Tony Award winners David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s SOFT POWER Set for New York Premiere at The Public, September 24 – November 3 

Sam Pinkleton, Jeanine Tesori, Francis Jue, Leigh Silverman, David Henry Hwang, Conrad Ricamora, Alyse Alan Louis. Photo by Lia Chang
Jeanine Tesori and David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang
Jeanine Tesori and David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

The Public Theater is presenting the New York premiere of Tony Award winners David Henry Hwang (Book and Lyrics) and Jeanine Tesori’s (Music and Additional Lyrics) SOFT POWER, September 24 – November 3 in a co-commission and co-production with Center Theatre Group.

Sam Pinkleton, Jeanine Tesori, Francis Jue, Leigh Silverman, David Henry Hwang, Conrad Ricamora, Alyse Alan Louis. Photo by Lia Chang
Sam Pinkleton, Jeanine Tesori, Francis Jue, Leigh Silverman, David Henry Hwang, Conrad Ricamora, Alyse Alan Louis. Photo by Lia Chang

Helmed by Leigh Silverman and featuring choreography by Sam Pinkleton, initial casting includes Billy Bustamante (Xue Xing Standby), Kendyl Ito (Jing/Ensemble), Francis Jue (DHH), Austin Ku (Bobby Bob), Raymond J. Lee (Randy Ray/VEEP/Ensemble), Alyse Alan Louis (Zoe/Hillary), Jaygee Macapugay (Campaign Manager/Ensemble), Daniel May (Ensemble), Paul HeeSang Miller (Ensemble), Geena Quintos (Ensemble), Conrad Ricamora (Xue Xing), Trevor Salter (Ensemble), Kyra Smith (Ensemble), Emily Stillings (Female Swing), Emily Trumble (Zoe/Hillary Understudy), and John Yi (Male Swing).

Hwang and Tesori’s groundbreaking new musical-within-a-play, SOFT POWER, one of the most exciting theatrical collaborations in recent memory, is an exploration of America’s current place in the world, told through an East-West musical from China’s point of view, in which a theater producer from Shanghai forges a powerful bond with Hillary Clinton. SOFT POWER is a fever dream of modern American politics amidst global conversations, asking us all-why do we love democracy? And should we?

Conrad Ricamora, Austin Ku, Francis Jue, Geena Quintos, Billy Bustamante and Raymond J. Lee. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Conrad Ricamora, Austin Ku, Francis Jue, Geena Quintos, Billy Bustamante and Raymond J. Lee. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Conrad Ricamora and Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Conrad Ricamora and Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
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

Three Hares Presents Paulo K Tiról’s ON THIS SIDE OF THE WORLD Featuring Albert Guerzon, Jaygee Macapugay, Diane Phelan, Joanne Javien, Kevin Schuering and Michael Protacio, May 2 – 12

Jaygee Macapugay. Photo by Lia Chang
Jaygee Macapugay. Photo by Lia Chang
Jaygee Macapugay. Photo by Lia Chang

NYC-based theatre collective Three Hares presents a new song cycle with music and lyrics by Paulo K Tiról titled, “On This Side of the World,” running May 2 – May 12 at Access Theater in Tribeca, New York. The team is a recipient of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s 2019 Creative Engagement grant, which is awarded to artists with “diverse artistic experiences” whose work “contributes to the vibrancy and sustainability of our communities” – and that can certainly be expected this Spring.

The cast features Albert Guerzon* (Escape to Margaritaville, Honeymoon in Vegas, Mamma Mia!, Ghost the Musical), Jaygee Macapugay* (Wild Goose Dreams, School of Rock, Here Lies Love), Diane Phelan* (School of Rock, The King and I), Joanne Javien* (Thoroughly Modern Millie, First National Tour), Kevin Schuering* (The King and I, Lincoln Center National Tour), and Michael Protacio (Joanna Gleason’s “Out of the Eclipse” at 54 Below).

Stories of overseas workers, young lovers, and gossipy church ladies. Snapshots of undocumented immigrants, aspiring actors, and carefree millennials. “On This Side of the World” is a collection of songs capturing voices from the Filipino immigrant experience in the United States, and what emerges is a mosaic of love and loss, humor and heartache, yearning and faith – eight thousand miles from home.

The show begins at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, where six Filipinos wait to board their flight to the United States of America and more specifically – to New York City. Each has a passport, a one way ticket, and some “make believe courage” as they embark on a new life a world away from all they know. With no interstitial dialogue, each song in Tiról’s “On This Side of the World” is a self-contained story that focuses on a distinct character. Featuring an entirely Asian-American cast, the piece expands the musical theater song book for underrepresented artists by lifting up Asian and immigrant stories, and introduces Tiról as an exciting new theatrical voice.

“The Filipino immigrant story is one of courage, sacrifice, searching for identity, struggling to belong, and ultimately, redefining home,” says Filipino composer-lyricist Paulo K Tiról, whose work has been described by the Boston Globe as “a delightful treat.” “And come to think of it,” he continues, “Isn’t that every person’s story? These are not just stories of the Filipino experience – these are stories of human experiences that just happen to be told by a Filipino frame.”

Paulo K Tiról began writing “On This Side of the World” in 2013 as a project at NYU Tisch’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. From 2013 to 2017, ten songs were completed, and individual songs were performed at major venues such as Joe’s Pub, the Laurie Beechman, and the NAMT Festival of New Musicals in 2016. In May 2018, director Noam Shapiro heard “Light of the Home” at a showcase of musical theatre writers of color by Musical Theater Factory at Joe’s Pub , and reached out to Paulo, asking to hear more. They have been collaborating on the piece since.

From September 2018 to February 2019, Paulo and Noam were Artists in Residence at Access Theater in downtown Manhattan, where the piece was completed, workshopped with the help of wonderful actors, and shared with the world in its first full reading on February 15, 2019.

Following two sold out presentations, “On This Side of the World” was programmed at Access Theater for May 2019 as part of its Association Series, which partners with Off-Off Broadway artists who are looking to take on ambitious and stimulating works of theater, accessible to a range of audiences. “Three Hares is committed to international, diverse, and socially engaged theater – theater that says, let’s make the table bigger,” says director and Producing Artistic Director, Noam Shapiro. “I think that theater artists have a responsibility to lift up new voices and to create spaces for stories that haven’t been seen or heard before.” This is reflected in the multiethnic and multinational makeup of the team for “On This Side of the World,” which features artists with roots in the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Israel, Puerto Rico, and Colombia.

“On This Side of the World” translates across cultural boundaries while lifting up stories of new immigrants and the children of immigrant families. “As my community of Filipino immigrants has expanded, so has the array of stories and characters that have gripped, intrigued and inspired me,” says Paulo K Tiról, “I now have a sense of mission, both for the theatre community and for the Filipino community at large. My mission is to share the community’s stories with pride, honesty, and love.”

*denotes member of AEA

Paulo K Tiról, composer-lyricist; Noam Shapiro, director; Ian Miller, music director; Priscilla Villanueva, stage manager; Melanie May (scenic designer); Annie Le (costume designer); Ethan Olsen (lighting designer); Lawrence Schober (sound designer); Megumi Lee, producer; Three Hares, executive production; Toro Communications, public relations.

On This Side of the World’s 12-show limited engagement at Access Theater (380 Broadway) begins Thursday May 2 and continues through Sunday May 12. Tickets range from $30 for General Admission to $35 for Reserved Seating, and can be purchased online here via artful.ly.

