Beth Leavel, Bob Martin, Garth Kravits and More Original Cast Members Will Star in THE DROWSY CHAPERONE Concert at Feinstein’s/54 Below on January 8

The National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) will present The Drowsy Chaperone in Concert at 54 Below on Monday, January 8th, 2018. Winner of five Tony Awards, including Best Book and Best Original Score, The Drowsy Chaperone is a loving send-up of the Jazz Age musical, featuring one show-stopping song after another. Hailed by New York Magazine as “The Perfect Broadway Musical,” The Drowsy Chaperone has music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison with book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar. The concert will be directed by Josh Rhodes (Company) with music direction by Lawrence Goldberg (On the Twentieth Century).

The concert will include Original Broadway Cast members Beth Leavel (Bandstand), Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone), Stacia Fernandez (Bandstand, Paper Mill Playhouse), Linda Griffin (Something Rotten!), Eddie Korbich (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder), Garth Kravits (Upcoming: Gettin’ the Band Back Together), Jason Kravits (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”), Angela Pupello (ABC’s “Ten Days in the Valley”), Kilty Reidy (Billy Elliot, 2nd National Tour), Jennifer Smith (Anastasia), Joey Sorge (A Bronx Tale), Patrick Wetzel (Billy Elliot, 2nd National Tour, Resident Director: Aladdin) and Jay Douglas (Elf).

The Drowsy Chaperone in Concert plays Feinstein’s/54 Below (254 West 54th Street) on January 8th at 7:00PM and 9:30PM. The cover charge starts at $50, premium seating starts at $95 and a $25 food and beverage minimum. Tickets and information are available at or call (646) 476-3551.

A portion of the proceeds will support NAMT, a not-for-profit organization, whose programs include the 30th Annual Festival of New Musicals, which will take place on October 25-26, 2018 at New World Stages.

NAMT’s Festival of New Musicals has showcased 252 shows by 478 writers over the last 29 years. Musicals NAMT has helped develop include Broadway’s Come From Away, The Drowsy Chaperone, It Shoulda Been You, Thoroughly Modern Millie and The Story of My Life. Off Broadway successes include The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, I Love You Because, The Memory Show, Nobody Loves You, Ordinary Days, OTHELLO: The Remix, See Rock City and Other Destinations, Songs for a New World, Striking 12 and Vanities.

This concert is produced for NAMT by Ciera Iveson with Karin Nilo.

The National Alliance for Musical Theatre, founded in 1985, is a national service organization dedicated to the musical theatre community. Our mission is to advance musical theatre by nurturing the creation, development, production and presentation of new musicals, and to provide a forum for musical theatre professionals to share resources and exchange information. Our 205 members, located throughout 31 states and abroad, are some of the leading producers of musical theatre in the world and include theatres, presenting organizations, higher education programs and individual producers.

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











Devin Ilaw, Brandon Uranowitz, Christiane Noll and More Lead One Night Only Benefit Performance of NEXT TO NORMAL on February 1

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

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 two-time Tony Award nominee Brandon Uranowitz 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.




TONGUES Reading Series presents a Staged Reading of AFTERMATH to Benefit INDESTRUCTIBLE Campaign for Hurricane Maria relief efforts on December 17

TONGUES Reading Series presents a Staged Reading of AFTERMATH, a play created through the #Pages4PuertoRico collaboration to benefit the INDESTRUCTIBLE Campaign for Hurricane Maria relief efforts on Sunday, December 17, 2017 at 6:00PM at Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce Street in New York.

In September, writer/producer Lawrence Feeney’s home was damaged by Hurricane Irma. While trying to navigate the waters of insurance, contractors and FEMA, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. He was navigating his own nightmare from the effects of Irma, but fixated on the news and some of his friends’ posts – one friend in particular – director Lainie Sakakura. Sakakura and her husband, Alex Sanchez could not locate their family members for two weeks. Mr. Feeney tried to imagine the pain and suffering of those hit so much harder in Puerto Rico, and couldn’t. He wanted to do something.

