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

  • Jan. 24-Feb. 24: Kumu Kahua Theatre Presents World Premiere of Daniel Akiyama’s A Cage of Fireflies

    Posted by Lia Chang

    Photo Credit Sammie Choy - Karen Yamamoto Hackler and Dian Kobayashi in Daniel Akiyama’s A Cage of Fireflies

    The world premiere of Daniel Akiyama’s A Cage of Fireflies, a new drama about three Okinawan sisters, living in Hawai’i, is being presented at the Kumu Kahua Theatre, 46 Merchant Street in Honolulu, HI, from January 24-February 24, 2013. The cast features Dian Kobayashi (Kimiko), Karen Yamamoto Hackler (Mitsuko) and Kat Koshi (Yukiko), under the direction of Phyllis S.K. Look.

    Dian Kobayashi in Daniel Akiyama’s A Cage of Fireflies. Photo credit: Sammie Choy

    Synopsis: Three elderly sisters of the kibei generation — sent as children to be raised in Okinawa, then returned to live and work in Hawai‘i — are at the heart of Daniel Akiyama’s new play.

    Two of the sisters confine themselves to their small Honolulu apartment, enacting the rituals of daily life as they cling to a dream of returning to Okinawa. The third, charged with running the family’s orchid nursery, has inherited a title that is not hers. As long-hidden hopes and regrets surface, the sisters discover what is both selfish and selfless in their love for each other.

    Karen Yamamoto Hackler and Dian Kobayashi in Daniel Akiyama’s A Cage of Fireflies. Photo credit: Sammie Choy

    With set and lighting design by Lloyd “Sandy” Riford III, costume design by Debbie Nishimoto, sound design by Jason Taglianetti, prop design by Monica Cho Coldwell and Squire Coldwell, wig and make-up design by Newton Koshi and kimono consultant Dr. Alfred Yama Kina.

    An earlier version of A Cage of Fireflies was developed and presented and as a staged reading at Kumu Kahua Theatre where Daniel Akiyama is a volunteer and past student and past Board Member. The play was workshopped at the Sundance Playwrights Lab in 2012 and recognized as a Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference finalist.

    In 1981, Robert Redford gathered a group of his friends and colleagues in the mountains of Utah to create an environment designed to foster independence, discovery, and new voices in American film. In the...

  • Feb. 19: Congressman John Lewis, Jose Antonio Vargas and Simone Wu to Receive 2013 AALDEF Justice in Action Awards

    Posted by Lia Chang

    The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) will honor Congressman John Lewis, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives (Georgia), Jose Antonio Vargas of Define American, and Simone Wu of Choice Hotels International, Inc., with the 2013 Justice in Action Awards at its Annual Lunar New Year Gala on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at PIER SIXTY, Chelsea Piers, in New York City.

    The awards will be presented by Rep. Grace Meng, the first Asian American to represent New York in Congress, Tony award-winning playwright of M. Butterfly David Henry Hwang, and Gordon Smith, CEO of Consumer and Community Banking, JPMorgan Chase.

    The co-emcees for the evening are Juju Chang, Emmy Award-winning correspondent for ABC News, and Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer at Columbia University.

    The AALDEF Justice in Action Awards recognize exceptional individuals for their outstanding achievements and contributions in advancing justice and equality. Past recipients include the late civil rights icon Fred Korematsu, David Henry Hwang, Fareed Zakaria, BD Wong, Sandra Leung, Harold Koh, Mira Nair, Ivan Fong, Deval Patrick, George Takei, Salman Rushdie, Seymour Hersh, Larry Tu, Charles Ogletree, Jr., Nicholas Kristof, Sheryl Wu Dunn, Javade Chaudhri, Harry Belafonte, Margaret Cho, and Yoko Ono.

    AALDEF’s 2013 Lunar New Year Gala celebrating the Year of the Snake begins with a 6 p.m. cocktail reception and silent auction, followed by the Justice in Action Awards ceremony and a banquet dinner.

    Tables of ten, available at $20,000, $15,000, and $10,000, include a VIP reception. Individual tickets start at $1000 and $500. To reserve seating, please contact Lillian Ling at 212.966.5932 ex. 202 or lling@aaldef.org.

    Congressman John Lewis

    Congressman John Lewis is the U.S. Representative for Georgia’s 5th congressional district, serving since 1987, and Senior Chief Deputy Whip. He was one of the 13 original Freedom Riders who challenged segregation at interstate...

  • Feb. 28-Apr.13: Ron Domingo, Francis Jue and Jon Norman Schneider Set for Paper Dolls at the Tricycle Theatre

    Posted by Lia Chang

    New York based actors Ron Domingo (Chiqui), Francis Jue (Sally) and Jon Norman Schneider (Jiorgio) are currently in London rehearsing for The Tricycle Theatre’s World Premiere of Paper Dolls, with their UK castmates Tom Berish (Yossi), Jane Bertish (Noa), Noa Bodner (Shoshana/Ensemble), Ilan Goodman (Shirazi/ Ensemble), Shimi Goodman (Ensemble), Jeffry Kaplow (Chaim), Tom Oakley (Ensemble), Angelo Paragoso (Zhan), Caroline Wildi (Adina) and Benjamin Wong (Cheska).