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

CTG’s SOFT POWER Receives 2019 LA Ovation Award for Best Production of a Musical and Wins for David Henry Hwang, Jeanine Tesori, Alyse Alan Louis, Anita Yavich and David O

Francis Jue, Conrad Ricamora, Austin Ku, Raymond J. Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Billy Bustamante, Alyse Alan Louis (center), Maria-Christina Oliveras, Geena Quintos, Paul HeeSang Miller, Jon Hoche, Kristen Faith Oei, Daniel May and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

Congratulations to Center Theatre Group’s world premiere production of “Soft Power” by David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori which took home six LA Ovation Awards at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles last night.

Francis Jue, Conrad Ricamora, Austin Ku, Raymond J. Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Billy Bustamante, Alyse Alan Louis (center), Maria-Christina Oliveras, Geena Quintos, Paul HeeSang Miller, Jon Hoche, Kristen Faith Oei, Daniel May and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Francis Jue, Conrad Ricamora, Austin Ku, Raymond J. Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Billy Bustamante, Alyse Alan Louis (center), Maria-Christina Oliveras, Geena Quintos, Paul HeeSang Miller, Jon Hoche, Kristen Faith Oei, Daniel May and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

In addition to being named Best Production of a Musical (Large Theatre), Alyse Alan Louis won for Lead Actress in a Musical,  Anita Yavich for Costume Design (Large Theatre), David O for Music Direction, David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori for Lyrics/Composition of an Original Musical and David Henry Hwang  for Book for an Original Musical.

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
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

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.

Kristen Faith Oei, Raymond J. Lee (obscured), Austin Ku, Daniel May, Geena Quintos, Jon Hoche, Paul HeeSang Miller, Jaygee Macapugay, Billy Bustamante (obscured), Maria-Christina Oliveras and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Kristen Faith Oei, Raymond J. Lee (obscured), Austin Ku, Daniel May, Geena Quintos, Jon Hoche, Paul HeeSang Miller, Jaygee Macapugay, Billy Bustamante (obscured), Maria-Christina Oliveras and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

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.

Jon Hoche; Daniel May (facing away); Kendyl Ito; Kristen Faith Oei; Maria-Christina Oliveras (obscured); Raymond J. Lee; Jaygee Macapugay and Geena Quintos. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Jon Hoche; Daniel May (facing away); Kendyl Ito; Kristen Faith Oei; Maria-Christina Oliveras (obscured); Raymond J. Lee; Jaygee Macapugay and Geena Quintos. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang
David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang
Jeanine Tesori and David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang
Jeanine Tesori and David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang
Conrad Ricamora, Austin Ku, Francis Jue, Geena Quintos, Billy Bustamante and Raymond J. Lee. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Conrad Ricamora, Austin Ku, Francis Jue, Geena Quintos, Billy Bustamante and Raymond J. Lee. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

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.

Maria-Christina Oliveras (obscured), Geena Quintos, Billy Bustamante, Conrad Ricamora, Jaygee Macapugay, Jon Hoche and Daniel May. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Maria-Christina Oliveras (obscured), Geena Quintos, Billy Bustamante, Conrad Ricamora, Jaygee Macapugay, Jon Hoche and Daniel May. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

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.”

Conrad Ricamora and Alyse Alan Louis. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Conrad Ricamora and Alyse Alan Louis. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

“Soft Power” is a Center Theatre Group co-commission with The Public Theater. “Soft Power” is produced in association with East West Players.

Conrad Ricamora and Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Conrad Ricamora and Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

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.

Raymond J. Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Austin Ku, Kendyl Ito and Jon Hoche. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Raymond J. Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Austin Ku, Kendyl Ito and Jon Hoche. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
The cast. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
The cast. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

Sneak Peek of CTG’s World Premiere of David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s SOFT POWER

Sam Pinkleton, Jeanine Tesori, David Henry Hwang and Leigh Silverman. Photo by Lia Chang
Sam Pinkleton, Jeanine Tesori, David Henry Hwang and Leigh Silverman. Photo by Lia Chang
Jeanine Tesori, David Henry Hwang, Leigh Silverman, Michael Ritchie and Sam Pinkleton. Photo by Lia Chang
Jeanine Tesori, David Henry Hwang, Leigh Silverman, Michael Ritchie and Sam Pinkleton. Photo by Lia Chang
Sam Pinkleton, Jeanine Tesori, Francis Jue, Leigh Silverman, David Henry Hwang, Conrad Ricamora, Alyse Alan Louis. Photo by Lia Chang
Sam Pinkleton, Jeanine Tesori, Francis Jue, Leigh Silverman, David Henry Hwang, Conrad Ricamora, Alyse Alan Louis. Photo by Lia Chang

Asia Society Presents ‘The King and I’ Meets ‘Soft Power’ with David Henry Hwang and Bartlett Sher on February 5 

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

Francis Jue, Peter Kim, Michelle Krusiec, Jaygee Macapugay, Joél Pérez, Kendyl Ito, Lulu Fall and More in WILD GOOSE DREAMS at The Public through December 16

Lulu Fall, Michelle Krusiec, Francis Jue, Peter Kim, and Joel Perez. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

The New York premiere of Wild Goose Dreams, written by Hansol Jung and directed by Leigh Silverman has an extended run through Sunday, December 16 at The Public. Click here for tickets.

Michelle Krusiec and Peter Kim.  Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Michelle Krusiec and Peter Kim.  Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

The complete cast of Wild Goose Dreams features Dan Domingues (Chorus), Lulu Fall (Woman/Chorus), Kendyl Ito (Heejin/Chorus),Francis Jue (Father), Peter Kim (Guk Minsung), Michelle Krusiec (Yoo Nanhee), Jaygee Macapugay(Wife/Chorus), Joél Pérez (Man/Chorus), Jamar Williams (Chorus), and Katrina Yaukey (Chorus).

Michelle Krusiec, Peter Kim, and Joel Perez. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Michelle Krusiec, Peter Kim, and Joel Perez. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Wild Goose Dreams returns to The Public after its initial run in Public Studio in a co-production with La Jolla Playhouse, where it had a critically-acclaimed run last season. Minsung is a “goose father,” a South Korean man whose wife and daughter have moved to America for a better life. Deeply lonely, he escapes onto the internet and meets Nanhee, a young defector forced to leave her family behind in North Korea. Amidst the endless noise of the modern world, where likes and shares have taken the place of love and touch, Minsung and Nanhee try their best to be real for each other. But after a lifetime of division and separation, is connection possible?

Michelle Krusiec and Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Michelle Krusiec and Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Wild Goose Dreams features scenic design by Clint Ramos, costume design by Linda Cho, lighting design by Keith Parham, sound design by Palmer Hefferan, composition by Paul Castles, Korean music composition by Jongbin Jung, movement direction by Yasmine Lee, and music supervision by Charity Wicks.

