Steven Fisher’s New Holiday Musical THE LITTLE DANCER at Theatre 71 through December 31

Laura Sky Herman, Jesse Dalton, Lisa Graye and Cat Grey. Photo by Lia Chang

The Little Dancer, a new holiday family musical written by Commonwealth Youthchoirs (CY)’s Founder and Artistic Director Steven Fisher, had its world premiere on December 1st at Theatre 71, off Broadway. Helmed by Richard Vida,The Little Dancer tells the heart-warming story of how fourteen-year-old Marie Van Goethem, the model for Edgar Degas’ one and only sculpture, became the most famous ballerina in the world.

Jesse Dalton, Cat Grey, Laura Sky Herman, Lisa Graye and Company. Photo by Lia Chang
Jesse Dalton, Cat Grey, Laura Sky Herman, Lisa Graye and Company. Photo by Lia Chang

The cast of The Little Dancer features Laura Sky Herman (Marie), Jesse Dalton (Ed/Degas), Heather Cadarette (Mama/Mistress de la Ballet), Lisa Graye (Charlotte), Cat Grey (Louise), Georgia Monroe, Raquel Kahn and Ben Schrager, as well as 32 talented children from Philadelphia who comprise the show’s “Musical Theatre Geek Chorus.”

Laura Sky Herman as Marie and Company. Photo by Lia Chang
Laura Sky Herman as Marie and Company. Photo by Lia Chang

In addition to Vida and Fisher, the creative team includes Lainie Sakakura (choreographer), W. Brent Sawyer (Music Director/Arrangements), Zach Hyams (Production Stage Manager), Jeremy Bailey-Smith (Sets, Costumes) and Taylor Frith-Brown (Lighting Designer).

Richard Vida (Director), W. Brent Sawyer (Musical Director), Steven Fisher (Writer and Musical Supervisor and Lainie Sakakura Choreographer. Photo by Lia Chang
Richard Vida (Director), W. Brent Sawyer (Musical Director), Steven Fisher (Writer and Musical Supervisor and Lainie Sakakura Choreographer. Photo by Lia Chang

The Musical Theatre Geek Chorus (MTGC) is made up of 32 theatrically talented singers selected by audition from the ranks of the Garden State Girlchoir, the Keystone State Boychoir, the New Jersey Boychoir, and the Pennsylvania Girlchoir. These young musical theatre thespians have been participating in a weekly workshop with Broadway veterans Richard Vida and Lainie Sakakura in Philadelphia. They are beyond thrilled to be making their professional NYC debut.

The Company of THE LITTLE DANCER. Photo by Lia Chang
The Company of THE LITTLE DANCER. Photo by Lia Chang

Fifteen performers from the ensemble appear in every performance. The members of MTGC are Charlotte Bazzle, Phoebe Bellagamba, Audim Brokenbough, Elizabeth Clancy, Chloe Clark, Carlie Cocco, Victoria Rose Conroy, Dominic Corcoran, Isaac Darga, Taylor Delli Carpini, Koby Fallon, Logan Ford, Jeremy Peyton Jones, Graham Kohn, Chloe Lee, Carly Levy, Grace Mazzola, Elizabeth Mun, Sade Mutua, Sydney Parson, Ani Peterson, Diya Ramesh, Max Ringold, Stefan Rogowski, Emma Shay, Christopher Simcox, Layla Singleton, Giuliana Stout, Sage Torrisi, and Sarah Wusinich.

The kids are all members of Commonwealth Youthchoirs (CY), an organization that serves over 700 young people in the Philadelphia area through the power of singing in a choir. CY’s founder and Artistic Director, Steve Fisher, wrote the musical. Half of the 700 children Fisher serves are underserved. Not only does The Little Dancer feature children, but it will benefit children as well. Every ticket sold will benefit CY’s program Find Your Instrument!, which partners with under-resourced schools that have no music in them. In Philadelphia, similar to many cities, the poverty rate for children stands at 37%, and 2 out of 3 attend elementary schools have no choral program.

Laura Sky Herman as Marie and Company. Photo by Lia Chang
Laura Sky Herman as Marie and Company. Photo by Lia Chang

“I can’t believe I get to be on a NYC stage!” says Isaac Darga, a 10-year old MTGC member. “Music is such an important part of my life, it makes me happy to know that my performance will benefit other kids who don’t have music in their lives.”

