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  • May 20, 21: Epic Theatre Presents Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths, starring Joel de la Fuente at 47th Street Theatre

    Posted by: Lia Chang

    The NYC Epic Theatre Ensemble is presenting Jeanne Sakata’s solo playHold These Truths (formerly known as Dawn’s Light: The Journey of Gordon Hirabayashi), directed by Lisa Rothe and starring Joel de la Fuente, in a free and prototype production at the 47th Street Theatre, 304 W. 47th St. between 8th and 9th Ave in New York on May 20 and 21 at 8pm.

    Inspired by a true story, Dawn’s Light takes placed in Seattle during World War II, where University of Washington student Gordon Hirabayashi is agonizing over U.S. government orders to forcibly remove and mass incarcerate all people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast. As he fights to reconcile his country’s betrayal with his passionate belief in the U.S. Constitution, Gordon journeys toward a greater understanding of America’s triumphs — and a confrontation with its failures.

    The production is free and open to the public, and begins at 8pm. Clickhere to RSVP. http://epictheatreensemble.org/holdthesetruths

    Remembering Civil Rights Leader Gordon Hirabayashi,1918- 2012President Obama Names Asian American Civil Rights Hero Gordon Hirabayashi Recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom 

    Jeanne Sakata (Photo by Lia Chang)

    Jeanne Sakata made her playwriting debut in recent years with her solo show Hold These Truths (formerly Dawn’s Light: The Journey of Gordon Hirabayashi). The play had its world premiere in 2007 at East West Players, co-presented by the Japanese American National Museum, UCLA Department of Asian American Studies, and the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, and was subsequently chosen by the Epic Theatre Ensemble and the Lark Play Development Center for their first joint presentation, as well as by the New York Theatre Workshop to be showcased at their 2009 Dartmouth Residency. Most recently, the play was performed at Chicago’s Pritzker Pavilion with Silk Road Rising/Millennium Park as part of the Park’s 2011 IN THE WORKS New Plays Series. It was also presented in the Epic...

  • David Henry Hwang, BD Wong, Francis Jue, Jennifer Lim, Brian d’Arcy James, Oskar Eustis, and Leigh Silverman at WNYC’s The Greene Space

    Posted by: Lia Chang

    On Monday, May 7, 2012 at WNYC’s The Greene Space in New York, Tony award-winning Playwright David Henry Hwang celebrated the release of his newly published play from TCG Books, Chinglish, which received its Broadway premiere in Fall 2011 and was named “Best American Play of 2011” by TIME magazine, and by Bloomberg Radio, NY1 and WNYC as one of the Top 10 Broadway shows of the year.

    David Henry Hwang at WNYC’s The Greene Space in New York on May 7, 2012, courtesy New York Public Radio. © 2012 Lia Chang

    The critically acclaimed Chinglish is set for the silver screen, and a tour which kicks off in the Fall at Berkeley Rep. Fast and Furioushelmer Justin Lin (Better Luck Tomorrow, Finishing the Game), recently acquired the film rights toChinglish and is set to begin shooting in 2013, with a screenplay by Hwang.Filmmaker Justin Lin Acquires Film Rights to David Henry Hwang’s Critically Acclaimed Broadway Comedy Chinglish

    WNYC’s The Greene Space in New York on May 7, 2012, courtesy New York Public Radio. © 2012 Lia Chang

    The play has been nominated for 3 Drama Desk Awards including – Outstanding Play for Hwang, Outstanding Actress in a Play for Jennifer Lim and Outstanding Set Design for David Korins. Chinglish opened at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago in the summer of 2011, winning two Jeff Awards – for Hwang (New Work-Play) and scenic designer David Korins (Scenic Design-Large), before moving to Broadway.

