Telly Leung in Concert at Vitello’s Supper Club in “Sing Happy” on March 18

Telly Leung. Photo Credit: Michael Kushner Photography
Telly Leung. Photo Credit: Michael Kushner Photography
Telly Leung. Photo Credit: Michael Kushner Photography

Beloved Broadway (Aladdin, In Transit, Allegiance, Godspell, Rent, Wicked, Pacific Overtures, Flower Drum Song) and television star (“Glee”), Telly Leung, is coming to Los Angeles to present a brand-new show, “Sing Happy” on March 18th at Vitello’s Supper Club. The eclectic evening of music takes an intimate and revealing look at the ups and downs of what it takes to be a professional singer, from joyful Broadway openings to a career-threatening event that almost ended it all. For additional information, and to purchase tickets, please visit: HERE.

“Sing Happy” is directed by Alan Muraoka (“Sesame Street,” Pacific Overtures, Miss Saigon). The concert will include Broadway standards from shows including Aladdin, If/Then and Rent, and recognizable songs from recording artists Whitney Houston, Kelly Clarkson, John Denver, and Florence and the Machine.

LEUNG is a New York City native who was recently named one of the “Out 100” by Out Magazine and “Faces To Watch” by The Los Angeles Times. His Broadway and national touring credits include Aladdin, In Transit, Allegiance (with George Takei and Lea Salonga), Godspell, Rent (final Broadway company), Wicked (Boq, original Chicago company), Pacific Overtures, and Flower Drum Song. In 2010, he starred as Angel in Rent at the Hollywood Bowl opposite Wayne Brady, directed by Neil Patrick Harris. Television audiences will remember him as Wes the Warbler on “Glee,” as well as his guest star appearances on “Instinct,” “Odd Mom Out,” “Deadbeat,” and “Law and Order: Criminal Intent.” Leung is featured on many original Broadway cast recordings and he has released two solo albums, I’ll Cover You (2012) and Songs for You (2016) on Yellow Sound Label. For more information, please visit www.TellyLeung.com.

Photo Credit: Michael Kushner Photography

Happy Trails to Aladdin’s Telly Leung

Telly Leung as Aladdin. Photo by Matthew Murphy
Telly Leung as Aladdin. Photo by Matthew Murphy
Telly Leung as Aladdin. Photo by Matthew Murphy

Congratulations to Telly Leung, who ends his run as Aladdin in Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway at the New Amsterdam tonight. Leung joined the cast in June 2017.

Courtesy: Telly Leung Instagram
Courtesy: Telly Leung Instagram

Click here to read more about his upcoming concerts on Playbill.com.

Courtesy: Telly Leung Instagram
Courtesy: Telly Leung Instagram

In December, Leung appeared in the opening number of BC/EFA’s Red Bucket Follies which celebrated the 60th Anniversary of Flower Drum Song and honored 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 in rehearsal for BC/EFA’s Red Bucket Follies. Photo by Lia Chang
Telly Leung, Alvin Ing, Jodi Long and Jose Llana. Photo by Lia Chang
Telly Leung, Alvin Ing, Jodi Long and Jose Llana in rehearsal for BC/EFA’s Red Bucket Follies. Photo by Lia Chang
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 Ignacio Garcia, Riza Takahashi, Joomin Hwang, Warren Yang, Kelli Youngman, Paul HeeSang Miller, Adrianne Chu, Sabrina Imamura, Telly Leung, Center – Ericka Hunter in rehearsal for BC/EFA’s Red Bucket Follies. Photo by Lia Chang

2018 RED BUCKET FOLLIES’ FLOWER DRUM SONG Photo Diary 

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

Telly Leung is a New York City native who was recently named one of the “Out 100” by Out Magazine and “Faces To Watch” by The Los Angeles Times. His Broadway and national touring credits include In Transit, Allegiance (with George Takei and Lea Salonga), Godspell, Rent (final Broadway company), Wicked (Boq, original Chicago company), Pacific Overtures, and Flower Drum Song. In 2010, he starred as Angel in Rent at the Hollywood Bowl opposite Wayne Brady, directed by Neil Patrick Harris. Television audiences will remember him as Wes the Warbler on “Glee,” as well as his guest star appearances on “Instinct,” “Odd Mom Out,” “Deadbeat,” and “Law and Order: Criminal Intent.” Telly is featured on many original Broadway cast recordings and he has released two solo albums, I’ll Cover You (2012) and Songs for You (2016) on Yellow Sound Label. For more information, please visit www.TellyLeung.com.

Telly Leung’s New Holiday Single ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ Benefits ASTEP

Telly Leung Joins the Cast of Broadway’s ALADDIN 

STC’s THE TAMING OF THE SHREW Opening Night with André De Shields, Maulik Pancholy, Telly Leung, Oliver Thornton and More 

Photos: Maulik Pancholy, Peter Gadiot, André De Shields, Telly Leung, Oliver Thornton and More in Ed Sylvanus Iskandar Helmed THE TAMING OF THE SHREW at Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) 

ALLEGIANCE Stars Lea Salonga, George Takei, Telly Leung and Katie Rose Clarke at the Performance and CD Signing at Barnes and Noble

George Takei, Lea Salonga, Telly Leung, Michael K. Lee and More celebrate opening night of ALLEGIANCE

George Takei, Lea Salonga, Telly Leung, Michael K. Lee and more at the first preview of Broadway’s Allegiance; opens Nov. 8

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

 2018 RED BUCKET FOLLIES’ FLOWER DRUM SONG Photo Diary

Lia Chang
Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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

Telly Leung’s New Holiday Single ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ Benefits ASTEP

Telly Leung as Aladdin. Photo by Matthew Murphy
Telly Leung as Aladdin. Photo by Matthew Murphy

Telly Leung, currently starring as the title role in Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway through Sunday, February 17, 2019, has released a new digital single, an updated version of the holiday classic “All I Want for Christmas Is You” to benefit ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty) from Yellow Sound Label.  The song, arranged by Lynne Shankel, is available on iTunes, and Amazon, as well as all streaming platforms.

“ASTEP connects performing and visual artists with underserved youth,” says Leung, “to awaken their imaginations, foster critical thinking, and help them break the cycle of poverty. We wanted to spread some holiday cheer while raising money and awareness for this fantastic organization. All proceeds from the digital downloads will go to ASTEP, and it’s our hope it inspires others to use the talents they were given to make the world a better place. My dear friend and colleague, Lynne Shankel – who was the musical supervisor and orchestrator of Allegiance – is committed to ASTEP and she originally arranged this version of the song for her annual benefit at Joe’s Pub. Lynne and I love this organization, originally founded by Broadway musical director Mary-Mitchell Campbell, and we wanted to echo the mission of ASTEP and use our artistic expression to put something positive in the universe.”