Laura Sky Herman as Marie and Company. Photo by Lia Chang
Laura Sky Herman as Marie and Company. Photo by Lia Chang

This one hour show has a delightful story, toe tapping songs and an uplifting holiday ending.

Heather Cadarette as Mama and Laura Sky Herman as Marie. Photo by Lia Chang
Heather Cadarette as Mama and Laura Sky Herman as Marie. Photo by Lia Chang

Performances every Saturday and Sunday in December at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm.

Cat Grey, Laura Sky Herman and Heather Cadarette. Photo by Lia Chang
Cat Grey, Laura Sky Herman and Heather Cadarette. Photo by Lia Chang

Starting December 26th to December 31st, performances every day at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm.

Laura Sky Herman, Jesse Dalton, Lisa Graye and Cat Grey. Photo by Lia Chang
Laura Sky Herman, Jesse Dalton, Lisa Graye and Cat Grey. Photo by Lia Chang

For more information and to purchase tickets online, visit www.thelittledancermusical.org. Tickets can also be purchased 30 minutes before curtain at the venue. Theatre 71 at Blessed Sacrament, 152 W. 71st Street, New York, NY 10023, right off Broadway).

Jesse Dalton and Laura Sky Herman. Photo by Lia Chang
Jesse Dalton and Laura Sky Herman. Photo by Lia Chang
Advertisements

BC/EFA’s RED BUCKET FOLLIES Celebrates Asian Americans on Broadway and the 60th Anniversary of FLOWER DRUM SONG

The company on the stage of The New Amsterdam Theatre in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

Six weeks of fundraising culminates in an extravaganza of Broadway stars, extraordinary ensembles and one-of-a-kind performances at Red Bucket Follies at 4:30 pm on Monday, December 3, and at 2 pm on Tuesday, December 4 at the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York. The show is produced by and benefits Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

The company on the stage of The New Amsterdam Theatre in New York. Photo by Lia Chang
The company on the stage of The New Amsterdam Theatre in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

The opening number of BC/EFA’s Red Bucket Follies will celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Flower Drum Song and will honor the legacy of Asian-Americans on Broadway.

Telly Leung, Alvin Ing and Jose Llana. Photo by Lia Chang
Telly Leung, Alvin Ing and Jose Llana. Photo by Lia Chang

Paying tribute to the trailblazing productions of Flower Drum Song, the number will feature members of the original 1958 cast as well as Asians currently on Broadway. The piece will celebrate Broadway’s diversity and the diversity within the Asian-American experience. The number was conceived by Lainie Sakakura and Telly Leung, and written by Lainie Sakakura, cast members from the 2002 David Henry Hwang revisal of Flower Drum Song. Alex Sanchez will direct and choreograph.

The Elders - Left to right Paula Chin, Victoria Racimo, Kumiko Nakagawa, Alvin Ing, Mae Wong, Carol Gordon Moora, Virginia Wing. Photo by Lia Chang
The Elders – Left to right Paula Chin, Victoria Racimo, Kumiko Nakagawa, Alvin Ing, Mae Wong, Carol Gordon Moora, Virginia Wing. Photo by Lia Chang

Flower Drum Song features Music by Richard Rodgers, Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, Original Broadway Revival Choreography by Robert Longbottom , Music Direction by Ted Arthur, Additional Lyrics by Vanessa Brown, Lainie Sakakura, Orchestrations by Adam Kaufman and Costume Design by Jeremy Bailey-Smith.

Telly Leung, Alvin Ing, Jodi Long and Jose Llana. Photo by Lia Chang
Telly Leung, Alvin Ing, Jodi Long and Jose Llana. Photo by Lia Chang

Performers: Aaron J. Albano, Sandra Allen, Susan Ancheta, Alan Ariano, Paula Chin, Marcus Choi, Adrianne Chu, Ma-Anne Dionisio, Ali Ewoldt, Takayo Fischer, Lydia Gaston, Sally Hong, Joomin Hwang, Jason Garcia Ignacio, Sabrina Imamura, Miho Imoto, Alvin Ing, Nina Zoie Lam, Telly Leung, Jose Llana, Baayork Lee, Jodi Long, J. Elaine Marcos, Paul HeeSang Miller, Carol Gordon Morra, Kumiko Nakagawa, Ashley Park, Vicki Racimo, Catherine Ricafort, Lainie Sakakura, Rommy Sandhu, Herman Sebek, Shawnee Smith, Riza Takahashi, Yuka Takara, Robert Tatad, Virginia Wing, Mae Wong, Ericka Yang, Warren Yang, Kelli Youngman, Lisa Yuen and Minami Yusui.

