East West Players, in association with the Japanese American National Museum, presents a Writers Gallery reading of A Cage of Fireflies by Daniel Akiyama, starring Dian Kobayashi, Emily Kuroda, Sharon Omi, and Jeanne Sakata, on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 7:30 PM, at Tateuchi Democracy Forum, National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, 111 North Central Avenue in L.A. Phyllis S. K. Look directs, with assistant director/stage manager David Johann Kim. Admission is free. Click here for RSVP.
A Cage of Fireflies tells the story of three elderly sisters of the kibei generation: sent as children to be raised in Okinawa, then returned to live and work in Hawai‘i. Two of the sisters confine themselves to their Honolulu apartment where they enact the rituals of daily life and dream of one day returning to Okinawa. The third, charged with running their family’s orchid nursery, embraces the modern world and disrupts her family’s fragile traditions. As long-hidden hopes, resentments and regrets surface, the sisters must confront the nature of their love for each other. A Cage of Fireflies, which recently premiered at Kumu Kahua Theatre in Honolulu to critical acclaim and a sold-out, extended run (1/24/13-3/3/13), explores the tug-of-war between progress and preservation, the selfish and the selfless.
Tateuchi Democracy Forum, National Center for the Preservation of Democracy
111 North Central Avenue
Los Angeles CA 90012
Admission is FREE!
Click here to RSVP.
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT:
Daniel Akiyama was born and raised in Honolulu and graduated from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. A Cage of Fireflies, his first full-length play, was developed at the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab and was a finalist for the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR:
Phyllis S.K. Look. Photo by Fred Hayes
Phyllis S.K. Look was a member of Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s artistic staff, Co-Artistic Director of Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and freelance director. Her work has been produced at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center Institute, Young Playwrights Festival, Berkeley Rep, Magic Theatre, Asian American Theater Company, Syracuse Stage, Alliance Theatre, Mixed Blood, Seattle Children’s Theatre, and Honolulu Theatre for Youth, among others. She directed the developmental workshop of A Cage of Fireflies
at Sundance Institute’s 2012 Theatre Lab, and its recent world premiere production at Kumu Kahua Theatre. Look holds an MFA in Directing from Yale School of Drama and is the recipient of a TCG/NEA Director Fellowship. She was born, raised, and currently resides in Honolulu, Hawai‘i.
Dian Kobayashi is originally from the Big Island of Hawaii. She now resides in Los Angeles, where she has appeared in productions at the Doolittle Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, East West Players, Theatre @ Boston Court, Company of Angels and Write Act Repertory. She has also performed for theatres across the country including the Pan Asian Rep (New York), International City Theatre (Long Beach), A.C.T. (San Francisco), Sacramento Theatre Company, Sundance’s Children Theatre, Barrington Stage Company (Massachusetts), Long Wharf Theatre (Connecticut), Public Theatre (New York), Seattle Rep, South Coast Rep (Costa Mesa), Huntington Theatre Company (Boston), Syracuse Stage, Arizona Theatre Company and Berkeley Rep, where she was nominated for a Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award. Her TV and film credits include “The William Coit Story,” “The Big One: The Great L.A. Quake,” “Donor Unknown,” Going to the Chapel
, “Student Exchange,” “The Hero Who Couldn’t Read,” “Baby M,” “California Dreams,” “The Tracey Ullman Show,” “Baby Girl Scott,” “Dynasty,” a recurring role on “General Hospital,” Moving
, Sibling Rivalry
, Hot Shots! Part Deux
, Drinking Tea
and Ophelia Learns to Swim
. She is excited to be working with the Sundance Institute once again and to be a part of the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab.
