Jon Jon Briones Talks about “American Crime Story: Assassination of Gianni Versace,” MISS SAIGON and Receiving the 2018 East West Players Visionary Award

Jon Jon Briones. Photo by Lia Chang
Jon Jon Briones. Photo by Lia Chang
Jon Jon Briones. Photo by Lia Chang

Congrats to Jon Jon Briones who will be receiving the 2018 East West Players Visionary Award at the East West Players (EWP) Annual Visionary Awards Dinner & Silent Auction at the Hilton Universal City tonight.

East West Players (EWP), the nation’s longest-running professional theater of color and the largest producing organization of Asian Pacific American artistic work is celebrating THE COMPANY WE KEEP, its 52nd Anniversary season with the Annual Visionary Awards Gala Benefit.

Lily Mariye, Suzy Nakamura and Wendy Chang/Dwight Stuart Youth Fund will also be honored. Recognizing the achievements of individuals who have raised the visibility of the Asian Pacific American (APA) community through their craft, proceeds from the gala fundraiser  will benefit East West Players’ educational and artistic programs.

Jon Jon Briones and Eva Noblezada. Photo by Lia Chang
Jon Jon Briones and Eva Noblezada. Photo by Lia Chang

Actor Jon Jon Briones was born and raised in Quezon City, Philippines. At 9 years old he was sent to live at Santo Domingo convent as a boy soprano in the “Tiples of Santo Domingo” choir. This was to be his first formal training. In 1989, he joined the original London cast of Miss Saigon. Recently, he played the Engineer in the London 2014 revival (Olivier Award nominee, What’s One Stage Award winner) and its Broadway transfer (Drama Desk Award nominee, Theater Award winner). He has appeared in several other productions of Miss Saigon, among numerous additional stage credits. He has had the privilege of working with East West players in La Cage Aux Folles (Ovation Award nominee) and A Little Night Music. He was proudly involved in the pre-Broadway development of Allegiance at The Old Globe. Last month, Briones received raves for his chilling and brilliant portrayal as Modesto Cunanan on the television drama American Crime Story: Assassination of Gianni Versace.

Lia: Congratulations on your 2018 East West Players Visionary Award.What does receiving this award mean to you?
Jon Jon: It’s always nice when you get compliments for your work but to be honored is totally different and very humbling. It really means a lot. It’s the highest form of “You’re alright”.

Original cast of A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC. Photo courtesy of Michael Lamont.
Original cast of A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC. Photo courtesy of Michael Lamont.

Lia: What shows have you performed in at East West Players?
Jon Jon: My first show was A Little Night Music in 2012 and I played Fredrik Egerman. And then I did La Cage Aux Folles for them in 2016 and I played Georges.

Gedde Watanabe, left, and Jon Jon Briones in "With You on My Arm" during East West Players' production of "La Cage aux Folles." (Michael Lamont)
Gedde Watanabe, left, and Jon Jon Briones in “With You on My Arm” during East West Players’ production of “La Cage aux Folles.” (Michael Lamont)

Lia: How were you cast as Modesto Cunanan in “American Crime Story: Assassination of Gianni Versace.”
Jon Jon: Darren Criss told me that when they started filming at the beginning of 2017, he and head writer Tom Rob Smith were talking about the role of Modesto Cunanan and they thought that I might be right for the part(they both saw me in Miss Saigon in London). They then started talking about me to the producers of the show. My agent contacted me about an audition that I have to tape because the audition was in LA and I was in NYC doing Miss Saigon. I taped my audition, sent it and as they say the rest is history.

THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY "Creator/Destroyer" Episode 8 (Airs Wednesday, March 14, 10:00 p.m. e/p) -- Pictured: (l-r) Jon Jon Briones as Modesto Cunanan, Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan. CR: Ray Mickshaw/FX
THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY “Creator/Destroyer” Episode 8 (Airs Wednesday, March 14, 10:00 p.m. e/p) — Pictured: (l-r) Jon Jon Briones as Modesto Cunanan, Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan. CR: Ray Mickshaw/FX

Lia: How did you develop the character?
Jon Jon: Research about Modesto on line did not yield a lot but reading Maureen Orth’s book and talking to her, discussing the character with writer Tom Rob Smith really helped me understand Modesto better. The two of them were a wealth of information.

Lia: How has your life or career changed since appearing on the show?
Jon Jon: It’s a little better, I have to admit. Hopefully this will lead to better and complex roles not just for me but for other actors of Asian descent.

Jon Jon Briones, Nicholas Christopher, Eva Noblezada, Alistair Brammer, Laurence Connor, Devin Ilaw. Photo by Lia Chang
Jon Jon Briones, Nicholas Christopher, Eva Noblezada, Alistair Brammer, Laurence Connor, Devin Ilaw. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: You were in the ensemble in the original production of Miss Saigon. What did it mean for you to lead the show on Broadway after all these years?
Jon Jon: It meant so much to me. A couple of years ago I’ve accepted the fact that making my Broadway debut will not come into fruition because of my age and the lack of roles in shows for people like me. And I can’t seem to get cast in other Asian shows like The King and I. They probably think I’m not regal enough. I can’t blame them. I’m as blue collar looking as anyone out there. But when Cameron asked me if I wanted to do The Engineer on Broadway, I couldn’t believe it. The dream was not dead. And I made my Broadway debut at the age of 52.

Jon Jon Briones and the company of MISS SAIGON. photo by Matthew Murphy
Jon Jon Briones and the company of MISS SAIGON. photo by Matthew Murphy

Lia: Did you enjoy working in New York even though you are LA based?
Jon Jon: We used to live in New York a few years ago and I just love the city! And everyday when I walk down the street on my way to the theatre, I get this overwhelming feeling of gratitude for living in the city and playing the lead in a Broadway show. Life was good!

The cast of MISS SAIGON at the closing night party at the Dream Hotel in New York on January 14, 2018. Photo by Lia Chang
The cast of MISS SAIGON at the closing night party at the Dream Hotel in New York on January 14, 2018. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: How did you balance the stage and TV shooting schedule?
Jon Jon: That was interesting and pretty cool. A few times I had to take the red eye after an evening performance in NYC, arrived in LA early morning, took a short nap and then get picked up for an early morning shoot. I filmed for a few days and then took a red eye back to New York after a late night shoot, arrived in my New York apartment to sleep for a few hours and then do 2 shows. And then repeat. I credit my agent for making it work.

Isa Camille Briones won the 2018 Ovation Award for Featured Actress in a Musical.
Isa Camille Briones won the 2018 Ovation Award for Featured Actress in a Musical.

Lia: Your entire family is in the business. Was “American Crime Story” the first time that you worked with your daughter, Isa Briones, on screen?
Jon Jon: That was the first time I worked with my daughter and it was pretty cool.

Lia: You must be so proud of her LA Ovation Award for Featured Actress in a Musical for East West Players’ production of Next to Normal, which garnered the top awards. How was she cast in Hamilton?
Jon Jon: We’re very proud of her! They really loved her even the first time she auditioned that they kept calling her back to work with her. Maybe it was a combination of her being a little young (18 at that time) or know where to put her but she finally booked the show after 7 months.

