Video: BACKSTAGE PASS with Lia Chang – Asian American Artists Taking Center Stage in New York and Beyond

Lia Chang, co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, has launched her latest venture, BACKSTAGE PASS with Lia Chang, an Arts and Entertainment program produced weekly at the studios of MNN.org.

Arthur Dong and Lia Chang at the opening reception of HOLLYWOOD CHINESE: The First 100 Years at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in LA on Nov. 4, 2022. Photo by Tami Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer, an award-winning filmmaker, and a photo activist and documentarian, who lifts up and amplifies BIPOC communities and artists and the institutions that support them. Bev’s Girl Films collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations.

The tenth episode of BACKSTAGE PASS with Lia Chang, executive produced and hosted by Lia, aired on November 13 at 6:30 pm (EST) on FIOS 34, RCN 83, and Spectrum 56/1996. If you miss the episode, it is archived on my youtube channel.

Watch below:

On this edition of BACKSTAGE PASS with Lia Chang, I’ll be shining the spotlight on my Asian American colleagues taking centerstage.

Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Arthur Dong has curated a terrific film series presented by The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Hollywood Chinese: The First 100 Years. Screenings of all 27 films in the series take place at the museum’s state of the art Ted Mann Theater in Los Angeles through Nov. 27.

The film series both critiques and celebrates Hollywood’s depictions of the Chinese, and presents groundbreaking Chinese American artists who navigated industry challenges from the beginning of film history to now.

On the opening weekend, I flew to LA to celebrate the 15th anniversary since the release of Arthur Dong’s Hollywood Chinese documentary, and it was screened as the kick-off of the 27-film series.

TOP: Joan Chen, James Hong, Nancy Kwan, Ang Lee, Christopher Lee.
MIDDLE: Luise Rainer, James Shigeta, Amy Tan, B.D. Wong, Wayne Wang.
BOTTOM: Tsai Chin, David Henry Hwang, Lisa Lu, Justin Lin, Turhan Bey.

I watched a double bill of Anna May Wong in Daughter of the Dragon and King of Chinatown and then reconnected with my Big Trouble in Little China cast mates James Hong, Peter Kwong, Dennis Dun and Gerald Okamura at a screening of the film, followed by Q & A.

Irene Tsu, Joycelyne Lew, Peter Kwong, Rhonda Wong, James Hong, Dennis Dun, Lia Chang, Gerald Okamura, Arthur Dong. Photo by Tami Chang

Click here for tickets and more information on the film series.

Click here to purchase Hollywood  Chinese:The Chinese in American Feature Films.

Saturday evening served as a tribute to James Hong, which you can watch on my episode airing on Nov. 20.

Featured on the show:

Patrick Chen’s award winning short film, A Father’s Son, starring Tzi Ma, Ronny Chieng, Perry Yung and Kathleen Kwan.

Henry Chang, Wing Lee, Ronny Chieng, Patrick Chen and Lia Chang attend the New York Shorts International Film Festival at Cinema Village in New York on Oct. 26, 2022.
Henry Chang, Wing Lee, Ronny Chieng, Patrick Chen and Lia Chang attend the New York Shorts International Film Festival at Cinema Village in New York on Oct. 26, 2022.

Director Patrick Chen Receives 2022 NYSIFF Special Mention and 2022 QWFF Best Director for a Narrative Short Nomination; Queens World Film Festival will Screen A FATHER’S SON at MOMI on Nov. 4

Yilong Liu’s Good Enemy at Minetta Lane Theatre – through Nov. 27

Ryan Spahn, Ron Domingo, Chay Yew, Francis Jue, Yilong Liu, Geena Quintos, Jeena Yi, Tim Liu, Alec Silver, Emilia LaPenta – Producer of New Play Development and Commissions for Audible Theater. Photo by Lia Chang

Audible, Inc.’s production of Yilong Liu’s Good Enemy, directed by Chay Yew and featuring Francis Jue, Ron Domingo, Tim Liu, Geena Quintos, Alec Silver, Ryan Spahn and Jeena Yi.

