Watch: Adventure Theatre MTC Explores Biracial and Multi-Racial Journeys to Broadway on SUNDAY STORYTIMES with Erin Quill, Merle Dandridge, Ali Ewoldt and Manna Nichols

Adventure Theatre MTC’s Sunday Storytimes is bringing new light to multi-racial and biracial stories with guest host Erin Quill from the original Broadway cast of Avenue Q. On Sunday, August 9th, Erin will interview actress Merle Dandridge (Once on This Island), star of Oprah Winfrey Network’s hit series “Greenleaf,” on fluidity in racial identity, representation onstage and onscreen, and talking to kids about acknowledging others’ identities at 1:00pm.

Erin Quill, Merle Dandridge

Erin will continue the discussion at 3:00pm with actresses Ali Ewoldt, most known for her portrayal as Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, and Manna Nichols of 2019’s “Cold Pursuit,” the live-action “Beauty & the Beast” on which she sang background vocals, and George Takei’s Allegiance.

Ali Ewoldt, Manna Nichols

Executive Director Leon Seemann, Artistic Director Chil Kong, and Education Director Margo Brenner Collins are humbled and thrilled to have such wide variety of theatre and screen talent tell their personal, inspiring stories of their racial journey and their experience in entertainment industry.

Says Kong, “I’m so excited to bring to the table more stories about racial identity for families and children in the DC area to foster and encourage discussions about how the next generation empathizes with others and creates a better world. These actresses personal journeys are inspiring for not only our patrons but our students as well who hope to rise to their level of technique in the future.”

To tune in to Adventure Theatre MTC’s Sunday Storytimes or to follow Adventure’s digital content online, visit our Facebook Event Page.

For additional information about Adventure Theatre MTC, our digital content, or our digital camps, please e-mail info@adventuretheatre-mtc.org.

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. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 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

André De Shields, Melba Moore, James Rado, Meshach Taylor, Treat Williams, Donna Summer and More Featured in VH1: HAIR-Behind the Music #158

In the late 60’s at the height of the Vietnam War, Civil Rights movement, and the Sexual Revolution, a brood of anti-establishment, avant-garde performers were creating a musical in Manhattan’s East village. What began as an eccentric, off-Broadway production became a cultural phenomenon and a worldwide success. In 1968, when “Hair: A Tribal Love Rock Musical” made it to Broadway it brought with it music that would not only tell a story but define a generation.

James Rado at the Coffeehouse Chronicles Series celebration of the 50th Anniversary of HAIR: The American Tribal Love Rock Musical on January 21, 2017 at La MaMa in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

Narrated by Jim Forbes, this episode of the documentary television series on VH1, which originally aired on August 26, 2001, follows the story of HAIR- from its inception to its huge success – and the people that made it all happen, such as Michael Butler, James Rado, Galt MacDermot, Bertrand Castelli, Milos Forman, Treat Williams, André De Shields, Melba Moore, Diane Keaton, Donna Summer, Meshach Taylor, Walter O’Neil, Ralph Rieckermann and more.

Andre De Shields and Melba Moore at the Coffeehouse Chronicles Series celebration of the 50th Anniversary of HAIR: The American Tribal Love Rock Musical on January 21, 2017 at La MaMa in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

Tony, Emmy, Grammy winner and Hadestown star André De Shields made his professional acting debut in the 1969 Chicago production of HAIR.  

Chicago Tribe. Left to Right: Carol Ruth, Valerie Williams, Chuck McKinney, Stan Shaw, and André De Shields in Hair. Photo courtesy of Ebony Magazine
Chicago Tribe. Left to Right: Carol Ruth, Valerie Williams, Chuck McKinney, Stan Shaw, and André De Shields in Hair. Photo courtesy of Ebony Magazine

“I did HAIR as my first professional show, fresh of college,” said De Shields. My only thought was, ‘They’re going to pay me to take my clothes off?’ I could live like this for the rest of my life. I knew then that I was going to spend my life in the theater. Being a member of Hair meant you were immediately part of a global family.”

“Hair: Behind the Music #158” was executive produced by George Moll and Gay Rosenthal, with Paul Barrosse (Supervising Producer) and Michael Vasquez (Production Consultant) and written by co-creator Gay Rosenthal and Michael Vazquez.

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields is the triple-crown winner of the 2019 awards season, having won the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Tony Awards for best featured actor in a musical for his critically acclaimed performance as Hermes in Hadestown. The Actors’ Equity Foundation followed suit with the Richard Seff Award, honoring veteran stage actors’ best supporting performances of the year. Mr. De Shields recently received the 2020 Grammy Award for Musical Theater Album for Hadestown, an honorary Doctor of Arts Degree from Boston Conservatory at Berklee, the 2019 Project1Voice Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2019 SAGE Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award, The York Theatre Company’s 2019 Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre, and was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. He received the Key to the City of Baltimore from Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young in August, 2019. Prior to his Tony Award win, Mr. De Shields was best known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway productions: The WizAin’t Misbehavin’ (Emmy Award), Play On! (Tony Nomination), and The Full Monty (Tony Nomination). In a career spanning fifty-one 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. De Shields can currently be seen on Netflix as the Algebra Tutor in “John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch” and on The CW as Chubby in “Katy Keene.” De Shields is a proud member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and SDC. andredeshields.com

Coffeehouse Chronicles Series celebration of the 50th Anniversary of HAIR: The American Tribal Love Rock Musical on January 21, 2017 at La MaMa in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

NYTimes: Why HAIR has endured

Coffeehouse Chronicles #139: André De Shields, Annie Golden, Dale Soules and More Set for LaMaMa’s 50th Anniversary of HAIR and James Rado’s 85th birthday on January 21

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. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 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

Tonight at 8pm: SONGS FROM AN UNMADE BED, Re-Conceived by Tony Award Winner BD Wong and Videographer Richert Schnorr will Feature Awkwafina, John Lithgow, John Cameron Mitchell, Billy Porter, Keala Settle, Maulik Pancholy, Bowen Yang, Aaron Albano, Mike Bulatao, Grant Chang, Marc delaCruz, Daniel K. Isaac, Kennedy Kanagawa, Darren Lee, Raymond J. Lee, Telly Leung, Jose Llana, Orville Mendoza, Jeffrey Omura, Matt Rogers, James Seol, Hansel Tan, Alex Wong and Dave Eggar, to Benefit BC/EFA

A slate of starry special guests has been added to Tony Award winner BD Wong and videographer Richert Schnorr’s imaginative, video-driven interpretation of the theatrical song cycle Songs from an Unmade Bed. The collection of immersive music videos will stream at 8 pm Eastern on Monday, August 10, 2020, as a benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Richert Schnorr, Keala Settle, BD Wong. Photo by Lia Chang

Special guest hosts for the stream are Awkwafina, John Lithgow, John Cameron Mitchell, Billy Porter and Keala Settle, with featured appearances by Maulik Pancholy (Grand Horizons, TV’s “30 Rock”) and Bowen Yang (TV’s “Saturday Night Live”).

The stream also will include Aaron Albano, Mike Bulatao, Grant Chang, Marc delaCruz, Daniel K. Isaac, Kennedy Kanagawa, Darren Lee, Raymond J. Lee, Telly Leung, Jose Llana, Orville Mendoza, Jeffrey Omura, Matt Rogers, James Seol, Hansel Tan and Alex Wong. Renowned cellist Dave Eggar also appears.

