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Welcome to my website. A lot is going on!

I've been working on completing
an original musical called BARCELONA (writing book and lyrics) with the amazing composer/lyricist Jason Ma. We're honored to be in an artists residency at Cap 21, where we are aiming to do a concert presentation of the piece sometime this year. Click here for other news about my plays.

Jason and I are also working on writing a piece for a collectively written song cycle (by writers of the Asian American Composers and Lyricists Project, which I founded in 2012) called "Arriving in Asian America". With support from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund and The Puffin Foundation, we'll be debuting the Song Cycle at Symphony Space in NYC on December 8, 2014.

 

Johnson and Ma

I am also writing book and lyrics with 2013 Larson Award winning composer/lyricist Kamala Sankaram to a new musical currently titled CHANDRA & PHOOLAN, also in an artists' residency at Cap21.

TCG

An interview I did for the TCG Diversity and inclusion national conference:

Beating Down the Doors

 
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I've recently loved getting to do some of the great "Golden Age" musicals of all time!
Bloody Mary Dolly Levi Lady Thiang
"Bloody Mary" in SOUTH PACIFIC "Dolly Levi" in HELLO, DOLLY! "Lady Thiang" in THE KING AND I
It was such a full circle experience in this gorgeous production at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Ogunquit Maine, since I made my professional debut as "Liat" many moons ago. In April and May I had a glorious time in Baayork Lee's National Asian Artist Project production. The show was directed by Lee Roy Reams, who directed the last Broadway revival, choreographed by Randy Slovacek ("Mr. Mistoffeles" in CATS with me) and musical directed by Kevin Farrell (with whom I had worked on the national tour of BOMBAY DREAMS). The company was pure joy to work with -- and living inside such a life-affirming story with all of these beautiful people was one of the most spectacular highlights of my career. On top of it all, I had amazing costumes -- including one just for the curtain call! (Photo: Lia Chang) at Harbor Lights Theatre Company in Staten Island, NY, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City, OK and the Maltz Jupiter Theatre in Jupiter, Florida. What a gift to get to sing this glorious score in three very different theatres, both filled with so much love! I think this show is especially near and dear to my heart because I made my theatrical debut at age 11 as a "Royal Princess" at the Chappaqua Drama Group, even more moons ago than when I played "Liat"
President Bush It is always fun to meet a former president when you are at your most glamorous.
Maestro At Lyric Theatre, the conductor, a 25-piece orchestra and I shared a rare "dance" each evening, as the Maestro David Andrews Rogers called it; one I will never forget!


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I was so honored to be asked to write this piece for THE DRAMATIST Magazine! I love my Dramatists Guild!
Click on the image for a larger view.
What Turns You On

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I'm playing Richard Thomas's wife, "Linh Gaad" on
The Americans
on FX.
More to come in Season 3,
we hope...

 

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Bruce and I will be attending the west coast premiere of the new director-narrated version of our film, on May 22 at 7 pm, at the South Pasadena Public Library Community Room, 1115 El Centro Street, Pasadena, CA

Our film (and TRANSCENDING T-shirts) are now on sale in the gift shop at
MOCA, Museum of Chinese in America
215 Centre Street, NYC

Since its debut, our documentary film,
TRANSCENDING – THE WAT MISAKA STORY
has made some powerful waves and continues to find new audiences:

On August 7, 2009, Wat Misaka’s profile was finally added to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts

On October 14, 2009, President Barack Obama invited Wat to be present at the signing of his Executive Order restoring an Asian American and Pacific Islander initiative, and acknowledged Wat’s achievements in his introductory remarks.

On December 20, 2009, the New York Knicks celebrated Wat on the court at Madison Square Garden, recognizing, at long last, his place in basketball history.

It was honored by the Honolulu International Film Festival with the Gold Kahuna Award, the Emerging Eye Directorial Discovery Award from the Roving Eye Documentary Film Festival and was an official selection of the Rhode Island International Film Festival, the Carmel Art and Film Festival, the San Diego Asian Film Festival, the Chicago Asian Showcase, opened the 2010 Houston APA Film Festival, and was a centerpiece film in 2012’s RightsFest Film Festival here in NYC.

Dreams do come true.

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Transcending Poster
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The New Deal

Library of Congress
Asian Pacific American
Performing Arts Collection

A portfolio of my plays (and our film) were inducted into the Library of Congress Asian Pacific American Performing Arts Collection in 2010. I am so thrilled that the Library of Congress, in creating the APA Playwright Series, is acknowledging the importance of the Asian American playwright in the landscape of American storytelling -- and of course honored beyond belief to be a part of this collection!

