Tony-Winning Utah Shakespeare Festival to Present World Premiere of Jason Ma’s GOLD MOUNTAIN Starring Ali Ewoldt and Jonny Lee Jr., Nov. 4-Nov. 20

Steven Eng, Eric Bondoc, Joseph Steven Yang, Viet Vo, Alex Hsu, Kiet Tai Cao, Ali Ewoldt, Eric Elizaga, Jonny Lee, Jr., Darren Lee, Daniel May and Lawrence-Michael Arias. Photo by Lia Chang

The Utah Shakespeare Festival is presenting the world premiere production of Gold Mountain, an original musical by Jason Ma, in November of 2021. Alan Muraoka is slated to direct, having been at the helm for multiple workshops, presentations, and concert versions of the piece since 2015. This marks a return to Utah for Gold Mountain. A staged concert, starring Broadway’s Ali Ewoldt(Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables), was performed as a key commemorative event for Utah’s 2019 Spike 150 anniversary celebrations in Salt Lake City and Ogden with a New York based cast of Asian American actors. Ewoldt reprises her starring role as Yook Mei in the upcoming production opposite Jonny Lee Jr. as Lit Ning. The cast also features Lawrence-Michael C. Arias as Wong, Kiet Tai Cao as Chu, Michael Ching as Ba, Steven Eng as Loong, Kennedy Kanagawa as Lo, Darren Lee as Jiang, and Robert Scott Smith as Hagan. Eymard Cabling, Kelvin Moon Loh, Jimmy Nguyen, and Viet Vo will round out the cast. 

The Gold Mountain creative team is entirely comprised of women and artists of color. In addition to Muraoka, the team includes music director Amanda Morton, orchestrations by Steven Cuevas, choreographer Billy Bustamante, associate director/ choreographer Darren Lee, associate music director Joanna Li, costume design by Helen Q. Huang, sets by Jo Winiarski, lighting design by Jaymi Lee Smith, and sound design by Jennifer Jackson.

The run of twenty performances from Thursday, November 4th to Saturday, November 20th will be at the West Valley Performing Arts Center in Salt Lake City Area. The theater is located at 3333 Decker Lake Drive, West Valley City, Utah. Tickets are available at the West Valley Arts website at wvcarts.org/gold-mountain.html at any time, by calling 801-965-5140, or by visiting the Ticket Office in person at 3333 Decker Lake Drive, West Valley City, Utah. Ticket Office hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.

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

In 2019 Governor Herbert’s Spike150 commission, in partnership with the Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association, brought Gold Mountain to Utah as a special cultural event to celebrate the landmark 150th Anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.

Gold Mountain has also been presented at TheTimesCenter in New York City by Baayork Lee’s National Asian Artists Project in partnership with Prospect Theater Company as a part of their 2017 IGNITE series. The original musical 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: 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 OffBroadway stages, in regional theaters and many international venues. Jason is a recipient of an ASCAP Foundation Cole Porter Award for his work as a composer/lyricist, and wrote the music, book, and lyrics for GOLD MOUNTAIN. With librettist/co-lyricist Christine Toy Johnson, he wrote music and lyrics for the new original musical BROKEN GROUND, commissioned by Village Theatre, where it is currently in development. Please visit: http://www.goldmountainthemusical.com and http://www.jasonmamusic.com. 

Alan Muraoka

About the Director: Alan Muraoka (Director) – Television: Sesame Street: The Power of We (HBO Max & PBS; Best Director Nomination 2021 NAACP Image Award), Sesame Street (Season 51 & 52, Sesame Street In Communities, Monster Foodies, Elmo’s World) , Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC.

New York theatre credits include: Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder (Virtual EventCollaborazian),  The Nice List (World Premiere Virtual Musical), Avenue Q (Off BroadwayResident Director), The Report (NY Fringe), Kung Fu (Signature Theatre-Assistant Director),l Jennifer Barnhart: It’s About Time! (Laurie Beechman Theatre),  Elizabeth Ward Land: Still Within The Sound of My Voice (Green Room 42, Bistro Award- Best Tribute Show 2020) Ann Harada: American Songbook (Lincoln Center), Awesomer & Awesomer!!! (Triad Theatre), The King and I (Harbor Lights Theatre Company), Telly Leung: Playlist and What Makes a Man? (54 Below), Grand Hotel (NYU/Cap 21), Falsettoland (NAATCO), John Tartaglia AD-LIBerty (Joe’s Pub).

Regionally: Gold Mountain (Eccles Theatre & Perry’s Egyptian Theatre), Olney Theatre: South Pacific, Once On This Island. At the Lyric Theatre in Oklahoma City:The King and I, Xanadu, Disney’s High School Musical and Disney’s High School Musical 2. Other regional credits include Disney’s High School Musical (MUNY, Casa Manana), Urinetown (Trinity University), and Associate Director for Up In The Air (Kennedy Center).

As an actor, Mr. Muraoka has appeared in 7 Broadway shows, and has been a cast member of Sesame Street for the past 23 years, where he plays Alan, the proprietor of Hooper’s Store. Mr. Muraoka is a graduate of UCLA, where he received the Carol Burnett Musical Comedy Award for performance.

Upcoming Directing: Gold Mountain (Utah Shakespeare Festival- October 2021) Elf (Pioneer Theatre- December 2021) Forestburgh Playhouse New Works Festival: Catskills Cab Lab (September 2021) Awesomer & Awesomer- Legacy Theatre (May 2022) Website: http://www.alanmuraoka.tv Instagram: @alanathoopers.

This production is made possible, in part, with support from the Utah Department of Cultural and Community Engagement, the Thrive 125 celebration of the 125th anniversary of Utah statehood, and the Jeffery R. and Katie C. Nelson Foundation.

For more information about the production, visit www.bard.org/gold-mountain. For questions regarding ticketing, seating, or accessibility, contact Melissa Salguero at melissa.salguero@wvc-ut.gov or 801-965-5140.

Path to GOLD MOUNTAIN Lined with Gratitude for AAPI Community

Festival Announces West Valley City Production

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 (2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative). She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2021 Lia Chang Multimedia, unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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