Downstage right and clockwise) - Aaron J. Albano, Minami Yusui, Yuka Takara, Jason Ignacio Garcia, Riza Takahashi, Joomin Hwang, Warren Yang, Kelli Youngman, Paul HeeSang Miller, Adrianne Chu, Sabrina Imamura, Telly Leung, Center - Ericka Hunter. Photo by Lia Chang
Downstage right and clockwise – Aaron J. Albano, Minami Yusui, Yuka Takara, Jason Garcia Ignacio, Riza Takahashi, Joomin Hwang, Warren Yang, Kelli Youngman, Paul HeeSang Miller, Adrianne Chu, Sabrina Imamura, Telly Leung, Center – Ericka Hunter. Photo by Lia Chang

Red Bucket Follies (#redbucketfollies) will feature guest appearances by Mike Birbiglia (Mike Birbiglia’s The New One); Norbert Leo Butz and Harry Hadden-Paton (My Fair Lady); Kevin Chamberlin (Wicked); Noma Dumezweni, Poppy Miller and Paul Thornley (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child); Erika Henningsen, Ashley Park, Kate Rockwell, Kyle Selig and Jennifer Simard (Mean Girls); Cherry Jones (The Lifespan of a Fact); and Michael Urie (Torch Song).

Legacy Robe recipients: Aaron J. Albano, Nina Zoie Lam, Lydia Gaston, Catherine Ricafort, J. Elaine Marcos, Lainie Sakakura, Alan Ariano, (not pictured: Baayork Lee) Rommy Sandhu. Photo by Lia Chang
Legacy Robe recipients: Aaron J. Albano, Nina Zoie Lam, Lydia Gaston, Catherine Ricafort, J. Elaine Marcos, Lainie Sakakura, Rommy Sandhu, Alan Ariano, (not pictured: Baayork Lee). Photo by Lia Chang

This year’s songs, skits and dances will feature more than 150 singers and dancers. Broadway shows scheduled to perform include Chicago, Frozen, Hamilton, Kinky Boots, The Lion King, and Wicked, as well as Off-Broadway’s Avenue Q, Fiddler on the Roof – in Yiddish and NEWSical The Musical. Representing Dancers Responding to AIDS, a program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, choreographer Billy Griffin will share an original piece created for this year’s Hudson Valley Dance Festival.

Daniel May, Alan Ariano, Telly Leung, Yuka Takara, Robert Longbottom and Lainie Sakakura. Photo by Lia Chang
Daniel May, Alan Ariano, Telly Leung, Yuka Takara, Robert Longbottom and Lainie Sakakura. Photo by Lia Chang

A panel of distinguished judges will award best presentation honors at Tuesday’s performance. This year’s judges are music supervisor Mary-Mitchell Campbell (Mean Girls, The Prom); Ali Ewoldt and Jay Armstrong Johnson (The Phantom of the Opera); the legendary Rosemary Harris (My Fair Lady); Andy Karl and Orfeh (Pretty Woman); Caitlin Kinnunen and Isabelle McCalla (The Prom); Peppermint (Head Over Heels) and Nicolette Robinson(Waitress). Also joining the panel are Nathan Noh and Peg Wendlandt, who won their judging spots by bidding on exclusive VIP packages at the 32nd Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction in September.

Ultimate Broadway buff Seth Rudetsky, host of SiriusXM’s “On Broadway” channel, returns to lead the festivities for the 11th year. The show also will include a number, directed and choreographed by Karla Puno Garcia, honoring the national touring shows that participated in the fall fundraising, and a tribute to Broadway Cares’ iconic red buckets, directed and choreographed by Chaz Wolcott.

Red Bucket Follies builds on the 29-year legacy of the Gypsy of the Year Competition. The show will continue to showcase ensemble members and special guests sharing original performances, with awards given to the best presentation and for the top fundraising Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring shows for the six weeks’ efforts.

