Chay Yew Helmed CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND by Lauren Yee Set for Signature Theatre, February 4 – March 8, 2020

World Premieres from Dominique Morisseau, Katori Hall, and More Lined Up for Signature's 2019/20 Season

Steinberg Award-winner Lauren Yee begins her Residency 5 with the New York premiere of Cambodian Rock Band, directed by Chay Yew, February 4 – March, 2020 on the Irene Diamond Stage during the 2019-2020 Signature Theatre Season.

Lauren Yee Wins Steinberg-ATCA Award For CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND

Ms. Yee recently received the Steinberg-ATCA Award and the Whiting Award for Cambodian Rock Band, awarded to ten diverse emerging writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama.

Don’t miss this powerful play, currently running at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, directed by Chay Yew and Victory Gardens in Chicago, directed by Marti Lyons.

Greg Watanabe, Rammel Chan, Eileen Doan, Peter Sipla, Aja Wiltshire and Matthew Yee in Chicago Premiere Of CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND at Victory Gardens 

The Rise of Playwright Lauren Yee

Yee joins four other resident playwrights in a season that will feature six works  including two productions by Signature’s new Residency 1 playwright Anna Deavere Smith, world premiere plays from Residency 5 playwrights Katori Hall and Dominique Morisseau, and a new production of a Pulitzer Prize-winning play from Legacy playwright Horton Foote.

All performances will take place at the company’s Frank Gehry-designed Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues). Signature is proud to continue the groundbreaking Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access, its one-of-a-kind commitment to providing subsidized, affordable tickets to every seat at every performance during a production’s regular run. All tickets will be $35 for the 2019-2020 Season.

Obie, Lortel and MacArthur Award winner Anna Deavere Smith will join Signature as Residency 1 playwright in the 2019-2020 Season. Residency 1 is Signature’s core Playwright-in-Residence program that produces multiple plays by one writer over the course of a year. Signature will produce two of Smith’s plays – Fires in the Mirror, directed by Saheem Ali, and Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, directed by Taibi Magar – in the 2019-20 Season, with a new play to be produced in an upcoming season.

Residency 5 will feature two world premieres, with The Hot Wing King by Katori Hall, directed by Steve H. Broadnax III, and Confederates by Dominique Morisseau, directed by Kamilah Forbes. The groundbreaking Residency 5 program supports playwrights with exceptional resources for five years, so they can create new work, and guarantees each playwright a minimum of three productions at The Pershing Square Signature Center. The program includes a diverse community of playwrights as they build bodies of work, and offers commission support, health benefits and a stipend to attend theatre. In addition to Hall, Morisseau and Yee, the program’s current playwrights are Annie Baker, Martha Clarke, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Samuel D. Hunter, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, The Mad Ones and Dave Malloy.

Signature’s Legacy Program, a homecoming for past Signature Playwrights-in-Residence, will feature a new production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Young Man from Atlanta by Horton Foote, directed by Foote’s longtime collaborator Michael Wilson.

Signature’s current 2018-2019 Season continues with a new production of Curse of the Starving Class by Legacy playwright Sam Shepard, directed by Terry Kinney, beginning performances on April 23, 2019, and the world premiere of the chamber choir musical, Octet by Residency 5 writer Dave Malloy, directed by Annie Tippe, beginning performances on April 30, 2019.

Tickets to the initial runs of all Signature Productions at The Pershing Square Signature Center are $35, part of the groundbreaking Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access, a program that guarantees affordable tickets to every Signature production through 2031. This spring, Signature will offer its millionth subsidized ticket through the Signature Ticket Initiative. Serving as a model for theatres and performing arts organizations across the country, the Initiative was founded in 2005 and is made possible by lead partner The Pershing Square Foundation with additional support provided by the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, the Howard Gilman Foundation, Margot Adams, The SHS Foundation, Unlikely Collaborators, the Lily AuchinclossFoundation, Consolidated Edison Company of New York, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

Subscriptions to the 2019-2020 Season are on sale now by calling Ticket Services at 212-244-7529 (Tues. – Sun., 11am – 6pm) or by visiting www.signaturetheatre.org.

Three Hares Presents Paulo K Tiról’s ON THIS SIDE OF THE WORLD Featuring Albert Guerzon, Jaygee Macapugay, Diane Phelan, Joanne Javien, Kevin Schuering and Michael Protacio, May 2 – 12

Jaygee Macapugay. Photo by Lia Chang
Jaygee Macapugay. Photo by Lia Chang
Jaygee Macapugay. Photo by Lia Chang

NYC-based theatre collective Three Hares presents a new song cycle with music and lyrics by Paulo K Tiról titled, “On This Side of the World,” running May 2 – May 12 at Access Theater in Tribeca, New York. The team is a recipient of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s 2019 Creative Engagement grant, which is awarded to artists with “diverse artistic experiences” whose work “contributes to the vibrancy and sustainability of our communities” – and that can certainly be expected this Spring.

The cast features Albert Guerzon* (Escape to Margaritaville, Honeymoon in Vegas, Mamma Mia!, Ghost the Musical), Jaygee Macapugay* (Wild Goose Dreams, School of Rock, Here Lies Love), Diane Phelan* (School of Rock, The King and I), Joanne Javien* (Thoroughly Modern Millie, First National Tour), Kevin Schuering* (The King and I, Lincoln Center National Tour), and Michael Protacio (Joanna Gleason’s “Out of the Eclipse” at 54 Below).

Stories of overseas workers, young lovers, and gossipy church ladies. Snapshots of undocumented immigrants, aspiring actors, and carefree millennials. “On This Side of the World” is a collection of songs capturing voices from the Filipino immigrant experience in the United States, and what emerges is a mosaic of love and loss, humor and heartache, yearning and faith – eight thousand miles from home.

The show begins at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, where six Filipinos wait to board their flight to the United States of America and more specifically – to New York City. Each has a passport, a one way ticket, and some “make believe courage” as they embark on a new life a world away from all they know. With no interstitial dialogue, each song in Tiról’s “On This Side of the World” is a self-contained story that focuses on a distinct character. Featuring an entirely Asian-American cast, the piece expands the musical theater song book for underrepresented artists by lifting up Asian and immigrant stories, and introduces Tiról as an exciting new theatrical voice.

“The Filipino immigrant story is one of courage, sacrifice, searching for identity, struggling to belong, and ultimately, redefining home,” says Filipino composer-lyricist Paulo K Tiról, whose work has been described by the Boston Globe as “a delightful treat.” “And come to think of it,” he continues, “Isn’t that every person’s story? These are not just stories of the Filipino experience – these are stories of human experiences that just happen to be told by a Filipino frame.”

Paulo K Tiról began writing “On This Side of the World” in 2013 as a project at NYU Tisch’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. From 2013 to 2017, ten songs were completed, and individual songs were performed at major venues such as Joe’s Pub, the Laurie Beechman, and the NAMT Festival of New Musicals in 2016. In May 2018, director Noam Shapiro heard “Light of the Home” at a showcase of musical theatre writers of color by Musical Theater Factory at Joe’s Pub , and reached out to Paulo, asking to hear more. They have been collaborating on the piece since.

From September 2018 to February 2019, Paulo and Noam were Artists in Residence at Access Theater in downtown Manhattan, where the piece was completed, workshopped with the help of wonderful actors, and shared with the world in its first full reading on February 15, 2019.