Lia: What’s next for you?
Jon Jon: I’m hoping to announce something good soon. We’ll see.

Reggie Lee, Jon Jon Briones and Billy Bustamante. Photo by Lia Chang
Reggie Lee, Jon Jon Briones and Billy Bustamante. Photo by Lia Chang

Also joining the evening’s festivities are Reggie Lee, Deedee Magno Hall, Cliffton Hall, Justin W. Yu, and company members from David Henry Hwang’s Soft Power (produced by Center Theatre Group in association with East West Players) and East West Players’ upcoming production of Nathan Ramos’ As We Babble On.

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
SOFT POWER cast and creative team – 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

East West Players’ 52nd Anniversary Visionary Awards Dinner & Silent Auction will be held on Monday, April 30, 2018 at the Hilton Universal City, 555 Universal Hollywood Drive, Universal City, CA 91608. VIP Reception for Premium Table Circle sponsors, silent auction, and no-host cocktails starts at 5:30pm. The dinner and awards show begins at 7pm.

Individual tickets are $200- $1,500. Full table sponsorship packages are also available. For more information please contact East West Players at (213) 625-7000 or galaguests@eastwestplayers.org.

For more information about East West Players, please visit www.eastwestplayers.org.

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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John Doyle and Lynn Angelson Feted at Classic Stage Company’s 50th Birthday Celebration

Lynn Angelson and John Doyle. Photo by Lia Chang
John Doyle. Photo by Lia Chang
John Doyle. Photo by Lia Chang

Last night, Classic Stage Company marked its 50th birthday with a gala celebration at Bohemian National Hall on the Upper East Side, recognizing Artistic Director John Doyle and Board Chair Lynn Angelson. The evening featured special guest performances from Doyle’s New York career including Cynthia Erivo, Judy Kuhn, and Donna McKechnie.

Lynn Angelson and John Doyle. Photo by Lia Chang
Lynn Angelson and John Doyle. Photo by Lia Chang

A handpicked company of artists who have worked with John Doyle on past productions, the Doylies, including 2018 Lortel nominees Thom Sesma and Steven Eng (Pacific Overtures), Quincy Tyler Bernstine (As You Like It), along with George Abud, Keith Buterbaugh, Karl Josef Co, Matthew Deming, Ben Diskant, David Michael Garry, Megan Masako Haley, Lee Harrington, Amy Justman, Emily Mechler, Orville Mendoza, Kelvin Moon Loh, Megan Loomis, Jane Pfitsch, Leenya Rideout, Fred Rose, Bruce Sabath, Antoine L. Smith, Rema Webb, Elisa Winter, Jessica Tyler Wright, and Katrina Yaukey, also performed.

2018 Lucille Lortel nominees Thom Sesma, Quincy Tyler Bernstine and Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang
2018 Lucille Lortel nominees Thom Sesma, Quincy Tyler Bernstine and Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang

Cynthia Erivo and Patti LuPone served as honorary co-chairs; with Barbara H. Marks as the event chair. The evening also featured a live auction hosted by actor Will Roland.

Fred Rose, Orville Mendoza, George Abud, Katrina Yaukey, Jane Pfitsch, Thom Sesma, Karl Josef Co, Emily Mechler, Bruce Sabath. 2nd row: Lee Harrington, Leenya Rideout, Phoenix Best, Benjamin Diskant, Rema Webb, Keith Buterbaugh, Amy Justman, Megan Loomis, Matthew Deming, Megan Masako Haley, Kimberly Immanuel, Jessica Tyler Wright, David Michael Garry, Elisa Winter. Photo by Lia Chang
1st row: Fred Rose, Orville Mendoza, George Abud, Katrina Yaukey, Jane Pfitsch, Thom Sesma, Karl Josef Co, Emily Mechler, Bruce Sabath. 2nd row: Lee Harrington, Leenya Rideout, Phoenix Best, Benjamin Diskant, Rema Webb, Keith Buterbaugh, Amy Justman, Megan Loomis, Matthew Deming, Megan Masako Haley, Kimberly Immanuel, Jessica Tyler Wright, David Michael Garry, Elisa Winter. Photo by Lia Chang
Some of the Drama League nominated cast of Classic Stage Company's PACIFIC OVERTURES - Steven Eng, Orville Mendoza, Thom Sesma, Kimberly Immanuel, Megan Masako Haley, Kelvin Moon Loh, Karl Josef Co. Photo by Lia Chang
Some of the Drama League nominated cast of Classic Stage Company’s PACIFIC OVERTURES – Steven Eng, Orville Mendoza, Thom Sesma, Kimberly Immanuel, Megan Masako Haley, Kelvin Moon Loh, Karl Josef Co. Photo by Lia Chang
Genevieve Angelson and Lynn Angelson. Photo by Lia Chang
Genevieve Angelson and Lynn Angelson. Photo by Lia Chang
Amy Justman, John Doyle, Barbara Walsh and Thom Sesma. Photo by Lia Chang
Amy Justman, John Doyle, Barbara Walsh and Thom Sesma. Photo by Lia Chang
Orville Mendoza, Kelvin Moon Loh, John Doyle and Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang
Orville Mendoza, Kelvin Moon Loh, John Doyle and Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang
George Abud and Quincy Tyler Bernstine. Photo by Lia Chang
George Abud and Quincy Tyler Bernstine. Photo by Lia Chang
David Michael Garry, Thom Sesma, Orville Mendoza. Photo by Lia Chang
Three Sweeneys – David Michael Garry, Thom Sesma, Orville Mendoza. Photo by Lia Chang
Akron Watson, Rema Webb and Phoenix Best. Photo by Lia Chang
Akron Watson, Rema Webb and Phoenix Best. Photo by Lia Chang

Since 1967, Classic Stage Company, CSC, has been committed to re-imagining classic stories for contemporary audiences. the company has been a home for New York’s finest established and emerging artists to grapple with the great works of the world’s repertory that speak directly to the issues of today. CSC serves an average of 35,000 audience members annually, including more than 4,000 students through its nationally recognized education programs. Productions have been cited repeatedly by all the major Off-Broadway theater awards including the Obie, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League, and the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Body of Work.

Kimberly Immanuel and Megan Masako Haley. Photo by Lia Chang
Kimberly Immanuel and Megan Masako Haley. Photo by Lia Chang
Lia Chang. Photo by Lori Tan Chinn
Lia Chang. Photo by Lori Tan Chinn

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

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Jon Jon Briones, Suzy Nakamura, Lily Mariye and Wendy Chang/Dwight Stuart Youth Fund Among Honorees at East West Players’ 52nd Visionary Awards on April 30

Jon Jon Briones. Photo by Lia Chang

East West Players (EWP), the nation’s longest-running professional theater of color and the largest producing organization of Asian Pacific American artistic work, celebrates THE COMPANY WE KEEP, its 52nd Anniversary season with the Annual Visionary Awards Dinner & Silent Auction. Recognizing the achievements of individuals who have raised the visibility of the Asian Pacific American (APA) community through their craft, the gala fundraiser takes place on Monday, April 30, 2018 at the Hilton Universal City. Proceeds benefit East West Players’ educational and artistic programs.

