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  • Working Theater Presents Staged Reading of Chay Yew’s Visible Cities at The Studio Theatre on Theatre Row

    Posted by Lia Chang

      On Monday, March 21, 2011, Working Theater presents a staged reading of Visible Cities by Chay Yew, directed by Mike Donahue, at The Studio Theatre on Theatre Row, 410 W 42nd St. (between 9th & 10th Aves in New York. The cast features Joanna Adler, Josh Barrett, Jackie Chung, Jennifer Ikeda, Natalie Martin, Quentin Maré, Orville Mendoza, Steve Park and Gordana Rashovich.

    Chay Yew’s plays include Porcelain, A Language of Their Own, RED, Wonderland, Question 27 Question 28, A Distant Shore, 17, America and A Beautiful Country. His other work includes adaptations, A Winter People (based on Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard) and Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba, and a musical Long Season. His plays have been produced at the Public Theatre, Royal Court Theatre (London), Mark Taper Forum, Manhattan Theatre Club, Long Wharf Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Intiman Theatre, Wilma Theatre, Studio Theatre, Portland Center Stage, East West Players, Cornerstone Theatre Company, Perseverance Theatre, Dad’s Garage, La Mama (Melbourne, Australia), Singapore Repertory Theatre and TheatreWorks Singapore, amongst others.

    He is also the recipient of the London Fringe Award for Best Playwright and Best Play, George and Elisabeth Marton Playwriting Award, GLAAD Media Award, Asian Pacific Gays and Friends’ Community Visibility Award, Made in America Award, AEA/SAG/AFTRA 2004 Diversity Honor, Robert Chesley Award and an OBIE Award for Direction; he has also received grants from the McKnight Foundation, Rockefeller MAP Fund and the TCG/Pew National Residency Program. His plays are published by Grove Press and were nominated for a Lamda Literary Award. He is presently editing a new anthology of Asian American plays “Version 3.0” for TCG Publications. He is under commission from Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Writer’s Theatre. An alumnus of New Dramatists, he serves on the Executive Board of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers....

  • National Cherry Blossom Festival Invites Public to Stand with Japan on March 24

    Posted by Lia Chang

    Washington Monument and Cherry Blossom Trees in Washington D.C. © Lia Chang

    The 2011 National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC, which runs from March 26-April 10 commemorates the 99th anniversary of the gift of the cherry blossom trees and the enduring friendship between the United States and Japan. This year’s festival features three spectacular weekends and daily events highlighting traditional and contemporary Japanese arts and culture, natural beauty, and community spirit.

    The National Cherry Blossom Festival is sponsoring a fundraising event called Stand with Japan at the Washington Monument on March 24, 2011. Meet at the Sylvan Theater, 15th Street & Independence Avenue, SW at 6:30pm and join others who are gathering to reflect and participate in the walk around the Tidal Basin, where the cherry blossom trees, gifted to Washington, DC from Tokyo in 1912, have stood the test of time for 99 years. The relationship with Japan is at the heart of the Festival, and the evening of hope and perseverance occurs before the 16-day celebration begins on Saturday, March 26. All donations will go directly to the American Red Cross and their Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami fund.

    A ful list of Festival participants and partners holding events to benefit the fund can be found at www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org

    Hotline: (877) 44-BLOOM

  • Finding his way in The Yellow Wood

    Posted by Lia Chang

    A new musical, The Yellow Wood, by Michelle Elliott and Danny Larsen, has taken root at The Acorn Theatre in New York. Directed by BD Wong and presented by the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) and Gold Modern, performances run through October 1, 2007.

    Randy Blair, Jason Tam and Caissie Levy in The Yellow Wood. Photo by Lia Chang

    The triple threats Wong has assembled for his directorial debut include Jason Tam, Yuka Takara, MaryAnn Hu, Randy Blair, Caissie Levy, Paul Clausen, Jill Abramovitz, Elizabeth Lundberg, Sean Bradford, Dennis Moench, Scot Fedderly, and Marnie Schulenburg.

    Jason Tam and Caissie Levy in The Yellow Wood. Photo by Lia Chang

    Jason Tam stars as seventeen-year-old Adam, a biracial Korean American with ADD. It’s a brand new school day, and Adam decides not to take his Ritalin to prove to himself he has beaten his disorder. He’s also saddled with taking care of his brainy little sister Gwen (Yuka Takara) on her first day at his school, navigating the class president elections with his best friend, Casserole (Randy Blair) and trying to memorize Robert Frost’s poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ to recite for his English class. Struggling to get past the first line ‘Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…’ his hyperactive imagination takes hold and manifests itself in all kinds of scenarios in a yellow wood that has appeared. While trying to get the poem completely memorized by seventh period, he makes a connection with Willis (Caissie Levy) who has ADD and has stopped taking her Ritalin too. Encouraging him to follow his impulsive urges, they embark on a fantastical journey, while he attempts to embrace his Koreanness, reconcile his dysfunctional family relationships and his ADD.

    Jason Tam and MaryAnn Hu in The Yellow Wood. Photo by Lia Chang

    The Yellow Wood has a fresh appeal with tunes that continued to stick in my memory long after I had left the theater. As Adam, Tam effectively evokes angst and confusion, followed...

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