    Brian d’Arcy James, Leigh Silverman, David Henry Hwang, Oskar Eustis, BD Wong, Jennifer Lim and Francis Jue at WNYC’s The Greene Space in New York on May 7, 2012, courtesy New York Public Radio. © 2012 Lia Chang

    This Fall, Hwang succeeds Athol Fugard as Signature Theatre’s Residency One playwright for the 2012-2013 season at the company’s new home, The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street between Dyer and 10th Avenues). Residency One is Signature’s core one-year playwright-in-residence program that...

  • SHANGHAI CALLING Premieres at the 2012 Newport Beach Film Festival

    Posted by: Suzanne Kai

    May 2, 2012

    Newport Beach, California

    Tomorrow marks the world premiere of SHANGHAI CALLING directed by Daniel Hsia, and produced by Janet Yang ("The Year of the Fish," "The Weight of Water" and "The Joy Luck Club."  

    The film makes its premiere as the closing night event of the Newport Beach Film Festival which attracts more than 30,000 attendees annually.

    Shanghai Calling stars Daniel Henney, best known for his roles in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the South Korean romantic comedy My Lovely Sam Soon, and starred alongside international pop star RAIN in the series The Fugitive: Plan B.

    Henney stars in SHANGHAI CALLING as Sam, a promising young New York attorney selected to open his firm's new satellite office in Shanghai, despite the fact that he speaks no Chinese and knows nothing about Chinese culture. 

    Zhu Zhu plays Fang Fang in SHANGHAI CALLING, Sam's attractive and street-smart legal assistant, who uses her impeccable wardrobe and stunning appearance to conceal the truth about her background.  An actress, singer, model and music video host on MTV China, she co-stars in Quentin Tarantino and RZA's upcoming martial arts film The Man with the Iron Fist, alongside Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu. 

    Eliza Coupe plays Amanda, a relocation specialist who speaks fluent Chinese and is an expert on local customs and culture. Coupe is an actress from Scrubs, Flight of the Conchords, Community and Happy Endings. 

    Geng Le is an acclaimed actor from such critically lauded Chinese films as Spring Subway, Resless, Beijing rocks, Desires of the Heart, andmany television series. Geng Le plays "Awesome Wang," an investigative journalist with an uncanny ability to dig up hard-to-find facts no matter what the circumstances. 

    Source: Official website ShanghaiCalling.com

    The film's synopsis:

    The film is a romantic comedy about modern-day American immigrants in an unfamily land. When an ambitious New York attorney is sent to Shanghai on assignment, he immediately stumbles into...

  • One Red Bastard Novelist Ed Lin Readings in New York on May 7, 10 and 12

    Posted by: Lia Chang

    Novelist Ed Lin’s 4th book, One Red Bastard (Minotaur Books), his 3rd of his Robert Chow series, is hot off the presses this month. Publishers Weeklyawarded the book a prepublication star, denoting a book of exceptional merit.

    “Tensions in America’s relationship with China and Taiwan form the backdrop for Lin’s compelling third mystery featuring Chinese-American Robert Chow of the NYPD (after 2010’s Snakes Can’t Run). By the fall of 1976, Chow has moved on from being the department’s token to real policing, but his personal and professional lives collide when his journalist girlfriend, Lonnie, becomes the prime suspect in a case with potential international repercussions. Chen Xiaochuan, the official representative for Mao Tse-tung’s daughter, who’s seeking asylum in the States, is bludgeoned to death in a Chinatown park, and Lonnie is the last person known to have seen him after interviewing him for her newspaper. Possible motives can be found all over the political spectrum, complicating the investigation.”

    Check out the book trailer here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VnwcLiSXO4

    Ed Lin

    Meet Lin on Monday, May 7 at 6:30pm at The Mysterious Bookshop at 58 Warren Street in New York.http://bit.ly/IFi9GWOn Thursday, May 10, at 6:30pm, Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang introduces Lin at the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), 215 Centre Street in Chinatown. Louis Changchien will be reading from the book, and the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is serving up an “Ed Lin” flavor that night. Taste the EdLinsanity!http://bit.ly/HKSmhjOn Saturday, May 12 at 6:30pm: Lin will be joined by his wife, actress Cindy Cheung (SPEAK UP CONNIE), at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop at 110-112 West 27th Street, 6th Floor in New York.http://bit.ly/HZXAJG

    Ed Lin is the author of several books including Waylaid and This Is a Bust, both published by Kaya Press in 2002 and 2007, were widely praised. Both also won the Members’ Choice...

  • May 21: Raymond J. Lee and Ali Ewoldt star in Concert Reading of Jason Ma’s Gold Mountain

    Posted by: Lia Chang

    Ali Ewoldt

    In celebration of Asian Heritage Month, the Eastern Region Equal Employment Opportunity Committee of Actors’ Equity Association will present a concert reading of GOLD MOUNTAIN (book, music and lyrics by Jason Ma), on Monday, May 21 at 7 p.m. Directed by Christine Toy Johnson, the reading will take place at Hunter College’s Lang Recital Hall, 69th Street (between Park and Lex) and will feature Raymond J. Lee (ANYTHING GOES), Ali Ewoldt (LES MISERABLES), Alan Ariano (MISS SAIGON), Steven Eng, Whitney Kam Lee, Paolo Montalban (PACIFIC OVERTURES), Buzz Roddy, Hansel Tan, Joshua Dela Cruz, Dan Edwards, Andrew Eisenman, Brian Jose, Jake Manabat and David Shih. Musical direction is by Michael Larsen. Production design is by Bruce Alan Johnson.

    Raymond J. Lee

    GOLD MOUNTAIN is the untold story of the Chinese men who, in search of a better life for their families, came to California to build the Central Pacific Railroad — endangering their own lives and finding heartache and hardship instead of the gold they were promised. Two star-crossed lovers find each other in the midst of it all and must find a way to escape, or risk never being together again.

    Tickets are free, but space is very limited. RSVP to eeo@actorsequity.org by May 18.

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

    Lia Chang. Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

    Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.

  • President Obama Names Asian American Civil Rights Hero Gordon Hirabayashi Recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom

    Posted by: Lia Chang

    WASHINGTON – On Thursday, April 26, 2012, President Obama named the late Gordon Hirabayashi one of 13 recipients of this year’s Presidential Medal of Freedom awards. Members of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice (Advancing Justice)—Asian American Institute, Asian American Justice Center, Asian Law Caucus and Asian Pacific American Legal Center—and the Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education applaud the president for awarding the nation’s highest civilian honor to Hirabayashi, who passed away earlier this year on January 2. The Medal of Freedom is presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. President Obama will present the awards at the White House in late spring.

    “Gordon Hirabayashi was an American hero. We are thrilled to hear that he will receive a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom, an honor which will help spread awareness of his courageous story,” said Ling Woo Liu, director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education, a program of the Asian Law Caucus.

    In 1942, Hirabayashi was a 24-year-old student at the University of Washington when President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. Hirabayashi, an American citizen, refused to comply with the forced relocation order and instead turned himself in to the FBI in order to assert his belief that the internment order was racially discriminatory. He was convicted by a U.S. Federal District Court in Seattle of defying the exclusion order and violating curfew. Hirabayashi appealed his conviction all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled against him in 1943. Following World War II and his time in prison, Hirabayashi obtained his doctoral degree in sociology and became a professor at the University of Alberta...

  • May 2: Gwynne Chow Tuan, Ben and Emily Huh of Cheezburger Network, Aasif Mandvi of The Daily Show, Chad Troutwine of Veritas Prep and Dr. Alexander Tsui to receive 2012 APEX Inspiration Awards in NYC

    Posted by: Lia Chang

    Gwynne Chow Tuan

    On Wednesday, May 2, 2012, MSNBC anchor Richard Lui and actor BD Wong (“Awake”, “Law & Order SVU”) will co-emcee APEX’s 20th Anniversary Inspiration Awards Gala Dinner celebrating role models in the Asian-American community and APEX’s crucial work with underserved, inner-city youth, at Capitale, 130 Bowery in New York City from 6:30pm – 10pm.