Following two sold out presentations, “On This Side of the World” was programmed at Access Theater for May 2019 as part of its Association Series, which partners with Off-Off Broadway artists who are looking to take on ambitious and stimulating works of theater, accessible to a range of audiences. “Three Hares is committed to international, diverse, and socially engaged theater – theater that says, let’s make the table bigger,” says director and Producing Artistic Director, Noam Shapiro. “I think that theater artists have a responsibility to lift up new voices and to create spaces for stories that haven’t been seen or heard before.” This is reflected in the multiethnic and multinational makeup of the team for “On This Side of the World,” which features artists with roots in the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Israel, Puerto Rico, and Colombia.

“On This Side of the World” translates across cultural boundaries while lifting up stories of new immigrants and the children of immigrant families. “As my community of Filipino immigrants has expanded, so has the array of stories and characters that have gripped, intrigued and inspired me,” says Paulo K Tiról, “I now have a sense of mission, both for the theatre community and for the Filipino community at large. My mission is to share the community’s stories with pride, honesty, and love.”

*denotes member of AEA

Paulo K Tiról, composer-lyricist; Noam Shapiro, director; Ian Miller, music director; Priscilla Villanueva, stage manager; Melanie May (scenic designer); Annie Le (costume designer); Ethan Olsen (lighting designer); Lawrence Schober (sound designer); Megumi Lee, producer; Three Hares, executive production; Toro Communications, public relations.

On This Side of the World’s 12-show limited engagement at Access Theater (380 Broadway) begins Thursday May 2 and continues through Sunday May 12. Tickets range from $30 for General Admission to $35 for Reserved Seating, and can be purchased online here via artful.ly.

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: © 2000-2019 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Ali Ewoldt, Devin Ilaw, Jason Ma, Diane Phelan, Hansel Tan, Nina Zoie Lam, Timothy Huang, Jelani Alladin and More Celebrate Steven Eng at Prospect Theater Company Gala

On Monday night, Lucille Lortel nominee Steven Eng (Pacific Overtures) was honored at the Prospect Theater Company 2019 Gala at Manhattan Penthouse along with Michelle McGorty and Harriet Slaughter.

Honorees Harriet Slaughter, Michelle McGorty and Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang

The evening also recognized two decades of commitment and vision from the co-Founders of Prospect: Melissa Huber, Peter Mills, Cara Reichel, and Tony Vallés.

Timothy Huang and Cara Reichel. Photo by Lia Chang

Tony and Grammy Award nominated actress Ashley Park (Mean Girls, KPOP) hosted the evening’s festivities which included cocktails, dinner and a concert event featuring favorite songs from Prospect’s history.

Steven Eng and Ashley Park. Photo by Lia Chang

Chanel Karimkhani, Andrew Mayer, Lilli Thomas, Skyler Volpe, Cathryn Wake, members of the cast of The Hello Girls, the company’s recent Off-Broadway hit, were featured in an encore performance, alongside a line-up of other Broadway friends and Prospect artists including Ali Ewoldt, Devin Ilaw, Jason Ma, Diane Phelan, Hansel Tan, Hillary Fisher, Ben Moss, Mia Pinero, Ashley Park, Destinee Rea, LaDonna Burns, Tia DeShazor, A.J. Shively, Mary Kate Morrissey, Jennifer Blood, David Perlman, Simone Zamore and Bob Stillman.

The performances were directed by Christine O’Grady, with music direction by Andy Roninson on piano, Kiku Enomoto on violin, Brian Sanders on cello and Matt Scharfglass on bass.

The Band: Brian Sanders, Andy Roninson, Kiki Enomoto and Matt Scharfglass. Photo by Lia Chang

Steven Eng’s relationship with Prospect spans over a decade, beginning as an actor with the 2007 musical workshop of Honor. That would lead to subsequent performances with Prospect, and in the last several years to a producing partnership with National Asian Artists Project (NAAP), the non-profit he co-founded in 2009. NAAP’s mission is to showcase the works of Asian-American theater artists through performance, outreach and educational programming.

Orville Mendoza and Steven Eng, center, and the cast of "Pacific Overtures" by John Weidman and Stephen Sondheim, at Classic Stage Company. (Photo by Joan Marcus)
Orville Mendoza and Steven Eng, center, and the cast of “Pacific Overtures” by John Weidman and Stephen Sondheim, at Classic Stage Company. (Photo by Joan Marcus)

A professional actor for over 20 years, he continues to perform (2018 Lucille Lortel nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical for Pacific Overtures), direct (NAAP/Prospect’s 2018 Into the Woods), and teach on the faculty of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where his work as a voice, speech/text authority has also be presented at the national conferences of the Voice and Speech Trainers Association. As an advocate for diversity and inclusion, Mr. Eng has been interviewed on NPR and other medial outlets and served as a grants panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. In May, he’ll appear in four performances of Jason Ma’s Gold Mountain in Utah as part of the Spike 150 celebration.

Jason Ma’s GOLD MOUNTAIN Sold Out in Salt Lake City, Final Casting Announced 

Nina Zoie Lam was on hand to celebrate her NAAP co-founder.

Steven Eng and Nina Zoie Lam. Photo by Lia Chang

Ali Ewoldt, Devin Ilaw, Jason Ma, Diane Phelan and Hansel Tan performed “One Time, One Meeting” from Honor.

Kiku Enomoto, Andy Roninson, Matt Scharfglass, Jason Ma, Hansel Tan, Diane Phelan, Ali Ewoldt and Devin Ilaw. Photo by Lia Chang
Jason Ma, Hansel Tan, Andy Roninson, Diane Phelan, Matt Scharfglass, Ali Ewoldt and Devin Ilaw. Photo by Lia Chang

Frozen’s Jelani Alladin, a former student, presented Mr. Eng with his award.

Steven Eng and Jelani Alladin. Photo by Lia Chang
Steven Eng and Jelani Alladin. Photo by Lia Chang

Below is Mr. Eng’s speech:
“Monday, November 12, 2007, the first rehearsal for the work-in-progress musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s As You Like It set in feudal Japan. It would only be Act 1 for this workshop, but to me, it was the taste of something that I knew would be extraordinary. This was my introduction to the gifts of Cara Reichel and Pete Mills, and the important company that we are here to celebrate tonight.

Steven Eng and Ali Ewoldt in the 2008 production of HONOR at the Hudson Guild Theater in New York. Photo by Richard Termine

By the time the full 2-Act production of Honor had rehearsed, opened and closed half a year later, I already knew that my experience had been quite special. It remains so to this day. Just look at my incredibly talented friends who just performed for you tonight. And “Little Gray Stone” will always be one of the most cherished songs I will ever have the privilege of performing on any stage.”