A father learns that closing the door to his past means shutting his daughter out in Good Enemy, Yilong Liu’s haunting and hopeful new play. When Howard (Francis Jue) makes a surprise cross-country trip to visit his college-age, Tik Tok-loving daughter, he’s forced to confront the realities of their relationship and the rift between them—a rift caused by Howard’s refusal to face memories of his life as a young man in China. In a smart, thrilling story that deftly weaves two generations and two continents amidst sweeping social changes, Good Enemy explores the power of human connections…affirming that no one lives an “ordinary” life, no matter how hard they might try.

Performances at Minetta Lane Theatre through Nov. 27. Tickets from $35 for Good Enemy are on sale now at www.Audible.com/MinettaLane.

Audible Theater is proud to collaborate with TodayTix to offer $20 mobile rush tickets beginning at 10am each performance day. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis exclusively through the TodayTix app.

Opening Night of Yilong Liu’s GOOD ENEMY

Ryan Spahn, Ron Domingo, Chay Yew, Francis Jue, Yilong Liu, Geena Quintos, Jeena Yi, Tim Liu, Alec Silver, Emilia LaPenta – Producer of New Play Development and Commissions for Audible Theater. Photo by Lia Chang
Ryan Spahn, Ron Domingo, Chay Yew, Francis Jue, Yilong Liu, Geena Quintos, Jeena Yi, Tim Liu, Alec Silver, Emilia LaPenta – Producer of New Play Development and Commissions for Audible Theater. Photo by Lia Chang

Playwrights Horizons’ hosted a special AAPI night for Mia Chung’s Catch as Catch Can, directed by Daniel Aukin, which has performances through November 20.

Set deep in blue-collar New England, Catch as Catch Can centers on the Phelans and the Lavecchias as they welcome home a recently-engaged prodigal son-setting off an evolving crisis that reshapes their lives, and the play itself.

Cindy Cheung and Jon Norman Schneider in Playwrights Horizons' production of Mia Chung's CATCH AS CATCH CAN. Photo by Joan Marcus
Cindy Cheung and Jon Norman Schneider in Playwrights Horizons’ production of Mia Chung’s CATCH AS CATCH CAN. Photo by Joan Marcus

In this surprising, theatrically demanding work, actors double in roles of father and daughter, mothers and sons. As the families gather for the holidays, the weight of familial expectations bears down on the younger generation; such community pressure and the very meaning of family finds heightened expression in a theatrical high-wire act, as the actors acrobatically play across gender, generation, and race.

Rob Yang and Cindy Cheung in Playwrights Horizons’ production of Mia Chung’s CATCH AS CATCH CAN. Photo by Joan Marcus
Jon Norman Schneider, Cindy Cheung, Rob Yang. Photo by Lia Chang

The cast includes Cindy Cheung (Playwrights: Log Cabin; The Civilians’ The Great Immensity) as father Lon Lavecchia and daughter Daniela Lavecchia; Jon Norman Schneider (Awake and Sing!, The Oldest Boy) as mother Roberta Lavecchia and son Robbie Lavecchia; and Rob Yang (Succession, American Rust) as mother Theresa Phelan and son Tim Phelan.

Amaterasu Za is presenting Chushingura – 47 Ronin, adapted and directed by Ako Dachs, The production will be performed mainly in Japanese with English subtitles. Chushingura – 47 Ronin has been extended through November 13 at the A.R.T./New York Mezzanine Theater, 502 W. 53rd Street.

Chushingura – 47 Ronin is based on one of the most enduring stories in Japan. Portraying real events that took place in 1702-1703 during Japan’s Shogun-led Edo period, this sprawling story of honor, betrayal, clan loyalty, sacrifice, justice, and revenge has been told and retold in hundreds of ways in Japanese books, plays, movies, television dramas, and animated series. This new stage adaptation is  performed mainly in Japanese with some English and supertitles translation throughout.

