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Lia Chang: Mu Performing Arts’ Artistic Director Rick Shiomi takes home Ivey Award for Lifetime Achievement

Kudos to Rick Shiomi, an award-winning Japanese Canadian playwright, director and the Artistic Director of Mu Performing Arts, for receiving the 2012 Ivey Award for Lifetime Achievement, at the 8th annual Ivey Awards, which were held at the State Theatre in Minneapolis, MN. on Monday, September 24, 2012.

Mu Performing Arts’ Artistic director Rick Shiomi, the 2012 Ivey Award recipient for Lifetime Achievement at the State Theatre in Minneapolis, MN. on Monday, September 24, 2012. Photo by Kurt Moses

Mu Performing Arts’ Artistic director Rick Shiomi, the 2012 Ivey Award recipient for Lifetime Achievement at the State Theatre in Minneapolis, MN. on Monday, September 24, 2012. Photo by Kurt Moses

“This award is truly a recognition of the talented performers, writers and directors that have gathered at Mu. It’s only through many wonderful Mu productions such as Into The Woods, Little Shop of Horrors, Yellow Face, Asiamnesia and Flower Drum Song that a company such as Mu Performing Arts can have the impact warranting such recognition,” said Shiomi.
Mu Performing Arts Artistic Director Rick Shiomi shares his 2012 Ivey Award for Lifetime Achievement with his Mu Performing Arts family backstage at the State Theatre in Minneapolis, MN. on September 24, 2012. Photo by Kurt Moses

Mu Performing Arts Artistic Director Rick Shiomi shares his 2012 Ivey Award for Lifetime Achievement with his Mu Performing Arts family backstage at the State Theatre in Minneapolis, MN. on September 24, 2012. Photo by Kurt Moses

There are no set categories for the Iveys, the Twin Cities’ annual celebration which honors and showcases the work of professional theater companies and artists over the past year. The Lifetime Achievement Award for Shiomi and the Emerging Artist Award, which was presented to Isabel Nelson, a performer, director, and theatre creator, are the only predetermined awards.
Mu Performing Arts Artistic Director Rick Shiomi, the 2012 Ivey Award recipient for Lifetime Achievement, gets a congratulatory hug from Don Eitel, his managing director of Mu, backstage at the State Theatre in Minneapolis, MN. on September 24, 2012. Photo by Kurt Moses

Mu Performing Arts Artistic Director Rick Shiomi, the 2012 Ivey Award recipient for Lifetime Achievement, gets a congratulatory hug from Don Eitel, his managing director of Mu, backstage at the State Theatre in Minneapolis, MN. on September 24, 2012. Photo by Kurt Moses

The four productions and six individuals who were also recognized with 2012 Iveys were chosen based on evaluations completed by the more than 150 volunteer theater evaluators who saw more than 1,000 performances in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area from September 2011 through August 2012.

Productions
The Compleat Female Stage Beauty, Walking Shadow Theatre Company: Overall Excellence
Spring Awakening, Theatre Latte Da: Overall Excellence
Ballad of the Pale Fisherman, Illusion Theater: Emotional Impact
Julius Caesar, Theatre Unbound: Inventive Reinterpretation

Individual Recognition
Tracie Bennett, Acting, End of the Rainbow (Guthrie Theater)
Hugh Kennedy, Acting, Buzzer (Pillsbury House Theatre)
Jody Briskey, Acting, Beyond the Rainbow: Garland at Carnegie Hall (History Theatre)
Barry Browning, Lighting Design, Dial M for Murder (Jungle Theater)
Miriam Monasch, Directing, Our Class (Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company)
Joe Vass, Musical Direction, The Soul of Gershwin: The Musical Journey of an American Klezmer (Park Square Theatre)

RICK SHIOMI (LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD)

Playwrights David Henry Hwang and Rick Shiomi in front of the Longacre Theatre in New York after a performance of Hwang's latest Broadway comedy Chinglish on January 28, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Playwrights David Henry Hwang and Rick Shiomi in front of the Longacre Theatre in New York after a performance of Hwang’s latest Broadway comedy Chinglish on January 28, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang


Since the early 1980s, Rick Shiomi has been one of the leading figures of the Asian American theater movement as a playwright and director.
Up Close and Personal with Rick Shiomi, Award-winning Playwright & Artistic Director of Mu Performing Arts

A native of Toronto, Shiomi moved to Minnesota in the 1990s and co-founded Theater Mu in 1992. He is presently the Artistic Director of St. Paul-based Mu Performing Arts, one of the largest Asian-American theater companies in the U.S. and is a leader in the local and national development of Asian American theater and taiko. Mu Performing Arts is composed of Theater Mu, which offers stage performances, and Mu Daiko, a taiko drumming ensemble. Through Shiomi’s leadership, Mu has helped to develop and support the work of local and national playwrights, actors, directors, and musicians by premiering many new works, fostering a new generation of Asian American artists, and bringing Asian American voices to Twin Cities audiences.

