Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Christine Toy Johnson Kicks off Pan Asian Rep’s NEWWORKS 09 by Lia Chang

Pan Asian Repertory Theatre continues its 32nd season with NEWWORKS 09 through April 11 at the West End Theatre (263 W. 86th Street between Broadway & West End Avenue in the Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew, 2nd floor). The lineup includes plays, a Monday Music Night Series and a selection of Emerging Artist Shorts.

Christine Toy Johnson and husband Bruce Alan Johnson at the reception for her Things I Love Cabaret Show at West End Theater on March 16 presented by Pan Asian Rep. in New York. (Photo by Lia Chang)

Christine Toy Johnson and husband Bruce Alan Johnson at the reception for her Things I Love Cabaret Show at West End Theatre on March 16 presented by Pan Asian Rep. in New York. (Photo by Lia Chang)

Award-winning actress and playwright Christine Toy Johnson was a vision in electric blue, with special guest Bruce Alan Johnson, as she kicked off Pan Asian Rep’s NEWWORKS 09 with Things I Love, a marvelous cabaret evening at West End Theatre on March 16. Accompanied by Robert Lee on piano, Christine sang some of  her favorite songs like “This Can’t Be Love,” “My Favorite Things,” “If I Were a Bell,” and “How Deep is the Ocean” as well as a piece she premiered in Kevin So’s award-winning musical Victor Woo, The Average Asian American. The husband and wife filmmaking team just returned from Hawaii, where they picked up a Golden Kahuna Award at the Honolulu International Film Festival for TRANSCENDING, THE WAT MISAKA STORY, their new documentary about the first person of color to play in the NBA. For more information about Wat Misaka, visit www.watmisaka.com.   www.christinetoyjohnson.com

Pan Asian Rep's Ernest Abuba, Tisa Chang, Christine Toy Johnson, Bruce Alan Johnson and Robert Lee, at the reception for Things I Love at West End Theatre presented by Pan Asian Rep. (Photo by Lia Chang)

Pan Asian Rep's Ernest Abuba, Tisa Chang, Christine Toy Johnson, Bruce Alan Johnson and Robert Lee, at the reception for Things I Love at West End Theatre presented by Pan Asian Rep. (Photo by Lia Chang)

NEWWORKS 09 Schedule through April 11, 2009

Pan Asian Repertory's NEWWORKS 09

Pan Asian Repertory's NEWWORKS 09

SMART ASS (March 18 – March 22)

Pan Asian Rep presents the world premiere of Lan Tran’s one-woman comedy, Smart Ass, exploring psychics, dogs, dating and learning to “speak her own body language.”

THE SECRET OF O-SONO (March 25 – April 5)
Written by Elsa Okon Rael and directed by Ron Nakahara, The Secret of O-Sono is a ghost-love story for family audiences, presented with Japanese poetic forms and theatrical Kabuki and Noh traditions, with Japanese movement consulting by Sachiyo Ito and inspired by Japanese folk tales collected by Lafcadio Hearn.  Starring Emi F. Jones as O-Sono, with John Baray, Chris Doi, Nancy Eng, Yoko Hyun, Glenn Kubota, Keoni Scott, Bea Soong, and Shigeko Suga.

RAMONA and DINNER (April 7 and 8)
In Ramona, a one woman show based on the works of Paraguayan writers Margot Ayala de Michelagnoli and Mario Halley Mora, writer / performer Paula Irun details the dehumanizing effects of a militaristic society on a young woman’s life. Ramona is performed in English and Guaraní, an indigenous tongue and the second official language of Paraguay. In contrast, Dinner is a humorous look at men and a woman’s place in marriage.

A DAY AFTER THE DAY (April 9 -11)
Written and directed by Juyoung Hong, this is a multi-media solo performance piece using sound and video-scape, an adaptation of Woyzeck, the famed tragedy which explores social dynamics and the tension between have and have-nots, re-imagined from the perspective of a new immigrant.

“Monday Music Nights…”

SUNG WITH WORDS (March 30)
An evening with celebrated jazz pianist Helen Sung and her trio. Breaking stereotypes as an Asian-American jazz pianist and composer, her experience in classical, jazz, & popular music gives her a compelling, unique voice.  A graduate of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, she has worked with such masters as Clark Terry, Slide Hampton, Jon Faddis, Wayne Shorter, Steve Turre, T.S.Monk and Regina Carter.

STEEL PAN PERCUSSIONIST ANDY AKIHO (April 6)
Andy Akiho, an award winning composer and performer with a broad range of interests that stretch from steel pan to western classical music, has performed with numerous professional ensembles, and his immersion in various genres has given him a unique approach to his primary instrument, the steel pan.

“Emerging Artists Shorts…”

FISH DREAMS and FLIGHT (March 31 and April 1)
Performed by Mitsu Salmon with musician ryotaro Fish Dreams and Flight are two dance/music/theater collaborations. The first takes place in a magical sushi restaurant where the dishes cause emotional and metaphysical responses from customers and workers alike. In Flight, a neurotic flight attendant questions the importance of her work and life.

LUCAS KWONG (March 31 and April 1)
Kwong explores themes of love, death and God with songs ranging in sound from a gospel service to a barroom brawl. Fluent on piano, guitar, and trumpet, Lucas has been writing songs since he was thirteen. His work is inspired by the diverse sounds of Ellington, Mozart, Lennon and Dylan.

PAN ASIAN REP’S NEWWORKS 09 runs off-Broadway at the West End Theatre (263 W. 86th Street between Broadway & West End Avenue in the Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew, 2nd floor) through April 11. Via Subway, take the 1 train to 86th St. Performances are Monday – Saturday at 7:30PM with matinees Sunday at 3:00PM, No performances March 23 or 24; The Secret of O-Sono student matinees are at 11:00AM on March 25, 26, April 1 and 2; Monday Music Nights on March 30 and April 6; Emerging Artists Shorts play March 31 and April 1. Tickets $18, call OvationTix 212-352-3101, or visit www.panasianrep.org.

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Christine Toy Johnson Kicks Off Pan Asian Reps NewWorks 09

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