Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang: Mu Performing Arts 2011-2012 20th Anniversary Season: Four Destinies, Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them, Into the Woods, & Mu Daiko 15th Anniversary Concert

Photo by Michal Daniel

Photo by Michal Daniel


The 2011 – 2012 Mu Performing Arts 20th Anniversary mainstage season lineup includes two world premieres of works by Asian American playwrights: Four Destinies by Katie Hae Leo and Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them. Mu Daiko celebrates 15 years of taiko drumming in the Twin Cities with a special anniversary concert, to kick off the group’s Minnesota tour. To close out the mainstage season, Mu will present the Tony Award-winning Stephen Sondheim musical Into the Woods, re-imagined from an Asian American perspective.

The season kicks off on October 15 at Mixed Blood Theatre with the world premiere of Four Destinies, directed by Suzy Messerole. The play by local playwright Katie Hae Leo is a satirical exploration of adoption through the eyes of Destiny Jones, a single character represented from four different ethnic backgrounds, as she/he grows up in a Minnesota family. Leo, herself a Korean adoptee, presents herself as a character determined to embody the overarching adoptee experience, both in youth and adulthood. Four Destinies has been in development for the past two years through Mu’s Jerome New Performance Program, a platform for emerging Asian American theater voices to create and present edgy new work.

Mu Performing Arts kicks off their 20th Anniversary with Four Destinies. Photo by Stephen Geffre

Mu Performing Arts kicks off their 20th Anniversary with Four Destinies. Photo by Stephen Geffre


In February, Mu Daiko, under the musical direction of Iris Shiraishi, returns to the Ordway’s McKnight Theatre for a special performance celebrating both the local taiko powerhouse’s 15th Anniversary and the kickoff of its Minnesota tour. Mu Daiko will honor the contribution of women in taiko by welcoming both national and international guest artists. Hanayui, a three-woman offshoot of the legendary Japanese taiko ensemble Kodo, leading American taiko artist Tiffany Tamaribuchi, and recent Minnesota transplant Megan Chao Smith, formerly of Shidara, will join Mu Daiko for the Ordway concert and tour.

Mu will next join several theaters of the National New Play Network, in the rolling world premieres of Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them by A. Rey Pamatmat, directed by Randy Reyes. The gritty yet tender new drama tells the story of three children—Kenny, his friend Benji, and his little sister Edith—fending for themselves on a Midwestern farm after being all but abandoned by the adults in their lives. They are forced to face the pain and joy of growing up as their relationships evolve and the outside world encroaches on their makeshift family. Edith opens March 16 at Mixed Blood Theatre.

Mu Peforming Arts Artistic Director Rick Shiomi will direct "Into the Woods".  Photo by Lia Chang

Mu Peforming Arts Artistic Director Rick Shiomi will direct "Into the Woods". Photo by Lia Chang


Rounding out the season, Mu dives further into its recent Asian American musical theater initiative with the Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine favorite Into the Woods, helmed by Mu Performing Arts Artistic Director Rick Shiomi. After the success of Flower Drum Song and Little Shop of Horrors, Mu tackles the topsy-turvy take on classic fairytales that places Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack and his beanstalk in a world where happily ever after is not what it seems. In Mu’s own twist, the costumes and staging will be re-imagined from an Asian American perspective, giving even the show’s most seasoned fans something new to enjoy. Into the Woods will open at Loring Theater on June 2.

Four Destinies
by Katie Hae Leo
directed by Suzy Messerole
October 15 – 30, 2011
Mixed Blood Theatre

Mu Daiko 15th Anniversary Concert
with guest artists Hanayui, Tiffany Tamaribuchi, and Megan Chao Smith
Musical direction of Iris Shiraishi
February 9 – 19, 2012
McKnight Theatre, The Ordway

Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them

by A. Rey Pamatmat
directed by Randy Reyes
March 16 – April 1, 2012
Mixed Blood Theatre

Into the Woods
music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
book by James Lapine
directed by Rick Shiomi
June 2 – 17, 2012
Loring Theater

The Mu Performing Arts 2011-2012 season is sponsored by General Mills.
Mu Performing Arts Website

Other Articles on “Asian American Plays for a New Generation” & “In Rehearsal”
Up Close and Personal with Rick Shiomi, Award-winning Playwright & Artistic Director of Mu Performing Arts
Photos: On the town with Rick Shiomi, Co-Editor of “Asian American Plays for a New Generation”, in D.C. & NY
Temple Press: Rick Shiomi recounts his tour for “Asian American Plays for a New Generation”
Mu Blog: Rick Shiomi’s Book Tour Logbook
knightarts.org: Reading on the road inside the book tour
Broadwayworld.com Photo Flash: Library of Congress’ IN REHEARSAL Exhibit
Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at Library of Congress Features Photos of Thom Sesma’s Makeup Transformation as Scar in Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas, Robert Lee and Leon Ko’s Heading East Starring BD Wong, David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish, and Samrat Chakrabarti and Sanjiv Jhaveri’s Bakwas Bumbug! on View Through August 2
Photos: Rick Shiomi Checks out Performing Arts Playwrights Series in the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection of Library of Congress; Attends “Asian American Plays for a New Generation” Book Signing in NY on 7/29 “Asian American Plays for a New Generation”, A New Anthology of Asian American Plays Is Subject of Book Talk
broadwayworld.com: Chinglish in Rehearsal
asiancemagazine.com: New Anthology of Asian American Plays Book Talk
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.


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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. Lia currently plays Nurse Lia on “One Life to Live”. She has appeared in Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and “New York Undercover”.

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 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, Broadwayworld.com, Life & Style, OUT, New York Magazine, InStyle, Timeout.com, Villagevoice.com, Playbill.com, Theatermania.com, thelmagazine.com, 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 AsianConnections.com. She writes about culture, style and Asian American issues for a variety of publications and this Backstage Pass with Lia Chang blog.

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 liachangpr@gmail.com.

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