Daniel K. Isaac, BD Wong, Richert Schnorr. Photo by Lia Chang

The stream of Songs from an Unmade Bed will premiere at broadwaycares.org/unmadebed, on Broadway Cares’ YouTube channel and on streaming partners BroadwayWorld.com and Playbill.com. The evening will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund.

 

Songs from an Unmade Bed explores the inner musings and romantic life of a gay man living in New York City and was created by Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award-winning lyricist and librettist Mark Campbell with 18 composers: Debra Barsha, Mark Bennett, Peter Foley, Jenny Giering, Peter Golub, Jake Heggie, Stephen Hoffman, Lance Horne, Gihieh Lee, Steven Lutvak, Steve Marzullo, Brendan Milburn, Chris Miller, Greg Pliska, Duncan Sheik, Kim D. Sherman, Jeffrey Stock and Joseph Thalken.

BD Wong

The work, which originally premiered at New York Theatre Workshop in 2005, takes on new meaning and provides unique perspectives in the wake of the current coronavirus crisis.

BD Wong and Richert Schnorr on their wedding day at Giando on the Water in Williamsburg on October 7, 2018. Photo by Lia Chang

Wong and Schnorr, who married in 2018, created the videos in their New York City apartment as they lived in self-quarantine. Wong stars; Schnorr filmed and edited the videos. The special guests and performers all created their contributions separately from their own homes.

Wong and Schnorr enlisted music director Wayne Barker in San Francisco and recording engineer Jim Morgan in New York to help with the production of the score. Musicians David Michael Garry, Orville Mendoza, Dave Philips, Joshua Samuels and Doug Vannoni all contributed to the score from their respective home studios.

BD Wong is flanked by his pals award winning sound designer Mark Bennett and award winning composer and music director Wayne Barker. Photo by Lia Chang

The premiere production of Songs from an Unmade Bed featured Michael Winther in the solo role with direction by David Schweizer and music direction by Kimberly Grigsby. The original cast recording is on Ghostlight Records.

BD Wong. Photo by Lia Chang

BD Wong – Broadway: M. Butterfly (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Clarence Derwent, Theater World Awards), You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and Pacific Overtures. Authored the critically-acclaimed memoir Following Foo (Harper Entertainment). Directed and co-wrote Alice Chan (La Jolla Playhouse POP Tour, co-written with Robert Lee), The Yellow Wood (NYMF) and Speak Up Connie(All For One Festival). Off-Broadway: As Thousands Cheer, Shanghai Moon, A Language of Their Own. Television: Mr. Robot (Emmy and Critics Choice nominations), Something’s Killing Me, Gotham, American Horror Story: Apocalypse, Law & Order: SVU (eleven seasons), Oz, All-American Girl, Awkwafina is Nora From Queens. Film: Bird Box, Focus, The Salton Sea, Mulan, Seven Years in Tibet, Father of the Bride. Principal photography for Jurassic World 3 (his fourth of the “Jurassic” franchise) begins in 2020. Currently directing the ongoing workshop of Mr. Holland’s Opus, the musical adaptation that he co-wrote with composer Wayne Barker, at the Wilson Center of Performing Arts in Wilmington, NC. He sits on the Boards of Trustees of Rosie’s Theater Kids and the Actor’s Fund of America.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has already provided more than $7 million to The Actors Fund since the pandemic started – $6 million from the Broadway Cares’ COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund and $1 million as a launch gift for Every Artist Insured. That help is ensuring thousands who typically work in theater and the performing arts receive essential medications, housing, food, utilities and guidance on insurance.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources, and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has raised more than $300 million for essential services for people affected by HIV/AIDS, COVID-19 and other critical illnesses across the United States.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is the major supporter of the social service programs at The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative and the Samuel J. Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts. Broadway Cares also awards annual grants to more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., providing lifesaving medication, healthy meals, counseling and emergency assistance.

SONGS FROM AN UNMADE BED, Re-Conceived by Tony Award Winner BD Wong and Videographer Richert Schnorr, To Stream On August 10, Benefitting BC/EFA 

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. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 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

André De Shields, Laura Benanti, Orfeh, Andy Karl, Jessie Mueller, Deborah S. Craig, Tamyra Gray, Santino Fontana, Kyle Carter and More Join BALLOTS OVER BROADWAY to Benefit Higher Heights and Field Team 6 on August 7

FEMINISTS IN ACTION and MOMTIVIST in partnership with HODG, CIVIC SUNDAYS, PERSIST HAPPY HOUR, and FACE THE MUSIC are presenting Ballots Over Broadway, an intimate evening of Broadway musical performances by your favorite stars of stage and screen on Friday, August 7, 2020 at 8 PM PST / 11 PM EST, hosted by Chris Mann.

Tony, Grammy, Emmy winner and Hadestown star André De Shields will reteam with Doug Peck, who served as Musical Director for the world premiere of Mary Zimmerman’s adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, a co-production of The Goodman Theatre and The Huntington Theatre Company in 2013. Mr. De Shields received a 2013 Jeff Equity Award for Outstanding Achievement in the category of Actor in a Supporting Role – Musical for his critically-acclaimed role as King Louie and Mr. Peck won a Jeff Equity Award for Musical Director.

Anjali Bhimani, André De Shields, NIkka Graff Lanzarone, Monique Haley, Geoff Packard, Akash Chopra, Ed Kross and Govind Kumar in The Jungle Book at The Huntington Theatre in Boston on September 5, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang
The Jungle Book’s Jeff Award winners Doug Peck (musical direction) and André De Shields (Outstanding Achievement in the category of Actor in a Supporting Role – Musical) at the Drury Lane Oakbrook, Oakbrook Terrace, Il, on November 4, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang

The evening will also feature performances by Tony winners Laura Benanti, Jessie Mueller and Santino Fontana as well as Eden Espinosa, Jared Gertner, Tamyra Gray, Shanice Williams, Andy Karl, Orfeh, John Tartaglia, Christina Bianco, Mykal Kilgore, Sabrina Sloan, Michaela Watkins, Bradford Anderson, Deborah S. Craig, Juan Pablo Di Pace, Melissa Fumero, Daheli Hall, Kyle Carter, Anthony Fedorov, Diana Huey, Kay-Ta Matsuno, Jennifer Paz, AJ Rafael, Jasmine Rafael, Christina Sajous, Heath Saunders, Nik Walker, and The UCLA Musical Theatre Class of 2020.

The evening will also include an appearance from special guest, Rep. Katie Porter.

All proceeds from the event will be divided between two organizations, Higher Heights and Field Team 6.

Field Team 6 is a national volunteer army with a simple mission: Register Democrats. Save the world. By targeting places that need Democrats most, we aim to take the White House, flip the Senate, and expand our House majority.

Higher Heights is the only national organization providing Black women with a political home exclusively dedicated to harnessing their power to expand Black women’s elected representation and voting participation, and advance progressive policies.

** Line-up subject to change. Click ft6.us/broadway to RSVP. Virtual link to be distributed on RSVP and link to recording will be posted after the event.

