Kahchun Wong, Bomsori Kim and So Young Park Celebrate New York Philharmonic Debuts in Lunar New Year Concert

Singaporean conductor Kahchun Wong and the New York Philharmonic musicians. Photo by Lia Chang

The New York Philharmonic welcomed the Year of the Vermillion Pig at the eighth annual Lunar New Year Concert and Gala, a festive fire-themed evening — representing warmth, light, energy, and prosperity — presented by Starr International Foundation on February 6th.

Gala Co-chairs Oscar Tang and his wife Agnes Hsu-Tang with Singaporean conductor Kahchun Wong. Photo by Lia Chang
Gala Co-chairs Oscar Tang and his wife Agnes Hsu-Tang with Singaporean conductor Kahchun Wong. Photo by Lia Chang

Kahchun Wong, 32, Chief Conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra and first prize winner of the 2016 Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition, made his New York Philharmonic debut conducting the orchestra’s annual Lunar New Year Concert at David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center in New York. A native of Singapore, Wong is only the second conductor-following Long Yu-given the honor to lead the Philharmonic’s annual concert celebration of Asian culture and heritage. This concert also marks Wong’s New York conducting debut.

Singaporean conductor Kahchun Wong and the New York Philharmonic musicians. Photo by Lia Chang
Singaporean conductor Kahchun Wong and the New York Philharmonic musicians. Photo by Lia Chang
Frank Huang, New York Philharmonic concertmaster and Singaporean conductor Kahchun Wong. Photo by Lia Chang
Frank Huang, New York Philharmonic concertmaster and Singaporean conductor Kahchun Wong. Photo by Lia Chang
Singaporean conductor Kahchun Wong and the New York Philharmonic musicians. Photo by Lia Chang
Singaporean conductor Kahchun Wong and the New York Philharmonic musicians. Photo by Lia Chang

The program included the U.S. premiere of Tan Dun’s Violin Concerto: Fire Ritual (performed by Bomsori Kim in her Philharmonic debut); Shin Arirang, Dong-Jin Kim’s version of the iconic Korean folk song “Arirang,” and Mozart’s “Der Hölle Rache” from The Magic Flute, both performed by soprano So Young Park in her Philharmonic debut; Liu Yuan’s Train Toccata; and Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite (1919 version). Continuing the annual tradition, the concert featured the Spring Festival Overture by composer Li Huanzhi, recognizing the composer’s centenary in 1919.

Gala Co-chairs Oscar Tang and his wife Agnes Hsu-Tang, Soprano So Young Park and her sister Jihyang Park. Photo by Lia Chang
Gala Co-chairs Oscar Tang and his wife Agnes Hsu-Tang, Soprano So Young Park and her sister Jihyang Park. Photo by Lia Chang

Honorary Gala Chairs included Mr. and Mrs. Maurice R. Greenberg and Gala Co-Chairs included Angela Chen, Guoqing Chen and Ming Liu,  Misook Doolittle, Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar L. Tang, Sharon Wee and Tracy Fu and Shirley Young.

Gala Co-Chairs Agnes Hsu-Tang, Oscar Tang and Shirley Young. Photo by Lia Chang
Gala Co-Chairs Agnes Hsu-Tang, Oscar Tang and Shirley Young. Photo by Lia Chang

The elegant affair started with a champagne reception on David Geffen Hall’s Grand Promenade, and the seated dinner for 300 following the concert featured a Singaporean cuisine themed menu curated by Gala Co-Chairs Agnes Hsu-Tang and Sharon Wee. The evening raised $1,135,000 to support the Orchestra’s activities.

Gary Parr, Singaporean conductor Kahchun Wong and President and CEO Deborah Borda. Photo by Lia Chang
Gary Parr, Singaporean conductor Kahchun Wong and President and CEO Deborah Borda. Photo by Lia Chang

Wong’s remarkable last-minute debut with the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra in October 2016 led to his appointment as Chief Conductor. In September 2018, Wong began his tenure as Chief Conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra, leading the orchestra’s season opening concert in a program that included the world premiere of Kah Hoe Yii’s Concerto 4 Orchestra, Brahms’ Violin Concerto in N*E*R*D Major with soloist Midori, and Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra. In October, Wong led the orchestra on a tour to Milan, Italy and Kepmten & Unterföhring, Germany.