In October, Mr. Feeney started #Pages4PuertoRico by enlisting the help of 29 other writers, each one of them contributing 3 pages each to build a full-length play. AFTERMATH, is the result. It is the story of the Bonilla family’s struggle to connect and survive following the devastation and distress brought on by Hurricane Maria.

AFTERMATH is written by Lawrence Feeney, Craig Pospisil, David Hilder, Ashlie Atkinson, Tony Pennino, Robin Rothstein, Joanna Parson, Ryan Duncan, Katharine Clark Gray, Tanya Perez, Renee Flemings, Jonathan Marc Sherman, P. Seth Bauer, Jonathan Tipton Meyers, Maria Deasy, Liz Duffy Adams, Jessica Fleitman, Migdalia Cruz, Candido Tirado, Carmen Rivera Tirado, Ana Maria Jomolca, Adriana Santos, Marco Antonio Rodriguez, Analisa Velez, Donnetta Lavinia Grays, Jorge Perez, Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas, Andrew Rincón, Angelo Parra, and Raquel Almazan.

Starring Tony Chiroldes and Elise Santora. Featuring Berto Colόn, Jason Liebman, Sol Marina, Tanya Perez, Edwin Polanco, Justin Rodriguez, Alex Sanchez, Adriana Santos, Kyle Sherman, Summerisa Bell Stevens.

The creative team includes Director Lainie Sakakura, Dramaturg Alex Sanchez, Musical Director Alexander Rovang and Stage Manager Debora Porazzi.

All proceeds go to Puerto Rico hurricane relief through Cherry Lane Theatre Co-Artistic Director Janio Marrero’s ongoing campaign INDESTRUCTIBLE.

This reading is free and open to the public. CLICK HERE TO RESERVE YOUR SEAT.  Then, click CHECKOUT to add your donation.

For more information, click here.


TONGUES Reading Series presents a Staged Reading of AFTERMATH to Benefit INDESTRUCTIBLE Campaign for Hurricane Maria relief efforts on December 17

TONGUES Reading Series presents a Staged Reading of AFTERMATH, a play created through the #Pages4PuertoRico collaboration to benefit the INDESTRUCTIBLE Campaign for Hurricane Maria relief efforts on Sunday, December 17, 2017 at 6:00PM at Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce Street in New York.

Last month, #Pages4PuertoRico enlisted the help of 30 writers, who contributed 3 pages each to building a full-length play titled AFTERMATH, helmed by Lainie Sakakura with dramaturg Alex Sanchez.

Written by Lawrence Feeney, Craig Pospisil, David Hilder, Ashlie Atkinson, Tony Pennino, Robin Rothstein, Joanna Parson, Ryan Duncan, Katharine Clark Gray, Tanya Perez, Renee Flemings, Jonathan Marc Sherman, P. Seth Bauer, Jonathan Tipton Meyers, Maria Deasy, Liz Duffy Adams, Jessica Fleitman, Migdalia Cruz, Candido Tirado, Carmen Rivera Tirado, Ana Maria Jomolca, Adriana Santos, Marco Antonio Rodriguez, Analisa Velez, Donnetta Lavinia Grays, Jorge Perez, Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas, Andrew Rincón, Angelo Parra, and Raquel Almazan.

All proceeds go to Puerto Rico hurricane relief through Co-Artistic Director Janio Marrero’s ongoing campaign INDESTRUCTIBLE.

This reading is free and open to the public. CLICK HERE TO RESERVE YOUR SEAT.  Then, click CHECKOUT to add your donation.

For more information, click here.

Erin Quill, Charl Brown, Saycon Sengbloh, Erich Bergen, The Doo Wop Project and More Set for 6th Annual SPARKLE: An All-Star Holiday Benefit Concert on December 3

The annual star-studded holiday event SPARKLE: An All-Star Holiday Concert returns to New York City on Sunday, December 3rd for its 6th consecutive year, once again benefiting the programs and services of The Actors Fund. This one-night-only extravaganza, produced and hosted by TV personality Scott Nevins (Bravo’s “The People’s Couch”), will take place at The Cutting Room (44 E 32nd St.) at 7:30pm.