A limited number of tickets, starting at $30, are available. They can be purchased at broadwaycares.org.

Red Bucket Follies will be directed by Jason Trubitt with Matthew Kurtis Lutz serving as production stage manager and Ted Arthur as music director.

Since 1989, the 29 editions of Gypsy of the Year raised $76 million to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Red Bucket Follies will build on that tradition.

Photo Flash: BC/EFA’s RED BUCKET FOLLIES Celebrates Asian Americans On Broadway And The 60th Anniversary Of FLOWER DRUM SONG

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.

LEVIATHAN LAB PRESENTS THE WALL: IMMIGRATION IN THE TIME OF 45, October 26-27

Leviathan Lab (Ariel Estrada, Producing Artistic Director) will present THE WALL: IMMIGRATION IN THE TIME OF 45, featuring new short plays on the immigration crisis by Asian American playwrights at The Tank (312 West 36th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues) on Friday, October 26 at 7:00 PM and Saturday, October 27 at 7:00 PM. Tickets ($12 in advance, $15 at door) are available for advance purchase at http://www.thetanknyc.org. The performance will run approximately 75 minutes with no intermission. Liquor sales from the evening will benefit Immigrant Families Together, a network of Americans committed to rapid response unification of families separated by the ‘zero tolerance’ policy.

The evening’s playwrights include Sheila Bandyopadhyay, Kaela Garvin, Daniel K. Isaac (THE CHINESE LADY; Billions), Cherry Lou Sy, and Sanaz Toosi. The evening will also feature a screening of a new short film American Immigrant by The Film Lab (Jennifer Betit Yen, Writer and Director). The performances are presented as part of Leviathan Lab’s annual Living Room series of new short plays by Asian American playwrights performed by Asian American actors and directors.

The featured plays include:

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S WALL
By Daniel K. Isaac
Directed by Carlos Armesto
Starring Kathleen Choe*, Philip Estrera*, and Neil D’astolfo*

SAUDADE
By Kaela Garvin
Directed by Nina Zoie Lam
Starring Alton Alburo and Carolina Do

WHAT IS A CONTRIBUTION?
By Sanaz Toosi in collaboration with Shadi Ghaheri
Directed by Shadi Ghaheri
Starring Bahar Beihaghi, Abraham Makany*, and Madelyn Robinson

THE WALL
By Cherry Lou Sy
Directed by Eugene Ma
Starring Brian J. Gabriel and Josh Tyson*

Excerpt from RISE/FALL
By Sheila Bandyopadhyay
Music by Portraiture (James Pingenot and Nathan Siler)
Starring Jeff Alkins, GJ Dowding, Karen Johal, Kane Parker, Nico Piccardo, and Madison Youch

Tickets for THE WALL: IMMIGRATION IN THE TIME OF 45 are available at http://www.thetanknyc.org and by calling Brown Paper Tickets at 1-800-838-3006.

*Appears courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association. THE WALL: IMMIGRATION IN THE TIME OF 45 is an AEA approved showcase production.

ABOUT LEVIATHAN LAB
Founded in 2009, Leviathan Lab is an award-winning not-for-profit creative studio whose mission is the advancement of Asian and Asian American (A/AA) performing artists and their work. Through the speaking of A/AA artists’ words, and the presentation of A/AA bodies, presence, and gestures on stage and film, Leviathan works to open spaces that promote social justice, bridge communities, and assert the power of art to change the world. We function as a lab where early- career and established A/AA artists can be courageous, experiment, and thrive as they create works that captivate the audiences we serve. www.leviathanlab.org.

SaveSave

David Zayas, Hilary Bettis and Shirley Rumierk will be honored at Barefoot Theatre Company’s Third Annual Vassallo Awards on November 17

David Zayas
David Zayas

On Saturday, November 17th, Barefoot Theatre Company celebrates the third annual Vassallo Awards with a Fall Gala beginning at 8pm at the SVA THEATRE in NYC on 333 W 23rd Street in Manhattan. Actor David Zayas (Showtime’s DEXTER, FOX’s Gotham, OZ on HBO); acclaimed writer, Hilary Bettis (FX’s Emmy Award winning, The Americans), Actress Shirley Rumierk (NBC’s RISE) are among those honored for artistic achievements. The ceremony, hosted by Actor and founder of Barefoot Theatre Co., Francisco Solorzano and ensemble member, Christopher Whalen, also honors mentorship and educational outreach to a younger generation of artists in memory of Ed Vassallo, whose artistic career spanned 20 years and included work producing for the LAByrinth Theater Company and volunteering with the 52nd Street Project.

