Born in San Francisco, CA, Lia hails from a family of amateur photographers, and began her career in the arts as a teen, working as a petite runway model and an actor. She added photography and video to the mix in 1989 with her production company LIA CHANG MULTIMEDIA, where she produces online video content for the web and oversees the Lia Chang Archive. A frequently commissioned portrait and performance photographer, her fashion and performing arts background makes her a natural for being “in the moment” to capture the soul of the artists and the passion of their artistry. Her personal project includes photo-documenting her colleagues and contemporaries in the arts, fashion and journalism, along with two Chinese American astronauts, for a book project and exhibition entitled, “ASIAN AMERICANS: AT HOME IN THE GALAXY.
As an actor, Lia Chang made her stage debut as Liat in the national tour of South Pacific with Barbara Eden and Robert Goulet, and last appeared onstage in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, NC, July 30 – August 1, 2013. She was featured as Sally and Joy in the Signature Theater Company’s revival of Sam Shepard’s 1965 Obie award winning play, Chicago, directed by Joseph Chaikin at the Public Theater. Off Broadway credits include: Jeff Weiss’ Obie Award winning Hot Keys (Naked Angels), Diana Son’s Raunchy Asian Women (Ohio Theatre), Lonnie Carter’s Gulliver opposite Andre Dé Shields ( La MaMa E.T.C.), The Confirmation (The Vineyard), Behind Closed Doors (MCC), Power Play (Billie Holiday Theatre), Marina Shron’s King of Rats at Soho Rep (New Georges), Two Gentlemen of Verona, Underground Soap, and Famine Plays (Cucaracha Theatre). Chang recently portrayed Sam Shikaze and Chuck Chan in readings of R.A. Shiomi’s Yellow Fever, with an all-female cast for Mu Performing Arts, and Derek Walcott’s Marie Laveau at the Castillo Theatre (New Federal Theatre). Chang’s feature film credits include: Wolf, New Jack City, Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, and Taxman. Chang has had recurring roles as Nurse Lia on the daytime soap operas “One Life to Live” and “As the World Turns,” and guest starred on “New York Undercover”.
Lia is the New York Bureau Chief for AsianConnections.com, and was a syndicated columnist for KYODO News, writing about arts and entertainment in her What’s Hot in New York column from 1995-2004. Her in-depth features and photographs have appeared in Vanity Fair, Gourmet, German Elle, Women’s Wear Daily, The Paris Review, TV Guide, Daily Variety, Interior Design, American Theatre, Broadwayworld.com, Life & Style, OUT, New York Magazine, InStyle, Timeout.com, Villagevoice.com, Playbill.com, Theatermania.com, thelmagazine.com, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, USA Today, The Boston Globe, New York Times and Washington Post. She writes about culture, style and Asian American issues for a variety of publications and this Backstage Pass with Lia Chang blog.
Selections of Lia Chang’s archive of Asian Pacific Americans are now in the newly created Lia Chang Theater Portfolio in the APA Performing Arts Archives housed in the Library of Congress Asian Division’s Asian American Pacific Islander Collection. The historical importance of these rehearsal photographs is in its documentation of Asian American theater in a working and evolving environment. The camera captures the spontaneous interactions among actors, playwright, stage director, choreographer, producer, and musicians before opening night.
Lia studied film and communications at Hunter College and photography at the International Center of Photography (ICP). She is a National Tropical Botanical Garden Environmental Journalism Fellow, a Scripps Howard New Media Fellow at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, a Visual Journalism Fellow at the Poynter Institute for New Media and a Western Knight Fellow at USC’s Annenberg College of Communications for Specialized Journalism on Entertainment Journalism in the Digital Age. She is the recipient of the Asian American Journalists Association 2001 National Award for New Media and the Organization of Chinese Americans 2000 Chinese American Journalist Award. Avenue Magazine named her one of the “One Hundred Most Influential Asian Americans” in 1997. She is featured in Joann Faung Jean Lee’s book “Asian American actors: oral histories from stage, screen, and television”.