The all-star cast is lead by four Tony Award nominees: Constantine Maroulis (“American Idol,” ), Max von Essen (An American in Paris, Evita, Les Miserables), Saycon Sengbloh (ABC’s “Scandal,” Eclipsed) and Charl Brown (Motown: the musical), plus Drama League Award nominee Eden Espinosa (Brooklyn, Wicked), one of the stars of CBS’ hit show “Madam Secretary” and the Jersey Boys film, Erich Bergen, two-time Drama Desk Award nominee, celebrity vocal impressionist and YouTube sensation Christina Bianco (“The Ellen Degeneres Show,” Forbidden Broadway), from NBC’s “The Voice,” Katrina Rose (Hairspray), original cast member of the TONY Award winning musical Jersey Boys, Daniel Reichard (The Midtown Men), Recording artist Shayna Steele (Hairspray, RENT, Jesus Christ Superstar), Broadway’s Nick Adams (Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, Wicked, A Chorus Line), Kevin Smith Kirkwood (Kinky Boots), Marty Thomas (Wicked, Xanadu), and Erin Quill (Avenue Q – Original Broadway Company), a special performance by The Doo Wop Project, and more! The evening will once again be produced and hosted by TV personality Scott Nevins (Bravo’s “The People’s Couch,” “truTV Presents: World’s Dumbest…”) with Benjamin Rauhala serving as Music Director and Arranger. *Cast is subject to change without notice.

General Admission Tickets for the show are $65 each; VIP Tickets (which include premium seating and a post-show VIP Meet & Greet) are $100 each.

Doors open at 6:30pm. There is a $20 min per person as a full dinner and bar menu will be available. To purchase tickets or to get more information about the evening, please visit



Negro Ensemble Company Gala Benefit on September 11; A SOLDIER’S PLAY Revival Set for 50th Season, September 27 – October 8

Original cast of "A Soldier's Play" by Charles Fuller, presented by Negro Ensemble Company at Theatre Four, 1981. Brent Jennings, Steven Jones, Eugene Lee, Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Jame Pickens and Reyno Shine. Photo by Bert Andrews

For its 50th season, The Negro Ensemble Company, Inc. (NEC) has been presenting a retrospective of some of the troupe’s signature works.

The culminating event of this landmark season will be NEC’s most famous and successful production, “A Soldier’s Play” by Charles Fuller, which NEC first presented in 1981 at Theatre Four. That production ran for two years, earned unanimous praise and launched the careers of many current stars, but has never again had a major production in New York.

Original cast of "A Soldier's Play" by Charles Fuller, presented by Negro Ensemble Company at Theatre Four, 1981. Brent Jennings, Steven Jones, Eugene Lee, Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Jame Pickens and Reyno Shine. Photo by Bert Andrews
Original cast of “A Soldier’s Play” by Charles Fuller, presented by Negro Ensemble Company at Theatre Four, 1981. Brent Jennings, Steven Jones, Eugene Lee, Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Jame Pickens and Reyno Shine. Photo by Bert Andrews

NEC will revive the play September 27 to October 8 at Theatre 80 St. Marks, directed by Charles Weldon, the troupe’s current Artistic Director.

The play uses a murder mystery in a segregated U.S. Army base during World War II to expose angers and resentments among African Americans that curiously mimic white racist attitudes. A black Captain is sent to investigate the murder of a black Sergeant. The setting is a segregated Army base in Louisiana where a black officer wielding authority is unprecedented and bitterly resented. The Sargent is revealed as tyrannical in nature and disgusted with his fellow black soldiers, particularly those from the rural South. The unit is comprised of former Negro Leagues players who were grouped as a unit in order to provide entertainment. Their success playing against white soldiers makes them so popular that it generates talk of them playing against the Yankees in an exhibition game. Nevertheless, they are assigned to menial jobs. The Sargent’s murder at first seems attributable to the local KKK. But when the true murderers are found, surprising and unsettling divisions among the black troops will be revealed. Social forces that might be unveiled, however, will be swept under the rug of history, since the platoon is about to deploy to Europe for the honor of participating in the great Allied invasion. The play won the Pulitzer Prize, an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Play, a New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best American Play and three Obie Awards.