In addition to previously announced honorees Lily Mariye and Wendy Chang/Dwight Stuart Youth Fund, EWP will also honor Suzy Nakamura and Jon Jon Briones.

Jon Jon Briones. Photo by Lia Chang
Jon Jon Briones. Photo by Lia Chang

Jon Jon Briones, actor, was born and raised in Quezon City, Philippines. At 9 years old he was sent to live at Santo Domingo convent as a boy soprano in the “Tiples of Santo Domingo” choir. This was to be his first formal training. In 1989, he joined the original London cast of Miss Saigon. Recently, he played the Engineer in the London 2014 revival (Olivier Award nominee, What’s One Stage Award winner) and its Broadway transfer (Drama Desk Award nominee, Theater Award winner). He has appeared in several other productions of Miss Saigon, among numerous additional stage credits. He has had the privilege of working with East West players in La Cage Aux Folles (Ovation Award nominee) and A Little Night Music. He was proudly involved in the pre-Broadway development of Allegiance at The Old Globe. Last month, Briones received raves for his chilling and brilliant portrayal as Modesto Cunanan on the television drama American Crime Story: Assassination of Gianni Versace.

THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY "Creator/Destroyer" Episode 8 (Airs Wednesday, March 14, 10:00 p.m. e/p) -- Pictured: (l-r) Jon Jon Briones as Modesto Cunanan, Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan. CR: Ray Mickshaw/FX
THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY “Creator/Destroyer” Episode 8 (Airs Wednesday, March 14, 10:00 p.m. e/p) — Pictured: (l-r) Jon Jon Briones as Modesto Cunanan, Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan. CR: Ray Mickshaw/FX
Suzy Nakamura
Suzy Nakamura

Suzy Nakamura, actor. Born and raised in Chicago, Suzy began her career in the touring company of The Second City, and then opened the first two revues at The Second City Detroit. After moving to Los Angeles, she began guest starring on television, landing recurring roles on “The West Wing” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Series regular roles include the ABC comedy “Dr. Ken,” opposite Ken Jeong, and NBC’s “Go On,” opposite Matthew Perry. Recent guest starring credits include “Station 19,” “Elementary,” and “Veep,” and recurring roles on “Blackish,” “The Goldbergs,” and “Modern Family.” Her film credits include Hollywood hits, but she is most proud of smaller independents like Afternoon Delight, Strawberry FieldsTreasure Island, and Timecode.

Lily Mariye
Lily Mariye

Lily Mariye, actor and director, is a 2018 Outstanding Directorial Achievement nominee for the 70th Annual DGA Awards for her episode of Amazon’s “Just Add Magic.” She is a television and film director, best known for CBS’ “Criminal Minds” and “NCIS: Los Angeles,” NBC’s “Chicago PD,” Freeform’s “The Fosters,” and CMT’s “Nashville.” Model Minority (modelminoritymovie.com) is Mariye’s feature writing and directorial debut and has won 11 Film Festival Awards around the world, including Best Film, Best Director, Best New Actress and Best Cinematography. As an actor, Mariye is best known for her role as nurse Lily Jarvik on the award-winning TV series “ER” for 15 seasons, for which she won the SAG Award for Best Ensemble in a Drama Series four times.

Dwight Stuart Youth Fund. Originally established as an independent foundation in 2001, the Dwight Stuart Youth Fund (DSYF) was endowed by Dwight L. Stuart, Sr. (1924-1998) to benefit and serve the needs of children and youth in Los Angeles County. Since 2010, DSYF has been a grantmaking arm of the San Francisco-based Stuart Foundation. The Foundation is a programmatic funder of public and private institutions and organizations, whose goal is the improvement of life outcomes for young people in the K-12 education systems in California and Washington State. Mr. Stuart was raised in the Pacific Northwest and lived for many years in Los Angeles. He was president of the Carnation Company from 1973-1983 and was the grandson of its founder, E.A. Stuart. A life-long supporter of youth mentoring and sports programs, he was also a board member of the Stuart Foundation.

“I could not be more proud to announce our four outstanding honorees this year,” says Producing Artistic Director Snehal Desai. “Suzy, Jon Jon, Lily, and Wendy all have a strong and deep connection with East West Players as artists who have performed on our stage, as students in our classes, and as fierce supporters and advocates of our organization. We can’t wait to honor these individuals, who have such a close relationship to us and are affecting great change through their work.”

Also joining the evening’s festivities are Reggie Lee, Deedee Magno Hall, Cliffton Hall, Justin W. Yu, and company members from David Henry Hwang’s Soft Power (produced by Center Theatre Group in association with East West Players) and East West Players’ upcoming production of Nathan Ramos’ As We Babble On.

EWP will honor previously announced honoree Tzi Ma at a future Visionary Awards gala.

Current major sponsors (as of April 9, 2018) of the gala include: TITANIUM: ABC/Disney and Dwight Stuart Youth Fund. PLATINUM: CBS Television Network and NBC Universal. GOLD: Aratani Foundation. BRONZE: Los Angeles LGBT Center, Carmen J. Smith, Randall & Mari Tamura, Lynn Waggoner, and Wells Fargo. COPPER CIRCLE: Asian Pacific American Friends of the Theatre; Snehal Desai, Pia Palomo & Jerry A. Gonzales II; Peter Shimamoto; Nielsen; Union Bank; and Jeff Yang. Additional information will be released shortly.

Gala Committee Members include: Co-Chair Daniel Mayeda, Co-Chair Peter Shimamoto, Albert E. Aubin, Jason M. Blackwell, Kin W. Cheng, Snehal Desai, Nora DeVeau-Rosen, Ken Katsumoto, Jay Kim, David & Carrie Lee, Reggie Lee, Carolina San Juan, Judy Sasaki, Sally Pai Unruh, and Jeff Yang.

East West Players’ 52nd Anniversary Visionary Awards Dinner & Silent Auction will be held on Monday, April 30, 2018 at the Hilton Universal City, 555 Universal Hollywood Drive, Universal City, CA 91608. VIP Reception for Premium Table Circle sponsors, silent auction, and no-host cocktails starts at 5:30pm. The dinner and awards show begins at 7pm.

Individual tickets are $200- $1,500. Full table sponsorship packages are also available. For more information please contact East West Players at (213) 625-7000 or galaguests@eastwestplayers.org.

For more information about East West Players, please visit www.eastwestplayers.org.

