André De Shields, David Byrne, Annaleigh Ashford and More Attend “John Mulaney and The Sack Lunch Bunch” NY Premiere; Launches on Netflix on December 24

Netflix is a Joke held the New York premiere screening of “John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch” at The Metrograph in New York City on December 16, 2019. The musical special’s creator and star John Mulaney was in attendance alongside The Sack Lunch Bunch children, guest stars David Byrne, Annaleigh Ashford, and André De Shields and special guests Mike Birbiglia and Nick Kroll.

1st Row: Tyler Bourke, Oriah Elgrabli, Lexi Perkel, Orson Hong, Linder Sutton, Isabella Iannelli 2nd Row: Jacob Laval, André De Shields, Camille de la Cruz, John Mulaney, Suri Marrero, Ava Briglia, Zell Steele Morrow, Cordelia Commando, Jonah Mussolino, Alexander Bello attend the John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch NY Special Screening at The Metrograph on December 16, 2019 in New York City. Photo by Lia Chang

Emmy Award Winning Comedian John Mulaney aims to recapture the magic of that bygone television era when children sang songs about their feelings with celebrity guests on funky outdoor sets. The result: “John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch”.

Jacob Laval, David Byrne and Lexi Perkel attend the John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch NY Special Screening at The Metrograph on December 16, 2019 in New York City. Photo by Lia Chang

“I’m John Mulaney and I am a 37 year old man. The Sack Lunch Bunch is a group of children ages 8-13 who are more talented than me. In this special, we are joined by celebrity guests like David Byrne, Hadestown star and Tony Award Winner André De Shields, Natasha Lyonne, Annaleigh Ashford, Shereen Pimentel, Richard Kind, and Jake Gyllenhaal from the movie Zodiac. The result is a collage of Broadway caliber showstoppers, comedy sketches for all ages, meditations on the unknown from children and adults, and a papier mache volcano. It’s funny, musical, joyous, anxious, and surprisingly profound.”

“John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch” is directed by Rhys Thomas (Documentary Now, SNL, John Mulaney: The Comeback Kid). The special launches globally on Netflix on December 24, 2019. Check out the photos from the premiere below.

Lia Chang and André De Shields attend the John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch NY Special Screening at The Metrograph on December 16, 2019 in New York City. Photo by Allison Posner
André De Shields and The Sack Lunch Bunch kids Camille de la Cruz, Isabella Iannelli, Orson Hong, Linder Sutton, Oriah Elgrabli, Ava Briglia, Cordelia Commando attend the John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch NY Special Screening at The Metrograph on December 16, 2019 in New York City. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields attends the John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch NY Special Screening at The Metrograph on December 16, 2019 in New York City. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields attends the John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch NY Special Screening at The Metrograph on December 16, 2019 in New York City. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields and Eli Bolin attend the John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch NY Special Screening at The Metrograph on December 16, 2019 in New York City. Photo by Lia Chang
Eli Bolin and André De Shields attend the John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch NY Special Screening at The Metrograph on December 16, 2019 in New York City. Photo by Lia Chang
Eli Bolin, Allison Posner and André De Shields attend the John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch NY Special Screening at The Metrograph on December 16, 2019 in New York City. Photo by Lia Chang
Phil Nee, Erin Quill, Lia Chang and André De Shields attend the John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch NY Special Screening at The Metrograph on December 16, 2019 in New York City. Photo by Bryan Bedder

Check out the trailer below and tune in to Netflix on December 24.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits. Photo by 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 and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2019 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. 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

Tony Danza Spends Thanksgiving Day with Encore Seniors

Encore Community Services has been providing care and service to the elderly of the Clinton/Times Square/Midtown communities for 43 years. Encore was founded in 1977 by Father George Moore, the pastor of St. Malachy’s Church. He, along with Sisters Elizabeth Hasslet and Lillian McNamara, and members of the Broadway community (including The Shubert Organization, Sardi’s and the theatrical unions) turned the old Actor’s Chapel in the basement of St. Malachy’s into the Encore Senior Center, where it still thrives today.

Encore Senior Center at St. Malachy’s. Photo by Lia Chang
Encore Senior Center at St. Malachy’s. Photo by Lia Chang

On Thanksgiving Day, the Encore Senior Center was transformed into a festive holiday dining hall with Sergio Reyes on Violin and Emilio Teubal on piano.

Sergio Reyes on Violin and Emilio Teubal on piano. Photo by Lia Chang

An army of Encore and City Meals volunteers were on hand to serve the Encore seniors turkey dinners with all the trimmings, generously donated by St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters and City Meals on Wheels.

Encore and City Meals volunteers. Photo by Lia Chang

Seniors were surprised by television and Broadway star Tony Danza, who spent the morning of the first seating serving string beans in the kitchen and then mingling with the seniors while they enjoyed their meals in the dining hall.

Tony Danza was one of the volunteers for Encore’s Thanksgiving day for seniors. Photo by Lia Chang
Tony Danza was one of the volunteers for Encore’s Thanksgiving day for seniors at St. Malachy’s in New York. Photo by Lia Chang
Tony Danza was one of the volunteers for Encore’s Thanksgiving day for seniors. Photo by Lia Chang
Joseph Sano, Managing Director, St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelter with Tony Danza. Photo by Lia Chang
Tony Danza, Gigi Verkaik and Joseph Sano, Managing Director, St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelter. Photo by Lia Chang
Tony Danza with Encore seniors. Photo by Lia Chang
Tony Danza with Encore seniors. Photo by Lia Chang

With home delivered meals and over the course of two seatings, roughly 600 meals were served on Thanksgiving. 800 Thanksgiving meals were delivered on Wednesday to homebound seniors.