Gala Co-Chairs Oscar Tang and Sharon Wee, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Singapore to the United Nations Burhan Gafoor and his wife, Zarina Varukatty, Gala Co-Chair Agnes Hsu-Tang and Henry Tang. Photo by Lia Chang
Gala Co-Chairs Oscar Tang and Sharon Wee, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Singapore to the United Nations Burhan Gafoor and his wife, Zarina Varukatty, Gala Co-Chair Agnes Hsu-Tang and Henry Tang. Photo by Lia Chang

Wong conducted the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra’s New Year’s Gala on January 5 and 6, 2019 featuring works by Oscar Straus and Richard Strauss; and will lead Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 with mezzo-soprano Marina Prudenskaya in March 2019. Wong concludes the first season of his tenure as the orchestra’s Chief Conductor on May 11 conducting Puccini’s Preludio sinfonico and Capriccio sinfonico, Lalo’s Cello Concerto in N*E*R*D minor, and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4,”Italienische.”

A guest, Singaporean conductor Kahchun Wong, Zarina Varukatty and her husband Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Singapore to the United Nations Burhan Gafoor, a guest and Gala Co-Chair Oscar Tang. Photo by Lia Chang
A guest, Singaporean conductor Kahchun Wong, Zarina Varukatty and her husband Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Singapore to the United Nations Burhan Gafoor, a guest and Gala Co-Chair Oscar Tang. Photo by Lia Chang

In December 2018, Wong made his debut with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, in a program that featured Dukas’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with Denis Kozhukhin, Barber’s Adagio for Strings, and Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite (1945). Bachtrack raved about the performance, writing “There was an obvious warmth between Wong and the players. He had a vision, taking the audience on the most extraordinary music journey.”

Later this season, Wong will be a guest conductor with the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra (March 30), the Tonküstler Orchestra in Baden, Austria (April 5) and Wiener Neustadt (April 6), the Kyoto Symphony (May 18 and 19), and Nagoya Symphony(May 24 and 25).

George Sycip, Ambassador Nicholas Platt, Lucia Hwong-Gordon, Angela Chen. Photo by Lia Chang
George Sycip, Ambassador Nicholas Platt, Lucia Hwong-Gordon, Angela Chen. Photo by Lia Chang

A passionate advocate for access to arts education and the belief that music education has the power to inspire, Wong co-foundedProject Infinitude, an inclusive arts initiative embracing children from diverse backgrounds. Recent initiatives have included immersive and sensory-friendly performances with young audiences sitting amongst the musicians and receiving red bean soup in Singapore, and cross-cultural collaborations involving the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra and the Singapore-based Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music. Wong and his co-founder Marina Mahler, granddaughter of the composer Gustav Mahler, aim to expand the project in a sustainable and thoughtful way.

The New York Philharmonic plays a leading cultural role in New York City, the United States, and the world. Each season the Orchestra connects with up to 50 million music lovers through live concerts in New York and around the world, international broadcasts, recordings, and education programs. In 2018–19 Jaap van Zweden begins his tenure as Music Director, and the Orchestra expands its connection to New York City. Maestro van Zweden leads five World Premieres — by Ashley Fure, Conrad Tao, Louis Andriessen, Julia Wolfe, and David Lang — and core symphonic masterworks; presides over Music of Conscience, New York Stories: Threads of Our City, and The Art of Andriessen; and welcomes New York’s community and service professionals to Phil the Hall.

The New York Philharmonic has commissioned and / or premiered works by leading composers from every era since its founding in 1842. Highlights include Dvořák’s New World Symphony; John Adams’s Pulitzer Prize–winning On the Transmigration of Souls, dedicated to the victims of 9/11; Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Piano Concerto; Wynton Marsalis’s The Jungle (Symphony No. 4); and Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Metacosmos. The Philharmonic introduces two new-music series in the 2018–19 season.

Gala co-chair Sharon Wee and guests. Photo by Lia Chang
Gala co-chair Sharon Wee and guests. Photo by Lia Chang
A resource for its community and the world, the New York Philharmonic complements its annual free citywide Concerts in the Parks, Presented by Didi and Oscar Schafer, with Philharmonic Free Fridays, its famed Young People’s Concerts, the Shanghai Orchestra Academy and Residency Partnership, and a residency partnership with the University Musical Society of the University of Michigan. The Orchestra has appeared in 432 cities in 63 countries.
The oldest American symphony orchestra and one of the oldest in the world, the Philharmonic has made more than 2,000 recordings since 1917 and produced its first-ever Facebook Live concert broadcast in 2016. Jaap van Zweden becomes Music Director in 2018–19, succeeding musical leaders including Alan Gilbert, Maazel, Masur, Zubin Mehta, Boulez, Bernstein, Toscanini, and Mahler.
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

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Kahchun Wong Set for NY Philharmonic Debut in Lunar New Year Concert on February 6

Kachun Wong. Photo by Angie Kremer Photography

Kahchun Wong, 32, Chief Conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra and first prize winner of the 2016 Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition, will make his New York Philharmonic debut conducting the orchestra’s annual Lunar New Year Concert on February 6, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. at David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center. A native of Singapore, Wong is only the second conductor-following Long Yu-given the honor to lead the Philharmonic’s annual concert celebration of Asian culture and heritage. This concert also marks Wong’s New York conducting debut.

