Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang: Christine Toy Johnson, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Etsu Mineta Masaoka, Roxanna Saberi and Eli Lilly to be honored by Japanese American Citizens League (JACL)

Christine Toy Johnson Photo by Bruce Alan Johnson

Christine Toy Johnson Photo by Bruce Alan Johnson

Christine Toy Johnson, an award-winning actress, playwright and filmmaker, will be honored by the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the Nation’s oldest and largest Asian American Civil and Human Rights Organization, at their annual National JACL gala awards dinner A Salute to Champions on Thursday, September 16, 2010 in Washington D.C. The Honorable Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Senator (CA), JACL and community leader Etsu Mineta Masaoka and journalist and writer Roxanna Saberi are among the other women champions; corporate partner, Eli Lilly will also be honored. The National JACL gala awards dinner will be held at the J. W. Marriott Hotel, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. For more information, check out the website at, call (202) 223-1240 or email .

Highlights as a performer for the New York City based artist include featured roles on Broadway and Off-Broadway in THE MUSIC MAN, MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG, PACIFIC OVERTURES, GREASE and FALSETTOLAND, the national tours of CATS, FLOWER DRUM SONG and BOMBAY DREAMS, and at the New York Shakespeare Festival, Williamstown, the Huntington, Yale Rep, the Ordway, Denver Center Theatre Company, Minnesota Opera and New York City Opera etc. Nearly 100 television appearances include two years as “Lisa West” on ONE LIFE TO LIVE, UGLY BETTY, THE BIG C, FRINGE, CROSSING JORDAN, NUNSENSE, NUNSENSE 2, and many episodes of various LAW AND ORDERS.

As a playwright, her plays have been developed at the Roundabout Theatre Company, Crossroads Theatre Company, Diverse City Theatre Company, Queens Theatre in the Park and Leviathan Lab and her award-winning documentary feature (which she executive produced and co-directed with her husband Bruce Johnson) TRANSCENDING – THE WAT MISAKA STORY has just been released.

An avid advocate of inclusion, Christine Toy Johnson is a sought after speaker and writer on diversity issues. She is on the board of the Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts and has been a member of the elected leadership of Actors’ Equity Association since 1992. She was a semi-finalist for the Ford Foundation “Leadership for a Changing World” Award in 2001, received a 2008 Boomerang Fund for Artists Award in recognition of her writing and acting careers, and is being honored this year by the JACL, the nation’s largest and oldest Asian American civil rights organization, as an “Outstanding Woman Champion”.

She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and the Certificate of Screenwriting Program at NYU. For more information, please visit

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Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Christine Toy Johnson Plays Christmas Eve in AVENUE Q at Weston Playhouse Theatre in Vermont
Dr. Leroy Chiao and Wat Misaka to Receive 2010 OCA Pioneer Awards in Houston
Screening of “Transcending: The Wat Misaka Story”, Kicks Off OCA National Convention and 6th Annual Houston APA Film Festival on June 17; Wat Misaka and Dr. Leroy Chiao to Receive 2010 OCA Pioneer Awards
Harada, Leung, Llana, Johnson, Takara Et Al. Sing Once On This Island on May 16 at Theatre at Saint Peter’s Church
A Helluva Town DVD Release Celebration and Fundraising Concert for Transcending: The Wat Misaka Story
New York Knicks to Honor Wat Misaka at Madison Square Garden
Offical List of Films for the 2009 San Diego Film Festival
Making Work Now: The Asian American Artistic Community
Transcending: The Wat Misaka Story Screens at Rhode Island International Film Festival on 8/8 Wat Misaka: First Person of Color Drafted in NBA
Christine Toy Johnson’s Paper Son at Queens Theatre in the Park Studio Theatre
Christine Toy Johnson Kicks Off Pan Asian Rep’s Newworks 09’s Ben Fong-Torres & Suzanne Joe Kai to be honored as Pioneering Journalists by AAJA
Dinah Eng, founder and director of the Executive Leadership Program (ELP) for the Asian American Journalists Association, will step down in August
Fox 5 News NY WNYW-TV’s Ti-Hua Chang Receives AAJA National Journalism Award – story on Asian American Poverty
Ti-Hua Chang reports on poverty among Asian Americans in New York
Portrait of Secretary Norman Y. Mineta to Be Presented at the National Portrait Gallery
Making the Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution Bill a Reality
Asian Women Donors Grant $82,000 to NYC Artists and Non-profits Committed to Activism Thru The Arts
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.Hollywood Chinese: The Arthur Dong Collection Exhibition at the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles, has been extended through November 7, 2010
Photo Call: BD Wong and the Cast of Heading East at the Asia Society
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive.

Photo by Lia Chang

Photo by Lia Chang

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

As a photographer and videographer, Lia is frequently tapped to collaborate with artists, organizations and companies in establishing their documentary photo archive. 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.

Lia’s portraits and performance photos have appeared in Vanity Fair, Gourmet, German Elle, Women’s Wear Daily, The Paris Review, VIBE, 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. In August, selections of Lia’s archive of Asian Pacific Americans in the arts, fashion, journalism, politics and space will become part of THE LIA CHANG THEATER PORTFOLIO in the ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN PERFORMING ARTS COLLECTION housed in the Library of Congress Asian Division’s Asian American Pacific Islander Collection.


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