Emily Kuroda completed seven years as Mrs. Kim in Warner Brothers’ “GILMORE GIRLS.” She also played Suho for one season in “UNDER ONE ROOF” with Flavor Flav. Other television credits include “DROP DEAD DIVA” (where she recurs as Margaret Cho’s strict Korean mother), “GREY’S ANATOMY,” “SIX FEET UNDER,” “KING OF QUEENS,” “CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM,” “THE MEDIUM,” “GENERAL HOSPITAL,” “PORT CHARLES,” “ER,” “THE DIVISION,” “THE AGENCY,” “PRESIDIO MED” and “ARLISS.” Feature films include PEEP WORLD
, AUSSIE AND TED
with Dean Caine, RED
with Bruce Willis, HOTEL FOR DOGS, THE SENSEI, SHOP GIRL, MINORITY REPORT, STRANGER INSIDE, TWO DAYS IN THE VALLEY, DAD, BROKEN WORDS, ABOUT LOVE
(Emmy nominated) and WORTH WINNING
, Emily has performed in many theaters internationally, including the Kirk Douglas Theatre, South Coast Rep, New York’s Public Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, Seattle Rep, Singapore Repertory Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theater, Doolittle Theater, Huntington Theater (Boston), Los Angeles Theater Center, Zephyr Theater, LA Women’s Shakespeare Company, and the Los Angeles Shakespeare Festival. She is the recipient of five Dramalogue Awards, a Garland Award for outstanding performance, an L.A. Ovation award nomination for Best Lead Actress in a Play, the Playwrights Arena Award and the EWP Award for Outstanding Contribution to Los Angeles theater.
Sharon most recently performed in Blood Wedding at the Odyssey Theatre and Elektra at the Getty Villa. Favorite roles include, Sonya in Uncle Vanya at the American Conservatory Theatre, Grace in Innocent When You Dream at the Electric Lodge and Hana in And the Soul Shall Dance at EWP. Other theatre credits include shows at the Ahmanson, South Coast Repertory, Berkeley Repertory Theatre.
Sharon Omi’s film credits include Undiscovered Gyrl, The Trials of Cate McCollough, Fifty First Dates, Prom, Constantine, Yellow, and Terminal USA. Her TV credits include Awake, Modern Family, Harry’s Law, Forest McNeil Review, and Southland, among others.
Jeanne Sakata (Photo by Lia Chang)
Jeanne Sakata is a renowned actress whose many accolades include an LA Ovation Award for Best Lead Actress for Chay Yew’s RED
at East West Players in Los Angeles. In the 2011-2012 season she performed in A CAGE OF FIREFLIES
at the 2012 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, in the title role of George Bernard Shaw’s MRS. WARREN’S PROFESSION
at the Antaeus Company’s Classics Fest, SEVEN at USC, THE LANGUAGE ARCHIVE
at East West Players, and RED FLAMBOYANT
at Ojai Playwrights Festival. Regionally, she has performed with The Public Theater, Lincoln Center Theater, Kennedy Center, Mark Taper Forum, La Jolla Playhouse, South Coast Rep, American Conservatory Theater, Northlight Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Berkeley Rep, A Contemporary Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Syracuse Stage and the Arizona Theatre Company. Screen credits include playing Mom Wanda to Olivia Munn in the recent feature film comedy THE BABYMAKERS
, “NCIS LOS ANGELES,” “TYLER PERRY’S MEET THE BROWNS,” “DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES,” “ER,” “THREAT MATRIX,” “LINE OF FIRE,” “PRESIDIO MED,” “AMERICAN FAMILY,” “NUMB3RS,” John Ridley’s I GOT YOU
, the MOW’s “THE READING ROOM,” “HIROSHIMA,” “CONSENSUAL RELATIONS,” and the feature films XXX2: STATE OF THE UNION
and AMERICAN FUSION
In December 2011, Jeanne was honored with an Outstanding Artist Award for her career achievements by Los Angeles’ Asian Pacific American Friends of the Theatre. (www.jeannesakata.com)
As a playwright, Jeanne Sakata’s critically acclaimed HOLD THESE TRUTHS has its world premiere in 2007 at East West Players under the title of DAWN’S LIGHT: THE JOURNEY OF GORDON HIRABAYASHI, co-presented by the Japanese American National Museum, UCLA Department of Asian American Studies, and the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, and was subsequently chosen by the Epic Theatre Ensemble and the Lark Play Development Center for their first joint presentation, as well as by the New York Theatre Workshop to be showcased at their 2009 Dartmouth Residency. In its New York premiere with the Epic in October 2012, HOLD THESE TRUTHS opened to unanimous rave reviews