The cast includes Ako (FX’s “Shogun.” Off Broadway: God Said This -Lortel nom.), Yoshi Amao (TV: “Shogun,” “Mr. Robot.”), Saori Goda, (NBC’s “Love Your Selfie”), Tatsuo Ichikawa (Apple TV+, “We Crashed”), Rina Maejima (A Chorus Line), Jun Suenaga (Film: Mother’s Day), Yasu Suzuki (Film: College Road Trip. NETFLIX’s “Daredevil”), Hiroko Yonekura (Regional: Avenue Q), and Minami Yoshimura (Regional: Godspell).

For more information about Amaterasu Za, please visit www.AmaterasuZa.org

Noah Diaz’s You Will Get Sick, directed by Sam Pinkleton and starring Daniel K. Isaac, Linda Lavin, Marinda Anderson, Nate Miller and Ryan Landani Sanchez. Performances at the Laura Pell Theater through Dec. 13.

Lauren Yee’s The Great Leap at Oklahoma City Rep through Nov. 20

James Aaron Oh and Brian Kim McCormick. Photo by Edward T. Morris

First Look: Brian Kim McCormick, Jenelle Chu, William Langan, and James Aaron Oh in Oklahoma City Repertory Theater‘s Oklahoma Premiere of Lauren Yee’s THE GREAT LEAP; Performances through Nov. 20 

Lloyd Suh’s The Far Country at Atlantic Theater Company – Nov. 17-Jan. 1
Atlantic Theater Company (Neil Pepe, Artistic Director; Jeffory Lawson, Managing Director) is presenting the world premiere production of The Far Country, an Atlantic commissioned play by Guggenheim fellow Lloyd Suh, directed by Obie Award winner Eric Ting.

The Far Country features Ben Chase (Mondo Tragic), Jinn S. Kim (Race, Religion & Politics), Whit K. Lee (Assassins), Christopher Liam Moore (All The Way), Shannon Tyo (The Chinese Lady), Amy Kim Waschke (Off-Broadway debut), and Eric Yang (Legacy).

The Far Country begins performances on Thursday, November 17th, and will open Monday, December 5th, for a limited engagement through Sunday, January 1st, 2023 Off-Broadway at the Linda Gross Theater (336 West 20th Street).

An intimate epic that follows an unlikely family’s journey from rural Taishan to the wild west of California in the wake of the Chinese Exclusion Act.

Schedule:
Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 7pm, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm, Saturday and Sunday at 2pm.
Monday evening performance on 12/26 at 7pm.
Wednesday matinee performance on 12/7, 12/21 & 12/28 at 2pm.
No Sunday evening performance on 12/11.
No performance on Saturday, 12/24 and Sunday, 12/25.

Tickets:
Regular tickets begin at $75. Order online at atlantictheater.org or by calling AudienceView at 646-989-7996.

Atlantic is committed to connecting deeply and authentically with audiences from a broad range of economic backgrounds, ages, ethnicities, and perspectives. Its access ticket initiative makes $25 tickets available to every preview performance in the 2022|2023 season. Access tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis via Atlantic’s website beginning 2 weeks prior to the first performance of each Atlantic Theater Company 2022|2023 production. $25 access tickets for The Far Country are on sale now.

