Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang: Cindy Cheung in Will Eno’s Middleton at the Vineyard

Cindy Cheung makes her Off-Broadway debut in the world-premiere of Will Eno’s play, MIDDLETOWN, at the Vineyard Theatre (108 East 15 St.), with previews starting October 13 prior to an official opening night of November 3.

Directed by Ken Rus Schmoll, the all-star cast features Cheung, Heather Burns, JohAnna Day, Georgia Engel, David Garrison, Ed Jewett, McKenna Kerrigan, James McMenamin, Michael Park, Linus Roache, Olivia Scott, and Pete Simpson.

MIDDLETOWN is Will Eno’s deeply moving and funny new play exploring the universe of a small American town. As a friendship develops between longtime resident John Dodge (Roache) and new arrival Mary Swanson (Burns), the lives of the inhabitants of Middletown intersect in strange and poignant ways in a journey that takes them from the local library to outer space and points between.

MIDDLETOWN was named the inaugural recipient of the newly established Horton Foote Prize for Promising New American Play earlier this season.

The design team for MIDDLETOWN is David Zinn (set & costume design), Tyler Micoleau (lighting design), and Jill BC DuBoff (sound design).

Mr. Eno’s play THOM PAIN (based on nothing) was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and enjoyed a year-long run Off-Broadway in 2004 following its debut at the International Edinburgh Fringe Festival and a subsequent transfer to London’s Soho Theatre. His play THE FLU SEASON won the 2004 Oppenheimer Award for best debut production. His other plays include TRAGEDY: a tragedy, and OH, THE HUMANITY and other exclamations, which debuted at The Flea Theater.

Cindy Cheung has appeared on the New York stage in The Seagull (NAATCO), Sides: The Fear is Real… (Ma-Yi/Miyagi), Antigone (NAATCO), Masha No Home (E.S.T.), The Karaoke Show (Project 400), Making Tracks (2G). Regional: W;T (Florida Studio Theater), The First Picture Show (A.C.T.). Film: Children of Invention (Sundance 2009), Lady In The Water, Robot Stories, Falling For Grace. TV: “White Collar,” “Fringe,” all 3 “Law and Order’s,” “One Life To Live,” “Jonny Zero,” “Sex and the City,” “Seinfeld.”

Ken Rus Schmoll directed the Vineyard Theatre’s production of Anne Washburn’s play The Internationalist, and won an OBIE for his direction of Telephone by Ariana Reines, at the Cherry Lane. Other productions include What We Once Felt by Ann Marie Healy at Lincoln Center, Hello Failureby Kristen Kosmas at P.S. 122, the NY premiere of Amazons and Their Men by JorDan Harrison and Demon Baby for Clubbed Thumb, and Girl Blog From Iraqat The Culture Project.

Vineyard Theatre is the recipient of the Tony Award for the musical AVENUE Q and continues as producer of the musical’s current production at New World Stages in New York. The Vineyard has also produced the musical [title of show] on Broadway. One of the nation’s leading non-profit theatre companies dedicated to new plays and musicals and bold programming, The Vineyard has produced the Pulitzer Prize-winning productions of Edward Albee’sThree Tall Women and Paula Vogel’s How I Learned to Drive. The Vineyard has consistently premiered provocative, groundbreaking works and developed innovative educational collaborations. Recent productions include Tarell Alvin McCraney’s acclaimed Wig Out!. The 2009-2010 season saw several enormously Popular Productions at the Vineyard, including: A Boy and His Soul, written and performed by Colman Domingo, the world premiere engagement of the musical The Scottsboro Boyswith music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb, book by David Thompson, and direction and choreography by Susan Stroman, the world premiere of Adam Rapp’sThe Metal Children and (along with Playwrights Horizons) the new musical The Burnt Part Boys by Mariana Elder, Nathan Tysen and Chris Miller, directed by Joe Calarco.

Douglas Aibel is Artistic Director of Vineyard Theatre; Jennifer Garvey-Blackwell is Executive Director.

Scheduled through November 21, performances of MIDDLETOWN run Tuesdays at 7:00pm, Wednesdays through Fridays at 8:00pm, Saturdays at 3:00pm and 8:00pm, and Sundays at 3:00pm. Tickets to MIDDLETOWN are $65 and can be reserved by calling the Vineyard Theatre box office at 212-353-0303 or online at Additionally, there is a $20 day-of student rush ticket.

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Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Photo Call: BD Wong and the Cast of Heading East at the Asia Society
The Asian American Writers Workshop’s Page Turner: The Asian American Literary Festival and Party 11/6-7
STORIES FROM CHINESE AMERICA: The Arthur Dong Collection, Vol. 2 as 4 disc DVD Box Set, Parties in LA (11/6) and SF (11/13)
Koto Oyako don CD Release Concert, w/Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto & Brian Mitsuhiro Wong, Numi Tea Garden, Oakland, 11/13
Abingdon Theatre Company Presents the New York premiere of Reggie Cheong-Leen’s play, The Nanjing Race, 10/29-11/21
Photos: Happy Birthday to My Niece Asia
Andre De Shields is W.E.B. Du Bois in New Federal Theatre’s Knock Me a Kiss by Charles Smith, 11/11- 12/5
Lia Chang: Velina Hasu Houston’s Calligraphy Set for World Premiere at LATC, 11/10-12/12
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Signs Fred Korematsu Day Bill, Bill Establishes January 30 as Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution
Multimedia-Photos and Video: Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas- In the Makeup Chair with Thom Sesma
Crafting a Career
Multimedia: Promises, Promises’ Stars Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes at Lord & Taylor Fifth Ave
Hollywood Chinese: The Arthur Dong Collection Exhibition at the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles, has been extended through November 7, 2010
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, 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.

This year, selections of Lia’s archive of Asian Pacific Americans in the arts, fashion, journalism, politics and space will become part of 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, 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.


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