NAAP co-founders Nina Zoie Lam, Baayork Lee and Steven Eng at the NAAP Gala celebrating 60th Anniversary of Rodgers & Hammerstein's FLOWER DRUM SONG on December 2, 2018 at The Golden Unicorn on December 2, 2018. Photo by Lia Chang
NAAP co-founders Nina Zoie Lam, Baayork Lee and Steven Eng at the NAAP Gala celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s FLOWER DRUM SONG on December 2, 2018 at The Golden Unicorn on December 2, 2018. Photo by Lia Chang

Since co-founding National Asian Artists Project in 2009 with Baayork Lee and Nina Zoie Lam, my admiration for Prospect has only grown. I’ve learned that founding, running, and maintaining a non-profit theater company is hard. Producing new musicals is hard. Keeping the creative mind and heart lit when you must raise money to pay for actors, musicians, creative teams, designers, crews, costumes, sets, lights, sound, rehearsal spaces, performance venues … not to mention management, administration, marketing, development, office space … that’s … well … hard. And for 20 years.

Billy Bustamante, Jason Ma, Baayork Lee, Kristen Lee Rosenfeld, Alan Muraoka, Steven Eng and Cara Reichel at Prospect Theater Company's 2017-18 IGNITE Series GOLD MOUNTAIN concert at TheTimesCenter in New York on October 21, 2017. Photo Lia Chang
Billy Bustamante, Jason Ma, Baayork Lee, Kristen Lee Rosenfeld, Alan Muraoka, Steven Eng and Cara Reichel at Prospect Theater Company’s 2017-18 IGNITE Series GOLD MOUNTAIN concert at TheTimesCenter in New York on October 21, 2017. Photo Lia Chang

So to Cara, Pete, Missy, Tony and the whole Prospect family, my hat’s off to you.

Lawrence Michael C. Arias, Eric Bondoc and Steven Eng in GOLD MOUNTAIN. Photo by Lia Chang
Lawrence Michael C. Arias, Eric Bondoc and Steven Eng in GOLD MOUNTAIN. Photo by Lia Chang

For myself, I’ve had the chance to wear several hats with Prospect, from actor to director to producing partner. And just as Prospect has recognized me as someone who has played a significant role in its growth, I can say unequivocally, the feeling is mutual.

Katie Mariko Murray (Cinderella) and Steven Eng (Director). Photo by Lia Chang
Katie Mariko Murray (Cinderella) and Steven Eng (Director) in rehearsal for INTO THE WOODS. Photo by Lia Chang

So thank you for honoring me tonight, for allowing me a reason to bring my family from across the country to share in this remarkable evening, and here’s to what wonderful things lie ahead in our next 20 years.”

Steven Eng and his mom, Ping Fong Ng. Photo by Lia Chang
Brenda Wong, honoree Steven Eng, Ping Fong Ng and Sandrea Faabeng. Photo by Lia Chang
Brenda Wong, Tomas Sander, honoree Steven Eng, Ping Fong Ng, Lasse Faabeng, Sandra Faabeng. Photo by Lia Chang
Tomas Sander, Brenda Wong, Nina Zoie Lam, Ping Fong Ng, honoree Steven Eng, Sandra Faabeng and Lasse Faabeng. Photo by Lia Chang

Michelle McGorty’s interest in musical theater started in the late 70’s, when her parents took her to a touring production of CATS. An avid performer from that moment on, she joined the Princeton University Triangle Club in college, where she served as the Vice President and Tour Manager, and met future Prospect founders Cara Reichel, Peter Mills and Melissa Huber. As one of Prospect’s earliest advocates, she joined its Board of Directors in 2005 and served through 2014, championing productions such as Golden Boy of the Blue Bridge and The Underclassman and helping the company grow by launching its first Gala. A positive force in all her endeavors, after graduating from Princeton, Ms. McGorty earned her MBA from Columbia Business School and spent 12 years Booz Allen Hamilton before experimenting with “mompreneurship” via her baking company, Sweet McG’s. She is currently the Triangle Club’s Alumni Board Secretary, where she continues to support young artists.

Co-chair Jane Abramson, Honorees Harriet Slaughter, Michelle McGorty, Steven Eng and Co-chair Tira Harpaz. Photo by Lia Chang

Harriet Slaughter has been a life-long advocate for the arts, including theater, dance, poetry and visual art. Her career began as a triple-threat performer on the stage – including the original Inherit the Wind and the Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof. Ms. Slaughter then went on to serve in senior executive leadership positions for Town Hall, Actors’ Equity, and The Broadway League. As co-president of the League of Professional Theatre Women (LPTW), she co-produced the Women in Theatre TV series for CUNY-TV, hosted by Linda Winer of Newsday. For her achievements, she was honored by the New York Women’s Agenda with their Galaxy Award. Long a supporter of women in the arts, she was first introduced to Cara Reichel and the work of the Prospect Theater Company through the LPTW’s Lucille Lortel Committee and has since remained an avid Prospect supporter. She published a book of her original poetry and paintings, ARS POETICA and her paintings have also appeared in galleries in New York City. She regularly features her poetry at various venues on Long Island, where she now resides.

Proceeds from the evening will support Prospect’s mission to bring to life new musical theater by emerging theater artists. www.ProspectTheater.org

Hansel Tan, Devin Ilaw, Steven Eng, Nina Zoie Lam, Jason Ma, Diane Phelan and Ali Ewoldt. Photo by Lia Chang
Hansel Tan, Devin Ilaw, Julie Miller, Steven Eng, Nina Zoie Lam, Jason Ma, Diane Phelan and Ali Ewoldt. Photo by Lia Chang
Devin Ilaw, Ali Ewoldt, Jason Ma, Diane Phelan and Hansel Tan. Photo by Lia Chang
Devin Ilaw, Ali Ewoldt, Jason Ma, Diane Phelan and Hansel Tan. Photo by Lia Chang
Hansel Tan, Diane Phelan, Jason Ma, Ali Ewoldt and Devin Ilaw. Photo by Lia Chang
Hansel Tan, Diane Phelan, Jason Ma, Ali Ewoldt and Devin Ilaw. Photo by Lia Chang
A SHANGHAI LIL reunion with Jason Ma, Jeanne Sakata, Steven Eng and Timothy Huang. Photo by Lia Chang
A SHANGHAI LIL reunion with Steven Eng, Jeanne Sakata and Timothy Huang. Photo by Lia Chang

Prospect Theater Company is presenting a workshop staging of American Morning, with book, music and lyrics by Timothy Huang, from May 8 – 19, in the Mezzanine Theatre at the A.R.T./New York Theatres. Marlo Hunter directs. The cast features James Seol, Hansel Tan, Andew Cristi, Chil Kong, Daniel Le, Dorcas Leung, Aaron Phillips and Isabel Santiago. For tickets and more information, click www.ProspectTheater.org.

Photo Flash: Steven Eng, Michelle McGorty, And Harriet Slaughter Honored At Prospect Theater Company’s 2019 Gala

James Seol, Hansel Tan, Andew Cristi, Chil Kong, Daniel Le, Dorcas Leung, Aaron Phillips and Isabel Santiago Set for Prospect Theater Company’s Workshop Production of AMERICAN MORNING by Timothy Huang, May 8 -19 

Chatting with Steven Eng – 2018 Lucille Lortel Award Nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical for “Pacific Overtures” 

Alvin Ing and Yuriko Kikuchi Honored at NAAP Gala Celebrating 60th Anniversary of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s FLOWER DRUM SONG 

Jason Ma, Ann Harada, Raymond J. Lee and More in NAAP’s INTO THE WOODS Rehearsal

Jason Ma’s GOLD MOUNTAIN Concert and AfterParty 

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: © 2000-2019 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Lauren Yee Wins Steinberg-ATCA Award For CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND

From the first rehearsal: actors Brooke Ishibashi, Jane Lui, Abraham Kim, Joseph Ngo, Daisuke Tsuji and Raymond Lee with playwright Lauren Yee (center). Courtesy of Facebook

“Cambodian Rock Band” by Lauren Yee has been named the winner of the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award, recognizing playwrights for the best scripts that premiered professionally outside New York City during 2018.

