This is your final weekend to catch the world premiere of “Soft Power” by David Henry Hwang (play and lyrics) and Jeanine Tesori (music and additional lyrics) at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.
This play with a musical, produced by Center Theatre Group, directed by Leigh Silverman and choreographed by Sam Pinkleton, will end on June 10th, followed by a run at San Francisco’s Curran from June 20 through July 8, 2018.
The cast includes, in alphabetical order, Billy Bustamante, Kara Guy, Jon Hoche, Kendyl Ito, Francis Jue, Austin Ku, Raymond J. Lee, Alyse Alan Louis, Jaygee Macapugay, Daniel May, Paul HeeSang Miller, Kristen Faith Oei, Maria-Christina Oliveras, Geena Quintos, Conrad Ricamora, Trevor Salter and Emily Stillings.
The creative team includes scenic design by David Zinn, costume design by Anita Yavich, lighting design by Mark Barton, sound design by Kai Harada, orchestrations by Danny Troob, dance arrangements by John Clancy, music supervision by Chris Fenwick, music direction by David O, hair and wig design by Tom Watson, make-up design by Angelina Avallone and casting by Heidi Griffiths, CSA and Kate Murray, CSA. The dramaturg is Oskar Eustis. The production stage manager is David Lurie-Perret.
A contemporary comedy explodes into a musical fantasia in the first collaboration between two of America’s great theatre artists: Tony Award winners David Henry Hwang (“M. Butterfly”) and Jeanine Tesori (“Fun Home”). “Soft Power” rewinds our recent political history and plays it back, a century later, through the Chinese lens of a future, beloved East-meets-West musical. In the musical, a Chinese executive who is visiting America finds himself falling in love with a good-hearted U.S. leader – Hillary Clinton – as the power balance between their two countries shifts following the 2016 election.
As original as it is topical, “Soft Power” overflows with the romance, laughter and cultural confusions of the golden age of Broadway. “Soft Power” is inspired by the legacy of classic American musicals such as “The King and I” as well as China’s current quest for international cultural influence, also known as “Soft Power.”
“Soft Power” is a Center Theatre Group co-commission with The Public Theater. “Soft Power” is produced in association with East West Players.
Tickets for “Soft Power” are available through Center Theatre Group or East West Players. To purchase Center Theatre Group tickets: call (213) 972-4400, visit www.CenterTheatreGroup.org, or go to the Center Theatre Group Box Office located at the Ahmanson Theatre. To purchase tickets through East West Players: call (213) 625-7000 or visit www.eastwestplayers.org. Tickets range from $30 – $130 (ticket prices are subject to change). The Ahmanson Theatre is located at The Music Center, 135 N. Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A. 90012.
Andrea Louie, executive director of the Asian American Arts Alliance, has announced she will step down from her leadership role from the organization after more than seven years of service. Louie’s last day will be March 9, 2018. A pioneer in the field, the Alliance has established itself as a leader in providing services to Asian American artists and organizations through professional development workshops, regrants, networking opportunities, and advocacy.
“It’s been such a joy and privilege to work with the Alliance and this incredible community of cultural workers,” Louie said. “It’s been an honor to serve with so many passionate and dedicated board and staff members, and I have learned a great deal from each one. I will continue to work in the arts and culture sector here in New York City and look forward to advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion in the field. There has never been a greater need for this work.”
Louie joined the Alliance on August 10, 2010. During her tenure, she helped raise the profile of the Alliance across the city and expanded the organization’s reach into immigrant communities in Queens and Brooklyn through such initiatives as the Locating the Sacred Festival. With a strong team of colleagues, she increased public programs and fellowships to support individual artists across disciplines; positioned the Alliance as a steadfast advocacy partner in the field, seeking increased public funding for arts and culture and more equitable arts policies; and expanded support for the Alliance through increased government relations and partnerships with Asian American and arts organizations throughout the five boroughs. Anjali Goyal, who has served as Development Manager at the Alliance, will serve as Acting Executive Director.
“We thank Andrea for her years of service and thoughtful leadership in guiding the Alliance as a creative force and in its social impact. Many in the field have recognized Andrea’s unwavering commitment to civic engagement. The community has benefited from her many contributions,” said Athena Robles, president of the board. The Alliance board is conducting an executive director search, and the job description may be found here.