Thanksgiving Day at Encore Senior Center at St. Malachy’s in New York. Photo by Lia Chang
Thanksgiving Day at Encore Senior Center at St. Malachy’s in New York. Photo by Lia Chang
Thanksgiving Day at Encore Senior Center at St. Malachy’s in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

Homebound seniors over the age of 60 living within the boundaries of 14th to 110th Street, from 5th Avenue to the Hudson River, are eligible for this program. The Center serves breakfast and lunch for 200 seniors each day and approximately 1600 hot meals are delivered for frail and homebound seniors who are unable to attend the Center,  as part of Encore’s Home Delivered Meals Program. Over the course of the year, over 400,000 or close to half a million meals are provided for Encore seniors.

Rev. John Frasier, Pastor of St. Malachy gives a Thanksgiving blessing. Photo by Lia Chang

Father Moore was a dynamic and charismatic leader, a tireless champion for the homeless and elderly, as well as an integral part of the Broadway community. He received an honorary Tony-Award posthumously (in 1991), for his visionary work, his dedication to the arts and his commitment to the people of the Times Square, Hell’s Kitchen and Broadway communities.

Encore Community Center’s Gigi Verkaik, Judy Castillo, Hector Arias, Jose Lewis Sanchez. Photo by Lia Chang
The kitchen staff. Photo by Lia Chang
Tony Danza with Encore seniors. Photo by Lia Chang
Encore Board member Robert Score serves up Thanksgiving meals. Photo by Lia Chang
Tony Danza and the kitchen staff. Photo by Lia Chang
Tony Danza and the Encore and City Meals volunteers. Photo by Lia Chang
Encore Board member Bobby Score, Tony Danza and Joe Valentino, Trustee of Local 1. Photo by Lia Chang
Sister Peggy and an Encore senior. Photo by Lia Chang

The mission of Encore Community Services is to provide care and service to any elderly person who needs us; to assist those who are vulnerable and frail, poor and homeless, homebound and lonely, frequently-desperate, most-often ignored; to help them with their daily needs so that they might live as independently as possible, with dignity and decency, in a non-institutional manner, in a safe and caring environment. We believe we are all part of the human family and have an obligation to love one another. By nurturing, respecting and enabling, Encore hopes to improve the quality of an older person’s life, using an approach that emanates from the core of Encore’s commitment: We believe that what we do comes from the heart, and the heart is the center of all. www.encorenyc.org

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits. Photo by 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 and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2019 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. 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

HADESTOWN, AIN’T TOO PROUD, MOULIN ROUGE! THE MUSICAL, OKLAHOMA and THE MUSIC OF HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD Receive Grammy Nominations for ‘Best Musical Theater Album’

Patrick Page, Eva Noblezada, Reeve Carney, Amber Gray and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

The 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards will take place in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, at the STAPLES Center with Alicea Keys as host and will be broadcast live on CBS at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. Streamed live on GRAMMY.com, the GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony will be held at the Microsoft Theater at 12:30 p.m. PT.

MUSICAL THEATER

58. Best Musical Theater Album
For albums containing at least 51% playing time of new recordings. Award to the principle vocalist(s) and the album producer(s) of 51% or more playing time of the album. The lyricist(s) and composer(s) of a new score are eligible for an Award if they have written and/or composed a new score which comprises 51% or more playing time of the album.

  • AIN’T TOO PROUD: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS
    Saint Aubyn, Derrick Baskin, James Harkness, Jawan M. Jackson, Jeremy Pope & Ephraim Sykes, principal soloists; Scott M. Riesett, producer (Original Broadway Cast)
  • HADESTOWN
    Reeve Carney, André De Shields, Amber Gray, Eva Noblezada & Patrick Page, principal soloists; Mara Isaacs, David Lai, Anaïs Mitchell & Todd Sickafoose, producers (Anaïs Mitchell, composer & lyricist) (Original Broadway Cast)
  • MOULIN ROUGE! THE MUSICAL
    Danny Burstein, Tam Mutu, Sahr Ngaujah, Karen Olivo & Aaron Tveit, principal soloists; Justin Levine, Baz Luhrmann, Matt Stine & Alex Timbers, producers (Original Broadway Cast)
  • THE MUSIC OF HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD – IN FOUR CONTEMPORARY SUITES
    Imogen Heap, producer; Imogen Heap, composer (Imogen Heap)
  • OKLAHOMA!
    Damon Daunno, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Ali Stroker, Mary Testa & Patrick Vaill, principal soloists; Daniel Kluger & Dean Sharenow, producers (Richard Rodgers, composer; Oscar Hammerstein II, lyricist) (2019 Broadway Cast)

Click here for the full list of nominations.

André De Shields, Leslie Jordan and Stacey Friedman Honored at SAGE Awards and Gala; Event Raised $1.5 Million Dollars for LGBT Elders

SAGE Awards and Gala at Cipriani Wall Street in New York on October 21, 2019. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields, Emmy and Tony Award–winning actor, recipient of the Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award. Photo by Lia Chang

Emmy and Tony Award–winning actor André De Shields, currently starring in Hadestown, received the Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award at the sold-out SAGE Awards & Gala held at Cipriani Wall Street on October 21.

SAGE, the world’s largest organization dedicated to serving and advocating with and on behalf of LGBT older people, raised a record-breaking $1.5 million dollars.

More than 1,000 attendees turned out to honor LGBT elder pioneers at the forefront of the LGBT movement, as well as notable advocates and change agents who have made a difference in the lives of LGBT elders during this monumental year, the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.