André De Shields, Leslie Uggams, Betty Gilpin, Denis O’Hare, Charles Randolph-Wright, Andre Royo, Arian Moayed, Reed Birney, Sarah Steele, Lea DeLaria and More at The 24 Hour Plays Off-Broadway

Jiréh Breon Holder, André De Shields, Leslie Uggams, Charles Randolph-Wright and Denis O'Hare. Photo by Lia Chang
Playwright Jiréh Breon Holder and Director Charles Randolph-Wright. Photo by Lia Chang
Playwright Jiréh Breon Holder and Director Charles Randolph-Wright. Photo by Lia Chang

On Monday, April 9, Roundabout Theatre Company’s Roundabout Underground playwriting alumni gathered to present The 24 Hour Plays Off-Broadway at the Laura Pels Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre. Joshua Harmon, Jiréh Breon Holder, Meghan Kennedy, Alex Lubischer, Ming Peiffer and Jenny Rachel Weiner were among the six playwrights who presented six brand new short plays written & rehearsed over the course of a single day.

Jiréh Breon Holder, André De Shields, Leslie Uggams, Charles Randolph-Wright and Denis O'Hare. Photo by Lia Chang
Jiréh Breon Holder, André De Shields, Leslie Uggams, Charles Randolph-Wright and Denis O’Hare. Photo by Lia Chang

Jiréh Breon Holder’s Beautiful Music,featured André De Shields as Blue, Betty Gilpin as Madam, Denis O’Hare as Yellow and Leslie Uggams as Red, with Charles Randolph-Wright at the helm, Assistant Director Kevin Kantor and Assistant Stage Manager Rachel Winfield.

Check out the full lineup below.

Lea DeLaria or Tiffany Trump by Joshua Harmon, Directed by Mark Brokaw
Cast
Lea DeLaria/Tiffany Trump………..Lea DeLaria
Gideon……………………………………………Gideon Glick
Sas…………………………………………………Sas Goldberg
Josh………………………………………………Josh Hamilton

Assistant Director……………………….Ivey Lowe
Assistant Stage Manager…………. Bria Robinson

Lea DeLaria and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Lea DeLaria and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Uncanny Valley by Ming Peiffer, directed by Whitney White
Cast
Amos Reardon……………………………..Mike Carlsen
Mariana Perez………………………………Jackie Cruz
Osato Jones…………………………………..Andre Royo
Osato’s Assistant………………………….Max Reinhardsen
Shudu……………………………………………..Shaunette Renee Wilson

André Royo and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
André Royo and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Age Old by Meghan Kennedy, directed by Marc Bruni
Cast
Dick………………………………………………….Reed Birney
Jane………………………………………………….Krysta Rodriguez
Harry and Sex Spanish Teacher…Jeremy Shamos
Sally………………………………………………….Sarah Steele

Assistant Director………………………….Miranda Hayman
Assistant Stage Manager……………..Geoff Boronoda

THE HUMANS's reunion -Reed Birney, Sara Steele and Arian Moayed. Photo by Lia Chang
THE HUMANS’s reunion -Reed Birney, Sara Steele and Arian Moayed. Photo by Lia Chang

The Unicorn by Alex Lubischer, directed by Theresa Rebeck
Cast
Tilda…………………………………………………Nina Hellman
Jeff……………………………………………………Danny Hoch
The Unicorn……………………………………Richard Kind
Miss Anniston’s Assistant…………..Cristin Milioti
Wayne……………………………………………..Ben Rappaport

Assistant Director………………………… Victor Cervantes
Assistant Stage Manager……………..Michelle Tuite

Richard Kind and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Richard Kind and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

I ❤ My Coven by Jenny Rachel Weiner, directed by Giovanna Sardelli
Cast
Amanda……………………………………………Genevieve Angelson
Grace…………………………………………………Anna Baryshnikov
Rona…………………………………………………..Beanie Feldstein
Bobby…………………………………………………Franchesca Ramsey
Greg……………………………………………………Arian Moayed

Assistant Director………………………….. Kyle Michael Yoder
Assistant Stage Manager……………….Hollis Duggans

Leslie Uggams, Charles Randolph-Wright, André De Shields, Andre Royo. Photo by Lia Chang
Leslie Uggams, Charles Randolph-Wright, André De Shields, Andre Royo. Photo by Lia Chang
Arian Moayed, André De Shields, Reed Birney and a guest. Photo by Lia Chang
Arian Moayed, André De Shields, Reed Birney and a guest. Photo by Lia Chang

Musical guests included Adam Gwon and Friends, Doug Lyons & Ethan Pakchar,  and Addi & Jacq (a musical duo made up of Addi McDaniel and Jacqueline Kerrod).

Coleman Ray Clark, André De Shields and Adam Gwon. Photo by Lia Chang
Coleman Ray Clark, André De Shields and Adam Gwon. Photo by Lia Chang

All proceeds from the evening benefit Roundabout Underground and the New Play Initiative, programs focused on discovering and cultivating emerging playwrights and artists.

The 62-seat Black Box Theatre, below the Laura Pels Theatre in the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, allows Roundabout to take artistic risks that are better suited for a more intimate space.

Through the New Play Initiative, Roundabout proves its devotion to the development and production of new works by significant writers and artists. The Roundabout Underground program in particular provides substantial artistic and financial resources to emerging playwrights to stage their debut productions in New York and on Roundabout’s stages. In addition to producing their first play, writers receive a commission for a future play, showing a level of commitment to writers’ careers and the future of theatre in New York that is unparalleled. The New Play Initiative has discovered and brought audiences some of the most important new voices in theatre and is dedicated to creating a diverse canon for the future of theatre. To learn more about Roundabout’s commitment to the development of new work, visit New Play Initiative.

Roundabout Underground showcases new plays that will either give a debut production to an emerging writer or director, or allow an experienced director to go back to his/her creative roots. Jill Rafson (Director of New Play Development) serves as Artistic Producer for this initiative that continues to be a creative breeding ground for nurturing new talent.

Prior Underground productions include the acclaimed world premieres of Stephen Karam’s Speech & Debate (2007), Steven Levenson’s The Language of Trees (2008), Adam Gwon’s Ordinary Days (2009), Kim Rosenstock’s Tigers Be Still (2010), David West Read’s The Dream of the Burning Boy (2011), Andrew Hinderaker’s Suicide, Incorporated (2011), Joshua Harmon’s Bad Jews (2012), Meghan Kennedy’s Too Much, Too Much, Too Many (2013), Jeff Augustin’s Little Children Dream of God (2015), Lindsey Ferrentino’s Ugly Lies the Bone (2015), Jenny Rachel Weiner’s Kingdom Come (2016), Martín Zimmerman’s On the Exhale (2017), Jiréh Breon Holder’s Too Heavy for Your Pocket (2017), and Alex Lubischer’s Bobbie Clearly (2018). Ming Peiffer’s Usual Girls will debut in Fall 2018.

www.roundabouttheatre.org

THE 24 HOUR PLAYS bring together extraordinary artists to create time-limited theater around the world. In addition to The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway and The 24 Hour Musicals, regular events take place in London, Los Angeles, Dublin, Germany, Minneapolis, Athens, Helsinki, Mexico City and Florence. Through collaborations with organizations including The Old Vic Theatre, Dublin Youth Theatre, Urban Arts Partnership, Cornerstone Theater Company, The Orchard Project, Bennington College, Hennepin Theatre Trust, The University of Minnesota-Duluth and The Del Sole Foundation, The 24 Hour Plays have raised millions of dollars for charities. Each summer, The 24 Hour Plays partner with the New School for Drama to bring together the best actors, directors, playwrights and producers 25 and under for an intensive professional experience. Licensed affiliates have produced their own versions of The 24 Hour Plays in regional and professional theaters, colleges and universities, and just about everywhere you can find a curtain and a stage. 24hourplays.com/off-broadway/