Telly Leung is a New York City native who was recently named one of the “Out 100” by Out Magazine and “Faces To Watch” by The Los Angeles Times. His Broadway and national touring credits include In Transit, Allegiance (with George Takei and Lea Salonga), Godspell, Rent (final Broadway company), Wicked (Boq, original Chicago company), Pacific Overtures, and Flower Drum Song. In 2010, he starred as Angel in Rent at the Hollywood Bowl opposite Wayne Brady, directed by Neil Patrick Harris. Television audiences will remember him as Wes the Warbler on “Glee,” as well as his guest star appearances on “Instinct,” “Odd Mom Out,” “Deadbeat,” and “Law and Order: Criminal Intent.” Telly is featured on many original Broadway cast recordings and he has released two solo albums, I’ll Cover You (2012) and Songs for You (2016) on Yellow Sound Label. For more information, please visit www.TellyLeung.com.

ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty) was conceived by Broadway musical director Mary-Mitchell Campbell and Juilliard students to transform the lives of underserved youth using the most powerful tool they had – their art. Today, ASTEP delivers after-school workshops and summer camps for young people affected by refugee and unaccompanied minor status, the justice system, homelessness, HIV/AIDS and systemic poverty. ASTEP Volunteer Teaching Artists create a safe space for students to use the arts to build leadership skills, strengthen their capacity for self-expression, learn to collaborate, and develop the confidence to make healthy life choices. With these skills, ASTEP students learn they have what it takes to succeed no matter the obstacles, which is key to breaking cycles of intergenerational poverty. For more information, visit ASTEP.org.

YELLOW SOUND LABEL is an Emmy Award-winning and Grammy Award-nominated, cutting-edge company that produces established performers, up-and-coming artists and original cast recordings. The boutique label takes a hands-on approach in nurturing and producing passionate, focused performers and composers who create quality, noteworthy recordings. www.YellowSoundLabel.com

 2018 RED BUCKET FOLLIES’ FLOWER DRUM SONG Photo Diary

Lia Chang
Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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

ALLEGIANCE Stars Eymard Cabling, Elena Wang Nominated for LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards

Eymard Cabling, Elena Wang, and George Takei. Photo by Michael Lamont

East West Players (EWP) and Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC)’s  Los Angeles premiere of the Broadway musical Allegiance has been nominated for 4 LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards including Lead Actress in a Musical for Elena Wang, Featured Actor in a Musical for Eymard Cabling, Sound Design (Large Theater) for Cricket Myers and Video/Project Design (Large Theater) for Adam Flemming.

The Cast of ALLEGIANCE. Photo by Michael Lamont
The Cast of ALLEGIANCE. Photo by Michael Lamont

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

Eymard Cabling, Elena Wang, and George Takei. Photo by Michael Lamont
Eymard Cabling, Elena Wang, and George Takei. Photo by Michael Lamont

This year, the ceremony will be held at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on Monday, January 28th. Tickets go on sale Monday, November 26th, and full information can be found on OvationAwards.com.

George Takei. Photo by Michael Lamont
George Takei. Photo by Michael Lamont

Broadway cast members included George Takei,  Elena Wang as Kei Kimura, Greg Watanabe as Mike Masaoka, Scott Watanabe as Tatsuo Kimura, and Janelle Dote as Hanako.

Elena Wang. Photo by Michael Lamont
Elena Wang. Photo by Michael Lamont

The cast also featured Ethan Le Phong as Sammy Kimura, Eymard Cabling as Frankie Suzuki, and Natalie Holt MacDonald as Hannah Campbell. The ensemble includes Cesar Cipriano, Jordan Goodsell, Sharline Liu, Miyuki Miyagi, Glenn Shiroma, Chad Takeda, and Grace Yoo.

Elena Wang and Ethan Le Phong. Photo by Michael Lamont
Elena Wang and Ethan Le Phong. Photo by Michael Lamont

With music and lyrics by Jay Kuo and a book by Marc Acito, Jay Kuo, and Lorenzo Thione, Allegiance tells the story of the Kimura family, whose lives are upended when they and 120,000 other Japanese-Americans are forced to leave their homes following the events of Pearl Harbor. Sam Kimura seeks to prove his patriotism by fighting for his country in the war, but his sister, Kei, fiercely protests the government’s treatment of her people. An uplifting testament to the power of the human spirit, Allegiance follows the Kimuras as they fight between duty and defiance, custom and change, family bonds and forbidden loves. Allegiance had its 2012 world premiere in a record-breaking engagement at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego and played on Broadway from 2015-16 at The Shubert Organization’s Longacre Theatre.

George Takei, Lorenzo Thione, Jay Kuo and Marc Acito celebrate the release of the ALLEGIANCE Original Cast recording at the Barnes and Noble CD Signing event in New York on Feb. 5, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
George Takei, Lorenzo Thione, Jay Kuo and Marc Acito celebrate the release of the ALLEGIANCE Original Cast recording at the Barnes and Noble CD Signing event in New York on Feb. 5, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
Ethan Le Phong, George Takei, and Elena Wang. Photo by Michael Lamont
Ethan Le Phong, George Takei, and Elena Wang. Photo by Michael Lamont

With a career spanning six decades, George Takei is known around the world for his founding role in the acclaimed television series “Star Trek,” in which he played Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the Starship Enterprise. But Takei’s story goes where few stories have gone before. From a childhood spent with his family wrongfully imprisoned in a Japanese American internment camp during World War II to becoming one of the country’s leading figures in the fight for social justice, LGBTQ rights, and marriage equality-Takei remains a powerful voice on issues ranging from politics to pop culture. Takei made his Broadway debut in the musical Allegiance, which ran in New York in 2015 and 2016. The musical is inspired by Takei’s true-life experience as a Japanese American who-from age 5 to 9-was unjustly imprisoned in two US internment camps during World War II. In 2017, Takei returned to the New York stage, starring in a revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures, directed by John Doyle at Classic Stage Company. Mashable.com named Takei the #1 most-influential person on Facebook, currently with nearly 10.3 million likes and 2.3 million followers on Twitter. Takei lives in Los Angeles with his husband Brad Takei.

