Happy Trails to ONCE ON THIS ISLAND Star Tony Award-Winner Lea Salonga

Lea Salonga and Director Michael Arden. Photo by Lia Chang

Happy trails to Tony Award-winner Lea Salonga, who will play her final two performances as Erzulie in the Tony Award-winning Revival of a Musical Once On This Island, before heading out to the Hollywood Bowl to star as Grace Farrell in the Michael Arden helmed production of Annie, July 27 – 29.

I will have the opportunity to enjoy her final turn as Erzulie tonight.

Lea Salonga and Director Michael Arden. Photo by Lia Chang
Lea Salonga and Director Michael Arden. Photo by Lia Chang

“Greenleaf” star Merle Dandridge, who originated the role of Papa Ge in the current revival, has returned for a limited run through August 19.

Merle Dandridge, Aurelia Williams-Philpotts, Quentin Earl Darrington, Lea Salonga. Photo by Lia Chang
Merle Dandridge, Aurelia Williams-Philpotts, Quentin Earl Darrington, Lea Salonga. Photo by Lia Chang

Below are photos of the cast and creative team of Once On This Island celebrating taking home the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical at Vida Verde.

Ken Davenport and Hunter Arnold. Photo by Lia Chang
Producers Ken Davenport and Hunter Arnold. Photo by Lia Chang

The production opened to rave reviews on December 3 at The Circle in the Square Theatre and received eight Tony Award® nominations including Best Musical Revival, seven Drama Desk Award nominations, six Outer Critics Circle nominations and three Chita Rivera Award nominations. In addition to Best Musical Revival, the other Tony nominations included Best Leading Actress in a Musical – Hailey Kilgore, Best Scenic Design of a Musical – Dane Laffrey, Best Costume Design of a Musical – Clint Ramos, Best Lighting Design of a Musical – Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer, Best Sound Design of a Musical – Peter Hylenski, Best Direction of a Musical – Michael Arden, and Best Orchestrations – AnnMarie Milazzo & Michael Starobin.

Producer Ken Davenport. Photo by Lia Chang
Producer Ken Davenport. Photo by Lia Chang

The current cast stars Tony Award winner Lea Salonga as Erzulie, Alex Newell as Asaka, Merle Dandridge as Papa Ge, Quentin Earl Darrington as Agwe and Tony Award nominee Hailey Kilgore as Ti Moune. The cast also features Kenita R. Miller (Mama Euralie) Phillip Boykin (Tonton Julian), Darlesia Cearcy (Storyteller), Rodrick Covington (Storyteller), Emerson Davis (Little Girl) Alysha Deslorieux (Andrea), Tyler Hardwick (Storyteller), Cassondra James (Storyteller), David Jennings (Armand), Grasan Kingsberry (Storyteller), Isaac Powell (Daniel), T. Oliver Reid (Storyteller), Ximone Rose (Storyteller), Anthony Wayne (Storyteller, Aurelia Williams (Storyteller), and Mia Williamson (Little Girl). Darlesia Cearcy will portray Erzulie beginning June 25.

Victor Lirio, Director Michael Arden, Andy Mientus and Lea Salonga. Photo by Lia Chang
Victor Lirio, Director Michael Arden, Andy Mientus and Lea Salonga. Photo by Lia Chang

The new production is directed by Tony nominee Michael Arden, and choreographed by the critically-acclaimed Camille A. Brown.

Kenita R. Miller, Merle Dandridge and Justin Hicks. Photo by Lia Chang
Kenita R. Miller, Merle Dandridge and Justin Hicks. Photo by Lia Chang

Once On This Island is written by the Tony Award-winning team Lynn Ahrens (Book and Lyrics) and Stephen Flaherty (Music), and based on the novel “My Love, My Love” by Rosa Guy. This production features new orchestrations by original orchestrator Michael Starobin who is joined by AnnMarie Milazzo.

Kenita R. Miller, Justin Hicks, Lynn Ahrens. Photo by Lia Chang
Kenita R. Miller, Justin Hicks, Lynn Ahrens. Photo by Lia Chang
Kenita R. Miller and Hailey Kilgore. Photo by Lia Chang
Kenita R. Miller and Hailey Kilgore. Photo by Lia Chang
Producer Ken Davenport with cast members from his new show, GETTIN' THE BAND BACK TOGETHER, Garth Kravits and Jasmin Richardson. Photo by Lia Chang
Producer Ken Davenport with cast members from his new show, GETTIN’ THE BAND BACK TOGETHER, Garth Kravits and Jasmin Richardson. Photo by Lia Chang
Hailey Kilgore, Trevor Hardwick, Kenita R. Miller and Stephen Flaherty. Photo by Lia Chang
Hailey Kilgore, Trevor Hardwick, Kenita R. Miller and Stephen Flaherty. Photo by Lia Chang

The creative team also includes Dane Laffrey (Scenic Design), Clint Ramos (Costume Design), Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer (Lighting Designers), Peter Hylenski (Sound Designer), John Bertles/Bash The Trash (Unusual Instruments), Cookie Jordan (Hair/Wig & Makeup Designer), Chris Fenwick (Music Supervisor), Alvin Hough, Jr. (Music Director), David Perlow (Associate Director), Nikki M. James (Assistant Director), Rickey Tripp (Associate Choreographer) and Telsey + Co / Craig Burns, CSA (Casting Agent).

Ken Davenport, Clint Ramos and Lea Salonga. Photo by Lia Chang
Ken Davenport, Clint Ramos and Lea Salonga. Photo by Lia Chang

Once On This Island is the tale of Ti Moune, a fearless peasant girl who falls in love with a wealthy boy from the other side of the island. When their divided cultures keep them apart, Ti Moune is guided by the powerful island gods, Erzulie, Asaka, Papa Ge, and Agwe, on a remarkable quest to reunite with the man who has captured her heart.

Lia Chang, J. Elaine Marcos, Lea Salonga, Victor Lirio at the ONCE ON THIS ISLAND Tony Party at Vida Verde in New York on June 10, 2018. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, J. Elaine Marcos, Lea Salonga, Victor Lirio at the ONCE ON THIS ISLAND Tony Party at Vida Verde in New York on June 10, 2018. Photo by Garth Kravits

Bursting with Caribbean colors, rhythms and dance, the story comes to vibrant life in a striking production by Tony Award®-nominated director Michael Arden (Spring Awakening revival) and acclaimed choreographer Camille A. Brown. This production transforms the reality of a tropical village devastated by a storm into a fantastical world alive with hope.

GETTIN' THE BAND BACK TOGETHER cast members J. Elaine Marcos, Jasmine Richardson, Garth Kravits at the ONCE ON THIS ISLAND Tony Party at Vida Verde in New York on June 10, 2018. Photo by Lia Chang
GETTIN’ THE BAND BACK TOGETHER cast members J. Elaine Marcos, Jasmine Richardson, Garth Kravits at the ONCE ON THIS ISLAND Tony Party at Vida Verde in New York on June 10, 2018. Photo by Lia Chang

Once On This Island premiered at Playwrights Horizons in May of 1990. The Broadway production opened in October of that year and ran for 469 performances garnering eight Tony nominations including Best Featured Actress (LaChanze), Best Original Score, Best Book of a Musical and Best Musical. The 1994 West End production won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical.

Quentin Earl Darrington, Aurelia Williams, Lea Salonga, Kenita R. Miller. Photo by Lia Chang
Quentin Earl Darrington, Aurelia Williams, Lea Salonga, Kenita R. Miller. Photo by Lia Chang
Anthony Wayne, Tyler Hardwick, Aurelia Willams, Quentin Earl Darrington, Lea Salonga, Alivin Hough, Jr., Kenita R. Miller. Photo by Lia Chang
Anthony Wayne, Tyler Hardwick, Aurelia Williams, Quentin Earl Darrington, Lea Salonga, Alivin Hough, Jr., Kenita R. Miller. Photo by Lia Chang
Phillip Boykin and Ken Davenport. Photo by Lia Chang
Phillip Boykin and Ken Davenport. Photo by Lia Chang
Lea Salonga and Director Michael Arden. Photo by Lia Chang
Lea Salonga and Director Michael Arden. Photo by Lia Chang
Clint Ramos, Lea Salonga and Victor Lirio. Photo by Lia Chang
Clint Ramos, Lea Salonga and Victor Lirio. Photo by Lia Chang
Producer Ken Davenport, Assistant Director Nikki M. James and Director Michael Arden. Photo by Lia Chang
Producer Ken Davenport, Assistant Director Nikki M. James and Director Michael Arden. Photo by Lia Chang
T. Oliver Reid, Kenita R. Miller and Tyler Hardwick. Photo by Lia Chang
T. Oliver Reid, Kenita R. Miller and Tyler Hardwick. Photo by Lia Chang
Michael Arden and Andy Mientus. Photo by Lia Chang
Michael Arden and Andy Mientus. Photo by Lia Chang

Tickets for Once On This Island are on sale through Telecharge.

Tony Award Winner Lea Salonga to Star as Grace Farrell in ANNIE at the Hollywood Bowl, July 27 – 29 

Casts of “The Band’s Visit,” “Carousel,” “Frozen,” “Mean Girls,” “My Fair Lady,” “Once on This Island,” “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical,” “SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical,” and “Dear Evan Hansen” to Perform on 2018 Tony Awards 

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang
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 is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. 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: © 2000-2018 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

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2018 New York Musical Festival Next Link Project: Jon Viktor Corpuz, Sushma Saha, Angel Lin, Esco Jouley, Allison Linker, Michelle Noh and Andreas Wyder Set for Melissa Li and Kit Yan’s New Musical INTERSTATE at The Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row, July 9 – 15

Kit Yan, Melissa Li and Jon Viktor Corpuz represent Interstate at the Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Festival in New York City.
Kit Yan, Melissa Li and Jon Viktor Corpuz represent Interstate at the Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Festival in New York City.
Kit Yan, Melissa Li and Jon Viktor Corpuz represent Interstate at the Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Festival in New York City.