Photos: André De Shields, Michael Shannon, Rajiv Joseph, Christine Sherrill, Doug Peck, Alexis J. Rogers, Karen Ziemba and More Celebrate 2013 Jeff Equity Awards

Nydailynews.com: Tony Award winner André De Shields, others tapped for ‘Ballots Over Broadway’ voter-focused benefit concert 

Playbill: André De Shields, Laura Benanti, Eden Espinosa, and More Tapped for Ballots Over Broadway

Broadway World: Orfeh, Andy Karl, Laura Benanti, André De Shields, Jessie Mueller and More Join BALLOTS OVER BROADWAY 

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. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 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

Max Chang’s Tribute to Judge Michael Kwan: “A Thousand Words for Michael”

As a board member of the Spike 150 Foundation, I had the honor and privilege to work side by side with Judge Michael Kwan and the Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association of which he was the Founder and President. We and our respective organizations wanted to make sure the Chinese railroad workers were properly recognized and honored at last year’s 150th anniversary celebration of the completion of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad.

Max Chang, Spike 150 Board of Directors and Judge Michael Kwan, President, Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association attend the 2019 CRWDA Awards Gala at the Marriott Downtown City Creek Hotel in Salt Lake City on May 11, 2019. Photo by Lia Chang

Our relationship, which surprising to most, lasted just shy of 3 years. It quickly evolved from being acquaintances to colleagues to friends to brothers. Any amount of quality time spent with someone as remarkable as Michael makes one a better person. Michael was intelligent, articulate and witty. He was my go-to person for advice and mentorship. Above all, he was compassionate.

2019 CRWDA Awards Gala at the Marriott Downtown City Creek Hotel in Salt Lake City on May 11, 2019. Photo courtesy of Lan Phạm-Ngũ/Facebook

The first time I met Michael was right after our first Spike 150 Commission meeting at the Utah State Capitol. After wading through a crowd, I finally caught up to Michael and Karen both of whom I only knew by reputation. Admittingly, I was a bit star struck and the conversation went something like this:

Max: “Pardon me, are you Judge Michael Kwan, sir?”
Michael: “That depends, who’s asking?”
Max: “Well sure, sir. I’m Max Chang. I’m at your service, sir. I have been looking for you.”
Michael:” I’m getting nervous.”

After explaining I wanted to help in any way to ensure the Chinese railroad workers would receive their proper recognition at the sesquicentennial celebration, he glanced over at Karen with a diabolical smile and a glean in his left eye as he folded his arms and chuckled, “Oh, do I have some work for you. . .”

Hey and if you don’t know, now you know. The rest is history.

Judge Michael Kwan, Margaret Yee and Jason Ma after a performance of GOLD MOUNTAIN at Peery’s Egyptian Theater in Ogden, UT on May 10, 2019. Photo by Lia Chang

Reclaiming the history of Michael’s ancestors, the Chinese railroad workers, was not just a mission but his passion. Michael, Margaret Yee and I spent countless hours in his chambers planning ways to put the Chinese railroad workers back into the narrative of the many those who helped build this great nation. It was much more than just about the omission of Chinese railroad workers from Andrew Russell’s famed “Champagne Photo”. We wanted an inclusive history reflecting the before and after this particular moment of time. This includes but not limited to tunneling the unforgiving Sierra Mountains, the Ten Mile Day, establishing Chinatowns in Utah and the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act.

Judge Michael Kwan, Jason Ma and Max Chang. Photo courtesy of Max Chang

To help tell these stories, Michael contacted award-winning composer and lyricist, Jason Ma. Jason had written a beautiful and powerful musical, Gold Mountain, which tells the tragic story of a fuse runner who would light the fuse to the nitroglycerin and run for his life out of the tunnel. The fuse runner led a gang of Chinese railroad workers by blasting through the granite curtain one inch at a time. While the fuse runner was the most essential and highest paying, it was the riskiest job. More often than not, the fuse runner paid the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good of his gang.

Eric Elizaga, Jonny Lee Jr., Daniel May, Lawrence-Michael Arias in Jason Ma’s GOLD MOUNTAIN. Photo by Lia Chang

Michael and I as co-executive producers along with CRDWA and Spike 150 brought Gold Mountain to Utah for four sold out performances to help tell this important history through Jason’s creative lens of music, storytelling and empathy. I will always remember Michael’s proud face when he saw my daughter’s third grade class sing, Fuse Runner, during a Spike 150 assembly at Oakridge Elementary.

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 in Jason Ma’s GOLD MOUNTAIN. Photo by Lia Chang

In one of our countless text conversations, Michael, Jason and I talked about how we all grew up with only sisters but because of Gold Mountain, we each gained two brothers.

Kiet Tai Cao, Eric Elizaga, Judge Michael Kwan, Alex Hsu, Jason Ma, Lawrence-Michael Arias, Viet Vo, George Hobica and Jonny Lee, Jr. attend the 2019 CRWDA Awards Gala at the Marriott Downtown City Creek Hotel in Salt Lake City on May 11, 2019. Photo by Lia Chang

Michael was instrumental in righting a 50-year-old wrong. At the centennial celebration in 1969, Philip Choy of the Chinese American Historical Society was removed off the agenda at the last minute and without explanation. With Michael’s assistance, we were able to get the highly regarded writer/historian, Connie Young Yu, whose parents had accompanied Choy, to open the sesquicentennial ceremonies. It was the first time a descendant of a Chinese railroad worker spoke at a milestone anniversary at Promontory Summit.

Judge Michael Kwan, Margaret Yee, Corky Lee and Connie Young Yu attend the 2019 CRWDA Awards Gala at the Marriott Downtown City Creek Hotel in Salt Lake City on May 11, 2019. Photo by Lia Chang

These are just two of countless examples of how Michael help make history at the 150th Anniversary. However, success did not come without a cost. Every time his fellow workers cheered the fuse runner after a successful run, the fuse runner knew the farther they dug the tunnel, the harder for him to safely return.

(May 6, 2019) Max Chang, Spike 150 Board of Director, Jill Remington Love, director of Utah Department of Heritage Arts, Chris Robinson, Spike 150 Board of Director, Paisley Rekdal, Utah Poet Laureate, Karen Kwan, Utah State Representative, Judge Michael Kwan, President, Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association. Photo by Lia Chang

Michael selflessly and sometimes quietly absorbed blows from both internal and external factions so the rest of us could continue the good fight. The undercut punches ranged from attempting to shift the focus from the Chinese railroad workers to self-serving agendas to unjustly disparaging and discrediting his judicial integrity. Yet, after each blow, Michael stood tall like Ali over Liston.

Family

He calmed us during chaos. When we were angry, he helped us smile. When we cried, he comforted us. When we fell, he was the first to offer a helping hand. He always shied away from the accolades so the rest of us could stand tall and proud on the podium and in the spotlight. He always had our backs.

Judge Michael W. Kwan was our Fuse Runner.

Following the 150th Ceremony, Asian American historian and photographer, Corky Lee, stood high on a ladder to take his interpretation of the “Champagne Shot.” Fittingly, you’ll find the Jupiter and 119 trains in the backdrop and Michael, flanked by hundreds of Chinese railroad workers descendants and supporters, front and center, smiling.

On the occasion of 150th Anniversary commemorating the completion of the First Transcontinental Railway in 1869. Golden Spike Ceremony on Utah Promontory National Historic Site on May 10, 2019. Participants came as one from throughout the U.S. to reclaim our Chinese American history, and to right the wrong of the American history. Photo copyright by O.C. Lee © All Rights Reserved

Michael, as we send you on your journey home, let me share our commitment to you.

Max Chang bows to the coffin to pay his last respects to his good friend, Judge Michael Kwan at Taylorsville City Hall in Taylorsville on Friday, July 31, 2020. Photo collage courtesy of Max Chang/Facebook

Your relentless pursuit for diversity, equality, inclusion and justice here may be D-O-N-E, but we will do our best to continue building the railroad of your unparalleled legacy. We cannot and will not be satisfied in just filling your big shoes. We must also fill your humongous heart.

A floral spray from Jason Ma and the GOLD MOUNTAIN family for Judge Michael Kwan.

I’ll see you on the other side, my brother.

I love and miss you, Michael.

Rest in Peace.

Rest in Power.

Max Chang
August 1, 2020

Watch: In Loving Memory of Judge Michael Wei Kwan 

Judge Michael Kwan to lie in state at Taylorsville City Hall on July 31 
Photo Flash: Ali Ewoldt, Ann Harada, David Henry Hwang And More Celebrate Jason Ma’s GOLD MOUNTAIN In Salt Lake City
spindigit.com: Asian Association of Utah Mourns the Loss of Truth Telling Judge, Michael Kwan
sltrib.com: Utah justice court judge known for advocating for Asian American has died
Deseret.com: Utah municipal judge who criticized Trump, championed Asian Americans dead at 58
kutv.com: Utah judge who started one of nation’s first DUI/drug courts, dies ‘suddenly’
nbcnews.com: 150 years ago, Chinese railroad workers risked their lives in pursuit of the American dream

Daniel K. Isaac, Lloyd Suh, Laurie Metcalf, Kelli O’Hara, Amanda Seyfried, Lena Dunham, Cesar J. Rosado, Sylvia Khoury and More Set for Fifth and Final Edition of THE HOMEBOUND PROJECT, Airing August 5-9 to Benefit No Kid Hungry

Daniel K. Isaac. Photo by Lia Chang
Daniel K. Isaac. Photo by Lia Chang
Daniel K. Isaac. Photo by Lia Chang

The Homebound Project has announced the lineup for its fifth and final edition of new online theater benefiting hungry children affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Co-creators Catya McMullen and Jenna Worsham, along with their all-volunteer team, have also announced that over $100,000 has been raised to date for No Kid Hungry, a national campaign working to end childhood hunger. Through No Kid Hungry, this amount can help connect kids in need across the country with up to 1 million healthy meals. For this fifth and final edition of The Homebound Project, an anonymous donor will be matching all donations, dollar for dollar, up to $20,000.

The playwrights in the fifth edition of The Homebound Project, airing August 5-9, 2020, have been given the prompt of “Homemade.” Participating actors, playwrights, and directors include:

Brian Cox and Nicole Ansari-Cox in a work by Melis Aker, directed by Tatiana Pandiani;

Joslyn DeFreece in a work by Lloyd Suh, directed by Colette Robert;

A work by Lena Dunham, directed by Maggie Burrows, performer TBA;

Ryan J. Haddad in a work by Christopher Oscar Peña, directed by Jaki Bradley;

Daniel K. Isaac in a work by Sylvia Khoury;

Andy Lucien in a work by Donnetta Lavinia Grays;

Laurie Metcalf in work by Stephen Karam;

Kelli O’Hara in a work by Lindsey Ferrentino, directed by Scott Ellis;

Austin Pendleton in a work by Craig Lucas, directed by Pam MacKinnon;

Cesar J. Rosado in a work by Basil Kreimendahl, directed by Samantha Soule;

Amanda Seyfried in a work by Catya McMullen; directed by Jenna Worsham; and

Johnny Sibilly in a work by Korde Arrington Tuttle, directed by Jenna Worsham.

The fifth edition of The Homebound Project will stream online beginning at 7pm EST on Wednesday, August 5 until 7pm EST on Sunday, August 9. View-at-home tickets are currently on sale at homeboundtheater.org and begin at a donation level of $10. Complimentary viewings for first responders and essential workers have been made possible by an anonymous donor. Each collection from this independent theater initiative is available to stream over a strictly limited 4-day period.

Founded by playwright Catya McMullen and director Jenna Worsham, The Homebound Project is an independent online theater initiative created to help feed hungry children affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Each edition features a collection of new theater works written by homebound playwrights and recorded by sheltering actors.

The Homebound Project features costume consultation by Andy Jean, original music and sound design by Fan Zhang, and video editing and design by Jon Burkland/ZANNI Productions.

“The child hunger crisis needs our attention at this critical and traumatic national moment,” says co-creator Jenna Worsham. “We are monumentally grateful for the exquisite work of our volunteer artists and generous support from audiences around the world. As The Homebound Project draws to a close for now, our shared mission to help those most vulnerable during this crisis should and will continue.”

“Hungry children in our country are facing one of the worst crises we’ve seen in our lifetime. But thanks to generous partners like The Homebound Project and its donors, they’re not facing it alone,” said Billy Shore, executive chair of Share Our Strength, the nonprofit behind the No Kid Hungry campaign. “We’re truly grateful for this support that will help feed children during this pandemic and the long recovery ahead.”

“1 in 4 children in the U.S. could face hunger this year because of the coronavirus – and that includes many in New York City,” said Rachel Sabella, director of No Kid Hungry in New York. “The Homebound Project is proof that everyone can play a role in helping these kids, whether you’re an actor, producer, writer, director, viewer or otherwise. Kids need whatever strength we’re willing to share in this fight.”

The first edition of The Homebound Project was available May 6-10, 2020, and featured Christopher Abbott in a work by Lucy Thurber, Glenn Davis in a work by Ren Dara Santiago, William Jackson Harper in work by Max Posner, Jessica Hecht in a work by Sarah Ruhl, Marin Ireland in a work by Eliza Clark, Raymond Lee in a work by Qui Nguyen, Alison Pill in a work by C.A. Johnson, Elizabeth Rodriguez in a work by Rajiv Joseph, Thomas Sadoski in a work by Martyna Majok, and Amanda Seyfried in a work by The Homebound Project co-creator Catya McMullen. As well as a special appearance by Zachary Quinto.

The second edition of The Homebound Project was available May 20-24, 2020, and featured Utkarsh Ambudkar in a work by Marco Ramirez; Ngozi Anyanwu in a work by Anne Washburn; Nicholas Braun in a work by Will Arbery, directed by Danya Taymor; Betty Gilpin in a work by Lily Houghton; Kimberly Hébert Gregory in a work by Loy A. Webb; directed by Jenna Worsham; Hari Nef in a work by Ngozi Anyanwu, directed by Caitriona McLaughlin; Mary-Louise Parker in a work by Bryna Turner; Christopher Oscar Peña in a work by Brittany K. Allen; Taylor Schilling in a work by Sarah DeLappe, directed by Jenna Worsham; Babak Tafti in a work by David Zheng, directed by Taylor Reynolds; and Zachary Quinto in a work by Adam Bock, directed by Trip Cullman. As well as special appearances by chef Marcus Samuelsson and actor Amanda Seyfried.

The third edition of The Homebound Project was available June 24-28, 2020, and featured Ralph Brown in a work by Donnetta Lavinia Grays, directed by Jenna Worsham; Jennifer Carpenter and Thomas Sadoski in a work by John Guare, directed by Jerry Zaks; Daveed Diggs in a work by C.A. Johnson; Diane Lane in a work by Michael R. Jackson, directed by Leigh Silverman; Paola Lázaro in a work by Gina Femia, directed by Taylor Reynolds; Joshua Leonard in a work by Mara Nelson-Greenberg, directed by Jenna Worsham; Eve Lindley in a work by Daniel Talbott, directed by Kevin Laibson; Arian Moayed in a work by Xavier Galva; Ashley Park in a work by Bess Wohl, directed by Leigh Silverman; Will Pullen in a work by Samuel D. Hunter, directed by Jenna Worsham; Phillipa Soo in a work by Clare Barron, directed by Steven Pasquale; and Blair Underwood in a work by Korde Arrington Tuttle. As well as special appearances by NASCAR driver and U.S. Naval Officer Jesse Iwuji and 2020 Pulitzer Prize-Winner Michael R. Jackson.