Shannon Tyo, Whit K. Lee, Ben Chase, Jinn S. Kim, Christopher Liam Moore, Amy Kim Waschke and Eric Yang Set for Atlantic Theater Company’s World Premiere of Lloyd Suh’s THE FAR COUNTRY, Nov. 17-Jan. 1

Phil Wong, Sumi Yu, Lawrence-Michael C. Arias, Nick Nakashima, Katrina Lauren McGraw, Brandon Leland, Naima Alakham, Alia Hodge, and Lucca Troutman Set for TheatreWorks Silicon Valley‘s LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS 

Thom Sesma in Classic Stage Company’s A Man of No Importance

Ken Leung in Will Arbery’s Evanston Salt Costs Climbing In previews

KPOP- Eddy Lee, Lina Lee, Kate Mina Lin, Jully Lee, Woo Sung Hyun ( kevin woo ), Zachary Noah Piser, Jinwoo Jung

Vichet Chum’s BALD SISTERS at Steppenwolf in Chicago – Dec. 1-Jan. 15, 2023 

The cast of BALD SISTERS includes, Francesca Fernandez McKenzie,
Jennifer Lim, Coburn Goss, Wai Ching Ho and Nima Rakhshanifar.

Rehearsals are underway for Steppenwolf’s world premiere of BALD SISTERS, written by Vichet Chum, directed by Jesca Prudencio. The next show in their new in-the-round Ensemble Theater in Chicago, BALD SISTERS invites you to get up close and personal with all the family drama—and comedy. The cast includes Francesca Fernandez McKenzie, Jennifer Lim, Coburn Goss, Wai Ching Ho and Nima Rakhshanifar.  FF10 online to get $10 off TICKETS to any preview or regular public performances.  Click here for more information regarding discounted tickets. Steppenwolf Theatre Company is located at 1650 N Halsted Ave, Chicago, IL 60614.

RECENTLY STAGED PRODUCTIONS

R.A. Shiomi’s Fire in the New World

Gregory Yang as Sam Shikaze and Anna Hashizume as Yumiko Alexander. Photo by LKBachman

Full Circle Theater presented the World Premiere of Fire in the New World, written and directed by Full Circle Co-Artistic Director R.A. Shiomi, at Park Square Theatre’s Proscenium Stage through Nov. 6.

The World Premiere was the third installment of Shiomi’s noir-style detective comedies featuring Sam Shikaze, the hard-boiled private eye who fights crime in Vancouver’s Japantown and beyond in the years after WWII. This time, Sam is up against a big time developer intent on bulldozing his community. But Sam is also hired to find the developer’s missing Japanese American wife. The play is a smart and fun detective comedy chock full of social commentary and sly intrigue.

The cast includes Gregory (Greg) Yang (he/him) as Sam Shikaze, Brian Joyce (he/him) as Jonathan Webster, Anna Hashizume (she/her) as Yumiko Alexander, Alice McGlave (she/her) as Rosie Ohara, Joe Allen (he/they) as Roderic Alexander, Keivin Vang (he/him), Song Kim (he/him) as Mas Matsumoto and Alec Berchem (he/him) as Tom Williams.

Qui Nguyen’s Vietgone at The Guthrie
In October, The Guthrie Theater presented Vietgone by Qui Nguyen, with original music by Shane Rettig and directed by Mina Morita on the Wurtele Thrust Stage at 818 South 2nd Street, Minneapolis, MN.

Hyunmin Rhee, Rebecca Hirota, Eric Sharp, Viet Vo, and Emjoy Gavino in Qui Nguyen’s VIETGONE at The Guthrie Theater. Photo: Dan Norman

Part history play and part memoir, Nguyen’s irreverent, whip-smart comedy uses flashbacks and bursts of rap music to share a human-centered view of the Vietnam War and its aftermath. When Saigon falls in 1975, Vietnamese refugees Quang (Hyunmin Rhee) and Tong (Emjoy Gavino) find themselves living in the land of “cheeseburgers, waffle fries and cholesterol” (aka America) — an intoxicating adventure that leads them to question their futures, both together and in their new country.

The cast of Vietgone features Emjoy Gavino (Guthrie: A Christmas Carol) as Tong/Ensemble, Rebecca Hirota (Guthrie: debut) as Thu/Huong/Ensemble, Hyunmin Rhee (Guthrie: debut) as Quang, Eric Sharp as Nhan/Khue/Ensemble (Guthrie: A Christmas Carol, As You Like It) and Viet Vo (Guthrie: debut) as Playwright/Bobby/Giai/Ensemble.

