The 5th Avenue Theatre, Abingdon Theatre Company and Ann Ramsay-Jenkins presented a 29 Hour industry reading of Corner of Bitter and Sweet featuring a book by Lainie Sakakura, music & lyrics by Paul Fujimoto on October 23 at Theatre 71 in New York. Lainie Sakakura directs.
Based on the New York Times bestseller, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, Corner of Bitter and Sweet tells a stunning multigenerational story about a boy’s coming of age during WWII Seattle, and the depths and longing of deep-heart love. The Seattle Times called it “A Chinese-Japanese variation on Romeo and Juliet, (that is) so revealing and so well rendered.”
The cast includes Jane Bernhard as Samantha, Darius de Haas as Sheldon, Carly Gendell as Carol, Rick Faugno as Agent Ray Conroy, Kenny Ingram as Oscar Holden/Bud, Sala Iwamatsu as Mrs. Okabe/Palmyra, Spencer Jones as Teen Henry, Kathleen Kwan as Mrs. Lee, Darren Lee as Mr. Okabe/Dr. Chang, Jonny Lee Jr. as Marty, Fenton Li as Mr. Lee, Jason Ma as Henry, Zach Mackiewicz as Chaz, Mary Beth Purdy as Mrs. Beatty, Alex Sanchez as Charles Preston, Avelina Sanchez as Teen Keiko, Isabela Sanchez as Young Keiko, Ian Saraceni as Denny, Virginia Woodruff as Maybelle Jackson/Druggist, and Timothy Yang as Young Henry.
The creative team includes Cantonese Consultant Fenton Li, Music Supervisor and Dance Arrangements by Sam Davis, Music Director Evan Alparone, Kory Grossman on Percussion and Stage Managers Anita Shastri and Nicole Marconi.
Lainie Sakakura (Book) is a Japanese America writer/director/choreographer. Recipient of the 2015 Joe A. Callaway Award Outstanding Choreography and 2002 Joseph Jefferson Award Best Choreography. Daughter of Japanese American WWII concentration camp survivor, William Norio Sakakura, and granddaughter to his mother, Kiyome who did not survive the medical conditions caused by her imprisonment there. LainieSakakura.com
Paul Fujimoto (Music and Lyrics) is a composer/lyricist, 4th-generation Japanese-American, born and raised in Seattle, now based in NYC. His songs have been recorded by Tony-winners and nominees and have been showcased in many concert venues around the world. Paul also dabbles in jazz composition and an award-winning trumpet player. Dedicated to his grandfather, Tak Akiyama, who was interned in Minidoka. Training: University of Washington, BMI Musical Theatre Workshop Paulfujimoto.bandcamp.com
Abingdon Theatre Company (Chad Austin, Artistic Director) is dedicated to developing and producing brave, new American work by emerging and established artists. The company provides a safe home where playwrights, directors and actors can collaborate within a supportive and nurturing environment. We search for stories about the human experience that reflect our social, political, historical and cultural diversity. We are acutely aware of the theatre’s power to unite disparate population groups through stories about common human interests, and we strive to shed light on a variety of perspectives.
The 5th Avenue Theatre (Bill Berry, Producing Artistic Director; Bernie Griffin, Managing Director) is one of America’s leading musical theater companies. We enrich the community we love with the art form we love—giving the Pacific Northwest a front-row seat to original powerhouse productions that go on to light up marquees and audiences all the way to Broadway. From the page to the stage, we bring passion and epic scale to every musical we create. With big talent. Bigger-than-life productions. And did we mention dazzle? As a nonprofit theater company and our region’s largest performing arts employer, we spread the joy of great musicals with people of all ages across our region and state. Each year, we reach more than 75,000 young people through our nationally acclaimed education programs. Programs designed to develop new musicals ensure that the next generation of great musicals will be there to tell the stories that captivate tomorrow’s audiences. On the national stage, we are a leading voice for the power of this American art form to lift the human spirit.
The 5th Avenue Theatre, Abingdon Theatre Company and Ann Ramsay-Jenkins Will Present Lainie Sakakura and Paul Fujimoto’s New Musical, CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET as 29 Hour Industry Reading on October 23
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 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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