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

  • In Rehearsal with BD Wong at Dixon Place for Live Concert Recording of Herringbone

    Posted by Lia Chang

    For 30 years, BD Wong has been obsessed with the one-man musical Herringbone, which features a book by Tom Cone, music by Skip Kennon and lyrics by Ellen Fitzhugh, and was first produced in New York at Playwright’s Horizons in a memorable 1982 production starring David Rounds.

    BD Wong, star of Herringbone, in rehearsal at Dixon Place in New York on May 20, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

    Wong has headlined four critically-acclaimed productions of the ambitious musical – in which he enacts, sings and dances at least 11 characters – at the Williamstown Theatre Festival (2007), McCarter Theatre (2008), and La Jolla Playhouse (2010), all directed by Tony Award-winner Roger Rees (Nicholas Nickleby, Peter And The Starcatcher). Wong also starred in another earlier production at the American Musical Theatre Festival in 1994.

    Dixon Place is presenting BD Wong’s tour-de-force performance in this difficult-to-perform musical, which is rarely revived.

    BD Wong, star of Herringbone, in rehearsal at Dixon Place in New York on May 20, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

    Wong, best known for his Tony Award winning performance in M. Butterfly and his role in the long running hit series “Law & Order: SVU,” will appear in Herringbone to benefit Dixon Place for two performances only: Monday May 21, and Tuesday May 22, at 7:00pm. The production, which will be recorded live for a future CD release, will be Wong’s first appearance in New York of the material, timed with the 30th anniversary of the original New York production. Dixon Place is at 161A Chrystie St. (between Rivington and Delancey). Tickets and more information are available at dixonplace.org and at 212 219-0736.

    Backstage at Dixon Place in New York with BD Wong, star of Herringbone on May 20, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

    Last night, before the first performance, Wong received notification that he had reached his $35,000 Kickstarter campaign goal, which will help fund the live recording of the CD. Click below to...

  • May 17: Thom Sesma is the keynote speaker for the Library of Congress celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM) at the Mary Pickford Theater

    Posted by Lia Chang

    Thom Sesma. (Photo by Lia Chang)

    On Thursday, May 17, 2012, actor/director Thom Sesma, who just completed a two and half year run as Scar in Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas, will speak at the Mary Pickford Theater located on the third floor of the Library of Congress James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. at noon. His talk is part of the Library of Congress celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM) noon events in May, sponsored by the LC Asian American Association.

    Sesma just participated in the all-star Shinsai: Theaters for Japanbenefit at Cooper Union’s Great Hall in NYC, in memory of the tragic events of March 2011 and in tribute to the heroic recovery efforts of the Japanese people.

    In rehearsal at Lincoln Center for Shinsai: Theaters for Japan, a collaborative benefit by New York’s leading theater companies as a gesture of solidarity with theater communities in Japan devastated by the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami, on March 9, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

    Photos: In Rehearsal with Director Bartlett Sher and the cast of Shinsai: Theaters for JapanPhotos: Highlights of Shinsai: Theaters for Japan (3pm) with Andre Bishop, Mary Beth Hurt, Jennifer Lim, Angela Lin, Philip Kan Gotanda, Thom Sesma, Sab Shimono, Richard Thomas, Jay O. Sanders, and more Photos: Highlights of Shinsai: Theaters for Japan (8pm) with Oskar Eustis, Patti LuPone, Lisa Emery, Ann Harada, Paolo Montalban, Thom Sesma, Sab Shimono, Henry Stram, Richard Thomas, John Weidman and more

    He is an Asian-American actor, a familiar presence on Broadway and Off-Broadway, in regional theatres, as well as on television. In January 2012, he returned to New York from Las Vegas where he played Scar in Disney’s The Lion King for a two and a half year run at The Mandalay Bay Theatre.

    Thom Sesma (Photo by Lia Chang)

    On Broadway he starred in the Twyla Tharp-Bob Dylan collaboration,The Time They Are A Changin’. Other credits on and off...

  • BD Wong Creates Kickstarter Campaign for his Live Concert Recording of HERRINGBONE, to be performed May 21-22 as a Benefit for Dixon Place

    Posted by Lia Chang

    For 30 years, BD Wong has been obsessed with the one-man musical Herringbone, which features a book by Tom Cone, music by Skip Kennon and lyrics by Ellen Fitzhugh, and was first produced in New York at Playwright’s Horizons in a memorable 1982 production starring David Rounds.

    BD Wong (photo by Lia Chang)

    Wong has headlined four critically-acclaimed productions of the ambitious musical – in which he enacts, sings and dances at least 11 characters – at the Williamstown Theatre Festival (2007), McCarter Theatre (2008), and La Jolla Playhouse (2010), all directed by Tony Award-winner Roger Rees (Nicholas Nickleby, Peter And The Starcatcher). Wong also starred in another earlier production at the American Musical Theatre Festival in 1994.