Scott Watanabe, George Takei, Jordan Goodsell, Elena Wang, and Ethan Le Phong. Photo by Michael Lamont
Scott Watanabe, George Takei, Jordan Goodsell, Elena Wang, and Ethan Le Phong. Photo by Michael Lamont
The Los Angeles premiere of ALLEGIANCE at the Aratani Theatre. Photo by Michael Lamont
The Los Angeles premiere of ALLEGIANCE at the Aratani Theatre. Photo by Michael Lamont

East West Players (EWP), the nation’s longest-running professional theatre of color and the largest producing organization of Asian American artistic work, was founded in 1965, at a time when Asian Pacific Islanders (APIs) faced limited or no opportunities to see their experiences reflected outside of stereotypical and demeaning caricatures in the American landscape. EWP not only ensures that API stories are told, but works to increase access, inclusion, and representation in the economy.

Founded in 1971, Japanese American Cultural & Community Center is one of the largest ethnic arts and cultural centers of its kind in the United States. A hub for Japanese and Japanese American arts and culture and a community gathering place for the diverse voices it inspires-JACCC connects traditional and contemporary; community participants and creative professionals; Southern California and the world beyond. JACCC also provides office space in its five-story complex to a wide variety of nonprofit cultural, educational, and community-based organizations in Los Angeles.

The original Broadway production of Allegiance opened on November 8, 2015 at the Longacre Theater in New York City and was produced by Sing Out, Louise! Productions and ATA with Mark Mugiishi/Hawaii HUI, Hunter Arnold, Ken Davenport, Elliott Masie, Sandi Moran, Mabuhay Productions, Barbara Freitag; Marsi Gardiner, Valiant Ventures, Wendy Gillespie, David Hiatt Kraft, Diane Blumenthal, M. Bradley Calobrace, Karen Tanz, Gregory Rae, Mike Karns, in association with Jas Grewal, Peter Landin, and Ron Polson.

For more information, visit allegiancemusical.com/LA

Ethan Le Phong, Kristian Lei, Kathleen Stuart and More Set for Manoa Valley Theatre’s Production of ALLEGIANCE, March 28 – April 7

Ethan Le Phong
Ethan Le Phong
Ethan Le Phong

Manoa Valley Theatre is thrilled to announce a star-studded cast for Allegiance, the headliner of its 50th Anniversary season, presented at the Hawaii Theatre March 28th – April 7th, 2019. Allegiance, a musical drama by Marc Acito, Jay Kuo, and Lorenzo Thione, is about the Japanese American internment during WWII and one family’s extraordinarily divisive experience, was inspired by the true-life experience of its original star, George Takei. It tells the story of one family’s extraordinary experience suffering the wrongful imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War II, creating familial turmoil in a troubling time of a nation at war.

George Takei, Lorenzo Thione, Jay Kuo and Marc Acito celebrate the release of the ALLEGIANCE Original Cast recording at the Barnes and Noble CD Signing event in New York on Feb. 5, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
George Takei, Lorenzo Thione, Jay Kuo and Marc Acito celebrate the release of the ALLEGIANCE Original Cast recording at the Barnes and Noble CD Signing event in New York on Feb. 5, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang

Ticket buyers for Allegiance will be treated to a Black Friday offer as a celebration of the amazing cast. Customers who purchase tickets via any portal from November 23rd through November 26th will receive 5% off the price of admission for the Tuesday, April 2nd and Wednesday, April 3rd performances.

Broadway star Ethan Le Phong headlines the MVT cast in the role of Young Sammy. Most recently a company member of Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway and understudy for the title character, Ethan played Young Sammy in the highly celebrated East-West Players production of Allegiance last spring with George Takei. He has extensive credits from New York’s Broadway, London’s West End, U.S. Regional Theatres, national tours, film and television.

The role of Kei Kimura will be performed by Hawaii music composer, vocalist and producer, Kristian Lei. She has played the lead role of Kim in Miss Saigon in Germany, performed in Hong Kong Disneyland’s Festival of The Lion King, and starred in the Kristian Lei Show with Walt Disney Theatre on Disney Cruise Lines.

Nurse Hannah will be portrayed by Hawaii native daughter Kathleen Stuart who currently works professionally in New York theatre. She has had co-starring and lead roles in television and film such as “C’est Tout” and “Inside Llewyn Davis,” as well as lead roles on stage in The King & I and Evita.

MVT’s talent-packed cast also includes Dann Seki as Sam Kimura/Ojii-Chan, Brad Yamamoto as Tatsuo Kimura, Devon Nekoba as Mike Masaoka, Miguel Cadoy III as Frankie Suzuki, KoDee Martin as Dr. Hideo Tanaka/Ben Masaoka/Johnny Goto, Sharline Liu as Mrs. Natsumi Tanaka, Charles Mukaida as Mr. Masato Maruyama, Melani Carrié as Mrs. Kaori Maruyama/Sansei Woman, Austin Yoshida as Tom Muruyama, Shayna Yasunaga as Peggy Maruyama, Lauren Cabrera as Nan Goto, Kyle McNamara, and Dwayne Sakaguchi and Kailee Brandt as ensemble.

Guest directing the production is Paul Mitri. Guest musical director is Kip Wilborn. Guest choreographer is Christine Yasunaga. Assistant director is Ron Heller. The design team includes Michelle Bisbee as set designer, Janine Myers as lighting designer, Jennifer Hart and Trudy Hodnefield as co-costume designers, Lisa Ponce de Leon as hair/makeup designer, and Sara Ward as props designer.

The production will run March 28th – April 7th at the Hawaii Theatre. Show times are Thursday, March 28, 7:00 p.m., Friday, March 29 at 7:00 p.m., Saturday, March 30 at 2:00 p.m., Sunday, March 31 at 2:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 02 at 7:00 p.m., Wednesday April 03 at 7:00 p.m., Thursday April 04 at 7:00 p.m., Friday, April 05 at 7:00 p.m., Saturday, April 06 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 07 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $75, $55, $35. Minimum age is 4. For more information call 988-6131 or visit manoavalleytheatre.com. Tickets can be purchased at the Hawaii Theatre Box Office by calling 528-0506 or at hawaiitheatre.com. The doors will open for seating 30 minutes prior to each performance. Beverages will be available for purchase on site. No outside food or drinks are allowed. The play is performed in 2 acts with one intermission. The running time is approximately 2hrs 45 min.

