The 2011 – 2012 Mu Performing Arts 20th Anniversary mainstage season lineup includes two premiere works by Asian American playwrights: Four Destinies by Katie Hae Leo and A. Rey Pamatmat’s Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them. Mu Daiko celebrates 15 years of taiko drumming in the Twin Cities with a special anniversary concert, to kick off the group’s Minnesota tour. To close out the mainstage season, Mu will present the Tony Award-winning Stephen Sondheim musical Into the Woods, re-imagined from an Asian American perspective.
The season kicks off on October 15 at Mixed Blood Theatre with the world premiere of Four Destinies, directed by Suzie Messerole. The play by local playwright Katie Hae Leo is a satirical exploration of adoption through the eyes of Destiny Jones, a single character represented from four different ethnic backgrounds, as she/he grows up in a Minnesota family. Leo, herself a Korean adoptee, presents herself as a character determined to embody the overarching adoptee experience, both in youth and adulthood. Four Destinies has been in development for the past two years through Mu’s Jerome New Performance Program, a platform for emerging Asian American theater voices to create and present edgy new work.
In February, Mu Daiko, under the musical direction of Iris Shiraishi, returns to the Ordway’s McKnight Theatre for a special performance celebrating both the local taiko powerhouse’s 15th Anniversary and the kickoff of its Minnesota tour. Mu Daiko will honor the contribution of women in taiko by welcoming both national and international guest artists. Hanayui, a three-woman offshoot of the legendary Japanese taiko ensemble Kodo, leading American taiko artist Tiffany Tamaribuchi, and recent Minnesota transplant Megan Chao Smith, formerly of Shidara, will join Mu Daiko for the Ordway concert and tour.
Mu will next join several theaters around the country in the world premiere of Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them by A. Rey Pamatmat, directed by Randy Reyes. The gritty yet tender new drama tells the story of three children—Kenny, his friend Benji, and his little sister Edith—fending for themselves on a Midwestern farm after being all but abandoned by the adults in their lives. They are forced to face the pain and joy of growing up as their relationships evolve and the outside world encroaches on their makeshift family. Edith opens March 16 at Mixed Blood Theatre.
Rounding out the season, Mu dives further into its recent Asian American musical theater initiative with the Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine favorite Into the Woods, helmed by Mu Performing Arts Artistic Director Rick Shiomi. After the success of Flower Drum Song and Little Shop of Horrors, Mu tackles the topsy-turvy take on classic fairytales that places Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack and his beanstalk in a world where happily ever after is not what it seems. In Mu’s own twist, the costumes and staging will be re-imagined from an Asian American perspective, giving even the show’s most seasoned fans something new to enjoy. Into the Woods will open at Loring Theater on June 2.
by Katie Hae Leo
directed by Suzie Messerole
October 15 – 30, 2011
Mixed Blood Theatre
Mu Daiko 15th Anniversary Concert
with guest artists Hanayui, Tiffany Tamaribuchi, and Megan Chao Smith
Musical direction of Iris Shiraishi
February 9 – 19, 2012
McKnight Theatre, The Ordway
Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them
by A. Rey Pamatmat
directed by Randy Reyes
March 16 – April 1, 2012
Mixed Blood Theatre
Into the Woods
music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
book by James Lapine
directed by Rick Shiomi
June 2 – 17, 2012
The Mu Performing Arts 2011-2012 season is sponsored by General Mills.
Mu Performing Arts Website
Other Articles on “Asian American Plays for a New Generation” & “In Rehearsal”
Photos: On the town with Rick Shiomi, Co-Editor of “Asian American Plays for a New Generation”, in D.C. & NY
Temple Press: Rick Shiomi recounts his tour for “Asian American Plays for a New Generation”
Mu Blog: Rick Shiomi’s Book Tour Logbook
knightarts.org: Reading on the road inside the book tour
Broadwayworld.com Photo Flash: Library of Congress’ IN REHEARSAL Exhibit
Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at Library of Congress Features Photos of Thom Sesma’s Makeup Transformation as Scar in Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas, Robert Lee and Leon Ko’s Heading East Starring BD Wong, David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish, and Samrat Chakrabarti and Sanjiv Jhaveri’s Bakwas Bumbug! on View Through August 2
Photos: Rick Shiomi Checks out Performing Arts Playwrights Series in the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection of Library of Congress; Attends “Asian American Plays for a New Generation” Book Signing in NY on 7/29 “Asian American Plays for a New Generation”, A New Anthology of Asian American Plays Is Subject of Book Talk
broadwayworld.com: Chinglish in Rehearsal
asiancemagazine.com: New Anthology of Asian American Plays Book Talk
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.