RED-CARPET CELEBRATION VIP TICKETS: $150 (tax deductible) includes VIP COCKTAIL HOUR – 6:30pm. -7:30 pm. General Admission: $75 – 7:30 pm (includes drinks & presentation). CURTAIN: 8pm. Running Time (presentation & awards ceremony) – 75 mins. For tickets and further information please click here or call 212-802-8305.

The one-night only event features Live Music from Mexican-American singer-songwriter and activist, Renee Goust (Joe’s Pub, Lincoln Center) and Performances by Special guest artists from Broadway, Film and Television. Accepting the award for Educational Outreach will be Jill DeArmon (LAByrinth Theater Co., Vineyard Theater) and Jinn S. Kim (LAByrinth Theater Co., Hi-Arts) for their work with DEVELOPING ARTISTS. Past recipients included Kamilah Forbes with Hi-ARTS and the Stella Adler Educational Outreach Program, Anna Chlumsky (EMMY Nominee, VEEP), Lynn Cohen (Spielberg’s MUNICH, Sex and the City), Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Adly Guirgis and Daniel Talbott.

Barefoot founded the awards after Vassallo lost a two-year battle with cancer in 2014. The company was inspired to recognize Vassallo’s dedication to the arts, which included work producing the TENN99 and NYNY festivals for the LAByrinth Theatre Company as well as feature films which saw release at the Tribeca Film Festival and IFC/Sundance Selects. Vassallo’s passion extended to work as a mentor with the 52nd Street Project, which pairs New York City children and teens with professional theatre artists. For this reason, the awards acknowledge not only artistic achievements but also educational outreach and mentorship that engages the next generation of artists.

BAREFOOT THEATRE COMPANY / BAREFOOT STUDIO PICTURES is an award winning, critically acclaimed multicultural collective of actors and filmmakers specializing in the development and incubation of new work and the cultivation of new attention for lesser-known works by well-established authors, with a vital, thought-provoking eye toward themes of diversity and inclusion. Barefoot Theatre Company’s most notable production includes the first ever Off-Broadway stage adaptation of the Academy award winning film, Dog Day Afternoon. The company has developed and produced over 150 new plays staged at INTAR; RATTLESTICK; THE FLEA; Cherry Lane Theatre; IRT THEATER; HERE Arts Center; THE BRICK; LABYRINTH THEATER CO., The Actors Studio, THEATRE ROW THEATRES, THE NEW OHIO THEATRE among others. Recent Barefoot Theatre Company collaborations with award-winning writers include Jose Rivera, Dominique Morisseau, Jesse Eisenberg, Kristoffer Diaz, Mando Alvarado, Ed. Cardona Jr., Mike Reiss, Daniel Talbott, Hilary Bettis and with actors Chris Cooper, Ethan Hawke, Bobby Cannavale, Gina Gershon, Richard Kind, Mickey Sumner, Caitlin Fitzgerald, Annabella Sciorra, and Michael Stuhlbarg to name a few. In film, Barefoot Studio Pictures’ work has been recognized with the Barcelona International Best Short Film Award, World-Fest Film Festival Best Short FIlm, at Hollyshorts Film Festival and many others. Barefoot Theatre Company was founded by actor, Francisco Solorzano in 1999, who is currently Producing Artistic Director with Christopher Whalen as Producing Director.

David Zayas is best known for his role as Angel Batista on the Golden Globe-nominated psychological drama “Dexter.” David was recently seen as “Sal Maroni” on the Fox series Gotham, “Sheriff Aguirre” on the Netflix series Bloodline and “Eduardo Magana” on the Hulu series Shut Eye. His other recent television credits include Saint George (FX), Seven Seconds (Netflix), Blue Bloods (CBS), Quantico (ABC), and The Guest Book (TBS). While working on the crime drama The Beat, Zayas met Emmy Award-winning television writer and producer Tom Fontana, who went on to create the role of “Enrique Morales” on HBO’s Oz especially for him. On film, he has starred in The Expendables, Skyline, 13, Michael Clayton, Sixteen Blocks, The Savages, Bringing Out the Dead, The Yards, Undefeated, Wit, Angel, and The Interpreter. David also starred opposite Helen Hunt in the indie feature Ride, starred opposite Ellen Page and Allison Janney in the feature Tallulah, and appeared in the film remake of the 1982 movie musical Annie opposite Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz. David stars in the upcoming feature Shine. A former New York police officer, Zayas began his acting career with LAByrinth Theater Company in 1992. He has starred in more than thirty theater productions, most with The LAByrinth Theater Company, including: “Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train,” “In Arabia We’d All Be Kings,” “Our Lady of 121 St.,” and the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Anna in the Tropics” on Broadway.