Play sponsors are ABC Stores, Alexander & Baldwin, Inc., First Hawaii Bank Foundation, HEMIC, HMSA, iHeart Media, Tom and Sally Ishii, Island Insurance, JACL, John and Kalowena Komeiji, Mary and Dexter Kubota, Edison Miyawaki, Jerry and Jane Mount, Mark Mugiishi, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Jeffrey S. Portnoy in memory of Sandi Portnoy, Bob and Corinne Taylor and Territorial Savings Bank. The Golden Anniversary Season Sponsor is D. Suehiro Electric, Inc. The Season Benefactor Sponsor is Cades Schutte and the Cades Foundation. Season Presenter Sponsors are First Insurance Company of Hawaii Charitable Foundation, Honolulu Star-Advertiser and `Iolani School. Season Sponsors are Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. and Ramona Sayre In Memory of Jeff Sayre.

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

Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang

Congratulations to Steven Eng on his first Lortel nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical for his role as Kayama Yesaemon in the Classic Stage Company’s revival of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Pacific Overtures, directed and designed by Tony Award winner John Doyle.

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

The production has garnered other nods including a Lortel nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical for Thom Sesma, Outer Critics Circle and The Drama League  Outstanding Revival nods and Drama Desk Award nominations in the categories of Outstanding Revival of a Musical, Outstanding Orchestrations for Jonathan Tunick and Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical for Dan Moses Schreier.

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

Lucille Lortel Nominee Thom Sesma Talks Asian American Representation in the Performing Arts and all things Sondheim

CSC’s “Pacific Overtures” Nominated for Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League and Lortel Awards 

PACIFIC OVERTURES - Steven Eng, Orville Mendoza, Thom Sesma, Kimberly Immanuel, Megan Masako Haley, Kelvin Moon Loh, Karl Josef Co. Photo by Lia Chang
PACIFIC OVERTURES – Steven Eng, Orville Mendoza, Thom Sesma, Kimberly Immanuel, Megan Masako Haley, Kelvin Moon Loh, Karl Josef Co. Photo by Lia Chang

Mr. Eng is an actor, singer, director, teacher, producer, and co-founder of the National Asian Artists Project (NAAP), a community of artists, educators, administrators, community leaders and professionals who recognize the need to bridge the work of artists of Asian descent to the many communities the work can serve, from underserved primary school students to seasoned arts patrons. He co-founded the organization with Baayork Lee and Nina Zoie Lam to address what they felt was a significant lack of opportunity for professional Asian-American theater artists to practice their craft and contribute on a broader level to the diversity of the American theater. NAAP seeks to showcase the work of professional theater artists of Asian descent through performance, education and outreach. For more information about NAAP, visit www.NAAProject.org.

Nina Zoie Lam, Baayork Lee and Steven Eng, the founders of NAAP onstage before the performance of Oliver!, at The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre 
inside The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on June 7, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang
Nina Zoie Lam, Baayork Lee and Steven Eng, the founders of NAAP onstage before the performance of Oliver!, at The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre 
inside The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on June 7, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

I caught up with Steven at the 50th Birthday Bash for Classic Stage Company honoring John Doyle and Lynn Angelson.

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

Lia: How did you learn about the nomination and what was your reaction?
Steven: I must have been looking at Playbill.com right when the announcement happened, because I hadn’t heard anything. I saw that the nominations were announced, so I read it to see if there were friends who had been nominated. That’s when I saw my name. It was crazy and surreal to read it and not have heard anything. Sure enough, within a couple of hours, I was notified and receiving congratulations from friends and colleagues.

(L–R) Steven Eng, Megan Masako Haley (background), and Ann Harada in a scene from the Classic Stage Company’s production of “Pacific Overtures.” (Joan Marcus)
(L–R) Steven Eng, Megan Masako Haley (background), and Ann Harada in a scene from the Classic Stage Company’s production of “Pacific Overtures.” (Joan Marcus)

Lia: What is Kayama’s journey?
Steven: Kayama is a minor samurai who is quickly promoted through the ranks of the Japanese ruling class when American warships appear demanding Japan open its doors to international trade. Through unexpected circumstances and luck (bad or good is up to the audience), he evolves from a traditional Japanese samurai into a westernized bureaucrat.

George Takei, Kelvin Moon Loh, Karl Josef Co, Ann Harada, Steven Eng, Marc Oka, Thom Sesma, Austin Ku, Megan Masako Haley Holmes, Kimberly Immanuel, Orville Mendoza and Marc de la Cruz at the sitzprobe at Carroll Music in New York on March 31, 2017. Photo: Karl Josef Co/Facebook
George Takei, Kelvin Moon Loh, Karl Josef Co, Ann Harada, Steven Eng, Marc Oka, Thom Sesma, Austin Ku, Megan Masako Haley Holmes, Kimberly Immanuel, Orville Mendoza and Marc de la Cruz at the sitzprobe at Carroll Music in New York on March 31, 2017. Photo: Karl Josef Co/Facebook

Lia: What did it mean to you to work with this cast and creative team?
Steven: Pacific Overtures was a project of a lifetime for me because of both the piece and the people involved. Firstly, Sondheim’s work has always been among the most influential to me in my career, inspiring and driving me to seek work that challenges and teaches me about humanity, and Pacific Overtures has been my favorite of all his works. So to have him watch the show several times and have his input is beyond what I could ever have imagined. Having John Weidman at rehearsals changing his smart and fascinating book was also an unbelievable privilege, and all of us guided by the brilliant director John Doyle was thrilling. And my cast, what can I say except that they were among the most generous and talented actors with whom I’ve ever shared a stage, and I felt the responsibility of bringing the very best I could to match the high level of their work.

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

Lia: This is a very diverse season for theater and the nominated shows. Have you seen a difference for you in casting over the years in the industry?
Steven: I can’t really say I’ve noticed a substantial difference in casting for me personally. I will say, though, that seasons of diversity are becoming more frequent, and this is certainly one of them. I’m not ready, just yet, to say that diversity is a regular occurrence. The unfortunate but truthful question is, diverse for whom? Even with diverse seasons and casts, there are still underrepresented groups.

Billy Bustamante, Jason Ma, Baayork Lee, Kristen Lee Rosenfeld, Alan Muraoka, Steven Eng and Cara Reichel. Photo by Lia Chang
Billy Bustamante, Jason Ma, Baayork Lee, Kristen Lee Rosenfeld, Alan Muraoka, Steven Eng and Cara Reichel onstage after the GOLD MOUNTAIN Concert on October 21, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: Last October, NAAP and Prospect Theater Company produced a staged concert of Gold Mountain, a new musical written by Jason Ma, that you were featured in. You were delightful. It was such a celebration of the Asian American actor on stage. What was your experience? 
Steven: Thank you for that generous compliment! I think Jason Ma is so remarkably talented and it’s just a matter of time until someone with the influence and resources will invest in him and his work. Gold Mountain was such a gift, and to play that role was great fun as well as scary. It was so important to me to do justice to this character and the traditions he represented.

