Jan. 24-Feb. 10: Mu Performing Arts Presents World Premiere of Lauren Yee's The Tiger Among Us at Mixed Blood Theatre

Posted by Lia Chang

Mu Performing Arts is presenting the world premiere commission of The Tiger Among Us, by Lauren Yee (Ching Chong Chinaman), directed by Ellen Fenster (Pillsbury House Theatre, Gremlin Theater, Phoenix Theater Project).The Tiger Among Us previews January 24, opens on January 25 and plays Thursday -Sunday through February 10, 2013 at Mixed Blood Theatre (1501 South 4th Street, Mineapolis, MN 55454). Single tickets start at $10 (students and children under 18), $18 seniors, and $22 adults, and are now on sale by calling Mu Performing Arts at 651-789-1012 or by visitingwww.muperformingarts.org.

Photography © Aaron Fenster, 2012

Photography © Aaron Fenster, 2012

The Tiger Among Us cast features Maxwell Thao (Mu: Into the Woods, Stages Theater Company, TigerLion Arts) as Pao and Gaosong Vang (Mu:Into the WoodsWTF) as his younger sister Lia, two Hmong American teens growing up in rural MN with their father portrayed by Saikong Yang (WTF). Sheng Kong, Claire Bancroft and Garry Geiken (Jungle Theater, Gremlin Theatre, Park Square Theatre) round out the cast.

November in Minnesota: to bored high schooler Lia, it’s just another unbearably cold month. But for Lia’s troubled father, November means the start of the hunting season and a chance to capture what has eluded him his entire life. For her entrepreneurial brother Pao, each day offers the opportunity to scratch out a new way of living in this rural landscape. But soon, Lia finds herself caught between her responsibilities and her dreams. And just outside their door, something is about to break.

The creative team for The Tiger Among Us includes Ron Albert (Scenic Designer), Mike Kittel (Lighting Designer),Andrea Gross (Costume Designer), Katharine Horowitz (Sound Designer) and Kellie Larsen (Props Designer), with assistant direction by Kathy Mouacheupao (former Executive Director of CHAT: Center for Hmong Arts and Talent.

Playwright Lauren Yee (www.laurenyee.com) is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama and UCSD. This is Yee’s second collaboration with Mu after the successful world premiere of Ching Chong Chinaman in 2009. She has been a Dramatists Guild fellow, a MacDowell Colony fellow, and a member of the Public Theater Emerging Writers Group. Yee has also been a finalist for the Heideman Award, the Jerome Fellowship, the PEN USA Literary Award for Drama, and the Wasserstein Prize. Ching Chong Chinaman was a finalist for the 2008 Princess Grace Award and the winner of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival’s 2010 Paula Vogel Award and Kumu Kahua Theatre’s 2007 Pacific Rim Prize. Named one of the top 10 plays of the year by the East Bay Express and City Pages, the play has been produced at Artists at Play, Impact Theatre, Mu Performing Arts, the New York International Fringe Festival, Pan Asian Rep, and SIS Productions. The play has been published by Samuel French.

Ellen Fenster (Director) is a company member with Pillsbury House Theater and has served as director of the Chicago Avenue Project since 2007. Ellen is an artistic associate with the Illusion Theater where she has directed several new plays and for seven years managed the Lights Up! series, an annual performance event that features new work by emerging artists. As a teaching artist Ellen works in many area schools, is the resident creative movement instructor with theater e3 (a summer theater institute for children), and is the director of the South High Theater Program. Recent directing credits include Sea Marks and Burn This at Gremlin Theater and Artwith the Phoenix Theater Project.

Kathy Mouacheupao (Assistant Director) is the former director of CHAT: Center for Hmong Arts and Talent. Founded in 1998, the company is the world’s first Hmong arts organization and serves an ever-expanding group of youth artists at its Saint Paul location.

The Tiger Among Us previews January 24, opens on January 25 and plays Thursday – Sunday through February 10, 2013 at Mixed Blood Theatre (1501 South 4th Street, Mineapolis, MN 55454). Single tickets start at $10 (students and children under 18), $18 seniors, and $22 adults, and are now on sale by calling Mu Performing Arts at 651-789-1012 or by visitingwww.muperformingarts.org.

Mu was first founded in 1992 as Theater Mu, a theater company dedicated to bringing Asian American voices to the stage in the Twin Cities at a time when Asian American theater did not exist in the area and the Asian American community was rarely recognized. After forming Mu Daiko, a taiko drumming ensemble, the company rebranded itself as Mu Performing Arts, reflecting their broad artistic base of theater, taiko, and artist development. Mu Performing Arts remains Minnesota’s only pan-Asian performing arts organization, and has grown into the second largest Asian American performing arts company in the United States. In 2011, Mu Performing Arts published a new anthology of plays through Temple University Press, Asian American Plays for a New Generation. Six of the seven plays included were commissioned and/or produced by Mu. Each season, Mu produces three mainstage plays and one mainstage taiko concert, along with numerous artist development programs and other special events. Celebrating its 21st Anniversary mainstage season, Mu Performing Arts continued its string of ‘Best of’ top end of year picks with last year’s musical offering Into The Woods, named #6 on City Pages‘ Top Ten Plays of 2012!. In the last four seasons, eight out of ten productions have been listed on end of year lists. Last September, Mu Performing Arts’ Artistic Director Rick Shiomi was honored with the Ivey Award for Lifetime Achievement.

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Lia Chang

Lia Chang

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