Shirley Rumierk played the series regular role of “Vanessa Suarez” on RISE for NBC. Last year she starred in the independent film, 11:55 as well as the film COLLATERAL BEAUTY starring Will Smith. She recently completed guest star roles on ELEMENTARY and BLUE BLOODS for CBS and POWER for Starz. She also starred in LATINOLOGUES at the Helen Hayes theater on Broadway. Shirley is a proud board member of The 52nd Street Project in New York City which teaches kids in Hell’s Kitchen the importance of theater and arts education while working alongside professional working actors (a program she was a member of as a child). Shirley is also on the Alumni Council of Oliver Scholars, an organization that unlocks doors of opportunity for high achieving Black and Latino students in New York City by helping them gain admission to top independent high schools. As an Oliver Scholar she attended Trinity School. Shirley is a graduate of Harvard College with a degree in Hispanic Studies.

HILARY BETTIS is a Brooklyn-based writer who works in TV, film, and theater. She was nominated for a 2018 Writer’s Guild of America Award for her work on the Emmy nominated series “The Americans” on FX, which she wrote on for the final two seasons. She is an alum of the highly competitive Sundance Episodic TV lab. She is a 2015 graduate of the Lila Acheson Wallace Playwright Fellowship at The Juilliard School. Bettis has received fellowships, workshops, and residencies at the Roundabout, Alley All New Festival, Orlando Shakes PlayFest, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, 2050 Fellow at New York Theatre Workshop, John N. Wall Fellow at Sewanee Writers’ Conference, SPACE at Ryder Farm, Writer-In-Residence at Cape Cod Theatre Project, La Jolla Playhouse, New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, Playwrights’ Week at The Lark, NNPN’s National Showcase of New Plays, Audrey Residency at New Georges, Two River Theater, Great Plains Theatre Conference, WildWind Lab at Texas Tech, The Kennedy Center/ NNPN MFA Workshop, and a Sloan/EST Commission. She has had plays recognized by The Kilroys every year since its inception. She has been a Runner-Up for the ALLIANCE THEATRE’s Kendeda Award, Nuestras Voces National Playwriting Competition, American Blues Theater’s Blue Ink Award, New America Fellowship, and the Leah Ryan Prize. Bettis is a member of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group at Primary Stages, Ensemble Studio Theater, a Usual Suspect at NYTW, and an Affiliated Artist at New Georges. The Ghosts of Lote Bravo received a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere at the Unicorn Theatre in Kansas City, MO, Borderlands Theater in Tucson, Arizona. Her play, Alligator, was produced Off-Broadway with New Georges and The Sol Project, and was nominated for a 2017 Drama Desk for Outstanding Music in a Play. Queen of Basel, a bilingual adaptation of Miss Julie commissioned by Miami New Drama, was produced at Miami New Drama in April 2018 to critical acclaim, and will receive its world premiere at Studio Theatre in D.C. March 2019. Her play, 72 miles to go… will receive a workshop production at the Alley in Houston January 2019. As a screenwriter, Bettis has written and produced two short films, B’Hurst and The Iron Warehouse, which have screened at film festivals across the globe. She wrote and produced her directorial debut short, Amarillo by Morning, currently in post-production. She has developed TV projects with NBCUniversal, FOX 21 and Citizen Media. She is currently adapting the Colombian hit-series “La Niña” for FX with Propgate (“Jane the Virgin”, “Ugly Betty”) producing. She is represented by CAA and Grandview. www.HilaryBettisWriter.com