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

Lia: What did it feel like to be in the room of Lortel nominees recently, more specifically with all of your fellow Asian American colleagues?
Steven: It was quite special to be there, and among all those fine theater artists. And to see the wonderful Asian faces of not just colleagues, but friends who were also being recognized was so rewarding. While we all have our own paths that lead us there, we do share a common understanding of some similar challenges.

Lia: Where do you teach?
Steven: I teach at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in undergraduate drama in two specific studios: the New Studio on Broadway and the Atlantic Theater Company. I also teach at HB Studios. I teach voice and speech, which means spoken voice (not singing), text, articulation and accents/dialects.

Baayork Lee and Steven Eng.
Baayork Lee and Steven Eng.

Lia: What’s next for you?
Steven: I’m working on a couple of directing projects now that will occupy me for the summer and early fall. One is a brand new musical that’s being written by Jonathan and Kimbirdlee Fadner, based on the old Chinese legend of the Monkey King. I think it’s a great piece that takes a centuries-old story and gives it some fun modern twists, with great music and fun storytelling. And of course I’m finishing my classes as well as auditioning for my next acting gig. That never ends.

I’d also like to mention that National Asian Artists Project (NAAP) is still going strong. While I’m not ready to divulge specific upcoming projects, there are things in the works as we continue to try create opportunities for actors of Asian-descent to practice their craft. In just a year, we’ll be celebrating a decade of operation, and I’m still excited about all the things that are in store.

The company of GOLD MOUNTAIN. Photo by Lia Chang
The company of GOLD MOUNTAIN. Photo by Lia Chang
Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang
Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang

Steven Eng has been acting professionally as a member of Actors Equity since 1995. His work onstage has included New York City and all across the United States in some of the country’s most respected theaters. He was most recently seen Off-Broadway at Classic Stage Company in the NYC revival of Pacific Overtures, directed by John Doyle with reworking by original creators John Weidman and Stephen Sondheim, with new orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick. He’s also performed on London’s West End and in Germany and Cambodia. He has played leading roles from Shakespeare to Sondheim and continually enjoys the challenge of creating roles in new works, most recently Maltby & Shire’s Waterfall. Career highlights have included productions of Henry IV Part 1 and Part 2, Richard II, As You Like It, King John, Miss Saigon, Paint Your Wagon, Honor, and numerous developing works. He’s done some film (released as well as to-be-released), TV (cop shows, soap operas, kid shows), commercials (beer, anyone?), voiceovers, industrials, and is always grateful to be challenged in new mediums. Steven is also a tenor, having sung in both large concert halls as well as intimate cabaret venues. He holds an MFA in Classical Acting from the George Washington University’s Academy for Classical Acting (Shakespeare Theatre Company in DC). He also holds a BFA in Theatre Studies from Southern Methodist University with a minor in music (vocal performance).

2018 Lucille Lortel Award Nominations Announced including KPOP, “Bella: An American Tall Tale,” “Mary Jane,” “The Lucky Ones,” “Pipeline,” “School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play” and “Pacific Overtures” 
KPOP’s James Seol, Ashley Park, Jason Tam, Vanessa Kai Among 9 2018 Lucille Lortel Nods, including Outstanding Musical

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

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

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2018 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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CSC’s “Pacific Overtures” Nominated for Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League and Lortel Awards

Some of the Drama League nominated cast of Classic Stage Company's PACIFIC OVERTURES - Steven Eng, Orville Mendoza, Thom Sesma, Kimmy Immanuel, Megan Masako Haley, Kelvin Moon Loh, Karl Josef Co. Photo by Lia Chang

Classic Stage Company’s revival of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Pacific Overtures, directed and designed by Tony Award winner John Doyle, has received 2018 Drama Desk Award nominations in the categories of Outstanding Revival of a Musical, Outstanding Orchestrations for Jonathan Tunick and Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical for Dan Moses Schreier.

Kelvin Moon Loh, Austin Ku, George Takei, Marc Oka, and Thom Sesma in “Pacific Overtures” at Classic Stage Company. Photo by Joan Marcus
Kelvin Moon Loh, Austin Ku, George Takei, Marc Oka, and Thom Sesma in “Pacific Overtures” at Classic Stage Company. Photo by Joan Marcus

The cast of Pacific Overtures features Karl Josef Co, Marc dela Cruz, Steven Eng, Megan Masako Haley, Ann Harada, Kimberly Immanuel, Austin Ku, Kelvin Moon Loh, Orville Mendoza, Marc Oka, Thom Sesma, and George Takei.

PACIFIC OVERTURES - Steven Eng, Orville Mendoza, Thom Sesma, Kimberly Immanuel, Megan Masako Haley, Kelvin Moon Loh, Karl Josef Co. Photo by Lia Chang
PACIFIC OVERTURES – Steven Eng, Orville Mendoza, Thom Sesma, Kimberly Immanuel, Megan Masako Haley, Kelvin Moon Loh, Karl Josef Co. Photo by Lia Chang

2018 Lucille Lortel nods include Outstanding Lead Actor for Steven Eng and Outstanding Featured Actor for Thom Sesma.

Lucille Lortel Nominee Thom Sesma Talks Asian American Representation in the Performing Arts and all things Sondheim

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

The production has also been nominated for Outstanding Revival by the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama League.

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

In the ground-breaking Pacific Overtures, Commodore Matthew Perry sails to Japan in 1853 on a U.S mission to open up trade relations at any cost. The musical tells the tale of a samurai and a fisherman who are caught up in the Westernization of the East. With Pacific Overtures, which first premiered on Broadway in 1976 (directed by Hal Prince), John Doyle continues his highly-acclaimed and award-winning exploration of Sondheim’s work, having directed the legendary composer’s Sweeney Todd and Company on Broadway, and Passion at CSC.

Steven Eng, Megan Masako Haley, and Ann Harada in “Pacific Overtures” at Classic Stage Company. Photo by Joan Marcus
Steven Eng, Megan Masako Haley, and Ann Harada in “Pacific Overtures” at Classic Stage Company. Photo by Joan Marcus
Austin Ku, Kimberly Immanuel, Karl Josef Co, Ann Harada, George Takei, Thom Sesma, Orville Mendoza, Steven Eng and Kelvin Moon Loh. Photo by Lia Chang
Austin Ku, Kimberly Immanuel, Karl Josef Co, Ann Harada, George Takei, Thom Sesma, Orville Mendoza, Steven Eng and Kelvin Moon Loh. Photo by Lia Chang
CSC's PACIFIC OVERTURES family photo with Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman. Photo courtesy of Facebook
CSC’s PACIFIC OVERTURES family photo with Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman. Photo courtesy of Facebook

The production received a 2017 Off Broadway Alliance Award nomination for Best Revival.