Lulu Fall, Michelle Krusiec, Francis Jue, Peter Kim, and Joel Perez. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Lulu Fall, Michelle Krusiec, Francis Jue, Peter Kim, and Joel Perez. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Lulu Fall, Michelle Krusiec, and Francis Jue.  Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Lulu Fall, Michelle Krusiec, and Francis Jue.  Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Peter Kim.  Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Peter Kim.  Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
The company of WILD GOOSE DREAMS. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
The company of WILD GOOSE DREAMS. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Peter Kim and Michelle Krusiec. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Peter Kim and Michelle Krusiec. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Peter Kim and Joel Perez, with Kendyl Ito.  Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Peter Kim and Joel Perez, with Kendyl Ito.  Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Peter Kim and Michelle Krusiec. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Peter Kim and Michelle Krusiec. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s SOFT POWER Receives 11 LA Ovation Award Nominations

Maria-Christina Oliveras (obscured), Geena Quintos, Billy Bustamante, Conrad Ricamora, Jaygee Macapugay, Jon Hoche and Daniel May. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

Center Theatre Group’s world premiere production of “Soft Power” by David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori has been nominated for 11 LA Ovation Awards including Best Production of a Musical (Large Theater) and Acting Ensemble of a Musical.

Sam Pinkleton, Jeanine Tesori, David Henry Hwang and Leigh Silverman. Photo by Lia Chang
Sam Pinkleton, Jeanine Tesori, David Henry Hwang and Leigh Silverman. Photo by Lia Chang

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.

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.

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
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

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.

Kristen Faith Oei, Raymond J. Lee (obscured), Austin Ku, Daniel May, Geena Quintos, Jon Hoche, Paul HeeSang Miller, Jaygee Macapugay, Billy Bustamante (obscured), Maria-Christina Oliveras and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Kristen Faith Oei, Raymond J. Lee (obscured), Austin Ku, Daniel May, Geena Quintos, Jon Hoche, Paul HeeSang Miller, Jaygee Macapugay, Billy Bustamante (obscured), Maria-Christina Oliveras and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

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.

Choreography
Sam Pinkleton

Jon Hoche; Daniel May (facing away); Kendyl Ito; Kristen Faith Oei; Maria-Christina Oliveras (obscured); Raymond J. Lee; Jaygee Macapugay and Geena Quintos. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Jon Hoche; Daniel May (facing away); Kendyl Ito; Kristen Faith Oei; Maria-Christina Oliveras (obscured); Raymond J. Lee; Jaygee Macapugay and Geena Quintos. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

Music Direction
David O

Book for an Original Musical
David Henry Hwang

David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang
David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

Lyrics/Composition for an Original Musical
David Henry Hwang, Jeanine Tesori

Jeanine Tesori and David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang
Jeanine Tesori and David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

Direction of a Musical
Leigh Silverman

Director Leigh Silverman. Photo by Lia Chang
Director Leigh Silverman. Photo by Lia Chang

Lead Actor in a Musical
Conrad Ricamora

Conrad Ricamora. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Conrad Ricamora. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

Lead Actress in a Musical
Alyse Louis

Francis Jue, Conrad Ricamora, Austin Ku, Raymond J. Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Billy Bustamante, Alyse Alan Louis (center), Maria-Christina Oliveras, Geena Quintos, Paul HeeSang Miller, Jon Hoche, Kristen Faith Oei, Daniel May and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Francis Jue, Conrad Ricamora, Austin Ku, Raymond J. Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Billy Bustamante, Alyse Alan Louis (center), Maria-Christina Oliveras, Geena Quintos, Paul HeeSang Miller, Jon Hoche, Kristen Faith Oei, Daniel May and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

Sound Design (Large Theater)
Kai Harada

Costume Design (Large Theater)
Anita Yavich

Conrad Ricamora, Austin Ku, Francis Jue, Geena Quintos, Billy Bustamante and Raymond J. Lee. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Conrad Ricamora, Austin Ku, Francis Jue, Geena Quintos, Billy Bustamante and Raymond J. Lee. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

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.

Maria-Christina Oliveras (obscured), Geena Quintos, Billy Bustamante, Conrad Ricamora, Jaygee Macapugay, Jon Hoche and Daniel May. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Maria-Christina Oliveras (obscured), Geena Quintos, Billy Bustamante, Conrad Ricamora, Jaygee Macapugay, Jon Hoche and Daniel May. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

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.”

Conrad Ricamora and Alyse Alan Louis. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Conrad Ricamora and Alyse Alan Louis. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

“Soft Power” is a Center Theatre Group co-commission with The Public Theater. “Soft Power” is produced in association with East West Players.

Conrad Ricamora and Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Conrad Ricamora and Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

This voting season, there were 255 total productions registered for the Ovation Awards from 110 different producing bodies, resulting in 203 total nominations for 71 distinct productions presented by 46 organizations. These productions were voted on by 277 Ovation Awards voters — vetted individuals from the Greater Los Angeles area who are working theatre professionals.

Conrad Ricamora and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Conrad Ricamora and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Conrad Ricamora and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Conrad Ricamora and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Raymond J. Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Austin Ku, Kendyl Ito and Jon Hoche. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Raymond J. Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Austin Ku, Kendyl Ito and Jon Hoche. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
The cast. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
The cast. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

Sneak Peek of CTG’s World Premiere of David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s SOFT POWER

Sam Pinkleton, Jeanine Tesori, Francis Jue, Leigh Silverman, David Henry Hwang, Conrad Ricamora, Alyse Alan Louis. Photo by Lia Chang
Sam Pinkleton, Jeanine Tesori, Francis Jue, Leigh Silverman, David Henry Hwang, Conrad Ricamora, Alyse Alan Louis. Photo by Lia Chang

Francis Jue, Peter Kim, Michelle Krusiec, Jaygee Macapugay, Joél Pérez, Kendyl Ito, Lulu Fall and More in Rehearsal for WILD GOOSE DREAMS at The Public, Extended through December 16

Michelle Krusiec and Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

The Public is presenting the New York premiere of WILD GOOSE DREAMS, written by Hansol Jung and directed by Leigh Silverman. WILD GOOSE DREAMS has been extended through Sunday, December 16, with an official press opening on Wednesday, November 14. Click here for tickets.

Lulu Fall, Michelle Krusiec, Peter Kim, and Joel Perez. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Lulu Fall, Michelle Krusiec, Peter Kim, and Joel Perez. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

The complete cast of WILD GOOSE DREAMS includes Dan Domingues (Chorus), Lulu Fall (Digital Nanhee/Chorus), Kendyl Ito (Heejin/Chorus),Francis Jue (Father), Peter Kim (Guk Minsung), Michelle Krusiec (Yoo Nanhee), Jaygee Macapugay(Wife/Chorus), Joél Pérez (Digital Minsung/Chorus), Jamar Williams (Chorus), and Katrina Yaukey (Chorus).

Lulu Fall and Michelle Krusiec. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Lulu Fall and Michelle Krusiec. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

WILD GOOSE DREAMS returns to The Public after its initial run in Public Studio in a co-production with La Jolla Playhouse, where it had a critically-acclaimed run last season. Minsung is a “goose father,” a South Korean man whose wife and daughter have moved to America for a better life. Deeply lonely, he escapes onto the internet and meets Nanhee, a young defector forced to leave her family behind in North Korea. Amidst the endless noise of the modern world, where likes and shares have taken the place of love and touch, Minsung and Nanhee try their best to be real for each other. But after a lifetime of division and separation, is connection possible? Tony nominee Leigh Silverman directs this strikingly original play with music, about two people from two cultures forced to choose between family and freedom.

Michelle Krusiec and Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Michelle Krusiec and Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

WILD GOOSE DREAMS features scenic design by Clint Ramos, costume design by Linda Cho, lighting design by Keith Parham, sound design by Palmer Hefferan, composition by Paul Castles, Korean music composition by Jongbin Jung, movement direction by Yasmine Lee, and music supervision by Charity Wicks.