“A Soldier’s Play” ran for two years Off-Broadway and became the most acclaimed production in NEC’s body of work. It gave birth, so to speak, to the careers of Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Adolph Caesar and James Pickens, Jr. NEC’s co-founder Douglas Turner Ward, who was the play’s original director, has written that he was certain of the play’s success from the very beginning, not least because he was so certain of its casting, most of the actors having already appeared at the NEC.

In 1984, a faithful adaptation of the play was filmed Columbia Pictures as “A Soldier’s Story,” directed by Norman Jewison, adapted by Fuller from his Pulitzer Prize-winning script. It won prestigious festival prizes and was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Picture, Supporting Actor (Adolph Caesar), and Screenplay Adaptation (Fuller).

This 50th Season production will be directed by Charles Weldon, who acted in “A Soldier’s Story” in 1983 at the Mark Taper Forum. His cast-mates also included Robert Hooks, Denny Holiday, Earl Billings, Adolph Caesar, Denzel Washington and Larry Riley. In revisiting the play, Weldon has cast actors who are similar in their effect to those who played the original characters in 1981. The 2017 cast is: Gilbert Tucker, Layon Gray, P.J. Max, Horace Glasper, Buck Hinkle, Derek Dean, Jay Ward, Arron Lloyd, Adrain Washington, Fulton Hodges, Aaron Sparks and Jimmy Gary, Jr. Their 1981 counterparts were: Adolph Caesar, CharLes Brown, Brent Jennings, Samuel L. Jackson, Peter Friedman, Cotter Smith, Eugene Lee, James Pickens, Jr., Denzel Washington, Steven A. Jones, Stephen Zettler and Larry Riley.

Set design is by Chris Cumberbatch. Lighting Design is by Melody A. Beal. Costume Design is by Ali Turns. Sound Design is by Jacqui Anscombe.

Presented by Negro Ensemble Company, Inc. (
Performance Schedule: Wednesdays through Fridays at 7:00 PM, Saturdays and Sundays at 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM. Tickets: $25 General Admission; $20 Students, Seniors and Groups of 10 or more. Previews September 27 & 28, opens September 29. Opening night celebration $20 additional.
Box office: 866-811-4111, Group sales 212-582-5860.


Director/actor Michelle Shay and actor Brandon Dirden, joined by comedian Rhonda Hansome and jazz musicians Pam Hamilton/Rob Dors Duo, will host Negro Ensemble Company’s Golden Celebration September 11 from 6:00 to 10:00 PM at Dwyer Cultural Center: 258 St Nicholas Avenue (enter 123rd Street between St. Nicholas Ave & Fredrick Douglas Blvd.). There will be a photo exhibit by Carmen de Jesus curated by Debra Vanderberg Spencer and a screening of “A Soldier’s Play and Beyond,” produced and directed by Susan Watson-Turner. Lighting designer Shirley Prendergast will be honored. Tickets are $150 – $50 and can be purchased on the NEC website,, or by calling Ovation Tix at 866-811-4111.

Playwright Charles Fuller has been a prominent contributor to the repertory of the NEC, beginning with “In the Deepest Part of Sleep,” a four-character domestic drama, and a succession of larger, more historical plays with themes of justice, including “The Brownsville Raid” and “Zooman and the Sign.” Other productions with NEC include two epic cycles, “In My Many Names and Days” and “We.” He has written about twenty major theatrical works. Although in recent years, he has concentrated mostly on writing for the screen, he tackled the searing subject of sexual assault in the armed forces with a new play, “One Night …,” which was produced at the Cherry Lane Theater in 2013. He was born and raised in Philadelphia and served in the U.S. Army from 1959 to 1962, after which he studied at La Salle University (1965-1967), earning a DFA. He has received a Guggenheim Award and NEA fellowship for playwriting, taught playwriting at Temple University and co-founded the Afro-American Arts Theatre Philadelphia.