The fourth edition of The Homebound Project was available July 15-19, 2020, and featured Tommy Dorfman in a work by Diana Oh, directed by Lena Dunham; Lisa Edelstein in a work by Janine Nabers; Adam Faison in a work by Charly Evon Simpson; Santino Fontana in a work by Emily Zemba; Cherry Jones in a work by Erin Courtney, directed by Jenna Worsham; Sue Jean Kim in a work by Leslye Headland, directed by Annie Tippe; Judith Light in a work by Jon Robin Baitz, directed by Leigh Silverman; Jon-Michael Reese in a work by Harrison David Rivers, directed by Colette Robert; Amber Tamblyn in a work by Halley Feiffer; Marquise Vilson in a work by Migdalia Cruz, directed by Cándido Tirado; Mary Wiseman in a work by Boo Killebrew, directed by Jenna Worsham. As well as special appearances by U.S. Army veteran Teaira ‘T-bone’ Johnson, playwright Diana Oh, and actors Phillipa Soo and Amanda Seyfried.

Visit homeboundtheater.org and follow @homeboundtheater on Instagram for more information.

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. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs. The Lia Chang theater portfolio collection,1989-2011, is in the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) collection located in the Library of Congress’ Asian Reading Room and can be accessed here.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 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

May Adrales to Helm World Premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s LETTERS OF SURESH at Second Stage’s off-Broadway Tony Kiser Theater, Spring 2021

May Adrales will helm the world premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s Letters Of Suresh at Second Stage’s off-Broadway Tony Kiser Theater (305 West 43rd Street) in the Spring of 2021.

Rajiv Joseph. Photo by Lia Chang
Rajiv Joseph. Photo by Lia Chang

In Letters Of Suresh, playwright Rajiv Joseph reveals intimate mysteries through a series of letters between strangers, friends, daughters, and lovers – many with little in common but a hunger for human connection. Sending their hopes and dreams across oceans and years, they seek peace in one another while dreaming of a city once consumed by the scourge of war. A companion piece to Joseph’s play Animals Out of Paper, Letters Of Suresh, directed by May Adrales, is the latest work from the Pulitzer Prize-short listed playwright hailed as “wonderfully daring, imaginative, and compassionate” (The New York Times).

Letters of Suresh was commissioned with the support of a grant from the Time Warner Foundation.

Rajiv Joseph returns to Second Stage Theater, which has produced three of his plays: Animals Out of Paper, All This Intimacy, and Gruesome Playground Injuries. His play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo was a 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Drama and was also awarded a grant for Outstanding New American Play by the National Endowment for the Arts. He has twice won the Obie Award for Best New American Play, first in 2016 with Guards at the Taj (also a 2016 Lortel Winner for Best Play) and then in 2018, for Describe the Night. Other plays include Archduke, The Lake Effect, The North Pool and Mr. Wolf. Joseph has been awarded artistic grants from the Whiting Foundation, United States Artists and the Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. He is a board member of the Lark Play Development Center in New York City, where he develops all his plays. He served for three years in the Peace Corps in Senegal and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

May Adrales. Photo by Lia Chang
May Adrales. Photo by Lia Chang

May Adrales is a director, artistic leader and teacher and has directed over 25 world premieres. She recently was awarded the prestigious Theater Communications Group Alan Schneider 2018 award for freelance directors. She is a Drama League Directing Fellow, Women’s Project Lab Director, Soho Rep Writers/Directors Lab and New York Theater Workshop directing fellow, and a recipient of the TCG New Generations Grant, Denham Fellowship and Paul Green Directing Award. She proudly serves as an Associate Artistic Director at Milwaukee Rep. She is a former Director of On Site Programs at the Lark Play Development Center and Artistic Associate at The Public Theater. May has directed and taught at Juilliard, Harvard/ART, ACT, Fordham, NYU and Bard College. May has served on faculty at the Yale School of Drama and the Brown/Trinity MFA program. She received an MFA in Directing from the Yale School of Drama. Recent world premieres include Qui Nguyen’s Lortel Award and Obie Award winning, Vietgone (MTC, South Coast Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Seattle Rep); Lauren Gunderson’s Natural Shocks (WP Theater); Poor Yella Rednecks (MTC, South Coast Rep), Kemp Powers’s Little Black Shadows (South Coast Rep); Idris Goodwin’s The Way The Mountain Moved (OSF); Chisa Hutchinson’s Somebody’s Daughter (Second Stage Theater) and The Wedding Gift (Contemporary American Theater Festival); J.C. Lee’s Luce (LCT3); A. Rey Pamatmat’s Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them (ATL) and after all the terrible things I do (Milwaukee Rep); Thomas Bradshaw’s Mary (The Goodman). Her work has been seen at Signature Theater, Lincoln Center, Second Stage Theater, Atlantic Theater, Portland Center Stage and Cleveland Playhouse.

Subscription and ticket information will be available in the Fall. For more information visit 2ST.com.

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. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs. The Lia Chang theater portfolio collection,1989-2011, is in the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) collection located in the Library of Congress’ Asian Reading Room and can be accessed here.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 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

Second Stage Presents Broadway Revival of Richard Greenberg’s TAKE ME OUT Starring Patrick J. Adams, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jesse Williams with Julian Cihi, Hiram Delgado, Brandon J. Dirden, Carl Lundstedt, Ken Marks, Michael Oberholtzer, Eduardo Ramos and Tyler Lansing Weaks; Previews Begin March 22, 2021

Second Stage Theater’s 2021 Season will feature the Broadway revival of Richard Greenberg’s Tony Award-winning play, Take Me Out. Postponed due to the current Broadway suspension, Take Me Out will be coming to Broadway next year with performances beginning the week of March 22, 2021 at Second Stage’s Hayes Theater (240 West 44th Street). Opening night is set for Thursday, April 22, 2021.

Take Me Out will star Patrick J. Adams, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jesse Williams with Julian Cihi, Hiram Delgado, Brandon J. Dirden, Carl Lundstedt, Ken Marks, Michael Oberholtzer, Eduardo Ramos and Tyler Lansing Weaks and is directed by Scott Ellis.

Performances begin week of March 22, 2021; Opening night is Thursday, April 22, 2021

In the Tony Award®-winning Take Me Out, playwright Richard Greenberg celebrates the personal and professional intricacies of America’s favorite pastime. When Darren Lemming (Jesse Williams), the star center fielder for the Empires, comes out of the closet, the reception off the field reveals a barrage of long-held unspoken prejudices. Facing some hostile teammates and fraught friendships, Darren is forced to contend with the challenges of being a gay person of color within the confines of a classic American institution. As the Empires struggle to rally toward a championship season, the players and their fans begin to question tradition, their loyalties, and the price of victory.

The full creative team for Take Me Out includes scenic design by David Rockwell, costume design by Linda Cho, lighting design by Kenneth Posner, sound design by Fitz Patton, and casting by Jim Carnahan, CSA.

