The League Of Professional Theatre Women Presents Baayork Lee in Conversation with Robert Viagas on February 12

Baayork Lee. Photo by Lia Chang

On Monday, February 12 at 6:00 pm, the League of Professional Theatre Women (LPTW), dedicated to championing women in theatre since its inception and an authority at the forefront of the conversation about gender parity in American theatre for 35 years, is presenting Broadway Performer, Director, and Choreographer, Baayork Lee.

Baayork Lee. Photo by Lia Chang
Baayork Lee. Photo by Lia Chang

A recipient of the 2017 Isabelle Stevenson TONY Award, Lee was honored for her commitment to future generations of artists through her work with National Asian Artists Project and theatre education programs around the world.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 11: Jonathan Groff and Brian d'Arcy James present Baayork Lee with the Isabelle Stevenson Award award onstage during the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 11: Jonathan Groff and Brian d’Arcy James present Baayork Lee with the Isabelle Stevenson Award award onstage during the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

Multimedia: Baayork Lee Accepts The Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award At The 71st Annual Tony Awards

Lee, who originated the role of Connie in A Chorus Line, will be discussing her extensive life and work in the theatre with theatre writer Robert Viagas, her collaborator and biographer on their book, “On the Line: the Creation of A Chorus Line”.The event will take place in the Bruno Walter Auditorium of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts on 65th Street & Amsterdam Avenue. Admission is free, seats are available on a first-come-first-seated basis. Doors open at 5:30PM, and it is recommended that members of the public arrive at the Bruno Walter Auditorium by 5PM to secure a seat.

“I first met Baayork in 1975 when the Library videotaped Michael Bennett’s original A CHORUS LINE at The Public Theatre,” says producer Betty Corwin. “Baayork had become Michael’s closest collaborator and since he died in 1987 she has directed or choreographed 35 International productions of the musical. In addition, Baayork is acknowledged and appreciated for committing herself to the National Asian Artists Project and theatre eduction programs around the world. I am so proud to know her.”

The League has major support from the Edith Meiser Foundation covering interviews with such notables as Billie Allen, Mercedes Ruehl, Tyne Daly, Patti LuPone, Christine Ebersole, Kia Corthron, Donna Murphy, Frances McDormand, Laura Linney and many others. The ongoing Oral History Project chronicles and documents the contributions of significant theatre women in all fields. The interviews are videotaped and preserved for posterity in the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.

This program is made possible, in part, with public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, and with funds from the NYS Council on the Arts, a state agency, with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

BIOGRAPHIES

Baayork Lee has performed in a dozen Broadway shows and created the role of Connie in A Chorus Line. As Michael Bennett’s assistant choreographer on A Chorus Line, she has directed and choreographed many national and international companies in Klagenfurt, Austria, Santiago, Chile, Hollywood Bowl and Pace University. Her directing and choreography credits also include: The King and I and Bombay Dreams (National tours), R&H’s Cinderella (NYC Opera), Barnum (Australia), Carmen Jones (Kennedy Center), Porgy and Bess and Jesus Christ Superstar (European tours), Gypsy and A New Brain. She has also choreographed shows including; Miss Saigon (KC Starlight), Mack and Mabel (Shaw Festival), Animal Crackers, South Pacific (Helen Hayes nominations,) Coconuts, Camelot, and Damn Yankees all at Arena Stage in Washington, DC.

Through her nonprofit organization, National Asian Artists Project, Baayork’s vision includes educating, cultivating, and stimulating audiences and artists of Asian descent through the many programs the company offers. The organization has produced classical musical theatre shows such as Oklahoma!, Carousel, Hello Dolly!, and OLIVER! with all Asian-American casts. NAAP has made audiences more aware that talent goes beyond ethnicity.

Robert Viagas transformed theatre journalism as the architect and founding editor (1994) of the first and still biggest theatre site on the web, Playbill.com. He enjoyed the rare honor of serving on the nominating committee for the Tonys (2012-2014). He hosted the Tony Awards webcasts from 2002 to 2008, and was editor of the special Tony Awards Playbill from 2002 to 2010. The New York Times’ CyberTimes described him as “encyclopedic” in his knowledge of Broadway.

Among his other books, he was chosen by the creators of the original The Fantasticks to tell their story in The Amazing Story of “The Fantasticks” (Citadel). On the Line was translated into Japanese and published in Japan and his 2012 book Scales to Scalpels (with Lisa Wong) was translated into Chinese and published in China.

When it comes to the challenging but fruitful area of collaboration he literally wrote the book on it-The Alchemy of Theatre (Applause Books), in which he worked with the likes of Edward Albee, Wendy Wasserstein, Hal Prince, Chita Rivera and others to codify how one collaborates in the world of theatre. His 2009 book I’m the Greatest Star!

Advertisements

PHANTOM OF THE OPERA Star Ali Ewoldt and Jonny Lee, Jr. Rehearse Jason Ma’s GOLD MOUNTAIN; Concert at The TimesCenter on October 21

Jonny Lee Jr. and Ali Ewoldt Photo by Lia Chang

The radiant Ali Ewoldt can be seen on three different stages in New York this month.

James Barbour and Ali Ewoldt in "The Phantom Of The Opera." (photo credit: Matthew Murphy)
James Barbour and Ali Ewoldt in “The Phantom Of The Opera.” (photo credit: Matthew Murphy)

In addition to starring as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, Ewoldt and Jonny Lee Jr. will star in the one- night only concert of GOLD MOUNTAIN, featuring book, music, and lyrics by 2017 ASCAP Foundation Cole Porter Award winner Jason Ma, on Saturday, October 21st at 8pm at The TimesCenter (242 West 41st Street, NYC).