Francis Jue, director Leigh Silverman, and playwright Hansol Jung. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Francis Jue, director Leigh Silverman, and playwright Hansol Jung. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Director Leigh Silverman and playwright Hansol Jung. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Director Leigh Silverman and playwright Hansol Jung. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Michelle Krusiec and Peter Kim. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Michelle Krusiec and Peter Kim. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Director Leigh Silverman and playwright Hansol Jung. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Director Leigh Silverman and playwright Hansol Jung. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Dan Domingues, Jamar Williams, and Katrina Yaukey. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Dan Domingues, Jamar Williams, and Katrina Yaukey. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Kendyl Ito and Jaygee Macapugay. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Kendyl Ito and Jaygee Macapugay. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Joel Perez and Peter Kim. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Joel Perez and Peter Kim. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Francis Jue, Peter Kim, Michelle Krusiec, Jaygee Macapugay, Joél Pérez, Kendyl Ito, Lulu Fall and More Set for WILD GOOSE DREAMS at The Public, October 30 – December 9

The Public Theater is presenting the New York premiere of Wild Goose Dreams, written by Hansol Jung and directed by Tony Award nominee Leigh Silverman. After its initial run in Public Studio, and in a co-production with La Jolla Playhouse, this fascinating and unforgettable new play with music, will begin previews with a Free First Preview in The Public’s Martinson Hall on Tuesday, October 30. Wild Goose Dreams runs through Sunday, December 9, with an official press opening on Wednesday, November 14.

The complete cast of Wild Goose Dreams features Dan Domingues (Chorus), Lulu Fall (Digital Nanhee/Chorus), Kendyl Ito (Heejin/Chorus), Francis Jue (Father), Peter Kim (Guk Minsung), Michelle Krusiec (Yoo Nanhee), Jaygee Macapugay (Wife/Chorus), Joél Pérez (Digital Minsung/Chorus), Jamar Williams (Chorus), and Katrina Yaukey (Chorus).

Wild Goose Dreams returns to The Public after its initial run in Public Studio in a co-production with La Jolla Playhouse, where it had a critically-acclaimed run last season. Minsung is a “goose father,” a South Korean man whose wife and daughter have moved to America for a better life. Deeply lonely, he escapes onto the internet and meets Nanhee, a young defector forced to leave her family behind in North Korea. Amidst the endless noise of the modern world, where likes and shares have taken the place of love and touch, Minsung and Nanhee try their best to be real for each other. But after a lifetime of division and separation, is connection possible? Tony nominee Leigh Silverman directs this strikingly original play with music, about two people from two cultures forced to choose between family and freedom.

Wild Goose Dreams features scenic design by Clint Ramos, costume design by Linda Cho, lighting design by Keith Parham, sound design by Palmer Hefferan, composition by Paul Castles, Korean music composition by Jongbin Jung, movement direction by Yasmine Lee, and music supervision by Charity Wicks.

Hansol Jung (Playwright). Productions include Cardboard Piano (Actors Theater of Louisville), Among the Dead (Ma-Yi Theater), and No More Sad Things (Sideshow, Boise Contemporary). Commissions include National Theatre (UK); La Jolla Playhouse; Playwrights Horizons; Seattle Repertory; Ma-Yi Theater Company; Artists Repertory; and Play On! at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Fellowships and residencies include Royal Court, New York Theatre Workshop, Berkeley Repertory, MacDowell Colony, Hedgebrook, Sundance Theatre Lab, O’Neill Theater Center, Victory Gardens, and Page 73 Productions. Jung received a Whiting Award and Helen Merrill Award. Jung received her MFA from Yale School of Drama, and is a member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab and Usual Suspects at NYTW.

Leigh Silverman (Director). Public Theater credits include The Outer Space, No Place to Go, In the Wake (also CTG/Berkeley, Obie Award, Lortel nomination), Yellow Face, and Well. Silverman’s Broadway credits include Lifespan of a Fact (Studio 54), Violet (Roundabout, Tony nomination), Chinglish, and Well. Recent credits include Soft Power by Jeanine Tesori/David Henry Hwang (Ahmanson Theater/Curran Theater) and Harry Clarke (Vineyard Theatre/Minetta Lane, Lortel nomination). Other credits include Sweet Charity (New Group); On the Exhale (Roundabout); All The Ways to Say I Love You (MCC); The Way We Get By (Second Stage); Tumacho (Clubbed Thumb); American Hero (Williamstown Theater Festival/Second Stage); Kung Fu and Golden Child (Signature Theatre); The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence, The Call, and Go Back to Where You Are (Obie Award, Playwrights Horizons); and The Madrid (MTC). Encores credits include Really Rosie, The Wild Party, and Violet.

Dan Domingues (Chorus) has performed at The Public in Fidelis, The Great Immensity, and Let Me Ascertain You (Joe’s Pub). Off-Broadway credits include Rattlestick, Abingdon, BAM, 59E59, INTAR, Atlantic, and Cherry Lane. Select regional credits include Alley Theatre, Arena Stage, Guthrie, Goodman, NY Stage & Film, Hangar Theatre, Studio Theatre, Cape Playhouse, Kansas City Rep, Long Wharf, Florida Stage, Portland Stage, and George Street. His film credits include Run All Night, Future ’38, and In Stereo, and television credits include “West40s,” “Blacklist,” “Royal Pains,” and “Law & Order.” He received his MFA from A.R.T. and is an Associate Artist with The Civilians.

Lulu Fall (Digital Nanhee/Chorus). Broadway credits include Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 and Hair. Off-Broadway credits include Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812; Pretty Filthy; Hadestown; and This Ain’t No Disco. She appeared in the national tour of Hair. Regional credits include The Who’s Tommy, Acid Queen (Denver Center); Smokey Joe’s Cafe (Capital Repertory Theatre); and Passing Strange (Studio Theatre). Select workshops include August Rush, 15 Minutes, and Annie Golden Bounty Hunter. Television credits include “Random Acts of Flyness” (HBO). Her featured music performances include Jazz Re:freshed (London) and American Songbook Program.

Kendyl Ito (Heejin/Chorus) performed in the national tour of Matilda. Regional credits include Soft Power (world premiere), A Chorus Line, Grease, Rent, Seussical, American Idiot, and Oliver. His concerts include 54 Sings Little Women, Music and Laughter, Samantha Spade, and Hatched.

Francis Jue (Father) has performed at The Public in Yellow Face, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Hamlet, Timon of Athens, Pericles, King Lear, A Winter’s Tale, A Language of Their Own, and Richard II. Broadway credits include Pacific Overtures, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and M. Butterfly. Off-Broadway credits include Kung Fu, Coraline, and Falsettoland. Regional credits include Soft Power; In the Next Room (or the vibrator play); Cabaret; King of the Yees; Tiger Style!; Miss Saigon; and Amadeus. Film and television credits include Joyful Noise, “Madam Secretary,” “Good Wife,” and “Law & Order: SVU.” He has received Obie and Lucille Lortel Awards.

Peter Kim (Guk Minsung) has appeared at The Public in Yellow Face. Broadway credits include Thoroughly Modern Millie and Off-Broadway credits include Charles Francis Chan Jr.’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery (NAATCO), Kung Fu (Signature), The Golden Dragon (PlayCo), Maple and Vine (Playwrights Horizons), Year Zero (2ST), American Hwangap (PlayCo/Ma-Yi), and Sides (Ma-Yi). Film credits include Saturday Church, Margin Call, Sex and the City, and Hackers. Television credits include “After Forever,” “Chicago Med,” “Mercy,” and “Ugly Betty.” He is an associate producer at NAATCO and a lecturer at Princeton University. Kim is a recipient of the Lilah Kan Red Socks Award.