Leslie Jordan, Emmy Award–winning actor, recipient of the SAGE Pioneer Award. Photo by Lia Chang
Leslie Jordan, Emmy Award–winning actor, recipient of the SAGE Pioneer Award with SAGE Board of Directors Co-chair Doug Harris. Photo by Lia Chang
Leslie Jordan, Emmy Award–winning actor, recipient of the SAGE Pioneer Award. Photo by Lia Chang

Emmy Award–winning actor Leslie Jordan was honored with the SAGE Pioneer Award and Stacey Friedman, Executive Vice President and General Counsel for JPMorgan Chase & Co., received the Jack Watters Corporate Advocate Award.

Stacey Friedman, Executive Vice President and General Counsel for JPMorgan Chase & Co., recipient of the Jack Watters Corporate Advocate Award with Karen Seymour, General Counsel of Goldman Sachs. Photo by Lia Chang
SAGE honorees André De Shields and Stacey Friedman. Photo by Lia Chang

The night included a medley of songs by Tony Award–winner Laura Benanti, accompanied by Todd Almond.

Laura Benanti. Photo by Lia Chang
Laura Benanti. Photo by Lia Chang
Laura Benanti and Todd Almond. Photo by Lia Chang
Laura Benanti and Todd Almond. Photo by Lia Chang

Jay Toole, a Stonewall survivor and LGBT activist, also shared their story.

Jay Toole and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields, Emmy and Tony Award–winning actor, recipient of the Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields is the triple-crown winner of the 2019 theater awards season, having won the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Tony Awards as Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his unanimously critically acclaimed performance as Hermes, Messenger to the Gods, in Hadestown. The Actors’ Equity Foundation followed suit with the Richard Seff Award, which honors veteran stage actors’ best supporting performances of the year. Mr. De Shields recently received the 2019 Project1Voice Lifetime Achievement Award. On November 11,  he will receive The York Theatre Company’s 2019 Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre and on November 18, he will be inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. He recently received the Key to the City of Baltimore from Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young. Prior to his Tony Award win, Mr. De Shields was best known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway productions: The Wiz, Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Emmy Award), Play On! (Tony Nomination), and The Full Monty (Tony Nomination). In a career spanning fifty years, he has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director, and educator, receiving in 2018 the 8th Annual Off Broadway Alliance Legend Award, and the 33rd Annual Bob Harrington Life Achievement Bistro Award. Among his other accolades are the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival’s Living Legend Award and the 2007 Village Voice Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance. www.andredeshields.com

André De Shields and Leslie Jordan. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields, Emmy and Tony Award–winning actor, recipient of the Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award with SAGE Board of Directors Co-chair Elizabeth Schwartz. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields, Emmy and Tony Award–winning actor, recipient of the Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields, Emmy and Tony Award–winning actor, recipient of the Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields, Emmy and Tony Award–winning actor, recipient of the Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields, Emmy and Tony Award–winning actor, recipient of the Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award. Photo by Lia Chang
SAGE Gala. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields, Emmy and Tony Award–winning actor, recipient of the Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award. Photo by Lia Chang
SAGE CEO Michael Adams, SAGE Board of Directors Co-chair Elizabeth Schwartz and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Lujira Cooper, André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older people and their caregivers. SAGE also advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT elders, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBT community organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, and cultural competency training through SAGECare. With staff located across the country, SAGE also coordinates SAGENet, a growing network of affiliates in the United States. Learn more at  sageusa.org.

SAGE CEO Michael Adams and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Barbara Peda, Mady Schuman, Doug Harris, André De Shields, CJ Jadusingh, Elizabeth Schwartz, Jeffrey Erdman, Anthony Harbour, Drew Warner. Photo by Lia Chang
Duffy Violante, Ted Snowdon and Leslie Jordan. Photo by Lia Chang
Reverend Magora Kennedy, André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Moira O’Connell, André De Shields, Laurie Peter. Photo by Lia Chang
Garth Kravits, Lia Chang and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits. Photo by 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 and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2019 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. 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

Maulik Pancholy, in conversation with Randall Park, presents and signs THE BEST AT IT at Vroman’s Bookstore on October 16

Award-Winning Actor Maulik Pancholy, who returns to the stage this season in Second Stage’s Grand Horizons, has written a new book, The Best At It– a hilarious and heartfelt middle grade debut about a gay Indian American boy coming into his own.  Tonight, Pancholy will be at Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena in conversation with Randall Park as the next stop on his book tour at 6:30PM. Vroman’s is located at 695 E. Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91101.  

In The Best At It, Rahul Kapoor is heading into seventh grade in a small town in Indiana. The start of middle school is making him feel increasingly anxious, so his favorite person in the whole world, his grandfather, Bhai, gives him some well-meaning advice: Find one thing you’re really good at and become the BEST at it.

Those four little words sear themselves into Rahul’s brain. While he’s not quite sure what that special thing is, he is convinced that once he finds it, bullies like Brent Mason will stop torturing him at school. And he won’t be worried about staring too long at his classmate Justin Emery. With his best friend, Chelsea, by his side, Rahul is ready to crush this challenge…. But what if he discovers he isn’t the best at anything?  Funny, charming, and incredibly touching, this is a story about friendship, family, and the courage it takes to live your truth. (Balzer & Bray/Harperteen)

Maulik Pancholy is an award-winning actor whose career has spanned hit television shows, animated series, the Broadway stage, and films. He played Alec Baldwin’s intrepid assistant Jonathan on the Emmy®, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award-winning NBC comedy 30 Rock, and Sanjay on the Showtime hit series Weeds. He also played Neal on the NBC comedy Whitney, and his numerous recurring and guest starring roles include The Good Fight, Dynasty, Star Trek: Discovery, Elementary, Friends from College, The Good Wife , Web Therapy, The Comeback, The Sopranos, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. For his work on television, he has been nominated for and won the Screen Actors Guild Award on multiple occasions.