Jonny Lee Jr. and Ali Ewoldt Photo by Lia Chang
Jonny Lee Jr. and Ali Ewoldt
Photo by Lia Chang

Ma’s original musical spins an epic love story, set against the backdrop of the 1860s construction of The Central Pacific Railroad is being presented as part of Prospect Theater Company’s  2017-18 IGNITE Series in partnership with National Asian Artists Project (NAAP founders: Baayork Lee, Steven Eng and Nina Zoie Lam).  www.NAAProject.org

DIRECTOR Alan Muraoka, Jonny Lee, Jr. and Ali Ewoldt. Photo by Lia Chang
DIRECTOR Alan Muraoka, Jonny Lee, Jr. and Ali Ewoldt. Photo by Lia Chang

The cast also includes Alan Ariano (Lincoln Center’s The King & I), Lawrence-Michael Arias, Eric Badique, Eric Bondoc, Tyler Bunch, Marc Dela Cruz, Dan Edwards, Steven Eng (CSC’s Pacific Overtures), Alex Hsu, Brian Kim, and Daniel May. Also featured are members of the NAAP Broadway Community Chorus: Ben Bartels, Eric Elizaga, David Eng, Alphonse Gonzales, Andrew Sakaguchi, and Viet Vo.

GOLD MOUNTAIN creator Jason Ma and Director Alan Muraoka. Photo by Lia Chang
GOLD MOUNTAIN creator Jason Ma and Director Alan Muraoka. Photo by Lia Chang

The evening will be directed by Alan Muraoka, with choreography by Billy Bustamante. Music direction is by Kristen Lee Rosenfeld, who will lead an ensemble of three musicians: Todd Low, playing erhu and viola (Dear Evan Hansen), Steven Lyon on dizi, flute, and piccolo (Pacific Overtures revival at CSC), and Leigh Stuart on cello (Chamber Orchestra of New York). Orchestrations are by Jason Ma. The concert is line produced by Julie L. Miller.

Musical Director Kristen Rosenfeld. Photo by Lia Chang
Musical Director Kristen Rosenfeld. Photo by Lia Chang

It is 1866 and the Central Pacific Railroad is being built by the thousands of Chinese men who comprise the majority of laborers employed in the dangerous, backbreaking work. As blasting and tunneling begins at the granite base of the Sierra Nevada, new workers arrive: Guan Ming Chong and his son, Lit Ning. They find the work camp populated with an eclectic cross-section of their countrymen. To his father’s dismay, Lit Ning is persuaded to accept the lucrative but extremely risky job of “fuse runner,” the man who lights the fuses of explosives in the tunnels and then runs to safety.

Lit meets and falls in love with a Chinese woman, Yook Mei, shunned because she works in a brothel patronized by “white demons.” Amidst the railroad workers’ strike, Lit tries to rescue the woman he loves from her degradation, but fate intervenes and the lovers must find their own way to salvation and peace.

Ali Ewoldt and Jonny Lee, Jr. Photo by Lia Chang
Ali Ewoldt and Jonny Lee, Jr. Photo by Lia Chang

GOLD MOUNTAIN melds the sound and form of American musical theater with elements of Chinese opera, Far Eastern mythology, Confucian ideology and Chinese language idioms, as well as dramatizing the Chinese railroad workers’ strike and a freezing, deadly winter living in the tunnels as the workers continued their labors in the Sierra Nevada.

Single tickets are $25, $35 and $45, and may be obtained through online purchase at www.NAAProject.org or www.ProspectTheater.org or by calling 212-352-3101. Prospect members save 40% on ticket prices. Tickets may also be purchased at the door, beginning at 7pm on the night of the concert.

Ali Ewoldt, GOLD MOUNTAIN Musical Director Kristen Rosenfeld and Creator Jason Ma. Photo by Lia Chang
Ali Ewoldt, GOLD MOUNTAIN Musical Director Kristen Rosenfeld and Creator Jason Ma. Photo by Lia Chang
Matt Doyle and Ali Ewoldt
Matt Doyle and Ali Ewoldt

On Friday, October 27th, Ewoldt and Matt Doyle (The Book of Mormon, War Horse, Spring Awakening, Bye, Bye Birdie) will perform with The New York Pops, led by Music Director Steven Reineke, at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, with a concert celebrating the centennial of the birth of the orchestra’s founder, Skitch Henderson (1918-2018). The concert will feature the full 78-piece New York Pops orchestra performing some of the greatest hits of popular song, from Tin Pan Alley to today.

Jonny Lee, Jr., Ali Ewoldt, GOLD MOUNTAIN Musical Director Kristen Rosenfeld, Creator Jason Ma, Director Alan Muraoka, ASM Christina Russo. Photo by Lia Chang
Jonny Lee, Jr., Ali Ewoldt, GOLD MOUNTAIN Musical Director Kristen Rosenfeld, Creator Jason Ma, Director Alan Muraoka, ASM Christina Russo. Photo by Lia Chang

Ali Ewoldt’s other credits include: Lincoln Center’s Broadway revival of The King and I, the first Broadway revival and National Tour of Les Misérables (Cosette), The Fantasticks Off-Broadway (Luisa), West Side Story (Broadway 1st National Tour, PCLO, The MUNY, MTWichita: Maria), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (The MUNY), The King and I (Lyric Opera of Chicago: Tuptim), Carnival (Musicals Tonight: Lili), A Christmas Carol (McCarter Theatre: Fan), The Secret Garden (FITC: Rose) and concerts at Alice Tully Hall, The Town Hall, and Feinstein’s/54 Below. TV and film credits include “The Michael J. Fox Show”, Yield (Leviathan Lab), and “DRAMA” (webseries). She received a BA in Psychology from Yale University. www.aliewoldt.com

Alan Muraoka, Ali Ewoldt and Jason Ma. Photo by Lia Chang
Alan Muraoka, Ali Ewoldt and Jason Ma. Photo by Lia Chang

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: © 2000-2017 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

MISS SAIGON Cast Members Set for National Asian Artists Project Benefit Concert at the Green Room 42 on August 6

The cast of MISS SAIGON Courtesy of NAAP/Facebook

On Sunday, August 6th, the Green Room 42 (570 10th Avenue) will welcome the cast of Broadway’s Miss Saigon for a special concert to benefit the National Asian Artists Project at 8:00 P.M.