Brooke Ishibashi, Joe Ngo, Jane Lui, Raymond Lee and Abraham Kim in South Coast Repertory's world premiere production of Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee. Photo by Tania Thompson/SCR.
Brooke Ishibashi, Joe Ngo, Jane Lui, Raymond Lee and Abraham Kim in South Coast Repertory’s world premiere production of Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee. Photo by Tania Thompson/SCR.

According to adjudicators on the ATCA New Plays Committee, “Cambodian Rock Band” offers “a very involving story about war, selfishness, atrocity, betrayal, revenge, retribution, and guilt-laden survival.” “The notion of exploring the Cambodian holocaust through contemporary investigation, past survivor memories, and rock and roll is absolutely inspired, and to execute it with such unexpected humor and supple time shifts is a real accomplishment.” “It’s refreshing to see a playwright move so deftly between three eras. The transitions felt seamless.” “This play felt at once fresh and deeply grounded in history.”

From the first rehearsal: actors Brooke Ishibashi, Jane Lui, Abraham Kim, Joseph Ngo, Daisuke Tsuji and Raymond Lee with playwright Lauren Yee (center). Courtesy of Facebook
From the first rehearsal: actors Brooke Ishibashi, Jane Lui, Abraham Kim, Joseph Ngo, Daisuke Tsuji and Raymond Lee with playwright Lauren Yee (center). Courtesy of Facebook

The award, presented April 6 at the 2019 Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville, carries a $25,000 prize. “Cambodian Rock Band” had its world premiere at South Coast Repertory Theatre in Costa Mesa, California.

Abraham Kim, Daisuke Tsuji, Joe Ngo, Brooke Ishibashi, Raymond Lee and Jane Lui in South Coast Repertory's world premiere production of Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee. Photo by Danielle Bliss/SCR.
Abraham Kim, Daisuke Tsuji, Joe Ngo, Brooke Ishibashi, Raymond Lee and Jane Lui in South Coast Repertory’s world premiere production of Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee. Photo by Danielle Bliss/SCR.

Ms. Yee recently received The Whiting Award for “Cambodian Rock Band,” awarded to ten diverse emerging writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama.

Don’t miss this powerful play, currently running at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, directed by Chay Yew and Victory Gardens in Chicago, directed by Marti Lyons.

Rammel Chan, Eileen Doan, Peter Sipla, Greg Watanabe, Aja Wiltshire and Matthew Yee Set for Chicago Premiere Of CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND at Victory Gardens 

The Rise of Playwright Lauren Yee

Lauren Yee is a playwright born and raised in San Francisco. She lives in New York City. She received her bachelor’s degree from Yale University and her MFA in playwriting from UCSD. Lauren’s work includes King of the Yees, The Great Leap, Cambodian Rock Band, Ching Chong Chinaman, The Hatmaker’s Wife, and others. She was a Dramatists Guild fellow, a MacDowell fellow, a MAP Fund grantee, and others. She is the winner of the Kesselring Prize and the Francesca Primus Prize. She has been a finalist for the Edward M. Kennedy Prize, the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the ATCA/Steinberg Award, and others. The Hatmaker’s Wife was an Outer Critics Circle nominee for the John Gassner Award for best play by a new American playwright. Lauren is a member of the Ma-Yi Theatre Writers Lab, a 2018/2019 Hodder fellow at Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts, and a New Dramatists playwright.

Two citations, with prizes of $7,500 each, were awarded to Noah Haidle for his play “Birthday Candles” and to Jen Silverman for her play “Witch.”

The ATCA adjudicators assessed that “Birthday Candles,” which chronicles a woman’s life while she makes an onstage cake “somehow bakes up the simple and the cosmic into a profound experience.” “Far from a gimmick play. It’s a beautiful one that walks a fine line that stays specific while occupying the universal.” “Birthday Candles” had its world premiere at Detroit Public Theatre.

According to panelists, “Witch” is “a beautifully balanced play” centered on “a silver-tongued Devil, and a gutsy unpopular woman with a great head on her shoulders.” “I’ve never seen a ‘deal with the devil’ concept blow away my expectations the way this one did.” “Witch” had its world premiere at Writers Theatre in Glencoe, Illinois.

At $40,000, the Steinberg-ATCA is the largest national new play award program of its kind. ATCA began honoring new plays produced at regional theaters outside New York City in 1977. Plays receiving a production in New York City during the award cycle are not eligible for consideration. The Steinberg/ATCA award has been generously funded by the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust since 2000.

Six finalists and the award and citation recipients were selected from eligible scripts recommended by ATCA members from around the country. They were evaluated by a committee of theater critics, led by Lou Harry of louharry.com and the podcast “Lou Harry Gets Real.” Other participants included Nancy Bishop (Chicago, IL), Lindsay Christians (Madison, WI), Mike Fischer (Milwaukee, WI), Amanda Finn (Chicago, IL), Melissa Hall (Indianapolis, IN), Pam Harbaugh (Indialantic, FL), Mark Lowry (Dallas, TX), Jonathan Mandell (New York, NY), Julius Novick (New York, NY), Marjorie Oberlander (New York, NY), Kathryn Osenlund (Philadelphia, PA), Wendy Parker (Midlothian, VA), Wendy Rosenfield (Philadelphia, PA), Martha Wade Steketee (New York, NY), and Perry Tannenbaum (Charlotte, NC).

“Short of having an unlimited travel account, there’s no better way to get a sense of the vibrancy of theater across America than serving on the Steinberg judging panel,” said committee chair Lou Harry. “Once again, the wealth of offerings prompted fierce, thoughtful debate leading not only to a set of deserving honorees but also to a renewed hope for the future of American theater. Thanks to the Steinbergs, these plays will have extra light shining on them.”

Since the inception of ATCA’s new play award, honorees have included Lanford Wilson, Marsha Norman, August Wilson, Arthur Miller, Mac Wellman, Adrienne Kennedy, Donald Margulies, Moises Kaufman, Craig Lucas, and Robert Schenkkan. Last year’s honoree was The Book of Will by Lauren Gunderson. Visit americantheatrecritics.org for a full list of previous winners and finalists.

The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust was created in 1986 by Harold Steinberg on behalf of himself and his late wife. Pursuing its primary mission to support the American theater, it has provided grants totaling millions of dollars for new productions of American plays and educational programs for those who may not ordinarily experience live theater.

The American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) was founded in 1974 and works to public awareness of the role of theatre critics and to raise critical standards within the profession. It is the only national association of professional theater critics, with over two hundred members working in print, broadcast, and online media. ATCA is a section of the International Association of Theatre Critics / Association internationale des critiques de théâtre (IATC-AICT), a UNESCO-affiliated organization that sponsors seminars and congresses worldwide.

