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

  • Sudhish Kamath’s Good Night | Good Morning starring Manu Narayan and Seema Rahmani on J. Hurtado’s Top Ten Indian Films of 2012

    Posted by Lia Chang

    Sudhish Kamath’s Good Night | Good Morning starring Manu Narayan (Bombay Dreams, The Love Guru) and Seema Rahmani (Loins of Punjab,Missed Call, Sins), co-written with Shilpa Rathnam, was named on “J. Hurtado’s Top Ten Indian Films of 2012″ on Twitchfilm.com. The story is about an all-night phone call between two strangers on New Year’s Eve in New York City. Vasanth Santosham and Raja Sen are also featured in the cast.

    Manu Narayan and Seema Rahmani in Sudhish Kamath’s Good Night | Good Morning.

    J. Hurtado of Twitchfilm.com writes, “In the grand tradition of the French New Wave, Good Night | Good Morning comes to us from a film critic turned filmmaker. Sudhish Kamath, film writer for major Indian periodical, The Hindu, wrote and directed Good Night | Good Morning and made it all happen with minimal cast and crew. The story of an all night phone call between a pair of potential lovers is short and sweet, but resonant in its depiction of the search for love and the strange turns it sometimes takes. Performed entirely in English, this film deserves to be seen by international audiences, as it rivals any Indie romance out there. Turiya, played by Manu Narayan, embodies his lovesick character’s neurosis and blind faith well. He’s able to tap into emotion when necessary without the distraction of visual or editorial trickery, which is impressive.”Twitchfilm.com: Top Ten Indian Films of 2012 by J. Hurtado (January 7, 2013)

    Katherine Matthews of Bollyspice.com writes, “Good Night, Good Morningtrades in all sorts of pop culture references that are familiar, allow us to immediately identify with the two main characters, Turiya (Manu Narayan) and Moira (Seema Rahmani), who meet by chance on New Year’s Eve in New York, and spend the night carrying on a long and far-reaching conversation by telephone, Turiya in a car with his three friends, on their way back to Philidelphia, and Moira, spending the night in a hotel on a stop-over on her way to...

  • 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

    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 Woods, WTF) 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...

  • Feb. 5 - Mar. 17: Ruy Iskandar and Yuekun Wu Set for Signature Theatre’s Production of David Henry Hwang’s The Dance and The Railroad

    Posted by Lia Chang

    New York

    Signature Theatre (James Houghton, Founding Artistic Director; Erika Mallin, Executive Director) is presenting THE DANCE AND THE RAILROAD written by Tony award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly) and directed by May Adrales, in The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center, 480 West 42nd Street in New York. THE DANCE AND THE RAILROAD begins preview performances on February 5 and will continue through March 17, 2013. Opening night is on February 25, 2013. All tickets for the initial run of the production are $25 as part of the Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access. Purchase Tickets

    (Photo) David Henry Hwang Photo by Lia Chang

    The cast features Ruy Iskandar (The Public Theater’sMeasure for Measure and Classic Stage Company’sPurimcelo) as Ma and Yuekun Wu (Theater for the New City’s Love in Tears and Laughter & Luo Shen: Legend of the Luo River) as Lone.

    On a California mountaintop in 1867 near the Transcontinental Railroad, two Chinese workers struggle through poverty and hunger to reconnect with the traditions of their homeland. THE DANCE AND THE RAILROAD premiered as part of a commission by the New Federal Theatre in 1981, and had its professional debut on July 16, 1981 Off-Broadway at the Joseph Papp Public Theater. It was directed by John Lone, with Lone and Tzi Ma in the cast. The play was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was nominated for a 1982 Drama Desk Award. THE DANCE AND THE RAILROAD follows the twice-extended GOLDEN CHILD as the second production in the Residency One: David Henry Hwang Series.

    The design team includes Mimi Lien (Scenic Design), Jennifer Moeller (Costume Design), Jiyoun Chang (Lighting Design), Broken Chord Collective (Sound Design), Huang Ruo (Music), Qian Yi (Chinese Opera Consultant), Leah Loukas (Wig Design) and Grace Zandarski (Vocal Coach). Casting by TELSEY + COMPANY, William Cantler CSA. Cole P. Bonenberger is Production Stage...