The cast of MISS SAIGON Courtesy of NAAP/Facebook
The cast of MISS SAIGON Courtesy of NAAP/Facebook

The night is being hosted by Devin Ilaw who plays Thuy in the current Broadway company of Miss Saigon. Performers will include: Paul HeeSang Miller, Nkrumah Gatling, Viveca Chow, Emily Bautista, Antoine L. Smith, Robert Pendilla, Lina Lee, Julian DeGuzman, Anna-Lee Wright, Carol Angeli, Travis Ward-Osborne, Casey Garvin.

Special guests include: Bob Avian (Original Choreographer of Miss Saigon and A Chorus Line), Richard Jay-Alexander (Associate Producer of the Original Miss Saigon), Tony Award winning Costume Designer William Ivey, Fashion Designer Malan Breton and Alan Ariano (Original cast member of Miss Saigon).

The Green Room 42 at the Yotel
570 10th Avenue, NYC
4th Floor
(646) 449-7790

Tickets* start at $15 and can be purchased at: bit.ly/2urv2Zd
(make reservations in 15-minute increments from 6:45 to 7:30)

* $15 General Admission, $40 VIP seating includes A signed Miss Saigon poster.

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

National Asian Artists’ Project, founded in 2002, is a New York-based non-profit organization that is dedicated to showcasing the work of Asian-American theatre artists through performance, outreach, and educational programming. In their professional careers, NAAP founders Baayork Lee, Steven Eng, and Nina Zoie Lam, saw that with the few well-paid jobs that existed for any theater artist, prospects were even more dismal for an artist of Asian descent. Lee is a director, choreographer, and dancer on Broadway; Eng is an actor and singer on the West End; and Lam is an actor and dancer on Broadway. Through NAAP, they continually seek to provide professional opportunities and training to Asian artists, to bridge diverse communities with the outstanding work of professional artists of Asian descent, and to inspire children and adults to bring the arts into their lives. Their programmatic activities include Discover – a series presenting one-act musicals; Rediscover – a series producing classic musicals; Broadway Community Chorus – offering musical training; and Theatre Club – offering professional theatre training.

Multimedia: Baayork Lee Accepts The Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award At The 71st Annual Tony Awards 

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

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. 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: © 2000-2017 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 lia@liachang.com

Multimedia: Baayork Lee Accepts The Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award At The 71st Annual Tony Awards

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 11: Jonathan Groff and Brian d'Arcy James present Baayork Lee with the Isabelle Stevenson Award award onstage during the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

Congratulations to director, actress and choreographer Baayork Lee who received the 2017 Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award for her outstanding dedication to social service in the global theatre landscape at the American Theatre Wing’s 71st Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 11, 2017.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 11: Jonathan Groff and Brian d'Arcy James present Baayork Lee with the Isabelle Stevenson Award award onstage during the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 11: Jonathan Groff and Brian d’Arcy James present Baayork Lee with the Isabelle Stevenson Award award onstage during the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

The award was presented to Ms. Lee by Jonathan Groff and Brian d’Arcy James.

Baayork Lee accepts the Isabelle Stevenson Award award onstage during the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City. Photo: NAAP/Facebook
Baayork Lee accepts the Isabelle Stevenson Award award onstage during the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City. Photo: NAAP/Facebook

Baayork Lee’s speech:
“Thank you everyone. Thank you American Theatre Wing and Broadway League. This is the journey of a five-year-old in the middle of the St. James Theatre and saying to her mother, ‘This is it. This is where I want to be.’ But you can’t do it without mentors or role models and a pupil, I had so many special ones. Ms. Syvilla Fort, my first mentor, Yuriko and Maria Tallchief, my role models. Eleven Broadway shows later, Michael Bennett and Bob Avian, Tommy Tune, Graciela Daniele and Roman Terleckyj. In Japan, Mori Shibuya, in South Africa, Professor Jimmie Earl Perry and Juan Datoy.

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

With their guidance and example, I along with Steven Eng and Nina Zoie Lam started our nonprofit National Asian Artists Project because we saw the need to put the spotlight on the Asian American Artists. NAAP, as we call it, showcases their work through performance, educational programming and community outreach. Our programs include productions of classic musicals, the NAAP Broadway Community Chorus and Senior Sing-a-longs. Thanks to Freddie Gershon- mentor and Alice Hum – role model and principal of P.S. 124 Yung Wing Elementary School, we started an award-winning after school theater club.

The NAAP Broadway Community Chorus presented an evening of Jerry Herman with special guests Cindy Cheung and John D. Haggerty at the Gibney Dance Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center on May 23, 2017. Photo courtesy of Brian Jose/Facebook
The NAAP Broadway Community Chorus presented an evening of Jerry Herman with special guests Cindy Cheung and John D. Haggerty at the Gibney Dance Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center on May 23, 2017. Photo courtesy of Brian Jose/Facebook

National Asian Artists Project will continue our mission to make a difference and I hope you all will join me. Your loving pupil, Princess Ying Yaowalak.”

President of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization Ted Chapin, Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award Honoree Baayork Lee, and Chair of the American Theatre Wing David Henry Hwang at the Tony Nominee Luncheon, held at the Rainbow Room in NYC on May 23, 2017 Credit: Shevett Studios
President of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization Ted Chapin, Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award Honoree Baayork Lee, and Chair of the American Theatre Wing David Henry Hwang at the Tony Nominee Luncheon, held at the Rainbow Room in NYC on May 23, 2017
Credit: Shevett Studios
Baayork Lee. Photo by Lia Chang
Baayork Lee. Photo by Lia Chang

The Isabelle Stevenson Award is presented annually to a member of the theatre community who has made a substantial contribution of volunteered time and effort on behalf of one or more humanitarian, social service or charitable organizations. Ms. Lee  received the Award for her commitment to future generations of artists through her work with the National Asian Artists Project and theatre education programs around the world.

“Baayork works tirelessly to break down cultural walls that often build up around what theatre goers consider ‘traditional’ musicals, and her dedication to fostering the next generation of performers and theatre professionals to do the same is exemplary. We are thrilled to honor her this year,” Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League, and Heather Hitchens, President of the American Theatre Wing, said.

Baayork was dressed by designer Malan Breton throughout the Tony Awards season. Below are photos from Baayork’s whirlwind Tony journey from the 1st press junket on May 3rd at the Sofitel Hotel and the Designed To Celebrate: A Toast To The 2017 Tony Awards Creative Arts Nominees at The Lamb’s Club at the Chatwal NY on June 1st.

71st Annual Tony Awards rehearsalat Radio City Musical Hall on June 11th.

71st Annual Tony Awards ceremony at Radio City Musical Hall on June 11th.

Baayork Lee is the co-founder of National Asian Artists Project (NAAP), which is a community of artists, educators, administrators, community leaders, and professionals who work to showcase the work of Asian-American theater artists through performance, educational programming and community outreach.

Karl Josef Co, Jaygee Macapugay, Raul Aranas, Christine Toy Johnson and the company of NAAP's Hello Dolly! at The Pershing Square Signature Center on April 30, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang
Karl Josef Co, Jaygee Macapugay, Raul Aranas, Christine Toy Johnson and the company of NAAP’s Hello Dolly! at The Pershing Square Signature Center on April 30, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang

Through NAAP, Lee orchestrates her vision of educating, cultivating, and stimulating audiences and artists of Asian descent. The organization has produced productions of musical theatre staples like Oklahoma!, Carousel, Hello Dolly!, Oliver! and Honor with all Asian-American casts. By turning a spot light onto the high-caliber talent of theatre artists of Asian descent, NAAP asserts, given the opportunity, the theater and its audiences will embrace diverse American voices who strive to claim both new and classic American works as their own.

Bonale Zohn Fambrini, Raul Aranas, Mel Sagrado Maghuyop, Scott Watanabe, Cindy Cheung, Virginia Wing and John Haggerty at the curtain call of NAAP’s Oliver! at The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre inside The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on June 7, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang
Bonale Zohn Fambrini, Raul Aranas, Mel Sagrado Maghuyop, Scott Watanabe, Cindy Cheung, Virginia Wing and John Haggerty at the curtain call of NAAP’s Oliver! at The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre inside The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on June 7, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Lee has made it a large part of her mission to educate aspiring artists in musical theatre. She created musical theater schools in Seoul, Korea; Tokyo, Japan; and the Theater Club at the Yung Wing Elementary School (PS124) in Chinatown, NY.

Baayork Lee (playing Miss Wong in this clip from the 1969 Tony Awards) created the role of Connie in A Chorus Line, and in fact has made a career of recreating Bennett's choreography. Photo credit: Martha Swope on Armchair Actorvist
Baayork Lee (playing Miss Wong in this clip from the 1969 Tony Awards) created the role of Connie in A Chorus Line, and in fact has made a career of recreating Bennett’s choreography. Photo credit: Martha Swope on Armchair Actorvist

Lee, an Asian American actor, dancer, singer, choreographer, director and author, was born in New York City’s Chinatown to an Indian mother and Chinese father, made her Broadway debut at the age of five as “Princess Ying Yaowalak” in the 1951 original production of The King and I. Her dream was to become a ballerina and she appeared in George Balanchine’s production of The Nutcracker, but this dream was dashed when she achieved her full height of just four feet, ten inches. In 1958, she returned to Broadway in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Flower Drum Song. Other Broadway appearances were in Bravo Giovanni; Mr. PresidentHere’s LoveGolden BoyA Joyful NoiseHenry, Sweet HenryPromises, PromisesSeesaw and Michael Bennett’s 1976 Tony Award-winning Best Musical A Chorus Line, in which she originated the role of “Connie,” and served as his assistant choreographer.

Lee worked with Bennett in several productions and over the years went from being his dance partner, to being his assistant. She would later supervise all major productions of A Chorus Line, choreographing many national and international companies, most recently in Klagenfurt, Austria; Santiago, Chile; the Hollywood Bowl; and Pace University in New York City. She is the co-author of the book, On the Line: The Creation of A Chorus Line, published in 1990.

Baayork Lee, Virginia Wing and Nancy Kwan at the New York Historical Society in New York on October 15, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang
Baayork Lee, Virginia Wing and Nancy Kwan at the New York Historical Society in New York on October 15, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang
Christine Toy Johnson presented Baayork Lee with the 2014 Paul Robeson Citation Award presented by the Actors’ Equity Foundation in the council room of the Actors Equity Association on October 10, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang
Christine Toy Johnson presented Baayork Lee with the 2014 Paul Robeson Citation Award presented by the Actors’ Equity Foundation in the council room of the Actors Equity Association on October 10, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Her directing and choreography credits also include: The King and I (national tour), Bombay Dreams (national tour), Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (New York City Opera), Barnum (Australia), Carmen Jones (John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts), Porgy and Bess (European tour), Jesus Christ Superstar (European tour), Gypsy and A New Brain. She has also choreographed Miss Saigon (Kansas City Starlight), Mack and Mabel (Shaw Festival), Animal Crackers, South Pacific, Coconuts, Camelot, and Damn Yankees, all at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.

She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her work, including the 2014 Paul Robeson Award from Actors Equity Association, the Asian Woman Warrior Award for Lifetime Achievement from Columbia College, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Association Achievement in Arts Award, and the Dynamic Achiever Award from OCA Westchester.

Baayork Lee, Bob Avian and Christopher Vo at the opening night party at Tavern on the Green for “Miss Saigon” on March 23, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang
Baayork Lee, Bob Avian and Christopher Vo at the opening night party at Tavern on the Green for “Miss Saigon” on March 23, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang

David Henry Hwang, Baayork Lee, Eva Noblezada, Linda Cho, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, John Douglas Thompson, Richard Thomas, Laura Linney and More at Tony Honors Special Honorees of 2017 Cocktail Party Baayork Lee to Receive the 2017 Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award 

NAAP Broadway Community Chorus -An Evening of Jerry Herman with Special Guests Cindy Cheung and John D. Haggerty

Robert Fairchild, Mara Davi, Jason Tam, J. Elaine Marcos, Sabrina Bryan & More Set for Baayork Lee Helmed A CHORUS LINE at The Hollywood Bowl

Baayork Lee to Helm ‘ALICE IN WONDERLAND’ Musical at Madison Theatre at Molloy College

Photos: Tommy Tune, Bob Avian, Lee Roy Reams, Christine Toy Johnson, Orville Mendoza, Lori Tan Chinn, Raul Aranas, Virginia Wing and More Celebrate 2014 Paul Robeson Citation Award Recipient Baayork Lee

National Asian Artists Project To Present All-Asian Production of OLIVER! Featuring Raul Aranas, Anthea Neri, Bonale Zohn Fambrini, Mel Sagrado Maghuyop, Cindy Cheung, Scott Watanabe, Virginia Wing, David Shih and More 

Photos: Christine Toy Johnson, Baayork Lee, Jose Llana, Ann Harada, Dodie Pettit and More at Charles Randolph-Wright’s “Three Voices” concert series at Stage 72

Christine Toy Johnson and Raul Aranas Lead the Cast of the National Asian Artists Project’s (NAAP) Benefit Presentation of Hello Dolly!, at The Pershing Square Signature Center

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.

SaveSave

Baayork Lee to Receive the 2017 Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award

Baayork Lee and Lori Tan Chinn
Baayork Lee. Photo by Lia Chang
Baayork Lee. Photo by Lia Chang

Congratulations to director, actress and choreographer Baayork Lee who will receive the 2017 Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award for her outstanding dedication to social service in the global theatre landscape at the American Theatre Wing’s 71st Annual Tony Awards, hosted by Kevin Spacey, at Radio City Music Hall  on Sunday, June 11, 2017.

The Isabelle Stevenson Award is presented annually to a member of the theatre community who has made a substantial contribution of volunteered time and effort on behalf of one or more humanitarian, social service or charitable organizations. Ms. Lee will be presented the Award for her commitment to future generations of artists through her work with the National Asian Artists Project and theatre education programs around the world.

Baayork Lee and Lori Tan Chinn
Baayork Lee and Lori Tan Chinn

“Baayork works tirelessly to break down cultural walls that often build up around what theatre goers consider ‘traditional’ musicals, and her dedication to fostering the next generation of performers and theatre professionals to do the same is exemplary. We are thrilled to honor her this year,” Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League, and Heather Hitchens, President of the American Theatre Wing, said.

The NAAP Broadway Community Chorus presented an evening of Jerry Herman with special guests Cindy Cheung and John D. Haggerty at the Gibney Dance Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center on May 23, 2017. Photo courtesy of Brian Jose/Facebook
The NAAP Broadway Community Chorus presented an evening of Jerry Herman with special guests Cindy Cheung and John D. Haggerty at the Gibney Dance Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center on May 23, 2017. Photo courtesy of Brian Jose/Facebook

Baayork Lee is the Founder of National Asian Artists Project (NAAP), which is a community of artists, educators, administrators, community leaders, and professionals who work to showcase the work of Asian-American theater artists through performance, educational programming and community outreach.

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

Through NAAP, Lee orchestrates her vision of educating, cultivating, and stimulating audiences and artists of Asian descent. The organization has produced productions of musical theatre staples like Oklahoma!, Carousel, Hello Dolly!, Oliver! and Honor with all Asian-American casts. By turning a spot light onto the high-caliber talent of theatre artists of Asian descent, NAAP asserts, given the opportunity, the theater and its audiences will embrace diverse American voices who strive to claim both new and classic American works as their own.

Karl Josef Co, Jaygee Macapugay, Raul Aranas, Christine Toy Johnson and the company of NAAP's Hello Dolly! at The Pershing Square Signature Center on April 30, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang
Karl Josef Co, Jaygee Macapugay, Raul Aranas, Christine Toy Johnson and the company of NAAP’s Hello Dolly! at The Pershing Square Signature Center on April 30, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang

Lee has made it a large part of her mission to educate aspiring artists in musical theatre. She created musical theater schools in Seoul, Korea; Tokyo, Japan; and the Theater Club at the Yung Wing Elementary School (PS124) in Chinatown, NY.

Baayork Lee (playing Miss Wong in this clip from the 1969 Tony Awards) created the role of Connie in A Chorus Line, and in fact has made a career of recreating Bennett's choreography. Photo credit: Martha Swope on Armchair Actorvist
Baayork Lee (playing Miss Wong in this clip from the 1969 Tony Awards) created the role of Connie in A Chorus Line, and in fact has made a career of recreating Bennett’s choreography. Photo credit: Martha Swope on Armchair Actorvist

Lee, an Asian American actor, dancer, singer, choreographer, director and author, was born in New York City’s Chinatown to an Indian mother and Chinese father, made her Broadway debut at the age of five as “Princess Ying Yaowalak” in the 1951 original production of The King and I. Her dream was to become a ballerina and she appeared in George Balanchine’s production of The Nutcracker, but this dream was dashed when she achieved her full height of just four feet, ten inches. In 1958, she returned to Broadway in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Flower Drum Song. Other Broadway appearances were in Bravo Giovanni; Mr. PresidentHere’s LoveGolden BoyA Joyful NoiseHenry, Sweet HenryPromises, PromisesSeesaw and Michael Bennett’s 1976 Tony Award-winning Best Musical A Chorus Line, in which she originated the role of “Connie,” and served as his assistant choreographer.

Bonale Zohn Fambrini, Raul Aranas, Mel Sagrado Maghuyop, Scott Watanabe, Cindy Cheung, Virginia Wing and John Haggerty at the curtain call of NAAP’s Oliver! at The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre inside The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on June 7, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang
Bonale Zohn Fambrini, Raul Aranas, Mel Sagrado Maghuyop, Scott Watanabe, Cindy Cheung, Virginia Wing and John Haggerty at the curtain call of NAAP’s Oliver! at The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre inside The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on June 7, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

 

Lee worked with Bennett in several productions and over the years went from being his dance partner, to being his assistant. She would later supervise all major productions of A Chorus Line, choreographing many national and international companies, most recently in Klagenfurt, Austria; Santiago, Chile; the Hollywood Bowl; and Pace University in New York City. She is the co-author of the book, On the Line: The Creation of A Chorus Line, published in 1990.