BIOGRAPHIES
PATRICK J. ADAMS (Kippy Sunderstrom) is perhaps best known for his seven seasons as Mike Ross on USA Network’s hit drama, “Suits,” a role which garnered him a SAG Award nomination in the category of Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series. Adams has also directed “Suits” a number of times, including the landmark 100th episode. Additional television credits include a recurring role on the third season of Amazon’s critically acclaimed drama series, “Sneaky Pete,” the 2014 television miniseries “Rosemary’s Baby” directed by Agnieska Holland, the acclaimed series “Luck” opposite Dustin Hoffman and Michael Gambon, and “Orphan Black” opposite Tatiana Maslany, as well as “Lost,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “N.C.I.S.,” “Lie To Me,” “Legends of Tomorrow,” and “Flash Forward.” On film, Adams starred in the 2019 sci-fi feature film and Toronto International Film Festival selection, Clara. Other film credits include the hit comedy, Old School, directed by Todd Phillips, and the 2009 Berlin Film Festival competitor, Rage, directed by internationally renowned filmmaker Sally Potter alongside Judi Dench, Jude Law, Dianne Wiest and Steve Buscemi. His indie feature work includes The Waterhole, 2009 Slamdance entry Weather Girl, 6 Month Rule directed by Blayne Weaver, Car Dogs opposite Octavia Spencer, and the indie feature comedy Room For Rent. On stage, Adams most recently starring alongside Troian Bellisario in the Old Globe Theatre’s world premiere production of Anna Ziegler’s The Last Match. He produced and starred in Bill Cain’s (“House of Cards”) acclaimed production of 9 Circles at the Bootleg Theatre in Los Angeles for which he received a Backstage Garland Award for Best Performance in a Play and a 2012 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award nomination. He is a member of the Ojai Playwrights Conference, starring in new works by established and developing playwrights. Cain’s Equivocation was developed at Ojai and Adams subsequently starred in the celebrated Geffen Playhouse production, which received the 2010 Best Production at the LA Ovation Awards. He made his professional stage debut in the West Coast premiere of Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? at The Mark Taper Forum, which also took home Best Play at the Ovation Awards. Adams also produced and directed a hit revival of Marat/Sade, for which he accepted Best Production at the L.A. Weekly Theatre Awards. He will next be seen on TV in the upcoming National Geographic drama series, “The Right Stuff,” based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Tom Wolfe.

Julian Cihi (Takeshi Kawabata) was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. He has been seen on Broadway in Doctor Zhivago and Off-Broadway in Romeo and Juliet (CSC). His regional credits include A Month in the Country (Williamstown Theater Festival), Wild Goose Dreams (La Jolla Playhouse), and The Great Wave (Berkeley Rep). Julian has also performed in Japan, including RENT and a musical adaptation of As You Like It, all in Japanese. He has been seen on TV in “Mr. Robot” (USA), “Gypsy” (Netflix), “Crashing” (HBO), “The Outpost” (CW), “The Tick” (Amazon Prime). Education: Brown University (BA); NYU Grad Acting (MFA).

Hiram Delgado (Martinez) will make his Broadway debut in this production. He has appeared Off-Broadway in Agnes (59E59) and regionally at Williamstown Theatre Festival. Hiram’s film and TV credits include “The Code,” “Madame Secretary,” and The Vessel. Education: BA, University of Puerto Rico: MFA, NYU Graduate Acting.

BRANDON J. DIRDEN (Davey Battle) starred on Broadway as Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Tony Award-winning production of All the Way, with Bryan Cranston, and as Booster in the Tony Award-winning revival of August Wilson’s Jitney. Additional Broadway credits include Clybourne Park, Enron, and Prelude to a Kiss. Off-Broadway, he has appeared in The Piano Lesson, for which he won Obie, Theatre World, and AUDELCO awards; The First Breeze of Summer and Day of Absence at Signature Theatre; Detroit ’67 at The Public Theater and Classical Theatre of Harlem; Peter and the Starcatcher at New York Theatre Workshop and as ‘Brutus’ in TFANA’s production of Juilius Caesar. On screen, he has appeared in “The Good Wife,” “For Life,” “The Big C,” “Public Morals,” “Manifest,” “The Get Down,” “The Accidental Wolf,” “Blue Bloods,” “The Quad,” and four seasons of FX’s “The Americans” as Agent Dennis Aderholt. He is currently shooting the upcoming ABC series “For Life” and recently completed work on the FX miniseries, “Mrs. America.” He has directed numerous plays by Dominique Morriseau and August Wilson. Brandon is a frequent volunteer at the 52nd Street Project and a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and Fair Wage On Stage.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Mason Marzac) currently stars as “Mitchell Pritchett” on the Award-­winning ABC comedy “Modern Family.” Recently renewed for its 11th and final season, the show has earned five Emmy Awards® for Outstanding Comedy Series, a Golden Globe Award® for Outstanding Comedy Series and four Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. Ferguson has also received five Emmy Award® nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series and three People’s Choice Award nominations for “Favorite Comedic TV Actor” on behalf of “Modern Family.” A longstanding advocate for marriage equality, Ferguson co-founded Tie The Knot in 2012 with his husband, where they design limited edition bow ties with all the proceeds going to various organizations that fight for LGBTQ equality around the world. In 2017, he won the Drama Desk Award for “Best Solo Performance” for his 40-character turn in the Broadway production of Fully Committed. He made his Broadway debut at the age of 21 as “Chip” in George C. Wolfe’s revival of On The Town. He later went on to originate the role of “Leaf Coneybear” in Second Stage’s Tony Award®-winning Broadway musical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Drama Desk Award, “Outstanding Ensemble Performance”). He has worked extensively with The New York Public Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Park in such notable productions as The Merchant of Venice, The Tempest, The Winter’s Tale, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Comedy of Errors where he performed alongside Al Pacino, Sam Waterston, Jesse L. Martin, Martha Plimpton, Hamish Linklater and Lily Rabe. Other theatre credits include world premieres of Christopher Shinn’s Where Do We Live and Michael John LaChiusa’s Little Fish (Second Stage) as well as “Sir Robin” in Spamalot, “Leo Bloom” in The Producers, both at The Hollywood Bowl, and most recently Log Cabin with Playwrights Horizons, directed by Tony Award® and Obie Award-winner Pam MacKinnon. Ferguson appeared in Bess Wohl’s Grand Horizons this summer as part of the Williamstown Theater Festival’s 65th season.

WILL HARRISON (Jason Chenier) is a 2019 Drama graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and is making his Broadway debut with Take Me Out.

Carl Lundstedt (Toddy Koovitz) will make his Broadway debut in this production. He has appeared on film in Joker (Warner Bros.). Carl’s TV credits include “Manifest” (NBC), “Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger” (Freeform), “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC), and “Conviction” (ABC). He appeared regionally in the World Premiere of Reverberation by Matthew Lopez (Hartford Stage, Connecticut Critics Circle Nomination for Best Supporting Actor, Connecticut Critics Circle Winner for Best Newcomer). Education: BFA, Carnegie Mellon University.

Ken Marks (Skipper) has appeared on Broadway in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark (Uncle Ben), Airline Highway, Spring Awakening, Rock N’Roll, Hairspray (Wilbur Turnblad), After the Fall, Mamma Mia (OBC), Present Laughter and Dancing at Lughnasa. Off-Broadway, Ken has appeared as The Colonel in Father Comes Home from the Wars (Public Theater), Bethany (Women’s Project), Editor Webb in Our Town (Barrow Street), Stage Kiss (Playwrights Horizons), Orson’s Shadow (Barrow Street) and Stuff Happens (Public Theater). His TV credits include recurring roles on “Elementary,” “The Exorcist,” “Life on Mars,” and “The Tick,” and guest stars on “Billions,” “Blue Bloods,” “The Good Wife,” “Madam Secretary” and various “Law & Order” episodes. Ken’s film credits include The Confession, The Wackness, Step-Up 3D, Kelly & Cal, Henry’s Crime and Blood Stripe.