  • Manu Narayan, Mark Bennett, Lea Salonga, Michael K. Lee and Stafford Arima Among 2012 Craig Noel Award Nominees

    Posted by Lia Chang

    Telly Leung as Sammy Kimura and Lea Salonga as Kei Kimura in the World Premiere of Allegiance - A New American Musical at The Old Globe. Photo by Henry Dirocco.

    Congrats to Manu Narayan, who has been nominated for a 2012 San Diego Critics Circle Craig Noel Award for his electrifying turn as Richard Roma in La Jolla Playhouse’s Glengarry Glen Ross, in the category of outstanding male featured performance in a play. Multimedia: Manu Narayan Dazzles as Richard Roma in La Jolla Playhouse’s Revival of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross

    Manu Narayan (Photo by Lia Chang)

    On Monday, February 4, 2013, more than 110 local and national theater artists representing more than 45 San Diego theatrical productions will compete for the 2012 San Diego Critics Circle Craig Noel Awards at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, 700 Prospect Drive, La Jolla, CA. The award ceremony, which will take place from 6 to 10 p.m., is produced by the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle. Admission to the ceremony is free. Reservations and details can be found at www.sdcriticscircle.org.

    Michael K. Lee as Frankie Suzuki and Lea Salonga as Kei Kimura in the World Premiere of Allegiance – A New American Musical, with music and lyrics by Jay Kuo and book by Marc Acito, Kuo and Lorenzo Thione, directed by Stafford Arima, at The Old Globe. Photo by Henry DiRocco.

    Allegiance, The Old Globe’s world premiere musical starring George Takei, Telly Leung and Lea Salonga, is in the lead with six nominations including Outstanding New Musical; an outstanding female featured performance nomination for Salonga’s portrayal of Kei Kimura and an outstanding male featured performance in a musical nod for Michael K. Lee as Frankie Suzuki. Helmer Stafford Arima was nominated for outstanding direction of a musical, Howard Binkley for outstanding lighting design and Darrel Maloney for outstanding projection design. The Old Globe’s Production Photos of George Takei, Lea Salonga, Telly Leung and Paolo Montalban in World Premiere of Allegiance – A New American Musical

    Moxie Theatre’s revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s, A Raisin in the Sun also...

  • Dec. 6-22: Photo Exclusive of Samrat Chakrabarti and Sanjiv Jhaveri’s BUMBUG The Musical at The Clurman Theatre

    Posted by Lia Chang

    I can’t wait to get my holiday cheer on at the world premiere of BUMBUG The Musical, a new Rock Opera by Samrat Chakrabarti and Sanjiv Jhaveri, presented by LAUGHistan, during its limited engagement at The Clurman Theatre (Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street) in New York. I loved the workshop production of Bakwas Bumbug, presented by Desipina at the Wild Project in 2011, and have been anxiously awaiting its return.

    (Photo) Internationally Acclaimed singer Falu (center) shares her breathtaking voice and dance moves with the Angel Crew (left to right: Lipica Shah as Sunita, Matthew Knowland, Kiarri Andrews & Brooke Ishibashi) in the show stopper song “Ajaa Ajaa” from LAUGHistan’s World Premiere of “BUMBUG The Musical”. Photo Credit: Lia Chang

    (Photo) Andrew Ramcharan Guilarte as “Scroogewala” from LAUGHistan’s World Premiere of “BUMBUG The Musical”. Photo Credit: Lia Chang

    Performances begin Thursday, December 6 and continue through Saturday, December 22. Opening Night is Saturday, December 15 (8 p.m.).

    Helmed by Mercedes Murphy, BUMBUG The Musical, is an electrifying musical reinvention of “A Christmas Carol” told through the looking glass of NYC Immigrants and Hyphenated America. Like so many immigrants, disillusioned Deli-owner Scroogewala left his motherland years ago to pursue the American dream. Amidst his battle with holiday merriment, Scroogewala is visited by a motley crew of misfits who remind him that love, loss and laughter are all a part of that dream he’d almost given up on.

    (Photo) Andrew Ramcharan Guilarte as “Scroogewala” (center) with the Angel Crew (left to right: Brooke Ishibashi, Kiarri Andrews & Matthew Knowland) from LAUGHistan’s World Premiere of “BUMBUG The Musical”. Photo Credit: Lia Chang

    BUMBUG The Musical is the FIRST Full Length Musical authored and produced by the Indian-American diaspora in New York City. The production stars Kiarri Andrews, Andrew Guilarte*, Brooke Ishibashi*,...