Other playwriting awards presented by ATCA include:

The M. Elizabeth Osborn Award, honoring emerging playwrights.
The Francesca Primus Prize, bestowing an annual $10,000 award funded by the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, to honor outstanding contributions to the American theatre by female artists who have not yet achieved national prominence.
Additionally, ATCA members recommend candidates for the Tony Award for Regional Theatre presented annually by the American Theatre Wing/Broadway League, and also vote on the annual inductions into the Theater Hall of Fame.

Steven Eng, Michelle McGorty, and Harriet Slaughter to be Honored at Prospect Theater Company’s 2019 Gala on April 8

Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang
Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang
Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang

Prospect Theater Company’s 2019 Gala event will be held on Monday, April 8, 2019 from 6:30 – 10:30pm at Manhattan Penthouse (80 Fifth Avenue at 14th Street). This Spring, the company celebrates twenty years of bringing to life original musical theater works.

The concert event will be hosted by Tony and Grammy Award nominated actress, Ashley Park (Mean Girls, KPOP), and will feature favorite songs from Prospect’s history. Members of the cast of The Hello Girls, the company’s recent Off-Broadway hit, will be featured in an encore performance, alongside a line-up of other Broadway friends and Prospect artists, to be announced.

The Gala will honor three extraordinary leaders in Prospect’s community: Steven Eng, Michelle McGorty, and Harriet Slaughter. The pivotal support of these champions has helped the organization thrive, and Prospect celebrates their contributions as the company looks ahead to a bright future. The evening will also recognize two decades of commitment and vision from the co-Founders of Prospect: Melissa Huber, Peter Mills, Cara Reichel, and Tony Vallés.

Chatting with Steven Eng – 2018 Lucille Lortel Award Nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical for “Pacific Overtures” 

Attendees will enjoy great cuisine while experiencing panoramic sunset views of Manhattan. Tickets to the Gala, which include cocktails, dinner, and a special concert performance, are $350 – $550, and are available via www.ProspectTheater.org. A portion of each ticket is tax-deductible. Proceeds will support Prospect’s mission to bring to life new musical theater by emerging theater artists.

For more information call 212-594-4476 or email info@ProspectTheater.org.

Jason Ma, Ann Harada, Raymond J. Lee and More in NAAP’s INTO THE WOODS Rehearsal

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: © 2000-2019 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Second Stage to Honor 40 Alums Including Thom Sesma, Liza Colón-Zayas, Charlayne Woodard, Celia Keenan-Bolger and More on May 6

Thom Sesma. Photo by Lia Chang
Thom Sesma. Photo by Lia Chang
Thom Sesma. Photo by Lia Chang

Second Stage Theater will host its 40th Birthday Gala on Monday, May 6 at Hammerstein Ballroom (311 W 34th Street). In celebration of this milestone, Second Stage will honor 40 actors for their continued collaboration with the institution – from its first productions to today.

The honorees, all of whom have appeared in at least two Second Stage productions, include Brooke Adams, Kevin Bacon, David Aaron Baker, David Wilson Barnes, Derrick Baskin, Annette Bening, Emily Bergl, Reed Birney, Stephanie J. Block, Tracee Chimo, Liza Colón-Zayas, Quincy Dunn-Baker, Frankie R. Faison, Halley Feiffer, Daniel Gerroll, John Glover, Daniel Eric Gold, Tony Goldwyn, Robyn Goodman, Ari Graynor, Judith Ivey, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Brian Kerwin, Christine Lahti, Kristolyn Lloyd, Marsha Mason, James McDaniel, Lindsay Mendez, Kathy Najimy, Manu Narayan, Cynthia Nixon, Rory O’Malley, Kellie Overbey, Annie Parisse, Susan Pourfar, Katharine Powell, Maria Elena Ramirez, Armando Riesco, Thomas Sadoski, Sherie Rene Scott, Thom Sesma, Jennifer Laura Thompson, Julie White, Betsy Wolfe and Charlayne Woodard.

The evening will include a one-night only show and the event will be Co-Chaired by Second Stage Theater’s Board of Trustees.

The gala begins at 6:30pm with cocktails and party games, followed by dinner at 7:30pm and a 9:00pm performance. Tickets for cocktails, dinner and the performance are priced from $1,500 – $5,000 and tables are available for $15,000 – $40,000. All funds raised support and sustain Second Stage Theater’s artistic programs.

For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.2st.com/support-us/gala.

Producer Tom Kirdahy to Receive 2019 Robert Whitehead Award on May 22

Multiple Tony Award-nominated Broadway producer Tom Kirdahy will be presented The Commercial Theater Institute’s Robert Whitehead Award for “Outstanding Achievement In Commercial Theater Producing” at a reception at Sardi’s on Wednesday, May 22, 2019.

Terrence McNally and Tom Kirdahy. Photo by Lia Chang
Terrence McNally and Tom Kirdahy. Photo by Lia Chang

The award is inspired by the five-decade-long career of Tony Award-winning Broadway producer Robert Whitehead, who died in 2002. The Commercial Theater Institute (CTI) is the nation’s only formal program that professionally trains commercial theatre producers. The award honors a graduate of CTI for Outstanding Achievement in Commercial Theater Producing.

“Tom Kirdahy is just what a producer should be- passionate, smart, considerate, and persistent. His professionalism and kindness put him squarely in the footsteps of the legendary Robert Whitehead,” said Tom Viertel, Executive Director of CTI. “Tom’s explosive output in the last few years speaks to his vision and energy and make him a particularly worthy recipient of the Robert Whitehead Award.”

“Tom Kirdahy, like TDF’s founders, has a great interest in the production of new plays. He has a proven track record of first-rate productions of new plays and revivals,” said Victoria Bailey, TDF’s Executive Director. “Like Bob Whitehead, he is a gentleman with great taste, intelligence and empathy, not to mention that he possesses a keen business sense.”

“Tom Kirdahy is a dedicated and passionate producer who brings works to the stage that can move, entertain and connect with audiences. His ability to push the boundaries of live theatre in all its forms and produce plays and musicals that really have an impact on people makes him so deserving of the Robert Whitehead Award,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League. “Beyond the stage, too, he is also a vital member of the theatre community and brings his insight and tireless commitment to ensuring the future success of the industry.”

Tom Kirdahy is currently producing Anastasia and the upcoming productions of Hadestown and Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune on Broadway. In 2018 he produced The Jungle and The Inheritance in the West End. In 2017, Kirdahy produced Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? in the West End. He was the lead producer of the 2015 Broadway hit It’s Only a Play starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, and the Tony Award nominated Kander and Ebb musical The Visit starring Chita Rivera. Off-Broadway he produced the NY Times Critic’s Pick White Rabbit Red Rabbit. Additional Tony nominations: Mothers and Sons, After Midnight, Ragtime and Master Class. He is a founding director of Berwin Lee London New York Playwrights, Inc.

As an attorney, Kirdahy spent nearly two decades providing free legal services to people living with HIV/AIDS and served for many years on the Executive Committee of the NYC LGBT Center. He currently serves as the Chairperson of the Broadway League Government Relations Committee. Upcoming Projects: The White Chip and Hood.