Portraits from Lia’s Asian American Pioneer Series are published in Chinese Americans: The Immigration Experience by Peter Kwong and Dusanka Miscevic (Filmmaker Ang Lee, Playwright David Henry Hwang, Fashion Designers Yeohlee and David Chu, Author Maxine Hong Kingston, Reporter Ti-Hua Chang). Her portraits of notable Chinese Americans can be seen at CAM in Los Angeles (Playwright David Henry Hwang); the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) in New York (author C.Y. Lee, Bill Lann Lee and Gary and Mona Lee Locke); the Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA) in San Francisco (Portraits of New York Chinatown after 9/11) and the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles (author and activist Michi Weglyn).
Lia’s portraits of notable Chinese Americans can be seen at CAM in Los Angeles (playwright David Henry Hwang); the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) in New York (author C.Y. Lee, Bill Lann Lee and Gary and Mona Lee Locke); the Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA) in San Francisco (Portraits of New York Chinatown after 9/11) and the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles (author and activist Michi Weglyn).
Photographs by Lia Chang are in the permanent collections of the American Cancer Society, the Angel Island Immigration Station, Asian American Federation of New York (AAFNY), Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, the New York City Health and Hospital Art Collection and the New York Historical Society. The Lia Chang Archive also includes Asian Pacific Americans in the Workforce and her fine art collection of Botanical Beauties.
Video: Power Play’s Lorey Hayes and Lia Chang on The Carmen Mathis Show
The Chronicle Features Lorey Hayes’ Power Play
Celebrity Actress, Pauletta Pearson Washington returns home to North Carolina starring at 2013 National Black Theatre festival with Roscoe Orman (“Sesame Street,” Willie Dynamite) and all star cast in Lorey Hayes’ award-winning “Power Play”, a play about Politics, Passion and The Power of God
Broadwayworld.com: Pauletta Pearson Washington and Roscoe Orman Lead Cast in Revival of Lorey Hayes’ POWER PLAY
Photos: Yellow Fever Playwright Rick Shiomi Explores New Territory with An All-Female Cast
Crafting a Career
Nurse Lia on One Life to Live
Celebrating my mom – AN ACTIVE VISION: BEVERLY UMEHARA…LABOR ACTIVIST…1945-1999
Broadwayworld.com Photo Flash: Library of Congress’ IN REHEARSAL Exhibit
Photos: On the town with Rick Shiomi, Co-Editor of “Asian American Plays for a New Generation”, in D.C. & NY
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
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
broadwayworld.com: Chinglish in Rehearsal
asiancemagazine.com: New Anthology of Asian American Plays Book Talk
Andy Warhol, Romare Bearden, Alexander Calder, Lia Chang in Art & Healing Exhibit at Snug Harbor on SI
My Empire State Building at Dusk on view in HHC’s “Art and Healing-Healthy for the Holidays” Art Exhibit
Photos by Lia Chang at the Shanghai World Expo 2010’s USA Pavilion, Library of Congress and Hollywood Chinese: The Arthur Dong Collection in L.A.
Lia Chang’s Botanical Beauties Portrait Commission at School of Nursing at Kings County Hospital Center
Photo Call: Derek Walcott’s Marie Laveau
My Botanical Beauties for the LIU/King’s County Hospital Center Nursing School
RED opening reception at Gouverneur Healthcare Services
AAJA member Lia Chang’s RED photographic exhibit part of Chinese New Year celebration
Knock Me A Kiss
Ask About the Gentrification of China
Archbishop Supreme Tartuffe
A Guide to Holiday Window Displays
Modeling in Designer Yeohlee’s Fashion Show in 2005
nydailynews.com: Special Events to Mark 9-11
Port of Entry:The Angel island Immigration Station
John Willis’ theatre world, vol 53-ChicagoJohn A. Willis – 1999
Theatre World, 1997-1998 – Page 110- King of RatsJohn Willis – 2001 – 288 pages
Theatre World 1996-1997 – Page 107- ChicagoJohn Willis, Tom Lynch – 2000 – 288 pages
Theatre world, Vol. 50John Willis – 1996
nytimes.com: review/theater: Gulliver
nytimes.com review/theater: A Politically Correct Two Gentlemen
The Applause/best plays theater yearbook of …: , featuring the ten best plays of the season, 1990, p. 400- Famine PlaysOtis L. Guernsey, Jeffrey Sweet, Al Hirschfeld – 1990
nytimes.com review/theater: Dark Visions of America in a Modern Depression
Awards Exhibitions and Published Work
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive.