Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Extended through 8/23- “In Rehearsal” Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at Library of Congress Featuring Robert Lee and Leon Ko’s Heading East Starring BD Wong, Thom Sesma as Scar in The Lion King Las Vegas

Lia Chang in the Asian Reading Room of the Library of Congress where her "In Rehearsal" display of photographs drawn from the Lia Chang Theater Portfolio are on view through August 23, 2011.  Photo by Reme Grefalda

Lia Chang in the Asian Reading Room of the Library of Congress where her “In Rehearsal” display of photographs drawn from the Lia Chang Theater Portfolio are on view through August 23, 2011. