Entertainment Spotlight

  • Catching Up: Santana, Taj Mahal and a déjà vu ‘Blue Christmas’

    Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

    By Ben Fong-Torres It’s short shrift time. I have a life that’s ripe (and slightly wrinkled) for blogs and tweeting; for facebooking and updating. I’m just no good at it. My last column here on AsianConnections was about the memorial in late July for my sister Shirley. My last posting on the authors’ site, Redroom, was about a radio promo tour I did (20 stops, all on the phone...

Backstage Pass Articles

  • Christine Lin, Henry Godinez and Liz Griffiths Receive Halcyon Theatre’s 2013 Iris Awards

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    On Friday, March 8, 2013, the Halcyon Theatre Company honored actor Christine Lin; Henry Godinez, resident artistic associate at Goodman Theatre and the curator of the Latino Theatre Festival; and Liz Griffiths, immediate past Director of North River Commission’s (NRC) two economic development affiliates, the Lawrence Avenue Development Corporation (LADCOR) and the Albany Park Chamber of Commerce, with The Iris Award for connecting Chicago’s communities and arts, at Night of Flight, Halcyon Theatre’s first major fundraiser at Architectural Artifacts in Chicago, Il.

    Christine Lin was presented with The Iris Award for connecting Chicago’s communities and arts by Halcyon Theatre co-founders Jenn and Tony Adams, who is also the Artistic Director, at Night of Flight, Halcyon Theatre’s first major fundraiser at Architectural Artifacts in Chicago, Il, on March 8, 2013. Photo by Kan Chou

    Christine Lin, an actor, improvisor and engineering consultant, grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and began her affiliation with Halcyon in 2008 as an Artistic Associate, appearing in the Company’s productions of Caridad Svich’sIphigenia…(a rave fable), Tony Adam’s Trickster, and Salman Rushdie’sHaroun and the Sea of Stories. She also directed Astrid Saalbach’s The Blessed Child in 2009′s Alcyone Festival. She has been a company and board member since 2011.

    Eric Lin and his daughter Christine Lin, who was presented with The Iris Award for connecting Chicago’s communities, at Night of Flight, Halcyon Theatre’s first major fundraiser at Architectural Artifacts in Chicago, Il, on March 8, 2013. Photo by Kan Chou

    Ms. Lin was presented with The Iris Award for connecting Chicago’s communities and arts by Halcyon Theatre co-founders Jenn and Tony Adams, who is also the Artistic Director.

    Ms. Lin shared, “I was delighted when Tony shared my first audition and production with Halcyon resulting in my first production in Chicago. And then I was...

  • David Henry Hwang’s The Dance and The Railroad at Signature Theatre

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    Playwrights Edward Albee and David Henry Hwang Photo by Lia Chang

    New York City

    The Dance and the Railroad is extended through March 24, 2013.

    Click on the title link above to go to the full story.

    Tony award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly) celebrated Signature Theatre’s revival of The Dance and The Railroad starring Ruy Iskandar as Ma and Yuekun Wu as Lone, and directed by May Adrales, which opened February 25, 2013.

    Renowned playwright and multiple Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Edward Albee ("Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?") was among Hwang's honored guests to attend the opening night performance. The play is at The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center, 480 West 42nd Street in New York. 

    Ruy Iskandar, David Henry Hwang and Yuekun Wu. Photo by Lia Chang

    The Dance and The Railroad premiered as part of a commission by the New Federal Theatre in 1981, and had its professional debut on July 16, 1981 Off-Broadway at the Joseph Papp Public Theater. It was directed by John Lone, with Lone and Tzi Ma in the cast. The Dance and The Railroad is set on a California mountaintop in 1867 near the Transcontinental Railroad where two Chinese workers struggle through poverty and hunger to reconnect with the traditions of their homeland. The play was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was nominated for a 1982 Drama Desk Award. The Dance and The Railroad follows the twice-extended Golden Childas the second production in the Residency One: David Henry Hwang Series.

    Ruy Iskandar, David Henry Hwang and Yuekun Wu. Photo by Lia Chang

    The design team includes Mimi Lien (Scenic Design), Jennifer Moeller (Costume Design), Jiyoun Chang (Lighting Design), Broken Chord Collective (Sound Design), Huang Ruo (Music), Qian Yi (Chinese Opera Consultant), Leah Loukas (Wig Design) and Grace Zandarski (Vocal Coach). Casting by TELSEY + COMPANY, William Cantler CSA. Cole P. Bonenberger is Production Stage Manager.

    May Adrales and David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia...

  • Mar. 21: Dian Kobayashi, Emily Kuroda, Sharon Omi, and Jeanne Sakata in A Cage of Fireflies Reading at Tateuchi Democracy Forum

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    Los Angeles

    East West Players, in association with the Japanese American National Museum, presents a Writers Gallery reading of A Cage of Fireflies by Daniel Akiyama. A Cage of Fireflies is his first full-length play which was developed at the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab.

    The reading of A Cage of Fireflies stars Dian Kobayashi, Emily Kuroda, Sharon Omi, and Jeanne Sakata, on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 7:30 PM, at Tateuchi Democracy Forum, National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, 111 North Central Avenue in L.A.