Baayork Lee, Virginia Wing and Nancy Kwan at the New York Historical Society in New York on October 15, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang
Baayork Lee, Virginia Wing and Nancy Kwan at the New York Historical Society in New York on October 15, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang
Christine Toy Johnson presented Baayork Lee with the 2014 Paul Robeson Citation Award presented by the Actors’ Equity Foundation in the council room of the Actors Equity Association on October 10, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang
Christine Toy Johnson presented Baayork Lee with the 2014 Paul Robeson Citation Award presented by the Actors’ Equity Foundation in the council room of the Actors Equity Association on October 10, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Her directing and choreography credits also include: The King and I (national tour), Bombay Dreams (national tour), Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (New York City Opera), Barnum (Australia), Carmen Jones (John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts), Porgy and Bess (European tour), Jesus Christ Superstar (European tour), Gypsy and A New Brain. She has also choreographed Miss Saigon (Kansas City Starlight), Mack and Mabel (Shaw Festival), Animal Crackers, South Pacific, Coconuts, Camelot, and Damn Yankees, all at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.

She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her work, including the 2014 Paul Robeson Award from Actors Equity Association, the Asian Woman Warrior Award for Lifetime Achievement from Columbia College, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Association Achievement in Arts Award, and the Dynamic Achiever Award from OCA Westchester.

Baayork Lee, Bob Avian and Christopher Vo at the opening night party at Tavern on the Green for “Miss Saigon” on March 23, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang
Baayork Lee, Bob Avian and Christopher Vo at the opening night party at Tavern on the Green for “Miss Saigon” on March 23, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang

The American Theatre Wing’s 71st Annual Tony Awards, hosted by Kevin Spacey, will air live from Radio City Music Hall on the CBS Television Network on Sunday, June 11, 2017 (8:00-11:00 PM, ET/delayed PT). Or stream the Tony Awards live across platforms with the CBS All Access subscription service. (Live stream is available in select markets. Visit CBS.com/allaccess for details.) The Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.

For more information on the Tony Awards, visit TonyAwards.com and Facebook.com/TheTonyAwards and follow @TheTonyAwards on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.

Robert Fairchild, Mara Davi, Jason Tam, J. Elaine Marcos, Sabrina Bryan & More Set for Baayork Lee Helmed A CHORUS LINE at The Hollywood Bowl

Baayork Lee to Helm ‘ALICE IN WONDERLAND’ Musical at Madison Theatre at Molloy College

Photos: Tommy Tune, Bob Avian, Lee Roy Reams, Christine Toy Johnson, Orville Mendoza, Lori Tan Chinn, Raul Aranas, Virginia Wing and More Celebrate 2014 Paul Robeson Citation Award Recipient Baayork Lee

National Asian Artists Project To Present All-Asian Production of OLIVER! Featuring Raul Aranas, Anthea Neri, Bonale Zohn Fambrini, Mel Sagrado Maghuyop, Cindy Cheung, Scott Watanabe, Virginia Wing, David Shih and More 
Photos: Christine Toy Johnson, Baayork Lee, Jose Llana, Ann Harada, Dodie Pettit and More at Charles Randolph-Wright’s “Three Voices” concert series at Stage 72
Christine Toy Johnson and Raul Aranas Lead the Cast of the National Asian Artists Project’s (NAAP) Benefit Presentation of Hello Dolly!, at The Pershing Square Signature Center

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.

SaveSave

NAAP Broadway Community Chorus -An Evening of Jerry Herman with Special Guests Cindy Cheung and John D. Haggerty

The NAAP Broadway Community Chorus presented an evening of Jerry Herman with special guests Cindy Cheung and John D. Haggerty at the Gibney Dance Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center on May 23, 2017. Photo courtesy of Brian Jose/Facebook

Last night, the NAAP Broadway Community Chorus presented an evening of Jerry Herman with special guests Cindy Cheung and John D. Haggerty at the Gibney Dance Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center in New York.

The Chorus included Amy Ashley
, Ben Bartels
, Kiet Cao
, Ya Han Chang
, Amanda Chin
, Peggy Chin
,Shan Chuang,

 Eric Elizaga
, David Eng
, Angelita Esperanza
, Francine Espiritu
, Shino Frances, 
Alyssa Ishihara, 
Karin Kawamoto
, Yuko Kudo, 
Makiko Kuri
, Sandra W. Lee, 
Rina Maejima, 
Mio Nakanishi
, Seira Nakanishi
, Carla Ogden, 
Charles Pang, 
Lloyd Mario Prian
, Jeremy Rafal
, Lil Rhee
, Melissa Rivera
, Keiko Tomita
, Hiroko Uchino, 
Viet Vo, 
Sayaka Wada
, Tomo Watanabe
, Katie Wei
, Mandarin Wu
, Jing Zhang and 
Ying Zhang.

The NAAP Broadway Community Chorus presented an evening of Jerry Herman with special guests Cindy Cheung and John D. Haggerty at the Gibney Dance Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center on May 23, 2017. Photo courtesy of Brian Jose/Facebook
The NAAP Broadway Community Chorus presented an evening of Jerry Herman with special guests Cindy Cheung and John D. Haggerty at the Gibney Dance Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center on May 23, 2017. Photo courtesy of Brian Jose/Facebook

With musical director Sean Cameron at the helm, the evening featured selections from Hello Dolly!, Mame, Mack & Mabel and La Cage Aux Folles.

Set List:
Hello, Dolly!
Put On Your Sunday Clothes
Ribbons Down My Back
It Only Takes a Moment
Before the Parade Passes By
I am what I am
Song on the Sand
The Best of Times
Look what happened to Mabel
I Won’t Send Roses
Time Heals Everything
Tap Your Troubles Away
It’s Today
Moon Song
Bosom Buddies
That’s how Young I Feel

Baayork Lee. Photo by Lia Chang
Baayork Lee. Photo by Lia Chang

Special congratulations to director, actress and choreographer Baayork Lee who will receive the 2017 Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award for her outstanding dedication to social service in the global theatre landscape.

