KRISTINA WONG, SWEATSHOP OVERLORD Set for La Jolla Playhouse, Sept. 20-Oct. 16

La Jolla Playhouse’s is presenting the multiple Award-winning solo show, Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord, written and performed by Pulitzer Prize finalist Kristina Wong (featured in the Playhouse’s Digital WOW production of Binge) and directed by Chay Yew (Playhouse’s Cambodian Rock Band) in the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre, September 20 – October 16.

Kristina Wong. Photo by Lia Chang
Kristina Wong. Photo by Lia Chang

For tickets and information, please visit LaJollaPlayhouse.org.

The creative team includes Junghyun Georgia Lee, Scenic Designer; Linda Cho, Costume Designer; Amith Chandrashaker, Lighting Designer; Mikhail Fiksel, Sound Designer; Caite Hevner, Projection Design; and Jess Slocum, Production Stage Manager.

Kristina Wong. Photo by Lia Chang
Kristina Wong. Photo by Lia Chang

On Day 3 of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kristina Wong began sewing masks out of old bedsheets and bra straps on her Hello Kitty sewing machine. Before long, she was leading the Auntie Sewing Squad, a work-from-home sweatshop of hundreds of volunteers – including children and her own mother – to fix the U.S. public healthcare system while in quarantine. It was a feminist care utopia forming in the midst of crisis. Or was it a mutual aid doomsday cult? With hilarity and boundless generosity, Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord invites the audience in on Wong’s work building community in isolation, while reflecting on what we’d been through and imagining what we wanted to become.

Kristina Wong. Photo by Lia Chang
Kristina Wong. Photo by Lia Chang

In addition to being named a Pulitzer Prize finalist, Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord was dubbed a New York Times “Critic’s Pick” and received the 2022 Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Outstanding Solo Performance.

Kristina Wong. Photo by Lia Chang
Kristina Wong. Photo by Lia Chang

“During the pandemic, no artist I know pivoted as inventively and productively as Kristina Wong. She turned her frustration at not being able to perform into a supremely impressive moment of community building, as she assembled a posse of ‘aunties’ to make homemade masks for underserved groups. In the process, she kept people safe, confronted systemic inequality, and created this beautiful, funny and moving new show about all of it,” said Christopher Ashley, the Rich Family Artistic Director of La Jolla Playhouse.

Kristina Wong. Photo by Lia Chang
Kristina Wong. Photo by Lia Chang

Kristina Wong is a performance artist, actor, comedian, writer and elected representative in Koreatown Los Angeles. Following its highly-acclaimed premiere at New York Theater Workshop, Kristina Wong: Sweatshop Overlord was a New York Times “Critic’s Pick.” Wong was then named a Pulitzer Prize finalist in Drama (2022). Sweatshop Overlord also garnered a veritable awards sweep this year including the Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel and Outer Critics Circle Awards. Wong’s other works have been presented across North America, the UK, Hong Kong and Africa. She’s been a guest on late night shows on Comedy Central, NBC and FX. As a published writer, Wong’s work is included in Routledge’s Contemporary Plays by Women of Color. Wong wrote the introduction for The Auntie Sewing Squad Guide To Mask Making, Radical Care and Racial Justice, published by University of California Press. She also had Artist Residencies at MacDowell, Hermitage, Montalvo and Ojai Playwrights Festival. Wong’s work has been awarded with grants from Creative Capital, The MAP Fund, Center for Cultural Innovation, National Performance Network, a COLA Master Artist Fellowship from the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, nine Los Angeles Artist-in-Residence awards, Center Theatre Group’s Sherwood Award, and the Art Matters Foundation. She is currently developing a new work during her three year Artist-in-Residence at ASU Gammage. Other major projects include Wong Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Going Green The Wong Way, The Wong Street Journal, and Kristina Wong for Public Office. Other career highlights include the Visionary Award from East West Players, “Local Hero Of The Year” nominee from KCET/ PBS, Asian Pacific Honoree from Fuse TV and the Best Of Arts Los Angeles issue from LA Weekly.

Kristina Wong. Photo by Lia Chang
Kristina Wong. Photo by Lia Chang
Chay Yew

Chay Yew directed La Jolla Playhouse’s acclaimed production of Cambodian Rock Band. His credits include Off-Broadway productions at The Public, Playwrights Horizons, NYTW, Signature Theatre Company, Rattlestick, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Playwrights Realm, National Asian American Theatre Company, Ma-Yi Theatre. Regional: American Conservatory Theater, Berkeley Rep, South Coast Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Goodman Theatre, Denver Theater Center, Humana Festival, Kennedy Center, Mark Taper Forum, Long Wharf Theatre, Hartford Stage, Seattle Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse, Huntington Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Woolly Mammoth, Victory Gardens, East West Players, Writers Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Curious Theatre, Mosaic Theatre Company, Playmakers Rep, Round House, Teatro Vista, Laguna Playhouse, Geva Theatre, Empty Space, Cornerstone Theater, Singapore Repertory Theatre. Opera: Tanglewood Music Center, Los Angeles Philharmonic. Awards: Obie, Craig Noel, Drama-Logue awards.

Kristina Wong. Photo by Lia Chang
Kristina Wong. Photo by Lia Chang

La Jolla Playhouse is a place where artists and audiences come together to create what’s new and next in the American theatre, from Tony Award-winning productions, to imaginative programs for young audiences, to interactive experiences outside our theatre walls. Founded in 1947 by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer, the Playhouse is currently led by Tony Award winner Christopher Ashley, the Rich Family Artistic Director of La Jolla Playhouse, and Managing Director Debby Buchholz. The Playhouse is internationally renowned for the development of new works, including mounting 108 world premieres, commissioning 60 new works, and sending 33 productions to Broadway – among them the hit musicals Come From Away and Jersey Boys – garnering a total of 38 Tony Awards, as well as the 1993 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre.

The quilt made by the Aunties for Kristina Wong. Photo by Lia Chang
The quilt made by the Aunties for Kristina Wong. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields, Kristina Wong, and Lia Chang attend the Outer Critics Circle Awards at the Walter Bruno Auditorium at NYPL in New York on May 26, 2022.
Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer, activist and an Award winning filmmaker and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Lia is also the host and Executive Producer of BACKSTAGE PASS WITH LIA CHANG, a new Arts and Entertainment program that airs on Sundays at 6:30pm  on FIOS 34, RCN 83, Spectrum 56/1996 and MNN2.

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. Her short film, When the World Was Young recently garnered a 2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative. 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. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2022 Lia Chang Multimedia. 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, unless otherwise indicated. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at backstagepasswithliachang@gmail.com

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