Multimedia: André De Shields Receives 2018 Bob Harrington Lifetime Achievement Award at the 33rd Annual Bistro Awards; Full List of Winners

André De Shields, Charles Busch, Len Cariou and More Celebrate Vinie Burrows at Theater for the New City’s Annual LOVE N’ COURAGE Gala 

Lia Chang. Photo by Lori Tan Chinn
Lia Chang. Photo by Lori Tan Chinn

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

André De Shields, Arian Moayed, Reed Birney, Leslie Uggams, Richard Kind, Aasif Mandvi and More set for Roundabout Underground’s The 24 Hour Plays Off-Broadway on April 9

On Monday, April 9, Roundabout Theatre Company’s Roundabout Underground playwriting alumni will gather to present The 24 Hour Plays Off-Broadway. Six playwrights, six directors, 24 actors and a musical guest will perform six brand new short plays written & rehearsed over the course of a single day. The performance will begin at 8:00pm at the Laura Pels Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre (111 West 46th Street).

All proceeds from the evening will benefit Roundabout Underground and the New Play Initiative, programs focused on discovering and cultivating emerging playwrights and artists

“Roundabout Underground and The 24 Hour Plays share a commitment to discovering and nurturing new voices in the American theater,” Roundabout’s Director of New Play Development Jill Rafson and The 24 Hour Plays Executive Director Mark Armstrong said in a joint statement, “as well as to creating dynamic, unforgettable theater experiences. The 24 Hour Plays Off-Broadway promises to be a joyous, singular evening celebrating both of those endeavors.”

Stage and screen stars scheduled to appear in The 24 Hour Plays Off-Broadway include André De Shields, Aasif Mandvi, Anna Baryshnikov, Arian Moayed, Beanie Feldstein, Beth Behrs, Betty Gilpin, Cristin Milioti, Denis O’Hare, Franchesca Ramsey, Gideon Glick, Jackie Cruz, Jeremy Shamos, Leslie Ugams, Mike Carlsen, Nina Hellman, Reed Birney, Richard Kind, Sarah Steele, Sas Goldberg and more!

Playwrights include artists who debuted, or will debut, at Roundabout Underground: musical guest Adam Gwon and Friends and new work by Joshua Harmon, Jiréh Breon Holder, Meghan Kennedy, Alex Lubischer, Ming Peiffer and Jenny Rachel Weiner.

They will be directed by Roundabout favorites Mark Brokaw, Marc Bruni, Theresa Rebeck, Giovanna Sardelli, Whitney White and Charles Randolph-Wright.

Tickets range from $99-$2,500 and can be purchased at www.roundabouttheatre.org/the24hourplays or by calling Audience Services at 212-719-1300. Underwriter Packages are also available! Please call 212.719.9393, ext. 369 to learn more.

The 62-seat Black Box Theatre, below the Laura Pels Theatre in the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, allows Roundabout to take artistic risks that are better suited for a more intimate space.

Through the New Play Initiative, Roundabout proves its devotion to the development and production of new works by significant writers and artists. The Roundabout Underground program in particular provides substantial artistic and financial resources to emerging playwrights to stage their debut productions in New York and on Roundabout’s stages. In addition to producing their first play, writers receive a commission for a future play, showing a level of commitment to writers’ careers and the future of theatre in New York that is unparalleled. The New Play Initiative has discovered and brought audiences some of the most important new voices in theatre and is dedicated to creating a diverse canon for the future of theatre. To learn more about Roundabout’s commitment to the development of new work, visit New Play Initiative.

Roundabout Underground showcases new plays that will either give a debut production to an emerging writer or director, or allow an experienced director to go back to his/her creative roots. Jill Rafson (Director of New Play Development) serves as Artistic Producer for this initiative that continues to be a creative breeding ground for nurturing new talent.

Prior Underground productions include the acclaimed world premieres of Stephen Karam’s Speech & Debate (2007), Steven Levenson’s The Language of Trees (2008), Adam Gwon’s Ordinary Days (2009), Kim Rosenstock’s Tigers Be Still (2010), David West Read’s The Dream of the Burning Boy (2011), Andrew Hinderaker’s Suicide, Incorporated (2011), Joshua Harmon’s Bad Jews (2012), Meghan Kennedy’s Too Much, Too Much, Too Many (2013), Jeff Augustin’s Little Children Dream of God (2015), Lindsey Ferrentino’s Ugly Lies the Bone (2015), Jenny Rachel Weiner’s Kingdom Come (2016), Martín Zimmerman’s On the Exhale (2017), Jiréh Breon Holder’s Too Heavy for Your Pocket (2017), and Alex Lubischer’s Bobbie Clearly (2018). Ming Peiffer’s Usual Girls will debut in Fall 2018.

www.roundabouttheatre.org

THE 24 HOUR PLAYS bring together extraordinary artists to create time-limited theater around the world. In addition to The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway and The 24 Hour Musicals, regular events take place in London, Los Angeles, Dublin, Germany, Minneapolis, Athens, Helsinki, Mexico City and Florence. Through collaborations with organizations including The Old Vic Theatre, Dublin Youth Theatre, Urban Arts Partnership, Cornerstone Theater Company, The Orchard Project, Bennington College, Hennepin Theatre Trust, The University of Minnesota-Duluth and The Del Sole Foundation, The 24 Hour Plays have raised millions of dollars for charities. Each summer, The 24 Hour Plays partner with the New School for Drama to bring together the best actors, directors, playwrights and producers 25 and under for an intensive professional experience. Licensed affiliates have produced their own versions of The 24 Hour Plays in regional and professional theaters, colleges and universities, and just about everywhere you can find a curtain and a stage.

Multimedia: André De Shields Receives 2018 Bob Harrington Lifetime Achievement Award at the 33rd Annual Bistro Awards; Full List of Winners

André De Shields, Charles Busch, Len Cariou and More Celebrate Vinie Burrows at Theater for the New City’s Annual LOVE N’ COURAGE Gala 

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

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André De Shields, Arian Moayed, Reed Birney, Leslie Uggams, Mamie Gummer, Richard Kind, Aasif Mandvi and More set for Roundabout Underground’s The 24 Hour Plays Off-Broadway on April 9

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

On Monday, April 9, Roundabout Theatre Company’s Roundabout Underground playwriting alumni will gather to present The 24 Hour Plays Off-Broadway. Six playwrights, six directors, 24 actors and a musical guest will perform six brand new short plays written & rehearsed over the course of a single day. The performance will begin at 8:00pm at the Laura Pels Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre (111 West 46th Street).