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: © 2000-2019 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Graciela Daniele, May Adrales, Mari Lyn Henry,  Mimi Lien, Joanne Pottlitzer, Natasha Sinha, Karen Zacarías, and Founding Members of The Kilroys to Receive 2019 Theatre Women Awards at The Sheen Center on March 25

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

The League of Professional Theatre Women (Kelli Lynn Harrison and Catherine Porter, Co-Presidents), an organization which has been leading the gender parity conversation and championing women in the professional theatre for over 35 years, will present the 2019 Theatre Women Awards at The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture (18 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10012) on Monday, March 25 at 7pm (doors open at 6:30pm). For more information on the 2019 Theatre Women Awards, and to purchase tickets, please visit www.theatrewomen.org.

This year’s Theatre Women Awards will honor director/choreographer Graciela Daniele (Lifetime Achievement Award), director May Adrales (Josephine Abady Award), acting teacher and author Mari Lyn Henry (LPTW Special Award), the founding members of the feminist activist and advocacy group The Kilroys (LPTW Lucille Lortel Visionary Award), scenic designer Mimi Lien (Ruth Morley Award), translator/director/producer Joanne Pottlitzer (LPTW Special Award), producer/dramaturg Natasha Sinha (LPTW Lucille Lortel Award), and playwright Karen Zacarías (Lee Reynolds Award).

The League of Professional Theatre Women’s annual Theatre Women Awards are dedicated to promoting the visibility of the theatrical work of women artists and their contributions to the field, across all disciplines. For decades the LPTW has celebrated women who are consistently creating and working in every facet of the theatre industry. The diversity in disciplines of this year’s awardees, including choreographers, translators, casting directors, dramaturgs, educators, designers, playwrights, actors, and producers exemplifies the vast talents theatre women contribute to the art-form. Although some of these positions are not often recognized, they are critical to the success of the theatre industry, and the LPTW is proud to recognize their vital work in our community.

The theme for this year’s Theatre Women Awards is The Road to Parity. At last year’s Awards, LPTW launched its advocacy campaign #OneMoreConversation, which, in addition to taking off on social media, included direct contact with approximately 400 theatre leaders, decision-makers, and educators across the country encouraging leaders to have one more conversation — with a theatre woman — before making a hire. As 50/50 in 2020 approaches, #OneMoreConversation is only one step in the League’s Road to Parity. The breadth and scope of the 2019 TWA awardees’ experience and talent are a call to action: the goal is parity; the time is now.

Graciela Daniele (Lifetime Achievement Award) has directed on Broadway, at Lincoln Center and The Public Theater, and at regional theaters and has earned ten Tony Award nominations and six Drama Desk nominations. Her Broadway Director/Choreographic credits include Chita Rivera, The Dancer’s Life, Annie Get Your Gun, Marie Christine, Once on This Island, Chronicle of a Death Foretold and Dangerous Game. She has Musical Staged/Choreographed such shows as Ragtime (Astaire, Ovation [L.A.], NAACP, and Callaway Award), The Goodbye Girl, Zorba with Anthony Quinn, The Rink starring Liza Minnelli and Chita Rivera, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. She choreographed the New York Shakespeare Festival production of The Pirates of Penzance on Broadway, Los Angeles and London, the motion picture of Pirates, and three Woody Allen films including Mighty Aphrodite, for which she won the 1996 Fosse Award, and Everyone Says I Love You, for which she won the 1997 Fosse Award. Ms. Daniele directed and choreographed A New Brain, which enjoyed an extended run in the summer of 1998 at Lincoln Center Theatre. She is recipient of the 1998 “Mr. Abbot” Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Director/Choreographer. Ms. Daniele directed and choreographed the Michael John LaChuisa’s Little Fish (Second Stage) and Bernarda Alba (Lincoln Center Theatre) along with the Lincoln Center Theatre production of William Finn’s Elegies, A Song Cycle. Most recently, she has choreographed The Visit on Broadway and the world premiere of Sousatzka at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto.

May Adrales (Josephine Abady Award) 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 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. She has served on faculty at the Yale School of Drama and Brown/Trinity MFA program. MFA, Yale School of Drama. World premieres include Qui Nguyen’s Lortel Award and Obie Award winning, Vietgone and Poor Yella Rednecks (Manhattan Theatre Club, South Coast Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Seattle Rep); Lauren Gunderson’s Natural Shocks (WP Theater); Kemp Powers’s Little Black Shadows (South Coast); 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); JC Lee’s Luce (Lincoln Center); Katori Hall’s Whaddabloodclot!!! (Williamstown Theater Festival); A. Rey Pamatmat’s Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them (Actors Theatre of Louisville) and after all the terrible things I do (Milwaukee Rep); Thomas Bradshaw’s Mary (The Goodman Theatre) and The Bereaved (Partial Comfort Productions); Zakiyyah Alexander and Imani Uzuri’s girl shakes loose her skin (Penumbra); In This House (Two River Theater Company); Richard Dresser’s Trouble Cometh (SF Playhouse); and Tommy Smith’s The Wife (Access Theater). She directed David Henry Hwang’s The Dance and the Railroad at Signature Theater; Kimber Lee’s Tokyo Fish Story (Old Globe); Stefanie Zadravec’s The Electric Baby (Two River); Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop (Milwaukee Rep); Chinglish (Portland Center Stage, Syracuse Stage); Everything You Touch, (CATF); In the Next Room, or Vibrator Play and Disgraced (Syracuse Stage); and Breath and Imagination (Cleveland Playhouse). Upcoming Projects: Lloyd Suh’s The Chinese Lady at Milwaukee Rep and Hudson Valley Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing.

The Josephine Abady Award is given in memory of Josephine R. Abady, a stage and artistic director, and leader of the nonprofit theatre movement in the United States. The award is given annually to a woman theatre artist who has created work of cultural diversity.

Mari Lynn Henry (LPTW Special Award) has guided thousands of actors to successful careers in film, TV and theatre for over 45 years. Upon leaving her position as Director of Casting, East Coast for ABC/NY, which she held for over thirteen years, she launched an image and career coaching business. Her book, How to Be a Working Actor, (co-written by Lynne Rogers) is currently in its 5th Edition and continues to be the “Bible of the Biz.” Her workshops on on-camera audition techniques, sight reading, script analysis and impression management have been well-received in cities and universities throughout the U.S. as well as Toronto, London, Oxford and Sydney. As a guest faculty member at the Circle in the Square Theatre School, she advises the second-year students about career preparation and monologue auditions. She is the Dean of Students for the Tom Todoroff Conservatory in New York City, where she teaches the business of acting. For several years she also has been the industry showcase consultant for the New World School of the Arts in Miami. She has been a board member and V.P. of Programs for the League of Professional Theatre Women and is head of their heritage program. In 2013 she founded the Society for the Preservation of Theatrical History which produces a program about famous actresses of the past entitled Stage-Struck Sampler. She earned her BA in Speech and Drama at San Jose State University and a master’s degree in theatre from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Mari Lynn Henry is receiving a LPTW Special Award for her service to the industry as a casting director, acting coach and teacher, and the author of one of most widely used manuals on the business of acting, as well as her service to the League in establishing theatre history and heritage as an important parity advocacy tool for the League.