    Phyllis S. K. Look directs, with assistant director/stage manager David Johann Kim. Admission is free. Click here to RSVP. Click here or the blue headline above to the full story.A Cage of Fireflies tells the story of three elderly sisters of the kibei generation: sent as children to be raised in Okinawa, then returned to live and work in Hawai‘i. Two of the sisters confine themselves to their Honolulu apartment where they enact the rituals of daily life and dream of one day returning to Okinawa. The third, charged with running their family’s orchid nursery, embraces the modern world and disrupts her family’s fragile traditions. As long-hidden hopes, resentments and regrets surface, the sisters must confront the nature of their love for each other. A Cage of Fireflies, which recently premiered at Kumu Kahua Theatre in Honolulu to critical acclaim and a sold-out, extended run (1/24/13-3/3/13), explores the tug-of-war between progress and preservation, the selfish and the selfless.

    Tateuchi Democracy Forum, National Center for the Preservation of Democracy111 North Central AvenueLos Angeles CA 90012Admission is FREE!Click here to RSVP.

    Daniel Akiyama

    ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT:Daniel Akiyama was born and raised in Honolulu and graduated from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. A Cage of Fireflies, his first full-length play, was developed at the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab and was a finalist for the Eugene O’Neill National...

  • Mar. 8-24: Kurt Kwan, Sara Ochs, Eric Sharp and More Set for Mu Performing Arts production of R.A. Shiomi’s Yellow Fever in Guthrie’s Dowling Studio

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    Minneapolis, MN

    Mu Performing Arts production of Yellow Fever, written by R.A. Shiomi, will be performed in Guthrie’s Dowling Studio from March 8-24, 2013 and directed by Rick Shiomi. The play is a groundbreaking noir comedy in the Asian American theatrical canon told through the eyes of Sam Shikaze, a nisei (second generation Japanese) Canadian detective that explores themes of political deception and cultural assimilation.

    Sara Ochs and Kurt Kwan in R.A. Shiomi’s Yellow Fever

    Yellow Fever premiered in San Francisco in 1982 and was produced Off-Broadway to critical acclaim by Pan Asian Repertory Theater later that same year. The New York Times‘ Mel Gussow called the show, “…so captivating that it makes one eager for further adventures of the inimitable Sam Shikaze,” and named it a “New York Times Critic’s Pick.” Edith Oliver of The New Yorker observed, “Yellow Fever is a funny mystery-a real mystery that is, that parodies private eye movies and also tucks in quite a lot of social comment without ever breaking its own comic mood.”

    Yellow Fever features Mu favorites including Kurt Kwan (Sam Shikaze), Sara Ochs (Nancy Wing), and Eric Sharp (Captain Kadota). Guthrie audiences may remember Kwan from his starring roles in Mu’s Dowling Studio productions ofCowboy Vs. Samurai and Yellow Face as well as recent appearances with Ten Thousand Things Theater. Ochs and Sharp were both featured in Mu’s recent smash hit Into the Woods. Ochs was seen in Company at Theater Latté Da this fall and Sharp performed in Frank Theatre’s The Way of Water.

    The cast also features Wade Vaughn (Jameson), Jeannie Lander (Rosie), Alex Galick (Chuck Chan) and Brandon Ewald (Mackenzie). Vaughn and Walking Shadow Theatre Company were recognized with a 2012 Ivey Award for their production of Compleat Female Stage Beauty.

    Set in Vancouver’s Little Tokyo, Yellow Fever follows 1970s detective Sam Shikaze as he attempts to solve the disappearance of the...

  • Mar. 6-17: Thom Sesma and Diane Phelan Featured in Prospect’s Death For Five Voices

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    New York City

    Thom Sesma

    Click the title link above for the full story. Photo by Lia Chang: Thom Sesma (The Times They Are A-Changin’, Man of La Mancha, Nick & Nora), Diane Phelan (Prospect’s Honor), Wilson Bridges (Signs of Life), Ryan Bauer-Walsh (Billy Elliot), Meghan McGeary (The Blue Flowerwith Prospect Theater Company, A.R.T. and Second Stage, Prospect’sThe Rockae), Hannah Jane McMurray (The Hidden Sky), and Peter Saide (Jersey Boys) are currently featured in Prospect Theater Company’s inaugural “Prototype Production” with public performances of DEATH FOR FIVE VOICES, an original musical drama inspired by true events in the life of infamous Renaissance composer – and murderer – Carlo Gesualdo.

    Diane Phelan

    Featuring a book by Prospect’s founding artists Peter Mills and Cara Reichel, music and lyrics by Mills and direction by Reichel, DEATH FOR FIVE VOICES began performances on March 6, 2013 at the West End Theatre in the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew, 263 West 86th Street in New York, and will continue through March 17, 2013.

    A talkback with Mills and Reichel and other members of the production team will be held on Saturday, March 16th at 5:30pm and is free and open to the public.

    Set amid the political intrigue, religious conflict and artistic vibrancy of the late Renaissance, DEATH FOR FIVE VOICESinvestigates the dark harmonies of Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa – who is remembered for his unusually complex sacred music and for the extravagantly vicious double murder of his wife and her lover. Featuring a sophisticated and intimate choral score, this new musical explores sexual and creative passions while illuminating the fine line between madness and genius.

    Mills and Reichel’s prior collaborations include Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge, Illyria, The Rockae, The Flood, Honor, and The Pursuit of Persephone, among other works. Mills has been honored for his work with the prestigious Cole Porter Award (2011),...