All proceeds from the evening will benefit Roundabout Underground and the New Play Initiative, programs focused on discovering and cultivating emerging playwrights and artists

“Roundabout Underground and The 24 Hour Plays share a commitment to discovering and nurturing new voices in the American theater,” Roundabout’s Director of New Play Development Jill Rafson and The 24 Hour Plays Executive Director Mark Armstrong said in a joint statement, “as well as to creating dynamic, unforgettable theater experiences. The 24 Hour Plays Off-Broadway promises to be a joyous, singular evening celebrating both of those endeavors.”

Stage and screen stars scheduled to appear in The 24 Hour Plays Off-Broadway include Anna Baryshnikov, Beth Behrs, Reed Birney, Mike Carlsen, Jackie Cruz, André De Shields, Beanie Feldstein, Brett Gelman, Betty Gilpin, Gideon Glick, Sas Goldberg, Mamie Gummer, Nina Hellman, Richard Kind, Aasif Mandvi, Arian Moayed, Jeremy Shamos, Sarah Steele, and Leslie Uggams, plus additional artists to be announced soon. All artists subject to change.

Playwrights include artists who debuted, or will debut, at Roundabout Underground: musical guest Adam Gwon and Friends and new work by Joshua Harmon, Jiréh Breon Holder, Meghan Kennedy, Alex Lubischer, Ming Peiffer and Jenny Rachel Weiner.

They will be directed by Roundabout favorites Mark Brokaw, Marc Bruni, Theresa Rebeck, Giovanna Sardelli, Whitney White and Charles Randolph-Wright.

Tickets range from $99-$2,500 and can be purchased at www.roundabouttheatre.org/the24hourplays or by calling Audience Services at 212-719-1300. Underwriter Packages are also available! Please call 212.719.9393, ext. 369 to learn more.

The 62-seat Black Box Theatre, below the Laura Pels Theatre in the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, allows Roundabout to take artistic risks that are better suited for a more intimate space.

Through the New Play Initiative, Roundabout proves its devotion to the development and production of new works by significant writers and artists. The Roundabout Underground program in particular provides substantial artistic and financial resources to emerging playwrights to stage their debut productions in New York and on Roundabout’s stages. In addition to producing their first play, writers receive a commission for a future play, showing a level of commitment to writers’ careers and the future of theatre in New York that is unparalleled. The New Play Initiative has discovered and brought audiences some of the most important new voices in theatre and is dedicated to creating a diverse canon for the future of theatre. To learn more about Roundabout’s commitment to the development of new work, visit New Play Initiative.

Roundabout Underground showcases new plays that will either give a debut production to an emerging writer or director, or allow an experienced director to go back to his/her creative roots. Jill Rafson (Director of New Play Development) serves as Artistic Producer for this initiative that continues to be a creative breeding ground for nurturing new talent.

Prior Underground productions include the acclaimed world premieres of Stephen Karam’s Speech & Debate (2007), Steven Levenson’s The Language of Trees (2008), Adam Gwon’s Ordinary Days (2009), Kim Rosenstock’s Tigers Be Still (2010), David West Read’s The Dream of the Burning Boy (2011), Andrew Hinderaker’s Suicide, Incorporated (2011), Joshua Harmon’s Bad Jews (2012), Meghan Kennedy’s Too Much, Too Much, Too Many (2013), Jeff Augustin’s Little Children Dream of God (2015), Lindsey Ferrentino’s Ugly Lies the Bone (2015), Jenny Rachel Weiner’s Kingdom Come (2016), Martín Zimmerman’s On the Exhale (2017), Jiréh Breon Holder’s Too Heavy for Your Pocket (2017), and Alex Lubischer’s Bobbie Clearly (2018). Ming Peiffer’s Usual Girls will debut in Fall 2018.

www.roundabouttheatre.org

THE 24 HOUR PLAYS bring together extraordinary artists to create time-limited theater around the world. In addition to The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway and The 24 Hour Musicals, regular events take place in London, Los Angeles, Dublin, Germany, Minneapolis, Athens, Helsinki, Mexico City and Florence. Through collaborations with organizations including The Old Vic Theatre, Dublin Youth Theatre, Urban Arts Partnership, Cornerstone Theater Company, The Orchard Project, Bennington College, Hennepin Theatre Trust, The University of Minnesota-Duluth and The Del Sole Foundation, The 24 Hour Plays have raised millions of dollars for charities. Each summer, The 24 Hour Plays partner with the New School for Drama to bring together the best actors, directors, playwrights and producers 25 and under for an intensive professional experience. Licensed affiliates have produced their own versions of The 24 Hour Plays in regional and professional theaters, colleges and universities, and just about everywhere you can find a curtain and a stage.

Multimedia: André De Shields Receives 2018 Bob Harrington Lifetime Achievement Award at the 33rd Annual Bistro Awards; Full List of Winners

André De Shields, Charles Busch, Len Cariou and More Celebrate Vinie Burrows at Theater for the New City’s Annual LOVE N’ COURAGE Gala 

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

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André De Shields, Charles Busch, Len Cariou and More Celebrate Vinie Burrows at Theater for the New City’s Annual LOVE N’ COURAGE Gala

Len Cariou, Honoree Vinie Burrows and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Last night, actress and activist Vinie Burrows was honored at Theater for the New City’s annual LOVE N’ COURAGE Gala, held at The Players Club in New York City.

Len Cariou, Vinie Burrows and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Len Cariou, Vinie Burrows and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Ms. Burrows, now 89-years-strong,  was saluted and celebrated for her contributions to the life and culture of New York City, with a special emphasis on the Lower East Side, where Theater for the New City has withstood the test of time and gentrification, having recently paid off its mortgage on its theater complex at 155 First Ave. (10th St.)

André De Shields and Charles Busch. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields and Charles Busch. Photo by Lia Chang

Hosted by Phoebe Legere (who also performed), the program featured performances by André De Shields, Charles Busch, Glitter Kitty Dance, Luba Mason, KT Sullivan, Malik Work, TNC After School, Yip Harburg Foundation Rainbow Troupe, Human Kinetics Movement Arts, Chinese Theatre Works and selected readings from new plays by TNC emerging writers: NORTHBOUND by Marvalee Peart and FAT ASSES, THE MUSICAL by Peter Zachari.

Larry Spivack and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Larry Spivack and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Vinie Burrows. Photo by Lia Chang
Vinie Burrows. Photo by Lia Chang

Ms. Burrows appeared on Broadway in the 1950’s and 60’s in MANDINGO, THE PONDER HEART, THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH, MRS. PATTERSON, THE GREEN PASTURES and THE WISTERIA TREES. Her other numerous stage productions during her long career, include SISTER! SISTER!, BEL CANTO and BLACK ON THE GREAT WHITE WAY: THE STORY OF ROSE McCLENDON. She has been active at the United Nations Economic and Social Council on the issues of the status of women and Southern Africa, and as an associate of the Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press. She received the Paul Robson Award in 1986.

