• 2016 - The Year That Launched A Movement

    Posted by Suzanne Kai

    2016 - The Year That Launched A Movement
    December 29, 2016 Photo: Asian American Demonstrators San Francisco Bay Area Circa 1968  2016 will go down in history as the year that sparked a movement. This was the year that Asian Americans came together en masse to fight for fair representation and visibility in our American society, and to stop racist, irresponsible and inaccurate coverage of our communities in the press, and...

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  • July 20-28: NYMF: Prison Dancer starring Jose Llana, Jeigh Madjus, Marc delaCruz, Catherine Ricafort, Moses Villarama, Cosmo Clemens, Enrico Rodriguez, Albert Guerzon, Andrew Eisenman and Nathan Ramos at Theatre at St. Clement’s

    Posted by: Lia Chang

    New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) and PRISON DANCER LIVE presents Romeo Candido and Carmen De Jesus’ Prison Dancer The Musical, helmed by Jenn Rapp, with music supervision by Alexander Rovang, at Off-Broadway’s Theatre at St. Clement’s, 423 West 46th Street in New York, Friday, July 20-Saturday, July 28, 2012.

    Jose Llana

    The cast features Jose Llana (Bdwy: Wonderland, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Flower Drum Song, Martin Guerre) as Christian Bagets, Jeigh Madjus (US Tour 2011 Le Cage Aux Folles) as Lola, Marc delaCruz (1st National Tour: Disney’s High School Musical) as Hookaps, Catherine Ricafort (Bdwy:Mamma Mia) as Cherish, Moses Villarama (Romeo & Juliet, National Theatre Cons.; King Lear, Denver Theatre Co.) as Shakespeare, Cosmo Clemens (Regional: 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, McLeod Summer Playhouse, Carbondale, IL; )as Oo Oo, Enrico Rodriguez (Off Bdwy: Fame on 42nd Street, Zanna, Don’t!) as Nana, Albert Guerzon (Bdwy: Ghost the Musical, Mamma Mia!) as Tondo, Andrew Eisenman (Twelfth Night, Leviathan Lab; Mother Courage, Ma-Yi Theatre Company) as Warden, and Nathan Ramos (Fever/Dream, Cleveland Public Theatre) as Swing/Prison Guard.

    The lives of eight Filipino maximum-security prisoners are changed forever when a video of their dance-based rehabilitation program becomes a viral Internet sensation on YouTube. As the dark prison suddenly finds itself in the worldwide spotlight, these hardcore criminals are given a second chance to find love and happiness in the most challenging circumstances. A modern inspired-by-a-true-story about how fears can hold us captive – and dreams can set us free to dance!

    With scenic design by Josh Zangen, costume design by Sky Switser, lighting design by Betsy Adams, sound design by Jon Weston. Rick Sorderlet is the fight director and Travis Brendle is the production stage manager.

    PRISON DANCER Schedule:Friday, Jul 20th, 2012 at 8:00 pmSunday, Jul 22nd, 2012 at 3:00 pmSunday,...

  • Three Year Swim Club, Encounter, TEA, Christmas in Hanoi and Chess set for East West Players 47th Anniversary Season

    Posted by: Lia Chang

    East West Players (EWP), the nation’s largest producing organization of Asian American artistic work and the longest-running professional theatre of color in the country, kicks off its 47th Anniversary Season with the return of Lee Tonouchi’s Three Year Swim Club, a Los Angeles TimesCritic’s Choice and LA Weekly Pick, back by popular demand.

    Set on the island of Maui in the 1930′s, Three Year Swim Club becomes transcendent as the art of hula becomes the metaphor for competitive swimming. Inspired by the true life story of Soichi Sakamoto, who trained the youth of Maui to swim in the plantation irrigation ditches on their path to becoming Olympic champions. Directed and choreographed by Keo Woolford. Three Year Swim Club has performances, July 27-August 19, 2012, at the David Henry Hwang Theater at the UnionCenter for the Arts at 120 Judge John Aiso St. in Los Angeles, CA. For tickets and more information, check out the website or call 213-625-7000.This season, themed Spirited Away, includes the multidisciplinaryEncounter by S.M. Raju and Aparna Sindhoor, the newly-reimagined TEAby Velina Hasu Houston, the world premiere of Christmas in Hanoi by Eddie Borey, and the Broadway musical CHESS, music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus Ulvaeus & lyrics by Tim Rice.

