Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang: National Asian American Theater Festival runs Oct. 13-18 in NYC‏, Kick-off Party at Bubble Lounge features performances by Aaron Yoo, Joel de la Fuente and Deborah Craig

The 2nd National Asian American Theater Festival kicks off on Tuesday, October 13 at Theater for the New City (155 First Ave. at 10th St.), followed by an opening party event from 9:30 to 11:30 p.m. at Bubble Lounge (228 W. Broadway) in Manhattan.

Featured guest performers at the Bubble party include Aaron Yoo, star of the films horror flicks “Disturbia” and “Friday the 13th,” Joel de la Fuente, a regular on TV’s “Law & Order SVU,” and Deborah Craig of “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” on Broadway. Festival attendees will be invited to join the acting stars as fellow cast members to perform in skits written especially for the Festival opening event by the Asian-American playwrights Michael Lew, Rehana Mirza, Michael Golamco and Sung Rno.

Admission to the National Asian American Theater Festival kick-off event at Bubble Lounge is $25 and includes a complimentary drink, food and a raffle ticket to perform with the stars in the aforementioned skits. Additional raffles will be held for Free All-Event access passages to the 2nd National Asian American Theater Festival.

The FESTIVAL takes place in New York City October 13 to 18, with productions presented at Theater for the New City (155 First Avenue at 10th Street). More than 100 Asian-American theatre artists from across the U.S. – playwrights, directors, actors, designers – will converge in New York for a week of performances ranging from Chekhov to a musical about Imelda Marcos to new plays that demonstrate the emerging voices of a young generation of Asian-American writers.

Highlights include:
–Shishir Kurup’s play SHARIF DON’T LIKE IT about the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s dubious treatment of people of Asian and Middle Eastern descent post-9/11.

–BAHU-BETI-BIWI (Daughter-in-law, Daughter, Wife), Sheetal Gandhi’s contemporary dance-theater piece that blends traditional North Indian music with movement to depict the generational shift of contemporary Indian and Indian-American women in the 21st century.

–20th CENTURY PERFORMANCE IN THE 21st CENTURY: THE FUTURE OF ASIAN AMERICAN THEATRE, a series of public forums that examine Asian American theatre past and present through a variety of performance art and interactive panels, presented by Asian Pacific Americans C*ntemporary Unilateral Neo-Theatre (APAC*NT), a collective comprised of playwrights and performers including Kristina Wong, Alice Tuan, Katie Pearl and Hatnim Lee.

–LABFEST III, readings of new plays by Asian-American writers presented by the Obie Award-winning Ma Yi Theater’s Writers Lab.

–DON’T YOU FEEL IT, TOO? a new work about freeing one’s inner spirit by dancing your inner life in public spaces by Minneapolis-based theatre artist Marcus Young.

THE SEAGULL, the Obie Award-winning National Asian American Theatre Company’s uncommon revival – with an all Asian-American cast – of Anton Chekhov’s play.

–IMELDA, a new musical about Imelda Marcos, presented by the Obie Award-winning Pan Asian Repertory Theatre. (Please note: this NAATF production is being presented at Julia Miles Theater, 424 W. 55 St.

Tickets to National Asian American Theatre Festival productions range in price from $5 to $55. The performance schedule varies from Oct. 13 to 18. For performance and ticket information visit or call 646 522 0931.

Lia Chang is an actor, performance and fine art botanical photographer, and a multimedia journalist. A former syndicated arts and entertainment columnist for KYODO News, Lia is the New York Bureau Chief for 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. She is currently working on several botanical portrait commissions for the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation Art Collection and on a book of portraits of her favorite Asian American men in the arts and space.

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