About the decision to honor Ms. Burrows, TNC’s leader Crystal Field remarks, “Vinie Burrows ‘is a magnificent performer.’ So said the New York Times. She is ‘one of the reigning divas of the Black Theater.’ So said Clive Barnes. But Vinie Burrows is more than a performer. She is a true activist, capable of changing the world. At the United Nations she serves as permanent representative for the Women’s National Democratic Federation. And to add to this glorious life, she finds time to be a deep and dear friend to Theater for the New City. TNC is proud to be a like mind to a Mover and Shaker who writes, ‘The future of the planet rests on people coming together to save the earth and all living things. It is 5 minutes to midnight. Come together, brothers and sisters.’”

Ngo Gia Thuan, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam to the United Nations, Theater for the New City's Executive Director Crystal Fields, honoree Vinie Burrows and Ambassador Pham Thi Kim Anh, Deputy Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the United Nations. Photo by Lia Chang
Ngo Gia Thuan, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam to the United Nations, Theater for the New City’s Executive Director Crystal Fields, honoree Vinie Burrows and Ambassador Pham Thi Kim Anh, Deputy Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the United Nations. Photo by Lia Chang

Proceeds from the evening benefit the company’s ever-important program that supports emerging playwrights.

THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY – Now in its 45th year, is a unique Cultural Institution that has earned a nationwide reputation for its dedication to nurturing established and emerging playwrights who experiment with new forms and to presenting other experimental and developmental theaters with a very active program of Community Art Services and Festivals which continue to expand theater accessibility. www.theaterforthenewcity.net

Honoree Vinie Burrows, André De Shields, Grace Jones and Rome Neal. Photo by Lia Chang
Honoree Vinie Burrows, André De Shields, Grace Jones and Rome Neal. Photo by Lia Chang
Rhonda Ross, Rome Neal, Honoree Vinie Burrows, André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Rhonda Ross, Rome Neal, Honoree Vinie Burrows, André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

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

André De Shields and Lia Chang. Photo by Barry Gordon
André De Shields and Lia Chang. Photo by Barry Gordon

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

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East West Players Honors Tzi Ma, Lily Mariye and Dwight Stuart Youth Fund At 52nd Anniversary Visionary Awards on April 30

Lily Mariye and Tzi Ma

East West Players (EWP), the nation’s longest-running professional theater of color and the largest producing organization of Asian Pacific American artistic work, celebrates THE COMPANY WE KEEP, its 52nd Anniversary season with the Annual Visionary Awards Dinner & Silent Auction. Recognizing the achievements of individuals who have raised the visibility of the Asian Pacific American (APA) community through their craft, the gala fundraiser takes place on Monday, April 30, 2018 at the Hilton Universal City. Proceeds benefit East West Players’ educational and artistic programs.

The three honorees are:

Tzi Ma
Tzi Ma

Tzi Ma, actor and director. Having started his acting career in theatre in New York City in 1973, Ma has an impressive number of theatre credits and has worked with some of America’s most gifted playwrights. He has had numerous works written specifically for him, such as The Dance and the Railroad by David Henry Hwang, for which Ma won a CINE Golden Eagle Award, a Dramalogue Award for Best Director, and a Dramalogue Award for Best Choreographer (at EWP); and In Perpetuity Throughout the Universe by Eric Overmyer. Ma also collaborated with Mr. Hwang on FOB, Flower Drum Song (Garland Award nomination for Best Actor and Los Angeles City Council Citation), Yellow Face, and the film Golden Gate. His most recent films include Arrival, Sky Scraper, Mediation Park (Best Actor nomination from the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television), and Pali Road (Jury Award on outstanding contribution to diversity in film).

Lily Mariye
Lily Mariye

Lily Mariye, actor and director, is a 2018 Outstanding Directorial Achievement nominee for the 70th Annual DGA Awards for her episode of Amazon’s “Just Add Magic.” She is a television and film director, best known for CBS’ “Criminal Minds” and “NCIS: Los Angeles,” NBC’s “Chicago PD,” Freeform’s “The Fosters,” and CMT’s “Nashville.” Model Minority (modelminoritymovie.com) is Mariye’s feature writing and directorial debut and has won 11 Film Festival Awards around the world, including Best Film, Best Director, Best New Actress and Best Cinematography. As an actor, Mariye is best known for her role as nurse Lily Jarvik on the award-winning TV series “ER” for 15 seasons, for which she won the SAG Award for Best Ensemble in a Drama Series four times.

Dwight Stuart Youth Fund. Originally established as an independent foundation in 2001, the Dwight Stuart Youth Fund (DSYF) was endowed by Dwight L. Stuart, Sr. (1924-1998) to benefit and serve the needs of children and youth in Los Angeles County. Since 2010, DSYF has been a grantmaking arm of the San Francisco-based Stuart Foundation. The Foundation is a programmatic funder of public and private institutions and organizations, whose goal is the improvement of life outcomes for young people in the K-12 education systems in California and Washington State. Mr. Stuart was raised in the Pacific Northwest and lived for many years in Los Angeles. He was president of the Carnation Company from 1973-1983 and was the grandson of its founder, E.A. Stuart. A life-long supporter of youth mentoring and sports programs, he was also a board member of the Stuart Foundation.

“East West Players is thrilled to recognize the incredible work of Tzi, Lily, and the Dwight Stuart Youth Fund,” says EWP Producing Artistic Director Snehal Desai. “The accomplishments of Tzi and Lily as actors and directors have been pivotal in raising the visibility of Asian Americans on stage-including the EWP stage-as well as in television and film. They are both fearless and outspoken advocates for Asian Americans in Hollywood. The Dwight Stuart Youth Fund isa groundbreaking supporter of underserved children and youth, whose work has left an indelible mark in our community and whose support has enabled EWP’s Theater For Youth program to empower our youth through storytelling. We are honored to be recognizing them and their efforts. ?”

Current major sponsors (as of February 12, 2018) of the gala include: TITANIUM: Dwight Stuart Youth Fund. GOLD: Aratani Foundation. BRONZE: Randall & Mari Tamura, Lynn Waggoner. COPPER CIRCLE: Snehal Desai, Pia Palomo & Jerry A. Gonzales II; Asian Pacific American Friends of the Theatre. More honorees and additional information will be released shortly.

Gala Committee Members include: Co-Chair Daniel Mayeda, Co-Chair Peter Shimamoto, Ed Lew, Jay Kim, Judy Sasaki, David Lee and Carrie, Ken Katsumoto, Al Aubin, Sally Pai Unruh, Reggie Lee, Jason M. Blackwell, Jeff Yang, Kin Cheng, Nora DeVeau-Rosen, Snehal Desai, and Carolina San Juan.

East West Players’ 52nd Anniversary Visionary Awards Dinner & Silent Auction will be held on Monday, April 30, 2018 at the Hilton Universal City, 555 Universal Hollywood Drive, Universal City, CA 91608. VIP Reception for Premium Table Circle sponsors, silent auction, and no-host cocktails starts at 5:30pm. The dinner and awards show begins at 7pm.

Individual tickets are $200- $1,500. Full table sponsorship packages are also available. For more information please contact East West Players at (213) 625-7000 or galaguests@eastwestplayers.org. For more information about East West Players, please visit www.eastwestplayers.org.