    The 2012 Inspiration Awards will be presented to Ben and Emily Huh of Cheezburger Network, Aasif Mandvi of “The Daily Show,” Chad Troutwine of Veritas Prep, Dr. Alexander Tsui, and fundraiser Gwynne Chow Tuan.

    APEX enables underserved children from Asian American communities in New York City to become well-rounded, productive members of society through programs that meet their academic, social and personal needs. The honorees for the evening have demonstrated an equal commitment to serving the Asian American community.

    APEX was founded in 1992 and today serves more than 200 youth from almost 50 public schools, and provides over 6,000 hours of volunteer service a year within New York City’s five boroughs. The youth can participate in a variety of after-school programs that build academic skills to help them overcome achievement gaps, engage them in a larger community, and instill a lifelong commitment to volunteerism and service. These programs address a population that is often assumed to be well positioned for success. However, one in four Asian American youths live in poverty, one out of three do not graduate high school on time or graduate at all, and 65 percent in high-need areas are not college or career-ready upon graduation. Despite these statistics, only one percent of New York City’s social service budget and foundation grants to New York charities go toward organizations focused on Asian American communities. APEX’s programs fill the void of the underserved in this community and young people who complete its programs have a 99% college attendance rate. After 20 years,...

  • May 7: WNYC’s The Greene Space presents “An Evening with David Henry Hwang” featuring Oskar Eustis, Brian D’Arcy James, BD Wong, Jennifer Lim, Francis Jue

    Posted by: Lia Chang

    On Monday, May 7th at 7pm, WNYC’s The Greene Space and Theater Communications Group will welcome Tony award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang, whose latest Broadway comedy Chinglish received 3 Drama Desks nods today – Outstanding Play for Hwang, Outstanding Actress in a Play for Jennifer Lim and Outstanding Set Design for David Korins. The Greene Space is located at 44 Charlton Street at Varick Street in New York.

    David Henry Hwang and Oskar Eustis (Photos by Lia Chang)

    This evening will feature a conversation with Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director of the Public Theater in New York and readings by Hwang with guests Brian D’Arcy James, BD Wong, Jennifer Lim and Francis Jue. The event will be followed by a book signing including Hwang’s newly published play from TCG Books, Chinglish, which received its Broadway premiere in fall 2011 and was named “Best American Play of 2011” byTIME magazine.Filmmaker Justin Lin Acquires Film Rights to David Henry Hwang’s Critically Acclaimed Broadway Comedy Chinglish

    Jennifer Lim, BD Wong and Francis Jue (Photos by Lia Chang)

    Tickets are $15 and available at www.thegreenespace.org. A live video webcast will be available to stream at www.thegreenespace.org.

    David Henry Hwang’s plays often explore the Asian American experience in contemporary society. He is the author of the Tony Award-winning M. Butterfly, a finalist for the 1988 Pulitzer Prize. Other plays include Golden Child, FOB, The Dance and the Railroad, Family Devotions and Pulitzer Prize-finalist, Yellow Face; his opera libretti include three works for composer Philip Glass. From 1994-2001, he served an appointment of President Clinton on the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

    David Henry Hwang Articles:Filmmaker Justin Lin Acquires Film Rights to David Henry Hwang’s Critically Acclaimed Broadway Comedy ChinglishDavid Henry Hwang Set as Signature Theatre’s Residency One Playwright for the 2012-2013 SeasonDavid Henry Hwang...

  • Richard Atkinson’s DOGS LIE Launch Party Photos

    Posted by: Lia Chang

    I was welcomed into the engaging world of Dogs Lie director Richard Atkinson, when he invited me to the pre-screening party for theVanguard Cinema release of his latest indie thriller starring Samrat Chakrabarti, Frank Boyd and Ewa Da Cruz on Monday, April 23, 2012, at the elegant Wall Street apartment of co-writer Ronnie Cohen and her husband Larry.