The Isabelle Stevenson Award is presented annually to a member of the theatre community who has made a substantial contribution of volunteered time and effort on behalf of one or more humanitarian, social service or charitable organizations. Ms. Lee will be presented the Award for her commitment to future generations of artists through her work with the National Asian Artists Project and theatre education programs around the world.

“Baayork works tirelessly to break down cultural walls that often build up around what theatre goers consider ‘traditional’ musicals, and her dedication to fostering the next generation of performers and theatre professionals to do the same is exemplary. We are thrilled to honor her this year,” Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League, and Heather Hitchens, President of the American Theatre Wing, said.

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

Baayork Lee is the Founder of National Asian Artists Project (NAAP), which is a community of artists, educators, administrators, community leaders, and professionals who work to showcase the work of Asian-American theater artists through performance, educational programming and community outreach.

Bonale Zohn Fambrini, Raul Aranas, Mel Sagrado Maghuyop, Scott Watanabe, Cindy Cheung, Virginia Wing and John Haggerty at the curtain call of NAAP’s Oliver! at The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre inside The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on June 7, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang
Bonale Zohn Fambrini, Raul Aranas, Mel Sagrado Maghuyop, Scott Watanabe, Cindy Cheung, Virginia Wing and John Haggerty at the curtain call of NAAP’s Oliver! at The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre inside The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on June 7, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Through NAAP, Lee orchestrates her vision of educating, cultivating, and stimulating audiences and artists of Asian descent. The organization has produced productions of musical theatre staples like Oklahoma!, Carousel, Hello Dolly!, Oliver! and Honor with all Asian-American casts. By turning a spot light onto the high-caliber talent of theatre artists of Asian descent, NAAP asserts, given the opportunity, the theater and its audiences will embrace diverse American voices who strive to claim both new and classic American works as their own.

Karl Josef Co, Jaygee Macapugay, Raul Aranas, Christine Toy Johnson and the company of NAAP's Hello Dolly! at The Pershing Square Signature Center on April 30, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang
Karl Josef Co, Jaygee Macapugay, Raul Aranas, Christine Toy Johnson and the company of NAAP’s Hello Dolly! at The Pershing Square Signature Center on April 30, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang

Lee has made it a large part of her mission to educate aspiring artists in musical theatre. She created musical theater schools in Seoul, Korea; Tokyo, Japan; and the Theater Club at the Yung Wing Elementary School (PS124) in Chinatown, NY.

Click below to read more about Baayork.

Baayork Lee to be Honored with 2017 Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award

Website: http://www.naaproject.org

Baayork Lee to be Honored with 2017 Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award

Robert Fairchild, Mara Davi, Jason Tam, J. Elaine Marcos, Sabrina Bryan & More Set for Baayork Lee Helmed A CHORUS LINE at The Hollywood Bowl

Baayork Lee to Helm ‘ALICE IN WONDERLAND’ Musical at Madison Theatre at Molloy College

Photos: Tommy Tune, Bob Avian, Lee Roy Reams, Christine Toy Johnson, Orville Mendoza, Lori Tan Chinn, Raul Aranas, Virginia Wing and More Celebrate 2014 Paul Robeson Citation Award Recipient Baayork Lee

National Asian Artists Project To Present All-Asian Production of OLIVER! Featuring Raul Aranas, Anthea Neri, Bonale Zohn Fambrini, Mel Sagrado Maghuyop, Cindy Cheung, Scott Watanabe, Virginia Wing, David Shih and More 

Photos: Christine Toy Johnson, Baayork Lee, Jose Llana, Ann Harada, Dodie Pettit and More at Charles Randolph-Wright’s “Three Voices” concert series at Stage 72

Christine Toy Johnson and Raul Aranas Lead the Cast of the National Asian Artists Project’s (NAAP) Benefit Presentation of Hello Dolly!, at The Pershing Square Signature Center

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

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.

Baayork Lee to be Honored with 2017 Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award

Baayork Lee, Bob Avian and Christopher Vo at the opening night party at Tavern on the Green for “Miss Saigon” on March 23, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang
Baayork Lee. Photo by Lia Chang
Baayork Lee. Photo by Lia Chang

Congratulations to director, actress and choreographer Baayork Lee who will receive the 2017 Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award for her outstanding dedication to social service in the global theatre landscape.

The Isabelle Stevenson Award is presented annually to a member of the theatre community who has made a substantial contribution of volunteered time and effort on behalf of one or more humanitarian, social service or charitable organizations. Ms. Lee will be presented the Award for her commitment to future generations of artists through her work with the National Asian Artists Project and theatre education programs around the world.

Baayork Lee, Bob Avian and Christopher Vo at the opening night party at Tavern on the Green for “Miss Saigon” on March 23, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang
Baayork Lee, Bob Avian and Christopher Vo at the opening night party at Tavern on the Green for “Miss Saigon” on March 23, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang

“Baayork works tirelessly to break down cultural walls that often build up around what theatre goers consider ‘traditional’ musicals, and her dedication to fostering the next generation of performers and theatre professionals to do the same is exemplary. We are thrilled to honor her this year,” Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League, and Heather Hitchens, President of the American Theatre Wing, said.

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

Baayork Lee is the Founder of National Asian Artists Project (NAAP), which is a community of artists, educators, administrators, community leaders, and professionals who work to showcase the work of Asian-American theater artists through performance, educational programming and community outreach.

Bonale Zohn Fambrini, Raul Aranas, Mel Sagrado Maghuyop, Scott Watanabe, Cindy Cheung, Virginia Wing and John Haggerty at the curtain call of NAAP’s Oliver! at The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre inside The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on June 7, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang
Bonale Zohn Fambrini, Raul Aranas, Mel Sagrado Maghuyop, Scott Watanabe, Cindy Cheung, Virginia Wing and John Haggerty at the curtain call of NAAP’s Oliver! at The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre inside The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on June 7, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Through NAAP, Lee orchestrates her vision of educating, cultivating, and stimulating audiences and artists of Asian descent. The organization has produced productions of musical theatre staples like Oklahoma!, Carousel, Hello Dolly!, Oliver! and Honor with all Asian-American casts. By turning a spot light onto the high-caliber talent of theatre artists of Asian descent, NAAP asserts, given the opportunity, the theater and its audiences will embrace diverse American voices who strive to claim both new and classic American works as their own.