Director Charles Weldon has been Artistic Director of Negro Ensemble Company, Inc. for twelve years. He has directed the company’s productions of “Colored People Time” by Leslie Lee, “The Waiting Room” by Samm-Art Williams, “Savanna Black and Blue” by Raymond Jones, “Ceremonies in Dark Old Men” by Lonnie Elder and “Hercules Didn’t Wade in the Water” by Michael A. Jones. He has also directed and acted prolifically in regional theaters. Weldon began his performance career in 1960 as lead singer with The Paradons, a Doo-Wop group from Bakersfield, CA, and co-wrote and recorded the smash hit “Diamonds and Pearls.” He performed in the original San Francisco production of “Hair” and the Broadway musical “Buck Time Buck White” with Mohammed Ali. He joined the Negro Ensemble Company in 1970 and acted in many of its classic plays including “A Soldier’s Play,” “The Great McDaddy,” “The Offering,” “The Brownsville Raid” and the Company’s Broadway production of “The River Niger.” His films include “Stir Crazy,” “Serpico,” “The River Niger,” “Malcolm X” and Showtime’s “The Wishing Tree.” He has won a “HENRY” (Excellence inRegional Theater) for Best Supporting Actor in “Gem of the Ocean” by August Wilson and an Audelco Award for Best Supporting Actor in “Seven Guitars” by August Wilson at Signature Theater. His TV credits include “Roots: The Next Generation” and many NYC-based police dramas. He co-founded the Alumni of the Negro Ensemble Company.

Theater 80 St. Marks became the home theater of The Negro Ensemble, Inc. (NEC) in 2016 and all of the company’s 50th Anniversary mainstage productions are being presented there. The season began December 4-11, 2016 with a revival of NEC’s very first production, “Day of Absence” (1966) by Douglas Turner Ward. The company returned May 24 to June 10 with “Daughters of the Mock” by Judi Ann Mason (original production March 3, 1976), directed by Denise Dowse.

NEC’s first plays were produced at St. Mark’s Playhouse, which was one flight up over a the old movie house at Second Avenue and St. Marks Place, a stone’s throw from Theatre 80 St. Marks. Today the old St. Marks Playhouse building at 133 Second Avenue has shops and restaurants on the ground floor and condominiums on the upper levels. Lorcan Otway, owner of Theater 80, beams that he is “proud and honored to host and welcome back the The Negro Ensemble Company, Inc. to the street upon which they changed the face of New York Theater.”

NEC’s awards include a Pulitzer Prize (1982, “A Soldier’s Play”), two Tony Awards, eleven Obies and many more. Its legacy reads like a Who’s Who of America’s Black theater artists. In 2009, Signature Theatre presented a season of readings of various plays from the NEC canon, with Douglas Turner Ward as curator and Ruben Santiago-Hudson as associated artist.

Prior to the 1960s, there were virtually no outlets for the wealth of black theatrical talent in America. In 1965, Playwright Douglas Turner Ward, producer/actor Robert Hooks, and theater manager Gerald Krone founded The Negro Ensemble Company, Inc. (NEC). The River Niger by Joe Walker, originally produced at, St. Marks Playhouse (NEC’s home theatre), moved to Broadway and was awarded 1973 Obie Awards for Distinguished Performance by Douglas Turner Ward; Best American Play, Joseph A. Walker, and Distinguished Performance by Roxie Roker. Other works include Peter Weiss’ “Song of the Lucitanian Bogey” (1967), Lonnie Elder’s “Ceremonies in Dark Old Men” (1969) and Charles Fuller’s “Zooman and the Sign” (1980). In 1981, NEC mounted “A Soldier’s Play” by Charles Fuller, which won the Pulitzer Prize. A film version, “A Soldier’s Story,” was released in 1984 and nominated for three Academy Awards. NEC has produced more than two hundred new plays and provided a theatrical home for more than four thousand cast and crew members. Among its ranks have been some of the best black actors in television and film, including Louis Gossett Jr., Sherman Hemsley, Denise Nichols, Esther Rolle, Adolph Caesar, Laurence Fishburne, Glynn Turman, Reuben Santiago-Hudson, S. Epatha Merkerson, and Phylicia Rashad; playwrights include Steve Carter (intentionally lower case), Samm-Art Williams, Leslie Lee. NEC continues to be a constant source and sustenance for black actors, directors, and writers as they have worked to break down walls of racial prejudice.