    (Back Row) Spencer Snyder, Frank Boyd, Arnie Mazer, Todd Gearhart, Richard Atkinson, Colin Lewis. (Front Row) Albert Elmazovski, Joanna Atkinson, Ronnie Cohen, Jessica Dickey, Rebecca Anne Mills and Jane Beale. Photo by Lia Chang

     

    Dogs Lie castmembers Frank Boyd, Richard Brown, Arnie Mazer, Todd Gearhart. (Seated) Jessica Dickey, Rebecca Anne Mills. Photo by Lia Chang

    Dogs Lie is based on an Off-Off-Broadway play written by Ronnie Cohen and Jane Beale, and the pair collaborated with director Richard Atkinson on adapting it for the screen.

    Dogs Lie actor Frank Boyd is flanked by co-writers Ronnie Cohen, Jane Beale and director Richard Atkinson. Photo by Lia Chang

    Dogs Lie scored two awards, for “Best Film” (USA) and the “Feature Film Audience Award,” at the 2011 ITN Distribution Film and New Media Festival in New York. Dogs Lie won “Honorable Mention” at the Los Angeles Movie Awards 2011 and was an “Official Selection” at The Big Apple Film Festival (BAFF) in NY, the La Femme International Film Festival in LA, and the Filmi SE Asian Film Festival in Toronto, where it was the “showcase feature.”

    Samrat Chakrabarti and Dogs Lie director Richard Atkinson. Photo by Joanna Atkinson

    Before arriving at the party, Atkinson caught up with Samrat Chakrabarti, who was en route to attend the screening of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, to hand deliver his “hot off the presses” DVD of Dogs Lie. Chakrabarti plays Iqbal Khani, a likeable, conscientious clinician and romantic opportunist in the film.

    Frank Boyd, who stars opposite Chakrabarti as Josh Logan, a clinician who is a...

  • May 21-22: BD Wong to Star in Live Concert Recording of HERRINGBONE to Benefit Dixon Place

    Posted by: Lia Chang

    Dixon Place is proud to announce a staged live concert recording of the one-man-musical Herringbone, starring the Tony Award-winning star of TV’s “Law & Order: SVU,” BD Wong.

    The concert, which will benefit Dixon Place, will have two performances: Monday May 21, and Tuesday May 22, both at 7:00PM. Dixon Place is at 161A Chrystie St. (between Rivington and Delancey). Tickets and more information are available at dixonplace.org.

    BD Wong in Herringbone. Photo by Lia Chang

    Wong has headlined three critically-acclaimed productions of the demanding musical – in which he enacts, sings and dances at least 11 characters – at the Williamstown Theatre Festival (2007), McCarter Theatre (2009), and La Jolla Playhouse (2010), all directed by Tony Award-winner Roger Rees (Nicholas Nickleby, Peter And The Starcatcher). Wong also starred in another earlier production at the American Musical Theatre Festival in 1994.

    Herringbone, with a book by Tom Cone, music by Skip Kennon and lyrics by Ellen Fitzhugh, was first produced in New York at Playwright’s Horizons in a memorable 1982 production starring David Rounds. The difficult-to-perform musical is rarely revived, and this concert (to be recorded live for future release as a CD), will be BD Wong’s first appearance in New York of the material, timed with the 30th Anniversary of the original New York production.

    BD Wong stars in Herringbone at Dixon Place in New York on May 21 and May 22. Photo by Lia Chang

    Herringbone is written as a traditional two-act musical with a score of more than 14 songs and 11 characters. The conceit of a single performer enacting all of the characters underlines its theme of the human struggle to negotiate the light and dark sides within.

    In the musical, set in Alabama during the Great Depression, 8-year-old George Nookin is possessed by the vengeful spirit of Lou, a jaded hoofer who was murdered by Lou’s partner in a Vaudeville act, Chicken Mosely. George’s parents,...

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