Karl Josef Co, Jaygee Macapugay, Raul Aranas, Christine Toy Johnson and the company of NAAP's Hello Dolly! at The Pershing Square Signature Center on April 30, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang
Karl Josef Co, Jaygee Macapugay, Raul Aranas, Christine Toy Johnson and the company of NAAP’s Hello Dolly! at The Pershing Square Signature Center on April 30, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang

Lee has made it a large part of her mission to educate aspiring artists in musical theatre. She created musical theater schools in Seoul, Korea; Tokyo, Japan; and the Theater Club at the Yung Wing Elementary School (PS124) in Chinatown, NY.

Baayork Lee (playing Miss Wong in this clip from the 1969 Tony Awards) created the role of Connie in A Chorus Line, and in fact has made a career of recreating Bennett's choreography. Photo credit: Martha Swope on Armchair Actorvist
Baayork Lee (playing Miss Wong in this clip from the 1969 Tony Awards) created the role of Connie in A Chorus Line, and in fact has made a career of recreating Bennett’s choreography. Photo credit: Martha Swope on Armchair Actorvist

Lee, an Asian American actor, dancer, singer, choreographer, director and author, was born in New York City’s Chinatown to an Indian mother and Chinese father, made her Broadway debut at the age of five as “Princess Ying Yaowalak” in the 1951 original production of The King and I. Her dream was to become a ballerina and she appeared in George Balanchine’s production of The Nutcracker, but this dream was dashed when she achieved her full height of just four feet, ten inches. In 1958, she returned to Broadway in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Flower Drum Song. Other Broadway appearances were in Bravo Giovanni; Mr. PresidentHere’s LoveGolden BoyA Joyful NoiseHenry, Sweet HenryPromises, PromisesSeesaw and Michael Bennett’s 1976 Tony Award-winning Best Musical A Chorus Line, in which she originated the role of “Connie,” and served as his assistant choreographer.

Lee worked with Bennett in several productions and over the years went from being his dance partner, to being his assistant. She would later supervise all major productions of A Chorus Line, choreographing many national and international companies, most recently in Klagenfurt, Austria; Santiago, Chile; the Hollywood Bowl; and Pace University in New York City. She is the co-author of the book, On the Line: The Creation of A Chorus Line, published in 1990.

Baayork Lee, Virginia Wing and Nancy Kwan at the New York Historical Society in New York on October 15, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang
Baayork Lee, Virginia Wing and Nancy Kwan at the New York Historical Society in New York on October 15, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang
Christine Toy Johnson presented Baayork Lee with the 2014 Paul Robeson Citation Award presented by the Actors’ Equity Foundation in the council room of the Actors Equity Association on October 10, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang
Christine Toy Johnson presented Baayork Lee with the 2014 Paul Robeson Citation Award presented by the Actors’ Equity Foundation in the council room of the Actors Equity Association on October 10, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Her directing and choreography credits also include: The King and I (national tour), Bombay Dreams (national tour), Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (New York City Opera), Barnum (Australia), Carmen Jones (John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts), Porgy and Bess (European tour), Jesus Christ Superstar (European tour), Gypsy and A New Brain. She has also choreographed Miss Saigon (Kansas City Starlight), Mack and Mabel (Shaw Festival), Animal Crackers, South Pacific, Coconuts, Camelot, and Damn Yankees, all at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.

She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her work, including the 2014 Paul Robeson Award from Actors Equity Association, the Asian Woman Warrior Award for Lifetime Achievement from Columbia College, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Association Achievement in Arts Award, and the Dynamic Achiever Award from OCA Westchester.

Lori Tan Chinn, Orville Mendoza and 2014 Paul Robeson Citation Award recipient Baayork Lee at the Actors Equity Association in New York on October 10, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang
Lori Tan Chinn, Orville Mendoza and 2014 Paul Robeson Citation Award recipient Baayork Lee at the Actors Equity Association in New York on October 10, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang
The American Theatre Wing’s 71st Annual Tony Awards, hosted by Kevin Spacey, will air live from Radio City Music Hall on the CBS Television Network on Sunday, June 11, 2017 (8:00-11:00 PM, ET/delayed PT). Or stream the Tony Awards live across platforms with the CBS All Access subscription service. (Live stream is available in select markets. Visit CBS.com/allaccess for details.) The Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.
The Nominations for the 2017 Tony Awards will be announced live, by Tony Award winner Jane Krakowski and 2016 Tony Nominee Christopher Jackson, on May 2, 2017, from The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, in a webcast on TonyAwards.com.
For more information on the Tony Awards, visit TonyAwards.com and Facebook.com/TheTonyAwards and follow @TheTonyAwards on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.

Robert Fairchild, Mara Davi, Jason Tam, J. Elaine Marcos, Sabrina Bryan & More Set for Baayork Lee Helmed A CHORUS LINE at The Hollywood Bowl

Baayork Lee to Helm ‘ALICE IN WONDERLAND’ Musical at Madison Theatre at Molloy College

Photos: Tommy Tune, Bob Avian, Lee Roy Reams, Christine Toy Johnson, Orville Mendoza, Lori Tan Chinn, Raul Aranas, Virginia Wing and More Celebrate 2014 Paul Robeson Citation Award Recipient Baayork Lee

National Asian Artists Project To Present All-Asian Production of OLIVER! Featuring Raul Aranas, Anthea Neri, Bonale Zohn Fambrini, Mel Sagrado Maghuyop, Cindy Cheung, Scott Watanabe, Virginia Wing, David Shih and More 
Photos: Christine Toy Johnson, Baayork Lee, Jose Llana, Ann Harada, Dodie Pettit and More at Charles Randolph-Wright’s “Three Voices” concert series at Stage 72
Christine Toy Johnson and Raul Aranas Lead the Cast of the National Asian Artists Project’s (NAAP) Benefit Presentation of Hello Dolly!, at The Pershing Square Signature Center

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.