Michael Oberholtzer’s (Shane Mungitt) Broadway and Off-Broadway credits include Hand to God, The Babylon Line (Lincoln Center Theater) and The Talls (Second Stage). He has appeared on film and television in “Sneaky Pete” (Amazon), “Good Girls Revolt” (Amazon), “The Americans” (FX), “Forever” (ABC), “NYC 22” (CBS), “Law & Order” (NBC), Delivery Man, HairBrained, Hits, Cut Shoot Kill, Trouble, Staring at the Sun, Aardvark and South Mountain.

Joél Pérez (Rodriguez) has appeared on Broadway in Fun Home, and Off-Broadway in Oedipus El Rey, As You Like It, Fun Home, Wild Goose Dreams (Public Theater); Sweet Charity (The New Group, Lortel Award Winner); Raw Bacon from Poland (Abrons Art Center); and at the Broken Box Mime Theater. His regional and tour credits include Kiss My Aztec! (Berkeley Rep and La Jolla) and In the Heights (1st National). Joel’s TV credits include “Jesus Christ Superstar Live!,” “Odd Mom Out,” “The Big C” and “The Outs.” Education: Tufts University, B.A.D.A., SpringboardNYC. http://www.joelperez.com, @MisterJoelPerez

Jesse Williams (Darren Lemming) is an activist/actor/entrepreneur and former high school teacher. He plays ‘Dr. Jackson Avery’ on ABC’s hit series “Grey’s Anatomy” and has appeared in films including Lee Daniels’ The Butler, The Cabin in the Woods, Band Aid, and the upcoming Jacob’s Ladder and Selah and the Spades. Jesse served as senior producer and correspondent alongside Norman Lear for their EPIX docuseries “America Divided.” He executive produced the documentary “Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement,” which premiered summer 2016 and is currently touring internationally. Williams is a partner and board member of Scholly, a mobile app that has connected students directly to over 100 million dollars in unclaimed scholarships. He is the co-founder of BLeBRiTY, a very successful black culturally centered mobile game and the Ebroji Mobile App, a popular cultural language keyboard. Williams is founder of the production company, farWord Inc. and the executive producer of “Question Bridge: Black Males,” a series of transmedia art installations on display as part of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture’s permanent collection. Williams gained international attention for his 2016 BET Humanitarian Award acceptance speech. He is also the youngest member to sit on the Board of Directors for both Advancement Project, a leading national civil rights advocacy organization, and Harry Belafonte’s arts and social justice organization, Sankofa.org.

Richard Greenberg (Playwright) is the author of The Babylon Line, The Assembled Parties (Tony, Drama Desk nominations), Take Me Out (Tony Award for Best Play; Drama Desk Award; NY Drama Critics Circle Award; Outer Critics Circle Award; Lucille Lortel Award), The House in Town, The Violet Hour, The Dazzle (Outer Critics Circle Award), Everett Beekin, Three Days of Rain (L.A. Drama Critics Award; Pulitzer finalist), The American Plan, and many other plays.

Scott Ellis (Director) Broadway credits include: currently Tootsie (2019 Tony Award nomination), as well as Kiss Me, Kate; She Loves Me (2016 Tony Award nomination); On the Twentieth Century; You Can’t Take It With You (Tony nomination); The Elephant Man; The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Tony nomination); Harvey; Curtains (Tony nomination); The Little Dog Laughed (Drama League Award nomination); Twelve Angry Men (Tony nomination); The Man Who Had All the Luck; The Rainmaker; 1776 (Drama Desk Award and Tony nominations); Picnic (Outer Critics Circle Award nomination); Company; A Month in the Country; and Steel Pier (Tony nomination). Off-Broadway credits include Dada Woof Papa Hot; The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin; Gruesome Playground Injuries; Streamers; Good Boys and True; Entertaining Mr. Sloane; Flora, the Red Menace (Drama Desk nomination); And the World Goes ‘Round (Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards), and The Waverly Gallery. His television credits include “Dr. Ken” (pilot), “Undateable” (pilot), “Two Broke Girls,” “The Good Wife,” “The Closer,” “Weeds” (executive producer), “30 Rock” (Emmy Award nomination for Best Director), “Modern Family,” Fox’s “A Christmas Story Live.” Mr. Ellis is Deputy Associate Director of the Roundabout Theatre Company.

For more information visit 2ST.com.

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. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs. The Lia Chang theater portfolio collection,1989-2011, is in the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) collection located in the Library of Congress’ Asian Reading Room and can be accessed here.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 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

Second Stage to Present New York Premiere of New Lynn Nottage Play at Broadway’s Hayes Theater in the Fall of 2021

Second Stage Theater’s 2021 Season will feature the New York premiere of Lynn Nottage’s latest work, directed by Nottage’s frequent collaborator, Kate Whoriskey. Performances begin on Broadway in the fall of 2021.

Lynn Nottage on the set of SWEAT. Photo by Lia Chang

“We are thrilled to welcome Lynn Nottage (2ST’s Crumbs from the Table of Joy; By the Way, Meet Vera Stark) back to Second Stage and to continue our longstanding collaboration,” said 2ST President and Artistic Director Carole Rothman. “As Broadway works together to return even stronger than before, our dedication to living American Playwrights feels vital to the resurgence of the theatrical landscape.”

In this stirring new play from the team of two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage and director Kate Whoriskey (Ruined, Sweat), a truck stop sandwich shop offers its formerly incarcerated kitchen staff a shot at reclaiming their lives. Even as the shop’s callous owner tries to keep them under her thumb, the staff members are given purpose and permission to dream by the enigmatic, zen-like chef and his belief in the possibility of the perfect sandwich. Funny, moving, and urgent, it’s an example of Nottage’s “genius for bringing politically charged themes to life by embodying them in ordinary characters living ordinary lives” (The Wall Street Journal).

The production is supported by a grant from the Art for Justice Fund, a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

Lynn Nottage’s recent credits include the opera adaptation of Intimate Apparel, an Opera (Lincoln Center Theater), Floyd’s (Guthrie), The Secret Life of Bees (Atlantic). Upcoming: MJ (Broadway). Plays include Mlima’s Tale, Sweat (Pulitzer Prize, Obie, Evening Standard Award, Susan Smith Blackburn Prize); By the Way, Meet Vera Stark (Lilly Award); Ruined (Pulitzer Prize, Obie, Lortel, NY Drama Critics’ Circle, AUDELCO, Drama Desk and OCC awards); Intimate Apparel (American Theatre Critics and NYDCC awards). TV: Writer/producer: “She’s Gotta Have It” (Netflix). PEN/Laura Pels Master Playwright Award, Doris Duke Artist Award, Merit and Literature Award from the Academy of Arts and Letters, MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship, a Guggenheim Grant, Lucille Lortel Fellowship, Associate Professor at Columbia, and Member of the Dramatist Guild.

