Rep. Elizabeth Weight Presents Jason Ma with Special Citation from the Utah State Legislature Honoring the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s World Premiere of His Musical GOLD MOUNTAIN; Limited Run at West Valley Performing Arts Center Ends Run
There is nothing like going out with a bang and on a high note. Rep. Elizabeth Weight (D-District 31) presented two-time ASCAP Foundation Award recipient Jason Ma with his first Official Citation honoring the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s world premiere production of his original musical, Gold Mountain, for which he wrote the book, music and lyrics, before the evening performance at the West Valley Performing Arts Center on November 19.
The citation states, “Furthermore, be it known that the Utah State legislature recognizes the musical Gold Mountain for its portrayal of the dreams and daily lives of the Chinese railroad workers. Furthermore, be it known that the Utah State legislature recognizes writer and composer Jason Ma and the cast, creative team, and staff of Gold Mountain for their dedication of talent, training and personal contribution to the stories of Chinese railroad workers.”
Utah State Legislature President Stuart Adams, Speaker Brad Wilson, Senator Don Ipson, Senator Evan Vickers, Representative Rex Shipp and Representative Karen Kwan were among the other signatories of the Citation.
Ma said, “I’d like to dedicate tonight’s performance to Judge Michael Kwan, who was the President of the Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association. He was the primary driver for getting Gold Mountain to Utah in 2019. We lost Judge Kwan in 2020. We’ve incorporated his name into our script where he will dwell and watch over us as we continue to do Gold Mountain. Please enjoy the show and thank you so very much.”
Below is video by Associate Producer Max Chang.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival’s world premiere 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 remaining performances are at 2pm and 7:30pm tonight. 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.
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. Emily Song Tyler is the understudy for Yook Mei.
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.
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.