    “As East West Players enters its 47th season, we celebrate and explore the notion of spirit,” says Tim Dang, EWP’s Producing Artistic Director. “From ghosts tohuman perseverance, these stories delve into the essence of spirit within the human mind and body – as our emotions conjure the multiple definitions of the word spirit.”

    September 6-October 7, 2012Encounter explores different confrontations – with the Divine, the Self, Bob Marley, Love, and the Military. In association with Navarasa Dance Theater in Massachusetts, Encounter mesmerized audiences during the National Asian American Theater Festival. It is now brought in its full version, continuing to...

  • Disney’s Aladdin at The Muny with Thom Sesma, Francis Jue, Robin De Jesus, John Tartaglia, Jason Graae, Curtis Holbrook, Eddie Korbich, Samantha Massell and Ken Page

    Posted by: Lia Chang

    Lia Chang with the camels of Disney's Aladdin at The Muny in St. Louis. Photo by Larry D. Pry

    Last Saturday, I was in the mood for a little Arabian adventure, so I caught a two hour flight via United from New York to St. Louis, to see the new stage musical of Disney’s Aladdin, currently playing through July 13th at The Muny, the nation’s oldest outdoor musical amphitheatre.

    It was 108 degrees when I arrived at the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. A short ride on the air conditioned Metrolink to the Forest Park Station, with a transfer to the #3 Trolley, conveniently delivered me to the front door of The Muny in less than half an hour. Celebrating its 94th season this year, The Muny, located in Forest Park, St. Louis, Missouri, seats 11,000, of which 1,500 free seats in the last nine rows are available on a first come, first served basis for each performance.

    The Muny has 11,000 seats. Photo by Lia Chang

    More than 10,000 people came out to see Aladdin, the only children’s show of The Muny’s seven show season. Attending a musical theater production at The Muny is unlike any I have experienced before. There were flashes of lightening and rumbles of thunder as I settled into my box seat in section K next to a woman who had been coming here for 50 years, and was accompanied by her granddaughter. As the orchestra began to play the national anthem, the entire audience rose to face the flag and sing.

    The national anthem is sung before each performance at The Muny. Photo by Lia Chang


    Samantha Massell, Francis Jue, Thom Sesma and Robin de Jesus. Photo by Lia Chang

    The two-hour and 15-minute stage adaptation incorporates the Academy Award-winning songs from the 1992 film, penned by composer Alan Menken (Sister Act, Leap of Faith, Newsies) and lyricists Howard Ashman (Little Shop of Horrors, The Little Mermaid) and Tim Rice (Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar), with a new book by Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer), who has also penned new...

  • Its Houston for Jeremy Lin - The NY Knicks let him go

    Posted by: Suzanne Kai

    Jeremy in the locker room


    July 17, 2012

    Goodbye New York, Hello Houston!

    After weeks of speculation, Tuesday night the New York Knicks announced it would not match the Houston Rockets' offer.

    Emotions have been running high with Knicks fans. To quote writer Ian O'Connor at, "Jim Dolan just made one of the dumbest moves of his basketball life"...

    Meanwhile, Lin remains a gentleman, thanking the Knicks and showing enthusiasm for Houston. 

    Twitter comments: (@JLin7)

    "Extremely excited and honored to be a Houston Rocket again!! ‪#RedNation‬" "Much love and thankfulness to the Knicks and New York for your support this past year...easily the best year of my life ‪#ForeverGrateful‬"

    For the latest on Jeremy Lin:



    July 5, 2012

    This afternoon Jeremy Lin agreed to a multi-million dollar offer sheet by the Houston Rockets. Numerous sources say that the Houston Rockets' offer is reportedly a four year $28.8 million deal with Lin. The contract cannot be signed until after the NBA moratorium ends next Wednesday, July 11, 2012, then the New York Knicks have three days to match the Rockets' offer or let him go. This story is evolving day by day, and in some cases hour by hour.