Kate Whoriskey’s most recent directing credits include All the Natalie Portmans at MCC, Floyd’s at the Guthrie and Benjamin Britten’s Turn of the Screw at Mannes Opera. Broadway credits include Sweat at Studio 54, and The Miracle Worker at Circle in the Square. Off Broadway: Songs for a New World (Encores Off Center), The Cardinal, How I Learned to Drive (Second Stage), Ruined (MTC), Her Requiem (Lincoln Center Theater), Aubergine, Fabulation and Inked Baby (Playwrights Horizons) and The Piano Teacher (Vineyard), among others. Regional credits include productions at the Guthrie Theater, The Goodman Theatre, Geffen Playhouse, South Coast Rep., Sundance Theatre Lab, Shakespeare Theatre, American Repertory Theatre, Huntington Theatre Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Baltimore Center Stage and Arena Stage among others. Her opera direction has been seen at the Mannes Opera, Theatre Du Chatelet in Paris and Teatro Municipal in Brazil.

Subscription and ticket information will be available in the Fall. For more information visit 2ST.com.

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. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs. The Lia Chang theater portfolio collection,1989-2011, is in the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) collection located in the Library of Congress’ Asian Reading Room and can be accessed here.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 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

Watch: In Loving Memory of Judge Michael Wei Kwan

Max Chang bows to the coffin to pay his last respects to his good friend, Judge Michael Kwan at Taylorsville City Hall in Taylorsville on Friday, July 31, 2020. Photo collage courtesy of Max Chang/Facebook

Members of the public had the opportunity to pay their final respects to the flag-draped casket bearing the remains of Judge Michael Wei Kwan at Taylorsville City Hall in Taylorsville, UT. on July 31, 2020.

deseret.com: Last respects paid to Taylorsville Justice Court Judge Michael Kwan

The private funeral service will be held at McDougal Funeral Home on Saturday, August 1, 2020. Flowers may be sent to McDougal Funeral Homes, 4330 S. Redwood Road, Taylorsville, Utah 84123, by Friday morning, July 31, 2020. Or in lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates in memory of Judge Michael Wei Kwan at www.ocanational.org/donate.

McDougal Funeral Homes Website 

Judge Michael Kwan

The Honorable Michael Wei Kwan passed away at home on Tuesday July 21, 2020 of natural causes. Our loss is great and will be long lasting. Judge Kwan’s life was filled by service to Utah and national Asian Pacific American communities as a mentor and teacher, fierce advocate for justice, peace and equity, and as an example of moral leadership. Michael was a true visionary whose humility prevented him from acknowledging his personal impact on our global communities, preferring instead to acknowledge the collective work of communities he helped come together.

Michael was born in Inglewood, California in 1962, the second child and only son of Fulton Checkfull Kwan and Marjorie Lim Kwan. He grew up in West Hills, California and graduated from Canoga Park High School in 1982, where he was an active member of the high school band and the Junior ROTC program. Following a long line of familial legal minds, Michael received his law degree from Whittier College School of Law in California and was later certified in Chinese Law by the East China University of Politics and Law.

Michael met his wife Jennifer XiaoYing Chen in 1992. They married in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 4, 1994. They have two wonderful children, Elizabeth and Richard, and one granddog, Beebo. Michael adored them all. In 1996, Michael moved his young family from the San Fernando Valley in California to Taylorsville, Utah.

He began his career in Utah in the healthcare field as an EMT for Gold Cross Ambulance and then as a Burn Technician at the University of Utah Hospital Burn Unit. After passing the Utah bar, Michael worked as a Salt Lake City prosecutor and served as Pro Tempore Judge in 3rd District Court from 1996 to 1998, when he became the first Municipal Judge appointed to the Taylorsville Justice Court where he presided until his death. One of the benefits of being a judge is performing weddings, which Michael loved to do as evidenced by the numerous ceremonies he conducted.

He taught judicial and law classes at the Utah Judicial Institute, the American Bar Association, and the National Drug Court, among others, and lectured at countless educational programs across the country. He was a valued, highly sought-after speaker, as his presentations were always well-researched, interesting, and seemingly effortless. He could truly speak about anything, at any time, and anywhere. In addition, Michael was an adjunct professor in the Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) Criminal Justice Program for more than 20 years. Michael’s service to SLCC extended to the maintenance of courses in the Criminal Justice Program and he also served as Chair to the SLCC Criminal Justice Program Advisory Committee (PAC).

Michael’s professional career was marked by innovation. His honors and awards are plentiful. Among these, he started one of the first DUI/drug courts in the nation in 1998. The program was honored in 2008 with the Governor’s Award for reducing drug and alcohol abuse- related crimes. It has been used as a prototype for other courtrooms across the country. His model for the domestic violence program was awarded the Peace on Earth Award from the Salt Lake Area Domestic Violence Advisory Council in 2002. Another example of the numerous awards he received is the Utah Judicial Council’s Quality of Justice Award in 2001.

Michael was an active member of the community on many levels. He founded several social justice, community, and advocacy organizations and served countless others in a myriad of ways. Notable among the organizations in which he founded, served as board member, advisor, or consultant are OCA-Utah, and several OCA chapters, Utah Minority Bar, Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs – Utah chapter, Utah Asian American Chamber of Commerce, and the Refugee and Immigrant Center-Asian Association of Utah, where Michael was serving as Board Chair at the time of his death. Especially meaningful to him was the national OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, in which he served on the Executive Board since 1997 and as the national President in 2015. Along with his sister, Karen, Michael founded and supported OCA-Utah in 1998, receiving the Pillar of the Community Award in 2012 for his tireless dedication to the Asian and Pacific Islander community.

Something that gave him much joy was working on the celebration and coordination of the 150th anniversary of the Chinese workers on the Transcontinental Railroad. In addition to being appointed to the State of Utah Golden Spike Commission, Michael spearheaded and led the global community of descendants, supporters, and advocates as President and Founder of the Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association. Michael worked tirelessly and successfully to honor and properly credit our   ancestors   in   the  celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad, gaining global recognition for his efforts.

Preceded in death by both paternal and maternal grandparents and his loving mother, Marjorie Lim Kwan, Michael is survived by his wife Jennifer, children Elizabeth and Richard, granddog Beebo, father Fulton Kwan, (family friend Elaine Kwan and her son, Howard Kwan), sisters Deanna Lyn Kwan (Michael Evangelista), Karen Kwan (Travis Dahl) and Lisa Kwan-Golden (Jeff Golden), in-laws, nieces Meghan Kwan-Smith (Justin Layton), Shealyn Mayer (David Mayer) and Amelia Michael Kwan-Lee, nephew Brenner Kwan-Golden, grandniece Kaira Mayer, and many uncles, aunts, cousins, extended family and dear friends throughout the United States and China.

While his life was not long, Michael’s legacy of good works, kindness, dedication to serving others, his leadership, and sense of humor will be with us for countless future generations to come.

Judge Michael Kwan to lie in state at Taylorsville City Hall on July 31 
Photo Flash: Ali Ewoldt, Ann Harada, David Henry Hwang And More Celebrate Jason Ma’s GOLD MOUNTAIN In Salt Lake City
spindigit.com: Asian Association of Utah Mourns the Loss of Truth Telling Judge, Michael Kwan
sltrib.com: Utah justice court judge known for advocating for Asian American has died
Deseret.com: Utah municipal judge who criticized Trump, championed Asian Americans dead at 58
kutv.com: Utah judge who started one of nation’s first DUI/drug courts, dies ‘suddenly’
nbcnews.com: 150 years ago, Chinese railroad workers risked their lives in pursuit of the American dream

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. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs. The Lia Chang theater portfolio collection,1989-2011, is in the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) collection located in the Library of Congress’ Asian Reading Room and can be accessed here.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 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