Michelle Krusiec (Yoo Nanhee). Regional credits include Chinglish (International Broadway tour, Berkeley Rep, South Coast Rep and Hong Kong Arts Festival). Krusiec wrote and performed the solo show Made in Taiwan (HBO Aspen Comedy Arts Festival, New York Asian American Theatre Festival, NY Fringe Festival, and Fringe Encores). Her workshop credits include King of Hell’s Palace (Goodman) and Kung Fu (Signature). Her selected film credits include The Invitation, Saving Face, and Far North, and selected television credits include “Supergirl,” “Hawaii-5-0,” and “Getting On.” She also wrote and directed Scenes from a Real Marriage. Krusiec received a Best Actress nomination for The Golden Horse Awards.

Jaygee Macapugay (Chorus/Wife) has appeared at The Public in Here Lies Love as Imelda Marcos and on Broadway in School of Rock. Her Off-Broadway credits include School of Rock (Gramercy); Hello, Dolly! (National Asian Artists Project); Imelda: A New Musical (Pan Asian Rep/East West Players); and Honor, The Rockae (Prospect Theatre). Regional credits include Soft Power (Ahmanson, Curran); The King and I (KC Starlight); Miss Saigon (MUNY, 5th Avenue, Casa Mañana); and Smokey Joe’s Café (Maltz Jupiter, Riverside). International credits include Where Elephants Weep. She is a USO singer.

JOÉL PÉREZ (Digital Minsung/Chorus) has appeared at The Public in Oedipus El Rey, As You Like It, and Fun Home (and Broadway). Off-Broadway credits include Sweet Charity (The New Group, Lortel Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical) and Raw Bacon from Poland (Abrons Art Center). Regional and tour credits include In the Heights (first national) and Stuck Elevator (A.C.T.). Pérez is an ensemble member of Broken Box Mime Theater. Television credits include “Jesus Christ Superstar Live!;” “Person of Interest;” “Odd Mom Out;” “The Big C;” and “The Outs.”

Jamar Williams (Chorus). Off-Broadway credits include The Hairy Ape (Park Ave Armory), The Death of The Last Black Man...(Signature Theater), and Invisible Thread (Second Stage). Regional credits include Passing Strange (Wilma Theatre); Burn All Night, Witness Uganda, The Black Clown (A.R.T.); The Cardboard Piano (Humana Fest); and Hairspray, The Piano Lesson (Santa Rosa Rep). Workshop and readings credits include Sundance Theater Lab (new musical by Jeanine Tesori, David Lindsay Abaire), Secret Soldiers (Marsha Norman/Zoe Sarnak, WTF), Director’s Lab 2016 (Lincoln Center), and tour credits include Theatre Works USA.

Katrina Yaukey (Chorus) has performed at The Public in Road Show. Her Broadway credits include Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812; Cabaret (2014); War Horse; Billy Elliot; Company; and Cabaret (1998). Her tour credits include Billy Elliot, Sweeney Todd, Cabaret, and Victor/Victoria.

Full price tickets, starting at $55, can be accessed by calling (212) 967-7555, visiting www.publictheater.org, or in person at the Taub Box Office at The Public Theater at 425 Lafayette Street.

David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s SOFT POWER at San Francisco’s Curran Ends Limited Run

Daniel May, Jaygee Macapugay, Geena Quintos, Austin Ku, Kristen Faith Oei, Lia Chang, Emily Stillings, Kara Guy, Jon Hoche, Raymond J. Lee and Billy Bustamante.
Daniel May, Jaygee Macapugay, Geena Quintos, Austin Ku, Kristen Faith Oei, Lia Chang, Emily Stillings, Kara Guy, Jon Hoche, Raymond J. Lee and Billy Bustamante.
Daniel May, Jaygee Macapugay, Geena Quintos, Austin Ku, Kristen Faith Oei, Lia Chang, Emily Stillings, Kara Guy, Jon Hoche, Raymond J. Lee and Billy Bustamante.

David Henry Hwang (play and lyrics) and Jeanine Tesori’s genre defying play with a musical, which ends its Bay Area premiere at San Francisco’s Curran (445 Geary Street) tonight, is must see theater. SOFT POWER is a Center Theatre Group co-commission with The Public Theater and had its world premiere at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. Tickets for SOFT POWER range in price from $29-$175 and are available by calling 415-358-1220 or visiting SFCURRAN.com/soft-power.

Sam Pinkleton, Jeanine Tesori, Francis Jue, Leigh Silverman, David Henry Hwang, Conrad Ricamora, Alyse Alan Louis. Photo by Lia Chang
Sam Pinkleton, Jeanine Tesori, Francis Jue, Leigh Silverman, David Henry Hwang, Conrad Ricamora, Alyse Alan Louis. Photo by Lia Chang

Directed by Leigh Silverman (Violet) and choreographed by Sam Pinkleton (Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812), 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 as the power balance between their two countries shifts following the 2016 election.

Kara Guy, Raymond J. Lee, Emily Stillings, Kendyl Ito, Billy Bustamante, Geena Quinto, Daniel May, Kristen Faith Oei, Jaygee Macapugay and Austin Ku. Photo by Lia Chang
Kara Guy, Raymond J. Lee, Emily Stillings, Kendyl Ito, Billy Bustamante, Geena Quinto, Daniel May, Kristen Faith Oei, Jaygee Macapugay and Austin Ku. Photo by Lia Chang

The cast of SOFT POWER features Billy Bustamante (Miss Saigon), Kara Guy, Jon Hoche (War Horse tour), Kendyl Ito (Matilda tour), Francis Jue (M. Butterfly), Austin Ku (Chinglish tour), Raymond J. Lee (Groundhog Day), Alyse Alan Louis (Amélie), Jaygee Macapugay (School of Rock), Daniel May (Thoroughly Modern Millie tour), Paul HeeSang Miller (Miss Saigon), Kristen Faith Oei (M. Butterfly), Maria-Christina Oliveras (Amélie), Geena Quintos (Miss Saigon), Conrad Ricamora (The King and I, “How to Get Away with Murder”), Trevor Salter (Here Lies Love) and Emily Stillings (The King and I).

Conrad Ricamora and Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Conrad Ricamora and Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

I flew to San Francisco to catch SOFT POWER and visited with some of the cast post-show. Also in the house that night – Joel de la Fuente and director Lisa Rothe – who are currently in rehearsal for Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths at Theaterworks SV.

Conrad Ricamora, Austin Ku, Francis Jue, Geena Quintos, Billy Bustamante and Raymond J. Lee. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Conrad Ricamora, Austin Ku, Francis Jue, Geena Quintos, Billy Bustamante and Raymond J. Lee. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

I am proud of the Asian American representation and overwhelmed by the level of humanity portrayed onstage. Thank you to the cast for your brave, brilliant and vulnerable performances and to the creative team for their powerful storytelling.

Maria-Christina Oliveras (obscured), Geena Quintos, Billy Bustamante, Conrad Ricamora, Jaygee Macapugay, Jon Hoche and Daniel May. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Maria-Christina Oliveras (obscured), Geena Quintos, Billy Bustamante, Conrad Ricamora, Jaygee Macapugay, Jon Hoche and Daniel May. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

The creative team includes scenic design by Tony Award winner David Zinn, costume design by Drama Desk Award winner Anita Yavich, lighting design by Mark Barton, sound design by Tony Award nominee Kai Harada, orchestrations by Drama Desk Award winner and Tony Award nominee 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, CSAand Kate Murray, CSA. The dramaturg is Oskar Eustis. The production stage manager is David Lurie-Perret.