    (Video image by Suzanne Kai was taken at a press interview with Jeremy Lin in the New York Knicks locker room at Madison Square Garden March 11, 2012)



    For more details here are related links:

    New York Times





  • To Lie or Not to Lie by Marilyn Tam

    Posted by: AC Team

    Marilyn having tea



    By Marilyn Tam


    Scott Thompson, the four months old CEO of Yahoo, was forced to resign because he lied on his resume. Worse, he lied about his lying and was found out. He denied that he inserted an extra degree into his resume, and then he blamed the recruiting firm he worked with for doing so. The recruiting firm, wanting to maintain their reputation, showed that it was Mr. Thompson who lied. Net result is that Mr. Thompson now has much more time to contemplate the efficacy of lying. 

                The question is, what are we willing to tolerate in our leaders’ behavior and reflectively in our own? Lying is bad. We’ve been told that ever since we were little. Or have we? Haven’t we also been told, “don’t say that, it will make them feel bad”, and there are such things as “white lies”, as compared to I guess black lies, which are bad.

                So we have grown up with some sense of expediency in what we call lying. Why do people lie? Is it because there is a perception that one can get ahead faster by lying than by telling the truth? Why would someone who is already well credentialed and respected feel the need to embellish his or her story? Is it a basic human nature to try to appear more than we are?

                Insecurities and fear that we are not as good or confident as we may appear to the world is a common trait. Almost everyone have self-doubts. Many years ago in a quote that is oft repeated, Sally Fields upon receiving her second Oscar in five years burst out saying, “I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!” It shows that even performers who are on top of their game harbor great anxiety about their worthiness.

                The way to deal with the uncertainty is to own that it is part of you and continue to forge ahead. Over the years as I climbed the proverbial corporate ladder I’ve had many occasions to witness self-serving lies from people in power. I also was there to...

  • Manny Pacquiao ends 7 year 15 fight winning streak losing to Timothy Bradley by split decision

    Posted by: Suzanne Kai

    Timothy Bradley won tonight by judges split decision, ending Manny Pacquiao's 7 year, undefeated 15 fight winning streak. View the full story here.

  • July 5-13: Thom Sesma, Francis Jue, Robin de Jesus and John Tartaglia set for @The Muny's Aladdin

    Posted by: Lia Chang

    The Muny has announced principal casting for the third show of its 94th season, Disney’s Aladdin (July 5-13), directed by Gary Griffin, and choreographed by Alex Sanchez.

    Thom Sesma (Photo by Lia Chang)

    Tony® Nominees Robin De Jesus and John Tartaglia star as Aladdin and the Genie, respectively. Joining them will be Jason Graae as Omar, Curtis Holbrook as Iago, Francis Jue as Kassim, Eddie Korbich as Babkak, Samantha Massell as Jasmine, Ken Page as the Sultan, and Thom Sesma as Jafar.

    Based on the Disney film by the same name,Aladdin features a book by Chad Beguelin, music by Alan Menken, and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, with additional lyrics by Chad Beguelin. The Disney film was written by Ron Clements, John Musker, Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio, and directed & produced by Ron Clements& Jon Musker.

    The Muny’s production features scenic design by Michael Anania, sound design by Jason Krueger, lighting design by Seth Jackson, and costume design by Mara Blumenfeld. Greg Anthony serves as the musical director, and the production stage manager is Nevin Hedley.

    Thom Sesma (Jafar) just participated in the all-star Shinsai: Theaters For Japan benefit at Cooper Union’s Great Hall in NYC, in memory of the tragic events of March 2011 and in tribute to the heroic recovery efforts of the Japanese people. In May of this year, he was the keynote speaker at the Library of Congress’ Asian American Pacific Islander Collection honoring Asian-Americans in the performing arts.

    Thom Sesma in the Asian Division Reading Room of the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. on May, 17, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

    In January 2012 he returned to New York from Las Vegas where he played Scar in Disney’s The Lion King for a two and a half year run at The Mandalay Bay Theatre. On Broadway he starred in the Twyla Tharp-Bob Dylan collaboration,The Times They Are A Changin’. Other credits on and off-Broadway and in national tours include leading roles in Miss...