DEVELOPING ARTISTS MISSION
Developing Artists is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1999 dedicated to providing opportunities for underdog (underserved) teens to reach their full potential through a practical application of the performing arts. We help students find their place and their connection to their community through participation in the arts. Developing Artists offer top-notch training for students from culturally diverse and socioeconomically underserved backgrounds to proclaim themselves as artists and to create a supportive young artist community through our innovative signature program REBEL VERSES Arts Festival. Developing Artists bridges the disparity of arts education for students from underserved communities by providing youth between the ages of 13 through 19 who attend High Schools in New York metropolitan area the opportunities to study performing arts at the highest level. We impact students by creating a forum to navigate life’s increasing challenges; to find their voice in dealing with issues like rage, fear or frustration; and channel that energy into self-expression and self-confidence. Over 95% of our students go on to graduate college. Jill DeArmon (Artistic Director/Board) / Jinn S. Kim (Executive Director/Board).

SaveSave

SWEET CHARITY’s Kenny Ingram Stars In Benefit Concert Reading of SHANE BOY DARLING at Ruth Page Center on October 22

Kenny Ingram. Photo by Lia Chang

The Ruth Page Center for the Arts is presenting a benefit concert reading of Shane Boy Darling on Monday, Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St.

Kenny Ingram. Photo by Lia Chang
Kenny Ingram. Photo by Lia Chang

Shane Boy Darling is a one man musical written and starring Kenny Ingram with music and lyrics by Peter Candela.

General admission tickets are $25. Discounted tickets are available for seniors, and students over 18. Subject Matter Not Suitable for under 18.

Proceeds from the performance to benefit the Young Men’s Scholarship Program at the Ruth Page School of Dance. To reserve a ticket or find more information, click here.

Shane Boy Darling is a series of vignettes based on true stories with original music and lyrics. Performed as a concert reading, the play is a cosmic ride of laughter, inspiration and reflections on life and overcoming adversity, Ingram reflects on his career, family history and how he dealt with his greatest challenge – being diagnosed with prostate cancer. This challenge creates a special bond between his artistic collaborator, Peter Candela, who was also diagnosed with prostate cancer at the same time. Ultimately, the journey inspires faith and gratitude in an array of musical styles.

Kenny Ingram hails from San Jose, California and he has been a part of the Chicago Theatre Community since 1983. He started his professional career at the Marriott Theatre playing Ritchie in A Chorus Line! He has since choreographed and won a Jeff Award for 42nd Street at Marriott and a Jeff Award for playing Mr. Magix at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse. Mr. Ingram recently completed a ten year run on Broadway in Disney’s The Lion King. Ingram recently won a New York Musical Festival Award for Outstanding Choreography for Emojiland and is currently featured as Daddy Brubeck in Marriott’s Theatre Sweet Charity.

Peter Candela was born and raised in Rochester, New York. During his college career, Candela studied various forms of music and with esteemed Gary Burton, Rayburn Wright, Bill Dobbins, Samuel Adler and Robert Morris. He moved to the New York metropolitan area in 1983 and quickly established himself as a freelance musician. His Broadway credits include playing keyboards for Disney’s The Lion King since 1998, and the latest Broadway revival of Bells Are Ringing. He has performed at Radio City and The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. As composer, lyricist, and orchestrator, he wrote the 2012 Broadway/Cares Equity Fights Aids Easter Bonnet presentation entitled “Hallelujah Harlem” that won first prize for best presentation. You can also hear his song “Wreath of Kindness” performed by members of the cast of The Lion King on the 2012 “Carols for a Cure” CD. In 2015, he wrote the arrangements for “Face the Light,” an original Christian CD composed by Peter Kidd. He has accompanied many Broadway veterans including Jo Sullivan Loesser and Constantine Maroulis.

For more information about The Ruth Page Center for the Performing Arts and its programs visit www.RuthPage.org.

Lainie Sakakura, Kenny Ingram, Baayork Lee, Tisa Chang. Photo by Lia Chang
Lainie Sakakura, Kenny Ingram, Baayork Lee, Tisa Chang. Photo by Lia Chang

I recently caught up with Kenny Ingram when he appeared in the developmental reading of Lainie Sakakura (producer/book) and Paul Fujimoto’s (music/lyrics) CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, a musical adaptation of The New York Times Best Selling novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford at The Playroom Theater in New York on September 17.

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

SaveSave

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

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

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

SaveSave

SaveSave