Pancholy has entertained both children and adults as the voice of Baljeet on the Emmy® award-winning Disney animated series Phineas & Ferb, and as the title voice of Sanjay on Nickelodeon’s Sanjay & Craig. He has appeared in blockbuster films such as Hitch and 27 Dresses, and his many theater credits include starring on Broadway opposite Matthew Broderick and Martin Short in Terrence McNally’s It’s Only A Play, and playing opposite Ed Harris in David Rabe’s Good For Otto.

He served on President Barack Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and he is the cofounder of the anti-bullying campaign Act to Change. Maulik lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his husband, Ryan, and his dog, T-Rex.

Instagram: @maulikpancholy
Twitter: @maulikpancholy

Randall Park is an actor, writer, and director. He was born and raised in Los Angeles. He is known for his role as Louis Huang in Fresh Off The Boat, which earned him a 2016 Critics Choice nomination for Best Actor in a Comedy Series. He also co-wrote and starred with Ali Wong in the Netflix film, Always Be My Maybe. Randall’s film credits also include Ant-Man and the Wasp, Office Christmas Party, Snatched, The Interview, and others. His TV credits also include VeepWet Hot American Summer: First Day of CampThe OfficeNew GirlCurb Your EnthusiasmHouseThe Mindy ProjectCold CaseCSIReno 911!Wild ‘N Out and The Sarah Silverman Program. He won a Best Actor Award at the 2010 NBC’s Short Cuts Film Festival for the short Blueberry, which he also wrote. He is also the recipient of the 2011 CAPE New Writers Award for an original pilot he wrote entitled Erasists.

Those wishing to get books signed will be asked to purchase at least one copy of the author’s most recent title from Vroman’s. For each purchased copy of the newest title, customers may bring up to three copies from home to be signed. This policy applies to all Vroman’s Bookstore events unless otherwise noted. Save your Vroman’s receipt; it will be checked when you enter the signing line.

Check out where you can meet Maulik on his book tour.

nbc.com: Actor Maulik Pancholy’s debut novel champions pro-LGBT, anti-bullying

publishers weekly.com: Q & A with Maulik Pancholy

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits. Photo by 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 and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2019 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. 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

The Museum of Chinese in America to Honor Tzi Ma, the Tsai Family, Oregon State Senator The Honorable Mae Yih, Michelle Koo Hayashi and Jess Ting, M.D. at 2019 Legacy Awards Gala at Mandarin Oriental on November 13

The Museum of Chinese in America is presenting the 2019 Legacy Awards Gala, on Wednesday, November 13 at the Mandarin Oriental, 80 Columbus Circle, in New York City. Click here for tickets and more information.

This year, the Generational Legacy Award will be presented to the Tsai Family from Long Island, New York, whose family members Erh-Ping Tsai, Cynthia Chuang, and Sue Tsai are acclaimed for their excellence in the arts. Legacy Awards will be presented to Tzi Ma, beloved Hong Kong American actor and director; The Honorable Mae Yih, Oregon State Senator, pioneering public servant and the first Chinese American state legislator from Portland, Oregon; and Michelle Koo Hayashi and Jess Ting, M.D., New York-based philanthropist and plastic surgeon of the Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery, respectively, who are advocates for the LGBTQ+ community.

6:00 PM Open Bar Reception
7:00 PM Dinner and Awards Program
10:00 PM After Party
Black Tie Affair or Festive Chinese Attire

Erh-Ping Tsai and Cynthia Chuang are life-long jewelry and ceramic artists dedicated to communicating and expressing their love of nature through art. Their creative practices cross the boundaries between ceramics, metalworking, painting, sculpture, and horticulture. In 1993, Erh-Ping Tsai was named American Outstanding Craft Artist. They also founded Jewelry10, where they leverage their artistic and technical skills to create nature-inspired masterpieces.

Erh-Ping Tsai and Cynthia Chuang met at the National Academy of Arts in Taiwan before emigrating to the U.S. to study at the Parsons School of Design. Their home in Long Island represents the significance of their everyday life and is fundamental to their artistic creation: an elaborate, curated and constantly evolving expression of appreciation and love for nature.

Tracing the roots of her inspiration to her family’s values, Sue Tsai, daughter of Erh-Ping and Cynthia, is an artist and designer born and raised in New York. Her striking creations of vibrant acrylic on canvas and mixed media sculptures reflect an impressive crossover of fine art, fashion, and pop culture. Her pop surrealism style has infiltrated into the music industry, creating major collaborations with stars such as Rihanna, TI, and Wale.

Sue Tsai’s creative talents and on-going entrepreneurial ventures have brought her partnerships with global brands in product design and curated events. In her recent debut collection of PUMA x SUE TSAI, she used her signature style to tell a story of flowers gone wild, rising up to take the planet back from humanity.

Michelle Koo Hayashi and Jess Ting, M.D.