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

Outer Critics Circle Award Nominees Announced; “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “Pacific Overtures,” “Mlima’s Tale,” “Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train,” and “School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play” Among Nominated

2018 Lucille Lortel Award Nominations Announced including KPOP, “Bella: An American Tall Tale,” “Mary Jane,” “The Lucky Ones,” “Pipeline,” “School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play” and “Pacific Overtures” 

SKELETON CREW, PACIFIC OVERTURES, TURN ME LOOSE and More Among 2017 Off Broadway Alliance Award Nominees

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.

Production Photos: George Takei, Elena Wang, Greg Watanabe, Ethan Le Phong, Scott Watanabe, Janelle Dote and More in LA Premiere of ALLEGIANCE

Ethan Le Phong, George Takei, and Elena Wang. Photo by Michael Lamont

East West Players (EWP) and Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC) present stage, television, and film star George Takei in the Los Angeles premiere of the Broadway musical Allegiance.

The Cast of ALLEGIANCE. Photo by Michael Lamont
The Cast of ALLEGIANCE. Photo by Michael Lamont

Co-produced by EWP and JACCC by special arrangement with Sing Out, Louise! Productions and ATA, with performances at JACCC’s Aratani Theatre in Los Angeles from February 21-April 1, 2018. Previews run from February 21-25, with the Opening Night performance and reception on February 28.

George Takei. Photo by Michael Lamont
George Takei. Photo by Michael Lamont

Broadway cast members joining Takei include Elena Wang as Kei Kimura, Greg Watanabe as Mike Masaoka, Scott Watanabe as Tatsuo Kimura, and Janelle Dote as Hanako.

Elena Wang. Photo by Michael Lamont
Elena Wang. Photo by Michael Lamont

The cast also features Ethan Le Phong as Sammy Kimura, Eymard Cabling as Frankie Suzuki, and Natalie Holt MacDonald as Hannah Campbell. The ensemble includes Cesar Cipriano, Jordan Goodsell, Sharline Liu, Miyuki Miyagi, Glenn Shiroma, Chad Takeda, and Grace Yoo.

With music and lyrics by Jay Kuo and a book by Marc Acito, Jay Kuo, and Lorenzo Thione, Allegiance tells the story of the Kimura family, whose lives are upended when they and 120,000 other Japanese-Americans are forced to leave their homes following the events of Pearl Harbor. Sam Kimura seeks to prove his patriotism by fighting for his country in the war, but his sister, Kei, fiercely protests the government’s treatment of her people. An uplifting testament to the power of the human spirit, Allegiance follows the Kimuras as they fight between duty and defiance, custom and change, family bonds and forbidden loves. Allegiance had its 2012 world premiere in a record-breaking engagement at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego and played on Broadway from 2015-16 at The Shubert Organization’s Longacre Theatre.

Elena Wang and Ethan Le Phong. Photo by Michael Lamont
Elena Wang and Ethan Le Phong. Photo by Michael Lamont

“It is such an honor to be able to bring Allegiance to my hometown of Los Angeles and specifically to Little Tokyo. I’m thrilled by this opportunity to reprise the roles of Sam Kimura and Ojii-Chan, which heralded my Broadway debut,” says George Takei. “During World War II, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 to imprison persons of Japanese ancestry in American concentration camps simply because we looked like the people who bombed Pearl Harbor. I spent my childhood in two of these camps, and this experience of courage, resilience, and survival against injustice is what inspired the story of Allegiance. We live in a time when the echoes of the forced incarceration of Japanese Americans rings once again, and Allegiance is a clarion call for us to not forget this chapter in American history. I am so proud to bring Allegiance to L.A. with East West Players and the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center. There’s never been a more important time for the stories of Allegiance to be told.”

Ethan Le Phong, George Takei, and Elena Wang. Photo by Michael Lamont
Ethan Le Phong, George Takei, and Elena Wang. Photo by Michael Lamont

With a career spanning six decades, George Takei is known around the world for his founding role in the acclaimed television series “Star Trek,” in which he played Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the Starship Enterprise. But Takei’s story goes where few stories have gone before. From a childhood spent with his family wrongfully imprisoned in a Japanese American internment camp during World War II to becoming one of the country’s leading figures in the fight for social justice, LGBTQ rights, and marriage equality-Takei remains a powerful voice on issues ranging from politics to pop culture. Takei made his Broadway debut in the musical Allegiance, which ran in New York in 2015 and 2016. The musical is inspired by Takei’s true-life experience as a Japanese American who-from age 5 to 9-was unjustly imprisoned in two US internment camps during World War II. In 2017, Takei returned to the New York stage, starring in a revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures, directed by John Doyle at Classic Stage Company. Mashable.com named Takei the #1 most-influential person on Facebook, currently with nearly 10.3 million likes and 2.3 million followers on Twitter. Takei lives in Los Angeles with his husband Brad Takei.

Scott Watanabe, George Takei, Jordan Goodsell, Elena Wang, and Ethan Le Phong. Photo by Michael Lamont
Scott Watanabe, George Takei, Jordan Goodsell, Elena Wang, and Ethan Le Phong. Photo by Michael Lamont

EWP Artistic Director Snehal Desai says, “We are so honored that George Takei, EWP’s Council of Governors Co-chair, will be returning to reprise the incredible roles that he debuted on Broadway for Allegiance. George is a light. He is a blazing beacon of humanity, grace, and generosity. He has made it a part of his life’s work to speak out against injustice, and it is a privilege to be able to tell this story, at this time, with him.”

The Los Angeles premiere of ALLEGIANCE at the Aratani Theatre. Photo by Michael Lamont
The Los Angeles premiere of ALLEGIANCE at the Aratani Theatre. Photo by Michael Lamont

JACCC President & CEO Leslie A. Ito says, “George Takei is the most influential and talented Asian American storyteller of our time, and as such, JACCC is thrilled to have him return to our stage, this time to recount this important chapter in our history so that as a country, we do not repeat these injustices.”