The Alliance board invites the community to celebrate Louie’s tenure with the Alliance at the next Town Hall, which will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 22, at 384 Broadway community art space. You may RSVP to attend here.
Asian American Arts Alliance is dedicated to strengthening Asian American arts and cultural groups through resource sharing, promotion, and community building. Since 1983, the Alliance has sought to unify, promote and represent the artistic and cultural producers of one of New York City’s fastest-growing ethnic populations. The organization is a diverse alliance of artists, organizations, and arts supporters who believe that working together as a panethnic, multidisciplinary community is essential to nurturing the development of artists and arts organizations and to providing meaningful and innovative ways for civic engagement in society. www.aaartsalliance.org.
The Huntington Theatre Company is presenting the explosive Pulitzer Prize winner Topdog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks and directed by Tony, Grammy, and Drama Desk Award winner Billy Porter (The Colored Museum at the Huntington and Lola in Kinky Boots on Broadway). The two-handed starring Matthew J. Harris and Tyrone Mitchell Henderson has performances through April 9, 2017 at the Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre, 264 Huntington Avenue in Boston, MA.
Topdog/Underdog is a darkly comic, deeply theatrical fable about family wounds and healing bonds. Lincoln and Booth are brothers: best friends and bitter rivals. Lincoln, a former 3-card monte hustler, works as a Lincoln impersonator in a shooting gallery; Booth is an aspiring grifter. He tempts his brother to get back in the game, but the consequences could be deadly.
Select Evenings: Tues. – Thurs. at 7:30pm; Fri. – Sat. at 8pm; select Sun. at 7pm. Matinees: Select Wed., Sat., and Sun. at 2pm
Single tickets starting at $25 and FlexPasses are on sale: online at huntingtontheatre.org; by phone at 617 266 0800; or in person at the BU Theatre Box Office, 264 Huntington Ave. and the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA Box Office, 527 Tremont St. in Boston’s South End.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS Matthew J. Harris (Booth)recently appeared in Kirsten Greenidge’s Milk Like Sugar at the Huntington. He has regional credits that include In the Heights (Walnut Street Theatre), A Comedy of Errors (Theater at Monmouth), and Twelfth Night (Shakesperience Productions, Inc.). Some of his New York credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (The Classical Theatre of Harlem), Macbeth (Pulse Ensemble Theatre), She Calls Me Firefly (New Perspectives Theatre), and Trouble (New York Musical Theatre Festival). His television credits include “Blindspot” and “Person of Interest.” He can also be heard and seen in commercials for Coke Zero, Verizon, Zaxby’s, Footlocker, Bounty, and more. Mr. Harris is also a hip-hop dancer, teacher, and choreographer at Man in Motion. maninmotionnyc.com. matthewjharris.net.
Tyrone Mitchell Henderson (Lincoln) previously appeared in Blues for an Alabama Sky at the Huntington. He has also appeared in Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk on Broadway. His Off-Broadway credits include Rancho Viejo (Playwrights Horizons), The America Play, Two Noble Kinsmen, and The Tempest (The Public Theater/NYSF), The Piano Lesson (Signature Theatre), and The Public Sings (New York City Center). His regional credits include Aubergine and Intelligent Homosexuals Guide… (Berkeley Repertory Theatre), WAR, The Winter’s Tale, and The Piano Lesson (Yale Repertory Theatre), Jitney (Actors Theatre of Louisville), Radio Golf (Milwaukee Repertory Theater), Romeo & Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, and Julius Caesar (Shakespeare Theatre Company), and Angels in America (Alliance Theatre and Dallas Theatre Center). His television credits include “Elementary,” “House of Cards,” “Orange is the New Black,” “Unforgettable,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “The Following,” “Suits,” and “Law and Order.” He is the recipient of the Dallas Theater Critics Award (Leon Rabin) for Featured Actor in Angels in America. Mr. Henderson is the founder of Quick Silver Theater Company. QuickSilverTheater.com. TyroneMitchellHenderson.com.