    Dixon Place is presenting BD Wong’s tour-de-force performance in this difficult-to-perform musical, which is rarely revived.

    BD Wong in Herringbone. Photo by Lia Chang

    Wong, best known for his Tony Award winning performance in M. Butterfly and his role in the long running hit series “Law & Order: SVU,” will appear in Herringboneto benefit Dixon Place for two performances only: Monday May 21, and Tuesday May 22, at 7:00pm. The production, which will be recorded live for a future CD release, will be Wong’s first appearance in New York of the material, timed with the 30th anniversary of the original New York production. Dixon Place is at 161A Chrystie St. (between Rivington and Delancey). Tickets and more information are available at dixonplace.org and at 212 219-0736.

    Wong has also created a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the live recording of the CD. His goal for funding is $35.000, and to date he has received over $11,000 in pledges. This project will only be funded if at least $35,000 is pledged by Tuesday, May 22, 7:00 pm EDT. Click below to see BD Wong’s very personal message.http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/484701422/bd-wong-live-concert-recording-of-the-musical-herrI documented Wong’s...

  • Performing Arts Images from the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection on Display at the Library of Congress to Celebrate APA Heritage Month

    Posted by Lia Chang

    From May 1 through May 31, 2012, “In Rehearsal”, a display of photographs drawn from the Library of Congress’ Asian American Pacific Islander Collection, is on view in the Library of Congress’ Asian Reading Room, located in Room 150 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. The hours of the Library of Congress’ Asian Division Reading Room are 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

    Lia Chang with her Lia Chang Theater Portfolio “In Rehearsal” photographs on view through May 31, 2012, in the Library of Congress’ Asian Division Reading Room, in the Thomas Jefferson Building in Washington D.C, on May 5, 2012.

    Selected scripts from the Performing Arts Playwright Series in the Library of Congress’ AAPI Collection. Photo by Lia Chang

    Sponsored by the Library of Congress’ Asian Division, the display of “In Rehearsal” photographs, drawn from the AAPI Collection’s Lia Chang Theater Portfolio, along with select working scripts from the Playwrights’ Archives including the plays of Rick Shiomi, Velina Hasu Houston, Christine Toy Johnson, Reme Grefalda, Jeanne Sakata, and Lani Montreal, is being held in conjunction with the Library of Congress celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM).

    Selected scripts from the Performing Arts Playwright Series in the Library of Congress’ AAPI Collection. Photo by Lia Chang

    The 54 photographs on display feature the following artists rehearsing for “opening night”: Shinsai: Theaters for Japan, a collaborative benefit by New York’s leading theater companies as a gesture of solidarity with theater communities in Japan devastated by the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami; Katie Hae Leo’s Four Destinies, produced by Mu Performing Arts in Minneapolis MN; BD Wong and Wayne Barker’s King Matt the First with Wong directing Rosie O’Donnell’s Theater Kids; Cindy Cheung’s SPEAK UP CONNIE a one-person show also directed by BD Wong; David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish at...

  • Mabuhay Inc. Culture School students discover books by Filipino authors in the Library of Congress’ Asian Division Reading Room

    Posted by Lia Chang

    Library of Congress’ Asian Division Reading Room in the Thomas Jefferson Building in Washington D.C. Photo by Lia Chang

    On the first Saturday in May, I was in the Library of Congress’ Asian Division Reading Room, located in Room 150 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E. in Washington, D.C., to photograph the Performing Arts Images from the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection, on display through May 31, 2012.

    Selected scripts from the Performing Arts Playwright Series in the Library of Congress’ AAPI Collection. Photo by Lia Chang

    Sponsored by the Library of Congress’ Asian Division, the display of 54 of my “In Rehearsal” photographs, drawn from the AAPI Collection’s Lia Chang Theater Portfolio, along with select working scripts from the Playwrights’ Archives including the plays of Rick Shiomi, Velina Hasu Houston, Christine Toy Johnson, Reme Grefalda, Jeanne Sakata, and Lani Montreal, is being held in conjunction with the Library of Congress celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM).

    Members of the Mabuhay Inc. Culture School in the Library of Congress’ Asian Division Reading Room in the Thomas Jefferson Building in Washington D.C. on May 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

    I was delighted to meet up with 10 children, their parents and chaperones from the Mabuhay Inc. Culture School, who had driven in from College Park, Maryland, for their second field trip in the Library of Congress’ Asian Division Reading Room.

    Members of the Mabuhay Inc. Culture School in the Library of Congress’ Asian Division Reading Room in the Thomas Jefferson Building in Washington D.C. on May 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

    More than 20 years ago, Mencie Y. Hairston and a group of parents established Mabuhay Inc. Culture School, a terrific weekend cultural and educational enrichment program where Filipino-American children ages 4 – 16, learn the common bonds of history, geography and culture between the United...