In July, the company presented the 2017 edition of its NEC Alumni Summer Showcase, “The Cost” by Aquaila Shene Barnes, directed by Barbara Montgomery, in Summer Shares at La MaMa. On July 31, the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, NC conferred an award on The Negro Ensemble Inc. for 50 years of excellence in theater. The honor was accepted for the company by its current Artistic Director, Charles Weldon.


George Takei, Gedde Watanabe, Melody Butiu, Amy Hill, Hudson Yang, Krista Marie Yu, Beau Sia and More Set for ONE NIGHT ONLY: EWP MARKET Benefit on September 9

George Takei. Photo by Luke Fontana
George Takei. Photo by Luke Fontana
George Takei. Photo by Luke Fontana

East West Players (EWP), the nation’s longest-running professional theatre of color and the largest producing organization of Asian American artistic work, is pleased to announce its signature One Night Only season kick-off fundraising event, to be held on Saturday, September 9, 2017. The event is themed “EWP Night Market” and will include tasting stations hosted by local restaurants, followed by an evening of performances featuring Asian American Broadway stars George Takei (Allegiance and Pacific Overtures), Gedde Watanabe (Pacific Overtures), Melody Butiu (Here Lies Love), and more. Proceeds of One Night Only: EWP Night Market support EWP’s artistic and educational programs.

“This year’s One Night Only ushers in the start of our 52nd Anniversary Season, The Company We Keep,” says Snehal Desai. “In my second season as EWP’s Producing Artistic Director, I wanted to celebrate the vital artistic and community partnerships that have supported us over the past 52 years and also honor where we are today. One Night Only: EWP Night Market features a fusion of Asian cultures and traditions, and an amazing evening of songs, spoken word, and comedy performed by a stellar, multi-generational lineup of Asian American performers familiar to East West Players audiences.”

Additional performers include Amy Hill (CW’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”), Krista Marie Yu (ABC’s “Dr. Ken”), Hudson Yang and Forrest Wheeler (ABC’s “Fresh Off The Boat”), Araceli Prasarttongosoth and MichAyla Brown (EWP’s The Who’s Tommy), Tony Award-winning poet Beau Sia (Broadway’s Def Poetry Jam), and performance artist Kristina Wong (Wong Street Journal). More performers will be announced soon.

One Night Only: EWP Night Market will be held on Saturday, September 9, 2017 at East West Players’ David Henry Hwang Theater at the Union Center of the Arts at 120 Judge John Aiso Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Cocktails and tasting stations will be available starting at 6:00PM. The evening continues with performances at 7:30PM. One Night Only: EWP Night Market is a benefit performance. Levels of sponsorships are available ranging from $1,000 to $3,500 with VIP tickets, reserved seating, and a program ad. Individual tickets for cocktails and the show are available for $200 VIP for reserved seating in the Preferred Orchestra section, $150 General for reserved seating in the Orchestra section, and $100 Balcony for reserved seating in the balcony. For information about sponsorship and ticket opportunities, please email Development Manager Monika Ramnath at

Sponsorship packages and individual tickets may be purchased at or please call (213) 625-7000. Dates, details, and ticket prices are subject to change.

