The Year of the Rat By Ben Fong-Torres

Posted by Ben Fong-Torres - on Sunday, 11 April 2021

The Year of the Rat By Ben Fong-Torres
By Ben Fong-Torres San Francisco The Year of the Rat Being an older Chinese American, I am no longer, as Roy Orbison sang, “Running Scared.” I am walking scared, constantly looking around and behind me.  Stop AAPI Hate, the advocacy group, knows of nearly 4,000 cases of violence against Asian Americans since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.  It’s time to stop the beatings and shootings, the blaming and finger-pointing.  For me, it’s also...


Mu Performing Arts' 21st Season features Taiko Concert, Lauren Yee’s The Tiger Among Us, and Rick Shiomi’s Award-Winning comedy Yellow Fever

Posted by Lia Chang on Monday, 17 September 2012

MU Performing Arts Founding Artistic Director Rick Shiomi Photo by Lia Chang

Mu Performing Arts has announced the lineup for its 21st season of theater and taiko from the heart of the Asian American experience. This season marks founding Artistic Director Rick Shiomi’s final year at the helm of the company. Events celebrating Shiomi’s work in taiko and theater will coincide with the opening weekend of each production throughout the 2012-2013 season. These events will include special guests and retrospectives focusing on Shiomi’s development as an artist and administrator starting in the early days of the Asian American theater movement.

Rick Shiomi (Photo by Lia Chang)

Rick Shiomi was already an accomplished playwright, taiko drummer, and community organizer when he co-founded Theater Mu in 1992, which premiered its first New Eyes Festival of staged readings at Intermedia Arts in downtown Minneapolis. Since that time, Mu Performing Arts has grown to become one of the largest Asian American performing companies in the nation, garnering critical acclaim and a burgeoning audience base along the way. Mu’s company model is unique in North America in that it encompasses both a taiko drumming ensemble (Mu Daiko) and a professional theater company (Theater Mu).

The first production in the 3-show subscription series is Mu Daiko at the Cowles Center (November 9-11, 2012). Following last season’s record-setting concert and statewide tour, Mu Daiko Artistic Director Iris Shiraishi leads the Japanese drumming ensemble in their Cowles Center debut....

Sept. 18-Oct. 21: La Jolla, CA - Manu Narayan, Johnny Wu, Peter Maloney, Jeff Marlow, Matt MacNelly, Kevin Skousen & Ray Anthony Thomas Set for La Jolla Playhouse’s Glengarry Glen Ross

Posted by Lia Chang on Monday, 17 September 2012

Johnny Wu plays John Williamson in David Mamet's Pulitzer-Prize Winning Glengarry Glenn Ross

La Jolla, California

La Jolla Playhouse is presenting David Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Glengarry Glen Ross, directed by Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley in the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre, with performances from September 18 – October 21, 2012. Click here for the complete performance schedule and to purchase tickets online, or call The Playhouse Box Office at (858) 550-1010. La Jolla Playhouse is located on the UCSD Campus via the Revelle Entrance, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive in La Jolla, CA.

Manu Narayan (Photo by Lia Chang)

The cast features Peter Maloney (Broadway’s West Side Story, Six Degrees of Separation) as “Shelly Levene,” Jeff Marlow (Colony Theatre’s Around the World in 80 Days) as “James Lingk,” Matt MacNelly (NY Fringe Festival’sFourteen Flights) as “Baylen,” Manu Narayan (Broadway’s Bombay Dreams) as “Richard Roma,” Kevin Skousen (Public Theatre’s Talk Radio) as “Dave Moss,” Ray Anthony Thomas (Broadway’s Race) as “George Aaronow” and Johnny Wu (Playhouse’s Peter and the Starcatchers, Broadway’s Chinglish) as “John Williamson.”

Johnny Wu (Photo by Lia Chang)

The creative team includes: Christopher Ashley, director; Todd Rosenthal, set design; Toni Leslie James (Playhouse’s Milk Like Sugar), costume design; David Lander (Playhouse’s 33 Variations), lighting design; David Corsello, sound design; Shirley Fishman,...

Berkeley, CA - Extended run through October 21! David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish, Starring Michelle Krusiec and Alex Moggridge

Posted by Lia Chang on Monday, 17 September 2012

Larry Lei Zhang and Michelle Krusiec in Chinglish Photo courtesy

Michelle Krusiec and Alex Moggridge star in the critically acclaimed West Coast premiere of David Henry Hwang’s recent Broadway comedy Chinglish, in the Roda Theatre of the Tony Award-winning Berkeley Repertory Theatre, directed by Leigh Silverman, which opened to stellar reviews, and has been extended through October 21, 2012. The cast of Chinglish also features Vivian Chiu, Celeste Den, Austin Ku, Brian Nishii and Larry Lei Zhang.