The Kilroys (LPTW Lucille Lortel Visionary Award) are a gang of Los Angeles and New York City-based playwrights, directors, and producers who are done talking about gender parity and are taking action. For the past five years The Kilroys have been advocating for equal representation on American stages, and have released an annual list of under-produced plays by woman, trans, and non-binary writers. They mobilize others in their field and leverage their own power to support other marginalized theater artists. The current class of The Kilroys are Jaclyn Backhaus, Hilary Bettis, Jennifer Chambers, Claudia de Vasco, Emma Goidel, Christina Ham, Jessica Hanna, Monet Hurst-Mendoza, Obehi Janice, Hansol Jung, Chelsea Marcantel, Caroline V. McGraw, Bianca Sams, and Gina Young. The founding members are Zakiyyah Alexander, Bekah Brunstetter, Sheila Callaghan, Carla Ching, Annah Feinberg, Sarah Gubbins, Laura Jacqmin, Joy Meads, Kelly Miller, Meg Miroshnik, Daria Polatin, Tanya Saracho, and Marisa Wegrzyn.

The LPTW Lucille Lortel Visionary Award and accompanying grant is awarded from time to time to aspiring theatre women working outside the parameters of production, embody the spirit of Lucille Lortel and the League, and who show great creative promise deserving recognition and encouragement. This is only the 4th time it has been awarded.

Mimi Lien (Ruth Morley Award) is a designer of sets/environments for theater, dance, and opera. Arriving at set design from a background in architecture, her work often focuses on the interaction between audience/environment and object/performer. In 2017, Mimi won the Tony Award for her design of Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812. In 2015, she was named a MacArthur Fellow, and is the first set designer ever to achieve this distinction. Mimi is a company member of Pig Iron Theatre Company, and co-founder of JACK, a performance/art space in Brooklyn. Selected work includes Model Home (a performance installation commissioned by WoW Festival, La Jolla Playhouse), Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812 (Broadway), An Octoroon (Soho Rep/TFANA), John (Signature Theatre), Appropriate (Mark Taper Forum), Preludes & The Oldest Boy (Lincoln Center), Black Mountain Songs (BAM Next Wave). Internationally, Mimi’s designs for dance have been presented in the Netherlands and Russia, and her work has been exhibited in the Prague Quadrennial. Her sculpture work was featured in the exhibition, LANDSCAPES OF QUARANTINE, at the Storefront for Art and Architecture. She is also a recipient of the Cullman Award for Extraordinary Creativity at Lincoln Center Theater, a Bessie Award, Drama Desk Award, Lucille Lortel Award, American Theatre Wing Hewes Design Award, LA Drama Critics Circle Award, and an OBIE Award for sustained excellence.

The Ruth Morley Design Award was initiated in 1998 in honor of costume designer Ruth Morley, one of the profession’s leading designers for theatre and film who also served on the LPTW Board of Directors. It is given annually to an outstanding female theatre designer in the field of costumes, scenery, lighting, or special effects.

Joanne Pottlitzer (LPTW Special Award) is a writer, theater director, and translator who has produced many Latin American plays in New York and is the winner of two Obie Awards, two Senior Fulbright Awards, two NEA translation grants, and multiple producing and writing awards. She has directed plays in New York, Los Angeles, Tucson, and Santiago de Chile. Her English translations of Latin American plays and screenplays have been produced, published, and distributed in New York and throughout the U.S. Among them are José Triana’s Common Words; Mario Vargas Llosa’s La Chunga, The Young Lady from Tacna, Kathie and the Hippopotamus; Daedalus in the Belly of the Beast by Marco Antonio de la Parra; Nelson 2 Rodrigues by Antunes Filho; Striptease and Saying Yes by Griselda Gámbaro; The Toothbrush by Jorge Díaz; and Mythweavers by Arturo Uslar Pietri. She also translated the dubbed version of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s film The Holy Mountain.

Joanne Pottlitzer is receiving a LPTW Special Award for her service to the industry as a translator, producer and archivist of Latin American theatre, and her service to the League in establishing the International Committee.

Natasha Sinha (LPTW Lucille Lortel Award) is a producer and dramaturg, focusing on new plays and new musical work. As Director of Artistic Programs at Signature Theatre, she spearheads new artistic programs for Signature, and she is artistic line producer for select plays and musicals. From 2012-2018, Natasha was Associate Director of LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater which exclusively produces premieres (including Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar, Rude Mechs’ Stop Hitting Yourself, Dave Malloy’s Preludes, War by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Bull in a China Shop by Bryna Turner, Ghost Light by Third Rail Projects, Martyna Majok’s Queens, and Antoinette Nwandu’s Pass Over). She kicked off the LCT3 Spotlight Series with SHABASH!, hosted by Danny Pudi and Parvesh Cheena. Natasha was previously the Associate Producer at Barrington Stage Company. In addition to producing and developing new plays, Natasha has worked on new musicals, including projects by Michael R. Jackson, Sukari Jones & Troy Anthony, Grace McLean, Shakina Nayfack, Sam Salmond, and Kit Yan & Melissa Li. Natasha is a co-founder of Beehive Dramaturgy Studio, which works with individual generative artists as well as organizations such as Page 73, Musical Theatre Factory, Astoria Performing Arts Center, and SDC. Natasha is on the Advisory Boards of SPACE on Ryder Farm and Musical Theatre Factory (where she co-moderates MTF’s POC Roundtable, exclusively for musical artists of color, and advises on various programs). She has also served as a judge on many award committees, taught classes, written articles, and created events to center a range of exciting new voices from historically underrepresented communities.

The LPTW Lucille Lortel Award and accompanying grant was founded in 2000 with a bequest from the estate of Lucille Lortel to annually honor “an aspiring woman in any discipline of theatre who is showing great creative promise and deserves recognition and encouragement.”

Karen Zacarías (Lee Reynolds Award) was recently hailed as one of the most produced playwrights in the US. Her award-winning plays include Destiny of Desire, Native Gardens, The Book Club Play, Legacy of Light, Mariela in the Desert, The Sins of Sor Juana, the adaptations of Just Like Us, Into the Beautiful North, Ella Enchanted, and How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent. She is the author of ten renowned TYA musicals and the librettist of several Ballets. She is one of the inaugural resident playwrights at Arena Stage, a core founder of the Latinx Theatre Commons, and a founder of Young Playwrights’ Theater. Born in Mexico, Karen resides in Washington DC with her husband and three children.

The Lee Reynolds Award, in memory of producer and League member Lee Reynolds, is given annually to a woman or women active in any aspect of theatre whose work through the medium of theatre has helped to illuminate the possibilities for social, cultural or political change.

The League of Professional Theatre Women (a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization) has been championing women and leading the gender parity conversation in the professional theatre for over 35 years. Since its founding, the LPTW’s membership has grown to 500+ theatre artists and practitioners of all backgrounds, across multiple disciplines, working in the commercial and non-profit sectors. To increase visibility of and opportunities for women in the field, the LPTW spearheads public programming, advocacy initiatives, events, media, and publications that raise awareness of the importance of nurturing women’s voices, celebrate industry luminaries, preserve the legacy of historic visionaries, and shine a spotlight on the imperative of striving for gender parity and fostering a diversity of expression, both in the theatre world and the world at large. To find out more about how you can support its endeavors, please visit http://www.theatrewomen.org.

CTG’s SOFT POWER Receives 2019 LA Ovation Award for Best Production of a Musical and Wins for David Henry Hwang, Jeanine Tesori, Alyse Alan Louis, Anita Yavich and David O

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

Congratulations to Center Theatre Group’s world premiere production of “Soft Power” by David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori which took home six LA Ovation Awards at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles last night.