Interstate, a new musical created by Melissa Li and Kit Yan, has been selected as one of 12 productions to take part in the 2018 New York Musical Festival Next Link Project. The workshop production will open the festival and features a diverse mix of talent while showcasing the journey of two Asian transgender artists. Interstate is directed by Jessi D. Hill, choreographed by Jessica Chen, with music direction by Karen Dryer.

The eclectic cast of Interstate stars Jon Viktor Corpuz (The King and I/Broadway), Sushma Saha (Cabaret/Ithaca College), Angel Lin (Once/National Tour), and an ensemble including Esco Jouley (Runaways/Public Theater), Allison Linker (Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame/PaperMill Playhouse), Michelle Noh (“Grey’s Anatomy”), and Andreas Wyder (Titanic:The Musical/National Tour).

The band features Karen Dryer (Musical Direction, 1st Keyboard,) Allison Kelly (Guitar/Bassist), Tidtaya Sinutoke (2nd Keyboard), and Ashley Baier (Drummer).

Interstate is an Asian-American pop-rock poetry musical that follows Dash, a transgender spoken word performer who becomes internet-famous along with his best friend Adrian, a lesbian singer-songwriter. Fueled by the allure of fame and a desire to connect with their community, the band embarks on a road trip across America for their first national tour. Their fiercely political and deeply personal music touches Henry, a transgender teenage boy living in small-town middle America, and he finds solace in their art as he struggles with his own identity and family. After blogging about the band and documenting his own gender journey, he decides to set out on a quest to meet his heroes in person, hoping to find answers to his own struggles. Interstate is a touching story about how two transgender people at different stages of their journey navigate love, family, masculinity, and finding a community in the era of social media.

Book & lyrics writer, Kit Yan, discussed the impetus for creating this musical. “I was inspired to write this musical from a place of queer pain, queer healing, and queer love. Melissa and I used to be in a band called Good Asian Drivers, and we were as popular as a super niche internet-based band could be. Then we went on tour for 2 years and had all the drama that a touring band has, so we broke up. We ended our incredible band and our even more incredible friendship. This was the greatest heartbreak of my life – my friendship and my artistic dreams all crashing at the same time. This show came out of a desire to tell a story of a band whose lives are as complicated as ours, and to give voice, life, and heart, to a couple of queer poc kids with a dream to make music, write poetry, and love hard.”

Interstate features Music, Book & Lyrics by Melissa Li, Book & Lyrics by Kit Yan. The creative team also features the talent of Jessica Chen (Choreography), Edward Morris (Scenic Design), Deepsikha Chatterjee (Costume Design), Jennifer J. Fok (Lighting Design), Fan Zhang (Sound Design), Janelle Lawrence (Properties Design), Natasha Sinha (Dramaturg), Macy Schmidt (Orchestrations & Arrangement), Nic Cory (Assistant Director), Anton Volovsek (Co-Scenic Design), and Joyce Lim (Costume Assistant). General Management, Dailey-Monda Management. Produced by Nicole Kwan, Mark Gagliardi, and Theresa Perkins in association with The Musical Theatre Factory.

Performances take place at Theatre Row’s Acorn Theatre, 410 West 42nd Street, (between 9th and 10th Avenues). Tickets are $31.75 and can be purchased at NYMF.org. The show’s running time is 120 minutes with intermission.

Performance dates:
Monday, July 9 @7:00 pm
Thursday, July 12 @ 9:00 pm
Friday, July 13 @ 5:00 pm
Saturday, July 14 @ 9:00 pm
Sunday, July 15 @ 1:00 pm

For more info: www.interstatemusical.comwww.nymf.org/interstate.

Instagram: @interstatemusical – Facebook: interstatemusical – Twitter: @interst8musical

The Creative Team
Kit Yan (Book, Music, Lyrics) is an award-winning Yellow American New York based artist, born in Enping, China, and raised in the Kingdom of Hawaii. Kit’s work has been produced by the American Repertory Theater, the Smithsonian, and Dixon Place among many others. They have been a Civilians resident, WP/Public theater Trans Lab fellow, and resident with Musical Theatre Factory and the Village Theatre. www.kityanpoet.com

Melissa Li (Book, Music, Lyrics) is a composer, performer, and writer. She is a recipient of the Jonathan Larson Award and a Queer|Art|Mentorship fellow. Musicals include Surviving the Nian (The Theater Offensive, IRNE Award for Best New Play 2007), 99% Stone (The Theater Offensive), and Interstate (New York Musical Festival). Her works have received support from the National Performance Network, New England Foundation for the Arts, Dixon Place, terraNOVA Collective, and Musical Theater Factory, among others. www.melissali.com

Jessi D. Hill (Director) credits include: new work at New York Theatre Workshop, The Public Theater/Joe’s Pub, The Playwrights’ Center, Primary Stages, Labyrinth, The Women’s Project, 59E59, P73, The New Group, Rattlestick, Ensemble Studio Theatre, HERE Arts Center, terraNOVA Collective, Culture Project, Musical Theatre Factory, The Barrow Group, PS122, New Dramatists, The Lark, The Playwrights Realm, New Georges, The Wild Project, and others. She has been a director and teacher in professional training programs at Yale School of Drama, Juilliard, The Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center/NTI, The Atlantic School, Playwrights Horizons and others. Her work has been seen internationally in Edinburgh, London, New Zealand, Berlin and Hamburg. MFA: Yale. Member SDC. http://www.jessidhill.com

For more information on Interstate and their journey to NYMF, or how to get involved, you can visit the show’s Kickstarter page at http://bit.ly/InterstateNYMF.

About The New York Musical Festival
The New York Musical Festival nurtures the creation, production, and public presentation of stylistically, thematically, and culturally diverse new musicals to ensure the future vitality of musical theater.

Now in its fifteenth year, the Festival is the premier musical theater event in the world. The preeminent site for launching new musicals and discovering new talent, the Festival provides an affordable platform for artists to mount professional productions that reach their peers, industry leaders, and musical theater fans. More than 90 Festival shows have gone on to productions on and Off-Broadway, in regional theaters in all 50 states, and in more than 24 countries worldwide. Festival alumni have received a wide array of awards including the Tony Award® and the Pulitzer Prize. In 2013, NYMF received a special Drama Desk Award in recognition of its work “creating and nurturing new musical theater, ensuring the future of this essential art form.”

NYMF is the flagship program of National Music Theater Network, Inc., a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization. 2018 NYMF is sponsored by The City of New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, PRG, TheaterMania, Clear Channel Outdoor, Tinc Productions and Fox Stage Productions and is supported, in part, by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

The NYMF PASS is a great way to experience The New York Musical Festival. With a NYMF PASS, you can get into the theater before individual ticket holders. Passes also offer the exclusive ability to book tickets before they go on sale to the public. Individual tickets on sale now.

The 2018 New York Musical Festival will take place July 9th – August 5th. For more information, please visit: www.nymf.org.

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EST/Youngblood’s Bloodworks Reading of Daniel K. Isaac’s ONCE UPON A (korean) TIME 

Lia Chang, David Shih, Deborah S. Craig, Jeena Yi, Alton Aburo, Esther Chen, Miller Tai, Hye Yun Park, Julian Leong, Daniel K. Isaac and Carlos Armesto. Photo by Garth Kravits

EST/Youngblood presented a Bloodworks Reading of ONCE UPON A (korean) TIME by Daniel K. Isaac at Ensemble Studio Theatre on June 6th.

Daniel K. Isaac. Photo by Garth Kravits
Daniel K. Isaac. Photo by Garth Kravits

Carlos Armesto directed a cast that featured Alton Alburo, Lia Chang, Esther Chen, Deborah S. Craig, Julian Leong, David Shih, Miller Tai, Hye Yun Park, Jeena Yi.

Lia Chang, David Shih, Deborah S. Craig, Jeena Yi, Alton Aburo, Esther Chen, Miller Tai, Hye Yun Park, Julian Leong, Daniel K. Isaac and Carlos Armesto. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, David Shih, Deborah S. Craig, Jeena Yi, Alton Aburo, Esther Chen, Miller Tai, Hye Yun Park, Julian Leong, Daniel K. Isaac and Carlos Armesto. Photo by Garth Kravits

Bloodworks is Youngblood’s annual reading series of brand new full-length plays which featured 23 readings from May 8th through June 20th. Click here for more information.