A native New Yorker, Jess Ting, M.D. is an Assistant Professor of Plastic Surgery at Mount Sinai, where he completed the hospital’s first gender reassignment surgery in 2016 and advanced his clinical specialty to the surgical care of the transgender and gender non-binary community. Following Dr. Ting’s groundbreaking practice, Mount Sinai established the Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery (CTMS). Dr. Ting’s team has performed more than 400 operations to date, making CTMS as one of the first programs in the United States to offer multi-specialty transgender care in one location. After receiving his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Juilliard School of Music, Dr. Ting attended medical school at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Documenting Dr. Ting’s journey, philanthropist and entrepreneur Michelle Koo Hayashi has aided in the public understanding towards the transgender community as producer of her heart-warming film Born to Be. Directed by Tania Cypriano, this documentary chronicles the evolution of an uncharted medical process, alongside the emotional and physical metamorphoses of some extraordinary patients. The world premiere will be held at the 57th New York Film Festival 2019. Ms. Koo Hayashi was born in Taiwan, raised in Japan, and emigrated to the U.S. in 2011. She was the CEO of a Tokyo-based real estate investment firm, and founder of an online wedding planning company in Taiwan. She has been a board member of nonprofits in Taiwan and Japan, and since relocating to the U.S., has been a board member of the Museum of Chinese in America and the China Institute.

Tzi Ma

Tzi Ma is a beloved Hong Kong American actor and director. Having started his career in New York City in 1973, Mr. Ma has an impressive number of theatre and film credits and has worked with many renowned directors and playwrights, including fellow MOCA Legacy Award recipient David Henry Hwang in his 1979 Obie Award-winning FOB and 2001 Broadway revival of Flower Drum Song. Mr. Ma’s most recent films include appearances in Arrival, Meditation Park (Best Actor Nomination from the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television), Pali Road (Jury Award, Outstanding Contribution to Diversity in Film), The Farewell, Netflix’s first martial arts original series “Wu Assassins,” and Disney’s forthcoming live-action Mulan.

Honorable Mae Yih

The Honorable Mae Yih is an internationally esteemed and admired legislator who made history 43 years ago when she won a seat in the Oregon House of Representatives as the first Chinese American elected to a state legislature anywhere in the United States. As a revered public official, Ms. Yih served 26 years in the legislature after she had served on the board of two local schools for 13 years, a total of 39 years of outstanding public services. Ms. Yih’s many accomplishments in the State of Oregon include introducing and helping to pass legislation that created a sister-state relationship between Oregon and Fujian province in China. She has made a significant impact in the development of U.S.-China relations for more than three decades. Her book, titled East Meets West: A Bridge to Understanding, Friendship, Trust, Peace, and Prosperity Between My Mother and Adopted Countries, shares her experiences and powerful lessons that she learned from life in China, America, and public services.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits. Photo by 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 and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2019 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. 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

Mark Linn-Baker, Mark Blum, Jill Eikenberry, John Glover, Jodi Long, and Ellen Parker Celebrate Opening Night of Michael Tucker’s FERN HILL

59E59 Theaters is presenting the NYC premiere of FERN HILL, written by Michael Tucker and directed by Nadia Tass. Produced by Mary J. Davis and MBL Productions, Inc., FERN HILL began preview performances on Tuesday, September 10 for a limited engagement through Sunday, October 20. The production opened on September 19. Scroll down for photos from the opening night party at The Bar Room.

Producer Mary J. Davis, Jill Eikenberry, Playwright Michael Tucker and Producer Judith Manocherian. Photo by Lia Chang

The performance schedule is Tuesday – Friday at 7 PM; Saturday at 2 PM & 7 PM; and Sunday at 2 PM. Performances are at 59E59 Theaters (59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison). Single tickets are $25 – $70 ($49 for 59E59 Members). To purchase tickets, call the 59E59 Box Office at 646-892-7999 or visit www.59e59.org. The running time is 120 minutes, including intermission.

Opening night curtain call of Michael Tucker’s FERN HILL with Mark Linn-Baker, Jodi Long, Mark Blum, Jill Eikenberry, John Glover and Ellen Parker on September 19, 2019. Photo by Lia Chang

Three couples in their golden years, thick as thieves, are gathered at Sunny and Jer’s farmhouse to celebrate milestone birthdays that span three decades. The foundation of their long friendship is honesty and support-as well as a commitment to the enjoyment of food, wine, and laughter. They’re so close that Sunny suggests that they all move in together-to live and work and assist one another as they grow older.

Mark Blum, Ellen Parker, Mark Linn-Baker, Jill Eikenberry, John Glover, Jodi Long, Philip Hoffman and Pilar Witherspoon. Photo by Lia Chang

Their companionship is put to the test, however, when a marital betrayal is discovered. The bonds of loyalty and truth are explored in this mature comedy.

Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker. Photo by Lia Chang

The cast features a noteworthy company of Broadway and NYC stage veterans, including Mark Linn-Baker, Mark Blum, Jill Eikenberry, John Glover, Jodi Long, and Ellen Parker. Philip Hoffman and Pilar Witherspoon are the understudies.

Michael Tucker. Photo by Lia Chang

The design team includes Jessica Parks (scenic design); Kate McGee (lighting design); Patricia Doherty (costume design); Kenneth Goodwin (sound design); and Addison Heeren (prop master). The Production Stage Manager is Stephanie Clark.