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

In addition to being named Best Production of a Musical (Large Theatre), Alyse Alan Louis won for Lead Actress in a Musical,  Anita Yavich for Costume Design (Large Theatre), David O for Music Direction, David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori for Lyrics/Composition of an Original Musical and David Henry Hwang  for Book for an Original Musical.

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 includes, in alphabetical order, Billy Bustamante, Kara Guy, 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.

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

A contemporary comedy explodes into a musical fantasia in the first collaboration between two of America’s great theatre artists: Tony Award winners David Henry Hwang (“M. Butterfly”) and Jeanine Tesori (“Fun Home”). “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 who is visiting America finds himself falling in love with a good-hearted U.S. leader – Hillary Clinton – as the power balance between their two countries shifts following the 2016 election.

Jon Hoche; Daniel May (facing away); Kendyl Ito; Kristen Faith Oei; Maria-Christina Oliveras (obscured); Raymond J. Lee; Jaygee Macapugay and Geena Quintos. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Jon Hoche; Daniel May (facing away); Kendyl Ito; Kristen Faith Oei; Maria-Christina Oliveras (obscured); Raymond J. Lee; Jaygee Macapugay and Geena Quintos. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang
David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang
Jeanine Tesori and David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang
Jeanine Tesori and David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang
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

The creative team includes scenic design by David Zinn, costume design by Anita Yavich, lighting design by Mark Barton, sound design by Kai Harada, orchestrations by 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, CSA and Kate Murray, CSA. The dramaturg is Oskar Eustis. The production stage manager is David Lurie-Perret.

Maria-Christina Oliveras (obscured), Geena Quintos, Billy Bustamante, Conrad Ricamora, Jaygee Macapugay, Jon Hoche and Daniel May. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Maria-Christina Oliveras (obscured), Geena Quintos, Billy Bustamante, Conrad Ricamora, Jaygee Macapugay, Jon Hoche and Daniel May. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

As original as it is topical, “Soft Power” overflows with the romance, laughter and cultural confusions of the golden age of Broadway. “Soft Power” is inspired by the legacy of classic American musicals such as “The King and I” as well as China’s current quest for international cultural influence, also known as “Soft Power.”

Conrad Ricamora and Alyse Alan Louis. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Conrad Ricamora and Alyse Alan Louis. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

“Soft Power” is a Center Theatre Group co-commission with The Public Theater. “Soft Power” is produced in association with East West Players.

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

The Ovation Awards are the only peer-judged theatre awards in Los Angeles, created to recognize excellence in theatrical performance, production, and design in the Greater Los Angeles area.

Raymond J. Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Austin Ku, Kendyl Ito and Jon Hoche. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Raymond J. Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Austin Ku, Kendyl Ito and Jon Hoche. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
The cast. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
The cast. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

Sneak Peek of CTG’s World Premiere of David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s SOFT POWER

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

Asia Society Presents ‘The King and I’ Meets ‘Soft Power’ with David Henry Hwang and Bartlett Sher on February 5 

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: © 2000-2019 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Lauren Yee, Martyna Majok, Heidi Schreck and More Among Finalists for Susan Smith Blackburn Prize

Lauren Yee. Photo by Lia Chang
Playwright Lauren Yee at the Atlantic Theater Stage 2. Photo by Lia Chang
Playwright Lauren Yee at the Atlantic Theater Stage 2. Photo by Lia Chang

The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize has announced 10 Finalists for its prestigious playwriting Award, the oldest and largest prize awarded to women playwrights. Chosen from over 150 nominated plays, the Finalists are:

Hilary Bettis (U.S.) 72 miles to go…
Jackie Sibblies Drury (U.S.) Fairview
Debbie Tucker Green (U.K.) ear for eye
Ella Hickson (U.K.) The Writer
Martyna Majok (U.S.) Sanctuary City
Lily Padilla (U.S.) How to Defend Yourself
Nina Raine (U.K.) Stories
Ella Road (U.K.) The Phlebotomist
Heidi Schreck (U.S.) What the Constitution Means to Me
Lauren Yee (U.S.) Cambodian Rock Band

The Winner of the 2019 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize will be named at the Award Presentation, which honors all finalists, on Monday, March 4 at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. The winner will be awarded a cash prize of $25,000 and will also receive a signed print by renowned artist, Willem De Kooning, created especially for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Each of the additional finalists will receive an award of $5,000.

The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize is awarded annually to celebrate women who have written works of outstanding quality for the English-speaking theatre. Administered in Houston, New York and London, the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize is named after the noted American actor and writer who grew up in Houston and lived in London during the last 15 years of her life. Susan believed that society urgently needed more influence from talented women. The purpose of the prize is to honor excellence and to perpetuate the high standards, creativity and vitality that were characteristic of Susan’s life.

Over 450 plays have been honored as finalists of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Many of the Winners have gone on to receive other top honors, including Olivier, Lilly, Evening Standard and Tony Awards for Best Play. Ten Susan Smith Blackburn Finalist plays have subsequently won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. The Prize has also fostered an interchange of plays between the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and other English-speaking countries.

Winners of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize include Alice Birch’s Anatomy of a Suicide, Lynn Nottage’s Sweat, Annie Baker’s The Flick, Caryl Churchill’s Serious Money, Paula Vogel’s How I Learned to Drive, Nell Dunn’s Steaming, Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles, Katori Hall’s Hurt Village, Chloe Moss’s This Wide Night, Sarah Ruhl’s The Clean House, Judith Thompson’s Palace of the End, Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti’s Behzti (Dishonour), Dael Orlandersmith’s Yellowman, Julia Cho’s The Language Archive, Gina Gionfriddo’s U.S. Drag, Charlotte Jones’ Humble Boy, Naomi Wallace’s One Flea Spare, and Moira Buffini’s Silence.

Former Judges of The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize over the past forty-one years are a who’s who of the English-speaking theatre and include Edward Albee, Eileen Atkins, Blair Brown, Zoe Caldwell, Glenn Close, Harold Clurman, Colleen Dewhurst, Edie Falco, Ralph Fiennes, Greta Gerwig, Sam Gold, John Guare, A.R. Gurney, Mel Gussow, David Hare, Jeremy Herrin, Garry Hynes, Judith Ivey, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Tony Kushner, Phyllida Lloyd, Francis McDormand, Janet McTeer, Tanya Moodie, Cynthia Nixon, Joan Plowright, Diana Rigg, Marian Seldes, Fiona Shaw, Max Stafford-Clark, Tom Stoppard, Meryl Streep, Daniel Sullivan, Jessica Tandy, Sigourney Weaver, August Wilson and George C. Wolfe among more than 200 artists and theatre professionals from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ireland.

Judges for the 2019 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize are: Michael Buffong (U.K.), Artistic Director of Talawa Theatre; Maria Goyanes (U.S.), Artistic Director of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre; Tony and Olivier Award-winning stage director Marianne Elliott, OBE (U.K.), Playwright and winner of the 2011 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for The Nether, Jennifer Haley (U.S.), and celebrated stage, television, and film actors, Tamsin Grieg (U.K.) and Marin Ireland (U.S.).

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: © 2000-2019 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com