Lia Chang, Carlos Armesto, Daniel K. Isaac. Photo by Deborah S. Craig
Lia Chang, Carlos Armesto, Daniel K. Isaac. Photo by Deborah S. Craig
Hye Yun Park, Julian Leong, Daniel K. Isaac. Photo by Lia Chang
Hye Yun Park, Julian Leong, Daniel K. Isaac. Photo by Lia Chang
Daniel K. Isaac, Carlos Armesto, Julian Leong. Photo by Lia Chang
Daniel K. Isaac, Carlos Armesto, Julian Leong. Photo by Lia Chang
Daniel K. Isaac and Deborah S. Craig. Photo by Lia Chang
Daniel K. Isaac and Deborah S. Craig. Photo by Lia Chang
1st row: Esther Chen, Jeena Yi, David Shih. 2nd Row: Hye Yun Park, Alton Aburo, Daniel K. Isaac, Lia Chang. Back Row: Miller Tai, Deborah S. Craig, Carlos Armesto, Julian Leong. Photo by Garth Kravits
1st row: Esther Chen, Jeena Yi, David Shih. 2nd Row: Hye Yun Park, Alton Aburo, Daniel K. Isaac, Lia Chang. Back Row: Miller Tai, Deborah S. Craig, Carlos Armesto, Julian Leong. Photo by Garth Kravits
Esther Chen, Julian Leong, Daniel K. Isaac, Lia Chang, Deborah S. Craig. Photo by Tom Marks
Esther Chen, Julian Leong, Daniel K. Isaac, Lia Chang, Deborah S. Craig. Photo by Tom Marks

Daniel K. Isaac is an actor and writer born and raised in Southern California, currently based in New York City. You can currently see him on the small screen as ‘Ben Kim’ in Showtime’s “Billions.”

Photo by Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME. Daniel K. Isaac, Damian Lewis and David Costabile in 'Billions' episode 
Photo by Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME. Daniel K. Isaac, Damian Lewis and David Costabile in ‘Billions’ episode

Forbes: ‘Billions’ Recap: This Week’s Episode Brings Both ‘Redemption’ And A Striptease

Daniel co-wrote and stars in the short film/pilot presentation, “According To My Mother.” The project was selected for IFP Film Week and the inaugural Sundance New Voices Lab and was an Official Selection at ITVFest, Newfest, Outfest Fusion, Outfest, CAAMfest, SeriesFest (where it was awarded Best Actress), and New York Television Festival (Best Drama and Best Actor). “According To My Mother” is currently in development to become a digital series on First Look Media’s new platform, TOPIC. Daniel is a member of Page 73’s 2018 Interstate 73 Writers Group, Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Youngblood, and a Lambda Literary Playwriting Fellow. Training: UCSD, BADA. www.AccordingToMyMother.com

Juan Francisco Villa and Daniel K. Isaac Photo Credit: Lia Chang
Juan Francisco Villa and Daniel K. Isaac Photo Credit: Lia Chang

He recently appeared as William Inge in the Off-Broadway production of Philip Dawkin’s The Gentleman Caller, produced by Abingdon Theatre at The Cherry Lane.  Select NYC: Sagittarius  Ponderosa   (NAATCO), Underland (59E59), La Divina Caricatura (La MaMa, Under the Radar & St. Ann’s Warehouse), Anna Nicole the Opera (BAM). Select Regional: The Ballad of Little Jo (Two River Theater), Miss Electricity (La Jolla Playhouse). Film/TV: MONEY MONSTER (dir. Jodie Foster), “The Jim Gaffigan Show” (TV LAND), “Search Party” (TBS), “Crashing” (HBO), “The Following” (FOX), “Person of Interest” (CBS), “Believe” (NBC, pilot), TOO BIG TO FAIL (HBO).  www.DanielKIsaac.com

Inside THE GENTLEMAN CALLER’S Opening Night Party with Daniel K. Isaac and Juan Francisco Villa 

Up Close and Personal with Daniel K. Isaac – William Inge in Abingdon Theatre’s Production of THE GENTLEMAN CALLER by Philip Dawkins, May 5 – 26 

Youngblood is Ensemble Studio Theatre’s OBIE-winning collective of emerging professional playwrights under the age of 30. Founded in 1993, Youngblood serves as a creative home for the next generation of theater artists. Youngblood provides artistic guidance, peer support, regular feedback and a fertile production environment which allows our member playwrights to hone their skills and explore their craft. We also provide exposure to the public and the press, professional outreach to the industry, and opportunities for production and publication.

Plays by current and former Youngblood playwrights have been performed on Broadway and in London’s West End (Robert Askins’ TONY-nominated Hand to God, which premiered at EST/Youngblood), at The Royal Court Theatre, Lincoln Center, Playwrights Horizons, Second Stage, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Mark Taper Forum, the Vineyard Theater, the Atlantic Theater Company, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and many others, including award winners such as Annie Baker’s JohnThe Flick and The Aliensand Amy Herzog’s 4000 Miles, and have been adapted by film and television companies, including alumni Lucy Alibar’s Juicy and Delicious which was adapted into the Cannes Caméra d’Or-winning film Beasts of The Southern Wild.

Jon Norman Schneider, Jiehae Park, Keelay Gipson, Julian Leong, Diana Oh, David Shih and Teal Wicks in Daniel K. Isaac’s OR OR OR &&& at The Actors Fund Arts Center 

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits

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 is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. 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: © 2000-2018 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

Photos: Lia Chang

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Lauren Yee, Ali Ahn, Ned Eisenberg, Tony Aidan Vo and BD Wong at The GREAT LEAP

Ned Eisenberg, Playwright Lauren Yee, BD Wong Director Taibi Magar, Ali Ahn, Tony Adian Vo. Photo by Lia Chang
Lauren Yee. Photo by Lia Chang
Lauren Yee. Photo by Lia Chang

Atlantic Theater Company’s New York premiere production of The Great Leap, written by Lauren Yee and directed by Taibi Magar, will end the extended run on  Sunday, June 24th at Atlantic Theater Company’s Stage 2 (330 West 16th Street). Click here for tickets.

Ned Eisenberg, Playwright Lauren Yee, BD Wong Director Taibi Magar, Ali Ahn, Tony Adian Vo. Photo by Lia Chang
Ned Eisenberg, Playwright Lauren Yee, BD Wong, Director Taibi Magar, Ali Ahn, Tony Aidan Vo. Photo by Lia Chang

The Great Leap stars Ali Ahn (“The Path” on Hulu), Ned Eisenberg (Six Degrees of Separation), (Pan Asian Rep’s NoNo Boy), and Tony Award winner and Emmy Award nominee BD Wong (“Mr. Robot,” “Law & Order: SVU,” M. Butterfly).

Lauren Yee, BD Wong, Lisa Peterson, Pam MacKinnon. Photo by Lia Chang
Lauren Yee, BD Wong, Lisa Peterson, Pam MacKinnon. Photo by Lia Chang

San Francisco, spring 1989. Manford Lum, locally renowned on the sidewalk basketball courts of Chinatown, talks his way onto a college team, just before they travel to Beijing for a “friendship” game. When they arrive, China is in the throes of the post-Cultural Revolution era, and Manford must juggle international politics and his own personal history.

Lauren Yee, BD Wong, Ali Ahn, Tony Aidan Vo, Taibi Magar and members of the Yee Association. Photo by Lia Chang
Lauren Yee, BD Wong, Ali Ahn, Tony Aidan Vo, Taibi Magar and members of the Yee Association. Photo by Lia Chang

The Great Leap features scenic design by Takeshi Kata, costume design by Tilly Grimes, lighting design by Eric Southern, sound design and original music by Broken Chord, projection design by David Bengali, movement direction by Jesse Perez, and casting by Caparelliotis Casting: David Caparelliotis, CSA; Lauren Port, CSA; and Joseph Gery.

The Rise of Playwright Lauren Yee 

BD Wong, Ned Eisenberg, Ali Ahn and Tony Aidan Vo Celebrate Opening Night of Lauren Yee’s THE GREAT LEAP

BD Wong, Ned Eisenberg, Ali Ahn and Tony Aidan Vo Set for New York Premiere of Lauren Yee’s THE GREAT LEAP at Atlantic Theater Company

Lauren Yee’s THE GREAT LEAP, is among 10 Finalists Selected for the 2017-2018 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize 

Plays by Lauren Yee, Kirsten Childs, Dominique Morisseau, Ayad Akhtar and Lisa Loomer are Finalists for the 2018 Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama 

Bob Ari, Keiko Green, Linden Tailor and Joseph Steven Yang Set for DCPA/Seattle Rep’s World Premiere of Lauren Yee’s THE GREAT LEAP

Production Photos: Brooke Ishibashi, Abraham Kim, Raymond Lee, Jane Lui, Joe Ngo and Daisuke Tsuji in World Premiere of Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band at South Coast Repertory 

David Henry Hwang Presents 2017 Kesselring Prize to Lauren Yee at National Arts Club 

Francis Jue, Stephenie Soohyun Park, Daniel Smith, Angela Lin and Rammel Chan in World Premiere of KING OF THE YEES by Lauren Yee at Goodman Theatre 

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits

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 is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. 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: © 2000-2018 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

Photos: Lia Chang

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Award-winning Broadway Vet Francis Jue Talks about SOFT POWER, KING OF THE YEES, WILD GOOSE DREAMS, “Madam Secretary” and Getting Married

Francis Jue. Photo by Lia Chang
Francis Jue. Photo by Lia Chang
Francis Jue. Photo by Lia Chang

Award-winning actor Francis Jue returns home to San Francisco to star as DHH in the Bay Area premiere of Soft Power, the play featuring a musical by David Henry Hwang (play and lyrics) and Jeanine Tesori (music and additional lyrics), at San Francisco’s Curran (445 Geary Street) through July 8, 2018. A Center Theatre Group co-commission with The Public Theater, Soft Power had its world premiere at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.

Sam Pinkleton, Jeanine Tesori, Francis Jue, Leigh Silverman, David Henry Hwang, Conrad Ricamora, Alyse Alan Louis. Photo by Lia Chang
Sam Pinkleton, Jeanine Tesori, Francis Jue, Leigh Silverman, David Henry Hwang, Conrad Ricamora, Alyse Alan Louis. Photo by Lia Chang

Directed by Leigh Silverman (Violet) and choreographed by Sam Pinkleton (Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812), Soft Power rewinds our recent political history and plays it back, a century later, through the Chinese lens of a future, beloved East-meets-West musical. In the musical, a Chinese executive (Conrad Ricamora) who is visiting America finds himself falling in love with a good-hearted U.S. leader (Alyse Alan Louis) as the power balance between their two countries shifts following the 2016 election.