Conrad Ricamora and Alyse Alan Louis. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Conrad Ricamora and Alyse Alan Louis. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

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.

Jeanine Tesori and David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang
Jeanine Tesori and David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

Hwang is a playwright, screenwriter, television writer, and librettist, whose stage works includes the plays M. Butterfly, Chinglish, Yellow Face, Kung Fu, Golden Child, The Dance and the Railroad, and FOB, as well as the Broadway musicals Elton John & Tim Rice’s Aida (co-author), Flower Drum Song (2002 revival) and Disney’s Tarzan. He is also America’s most-produced living opera librettist, whose works have been honored with two Grammy Awards, and he co-wrote the Gold Record “Solo” with the late pop star Prince. Hwang is currently a Writer/Consulting Producer for the Golden Globe-winning television series “The Affair,” and his screenplays include Possession, M. Butterfly, and Golden Gate. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Hwang is a Tony Award winner (M. Butterfly) and three-time nominee, a three-time Obie Award winner and a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Recent honors include the 2011 PEN/Laura Pels Award for a Master American Dramatist, the 2012 Inge Award, the 2012 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright “Mimi” Award, a 2014 Doris Duke Artist Award and the 2015 IPSA Distinguished Artist Award. He is Chair of the American Theatre Wing and sits on the boards of Young Playwrights Inc. and the Lark Play Development Center. Hwang was recently the Residency One Playwright at New York’s Signature Theatre and currently serves as head of playwriting at Columbia University School of the Arts. In 1998, East West Players named its new mainstage the David Henry Hwang Theater.

Kristen Faith Oei, Raymond J. Lee (obscured), Austin Ku, Daniel May, Geena Quintos, Jon Hoche, Paul HeeSang Miller, Jaygee Macapugay, Billy Bustamante (obscured), Maria-Christina Oliveras and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Kristen Faith Oei, Raymond J. Lee (obscured), Austin Ku, Daniel May, Geena Quintos, Jon Hoche, Paul HeeSang Miller, Jaygee Macapugay, Billy Bustamante (obscured), Maria-Christina Oliveras and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

Tesori returns to Curran, where in January 2017, Fun Home was the first performance following the theater’s extensive renovation. Broadway credits include Fun Home (2015 Tony Award winner), Violet, Caroline, or Change, Shrek The Musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Twelfth Night (Lincoln Center Theater) and John Guare’s A Free Man of Color. Tesori also collaborated with Tony Kushner on Mother Courage starring Meryl Streep at the Delacorte. Her opera credits include A Blizzard on Marblehead Neck (libretto, Tony Kushner; Glimmerglass) and The Lion, the Unicorn and Me (libretto, J. D. McClatchy; Washington National Opera). Her songs are featured in the Netflix revival of “Gilmore Girls.” She is the artistic director/co-founder of A Broader Way, an arts empowerment program for girls from underserved communities; the founding artistic director of Encores! Off-Center; and a lecturer in music at Yale University and Columbia University. Tesori is a member of the Dramatists Guild.

Conrad Ricamora and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Conrad Ricamora and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Jon Hoche; Daniel May (facing away); Kendyl Ito; Kristen Faith Oei; Maria-Christina Oliveras (obscured); Raymond J. Lee; Jaygee Macapugay and Geena Quintos. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Jon Hoche; Daniel May (facing away); Kendyl Ito; Kristen Faith Oei; Maria-Christina Oliveras (obscured); Raymond J. Lee; Jaygee Macapugay and Geena Quintos. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

Chatting with Raymond J. Lee about SOFT POWER, GROUNDHOG DAY and his Feinstein’s/54 Below Show with Sharone Sayegh on July 26

Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

Award-winning Broadway Vet Francis Jue Talks about SOFT POWER, KING OF THE YEES, WILD GOOSE DREAMS, “Madam Secretary” and Getting Married 

Francis Jue, Conrad Ricamora, Austin Ku, Raymond J. Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Billy Bustamante, Alyse Alan Louis (center), Maria-Christina Oliveras, Geena Quintos, Paul HeeSang Miller, Jon Hoche, Kristen Faith Oei, Daniel May and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Francis Jue, Conrad Ricamora, Austin Ku, Raymond J. Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Billy Bustamante, Alyse Alan Louis (center), Maria-Christina Oliveras, Geena Quintos, Paul HeeSang Miller, Jon Hoche, Kristen Faith Oei, Daniel May and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Raymond J. Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Austin Ku, Kendyl Ito and Jon Hoche. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Raymond J. Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Austin Ku, Kendyl Ito and Jon Hoche. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
The cast. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
The cast. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
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
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

Billy Bustamante, 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 Set for World Premiere of David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s SOFT POWER 

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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Final Week to see 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 in David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s SOFT POWER at San Francisco’s Curran through July 8

Conrad Ricamora, Austin Ku, Francis Jue, Geena Quintos, Billy Bustamante and Raymond J. Lee. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

SOFT POWER, the play featuring a musical by David Henry Hwang (play and lyrics) and Jeanine Tesori (music and additional lyrics), has performances at San Francisco’s Curran (445 Geary Street) through July 8, 2018. SOFT POWER is a Center Theatre Group co-commission with The Public Theater and had its world premiere at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. Tickets for SOFT POWER range in price from $29-$175 and are available by calling 415-358-1220 or visiting SFCURRAN.com/soft-power.

David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly, Flower Drum Song) and Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home). Directed by Leigh Silverman (Violet) and choreographed by Sam Pinkleton (Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812), 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 as the power balance between their two countries shifts following the 2016 election.

Conrad Ricamora and Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Conrad Ricamora and Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

The cast of SOFT POWER features Billy Bustamante (Miss Saigon), Kara Guy, Jon Hoche (War Horse tour), Kendyl Ito (Matilda tour), Francis Jue (M. Butterfly), Austin Ku (Chinglish tour), Raymond J. Lee (Groundhog Day), Alyse Alan Louis (Amélie), Jaygee Macapugay (School of Rock), Daniel May (Thoroughly Modern Millie tour), Paul HeeSang Miller (Miss Saigon), Kristen Faith Oei (M. Butterfly), Maria-Christina Oliveras (Amélie), Geena Quintos (Miss Saigon), Conrad Ricamora (The King and I, “How to Get Away with Murder”), Trevor Salter (Here Lies Love) and Emily Stillings (The King and I).

Conrad Ricamora, Austin Ku, Francis Jue, Geena Quintos, Billy Bustamante and Raymond J. Lee. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Conrad Ricamora, Austin Ku, Francis Jue, Geena Quintos, Billy Bustamante and Raymond J. Lee. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

The creative team includes scenic design by Tony Award winner David Zinn, costume design by Drama Desk Award winner Anita Yavich, lighting design by Mark Barton, sound design by Tony Award nominee Kai Harada, orchestrations by Drama Desk Award winner and Tony Award nominee 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, CSAand Kate Murray, CSA. The dramaturg is Oskar Eustis. The production stage manager is David Lurie-Perret.