from The New Yorker, The Washington Post/API, and many other critics. It has also been performed at Chicago’s Pritzker Pavilion with Silk Road Rising/Millennium Park as part of the Park’s 2011 IN THE WORKS New Plays Series; the Epic’s 2010 Passion Play Festival with the John Jay College of Criminal Justice; the University of California at Riverside; the 16th Annual Conference of the Japan Studies Association in Honolulu; at Japanese American Citizens League Day of Remembrance events in Sacramento and Salinas, California; and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where it served as the inspiration and theatrical centerpiece of the civil rights symposium “Civil Liberties, National Security and the Legacies of the Japanese Removal and Incarceration.” With the East West Players Theatre For Youth program in 2008 and 2010, the play has twice toured high schools and junior high schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District. HOLD THESE TRUTHS is now part of the Library of Congress Playwrights Archive in the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection in Washington DC, where Sakata’s working script was recently on view in the Thomas Jefferson Building in conjunction with the Library of Congress celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. (www.facebook.com/holdthesetruths, www.holdthesetruths.info)
Other Hold These Truths Articles:
Hold These Truths Opening Night at Honolulu Theatre for Youth’s Tenney Theatre with Daniel Dae Kim, Joel de la Fuente and Jeanne Sakata
Video: Interview with Lisa Rothe, Director of Critically Acclaimed Hold These Truths by Jeanne Sakata, starring Joel de la Fuente
Video: Q & A with Jeanne Sakata, Award Winning Actress Makes Playwrighting Debut Telling Story of Gordon Hirabayashi with Hold These Truths
Photos and Video: Daniel Dae Kim, Ann Harada, Greg Watanabe and More at Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths starring Joel de la Fuente
Photos: Opening Night with Hold These Truths’ Playwright Jeanne Sakata and Star Joel de la Fuente, a Revelation as Gordon Hirabayashi; Performances Extended through November 25, 2012
Epic Theatre Ensemble Presents New York Premiere of Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths Starring Joel de la Fuente at the Theatre at the 14th Street Y, October 12-November 18, 2012
Remembering Civil Rights Leader Gordon Hirabayashi,1918- 2012
President Obama Names Asian American Civil Rights Hero Gordon Hirabayashi Recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom
Reading of Jeanne Sakata’s Dawn’s Light: The Journey of Gordon Hirabayashi Starring Joel de la Fuente in New York
Thom Sesma Stars in Jeanne Sakata’s Dawn’s Light: The Journey of Gordon Hirabayashi
Other articles by Lia Chang:
Photos: All-Access Pass to August Wilson’s Two Trains Running with John Earl Jelks, Harvy Blanks, Chuck Cooper, Anthony Chisholm, Owiso Odera, Roslyn Ruff and James A. Williams
Thom Sesma, Diane Phelan, Wilson Bridges, Ryan Bauer-Walsh, Meghan McGeary, Hannah Jane McMurray and Peter Saide in Prospect’s Death For Five Voices through March 17, 2013
Two Trains Running at Two River Theater Company
Paul Giamatti Leads Yale Rep’s Production of Hamlet, March 15-April 13, 2013
Signature Theatre & Lark Play Development Center Present the Contemporary Chinese Playwriting Series, March 15-17, 2013
Photos: David Henry Hwang’s The Dance and The Railroad Opening Night at Signature Theatre
Ron Domingo, Francis Jue and Jon Norman Schneider Join the Cast of the World Premiere of Paper Dolls at the Tricycle Theatre, February 28 – April 13, 2013
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
Harlem Nights with Lorey Hayes, Actress, Director and Award-Winning Playwright of Power Play and Massinissa
Performing Arts Images from the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection on Display at the Library of Congress to Celebrate APA Heritage Month
Photos: Yellow Fever Playwright Rick Shiomi Explores New Territory with An All-Female Cast
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.
Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. She is a Signature Theatre alumni who was in the cast of Sam Shepard’s Chicago, during his Signature 1996-1997 Playwright-in-Residence Season.
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