Eymard Cabling, Elena Wang, and George Takei. Photo by Michael Lamont
Eymard Cabling, Elena Wang, and George Takei. Photo by Michael Lamont

East West Players (EWP), the nation’s longest-running professional theatre of color and the largest producing organization of Asian American artistic work, was founded in 1965, at a time when Asian Pacific Islanders (APIs) faced limited or no opportunities to see their experiences reflected outside of stereotypical and demeaning caricatures in the American landscape. EWP not only ensures that API stories are told, but works to increase access, inclusion, and representation in the economy.

Founded in 1971, Japanese American Cultural & Community Center is one of the largest ethnic arts and cultural centers of its kind in the United States. A hub for Japanese and Japanese American arts and culture and a community gathering place for the diverse voices it inspires-JACCC connects traditional and contemporary; community participants and creative professionals; Southern California and the world beyond. JACCC also provides office space in its five-story complex to a wide variety of nonprofit cultural, educational, and community-based organizations in Los Angeles.

The original Broadway production of Allegiance opened on November 8, 2015 at the Longacre Theater in New York City and was produced by Sing Out, Louise! Productions and ATA with Mark Mugiishi/Hawaii HUI, Hunter Arnold, Ken Davenport, Elliott Masie, Sandi Moran, Mabuhay Productions, Barbara Freitag; Marsi Gardiner, Valiant Ventures, Wendy Gillespie, David Hiatt Kraft, Diane Blumenthal, M. Bradley Calobrace, Karen Tanz, Gregory Rae, Mike Karns, in association with Jas Grewal, Peter Landin, and Ron Polson.

For more information, visit allegiancemusical.com/LA

Greg Watanabe. Photo by Michael Lamont
Greg Watanabe. Photo by Michael Lamont
The Cast of ALLEGIANCE. Photo by Michael Lamont
The Cast of ALLEGIANCE. Photo by Michael Lamont
Natalie Holt MacDonald and Ethan Le Phong. Photo by Michael Lamont
Natalie Holt MacDonald and Ethan Le Phong. Photo by Michael Lamont

George Takei, Elena Wang, Greg Watanabe, Ethan Le Phong, Scott Watanabe, Janelle Dote and More Begin Previews in LA Premiere of ALLEGIANCE Tonight

East West Players (EWP) and Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC) are presenting the Los Angeles premiere of the Broadway musical Allegiance, stage and screen star George Takei will be joined by Broadway cast members Elena Wang as Kei Kimura, Greg Watanabe as Mike Masaoka, Scott Watanabe as Tatsuo Kimura, and Janelle Dote as Hanako.

They will be joined by Ethan Le Phong as Sammy Kimura, Eymard Cabling as Frankie Suzuki, and Natalie Holt MacDonald as Hannah Campbell. The ensemble includes Cesar Cipriano, Jordan Goodsell, Sharline Liu, Miyuki Miyagi, Glenn Shiroma, Chad Takeda, and Grace Yoo.

Allegiance will be performed at JACCC’s Aratani Theatre in Los Angeles from February 21 to April 1, 2018. Opening Night is February 28. This new production will be directed by East West Players’ Producing Artistic Director Snehal Desai. Marc Macalintal is the Music Director, and Rumi Oyama is the Choreographer.

Allegiance in Los Angeles will be co-produced by EWP and JACCC by special arrangement with Sing Out, Louise! Productions and ATA.

Takei, known for his founding role as Mr. Sulu in the acclaimed television series “Star Trek” and as an influential social media icon, will be performing the roles of Sam Kimura and Ojii-Chan that he originated on Broadway. Allegiance is inspired by Takei’s childhood experiences.

George Takei, Lorenzo Thione, Jay Kuo and Marc Acito celebrate the release of the ALLEGIANCE Original Cast recording at the Barnes and Noble CD Signing event in New York on Feb. 5, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
George Takei, Lorenzo Thione, Jay Kuo and Marc Acito celebrate the release of the ALLEGIANCE Original Cast recording at the Barnes and Noble CD Signing event in New York on Feb. 5, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang

With music and lyrics by Jay Kuo and a book by Marc Acito, Jay Kuo, and Lorenzo Thione, Allegiance tells the story of the Kimura family, whose lives are upended when they and 120,000 other Japanese Americans are forced to leave their homes following the events of Pearl Harbor. Sam Kimura seeks to prove his patriotism by fighting for his country in the war, but his sister, Kei, fiercely protests the government’s treatment of her people. An uplifting testament to the power of the human spirit, Allegiance follows the Kimuras as they fight between duty and defiance, custom and change, family bonds and forbidden loves.

Allegiance (Los Angeles) Director Snehal Desai says, “It’s an incredible honor to be able to direct the first production of Allegiance since its Broadway debut. There could not be a more vital and important time to be bringing Allegiance home to Los Angeles and Little Tokyo, where so many still remember the day when the government forced their families to leave their communities and homes. This powerful and moving musical sheds light on this dark chapter of US history with grace and humor. I am humbled to be leading this supremely talented company.”

JACCC Director of Performing Arts & Community Engagement and Executive Producer of Allegiance (Los Angeles) Alison De La Cruz says, “We are thrilled to have Snehal and this award-winning design team helm this landmark production. We are pleased to have the opportunity to showcase such amazing Asian American talent on our stage and to welcome new audiences to our community’s premier venue and to the Little Tokyo neighborhood.”

The creative team includes Se Hyun Oh (Scenic Design), Karyn Lawrence (Lighting Design), Halei Parker (Costume Design), Cricket Myers (Sound Design), Adam Flemming (Projection Design), and Glenn Michael Baker (Property Design), Cesar Cipriano (Fight Choreographer), and Janelle Dote (Assistant Choreographer).

All performances of Allegiance will be staged at JACCC’s Aratani Theatre at 244 S. San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Previews are Wednesday, February 21 through Sunday, February 25, 2018, with 8pm shows from Wednesday to Saturday, and a 2pm matinee show on Sunday. Regular performances run from Wednesday to Sunday, with 8pm shows from Wednesday to Saturday, and 2pm matinee shows on Saturday and Sunday. Opening night is Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 8pm. The production runs until April 1, 2018.

For tickets and information, please visit AllegianceMusical.com.

About East West Players
East West Players (EWP) is the nation’s longest-running professional theatre of color in the country and the largest producing organization of Asian American artistic work. Over its remarkable 52-year history, EWP has produced over 230 plays and musicals. EWP’s 2017-18 season, The Company We Keep, features notable artistic partnerships and co-productions that reflect on and refract a wide range of Asian Pacific Islander (API) experiences as seen through the lens of gender, race, and sexuality. EWP not only ensures that API stories are told, but works to increase access, inclusion, and representation in the economy.