Viet Vo, Eric Sharp, Hyunmin Rhee in Qui Nguyen’s VIETGONE at The Guthrie Theater. Photo: Dan Norman

Jiehae Park’s peerless

Sasha Diamond, Benny Wayne Sully, Shannon Tyo in Jiehae Park’s peerless. Photo: James Leynse

PRIMARY STAGES and 59E59 Theaters, in association with Jamie deRoy, is presenting peerless, by Jiehae Park (Hannah and the Dread Gazebo) and directed by Margot Bordelon (… what the end will be). peerless played a limited run at 59E59’s Theater A (59 E 59th Street) through Nov. 6.

The cast of peerless features Marié Botha as “Dirty Girl/Preppy Girl,” Anthony Cason as “BF,” Sasha Diamond as “M,” Benny Wayne Sully as “D/Brother” and Shannon Tyo as “L.”

A darkly comedic twist on Shakespeare’s Macbeth set in the cutthroat world of elite college admissions, Jiehae Park’s clever and incisive adaptation, peerless, is a comedy…until it’s not.

This new version of the classic story centers on M and L, twin Asian-American siblings who have given up everything to get into The College. When another classmate claims what they feel is rightfully “their spot,” the twins decide they have only one option: murder.

Shannon Tyo, Sasha Diamond, Marié Botha, Anthony Cason, and Benny Wayne Sully in Jiehae Park’s “peerless” at 59E59 Theaters 

COST OF LIVING

David Zayas, Katy Sullivan, Kara Young and Gregg Mozgala. Photo by Zachary Maxwell Stertz

Manhattan Theatre Club extended the Broadway premiere of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Cost of Living, written by Martyna Majok (Sanctuary City, Ironbound) and directed by Obie Award winner Jo Bonney, at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre through November 6.

Cost of Living‘s cast features acclaimed original stars Gregg Mozgala (Lucille Lortel Award winner for his performance) and Katy Sullivan (Theatre World Award winner for her performance), who reunite for the Broadway production; Tony Award nominee Kara Young (Clyde’s, The New Englanders at MTC); and David Zayas (“Dexter,” Anna in the Tropics).

Winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize, Martyna Majok’s powerhouse play receives its Broadway premiere after a celebrated run at MTC’s Stage I. Hailed by The New York Times as “gripping, immensely haunting and exquisitely attuned,” this insightful, intriguing work is about the forces that bring people together, the complexity of caring and being cared for, and the ways we all need each other in this world. Kara Young and David Zayas join acclaimed original stars Gregg Mozgala and Katy Sullivan in this production, again directed by Obie Award winner Jo Bonney.

Jason Ma, Francesca Fernandez McKenzie, Jojo Gonzalez, Eileen Rivera, Nelson T. Eusebio III, Valérie Thérèse Bart, Lia Chang. Photo by Rani O’Brien

Kansas City Repertory Theatre production of Twelfth Night – chatting with Nelson Eusebio, composer Jason Ma, Jojo Gonzalez.

KCRep’s TWELFTH NIGHT Featuring Jojo Gonzalez, Francesca Fernandez McKenzie, Brandon Jones, Vanessa Severo, Eileen Rivera, Freddy Acevedo, Jimmy Kieffer, Darrington Clark, Sam Cordes, Manon Halliburton, and Chelsea Rolfes

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer, activist and an Award winning filmmaker and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Lia is also the host and Executive Producer of BACKSTAGE PASS WITH LIA CHANG, a new Arts and Entertainment program that airs on Sundays at 6:30pm on FIOS 34, RCN 83, Spectrum 56/1996.

Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. Her short film, When the World Was Young recently garnered a 2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2022 Lia Chang Multimedia, unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang, unless otherwise indicated. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at backstagepasswithliachang@gmail.com.

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