Entertainment Spotlight

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

    Posted by Ben Fong-Torres

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

  • 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

    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 www.TheOldGlobe.org, 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 Allegiance – A New American Musical at The Old Globe. Photo by Henry DiRocco.

    Television and film icon George Takei, Tony Award-winning actress Lea Salonga, Telly Leung and Paolo Montalban lead the cast of of Allegiance – A New American Musical.

    George Takei portrays Sam Kimura, a former internee who revisits the ghosts of his past, and Ojii-san, the grandfather and pillar of strength of the Kimura family. Best known for portraying Mr. Sulu in the “Star Trek” series, Takei’s acting career has spanned more...

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

    Posted by Lia Chang

    Larry Lei Zhang and Michelle Krusiec in Chinglish Photo courtesy KevinBerne.com

    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 kevinberne.com

    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 kevinberne.com

    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 is also Berkeley Rep’s first export to Asia. See it now before it heads to Hong Kong!

    (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 kevinberne.com

    In Chinglish, Alex Moggridge plays an American businessman who heads to Asia to score a lucrative contract for his family’s firm – but the deal isn’t the only thing getting lost in translation as he collides with a Communist minister, a bumbling consultant, and a suspiciously sexy...

  • 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

    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, dramaturg.

    Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Glengarry Glen Ross is Mamet’s scorching play about a group of desperate salesmen in a Chicago real estate office. When a contest is announced to earn the new sales leads, the men resort to manipulation, bribery and even theft to keep their jobs. The Darwinian struggle that ensues is a stinging indictment of a culture that rewards the strong, punishes the weak and values success above all else. Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley brings Mamet to The Playhouse stage for the very first time...

  • 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

    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. The concert will feature a medley of works composed by Mu Daiko founder Rick Shiomi and all of the heart pounding high energy rhythms and movement that audiences have come to expect from Mu Daiko.

    In January 2013, Mu Performing arts welcomes award-winning playwright Lauren Yee back to the Twin Cities with the world premiere of her newest play, The Tiger Among Us (January 25-February 10, 2013). Presented at Mixed Blood Theatre, the play looks at the cultural disconnect felt by an isolated...

  • Oct. 12-Nov. 18: Epic Theatre Ensemble Presents New York Premiere of Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths Starring Joel de la Fuente at the Theatre at the 14th Street Y

    Posted by Lia Chang

    Joel de la Fuente plays Gordon Hirabayashi in Jeanne Sakata's solo play Hold These Truths Photo by Lia Chang

    he Epic Theatre Ensemble is presenting the New York premiere of Jeanne Sakata’s solo play Hold These Truths (formerly known as Dawn’s Light: The Journey of Gordon Hirabayashi), directed by Lisa Rothe and starring Joel de la Fuente, at the Theatre at the 14th Street Y, 344 E. 14th St. (between 1st and 2nd Ave) in New York, October 12 – November 18, 2012. Click here to purchase tickets.

    Joel de la Fuente as Gordon Hirabayashi in Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths. Photo by Lia Chang

    Inspired by a true story, Hold These Truths takes place in Seattle during World War II, where University of Washington student Gordon Hirabayashi is agonizing over U.S. government orders to forcibly remove and mass incarcerate all people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast. As he fights to reconcile his country’s betrayal with his passionate belief in the U.S. Constitution, Gordon journeys toward a greater understanding of America’s triumphs — and a confrontation with its failures.

    Performance Schedule:Friday, October 12 @ 8pmSaturday, October 13 @7pmSunday, October 14 @ 3 & 7Friday, October 19 @ 8pmSaturday, October 20 @ 7pmSunday, October 21 @ 6pmMonday, October 22 @7pmSaturday, October 27 @ 7pmSunday, October 28 @ 3pm & 7pmMonday, October 29 @ 7pmSaturday, November 3 @ 7pmSunday, November 4 @ 3pm & 7pmSaturday, November 10 @ 7pmSunday, November 11 @ 3pm & 7pmMonday, November 12 @ 7pmSaturday, November 17 @ 7pmSunday, November 18 @ 3pm & 7pm

    Theater at the 14th Street Y344 E. 14th StreetNew York, NY 10003Steps away from the 1st Avenue Station on the L, L train to 1st Avenue

    Remembering Civil Rights Leader Gordon Hirabayashi,1918- 2012President Obama Names Asian American Civil Rights Hero Gordon Hirabayashi Recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom 

    Jeanne Sakata (Photo by Lia Chang)

    Jeanne Sakata has been honored to make her playwriting debut in recent years with her solo Hold These Truths (formerly Dawn’s Light: The Journey of Gordon Hirabayashi)....