Suzan-Lori Parks (Playwright) is one of the most acclaimed playwrights in American drama today. She is the first African American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Drama, is a MacArthur “Genius” Award recipient, was awarded the prestigious Gish Prize for Excellence in the Arts, and was named one of Time magazine’s “100 Innovators for the Next Wave.” Her project 365 Days/365 Plays (where she wrote a play a day for an entire year) was produced in over 700 theatres worldwide, creating one of the largest grassroots collaborations in theatre history. Her other plays include Topdog/Underdog (2002 Pulitzer Prize winner), The Book of Grace,Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Musical,In the Blood (2000 Pulitzer Prize finalist), Venus (1996 Obie Award), The Death of the LastBlack Man in the Whole Entire World, Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom (1990 Obie Award, Best New American Play), The America Play, and Fucking A. Her adaptation of The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess won the 2012 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. Her newest plays, Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3) – set during the Civil War – was awarded the Horton Foote Prize, the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama, and was a 2015 Pulitzer Prize Finalist. Ms. Parks has written numerous screenplays including Girl 6 for Spike Lee, and she adapted Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God for ABC Television’s “Oprah Winfrey Presents.” She is currently developing an original series for Amazon. Her first novel, Getting Mother’s Body (Random House, 2003), also contains songs and is set in the West Texas of her youth. Ms. Parks recently performed Watch Me Work, a free, weekly, live-streamed, writing workshop, open to artists of all disciplines. Her plays are published by Theatre Communications Group (TCG), Samuel French, and Dramatists Play Service. She is also at work on a stage-musical adaptation of the film The Harder They Come, and a new musical project in collaboration with Timbaland and Harmony Samuels.She is the Residency One playwright at Signature Theatre for their 2016-2017 season and her band Sula & The Noise is also in residence. Ms. Parks teaches at New York University, and serves at The Public Theater as its Master Writer Chair. She is an alumna of New Dramatists and of Mount Holyoke College.
Billy Porter (Director) returns to the Huntington having previously directed The Colored Museum. He is the 2013 Tony, Grammy, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award winner for Best Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Lola in the Tony Award-winning Best Musical Kinky Boots. He was recently seen on Broadway in Shuffle Along, or, the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed. Mr. Porter’s one-man show Ghetto Superstar(2005 GLAAD Media Award nomination, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Performer of the Year 2003–2004) debuted at The Public Theater in conjunction with City Theatre of Pittsburgh. His other directing credits include Company; HAM: A Musical Memoirwith Sam Harris; The Wiz; Being Alive: The Soul of Sondheim; Twilight in Manchego; Once on This Island(NAACP Theatre Award winner for Best Direction); The Soul of Richard Rodgers; Five Guys Named Moe; Altar Boyz; Rent(Associate Director, Off Broadway revival); Patina Miller Live at The Delfonte Room(London); and Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Music of Stevie Wonder(starring Chaka Khan). His Broadway album, Billy’s Back on Broadway (Concord Records) was released in 2014. His single Edelweiss: #blessourhomeland was released on Inauguration day and the full album, Billy Porter Presents the Soul of Richard Rodgers will be released in April of 2017. Some of his film and television work includes The Broken Hearts Club, The Humbling, Billy Porter: Broadway & Soul (PBS), “Law & Order,” and “The Get Down.” As a playwright, Mr. Porter was represented Off Broadway in 2014 with the premiere of While I Yet Livestarring S. Epatha Merkerson (Primary Stages). A Pittsburgh native, he received his BFA in drama from Carnegie Mellon University. He is also a graduate of UCLA’s professional program in screenwriting.
ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON THEATRE COMPANY
Celebrating its 35th season, the Huntington Theatre Company is Boston’s leading professional theatre and one of the region’s premier cultural assets since its founding in 1982. Recipient of the 2013 Regional Theatre Tony Award, the Huntington brings together superb local and national talent and produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current to create award-winning productions. The Huntington runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. The Huntington has long been an anchor cultural institution of Huntington Avenue, the Avenue of the Arts, and will remain so on a permanent basis with plans to convert our current theatre into a first-rate, modern venue with expanded services to audiences, artists, and the community. Under the direction of Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso, the Huntington cultivates, celebrates, and champions theatre as an art form. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.