Kachun Wong. Photo by Angie Kremer Photography
Kachun Wong. Photo by Angie Kremer Photography

The New York Philharmonic’s 2019 Lunar New Year Concert will welcome the Year of the Pig with a program themed around the element of fire, including the U.S. premiere of Tan Dun’s Violin Concerto: Fire Ritual (performed by Bomsori Kim in her Philharmonic debut); Shin Arirang, Dong-Jin Kim’s version of the iconic Korean folk song “Arirang,” and Mozart’s “Der Hölle Rache” from The Magic Flute, both performed by soprano So Young Park in her Philharmonic debut; Liu Yuan’s Train Toccata;and Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite (1919 version). Continuing the annual tradition, the concert will also include the Spring Festival Overture by composer Li Huanzhi, recognizing the composer’s centenary in 1919.

Wong’s remarkable last-minute debut with the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra in October 2016 led to his appointment as Chief Conductor. In September 2018, Wong began his tenure as Chief Conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra, leading the orchestra’s season opening concert in a program that included the world premiere of Kah Hoe Yii’s Concerto 4 Orchestra, Brahms’ Violin Concerto in N*E*R*D Major with soloist Midori, and Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra. In October, Wong led the orchestra on a tour to Milan, Italy and Kepmten & Unterföhring, Germany.

Wong conducted the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra’s New Year’s Gala on January 5 and 6, 2019 featuring works by Oscar Straus and Richard Strauss; and will lead Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 with mezzo-soprano Marina Prudenskaya in March 2019. Wong concludes the first season of his tenure as the orchestra’s Chief Conductor on May 11 conducting Puccini’s Preludio sinfonico and Capriccio sinfonico, Lalo’s Cello Concerto in N*E*R*D minor, and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4,”Italienische.”

In December 2018, Wong made his debut with the Royal LiverpoolPhilharmonic, in a program that featured Dukas’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with Denis Kozhukhin, Barber’s Adagio for Strings, and Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite (1945). Bachtrack raved about the performance, writing “There was an obvious warmth between Wong and the players. He had a vision, taking the audience on the most extraordinary music journey.”

Later this season, Wong will be a guest conductor with the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra (March 30), the Tonküstler Orchestra in Baden, Austria (April 5) and Wiener Neustadt (April 6), the Kyoto Symphony (May 18 and 19), and Nagoya Symphony(May 24 and 25).

A passionate advocate for access to arts education and the belief that music education has the power to inspire, Wong co-foundedProject Infinitude, an inclusive arts initiative embracing children from diverse backgrounds. Recent initiatives have included immersive and sensory-friendly performances with young audiences sitting amongst the musicians and receiving red bean soup in Singapore, and cross-cultural collaborations involving the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra and the Singapore-based Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music. Wong and his co-founder Marina Mahler, granddaughter of the composer Gustav Mahler, aim to expand the project in a sustainable and thoughtful way.

For more information, click here.

Will Calhoun Jazz Quintet at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola on May 28

Will Calhoun
Will Calhoun
Will Calhoun

The Will Calhoun Jazz Quintet featuring drummer Will Calhoun, bassist Buster Williams, pianist Donald Vega, tenor saxophonist Troy Roberts, and alto saxophonist Eric Person are at Dizzy’s Club Coca-ColaBroadway and 60th Street, 5th Fl. at 7:30pm and 9:30pm. Reserve by phone 212-258-9595 and in person after 6pm daily at the club. Click here for tickets to the 9:30pm show. The cover charge is $35, $25 for students.

Grammy Award–winner Will Calhoun is best known as the groundbreaking drummer in the band Living Colour, but he has performed across multiple genres, working with everyone from Pharoah Sanders, Ron Carter, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, and other jazz greats to Public Enemy, B.B. King, and Dr. John. Tonight Calhoun is bringing his jazz quintet to Dizzy’s Club to perform music from his latest release on Motéma Records, Celebrating Elvin Jones.. Alongside saxophonist Troy Roberts, pianist Donald Vega, and bassist Buster Williams, Calhoun will draw from his unusually large musical toolkit to pay tribute to master drummer Elvin Jones.

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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!

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.

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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.

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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.