For more information about East West Players or One Night Only: EWP Night Market, please visit


Donica Lynn to Present 5th Annual TODAY’S A GOOD DAY – WALK WITH ME Benefit Concert on June 26

Donica Lynn in André De Shields' CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. at Victory Gardens. Photo by Lia Chang

Donica Lynn is presenting her fifth annual benefit concert Today’s a Good Day-Walk With Me at 8:00pm on Monday, June 26, 2017 at The Mercury Theater Chicago, 3745 N. Southport Ave. All proceeds from tickets sales, donations, and raffle will be donated equally to the American Cancer Society and the American Brain Tumor Association.

Donica Lynn in André De Shields' CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. at Victory Gardens. Photo by Lia Chang
Donica Lynn in André De Shields’ CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. at Victory Gardens. Photo by Lia Chang

The benefit features three-time cancer survivor Donica Lynn, Doug Pawlik, Dave Budrys, Billy Dawson, Aaron Benham, Kael Mboya, Michael Lockett, Kimberly Lawson, Curtis Fondren, Aaron Mitchell Reese, Taylor Iman Carter, Robin da Silvaand Donica’s children Aerial Dwyer, Sabastian, and Sidra. Special guests scheduled to perform are Jess Godwin, Caleb Baze, Leah Pawlik, Grant Thomas Zabielski, DC Ford, Doug Peck, Jim McCaffrey and a special guest from Artists Giving Back Chicago.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Tickets are available at or 312-325-1700.

Benefit producer and performer Donica Lynn states, “Although this concert began five years ago as my personal testament through song of my journey and battle with the diagnosis, treatments and aftercare of brain cancer, Today’s a Good Day-Walk With Me has now become a concert event that speaks to any medical journey, large or small. This concert brings together friends and family to celebrate the lives being lived through the journey, those that help along the way, as well as those that we’ve lost-during our Angels tribute. The concert is on the eve of my birthday, which is an ideal time to celebrate another year of my life and these organizations that help give life.”

All involved in Today’s a Good Day-Walk With Me are donating their time. Performances will include personal stories of Lynn’s medical journey and songs that have been meaningful to Lynn and the other performers throughout the past year, including music by Jason Robert Brown, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Elton John and the musicals 13, Waitress and James and the Giant Peach.

Doncia Lynn was named The Person of the Year Theater in 2016 by The Chicago Tribune. Starring as Effie “Melody” White in Porchlight Music Theatre’s critically-acclaimed production of Dreamgirls earned her the Best Actress in Musical Award by the Jeff Committee, BTAA, and Time Out Chicago. Lynn’s acting career began in 1995 with the now defunct Chicago Theatre Company (Train Is Comin) and she has since been seen in productions with Victory Gardens (CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. w/ two-time Tony nominee André De Shields, A Wonder In My Soul) Mercury Theater (Color Purple, Barnum) Porchlight Music Theater -Off the Porch (Gatecrashers) About Face Theater (When Last We Flew) Chicago Opera Theater (Queenie Pie) Barn Theatre-MI (Hair) Goodman Theatre (Lady In Denmark) Chicago Dramatist (Vee Jay Records) Drury Lane Oakbrook (Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Hairspray, Aida, Thoroughly Modern Millie) Marriott Lincolnshire (Once on This Island, Suessical) Northlight (Saturday Night/Sunday Morning) Theatre at the Center-IND (Footloose, Winnie the Pooh Christmas) Paramount (Hair) Court Theatre (Caroline or Change) Timeline (Fiorello) Congo Square (Black Nativity, Sanctified), ETA Creative Arts (This Far By Faith, Runaway Home, Don’t Get Around Much Anymore, Good Black) Bailiwick Rep (Georgia Tom) Fleetwood Jourdain (Black Nativity) She’s worked several children’s theatre companies including Childrens’ Theatre Fantasy Orchard, & Chocolate Chips, as well as vocal performances with Chicago Sings (Porchlight) Cabernet Cabaret (Arranmore Arts) Chicago Humanities Festival, Sarah Siddons Foundation, & Broadway Holidays (Paramount) RECORDINGS: Ramsey Lewis (Dance of the Soul CD) She’s had two #1 solo dance club singles UK (Shout, Keep Rockin) Justin Roberts (Lullaby CD) Calvin Bridges (So Easy To Love CD)Cory Goodrich (W.O.M.A.N.) Female Lead Vocalist Ascendant Music Inc (Illuminate: Blue, Green) BACKGROUNDS: Rahsaan Patterson, Natalie Cole, New Kids on the Block, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder ALUMNA: Walt Whitman & the Soul Children of Chicago, All-City Youth Choir. A member of Christian Tabernacle Church since 6 months of age, Lynn is honored to have been the recipient of two African American Arts Alliance nominations, as well as the Perseverance Award from Bibo (Beauty In Beauty Out) C.H.A.M.P. Community Project – Traci S. Campbell Founder. Donica holds a degree in medical science, and plans to receive her JD degree. She is a proud member of Actors Equity Association, American Guild of Musical Artists, SAG/AFTRA and proudly represented by Stewart Talent Agency.