About Japanese American Cultural & Community Center
Founded in 1971, Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC) is one of the largest ethnic arts and cultural centers of its kind in the United States. A hub for Japanese and Japanese American arts and culture and a community gathering place for the diverse voices it inspires—JACCC connects traditional and contemporary; community participants and creative professionals; Southern California and the world beyond. JACCC also provides office space in its five-story complex to a wide variety of nonprofit cultural, educational, and community-based organizations in Los Angeles.

About Allegiance
The original Broadway production of Allegiance opened on November 8, 2015 at the Longacre Theater in New York City and was produced by Sing Out, Louise! Productions and ATA with Mark Mugiishi/Hawaii HUI, Hunter Arnold, Ken Davenport, Elliott Masie, Sandi Moran, Mabuhay Productions, Barbara Freitag/Eric & Marsi Gardiner, Valiant Ventures, Wendy Gillespie, David Hiatt Kraft, Norm & Diane Blumenthal, M. Bradley Calobrace, Karen Tanz, Gregory Rae/Mike Karns, in association with Jas Grewal, Peter Landin, and Ron Polson.

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George Takei, Elena Wang, Greg Watanabe, Ethan Le Phong, Scott Watanabe, Janelle Dote and more set for LA Premiere of ALLEGIANCE, February 21 – April 1

East West Players (EWP) and Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC) are presenting the Los Angeles premiere of the Broadway musical Allegiance, stage and screen star George Takei will be joined by Broadway cast members Elena Wang as Kei Kimura, Greg Watanabe as Mike Masaoka, Scott Watanabe as Tatsuo Kimura, and Janelle Dote as Hanako.

They will be joined by Ethan Le Phong as Sammy Kimura, Eymard Cabling as Frankie Suzuki, and Natalie Holt MacDonald as Hannah Campbell. The ensemble includes Cesar Cipriano, Jordan Goodsell, Sharline Liu, Miyuki Miyagi, Glenn Shiroma, Chad Takeda, and Grace Yoo.

Allegiance will be performed at JACCC’s Aratani Theatre in Los Angeles from February 21 to April 1, 2018. Opening Night is February 28. This new production will be directed by East West Players’ Producing Artistic Director Snehal Desai. Marc Macalintal is the Music Director, and Rumi Oyama is the Choreographer.

Allegiance in Los Angeles will be co-produced by EWP and JACCC by special arrangement with Sing Out, Louise! Productions and ATA.

Takei, known for his founding role as Mr. Sulu in the acclaimed television series “Star Trek” and as an influential social media icon, will be performing the roles of Sam Kimura and Ojii-Chan that he originated on Broadway. Allegiance is inspired by Takei’s childhood experiences.

With music and lyrics by Jay Kuo and a book by Marc Acito, Jay Kuo, and Lorenzo Thione, Allegiance tells the story of the Kimura family, whose lives are upended when they and 120,000 other Japanese Americans are forced to leave their homes following the events of Pearl Harbor. Sam Kimura seeks to prove his patriotism by fighting for his country in the war, but his sister, Kei, fiercely protests the government’s treatment of her people. An uplifting testament to the power of the human spirit, Allegiance follows the Kimuras as they fight between duty and defiance, custom and change, family bonds and forbidden loves.

Allegiance (Los Angeles) Director Snehal Desai says, “It’s an incredible honor to be able to direct the first production of Allegiance since its Broadway debut. There could not be a more vital and important time to be bringing Allegiance home to Los Angeles and Little Tokyo, where so many still remember the day when the government forced their families to leave their communities and homes. This powerful and moving musical sheds light on this dark chapter of US history with grace and humor. I am humbled to be leading this supremely talented company.”

JACCC Director of Performing Arts & Community Engagement and Executive Producer of Allegiance (Los Angeles) Alison De La Cruz says, “We are thrilled to have Snehal and this award-winning design team helm this landmark production. We are pleased to have the opportunity to showcase such amazing Asian American talent on our stage and to welcome new audiences to our community’s premier venue and to the Little Tokyo neighborhood.”

The creative team includes Se Hyun Oh (Scenic Design), Karyn Lawrence (Lighting Design), Halei Parker (Costume Design), Cricket Myers (Sound Design), Adam Flemming (Projection Design), and Glenn Michael Baker (Property Design), Cesar Cipriano (Fight Choreographer), and Janelle Dote (Assistant Choreographer).

All performances of Allegiance will be staged at JACCC’s Aratani Theatre at 244 S. San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Previews are Wednesday, February 21 through Sunday, February 25, 2018, with 8pm shows from Wednesday to Saturday, and a 2pm matinee show on Sunday. Regular performances run from Wednesday to Sunday, with 8pm shows from Wednesday to Saturday, and 2pm matinee shows on Saturday and Sunday. Opening night is Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 8pm. The production runs until April 1, 2018.

For tickets and information, please visit AllegianceMusical.com.

About East West Players
East West Players (EWP) is the nation’s longest-running professional theatre of color in the country and the largest producing organization of Asian American artistic work. Over its remarkable 52-year history, EWP has produced over 230 plays and musicals. EWP’s 2017-18 season, The Company We Keep, features notable artistic partnerships and co-productions that reflect on and refract a wide range of Asian Pacific Islander (API) experiences as seen through the lens of gender, race, and sexuality. EWP not only ensures that API stories are told, but works to increase access, inclusion, and representation in the economy.

About Japanese American Cultural & Community Center
Founded in 1971, Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC) is one of the largest ethnic arts and cultural centers of its kind in the United States. A hub for Japanese and Japanese American arts and culture and a community gathering place for the diverse voices it inspires—JACCC connects traditional and contemporary; community participants and creative professionals; Southern California and the world beyond. JACCC also provides office space in its five-story complex to a wide variety of nonprofit cultural, educational, and community-based organizations in Los Angeles.

About Allegiance
The original Broadway production of Allegiance opened on November 8, 2015 at the Longacre Theater in New York City and was produced by Sing Out, Louise! Productions and ATA with Mark Mugiishi/Hawaii HUI, Hunter Arnold, Ken Davenport, Elliott Masie, Sandi Moran, Mabuhay Productions, Barbara Freitag/Eric & Marsi Gardiner, Valiant Ventures, Wendy Gillespie, David Hiatt Kraft, Norm & Diane Blumenthal, M. Bradley Calobrace, Karen Tanz, Gregory Rae/Mike Karns, in association with Jas Grewal, Peter Landin, and Ron Polson.

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