Maria-Christina Oliveras (obscured), Geena Quintos, Billy Bustamante, Conrad Ricamora, Jaygee Macapugay, Jon Hoche and Daniel May. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Maria-Christina Oliveras (obscured), Geena Quintos, Billy Bustamante, Conrad Ricamora, Jaygee Macapugay, Jon Hoche and Daniel May. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

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.

Conrad Ricamora and Alyse Alan Louis. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Conrad Ricamora and Alyse Alan Louis. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Sam Pinkleton, Jeanine Tesori, Francis Jue, Leigh Silverman, David Henry Hwang, Conrad Ricamora, Alyse Alan Louis. Photo by Lia Chang
Sam Pinkleton, Jeanine Tesori, Francis Jue, Leigh Silverman, David Henry Hwang, Conrad Ricamora, Alyse Alan Louis. Photo by Lia Chang

Hwang is a playwright, screenwriter, television writer, and librettist, whose stage works includes the plays M. Butterfly, Chinglish, Yellow Face, Kung Fu, Golden Child, The Dance and the Railroad, and FOB, as well as the Broadway musicals Elton John & Tim Rice’s Aida (co-author), Flower Drum Song (2002 revival) and Disney’s Tarzan. He is also America’s most-produced living opera librettist, whose works have been honored with two Grammy Awards, and he co-wrote the Gold Record “Solo” with the late pop star Prince. Hwang is currently a Writer/Consulting Producer for the Golden Globe-winning television series “The Affair,” and his screenplays include Possession, M. Butterfly, and Golden Gate. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Hwang is a Tony Award winner (M. Butterfly) and three-time nominee, a three-time Obie Award winner and a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Recent honors include the 2011 PEN/Laura Pels Award for a Master American Dramatist, the 2012 Inge Award, the 2012 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright “Mimi” Award, a 2014 Doris Duke Artist Award and the 2015 IPSA Distinguished Artist Award. He is Chair of the American Theatre Wing and sits on the boards of Young Playwrights Inc. and the Lark Play Development Center. Hwang was recently the Residency One Playwright at New York’s Signature Theatre and currently serves as head of playwriting at Columbia University School of the Arts. In 1998, East West Players named its new mainstage the David Henry Hwang Theater.

Kristen Faith Oei, Raymond J. Lee (obscured), Austin Ku, Daniel May, Geena Quintos, Jon Hoche, Paul HeeSang Miller, Jaygee Macapugay, Billy Bustamante (obscured), Maria-Christina Oliveras and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Kristen Faith Oei, Raymond J. Lee (obscured), Austin Ku, Daniel May, Geena Quintos, Jon Hoche, Paul HeeSang Miller, Jaygee Macapugay, Billy Bustamante (obscured), Maria-Christina Oliveras and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

Tesori returns to Curran, where in January 2017, Fun Home was the first performance following the theater’s extensive renovation. Broadway credits include Fun Home (2015 Tony Award winner), Violet, Caroline, or Change, Shrek The Musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Twelfth Night (Lincoln Center Theater) and John Guare’s A Free Man of Color. Tesori also collaborated with Tony Kushner on Mother Courage starring Meryl Streep at the Delacorte. Her opera credits include A Blizzard on Marblehead Neck (libretto, Tony Kushner; Glimmerglass) and The Lion, the Unicorn and Me (libretto, J. D. McClatchy; Washington National Opera). Her songs are featured in the Netflix revival of “Gilmore Girls.” She is the artistic director/co-founder of A Broader Way, an arts empowerment program for girls from underserved communities; the founding artistic director of Encores! Off-Center; and a lecturer in music at Yale University and Columbia University. Tesori is a member of the Dramatists Guild.

Conrad Ricamora and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Conrad Ricamora and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Conrad Ricamora and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Conrad Ricamora and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Jon Hoche; Daniel May (facing away); Kendyl Ito; Kristen Faith Oei; Maria-Christina Oliveras (obscured); Raymond J. Lee; Jaygee Macapugay and Geena Quintos. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Jon Hoche; Daniel May (facing away); Kendyl Ito; Kristen Faith Oei; Maria-Christina Oliveras (obscured); Raymond J. Lee; Jaygee Macapugay and Geena Quintos. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

Chatting with Raymond J. Lee about SOFT POWER, GROUNDHOG DAY and his Feinstein’s/54 Below Show with Sharone Sayegh on July 26 Conrad Ricamora. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

Conrad Ricamora. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

Award-winning Broadway Vet Francis Jue Talks about SOFT POWER, KING OF THE YEES, WILD GOOSE DREAMS, “Madam Secretary” and Getting Married 

Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Francis Jue. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Francis Jue, Conrad Ricamora, Austin Ku, Raymond J. Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Billy Bustamante, Alyse Alan Louis (center), Maria-Christina Oliveras, Geena Quintos, Paul HeeSang Miller, Jon Hoche, Kristen Faith Oei, Daniel May and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Francis Jue, Conrad Ricamora, Austin Ku, Raymond J. Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Billy Bustamante, Alyse Alan Louis (center), Maria-Christina Oliveras, Geena Quintos, Paul HeeSang Miller, Jon Hoche, Kristen Faith Oei, Daniel May and Kendyl Ito. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Raymond J. Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Austin Ku, Kendyl Ito and Jon Hoche. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Raymond J. Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Austin Ku, Kendyl Ito and Jon Hoche. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
The cast. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
The cast. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
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
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

Billy Bustamante, 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 Set for World Premiere of David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s SOFT POWER 

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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Chatting with Raymond J. Lee about SOFT POWER, GROUNDHOG DAY and Feinstein’s/54 Below Show with Sharone Sayegh on July 26

Jon Hoche, Raymond J. Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Daniel May, Kendyl Ito. Photo by Lia Chang
Raymond J. Lee
Raymond J. Lee

Raymond J. Lee is currently featured in the Bay Area premiere of Soft Power, the play featuring a musical by David Henry Hwang (play and lyrics) and Jeanine Tesori (music and additional lyrics), at San Francisco’s Curran (445 Geary Street) through July 8, 2018. Click here for tickets.

A Center Theatre Group co-commission with The Public Theater, Soft Power had its world premiere at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.

After the run, he’ll be sharing the stage with Sharone Sayegh in the Feinstein’s/54 Below’s Summer 2018 concert series: Duo Shows at 54! on July 26. Click here for tickets.

In Soft Power, Mr. Lee plays Randy Ray (a renegade cowboy hoodlum), Yao To (Senior Information Correspondent at CCTV), a roller-skating waiter, General Ensemble Dancer Man, a passed out druggie on a Street Fighter Arcade Machine, and the evil gun-toting Veep.

Jon Hoche; Daniel May (facing away); Kendyl Ito; Kristen Faith Oei; Maria-Christina Oliveras (obscured); Raymond J. Lee; Jaygee Macapugay and Geena Quintos. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Jon Hoche; Daniel May (facing away); Kendyl Ito; Kristen Faith Oei; Maria-Christina Oliveras (obscured); Raymond J. Lee; Jaygee Macapugay and Geena Quintos. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

Directed by Leigh Silverman (Violet) and choreographed by Sam Pinkleton (Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812), 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 (Conrad Ricamora) who is visiting America finds himself falling in love with a good-hearted U.S. leader (Alyse Alan Louis) as the power balance between their two countries shifts following the 2016 election.

