Photos: Utah Shakespeare Festival’s World Premiere of Jason Ma’s GOLD MOUNTAIN Starring Ali Ewoldt and Jonny Lee Jr.
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 directing, 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 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. Derek Charles Livingston, Utah Shakespeare Festival’s director of new play development/artistic associate, provides Dramaturgy.
The run of Gold Mountain is from Thursday, November 4th to Saturday, November 20th at the West Valley Performing Arts Center in the 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.
Nov 9, 7:30 p.m., Tuesday
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Nov 13, 2:00 p.m., Saturday
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Nov 20, 2:00 p.m., Saturday
Nov 20, 7:30 p.m., Saturday
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.
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.