In a video tribute which played at the Iveys, Tony award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang, a friend and colleague since 1979, shared his perspective of Shiomi’s impact and legacy on the Asian American Theater movement.

“Rick deserves to win this award because he does something that I can’t think of any other artist I know, who is able to both be really a wonderful artist, do great work of his own which has a huge impact on the field, but is also selfless enough and understands people enough, and is encouraging enough to create a whole movement. You think of Rick going to Minneapolis at a time when most of the rest of us would have thought the notion of starting an Asian American theater company in the Twin Cities, well good luck, nice if you want to do it, but it’s not actually going to make any sense. Rick had the foresight to realize that the was a fertile place to do it because the community was growing, and I think more importantly, he’s the type of person who has always been able to organize people, encourage people, to find talent and nurture that. The rest of us, who also do good work, we tend to be a little more selfish, and we’re not as good at doing that. So Rick is really unique in that way and therefore, totally deserves this award,” said Hwang.

R.A. Shiomi's award-winning play Yellow Fever.

R.A. Shiomi’s award-winning play Yellow Fever.


Shiomi’s plays include the award winning Yellow Fever, Rosie’s Cafe, Uncle Tadao, Play Ball, Mask Dance, The Tale of the Dancing Crane, and Song of the Pipa. He also co-authored the book for Walleye Kid: The Musical. Yellow Fever has been produced off-Broadway, in Japanese in Tokyo and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Mu Performing Arts will close out its 21st season with Yellow Fever in the Dowling Studio at the Guthrie Theater, from March 9-24, 2013. Helmed by Shiomi, the cast will feature Mu regulars Kurt Kwan as Sam Shikaze, Sara Ochs, and Eric Sharp, as well as Wade Vaughn and others.
Mu’s landmark 21st Season features a brand new Taiko Concert, Lauren Yee’s The Tiger Among Us, and Rick Shiomi’s Award-Winning comedy Yellow Fever

Rick Shiomi (Photo by Lia Chang)

Rick Shiomi (Photo by Lia Chang)


Shiomi has had his plays produced by: Asian American Theater Company in San Francisco, Pan Asian Repertory in New York, and East West Players in Los Angeles. Yellow Fever has also been published in the U.S. and Canada, and Mask Dance appears in Bold Words: A Century of Asian American Writing, published by Rutgers University in 2001. He has written screenplays for film and television including the Canadian award winning dramatic series ENG. Shiomi’s directing credits include Theater Mu’s first full-length production, Mask Dance, Into The Woods, The Walleye Kid, Yellow Face, Song of the Pipa, Maui and The Soul of the Sun, and Flower Drum Song. He has also directed at the Asian American Theater Company in San Francisco and at Interact Theater in Philadelphia. Shiomi has been recognized with a 2002 Asian-Pacific Leadership Award for Excellence & Innovation in the Arts from the State of Minnesota Council of Asian Pacific Minnesotans and is the recipient of the 2007 Sally Award for Vision. In 2011, the Library of Congress created a collection in Shiomi’s name in the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection, which will also serve as a repository for the archives of Mu Performing Arts. He is the co-editor of the anthology Asian American Plays for a New Generation published by Temple University Press in 2011, and a founding member of the national network CAATA, the Consortium for Asian American Theaters and Artists.
Photos: Rick Shiomi Checks out Performing Arts Playwrights Series in the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection of Library of Congress; Attends “Asian American Plays for a New Generation” Book Signing in NY on 7/29

Shiomi leaves his position as the Artistic Director of Mu Performing Arts on August 31st, 2013 and plans to go back to the freelance life. So if you hear from him, he may be looking for a gig.

ISABEL NELSON (Emerging Artist Award) recently co-created and appeared in the 2012 Minnesota Fringe Festival hit show Ash Land, produced by Transatlantic Love Affair, of which she is co-artistic director. With Transatlantic she also conceived and directed two previous Fringe hits, Red Resurrected and The Ballad of the Pale Fisherman, which was subsequently expanded and presented in Illusion Theater’s Lights Up series. As a performer, she has worked with Live Action Set, Jon Ferguson Theatre, and Four Humors, among others. Nelson’s directing credits include work with Black Dirt Theater and Macalester College. She graduated from Minneapolis South High, received her B.A. from Macalester College in Theatre and Religious Studies, and a certificate in Creating Theatre at the Lecoq-based London International School for Performing Arts.