    Ron Domingo

    Paper Dolls is the second production directed by Indhu Rubasingham as Artistic Director of the Tricycle Theatre located at 269 Kilburn High Road in London. Rubasingham’s debut production, the critically acclaimed Red Velvet, recently won two Critics Circle Awards for Adrian Lester as Best Actor and Lolita Chakrabarti as Most Promising Playwright. Chakrabarti also received the Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright at the Evening Standard Awards in 2012.

    Paper Dolls, written by Philip Himberg, Artistic Director of Sundance Theatre, is adapted from the documentary film by Tomer Heymann, which has won multiple awards including three at the 2006 Berlin International Film Festival.

    Paper Dolls, in association with Stanley Buchthal and Bob & Co, Ltd, and adapted from the documentary film by Tomer Heymann, runs at the Tricycle Theatre from 28 February until 13 April with press night on 6 March. Design is by Richard Kent, with lighting by Oliver Fenwick, sound by Ben and Max Ringham, music by Nigel Lilley and Ben and Max Ringham, choreography by Alistair David, video design by Dick Straker, and assistant direction from Sam Pritchard. Paper Dolls was developed, in part, by The Sundance Institute Theatre Program. Click here for the full performance schedule and to purchase tickets.

    “You know, Yossi, we couldn’t dress like this in the Philippines… wear earrings, dye my hair, put on make up, lipstick. It’s forbidden.”

    In Tel Aviv, Israel, a group of Filipino...

  • Ann Harada Plays Cinderella’s Stepsister Charlotte in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella

    Posted by Lia Chang

    Ann Harada

    Fresh from playing Linda, the stage manager on the Golden Globe nominated NBC musical drama “Smash”, Ann Harada (AVENUE Q, 9 TO 5, Les Misérables, M. Butterfly) is currently appearing as the stepsister Charlotte in the Broadway premiere of RODGERS + HAMMERSTEIN’s Cinderella, at the Broadway Theatre (1681 Broadway at 53rd Street), alongside Laura Osnes (Tony nomination Award for Frank Wildhorn’s BONNIE & CLYDE,SOUTH PACIFIC, ANYTHING GOES, GREASE) as Cinderella; Santino Fontana (THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, Drama Desk Award for BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS, OBIE Award for SONS OF THE PROPHET) as the Prince; and Victoria Clark (Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards forTHE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA) as Marie, the Fairy Godmother, in the Broadway premiere of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, at the Broadway Theatre (1681 Broadway at 53rd Street). RODGERS + HAMMERSTEIN’s Cinderellabegan previews on January 25, 2013, and will open on March 3, 2013.

    Directed by Mark Brokaw (CRY BABY, THE LYONS, HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE), this new production has music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, and a new book by four-time Tony nominee Douglas Carter Beane (XANADU, SISTER ACT, LYSISTRATA JONES, THE LITTLE DOG LAUGHED), based on the original book by Oscar Hammerstein II. The musical has choreography by Josh Rhodes, and music adaptation, supervision and arrangements by David Chase. Opening Night is Sunday, March 3, 2013. Tickets to RODGERS + HAMMERSTEIN’S Cinderella are on sale now through Tele-charge and can be purchased by calling 212 239 6200 or online atwww.telecharge.com.

    The celebrated musical RODGERS + HAMMERSTEIN’S Cinderella, originally written for television in 1957 by the legendary musical theatre duo Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, starring Julie Andrews. Although stage adaptations have been performed worldwide since 1958, RODGERS + HAMMERSTEIN’S Cinderella, in fact, marks the Broadway premiere for the...

  • Feb. 21-Mar. 2: Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths, Starring Joel de la Fuente, Plays Honolulu Theatre for Youth’s Tenney Theatre

    Posted by Lia Chang

    Acclaimed Off Broadway drama HOLD THESE TRUTHS, Jeanne Sakata’s one-man show inspired by the true story of second generation Japanese-American Gordon Hirabayashi, travels to Hawaii for a limited engagement of six performances at Honolulu Theatre for Youth’s Tenney Theatre, February 21 – March 2, 2013.

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

    Directed by Lisa Rothe and starring actor Joel de la Fuente (the principal talent behind the original Epic Theatre Ensemble New York production in October 2012), the show is presented by producer/actor Daniel Dae Kim and Honolulu Theatre for Youth (HTY). The production is dedicated to the memory of the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye, an American hero who was directly involved by the themes of the play. Proceeds will support the non-profit theatre and drama education programs of HTY.

    OPENING NIGHT Thursday, Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m. The show continues Friday February 22 at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, February 23 at 8:00 p.m.; Sunday February 24 at 3:00 p.m.; Thursday February 28 at 7:30 p.m.; and CLOSES on Saturday, March 2 at 8:00 p.m.

    General admission is $20 for adults; $15 for students/seniors; limited premium seating available for $30. Tickets may be ordered online atwww.htyweb.org or by calling HTY at (808) 839-9885.

    HOLD THESE TRUTHS is set in Seattle during World War II, where Hirabayashi, a University of Washington student, 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, Hirabayashi journeys toward a greater understanding of America’s triumphs-and a confrontation with its failures.

    President Obama posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Hirabayashi (1918-2012), the nation’s highest civilian honor, in April 2012.

    Joel de la Fuente, Jeanne Sakata and...