L.A. Theatre Works Premieres Jeanne Sakata’s New Audio Play, FOR US ALL, Featuring Greg Watanabe, Derek Mio, Joy Osmanski, Paul Yen, Josh Stamberg, Brooke Ishibashi, Tess Lina, André Sogliuzzo, Mike McShane and Ed Asner


L.A. Theatre Works is premiering Jeanne Sakata’s new audio play, For Us All, helmed by Anna Lyse Erikson. 

For Us All follows a team of lawyers who use a little known legal writ to fight to overturn the conviction of Fred Korematsu, unjustly sentenced for resisting the WWII mass incarceration of all Japanese Americans on the West Coast.

Fred Korematsu (seated, center) at a 1983 press conference announcing the reopening of his wartime Supreme Court case, the subject of a LATW-commissioned audio play, “For Us All” by Jeanne Sakata. Also pictured are attorneys Dale Minami (seated, left), Peter Irons (seated, right), Don Tamaki (standing, left), Dennis Hayashi (standing, center) and Lori Bannai (standing, right). Photo: Crystal K.D. Huie / via MTYKL Foundation

The celebrated legal team —most of whom are young Asian American attorneys in their 20’s and 30’s, just starting out in their legal careers – put their own careers on the line and took on the historic battle of overturning the WWII Supreme Court ruling upholding Fred Korematsu’s criminal conviction for resisting Executive Order 9066.

Top row: Jeanne Sakata, Anna Lyse Erikson (director), Mike McShane; second row: Tess Lina, Paul Yen, Joy Osmanski; third row: André Sogliuzzo, Susan Loewenberg (LATW producing artistic director), Josh Stamberg; bottom row: Greg Watanabe, Derek Mio, Brooke Ishibashi. (Photo courtesy L.A. Theatre Works)
Top row: Jeanne Sakata, Anna Lyse Erikson (director), Mike McShane; second row: Tess Lina, Paul Yen, Joy Osmanski; third row: André Sogliuzzo, Susan Loewenberg (LATW producing artistic director), Josh Stamberg; bottom row: Greg Watanabe, Derek Mio, Brooke Ishibashi. (Photo courtesy L.A. Theatre Works)

While the government uses every tactic to make the case go away, the lawyers and their defendant, Fred Korematsu (played by Greg Watanabe) insist on nothing short of justice. In addition to Watanabe, the cast includes Edward Asner (John J. McCloy), Brooke Ishibashi (Karen Korematsu, Clerk), Tess Lina (Judge Marilyn Hall Patel, Times Analyst, Clerk), Mike McShane (Lt. General John L. DeWitt, CBS News Anchor, ABC News Anchor, NBC Reporter), Derek Mio (Dale Minami), Joy Osmanski (Lorraine (Lori) Bannai, Maya), André Sogliuzzo (Edward Ennis, Victor Stone, NY Times Reporter), Josh Stamberg (Peter Irons) and Paul Yen (Don Tamaki), as well as playwright Sakata (Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga).

The play draws much inspiration from Enduring Conviction: Fred Korematsu and his Quest for Justice by Lorraine K. Bannai (University of Washington Press 2015) and Justice Delayed by Peter Irons (Wesleyan University Press 1989).

For Us All was commissioned by LATW Artistic Director Susan Loewenberg and sponsored by the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program, a state-funded grant project of the California State Library.

Kathryn and Fred Korematsu sit on the bench dedicated to JFK Jr. in a courtyard adjacent to the NYU Law School Auditorium in April, 2000. Photo by Lia Chang

Tickets are $20 and are available at https://latw.org/title/us-all. Purchase of For Us All also includes access to a bonus Zoom interview hosted by L.A. Theatre Works producing artistic director Susan Loewenberg and playwright Sakata in conversation with the real-life attorneys who worked on the landmark Korematsu v. United States case: Dale Minami, Don Tamaki, Lori Bannai and Peter Irons–to whom, along with Fred Korematsu himself—we owe profound thanks for their courage, vision and inspiration.

Jeanne Sakata. Photo by Lia Chang
Jeanne Sakata. Photo by Lia Chang Communications

Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths (Drama Desk Nomination, Outstanding Solo Performance; San Diego Critics’ Circle Award, Outstanding Solo Performance; Theatre Bay Area Awards, Outstanding Production, Direction, and Lead Performance), has won rave reviews in over twenty productions across North America, most recently at People’s Light, San Diego Repertory, Cultch Historic Theatre in Vancouver, Barrington Stage Company, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Arena Stage, Hang A Tale Productions, Lyric Stage Company, Pasadena Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, the Guthrie Theater, Perseverance Theatre, ACT Seattle, PlayMakers Repertory Company, Honolulu Theatre for Youth (co-produced with Daniel Dae Kim), and Epic Theatre Ensemble. Originally premiering with Los Angeles’ East West Players, the play was first commissioned by Chay Yew, former director of CTG’s Asian Theatre Workshop.

Called a “local treasure” by the Los Angeles Times, Jeanne has enjoyed guest star/recurring roles onscreen in Jennifer Phang’s internationally acclaimed indie film, Advantageous, and on the TV series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, Station 19NCIS Los Angeles, Big Hero 6, Dr. Ken, Bravo’s True Fiction, Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns, Desperate Housewives, Presidio Med, ER, Threat Matrix, Line of Fire, American Family, John Ridley’s I Got You, Hiroshima, and Sex and Marriage, a Justin Lin YOMYOMF YouTube webseries.  Onstage, Jeanne has performed with the Vineyard Theatre, Public Theater, Lincoln Center Theater, Kennedy Center, Mark Taper Forum, Geffen Playhouse, South Coast Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, American Conservatory Theater, Northlight Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Berkeley Rep, A Contemporary Theatre, Portland Center Stage, People’s Light, Sundance Theatre Institute, Syracuse Stage and the Arizona Theatre Company.

Special honors: Theatre LA Ovation Award for Outstanding Lead Actress, Chay Yew’s Red, East West Players; 2019 Trailblazer Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement, East West Players; 2016 Lee Melville Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Los Angeles Theatre Community, Playwrights’ Arena; Outstanding Artist Award, Los Angeles’ Pacific American Friends of Theatre. www.jeannesakata.comwww.holdthesetruths.info

According to AudioFile magazine, “L.A. Theatre Works sets the gold standard for fine audio theater recordings.” The Philadelphia Inquirer calls L.A. Theatre Works “a national theatrical treasure.”The world’s leading producer of audio theater, L.A. Theatre Works stands apart in its approach to making great theater widely accessible and affordable, bringing plays into homes and classrooms of millions of theater lovers, teachers and students each year. LATW’s syndicated radio theater series broadcasts weekly on public radio stations across the U.S. and daily in China on the Radio Beijing Network.

The L.A. Theatre Works catalog of over 500 recorded plays is the largest archive of its kind in the world. According to AudioFile magazine, “L.A. Theatre Works sets the gold standard for fine audio theater recordings.” The Philadelphia Inquirer calls L.A. Theatre Works “a national theatrical treasure.”Subscribe to L.A. Theatre Works’ entire 9-play, 2020-21 Digital Season for $150, and receive additional bonus features throughout the season, including a special video conversation with L.A. Theatre Works founding members Edward Asner, Richard Dreyfuss, Hector Elizondo, Stacy Keach, Marsha Mason and JoBeth Williams.

May 15: L.A. Theatre Works will Premiere Audio Play of Ken Narasaki’s NO-NO BOY Featuring Greg Watanabe, Sab Shimono, Sharon Omi, Emily Kuroda, Kurt Kanazawa, Joy Osmanski, and Paul Yen 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s