Playwright Michael Tucker, Jill Eikenberry and Ellen Parker. Photo by Lia Chang
Mark Linn-Baker, Playwright Michael Tucker, Jill Eikenberry and Ellen Parker. Photo by Lia Chang
Jill Eikenberry. Photo by Lia Chang
Jill Eikenberry. Photo by Lia Chang
Ellen Parker. Photo by Lia Chang
Mark Blum. Photo by Lia Chang
Jodi Long. Photo by Lia Chang
Jodi Long. Photo by Lia Chang
Playwright Michael Tucker, Jill Eikenberry and Jodi Long. Photo by Lia Chang
John Glover. Photo by Lia Chang
Ellen Parker. Photo by Lia Chang
John Glover and Kelley Curran. Photo by Lia Chang
Victoria Clark, Dee Hoty. Photo by Lia Chang
Victoria Clark, Jamie deRoy, Dee Hoty. Photo by Lia Chang
Producers Judith Manocherian and Mary J. Davis. Photo by Lia Chang
Lynne Meadow and Jill Eikenberry. Photo by Lia Chang
Producers Judith Manocherian and Mary J. Davis, Director Nadia Tass, Mark Blum, Mark Linn-Baker, Jill Eikenberry, Playwright Michael Tucker, John Glover, Ellen Parker, Philip Hoffman and Pilar Witherspoon. Photo by Lia Chang
Ellen Parker, Lynne Meadow and Mark Blum. Photo by Lia Chang
Director Nadia Tass, Jill Eikenberry and Playwright Michael Tucker. Photo by Lia Chang
Director Nadia Tass, Producers Joey Monda and Mary J. Davis, Jill Eikenberry, Playwright Michael Tucker and Producer Judith Manocherian. Photo by Lia Chang
Playwright Michael Tucker and Jamie deRoy. Photo by Lia Chang
Playwrights Michael Weller, Michael Tucker and Ayad Akhtar. Photo by Lia Chang
Tom Viertel, Jill Eikenberry and Playwright Michael Tucker. Photo by Lia Chang
Playwright Michael Tucker and John Glover. Photo by Lia Chang
Victoria Clark and Tom Viertel. Photo by Lia Chang
Mark Blum, Nadia Tass and Mark Linn-Baker. Photo by Lia Chang
John Glover and Mark Linn-Baker. Photo by Lia Chang
Jacob Schott, Joey Monda, Mary J. Davis, Frankie Dailey and Hamish Davies. Photo by Lia Chang
Jodi Long and Dee Hoty. Photo by Lia Chang
Mark Linn-Baker, Christa Justus, John Glover. Photo by Lia Chang
Jamie deRoy. Photo by Lia Chang
Playwright Michael Tucker and Jodi Long. Photo by Lia Chang
Director Nadia Tass and Jodi Long. Photo by Lia Chang
Playwright Michael Tucker and Director Nadia Tass. Photo by Lia Chang
Producer Judith Manocherian, Jodi Long and Producer Mary J. Davis. Photo by Lia Chang
Jodi Long and John Glover. Photo by Lia Chang
Michael Weller, John Glover and a guest. Photo by Lia Chang
Kelly Kirby, Stephanie Clark, Jaclyn Lusardi. Photo by Lia Chang

Broadwayworld: Michael Tucker’s FERN HILL Celebrates Opening Night 

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits. Photo by 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 and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2019 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. 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

“Man in The High Castle” Star Joel de la Fuente Set for Benefit Performances of Jeanne Sakata’s HOLD THESE TRUTHS at Cultch Historic Theatre in Vancouver, October 18 – November 2

Joel de la Fuente as Gordon Hirabayashi. Photo by Lia Chang

The Umami Fund (Daniel Blinkoff and Tamlyn Tomita) is presenting the international/Canadian debut of Jeanne Sakata’s award-winning play, Hold These Truths at the Cultch Historic Theatre, 1895 Venables Street in Vancouver from Friday, October 18 – Saturday, November 2. Opening night is Sunday, October 20 at 8:00 pm.


Joel de la Fuente (Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle”) will reprise his Drama Desk-nominated turn in this solo play inspired by the life of Gordon Hirabayashi, in which he seamlessly portrays more than thirty characters under the direction of Lisa Rothe (Irish Repertory Theatre’s Wild Abandon).

Joel de la Fuente as Gordon Hirabayashi. Photo by Lia Chang
Joel de la Fuente as Gordon Hirabayashi. Photo by Lia Chang

Unsung American hero Gordon Hirabayashi fights passionately for the Constitution against an unexpected adversary: his own country. During World War II, he defies the US government’s orders to forcibly remove and mass incarcerate all people of Japanese ancestry, launching a 50-year journey from college to courtroom and eventually to a Presidential Medal of Freedom. A story filled with hope, this play will leave you cheering for a man who stood up for the true meaning of patriotism.

Joel de la Fuente as Gordon Hirabayashi. Photo by Lia Chang
Joel de la Fuente as Gordon Hirabayashi. Photo by Lia Chang
Joel de la Fuente as Gordon Hirabayashi. Photo by Lia Chang
Joel de la Fuente as Gordon Hirabayashi. Photo by Lia Chang

The design team includes Cat Tate Starmer (lights), Mikiko Suzuki MacAdams (sets), Daniel Kluger (sound) and Margaret Weedon (costumes), with stage manager Mary K. Botosan.

Mary K. Botosan, Jeanne Sakata, Lisa Rothe, Cat Tate Starmer and Mikiko Suzuki Adams. Photo by Lia Chang
Mary K. Botosan, Jeanne Sakata, Lisa Rothe, Cat Tate Starmer and Mikiko Suzuki Adams. Photo by Lia Chang

Performance schedule and ticket information:
For preview performances on Friday, October 18 @ 8pm and Sunday, October 20 @ 2pm, tickets are $25.

Beginning with the opening night performance on Sunday October 20 @ 8pm, general admission tickets are $50, seniors/students are $25. The remaining performance schedule isTuesday, October 22 – Friday, October 25 @ 8pm; Saturday, October 26 and Sunday October 27 @ 2pm and 8 pm; Tuesday, October 29 – Friday, November 11 @ 8pm; Saturday, November 2 @ 2pm and 8pm. For tickets and more information, click here.