Seated: Jeanine Tesori, Francis Jue, Kendyl Ito, Daniel May. Standing: Trevor Salter, Sam Pinkleton, Emily Stillings, Billy Bustamante, Kristen Faith Oei, Jon Hoche, Leigh Silverman, Austin Ku, Paul HeeSang Miller, Jaygee Macapugay, Geena Quintos, Conrad Ricamora, Alyse Alan Louis, Raymond J. Lee, Maria-Christina Oliveras, David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang
Seated: Jeanine Tesori, Francis Jue, Kendyl Ito, Daniel May. Standing: Trevor Salter, Sam Pinkleton, Emily Stillings, Billy Bustamante, Kristen Faith Oei, Jon Hoche, Leigh Silverman, Austin Ku, Paul HeeSang Miller, Jaygee Macapugay, Geena Quintos, Conrad Ricamora, Alyse Alan Louis, Raymond J. Lee, Maria-Christina Oliveras, David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

The cast of Soft Power features Billy Bustamante (Miss Saigon), Kara Guy, Jon Hoche (War Horse tour), Kendyl Ito (Matilda tour), Francis Jue (M. Butterfly), Austin Ku (Chinglish tour), Raymond J. Lee (Groundhog Day), Alyse Alan Louis (Amélie), Jaygee Macapugay (School of Rock), Daniel May (Thoroughly Modern Millie tour), Paul HeeSang Miller (Miss Saigon), Kristen Faith Oei (M. Butterfly), Maria-Christina Oliveras (Amélie), Geena Quintos (Miss Saigon), Conrad Ricamora (The King and I, “How to Get Away with Murder”), Trevor Salter (Here Lies Love) and Emily Stillings (The King and I).

I chatted with Francis the day before he flew to SF for the run of Soft Power at the Curran.

Lia: How would you describe Soft Power?
Francis: Soft Power defies genre.  It’s a comedy, it’s a romantic drama, it’s a political thriller, and it’s a play that gets overtaken by a musical.  It is sometimes satirical, it’s hysterically funny, and then other times it is deadly in earnest.  It’s a love story and it’s also a play of ideas.  It never stops evolving and changing.

Conrad Ricamora, Austin Ku, Francis Jue, Geena Quintos, Billy Bustamante and Raymond J. Lee. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Conrad Ricamora, Austin Ku, Francis Jue, Geena Quintos, Billy Bustamante and Raymond J. Lee. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

It forces us onstage and those in the audience to keep re-examining how we choose to look at ourselves and the world.  We keep having to answer the questions, Who are we? What story are we telling? Why are we telling the story this way?  That’s really eternal.  That’s what the country has done since its inception, since the Bill of Rights.  Look at how the country is evolving just in the last couple of years.  What it means to be American seems to keep being redefined in profound ways daily.

Francis Jue, Conrad Ricamora, Austin Ku, Raymond J. Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Billy Bustamante, Alyse Alan Louis (center), Maria-Christina Oliveras, Geena Quintos, Paul HeeSang Miller, Jon Hoche, Kristen Faith Oei, Daniel May and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Francis Jue, Conrad Ricamora, Austin Ku, Raymond J. Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Billy Bustamante, Alyse Alan Louis (center), Maria-Christina Oliveras, Geena Quintos, Paul HeeSang Miller, Jon Hoche, Kristen Faith Oei, Daniel May and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

Francis: I had an amazing time in LA with CTG’s world premiere of Soft Power in the Ahmanson Theater. Audiences were really enthusiastic, and the show gave us back so much.  Also, the collaboration with the creative team has been really inspiring.

Leigh Silverman, cast member Francis Jue, creators Jeanine Tesori and David Henry Hwang, cast members Austin Ku and Maria-Christina Oliveras, choreographer Sam Pinkleton and cast member Geena Quintos backstage after the opening night performance of the world premiere of David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori's "Soft Power" at Center Theatre Group. 📷: Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging
Leigh Silverman, cast member Francis Jue, creators Jeanine Tesori and David Henry Hwang, cast members Austin Ku and Maria-Christina Oliveras, choreographer Sam Pinkleton and cast member Geena Quintos backstage after the opening night performance of the world premiere of David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s “Soft Power” at Center Theatre Group. 📷: Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging

Lia: Who do you play?
Francis: When Leigh first asked me if I would consider playing David Henry Hwang in Soft Power, my first question was, “Do I get a wig?”  I think I went to a ridiculous question first because it truly is an intimidating prospect, playing someone that I know, that I’ve met, that I’ve worked with and who I admire so much.  I literally idolize this man, for his intellect, for his generosity, for his compassion, for his ability to articulate feelings and ideas.

David Henry Hwang as D.H.H. and Francis Jue as H.Y.H. in a scene from Yellow Face at WNYC’s The Greene Space in New York on May 7, 2012, courtesy New York Public Radio. © 2012 Lia Chang
David Henry Hwang as D.H.H. and Francis Jue as H.Y.H. in a scene from Yellow Face at WNYC’s The Greene Space in New York on May 7, 2012, courtesy New York Public Radio. © 2012 Lia Chang
Francis Jue. Photo by Lia Chang
Francis Jue. Photo by Lia Chang

Throughout this process, I’ve wondered if I had the capacity to portray all of those things.  This has been an unusually stressful process for me because I do admire him so much.  No one ever asked me to imitate him, to do anything but play this character as written, just like any other play.  I’m so grateful that I get to play someone who is so complicated, who has such imagination and ego and righteousness, who wakes up to some hard realities.

For a long time, I felt like I was expressing David’s id, his inner child that he doesn’t allow himself to express in everyday life.  That really appealed to me, that I could express those impulsive, often censored thoughts and feelings.  It took me a while to figure out that although the play may start that way, by the end, I am talking about really personal, painful and hopeful things.  I realized that the stuff that David talks about in the play didn’t just happen to him, it happened to his family as well.  It didn’t just happen to his family, it happened to our community – our theater community, our Asian American community.  It didn’t just happened to our community, it happened to America.  It is happening to America.  DHH awakens to this in the play as well.

Sam Pinkleton, Jeanine Tesori, David Henry Hwang and Leigh Silverman. Photo by Lia Chang
Sam Pinkleton, Jeanine Tesori, David Henry Hwang and Leigh Silverman. Photo by Lia Chang

I can’t tell you how grateful I am and what an awesome responsibility it is to be trusted by David and Jeanine and Leigh and Sam to do what I am doing in this play.  It makes me feel better than I am, and braver.  And I think audiences feel braver by the end of the play as well.  They respond with so much affection, it’s sort of a rallying cry for coming together – what theater is all about, what America is supposed to be about.

Conrad Ricamora and Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Conrad Ricamora and Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

Lia: How long have you been involved with Soft Power?
Francis: I was asked late in 2016 by director Leigh Silverman if I would attach myself to a project written by David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori. I asked, “What is it?”  And she said she didn’t know – there was nothing written yet!  I said, “Well, I would love to because it’s you guys, but I’ve already agreed to do all these other things.” I gave her my itinerary for the next year, and she said they’d work around it.

I did a number of readings throughout 2017, in between other shows. CTG told me they had 13 different development work sessions over the course of the last two years.  It changed a lot during that time.  David started working on this before the 2016 election, before he was stabbed, before many of the current events that are happening right now.  As these events happened in his life and our country’s life, I think this show began to find its focus, its reason for being. For David to speak this personally is astounding to me and brave.  It scares me every night, and I’m loving it.

Lia: How has the show changed from 1st preview to opening night?
Francis: We got as many as 20-25 new pages every day during previews.  There were new numbers added.  There were internal cuts.  The monologues I do in the show changed ’til the very end, right before opening. This creative team was going to use the time they had to make sure the show really said what they mean.  And this company pulled up their big boy and big girl pants and did what professional actors and stage managers do so well, integrating changes really quickly.  We learned a lot from doing the show and from our audiences in LA.

Austin Ku, Daniel May, Maria Christina-Oliveras, Billy Bustamante, Paul HeeSang Miller, Alyse Alan Louis, Francis Jue and Kendyl Ito. Photo by Lia Chang
Austin Ku, Daniel May, Maria Christina-Oliveras, Billy Bustamante, Paul HeeSang Miller, Alyse Alan Louis, Francis Jue and Kendyl Ito. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: How many times have you worked with David and Leigh?
Francis: With David on full productions – M. Butterfly, Kung Fu, Yellow Face, and Soft Power.

Francis Jue as Bruce Lee’s father, Hoi-Chuen in Signature Theatre's production of David Henry Hwang's Kung Fu. Photo by Joan Marcus
Francis Jue as Bruce Lee’s father, Hoi-Chuen in Signature Theatre’s production of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu. Photo by Joan Marcus

With Leigh – Yellow Face, Coraline, Kung Fu, Wild Goose Dreams, Soft Power.

Francis Jue, Jayne Houdyshell, Elliot Villar and William Youmans in Coraline. (© Joan Marcus)
Francis Jue, Jayne Houdyshell, Elliot Villar and William Youmans in Coraline. (© Joan Marcus)

I’m just so grateful to be working with them.  I really feel like we’ve developed a trust and a short hand and a collaboration that uses all of me.  I adore them and I think they are brilliant.

What was it like to play David Henry Hwang’s father in Yellow Face?
Francis: I didn’t feel the same kind of pressure playing David’s father, because I’d never met him.  What he wrote was so crystal clear to me.  I identified with it immediately.  The only note I remember David giving me about his father was that he stood tall.  I had been exploring ways to signify age, stooping my shoulders a bit.  David’s one note told me everything that character was about – his gregariousness, his pride, his enthusiasm, his optimism, his faith.  David is so brilliant, that with that one note I could extrapolate the essence of the character, and the reason he was in the play at all.

 Hoon Lee and Francis Jue in Yellow Face at the Public Theatre. Photo by Michal Daniel
Hoon Lee and Francis Jue in Yellow Face at the Public Theater. Photo by Michal Daniel

The one note he had for my playing him in Soft Power was that he wanted me to use the same pen that he uses when he writes.  It’s a really nice pen!  It feels really good in my hand, and writes smoothly, making it easy to glide across the page.  It tells me a lot about his sense of style, how he presents himself to the world – and about how he creates from his sub-conscious, allowing his characters to speak to him.

Lia: What shows have you done in San Francisco?
Francis: I did Philip Gotanda’s After the War at ACT’s Geary Theater, David Rabe’s A Question of Mercy at the Magic Theatre, and Philip Gotanda’s Song for a Nisei Fisherman with the Asian American Theatre Company.  I’ve done lots of shows at TheatreWorks as well.  I grew up in San Francisco.  I went to Star of the Sea and Saint Ignatius.  Most of my family still lives in the Bay Area.  I am so looking forward to doing this particular show in San Francisco, and saying what we get to say in this show.  I am so looking forward to representing.

Lia: What is it like to be working in this company comprised of predominantly Asian American actors?
Francis: There is something really special about working with other Asian Americans in this business.  Partly it is because we have fewer opportunities to work at all.  In my experience any primarily Asian American company has really bonded.  We spend a lot of time together, not just at work, but also at play.

The cast. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
The cast. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

This show in particular has really inspired this particular company to speak from our hearts.  We used to circle up during rehearsals and talk about what the show means and what it means to us in particular.  We don’t just get to talk about being Asian – we get to talk about being American.

There is something about working with your peers, and working on a story where everyone has something in common.  What kills me is that I look at this company of younger Asian American performers who are so much more skilled and so much more qualified than I was at their age, who have had wonderful opportunities, but not nearly the opportunities that they deserve.

Conrad Ricamora and Francis Jue. Photo by Lia Chang
Conrad Ricamora and Francis Jue. Photo by Lia Chang
From left, cast member Francis Jue and creator David Henry Hwang backstage after the opening night performance of the world premiere of David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s “Soft Power” at Center Theatre Group. 📷: Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging
From left, cast member Francis Jue and creator David Henry Hwang backstage after the opening night performance of the world premiere of David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s “Soft Power” at Center Theatre Group. 📷: Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging

Lia: What are the 3 most challenging aspects about doing this show for you?
Francis: First – It had been a long time since I had done a musical.  Somewhere along the way, I had convinced myself that I couldn’t sing.  It’s been very challenging to be in a room where people are writing new music and asking me to try stuff on.  I feel extremely vulnerable.

Second – For a long time I have wanted just to be a human being on stage, not a symbol or a representative of some exotic other.  Even though Soft Power is giving me this opportunity, this has been really hard for me.  Actually taking the stage and not talking about somebody else’s feeling, but my own, has been challenging.

Third – I turned down a lot of things to attach myself to this long-term project.  I usually say yes to almost anything, because I never believe I will ever work again.  So turning down other work to remain available for this was really difficult.  I hate saying no, I hate disappointing people.

But I have been given back so much more than I ever could have imagined.  Premiering this new show, and getting to work with my idols, has been a dream come true.

I dreamed about doing something like this when I was a little kid, but I never thought it would happen.  To have David Henry Hwang write something from his own heart that is so vulnerable and funny and challenging, and ask me to continue to work on it, has been the gift of a lifetime.

Lia: You have portrayed Minister Chen on “Madam Secretary” on CBS for several seasons now. 
Francis: “Madam Secretary” is such a great gig!  It’s smart and intelligent and funny.  There’s a lot of wish fulfillment – we wish we had people like Tea Leoni working in our government right now.  And I love playing Foreign Minister Chen because I don’t often get to play guys who actually have that much authority.  I’m so grateful that they’ve given me the opportunity to develop this character over multiple episodes over the last four seasons.  Stay tuned – Minister Chen may come back for season five!

In 2017, you appeared in the world premiere of Hansol Jung’s Wild Goose Dreams at La Jolla Playhouse. The play was nominated for three 2017 Craig Noel Awards including Outstanding Featured Performance in a Play for you, Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Sound Design.
Francis: 
When Leigh Silverman sent me the script of Wild Goose Dreams, I literally did not understand the words on the page.  It wasn’t until the first day of rehearsal at La Jolla Playhouse where I heard it aloud, that I began to understand this beautiful piece of work.  It’s a play that a lot of people identified with because it is about alienation, even though the internet connects us to just about anything and everything.

The cast of WILD GOOSE DREAMS. Photo by Jim Carmody
The cast of WILD GOOSE DREAMS. Photo by Jim Carmody

I have to give total credit to playwright Hansol Jung.  She was able to make all these disparate voices on the internet – pop-ups, spam, e-mail, instant messages – sound like a unified chorus, while telling this really beautiful story about a woman alienated from her father, from her country, from her own identity, as she tries to figure out her existence in South Korea.

Yunjin Kim and Francis Jue in La Jolla Playhouse's production of WILD GOOSE DREAMS by Hansol Jung. Photo by Jim Carmody
Yunjin Kim and Francis Jue in La Jolla Playhouse’s production of WILD GOOSE DREAMS by Hansol Jung. Photo by Jim Carmody

Hansol Jung’s WILD GOOSE DREAMS Nominated for Three 2017 Craig Noel Awards including Outstanding Featured Performance in a Play for Francis Jue, Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Sound Design 

Jennifer Lim, Joe Ngo, Daniel K. Isaac, Francis Jue, Lauren Yee, Tobias C. Wong, Jeena Yi and Ned Eisenberg. Photo by Lia Chang
Jennifer Lim, Joe Ngo, Daniel K. Isaac, Francis Jue, Lauren Yee, Tobias C. Wong, Jeena Yi and Ned Eisenberg. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: You played Larry Yee in Lauren Yee’s King of the Yees in Chicago and L.A. and were nominated for a a 2017 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Featured Performance in Play. Can you tell me how the play spoke to you?
Francis: In King of the Yees, Lauren Yee has written a hilarious and touching play, inspired by her relationship with her father and his relationship with Chinatown and Chinese Family Associations.  I felt like I was spending time with my own family while working on that play.  I love it so much.  And non-Asians identified with it so much, saying how it reminded them of their own father, or their relationship with their own daughter.  It would make audience members want to call their folks.  I can’t say enough about Lauren Yee and Josh Brody, who directed it with such a deft, sensitive hand.

Daniel Smith (Actor 1), Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) and Francis Jue (Larry) in Lauren Yee’s KING OF THE YEES. Photo by Liz Lauren
Daniel Smith (Actor 1), Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) and Francis Jue (Larry) in Lauren Yee’s KING OF THE YEES at The Goodman Theatre. Photo by Liz Lauren
Randy Adams and Francis Jue. Photo by Lia Chang
Randy Adams and Francis Jue. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: Happy Pride Month. Congrats on your recent nuptials.  Why did you decide to wait 30 years?
Francis: Randy Adams and I have been together for 30 years.  We didn’t get engaged until marriage was legal all across the country.  For me personally, I didn’t want to get married and have it taken away.  I didn’t want to be married in one state and go to work in another state where I wasn’t married.  So we waited.  Once we were engaged, we couldn’t figure out how our should work.  We have so many friends in New York, his family is in Ohio, and my family is in California.  Trying to figure it out prevented us from getting married for a long time.  Finally, we got to the point where we decided in our heart of hearts that it would be okay to go to City Hall.  We didn’t tell anybody except the few friends who witnessed and took pictures.  We wanted to do it on our 30th anniversary, but that was the day of my first rehearsal for Soft Power AND the day that Randy was called for jury duty.  So we got married on the Friday before.

Francis Jue in SOFT POWER. Photo by Craig Schwartz
Francis Jue in SOFT POWER. Photo by Craig Schwartz

The Soft Power creative team includes scenic design by Tony Award winner David Zinn, costume design by Drama Desk Award winner Anita Yavich, lighting design by Mark Barton, sound design by Tony Award nominee Kai Harada, orchestrations by Drama Desk Award winner and Tony Award nominee Danny Troob, dance arrangements by John Clancy, music supervision by Chris Fenwick, music direction by David O, hair and wig design by Tom Watson, make-up design by Angelina Avallone and casting by Heidi Griffiths, CSAand Kate Murray, CSA. The dramaturg is Oskar Eustis. The production stage manager is David Lurie-Perret.

The San Francisco native made his New York stage debut in Steven Sondheim and John Weidman’s Pacific Overtures in 1984, appeared on Broadway in Hwang’s M. Butterfly in 1988 and originated the role of Bun Foo in Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002). No stranger to accolades, he received San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle Awards for his star turns in the TheatreWorks productions of Cabaret and RED; for his acting and choreography on Into the Woods and Pacific Overtures, and a DramaLogue Award playing Molina in Kiss of the Spiderwoman. He’s played the title roles in Amadeus and The King and I opposite Debby Boone, and has worked at the Public Theater in The Tragedy of Richard II, Chay Yew’s A Language of Their Own, King Lear, Timons of Athens, Pericles, Hamlet and The Winter’s TaleYellow Face (Obie and Lucille Lortel Awards, plus Drama Desk and Drama League nominations), In the Next Room (or the vibrator play) (ariZoni Award), Miss Saigon (Elliot Norton Award), Kiss of the Spider Woman (Drama-Logue Award), Cabaret (Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award), Falsettoland, Kung Fu, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Wild Goose Dreams, and Paper Dolls. He has appeared in the film Joyful Noise, and has had recurring roles on “Madam Secretary,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “The Good Wife.”

Tickets for SOFT POWER range in price from $29-$175 and are available by calling 415-358-1220 or visiting SFCURRAN.com/soft-power.

Francis Jue, At Home on the Stage
Billy Bustamante, Jon Hoche, Kendyl Ito, Francis Jue, Austin Ku, Raymond J. Lee, Alyse Alan Louis, Jaygee Macapugay, Daniel May, Paul HeeSang Miller, Kristen Faith Oei, Maria-Christina Oliveras, Geena Quintos, Conrad Ricamora,Trevor Salter and Emily Stillings Set for World Premiere of David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s SOFT POWER 

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits

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 is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. 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: © 2000-2018 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

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SWEENEY TODD at Barrow Street Becomes Longest Running Production of SWEENEY

Thom Sesma as Sweeney Todd and Sally Ann Triplett as Mrs. Lovett. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

The Tooting Arts Club production of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street made history on June 20, 2018 as it became the longest running production of Sweeney Todd on record. The performance marked 558, surpassing the 1979 Original Broadway Production directed by Hal Prince.

Thom Sesma as Sweeney Todd and Sally Ann Triplett as Mrs. Lovett. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Thom Sesma as Sweeney Todd and Sally Ann Triplett as Mrs. Lovett. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

The production will play its final performance on August 26, 2018 after a successful run at New York’s Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street). This production was named “Best of the Year!” by Time, Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Huffington Post, Variety, Forbes, BuzzFeed and The Daily Beast. It’s the winner of the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Revival, the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Musical Revival and the Best Off-Broadway Musical, Theater Fans’ Choice Award.

Lucille Lortel Nominee Thom Sesma Talks Asian American Representation in the Performing Arts and all things Sondheim 

Sweeney Todd currently stars Thom Sesma (as Sweeney Todd), Sally Ann Triplett (as Mrs. Lovett), Stacie Bono (as Pirelli & Beggar Woman). Michael James Leslie (as Judge Turpin), Zachary Noah Piser (as Tobias), John Rapson (as The Beadle), Billy Harrigan Tighe (as Anthony) and DeLaney Westfall (as Johanna). The cast also includes Daniel Berryman, Laura Darrell, Matt Leisy, Liz Pearce, Monet Sabel, Drew Seigla and Haley Swindal.

The company of SWEENEY TODD. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
The company of SWEENEY TODD. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Sweeney Todd, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Hugh Wheeler from an adaptation by Christopher Bond, and directed by Bill Buckhurst, is now playing at the Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street). For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.SweeneyToddNYC.com.

Zachary Noah Piser as Tobias. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Zachary Noah Piser as Tobias. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Sweeney Todd features set and costume designs by Simon Kenny, music supervision and arrangements by Benjamin Cox, music direction by Matt Aument, choreography by Georgina Lamb, lighting design by Amy Mae, sound design by Matt Stine, casting by Telsey + Company / Cesar A. Rocha, CSA and production stage management by Joanna Muhlfelder.

DeLaney Westfall as Johanna and Billy Harrigan Tighe as Anthony. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
DeLaney Westfall as Johanna and Billy Harrigan Tighe as Anthony. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Immersing audiences in a completely new theatrical experience, this production of the classic tale of blood thirsty barber Sweeney Todd and resourceful pie shop proprietress Mrs. Lovett comes to New York City following sold-out runs in London. Tooting Arts Club first mounted this Sweeney Todd in the winter of 2014 in Harrington’s Pie and Mash Shop, one of the oldest continuously operating pie shops in London, seating only 35 people at each performance. In 2015, the production made the leap to the West End where Tooting Arts Club recreated Harrington’s in a 69 seat Shaftesbury Avenue venue provided by producer Cameron Mackintosh. The Harrington’s shop environment has once again been brought to life for its US debut in the 130 seat Barrow Street Theatre.

Sweeney Todd began performances on February 14, 2017 prior to a March 1, 2017 opening.

Sweeney Todd is produced by Rachel Edwards, Jenny Gersten, Seaview Productions, Fiona Rudin, Barrow Street Theatre, Jean Doumanian, Rebecca Gold and Nate Koch (Executive Producer).

Based on a Victorian horror story, Sweeney Todd is often considered Sondheim’s greatest masterpiece. It first premiered on Broadway in 1979 at the Uris Theatre (now the Gershwin) and went on to make its West End debut in 1980. The original Broadway production won 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score. The 2007 Tim Burton film adaptation earned one Academy Award and two Golden Globe Awards.

Former White House Executive Pastry Chef William “Bill” Yosses (dubbed “the Crust Master” by President Barack Obama) serves as the production’s official pie maker. In keeping with the original Tooting production and the West End transfer, “pie and mash” is available for purchase by audience members prior to every performance, served communally in the pie shop where the production is set. An authentic slice of Victorian London, the traditional “pie and mash” dish consists of a meat pie, a generous helping of mashed potato and hot parsley sauce – otherwise known as “liquor” – which is an optional extra. Both meat veg pie options are available.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.SweeneyToddNYC.com, at the Barrow Street Theatre, 27 Barrow Street at 7th Ave South (Box Office open 1pm daily), or by calling OvationTix at 866-811-4111. Tickets for performances range in price from $55 to $150. Premium seating is available.

When purchasing tickets, patrons can select an option to add the pie and mash meal to their order for an additional $22.50 ($29 for beef wellington). The meal also includes a beer, glass of wine, or non-alcoholic beverage to be enjoyed in the pie-shop starting 1 hour and 15 minutes prior to each performance. Please note that this option can only be purchased in advance with tickets.

A limited number of $39 tickets will be made available to every performance of Sweeney Todd via the TodayTix app. The entry period for all performances will begin each performance day at 12:01am EST and continue until winners are notified via email and push notification 2-4 hours before the selected performance begins. Limit one entry per person and two tickets per winner. A photo ID is required for pickup and lottery tickets and seat locations are subject to availability.

This production of the classic tale of blood thirsty barber Sweeney Todd and resourceful pie shop proprietress Mrs. Lovett immerses audiences in a completely new theatrical experience. This Sweeney Todd comes to New York City following sold-out runs in London where the show debuted in the 35-seat Harrington’s Pie and Mash Shop, the oldest continuously operating pie shop in the city, before transferring (by special arrangement with Cameron Mackintosh) to a 69- seat West End venue on Shaftesbury Avenue. The working pie-shop environment has been re-created in the 130-seat Barrow Street Theatre.

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Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Phillip James Brannon, Cindy Cheung, Ian Harvie, Talene Monahon and Dolly Wells in World Premiere of LOG CABIN through July 15

Ian Harvie, Dolly Wells, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Phillip James Brannon, and Cindy Cheung. Photo by Joan Marcus

The Playwrights Horizons (Tim Sanford, Artistic Director; Leslie Marcus, Managing Director) world premiere production of Log Cabin, a new play by Pulitzer Prize finalist Jordan Harrison (Marjorie Prime, Maple and Vine, Doris to Darlene at Playwrights; “Orange Is the New Black”) is currently in previews. Directed by Tony Award and Obie Award winner Pam MacKinnon (Clybourne Park, The Qualms at Playwrights; Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Parisian Woman), Log Cabin is the sixth and final production of the theater company’s current 2017/2018 Season.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Phillip James Brannon. Photo by Joan Marcus
Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Phillip James Brannon. Photo by Joan Marcus

Log Cabin has an opening night set for Monday, June 25 at 7:30 PM at the company’s Mainstage Theater (416 West 42nd Street). The limited engagement is currently scheduled to play through Sunday, July 15.

Cindy Cheung and Dolly Wells. Photo by Joan Marcus
Cindy Cheung and Dolly Wells. Photo by Joan Marcus

The cast features Obie Award winner Phillip James Brannon (Bootycandy at Playwrights, The Antipodes, The City of Conversation), Cindy Cheung (Iowa at Playwrights, “High Maintenance,” “13 Reasons Why”), five-time Emmy Award nominee and two-time Drama Desk Award winner, stage and screen star Jesse Tyler Ferguson (“Modern Family,” Fully Committed, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), stand-up comedian and actor Ian Harvie (“Transparent,” Margaret Cho’s Sensuous Woman, The Ian Harvie Show),Talene Monahon (Bobbie Clearly, Tell Hector I Miss Him, The Wild Party) and Dolly Wells (The Whirligig, “Doll & Em,” Bridget Jones’s Diary).

Cindy Cheung, Dolly Wells, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Phillip James Brannon. Photo by Joan Marcus
Cindy Cheung, Dolly Wells, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Phillip James Brannon. Photo by Joan Marcus

It’s a faraway age of hope and inclusivity; in other words, it’s 2015. When a tight-knit circle of married gays and lesbians – comfy in the new mainstream – sees themselves through the eyes of their rakish transgender pal (Mr. Harvie), it’s clear that the march toward progress is anything but unified. With stinging satire and acute compassion, Jordan Harrison’s pointed comedy charts the breakdown of empathy that happens when we think our rights are secure, revealing conservative hearts where you’d least expect.