Conrad Ricamora, Austin Ku, Francis Jue, Geena Quintos, Billy Bustamante and Raymond J. Lee. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Conrad Ricamora, Austin Ku, Francis Jue, Geena Quintos, Billy Bustamante and Raymond J. Lee. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

The cast of Soft Power features Billy Bustamante (Miss Saigon), Kara Guy, Jon Hoche (War Horse tour), Kendyl Ito (Matilda tour), Francis Jue (M. Butterfly), Austin Ku (Chinglish tour), Raymond J. Lee (Groundhog Day), Alyse Alan Louis (Amélie), Jaygee Macapugay (School of Rock), Daniel May (Thoroughly Modern Millie tour), Paul HeeSang Miller (Miss Saigon), Kristen Faith Oei (M. Butterfly), Maria-Christina Oliveras (Amélie), Geena Quintos (Miss Saigon), Conrad Ricamora (The King and I, “How to Get Away with Murder”), Trevor Salter (Here Lies Love) and Emily Stillings (The King and I).

Raymond J. Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Austin Ku, Kendyl Ito and Jon Hoche. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Raymond J. Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Austin Ku, Kendyl Ito and Jon Hoche. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

Raymond J. Lee has appeared on Broadway as“Eddie” in Mamma Mia! (Broadway Debut), as “John” in Anything Goes; “Chan Elvis”/ “Raymond” in Honeymoon in Vegas; and “Ralph” in Groundhog Day. His television credits include “Billions,” “Smash,” “Red Oaks,” and “The Jim Gaffigan Show.” Below is my interview with him.

Lia: It’s Pride month – please share the details of the love of your life and the light of your life.
Ray: I am a proud married man to an awesome husband, Robbie Kearns. We are dads to a beautiful 4-year-old daughter, Ella Jean. My husband and I met through a dating website and have been married for six years. I think when I first knew I was gay, I didn’t think I’d be able to have a family like I do today and I’m so grateful everyday to live my life honestly. I grew up in a fundamental Christian household so homosexuality was a big no-no, but as I grew older and realized who I was and who I was attracted to, I made the decision to live my life happily and openly.

Raymond J. Lee, Mickey Mouse, Ella Jean and Robbie Kearns.
Raymond J. Lee, Mickey Mouse, Ella Jean and Robbie Kearns.

Lia: When did you first become attached to the Soft Power?
Ray: I got involved in spring 2017 with my first reading for Soft Power. At that point Act 1 had been written and two songs in Act 2 had been completed.

Lia: What has the process been like of developing a new work – a play that becomes a musical?
Ray: I think developing a new work is so exciting. It’s probably one of my favorite parts of this crazy business. I think there’s something so exciting, terrifying, and rewarding about developing a show, and this show has been so groundbreaking in terms of format. I’ve learned so much during this process.

Lia: Have your worked with either David or Jeanine before and if so, in what context?
Ray: David and I worked together on a reading of a Bruce Lee musical back in the day. I worked with Jeanine in the workshop of Shrek the Musical.

Lia: What has it been like for you to work with this cast?
Ray: This cast has been absolutely amazing. Everyone in this company is a triple threat. Seriously. And to top it all of they are all wonderful and amazing collaborators. We completely trust each other on that stage.

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
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

Lia: Do you have a favorite character?
Ray: The Veep has to be my favorite because he gets to sing this awesome song in Act 2 about gun control in the United States. I channel my best Disney villain inner man-Ursula in that moment.

Jon Hoche, Raymond J. Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Daniel May, Kendyl Ito. Photo by Lia Chang
Jon Hoche, Raymond J. Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Daniel May, Kendyl Ito. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: Do you have a favorite moment or scene in the show?
Ray: I love our finale number. We get to go on stage in our regular street-style costumes and sing together and convey our message to the audience one final time as a cohesive team. It is a powerful way to end the show, together on that stage singing one of Jeanine Tesori & David Henry Hwang’s beautiful songs entitled “Democracy.”

The cast. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
The cast. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

Lia: You brought me such joy as Ralph in Groundhog Day. What was the casting process like and how did you develop him?
Ray: I loved the casting process for Groundhog Day because they truly color consciously cast the roles. The entire creative team tried to find the right people for the roles, despite skin color or size or age. It was truly refreshing. I remember seeing Vishal Vaidya at the callback and thinking “Oh of course we’re probably going in for the same part” but lo and behold we both went in for different roles and both got cast.

Vishal Vaidya, Rheaume Crenshaw, Andrew Call and Ray Lee backstage at GROUNDHOG DAY at the August Wilson Theatre in New York on April 5, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang
Vishal Vaidya, Rheaume Crenshaw, Andrew Call and Ray Lee backstage at GROUNDHOG DAY at the August Wilson Theatre in New York on April 5, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang

Ralph was a lot of fun to develop. He gets to be this drunkard at a bar, so I just channeled my inner college Ray at a Saturday night frat party, put a Punxsutawney accent on him, and there he was. Andrew Call was also the best partner-in-crime for that bar scene and we truly made comedy magic together on that stage. We had an amazing time together.

Andrew Call as Gus, Raymond J. Lee as Ralph and Andy Karl as Phil in GROUNDHOG DAY.
Andrew Call as Gus, Raymond J. Lee as Ralph and Andy Karl as Phil in GROUNDHOG DAY.

Lia: You’ve been appearing on TV lately. What is on your wish list?
Ray: I just appeared in an episode of “Billions” and an episode of “Succession”. I’ll also be in the upcoming Noah Baumbach film which will be released on Netflix later this year. I’m hoping to gain more TV credits in my career and my next dream is to be a series regular on a television show.

Lia: You performed with Sharone Sayegh in Mamma Mia!  on Broadway and will be sharing the stage with her in the Feinstein’s/54 Below’s Summer 2018 concert series: Duo Shows at 54! on July 26. How did you choose the theme?
Ray: I am so excited for our upcoming show. It’s called “Project Broadway: The Unconventional Materials Challenge” and we perform on Thursday, July 26 at 930pm. Be prepared for some pop songs, musical theater songs (that we could definitely play if given the chance), and a few mashups here and there. It’s going to be an amazing evening! My cabaret partner Sharone Sayegh is currently in The Band’s Visit and her voice is just phenomenal. Get ready y’all!

Lia: How have audiences been responding to Soft Power?
Ray: Oh they definitely have been responding! Each audience has been very different and been responding to different parts of the show in different ways, which I find fascinating. It also means that our audiences have been really engaged with our show. And I’ve heard from multiple people that our show inspires a lot of conversation post-show, which I think is great.

From left, cast members Alyse Alan Louis, Raymond J. Lee, Kendyl Ito, Jon Hoche, Maria-Christina Oliveras and Conrad Ricamora. Photos by Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging
From left, cast members Alyse Alan Louis, Raymond J. Lee, Kendyl Ito, Jon Hoche, Maria-Christina Oliveras and Conrad Ricamora at the Ahmanson on the opening night of SOFT POWER on May 17, 2018. Photos by Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging

Lia: What do you hope people will take away from Soft Power?
Ray: I hope people will evaluate the state of our country and be more aware of their personal feelings on how our country is being run. Our show doesn’t insult America but rather points out what could be worked on and improved, by telling this story through a “Chinese lens.” I also want people to realize how many amazing and talented Asian performers there are out there! We just need more shows and roles written for us!

The Bay Area premiere of Soft Power, the play featuring a musical by David Henry Hwang (play and lyrics) and Jeanine Tesori (music and additional lyrics), has performances at San Francisco’s Curran (445 Geary Street) through July 8, 2018. Click here for tickets.

raymondjlee.com 

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.

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