Other Ivey Awards Articles:
Theatermania.com: Tracie Bennett, Rick Shiomi Among Winners of 2012 Ivey Awards
Startribune.com: Rick Shiomi gets Lifetime Achievement award at Iveys
twincities.com: Ivey Awards: Mu’s Rick Shiomi receives lifetime honor
Broadwayworld.com: 2012 Ivey Awards Recognize Rick Shiomi for Lifetime Achievement and Isabel Nelson for Emerging Artist
Bizjournals.com: Mu Performing Arts founder Shiomi honored at Ivey Awards

Other articles on Mu Performing Arts:
Up Close and Personal with Rick Shiomi, Award-winning Playwright & Artistic Director of Mu Performing Arts
Photos: Yellow Fever Playwright Rick Shiomi Explores New Territory with An All-Female Cast
Mu’s landmark 21st Season features a brand new Taiko Concert, Lauren Yee’s The Tiger Among Us, and Rick Shiomi’s Award-Winning comedy Yellow Fever
Rick Shiomi helms Mu Performing Arts’ Asian American Cast of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods at Park Square Theatre in St. Paul, July 17-August 5, 2012
Randy Reyes Embraces his Passion for Storytelling as an Actor, Director and Theater Educator
Randy Reyes directs Mu Performing Arts’ production of EDITH CAN SHOOT THINGS AND HIT THEM by A. Rey Pamatmat at Mixed Blood Theatre, March 13-April 1, 2012
Mu Performing Arts’ Little Shop of Horrors on 2 ‘Best of’ Lists; Women in Arts Panel on 1/29, in Conjunction with Mu Daiko’s 15th Anniversary Concert and Tour
Mu Daiko 15th Anniversary Concert and Minnesota Tour, February 9-19, 2012
Photos: Opening Night of Mu Performing Arts’ Katie Hae Leo’s Four Destinies
Photos: Backstage at Mu Performing Arts’ Four Destinies by Katie Hae Leo
Photos: On the town with Rick Shiomi, Co-Editor of “Asian American Plays for a New Generation”, in D.C. & NY
Temple Press: Rick Shiomi recounts his tour for “Asian American Plays for a New Generation”
Mu Blog: Rick Shiomi’s Book Tour Logbook
knightarts.org: Reading on the road inside the book tour
Broadwayworld.com Photo Flash: Library of Congress’ IN REHEARSAL Exhibit
Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at Library of Congress Features Photos of Thom Sesma’s Makeup Transformation as Scar in Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas, Robert Lee and Leon Ko’s Heading East Starring BD Wong, David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish, and Samrat Chakrabarti and Sanjiv Jhaveri’s Bakwas Bumbug! on View Through August 2
“Asian American Plays for a New Generation”, A New Anthology of Asian American Plays Is Subject of Book Talk
Click here for more articles on Rick Shiomi.

Other articles by Lia Chang:
Marvels and Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942 -1986 and Alt.Comics: Asian American Artists Reinvent the Comic Book on View at MOCA, September 27 – February 24, 2013
Greg Watanabe, Julyana Soelistyo and Jennifer Lim Lead the Cast of Signature Theatre’s Production of David Henry Hwang’s Golden Child, October 23-December 2, 2012
Berkeley Rep’s Production Photos of David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish, Starring Michelle Krusiec and Alex Moggridge, Extends through October 21, 2012
Signature Theatre’s World Premiere of Sam Shepard’s Heartless Starring Lois Smith, Gary Cole, Jenny Bacon, Betty Gilpin, and Julianne Nicholson Extends through September 30, 2012
MTC’s An Enemy of The People Starring Boyd Gaines and Richard Thomas Begin Previews at Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
Video: Academy Award Winner Chris Tashima Talks About His Roles in Lily Mariye’s Model Minority and Lil Tokyo Reporter
Photos: 4 Wedding Planners’ Illeana Douglas, Kimberly-Rose Wolter and Michael Kang at Screen Actors Guild Foundation Conversations Series in NY
Multimedia: Screen Actors Guild Foundation’s Conversations with Derek Ting, Linus Roache and Michael Park of $upercapitalist
Three Year Swim Club, Encounter, TEA, Christmas in Hanoi and Chess set for East West Players 47th Anniversary Season
André De Shields Returns to The Laurie Beechman Theatre with I Put A Spell on You, October 5 and 12
Photos: Tonya Pinkins, André De Shields, S. Epatha Merkerson, Billy Porter and George C. Wolfe at 54 Below
Sean Dugan Set for West Coast Premiere of George C. Wolfe’s Tony Award-Winning Production of The Normal Heart at A.C.T., September 13 – October 7, 2012
Raul Aranas, Kate Baldwin, Brian d’Arcy James, P.J. Griffith, Bobby Steggert and Michele Pawk Set for New York Premiere of GIANT at The Public Theater, October 26-December 2, 2012
Photos: All-Access Pass to Disney’s Aladdin at The Muny with Thom Sesma, Francis Jue, Robin De Jesus, John Tartaglia, Jason Graae, Curtis Holbrook, Eddie Korbich, Samantha Massell and Ken Page
Performing Arts Images from the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection on Display at the Library of Congress to Celebrate APA Heritage Month
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang

Lia Chang


Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2012 Lia Chang Multimedia. 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. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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