(l to r) Michelle Krusiec and Alex Moggridge star in Berkeley Rep’s production of Chinglish, a new comedy from David Henry Hwang. Photo courtesy of

Chinglish received its Broadway premiere in Fall 2011, was named “Best American Play of 2011” by TIME magazine, and as one of the Top 10 Broadway shows of the year by Bloomberg Radio, NY1 and WNYC.

Larry Lei Zhang and Michelle Krusiec star in Berkeley Rep’s production of Chinglish, a new comedy from David Henry Hwang. Photo courtesy of

David Henry Hwang won three Obies and the Tony Award for Best Play with M. Butterfly and FOB. Now he’s back with a canny comedy of cross-cultural errors. Leigh Silverman returns to the Roda Theatre to stage the twists in a terrific play she took to Broadway. Love is on the line, and laughter fills the ledger in Chinglish. Love is on the line, and laughter fills the ledger in Chinglish, a co-production with South Coast Repertory, where it will play in 2013. It...

San Diego area (Balboa Park, CA) - Sept 7 - Oct 21 - Check here for more dates & events - George Takei, Lea Salonga, Telly Leung and Paolo Montalban in World Premiere of Allegiance – A New American Musical

Posted by Lia Chang on Monday, 17 September 2012

George Takei in Allegiance - A New America Musical  Photo by Henry DeRocco

The cast of the World Premiere of Allegiance – A New American Musical at The Old Globe. Photo by Henry DiRocco.

George Takei stars in an all-star cast in Allegiance - A New American Music. Yes that's George in the uniform below! San Diego's (Balboa Park) The Old Globe is presenting the World Premiere of Allegiance – A New American Musical, an epic story of family, love and patriotism set during the Japanese American internment of World War II.  Opening night is Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at, by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE or by visiting the Box. More dates and related events below.

Michael K. Lee as Frankie Suzuki (center) with (from left) Kay Trinidad, MaryAnn Hu, Ann Sanders and Katie Boren in the World Premiere of Allegiance – A New American Musical at The Old Globe. Photo by Henry DiRocco.

On the 60th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, a meeting with a young journalist forces WWII veteran Sam Kimura to remember his family’s relocation from their California farm to the Heart Mountain internment camp in Wyoming. As they struggle to adjust to their new home, Young Sam and his sister Kei find themselves torn between loyalty to their family and allegiance to their country. With its moving score, Allegiance – A New American Musical takes audiences on a journey into our nation’s history through the eyes of one American family.

George Takei as Sam Kimura in the World Premiere of...

Video: Academy Award Winner Chris Tashima Talks with Lia Chang About His Roles in Lily Mariye’s Model Minority and Lil Tokyo Reporter

Posted by AC Team on Monday, 17 September 2012

Filmmaker and Actor Chris Tashima Photo by Lia Chang

By Lia Chang

Academy award winning director and actor Chris Tashima can currently be seen in three very different films.

He is in Jeffrey Gee Chin’s narrative short Lil Tokyo Reporter as Sei Fujii, an immigrant pioneer, leader and publisher.

In Lily Mariye’s impressive directorial debut feature Model Minority, Chris gives a rich multi-layered performance as the Sansei alcoholic father.

And in Eric Byler’s Americanese he plays the romantic lead opposite Joan Chen, which won a Special Jury Prize for Outstanding Ensemble Cast at the South by Southwest Film Festival.

Chris Tashima and Joan Chen in Eric Byler’s Americanese. Photo courtesy Eric Byler

He has appeared in several noted independent features including Rea Tajiri’s Strawberry Fields, starring Suzy Nakamura, and Sherwood X. Hu’s Lani Loa -The Passage (from executive producers Francis Ford Coppola and Wayne Wang), as well as Hu’s ensemble drama, On the Roof.

Tashima received an Academy Award® for the dramatic short film, Visas and Virtue, which he directed, co-wrote and starred as Holocaust rescuer Chiune Sugihara. For television, he directed, co-wrote and acted in the PBS Special, Day of Independence, receiving an EMMY® nomination. Visas and Virtue and Day of Independence is available on DVD and can be found here.

Directorial stage credits include world premiere’s of Dan Kwong’s Be Like Water at EWP,...

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