  • June 18-24: Darren Lee, Francis Jue, Tari Kelly, Beth Leavel and Leslie Uggams set for MUNY's Thoroughly Modern Millie

    Posted by: Lia Chang

    The Muny’s 94th season kicks off with Thoroughly Modern Millie, directed by Marc Bruni and choreographed by Chris Bailey, and starring Broadway veteran Tari Kelly as Millie Dillmount, Tony Award winner Beth Leavel as Mrs. Meers, and legendary performer Leslie Uggams reprising her Broadway role of Muzzy. Also appearing are Andrew Samonsky as Jimmy, Megan McGinnis as Miss Dorothy, Stephen Buntrock as Trevor Graydon, Francis Jue as Ching Ho, Darren Lee as Bun Foo and Tory Ross as Miss Flannery.

    Darren Lee (Photo by Lia Chang)

    Based on the 1967 film by Richard Morris, Thoroughly Modern Millie has a book by Jeanine Tesori and new lyrics by Dick Scanlan. Millie tells the story of a small-town girl, Millie Dillmount, who comes to New York City to marry for money instead of love – a thoroughly modern aim in 1922, when women were just entering the workforce.

    The production features scenic design by Sam and Steve Gilliam, sound design by Jason Krueger, lighting design by Seth Jackson and costume coordination by Tracy Christensen. Michael Horsley serves as the musical director, and the production stage manager is Peter Hynds.

    Francis Jue © Lia Chang

    Francis Jue (Ching Ho) returns to The Muny, where he has appeared in The Little Mermaid, Damn Yankees, Miss Saigon, Peter Pan, The King & I,and Mame. On Broadway, Francis originated the role of Bun Foo inThoroughly Modern Millie. Other Broadway credits: M. Butterfly andPacific Overtures. Francis won Obie and Lucille Lortel Awards (plus Drama Desk and Drama League nominations) for Yellow Face. Other favorite NYC credits include Love’s Labour’s Lost, Coraline, Falsettoland,A Language of Their Own, No Foreigners Beyond This Point, Hamlet, and King Lear. Francis has won regional theatre awards for In the Next Room (or the vibrator play), Cabaret, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Into the Woods, The Illusion, Pacific Overtures, Miss Saigon,and Red. TV: “The Good Wife,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Law & Order.”...

  • Ellen Pao, Partner of a Venture Capital Group in Silicon Valley files suit

    Posted by: AC Team

    Ellen Pao, Partner of high profile Venture Capital Group in Silicon Valley Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers files suit alleging sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

    For the story and a copy of the legal complaint click to the story at Tech Crunch. 

  • AAPI Groups Urge Passage of Proposition 29 - California Cancer Research Act

    Posted by: AC Team


    June 1, 2012 - Press Release 

    Elected Officials, Health Advocates & Community Leaders Denounce

    Tobacco Company Lies About Prop. 29 & Urge AAPIs To Vote On Election Day


    San Gabriel, CA – Asian American & Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AANHPI) elected officials, community leaders, & health advocates convened a press conference to urge AANHPI voters to ignore misleading ads funded by the tobacco industry & vote for Prop. 29, the California Cancer Research Act, on June 5th, 2012. Advocates countered the misleading claims by the tobacco industry with the following facts:


    The new $1 tobacco tax will save 104,000 lives; stop 228,000 kids from smoking; and generate approximately $735 million every year to support life-saving research and tobacco prevention programs. Prop. 29 will only increase taxes on those who smoke. The $1-per-pack increase is projected to prevent 225,000 Californian kids from becoming addicted smokers and prevent over 104,000 premature smoking-caused deaths, because many current smokers will quit.

    Prop. 29 will reduce state healthcare costs and spur economic growth. By driving down smoking rates, Prop 29 is projected to save $5.1 billion in smoking-caused healthcare costs funded by the state. By injecting tobacco revenue into California’s bio-science industry, Prop 29 is projected to create 12,000 new jobs and $1.9 billion in new economic activity. Prop 29’s language is clear: tobacco tax revenue must be spent in California. Section Two of the Act states: “Grants and loans for biomedical epidemiological, behavioral, health services and other research IN CALIFORNIA..." Section Two states: "Creation, staffing and equipping of CALIFORNIA research facilities…" 9 experts in the field of bio-science will be appointed to decide how cancer research funds can be most effectively used to beat cancer. Prop 29 has tough public annual audits and criminal penalties for misuse of funds to ensure that every dollar is spent...

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