This anthology of plays is now available on Amazon.com.
Click here to order yours today!

It is also available at MOCA, Museum of Chinese in America, 215 Centre Street, NYC

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News about my plays (for details about and synopses of my plays, click here):
Eye D EYE D, my documentary-style theatre piece, had its debut at Symphony Space/Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre (95th St and Broadway) on Monday, December 3, 2012. Combining dramatized interviews (done with over 50 Asian American, Latin and African-American women), song, and spoken word, EYE D takes a look at real stories about race, ethnicity and the beauty of Michelle Obama. Direction was Mino Lora. Musical direction by Amanda Morton. Songs by Kirsten Childs, Gloria Estefan and Julie Gold. With Sarita Covington, Maria-Jose Fajardo, Deidre Goodwin, Jaygee Macapugay, Suni Reyes, and Dawn Saito. A post-show discussion followed the play with Vivian Lee of NY-1 and Dr. Lynn Roberts, Community Health professor from Hunter College.

EYE D was sponsored by the Equal Employment Opportunity Committee of Actors' Equity Association, and was also made possible in part with public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, as well as with support from The Open Meadows Foundation and The Puffin Foundation.

Also, through a generous grant from Asian Women Giving Circle and in collaboration with People's Theatre Project, EYE D was presented at Hunter College on Wednesday, March 13 -- and my hope is to continue to travel to other colleges in the future, with student casts taking over the storytelling.

INTERNAL BLEEDING made its Atlanta debut at the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival in October 2012. This play was previously developed with Crossroads Theatre in New Brunswick, New Jersey in their 2010 Genesis Festival and in a 2011 NYC workshop starring Daryl "Chill" Mitchell.
Internal Bleeding

My short play, DO THESE GENES MAKE ME LOOK FAT? was part of "My Asian Mom", produced by A-Squared Theatre Workshop in Chicago in the summer of 2013. It was also supported by a grant from the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance in January, 2011.

WELCOME TO TELEVISION was part of The Barrow Group Theatre Company's FAB Women Reading Series in January, 2012.

SECONDARY IMPACT had developmental workshops in NYC at the National Dance Institute in December 2011 and March 2012.

EMPRESS MEI LI LOTUS BLOSSOM, a new 30-minute comedy, was commissioned by Gorilla Rep, and excerpts were read at the inaugural Playwrights Playground at Classical Theatre of Harlem, in May, 2012.

ADVENTURES OF A FAUX DESIGNER HANDBAG was developed in August, 2010 with Leviathan Lab in NYC and was part of the 2011 Playwriting Curriculum at Wesleyan University.

TANFORAN was produced by the Barrow Group Theatre Company in February, 2011, was part of the International Art of Public Memory Conference in April, 2011 and Leviathan Lab's Asian American Women Writers Workshop Short Play Festival in May, 2011.

PEACE PLAZA was part of Leviathan Lab's Dark Night Series in November, 2011, with research supported by the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program.

THE NEW DEAL was given the honor of being the first play to be developed by the Roundabout Theatre Company in its "Different Voices" program in June 2006. Based on my family's life in the restaurant business as well as my own cultural epiphany as a proud Asian American, it was a joy to see it come to life in that setting.

THE NEW DEAL's prequel, PAPER SON, is included in the "Multi-cultural Drama" curriculum at the University of Michigan/Flint, and has been in the Playwriting curriculum at Wesleyan University.

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AACALP

I've created The Asian American Composers and Lyricists Project, an ongoing initiative to highlight works created and sung by Asian American musical theatre artists, as a creative response to the misperception that opportunities for Asian American artists are low because we don't exist.

Together with a group of Asian American singers, we find ways to present works created and sung by Asian American artists, to not only nurture our own community, but to create opportunities for increased visibility and have a hand at telling our own stories, with authenticity. We had a thrilling debut at the Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre at the Signature Center in NYC on May 19, 2013. Jason Ma and I presented excerpts from BARCELONA.

AAPAC Also, I continue to serve on the Board of the Tony-honored Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts, and with my colleagues at AAPAC - the Asian American Performers Action Coalition (http://www.aapacnyc.org). AAPAC's mission is to is to expand the perception of Asian American performers in order to increase their access to and representation on New York City’s stages. Our work towards inclusion has been spreading its wings, though, and is now going international.

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World Of Theatre

I join such luminaries as the late great Lloyd Richards, Jane Alexander and Tina Howe in a wonderful, comprehensive book called" THE WORLD OF THEATRE, Tradition and Innovation". My profile is an interview about a subject near and dear to my heart: Non-traditional Casting.

I am also now listed in "Who's Who of American Women".

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