Donica Lynn is a 3x Brain Tumor/Cancer Survivor Originally discovered as a benign tumor in 1987 at age 12, Donica had a full craniotomy to remove the lesion. Like many tumors often do, Donica’s tumor reoccurred and she again found herself on the operating table April 21st 2010. It wasn’t until later that same year, August 24, 2010 to be exact, when an MRI test showed another tumor that proved to me malignant that her diagnosis became cancer. In 2013 while undergoing another round of treatment, Donica began a mission to educate, & ignite open conversation about brain tumors/cancer and overall health awareness by telling HER story. Sparked by a simple question “how are you feeling today” asked of her by a dear lifelong friend, Donica’s response took the form of a conversational concert entitled “TODAY’S A GOOD DAY” an annual benefit concert for anyone touched by cancer. During this conversational concert separated into four categories: diagnosis, treatment, aftercare, survival- with ALL proceeds split between the American Brain Tumor Association and the American Cancer Society, she shared not just her story, but the story of ANY medical journey in song. Now in its 5th yr., Today’s A Good Day (2dagd) seeks to encourage anyone on ANY medical journey from the simplest cold/flu, to the most complex depression or terminal illness to actively listen to your body, recognize the signs and seek treatment. The annual benefit is hosted each year by Walter Sterns & Eugene Dizon owner operators of The Mercury Theater on Southport Ave in Chicago where 2dagd was birthed, has grown and ultimately with affection and love has found a home. Underscored every year by a different subtitle [“can’t do it alone” or “walk with me”] Donica believes and seeks to impart through song the importance of knowing and understanding that it’s not just the patients’ journey alone. Along with the help of her friends and “family”–people she affectionately refers to as “The Village”–she shares hope, sadness, frustration, love, life and LIVING through her illness with their help, and the benefit of music. Her life hashtags are #familyismorethanblood #B.L.U. -which stands for Be Loved Unconditionally, also her Production Company’s name SongbirdBLU and #ittakesavillage. She continues to fight daily for her beautiful children Aerial (21) Sabastian (16) Sidra (10) whom she affectionately refers to as “mini-me.” She is engaged to THE LOVE of her life, Edward “Kippy” Tribue as they were college sweethearts; she believes love, music, and positive energy from her community help keep her healthy.

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

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. 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

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Marie Oh Huber and Deepa Iyer to Receive AALDEF’s Justice in Action Awards on March 2

Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
One more month until AALDEF’s 2017 Justice in Action Awards gala. Buy your tickets today!


2017 Justice in Action Awards Recipients

Marie Oh Huber
Senior Vice President, Legal Affairs, General Counsel & Secretary
eBay Inc.

Deepa Iyer
Civil Rights Activist and Attorney

Cindy Hsu and Sree Sreenivasan

Thursday, March 2, 2017
PIER SIXTY, Chelsea Piers, NYC

6:00 PM Reception & Silent Auction    7:00 PM Dinner

For more information or to purchase tickets, email or call 212.966.5932.