Joel de la Fuente as Gordon Hirabayashi. Photo by Lia Chang
Joel de la Fuente as Gordon Hirabayashi. Photo by Lia Chang

Proceeds of the performances of Hold These Truths will be donated to three Vancouver organizations: the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre, the University of British Columbia Asian Canadian & Asian Migration Studies, and the Kokoro Dance Theatre Society.

Joel de la Fuente. Photo by Lia Chang

Joel de la Fuente (Gordon Hirabayashi) received a Theatre Bay Area Award for Outstanding Principal Performance for the run of Hold These Truths at Theatreworks SV and garnered a Drama Desk Nomination in New York City for Outstanding Solo Performance when it debuted in 2012. On television, Joel plays Chief Inspector Kido on “The Man in the High Castle,” one of Amazon Studios’ most watched original series. He also portrays Dr. Johann Pryce on Netflix’s second original series, “Hemlock Grove,” and can be seen in perpetual reruns on “Law & Order: SVU,” where he played TARU Tech Ruben Morales for 10 seasons. Currently, he appears as President Datu Andrada on “Madam Secretary” for CBS. Joel has performed in theaters all over the world, as both an avid classical theater actor and as a developer of new work. He is an alumnus of Brown University and the Graduate Acting Program at NYU.

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

Actress and playwright Jeanne Sakata, whose talents span across TV, film, voiceover and stage, recently received the East West Players Trailblazer Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement and Raising the Visibility of the API Community. This summer, Ms. Sakata appeared in the Off Broadway premiere of the brilliant new comedy Do You Feel Anger? at the Vineyard Theatre in New York. She is familiar to TV audiences in the recurring roles of genius scientist Lenore Shimamoto/Mayor Saito on the animated TV series “Big Hero 6,” based on the Disney smash hit movie, and can currently be seen in three national commercials. Jeanne’s nationally acclaimed solo play Hold These Truths (2013 Drama Desk Nomination, Outstanding Solo Performance; 2019 Theatre Bay Awards, Outstanding Production, Principal Performance and Direction) has had over twenty productions across the country, and will be produced in the 2019-20 season at Barrington Stage, San Diego Rep, and People’s Light, after sold-out and extended runs last year at Arena Stage and TheatreWorks Silicon Valley. Since April 2019, Hold These Truths became available internationally as a special audio recording, produced by L.A. Theatre Works. The play has also been produced in recent years at Pasadena Playhouse, ACT Seattle, Portland Center Stage, Guthrie Theater, PlayMakers’ Rep, Perseverance Theatre, Honolulu Theatre for Youth (Daniel Dae Kim, co-producer), Terra Nova Collective, Silk Road Rising, Coachella Valley Rep, Plays and Players, and New Century Theatre. Premiering with the East West Players in Los Angeles, and then Off Broadway with the Epic Theatre Ensemble, the play was workshopped by the Lark Play Development Center and the New York Theatre Workshop. Hold These Truths is now published by Ageloff Books and available on Amazon, and it is on display at the Library of Congress Playwrights Archive in the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection in Washington DC, where the Jeanne Sakata Collection was established in July 2011. Special honors: LA Ovation Award for Outstanding Lead Actress, Chay Yew’s Red, East West Players; Lee Melville Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Los Angeles Theatre Community, Playwrights’ Arena; Outstanding Artist Award, Los Angeles’ Pacific American Friends of Theatre. For more information on Hold These Truths, click on www.holdthesetruths.info.

Jeanne Sakata, Joel de la Fuente, Tamlyn Tomita. Photo by Lia Chang

Barrington Stage Presents Return Engagement Of Jeanne Sakata’s HOLD THESE TRUTHS Starring Joel de la Fuente, September 20 – 26 

East West Players to Honor Jeanne Sakata and Aaron Takahashi at EWP NIGHT MARKET on September 14 

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits. Photo by 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 and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2019 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. 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

Mark Linn-Baker, Mark Blum, Jill Eikenberry, John Glover, Jodi Long, and Ellen Parker Open in New York Premiere of Michael Tucker’s FERN HILL at 59E59 Theaters on September 19

59E59 Theaters is presenting the NYC premiere of FERN HILL, written by Michael Tucker and directed by Nadia Tass. Produced by Mary J. Davis and MBL Productions, Inc., FERN HILL began preview performances on Tuesday, September 10 for a limited engagement through Sunday, October 20. Press Opening is Thursday, September 19 at 7 PM. The performance schedule is Tuesday – Friday at 7 PM; Saturday at 2 PM & 7 PM; and Sunday at 2 PM. Performances are at 59E59 Theaters (59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison). Single tickets are $25 – $70 ($49 for 59E59 Members). To purchase tickets, call the 59E59 Box Office at 646-892-7999 or visit www.59e59.org. The running time is 120 minutes, including intermission.

Three couples in their golden years, thick as thieves, are gathered at Sunny and Jer’s farmhouse to celebrate milestone birthdays that span three decades. The foundation of their long friendship is honesty and support-as well as a commitment to the enjoyment of food, wine, and laughter. They’re so close that Sunny suggests that they all move in together-to live and work and assist one another as they grow older.

Their companionship is put to the test, however, when a marital betrayal is discovered. The bonds of loyalty and truth are explored in this mature comedy.

The cast features a noteworthy company of Broadway and NYC stage veterans, including Mark Linn-Baker, Mark Blum, Jill Eikenberry, John Glover, Jodi Long, and Ellen Parker. Philip Hoffman and Pilar Witherspoon are the understudies.

The design team includes Jessica Parks (scenic design); Kate McGee (lighting design); Patricia Doherty (costume design); Kenneth Goodwin (sound design); and Addison Heeren (prop master). The Production Stage Manager is Stephanie Clark.

