Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang: Dionne Warwick and Woodie King, Jr. Honored by Amas Musical Theatre in New York

Reginald VelJohnson, Dionne Warwick, Leslie Uggams, Woodie King, Jr., Kathy and Jim Gurfein celebrate Amas Musical Theatre’s 40th Birthday at Lighthouse International in New York on March 30, 2009. (Photo by Lia Chang)

Reginald VelJohnson, Dionne Warwick, Leslie Uggams, Woodie King, Jr., Kathy and Jim Gurfein celebrate Amas Musical Theatre’s 40th Birthday at Lighthouse International in New York on March 30, 2009. (Photo by Lia Chang)

Last  night, the Amas Musical Theatre celebrated its 40th birthday with a powerhouse evening of performances featuring Adrian Bailey, Anton Briones, Erin Crosby, Janet Dacal, Ramon Del Barrio, Mark Stuart Eckstein, James Royce Edwards, Lauren Fijol, Harriet D. Foy, Kevin R. Free, Henry Gainza, Andre Garner, Georgia Hair, Beth Leavel, Adealani Malia, Michelle Marmolejo, Olga Merediz, Trisha Rapier, Sandra Reaves-Phillips, Vivian Reed, Nicolle Rochelle, Eliseo Roman, Sandie Rosa, Erica Shroeder, Corliss Taylor Dunn, Clarke Thorell, and Kirk Torigoe, in a special “Blast from the Past” concert from four decades of Amas musicals, at Lighthouse International in New York. Directed and choreographed by Maria Torres, with musical direction by Doug Oberharmer, the benefit concert included songs and numbers from Bubbling Brown Sugar, It’s So Nice to Be Civilized, Opening Night, Barrio Babies, Zanna Don’t!, SHOUT! The Mod Musical, Four Guys Named Jose, No, No Nanette, Bobos, Starmites, Langston Hughes’s Little Ham, Latin Heat, From My Hometown, Lone Star Love, and Wanda’s World.

Students of The Rosetta LeNoire Musical Theatre Academy who performed included Silvan Carlson-Goodman, Lillian Crystal Collazo, Jake Gilford, Amanda Ruth Moreau, Kat Sallet and Sinai Rose Davy.

This year’s Rosie Awards, named after Amas founder Rosetta LeNoire, were presented to New Federal Theatre’s Woodie King, Jr. by Reginald VelJohnson, and to multiple Grammy winning singer Dionne Warwick by Tony Award winner Leslie Uggams.

Proceeds will benefit Amas Musical Theatre’s ongoing theatre and arts education programs.

About Amas Musical Theatre
Amas Musical Theatre is a non-profit, multi-ethnic theatrical organization located on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village. Founded in 1968 by Ms. Rosetta LeNoire, the Amas mission is grounded in non-traditional, multi-ethnic production, education and casting. Amas Musical Theatre is devoted to the creation, development and professional production of new American musicals, the celebration of diversity and minority perspectives, the emergence of new artistic talent, and the training and encouragement of inner-city young people.

Amas Musical Theatre programs provide opportunities for writers, composers, and lyricists to create new work. Amas employs experienced directors, musical directors and choreographers to work with fledgling creators, allowing the veteran artists to guide and encourage the rookie creative staff. Musical Theatre programs include the Amas Six O’Clock Musical Theatre Lab, Amas Workshop Program, and Amas Mainstage Productions.

Amas works to create both new performers and new audiences through its educational and outreach programs. Performers are recruited and trained through The Rosetta LeNoire Musical Theatre Academy, and our in-school and after school education programming, as well as through the original works developed and produced in the Amas Lab, Workshop and Mainstage programs.

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All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2011 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

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang is an actor, performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

As a photographer and videographer, Lia collaborates with artists, organizations and companies in establishing their documentary photo archive and social media presence. She has been documenting her colleagues and contemporaries in the arts, fashion and journalism since making her stage debut as Liat in the National Tour of South Pacific, with Robert Goulet and Barbara Eden.

Selections of Lia’s archive of Asian Pacific Americans in the arts, fashion, journalism, politics and space are now in the newly created LIA CHANG THEATER PHOTOGRAPHY PORTFOLIO in the ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN PERFORMING ARTS COLLECTION housed in the Library of Congress Asian Division’s Asian American Pacific Islander Collection.

Lia’s portraits and performance photos have appeared in Vanity Fair, Gourmet, German Elle, Women’s Wear Daily, The Paris Review, TV Guide, Daily Variety, Interior Design, American Theatre,, Life & Style, OUT, New York Magazine, InStyle,,,,,, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, USA Today, The Boston Globe, New York Times and Washington Post. A former syndicated arts and entertainment columnist for KYODO News, Lia is the New York Bureau Chief for She writes about culture, style and Asian American issues for a variety of publications and this Backstage Pass with Lia Chang blog.

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
A night out with Gordana Rashovich, Flora Goforth in The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore
André De Shields Set for World Premiere of Charles Smith’s The Gospel According to James at Indiana Rep, 3/22-4/10
Photos:The Working Theater’s Off-Broadway production of HONEY BROWN EYES by Stefanie Zadravec at The Clurman
Lia Chang Photo Slideshows of Productions in the Working Theater’s 25th Anniversary Season
Multimedia: Photos of Ed Cardona, Jr.’s American Jornalero at the Dorothy Strelsin Theatre
Multimedia: Photos of André De Shields in Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory: From Douglass to Deliverance
Photos: A.B. Cruz III and Lillian Kimura Receive 2011 AALDEF Justice in Action Awards
Andy Warhol, Romare Bearden, Alexander Calder, Lia Chang in Art & Healing Exhibit at Snug Harbor on SI
Juicy Buns at Ollie’s
The Dish on Susur Lee and Shang
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive.

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