)

Friday, January 1: Austin Colby and Caroline Bowman, Joe Kye (Oregon), and Lyla June (Tribal Lands)

Watch: New York Theatre Barn’s New Works Series Presents Sneak Peek of Christine Toy Johnson and Jason Ma’s BROKEN GROUND Featuring Ali Ewoldt and Jonny Lee Jr.  

Ali Ewoldt, Ann Harada, Josh Dela Cruz, Jaygee Macapugay, Jason Ma, Kendyl Ito, James Seol, Vishal Vaidya and More in Rehearsal for National Asian Artists Project’s Concert of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA 

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. 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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