Harvy Blanks, Anthony Chisholm, Keith Randolph Smith, Ray Anthony Thomas, Francois Battiste, Amari Cheatom, Brian D. Coats, Steven Anthony Jones and Nija Okoro Set for August Wilson’s JITNEY National Tour; Arena Stage at September 13 -October 20

Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater is presenting August Wilson’s Jitney. Tony Award-winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson directs his 2017 Broadway production – recipient of the Tony Award for Best Play Revival. Set in the early 1970s, Jitney follows a group of men trying to make a living by driving unlicensed cabs, or jitneys.

Harvy Blanks, Francois Battiste, Ray Anthony Thomas, Nija Okoro, Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Anthony Chisholm, Amari Cheatom, Brian D. Coats, Steven Anthony Jones and Keith Randolph Smith. Photo by Joan Marcus

Cast members in the 2017 Broadway production of Jitney and making their Arena Stage debuts include Harvy Blanks (Roundabout’s Toni Stone, Kennedy Center’s Death of a King’s Horseman, Two River’s Two Trains Running) as Shealy, Tony Award-nominee Anthony Chisholm (Broadway’s Radio Golf, Gem of the Ocean, Two Trains Running) as Fielding, Keith Randolph Smith (Broadway’s Fences, King Hedley II, Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, Girl 6) as Doub and Ray Anthony Thomas (Broadway’s The Crucible, Race) as Turnbo.

Also making their Arena debuts are Francois Battiste (Broadway’s Magic/Bird, Bronx Bombers) as Booster, Amari Cheatom (Lincoln Center’s On the Levee, The Public’s The Book of Grace) as Youngblood and Brian D. Coats (Marvel’s Luke Cage, Studio’s Invisible Man) as Philmore. The cast also features Steven Anthony Jones as Becker and Nija Okoro as Rena.

The dramatic story of a Pittsburgh jitney station becomes a symbol of stability as the drivers resist powerful forces while coming to grips with their pasts to fulfill their own hopes and dreams for the future.

This kicks off the national tour of one of Wilson’s great masterpieces. “A joyfully intoxicating celebration!” (The New York Times), Jitney runs September 13 – October 20, 2019 in the Kreeger Theater. The production was produced on Broadway by Manhattan Theatre Club in association with Eric Falkenstein, Ron Simons, John Legend/Mike Jackson and Ken Wirth.

Jitney opens Arena Stage’s August Wilson Festival, celebrating the Pulitzer Prize-winning giant.

“Arena has a long love affair with August Wilson’s work, going all the way back to 1987 and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. Wilson is one of our most-produced playwrights, so it felt celebratory to mark our 70th Anniversary Season with a season-long festival highlighting his work and the impact he has on the American theater,” shares Artistic Director Molly Smith. “What a thrill to have Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s award-winning production of Jitney kick off a national tour from Arena to other theaters around America. Each of Wilson’s plays tackle deep human relationships, and Jitney will take us on an emotional journey.”

“There had been nine jewels in August Wilson’s formidable crown; each had changed the landscape of Broadway in their respective seasons,” explains Santiago-Hudson. “Only one jewel was missing. Twenty years after it had taken the country by storm and won the Olivier Award in London, Jitney, the first play of August Wilson’s American Century Cycle, received its Broadway debut. With this Tony Award-winning production, the crown is complete. How amazing that ‘the first was the last’.”

In addition to Santiago-Hudson, the creative team includes Set Designer David Gallo, Costume Designer Toni-Leslie James, Lighting Designer Jane Cox, Co-Sound Designers Darron L West and Charles Coes, Original Music by Bill Sims Jr. and Fight Director Thomas Schall.

August Wilson (Playwright)’s plays include Gem of the Ocean, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson (Pulitzer Prize winner), Seven Guitars, Fences (Pulitzer Prize winner, Tony Award winner), Two Trains Running, Jitney (Oliver Award winner), King Hedley II and Radio Golf. In 2003, he made his stage debut in his one-man show, How I Learned What I Learned. He received an Emmy Award nomination for his screenplay The Piano Lesson. Other works include The Janitor, Recycle, The Coldest Day of the Year, Malcolm X, The Homecoming and the musical satire Black Bart and the Sacred Hills. Other awards include eight New York Drama Critics Circle Awards, Rockefeller and Guggenheim Fellowships in Playwriting, a Whiting Writers Award, 2003 Heinz Award, 1999 National Humanities Medal and induction into the Theater Hall of Fame.

Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Director) directed the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of August Wilson’s Jitney which garnered several awards including the Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Drama League and the NY Drama Critics Circle Awards, along with six Tony nominations. Mr. Santiago-Hudson won a Tony Award as featured actor for his performance in August Wilson’s Seven Guitars and later went on to direct the play himself to critical acclaim. Other directing credits include: The Piano Lesson, Skeleton Crew, Othello, Gem of the Ocean, Paradise Blue, My Children My Africa, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Cabin in the Sky, The Happiest Song Plays Last, Two Trains Running, Things of Dry Hours, The First Breeze of Summer and Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine, among many others. His autobiographical play Lackawanna Blues won several awards, including two OBIE Awards and a Helen Hayes Award, and went on to be an HBO movie receiving the NAACP Image Award, Humanitas Prize, The Christopher Award and Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.

Tickets for Jitney are $41-95, subject to change and based on availability, plus applicable fees. Tickets may be purchased online at arenastage.org, by phone at 202-488-3300 or at the Sales Office at 1101 Sixth Street, SW, D.C.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits. Photo by 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 and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2019 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. 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