Dolly Wells and Ian Harvie. Photo by Joan Marcus
Dolly Wells and Ian Harvie. Photo by Joan Marcus
Talene Monahon, Ian Harvie, and Phillip James Brannon. Photo by Joan Marcus
Talene Monahon, Ian Harvie, and Phillip James Brannon. Photo by Joan Marcus
Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Phillip James Brannon. Photo by Joan Marcus
Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Phillip James Brannon. Photo by Joan Marcus
Ian Harvie, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Cindy Cheung. Photo by Joan Marcus
Ian Harvie, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Cindy Cheung. Photo by Joan Marcus
Dolly Wells, Talene Monahon, and Cindy Cheung. Photo by Joan Marcus
Dolly Wells, Talene Monahon, and Cindy Cheung. Photo by Joan Marcus
Ian Harvie, Dolly Wells, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Phillip James Brannon, and Cindy Cheung. Photo by Joan Marcus
Ian Harvie, Dolly Wells, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Phillip James Brannon, and Cindy Cheung. Photo by Joan Marcus
Cindy Cheung, Dolly Wells, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Phillip James Brannon. Photo by Joan Marcus
Cindy Cheung, Dolly Wells, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Phillip James Brannon. Photo by Joan Marcus

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NAATCO Presents HENRY VI, Shakespeare’s Trilogy In Two Parts, August 11 – September 8

The OBIE Award-winning NAATCO, National Asian American Theatre Company, kicks off their 28th season with Stephen Brown-Fried’s new adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry VI.

Brown-Fried directs a cast that will include Rajesh Bose (Indian Ink, Disgraced), Ron Domingo (OBIE Award-winner for The Romance of Magno Rubio); John D. Haggerty (Les Miserables – Broadway and National Tour); Wai Ching Ho (Madame Gao in the Marvel Cinematic Universe/Netflix series “Daredevil,” “Iron Fist” and “The Defenders”); David Huynh (No-No Boy – Pan Asian Rep, The Cherry Orchard – Moscow Art Theatre); Michelangelo Hyeon (NYC debut); Anna Ishida (Beowulf -A Thousand Years of Baggage by Jason Craig/Dave Malloy – featured in The New Yorker’s “Top 12 Best Off-Broadway Shows”); Paul Juhn (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt;” The Good Person of Szechwan -The Public Theater/The Foundry Theatre; White Chocolate -The Culture Project); Vanessa Kai (2018 Lortel Award nomination for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical, KPop – A.R.T./NY Theatres), Mahira Kakkar (TFNA’s Winter’s Tale), Mia Katigbak (Obie Award – Awake & Sing!; Lucille Lortel Award and Lee Reynolds Award from League of Professional Theatre Women; Actors Equity’s Rosetta LeNoire Award); Jon Norman Schneider (House Rules – Ma-Yi, Awake and Sing! – NAATCO at Walkerspace and The Public Theater, The Oldest Boy – Lincoln Center Theater, Durango – Public Theater/NYSF), James Seol (2018 Lortel Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical, KPop – A.R.T./NY Theatres), David Shih (“Blindspot” – NBC, KPop – A.R.T./NY Theatres, Somebody’s Daughter – Second Stage, Awake and Sing! – NAATCO at Walkerspace and The Public Theater); Sophia Skiles (A Dream Play, The Seagull, The House of Bernarda Alba – NAATCO); and Kim Wong (The Public’s Henry V).

This Off-Broadway limited engagement at the Mezzanine Theatre at A.R.T./New York Theatres (502 West 53rd Street at Tenth Avenue) will begin August 11th, with Opening Nights set for August 21st (Part 1) and 22nd (Part 2). Performances continue through September 8th only.

Order tickets for any performance by June 30

for a great discount.

CODE: EarlyH6

$25 – single ticket

$40 – both parts

(Regularly $45 for a single ticket, $80 for both parts)

CLICK HERE FOR COMBO PACKAGE

“Shakespeare’s Henry VI is the story of a great nation’s decent into barbarism and cruelty. It is a study of how the experience of a problematic foreign war erodes civil discourse at home, and how that erosion allows political self-interests to take hold and send a country hurtling into civil war. The play’s resonances with our world today are terrifying; it serves as a cautionary fable on the fragility of empire, and on the horrors that human beings are capable of enacting. The fact that this story will be told by NAATCO with an entirely Asian American cast vastly expands the project’s significance. A story can be made to resonate and radiate with new power when it’s told by actors who don’t look the way the audience may have expected the characters to look. It contributes to an ongoing nationwide examination of who we, as theatre-makers, endow with the right to speak for all of America,” said Mr. Brown-Fried.

Stephen Brown-Fried directed NAATCO’s award-winning production of Awake and Sing! (Walkerspace/The Public Theatre, Drama League Nomination: Outstanding Revival of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play), as well as Macbeth (Northern Stage), Misalliance, All’s Well That Ends Well and Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare Theatre of NJ), Richard III, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Julius Caesar, Merchant of Venice, and Much Ado About Nothing (Trinity Shakespeare) and other productions at Ensemble Studio Theatre, NY Theatre Workshop’s 4th Street Theater, Sundance Theatre Lab, Milwaukee Shakespeare, Illinois Shakespeare and at The Shakespeare Theatre Company, as well as at training programs including The Yale School of Drama, NYU/Tisch Graduate Acting, SMU/Meadows School of the Arts, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, The University of Miami, and Virginia Commonwealth University. He is the Associate Director of Gingold Theatrical Group, where he created and leads the company’s Speakers’ Corner New Works Lab as well as the company’s education initiatives. He holds a BA in History and Drama from Stanford University, an MFA in Directing from the Yale School of Drama, is Head of Directing at The New School College of Performing Arts, School of Drama, and is a Lecturer in Directing at The Yale School of Drama.

Henry VI will have scenic design by Kimie Nishikawa, costume design by Nicole Slaven, lighting design by Reza Behjat, sound design by Toby Algya, and prop design by Brittany Coyne. Orlando Pabotoy and Kimiye Corwin will serve as movement directors. Peter Kim is Associate Producer for NAATCO.

Under the leadership of Founding Artistic Producing Director Mia Katigbak and co-founder Richard Eng, NAATCO was founded in 1989 to assert the presence and significance of Asian American theatre in the United States, demonstrating its vital contributions to the fabric of American culture by offering European and American classics as written with all Asian American casts; adaptations of these classics by Asian American Playwrights; and new plays – preferably world premieres – written by non-Asian Americans, not for or about Asian Americans, but realized by all-Asian American casts. NAATCO puts into service its total commitment to Asian American theatre artists to more accurately represent onstage the multi- and inter-cultural dynamics of our society. By doing so, they demonstrate a rich tapestry of cultural difference bound by the American experience. The enrichment accrues to each different culture as well as to America as a whole. NAATCO performs this chosen repertory as written, with no forced Asian cultural associations. The repertory’s importance comes not only through the valuable training it provides for theatrical craft, but also from its ability to reach across ethnic boundaries to illuminate abiding characteristics of human nature. The superimposition of Asian faces on a non-Asian repertory, interpreted by artists using diverse and truly universal references to serve the text very faithfully, reflects and emphasizes the kinship among disparate cultures. “We do not say we are all the same, we say that we have quite large areas of understanding. We also say that affirmations of timeless values and new insights about old works can come from unexpected faces.” NAATCO was the recipient of the Obies’ Ross Wetzsteon Award, the Lucille Lortel Award from the League of Professional Theatre Women for their work “highlighting the multi- and intercultural dynamics of our society” and the Rosetta LeNoire Award from Actors’ Equity Association in recognition of its contribution toward increasing diversity and non-traditional casting in American theatre. For more information, visit www.naatco.org.

Performances for Part 1 will be Tuesday and Thursday at 7:00 pm, and Saturday & Sunday matinees at 2:00; Part 2 will be performed Wednesday Friday, Saturday & Sunday evenings at 7:00. Tickets for all seats for all performances are $45, with special packages for both parts, and may be purchased at http://www.naatco.org or by calling 866-811-4111.

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits

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 is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. 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: © 2000-2018 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

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Triple Threat Comedian J. Elaine Marcos Returns to Broadway in GETTIN’ THE BAND BACK TOGETHER and Debuts One Woman Show at Feinstein’s/54 Below

J. Elaine Marcos
GETTIN' THE BAND BACK TOGETHER cast members J. Elaine Marcos, Jasmine Richardson, Garth Kravits at the ONCE ON THIS ISLAND Tony Party at Vida Verde in New York on June 10, 2018. Photo by Lia Chang
GETTIN’ THE BAND BACK TOGETHER cast members J. Elaine Marcos, Jasmine Richardson, Garth Kravits at the ONCE ON THIS ISLAND Tony Party at Vida Verde in New York on June 10, 2018. Photo by Lia Chang

J. Elaine Marcos returns to New York and brings her comedic timing and scene stealing talents to Gettin’ the Band Back Together this summer and debuts her one woman show What I Did for…a Job at Feinstein’s/54 Below on September 5th, 2018 at 9:30 pm. Click here for tickets.

J. Elaine Marcos
J. Elaine Marcos

In What I Did for… a Job, J. Ms. Marcos humorously reveals her approach to auditioning for musicals and shares her unique journey in what it took to book 9 Broadway Shows.

“I had to learn to break the “rules” in order to be noticed and many of my audition pieces were practically cabaret acts. So, I put them all in a show,” says the Broadway vet.

Ms. Marcos will be joined by fellow Gettin’ the Band Back Together cast member Ryan Duncan along with some special cameos from her Broadway past and Mark Hartman will music direct.