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Christiane Noll, Devin Ilaw, Darius de Haas, Krystina Alabado, F. Michael Haynie and Colin Hanlon in Benefit Reading of NEXT TO NORMAL

F. Michael Haynie, Charlie Alterman, Tom Kitt, Christiane Noll, Krystina Alabado and Devin Ilaw. Photo by Lia Chang

Quintessence of Dust Theatre Company/Rachel Kunstadt presented a one-night-only benefit staged reading of the Pulitzer Prize winning musical NEXT TO NORMAL on Thursday, February 1, 2018 at JCC Manhattan, (366 Amsterdam Avenue).

F. Michael Haynie, Darius de Haas, Krystina Alabado, Christiane Noll, Devin Ilaw and Colin Hanlon. Photo by Lia Chang
F. Michael Haynie, Darius de Haas, Krystina Alabado, Christiane Noll, Devin Ilaw and Colin Hanlon. Photo by Lia Chang

NEXT TO NORMAL, with book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey and music by Tom Kitt, explores how one suburban household copes with crisis and mental illness. Winner of three 2009 Tony Awards, including Best Musical Score and the 2010 Pulitzer Prize, NEXT TO NORMAL is an emotional powerhouse that addresses such issues as grieving a loss, ethics in modern psychiatry, and suburban life.

Director Daniella Caggiano and Producer Rachel Kunstadt. Photo by Lia Chang
Director Daniella Caggiano and Producer Rachel Kunstadt. Photo by Lia Chang

Helmed by Daniella Caggiano and featuring music direction by Charlie Alterman from the 2009 Broadway production, 100% of the proceeds from the evening’s performance are earmarked for The JED Foundation. Scroll down for coverage of the night including a special guest, NEXT TO NORMAL’s composer Tom Kitt.

F. Michael Haynie, Charlie Alterman, Tom Kitt, Christiane Noll, Krystina Alabado and Devin Ilaw. Photo by Lia Chang
F. Michael Haynie, Charlie Alterman, Tom Kitt, Christiane Noll, Krystina Alabado and Devin Ilaw. Photo by Lia Chang

Tony Award nominee Christiane Noll (Ragtime), who won a 2017 Connecticut Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actress in a musical for her role as Diana at TheaterWorks, was on hand to share her brilliant performance with a Manhattan audience. Her stellar cast mates included Broadway veteran Darius de Haas (Shuffle Along) as Dan, Krystina Alabado (The Mad Ones) as Natalie, Devin Ilaw (Miss Saigon) as Gabe, F. Michael Haynie (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) as Henry, and Colin Hanlon (In Transit, Falsettos, “Modern Family”) as The Doctors.

(Back Row) Darius De Haas, Krystina Alabado, Christiane Noll, Colin Hanlon, (Front Row) F. Michael Haynie and Devin Ilaw. Photo by Lia Chang
(Back Row) Darius De Haas, Krystina Alabado, Christiane Noll, Colin Hanlon, (Front Row) F. Michael Haynie and Devin Ilaw. Photo by Lia Chang

The band included Conductor Charlie Alterman on the keys, Emily Chiu (violin), Jennifer Shaw (cello), Mike Rosengarten (guitar), Mary Ann McSweeney (bass) and Spencer Inch (drums).

Jennifer Shaw, Emily Chiu, Charlie Alterman, Mary Ann McSweeney, Mike Rosengarten and Spencer Inch. Photo by Lia Chang
Jennifer Shaw, Emily Chiu, Charlie Alterman, Mary Ann McSweeney, Mike Rosengarten and Spencer Inch. Photo by Lia Chang

Inspired by the Hamlet quote, Quintessence of Dust produces theatrical creations that ask challenging questions, inspire exploration and passion, expose and explore the taboo, and give voice to the underrepresented.

Adee Shepen, Chief Development Officer, The JED Foundation and Producer Rachel Kunstadt. Photo by Lia Chang
Adee Shepen, Chief Development Officer, The JED Foundation and Producer Rachel Kunstadt. Photo by Lia Chang

The JED Foundation is a nonprofit that exists to protect emotional health and prevent suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults. They’re partnering with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance abuse and suicide prevention programs and systems. They’re equipping teens and young adults with the skills and knowledge to help themselves and each other. They’re encouraging community awareness, understanding and action for young adult mental health.

NEXT TO NORMAL renunion: Charlie Alterman, Rita Pietropinto and Tom Kitt. Photo by Lia Chang
NEXT TO NORMAL renunion: Charlie Alterman, Rita Pietropinto and Tom Kitt. Photo by Lia Chang
Charlie Alterman, Rita Pietropinto, Tom Kitt and Christiane Noll. Photo by Lia Chang
Charlie Alterman, Rita Pietropinto, Tom Kitt and Christiane Noll. Photo by Lia Chang
Director Daniella Caggiano, Producer Rachel Kunstadt, Krystina Alabado, Devin Ilaw and Musical Director Charlie Alterman. Photo by Lia Chang
Director Daniella Caggiano, Producer Rachel Kunstadt, Krystina Alabado, Devin Ilaw and Musical Director Charlie Alterman. Photo by Lia Chang

More information on Quintessence of Dust can be found at www.qodtheatre.org.

More information on The JED Foundation can be found at www.jedfoundation.org.

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

Lia Chang. Photo by Lori Tan Chinn
Lia Chang. Photo by Lori Tan Chinn

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.

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Devin Ilaw, Christiane Noll, Colin Hanlon, Darius de Haas and More Set for One Night Only Benefit Performance of NEXT TO NORMAL on February 1

Devin Ilaw. Photo by Lia Chang

Quintessence of Dust Theatre Company/Rachel Kunstadt is presenting the one night only performance of Pulitzer Prize winning musical Next to Normal to benefit The JED Foundation. Directed by Daniella Caggiano and with music direction by Janet Noh, the event will take place on Thursday, February 1st at 7:00 pm at JCC Manhattan on 334 Amsterdam Avenue on the Upper West Side.

Devin Ilaw. Photo by Lia Chang
Devin Ilaw. Photo by Lia Chang

Krystina Alabado (The Mad Ones) will play Natalie, Devin Ilaw (Miss Saigon) will play Gabe, and F. Michael Haynie (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) will play Henry. They join Tony Award nominee Christiane Noll (Ragtime) as Diana, Broadway veteran Darius de Haas (Shuffle Along) as Dan, and Colin Hanlon (In Transit, Falsettos, “Modern Family”) as The Doctors.

Inspired by the Hamlet quote, Quintessence of Dust produces theatrical creations that ask challenging questions, inspire exploration and passion, expose and explore the taboo, and give voice to the underrepresented.

The JED Foundation is a nonprofit that exists to protect emotional health and prevent suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults. They’re partnering with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance abuse and suicide prevention programs and systems. They’re equipping teens and young adults with the skills and knowledge to help themselves and each other. They’re encouraging community awareness, understanding and action for young adult mental health.

General admission tickets are priced at $80. VIP tickets that include assigned prime seating and admittance into the post-show reception are priced at $150. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased here.

More information on Quintessence of Dust can be found here.

100% of proceeds will benefit The JED Foundation.