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  • 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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