Ms. Marcos was last seen stealing big laughs in Los Angeles in the 2017 CBS Diversity Showcase.

Clarke Thorell as Rooster, Jane Lynch as Miss Hannigan and J. Elaine Marcos as Lily in Annie. Photo by Joan Marcus
Clarke Thorell as Rooster, Jane Lynch as Miss Hannigan and J. Elaine Marcos as Lily in Annie. Photo by Joan Marcus

Prior to relocating to the West Coast she re-created the role of ‘Lily St. Regis’ in the revival of Annie along side Jane Lynch. Her comedic reputation began after her portrayal of ‘Cynthia’ in Priscilla Queen of the Desert, earning her an Astaire Award Nomination for Excellence in Dance. Additional Broadway credits include the revival of A Chorus LineThe Wedding SingerFlower Drum Song, Sweet Charity, Wonderful Town, and Miss Saigon.

Cast of Flower Drum Song in rehearsal at 890 Broadway Studios in New York on September 22, 2002. Photo by Lia Chang Cast of Flower Drum Song in rehearsal at 890 Broadway Studios in New York on September 22, 2002. Photo by Lia Chang
Cast of Flower Drum Song in rehearsal at 890 Broadway Studios in New York on September 22, 2002. Photo by Lia Chang

On screen, J. Elaine made her feature film debut in Morning Glory as ‘Lisa Bartlett’ opposite Rachel McAdams; and went on to appear in St. Vincent with Bill Murray. On TV she appeared in :Grace and Frankie,” “2 Broke Girls,” “School of Rock,” “30 Rock” and “Law & Order: SVU,” and is featured in the documentary Every Little Step.

This skilled Filipina comedian writes and produces her own YouTube comedy blog series :Motivational Mondays,” starring as the linguistically challenged but always optimistic motivational speaker named ‘V’.

Feinstein’s/54 Below, Broadway’s Supper Club & Private Event Destination, is a performance venue in the grand tradition of New York City nightlife. Feinstein’s/54 Below presents iconic and rising stars from the worlds of Broadway and popular music and has set a new standard for culinary excellence worthy of the world-class entertainment on the stage. Located at 254 West 54th Street.

www.jelainemarcos.org

Lia Chang, J. Elaine Marcos, Lea Salonga, Victor Lirio at the ONCE ON THIS ISLAND Tony Party at Vida Verde in New York on June 10, 2018. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, J. Elaine Marcos, Lea Salonga, Victor Lirio at the ONCE ON THIS ISLAND Tony Party at Vida Verde in New York on June 10, 2018. Photo by Garth Kravits

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits

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 is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. 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: © 2000-2018 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

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Drama Desk and Obie Award-winning Ma-Yi Theater Company in association with The Public Theater Announce Two-Week Extension and Talkback Series for World Premiere Play TEENAGE DICK

Ma-Yi Theater Company, in association with The Public Theater, is pleased to announce a two-week extension of TEENAGE DICK. The world premiere play by Mike Lew will now play through Sunday, July 29, 2018. (It was previously announced to close on Sunday, July 15).

Additionally, talkback dates with the cast and creative team of TEENAGE DICK are scheduled for Saturday, June 23 matinee; Tuesday, June 26 evening; and Sunday, July 1 matinee. Matinee performances begin at 1:30 p.m., while evenings are scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. curtain.

TEENAGE DICK, which follows Ma-Yi’s phenomenal success with the critically acclaimed KPOP, winner of three 2018 Lucille Lortel Awards, is choreographed by Jennifer Weber (KPOP), directed by Tony Award nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel (Hand to God, Present Laughter), and stars Tiffany Villarin (House Rules) and Gregg Mozgala (Light Shining). It runs Off-Broadway at The Public Theater (425 Lafayette St).

TEENAGE DICK is presented as a new fully realized production, having been developed by The Public Theater as part of its 2016 Public Studio Series.

TEENAGE DICK is a brilliantly hilarious take on Richard III, Shakespeare’s classic tale of power and lust. TEENAGE DICK reimagines the most famous disabled character of all time as a 16-year-old outsider in the deepest winter of his discontent: his junior year at Roseland High. Picked on because of his cerebral palsy (as well as his sometimes creepy Shakespearean way of speaking), Richard is determined to have his revenge and make his name by becoming president of the senior class. But as he manipulates and crushes the obstacles to his electoral success, Richard finds himself faced with a decision he never expected would be his to make: is it better to be loved or feared?

Rounding out the cast are Shannon DeVido (The Healing, Difficult People); Alex Breaux (Red Speedo); Sasha Diamond (Significant Other); and Marinda Anderson (Bella: An American Tall Tale).

TEENAGE DICK was commissioned and developed by The Apothetae (Gregg Mozgala, Artistic Director), a company dedicated to plays that explore and illuminate the “Disabled Experience.” It was further developed during a residency at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference in 2016 (Executive Director, Preston Whiteway and Wendy C. Goldberg, Artistic Director). This current production by Ma-Yi Theater Company is part of The Lark’s Venturous Playwright Fellowship Program, funded by Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation.

TEENAGE DICK features set design by Wilson Chin, costume design by Junghyun Georgia Lee, lighting design by Miriam Crowe, sound design by Fabian Obispo, and movement coordination by Robert Westley. Alyssa K. Howard is Production Stage Manager.

TICKETS and PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE:
TEENAGE DICK began performances June 12 and performs Tuesdays through Sundays at 7:30 p.m., including Saturday and Sunday matinees at 1:30 p.m., with performances scheduled through July 29, 2018. Please note there is no performance on Thursday, June 21 or Wednesday, July 4 at 7:30 p.m.; additionally, performances have been added on Monday, June 18 and July 2 at 7:30 p.m. For tickets and information: visit publictheater.org, or call 212.967.7555

Mobility limited seating and reduced ticket prices for the disabled community and designated companions are available.

Additional information is also available at: www.ma-yitheatre.com.

ABOUT MA-YI THEATER COMPANY:
Ma-Yi Theater Company recently enjoyed great critical and wild success with its double-billed KPOP last fall by Jason Kim, in addition to Carlos Celdran’s LIVIN’ LA VIDA IMELDA, Hansol Jung’s AMONG THE DEAD, A. Rey Pamatmat’s HOUSE RULES, Nandita Shenoy’s WASHER/DRYER, Michi Barall’s PEER GYNT AND THE NORWEGIAN HAPA BAND, Han Ong’s CHAIRS AND A LONG TABLE, and Rehana Lew Mirza’s SOLDIER X. The company won the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for its critically acclaimed production of Lloyd Suh’s THE WONG KIDS IN THE SECRET OF THE SPACE CHUPACABRA GO!

Founded in 1989 and now celebrating its 27th season, Ma-Yi is a Drama Desk and Obie Award-winning, Off-Broadway not-for-profit organization whose primary mission is to develop and produce new and innovative plays by Asian American writers.

Since its founding, Ma-Yi has distinguished itself as one of the country’s leading incubators of new work shaping the national discourse about what it means to be Asian American today. Its numerous acclaimed productions include Mike Lew’s BIKE AMERICA and MICROCRISIS, Qui Nguyen’s THE INEXPLICABLE REDEMPTION OF AGENT G and SOUL SAMURAI (with Vampire Cowboys), Mike Lew’s MICROCRISIS and the revival of Ralph B. Peña’s FLIPZOIDS. Other productions include: RESCUE ME by Michi Barall, Lloyd Suh’s AMERICAN HWANGAP and THE CHILDREN OF VONDERLY and THE ROMANCE OF MAGNO RUBIO by Lonnie Carter. Through successful programs such as the Writers Lab, Ma-Yi emboldens a new generation of Asian American artists to voice their experiences, while developing a steady stream of quality new works by Asian American playwrights for its own performing repertory. New works developed at the Writers Lab have gone on to successful productions around the country, at such theaters as Victory Gardens, Laguna Playhouse, Long Wharf Theater, Woolly Mammoth, and the Actors Theater of Louisville, to name a few. Ma-Yi Theater Company productions have earned 10 Obie Awards, numerous Henry Hewes Award nominations, a Drama Desk nomination for Best Play and the Special Drama Desk Award for “more than two decades of excellence and for nurturing Asian-American voices in stylistically varied and engaging theater.”

Ma-Yi Theater is under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Ralph B. Peña.

ABOUT THE PUBLIC THEATER:
THE PUBLIC THEATER, under the leadership of Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Patrick Willingham, is theater of, by, and for all people. Artist-driven, radically inclusive, and fundamentally democratic, The Public continues the work of its visionary founder Joe Papp as a civic institution engaging, both on-stage and off, with some of the most important ideas and social issues of today. Conceived over 60 years ago as one of the nation’s first nonprofit theaters, The Public has long operated on the principles that theater is an essential cultural force and that art and culture belong to everyone. The Public’s wide breadth of programming includes an annual season of new work at its landmark home at Astor Place, Free Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, The Mobile Unit touring throughout New York City’s five boroughs, Public Forum, Under the Radar, Public Studio, Public Works, Public Shakespeare Initiative, and Joe’s Pub. Since premiering HAIR in 1967, The Public continues to create the canon of American Theater and is currently represented on Broadway by the Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda.Their programs and productions can also be seen regionally across the country and around the world. The Public has received 59 Tony Awards, 170 Obie Awards, 53 Drama Desk Awards, 54 Lortel Awards, 32 Outer Critic Circle Awards, 13 New York Drama Desk Awards, and 6 Pulitzer Prizes. http://www.publictheater.org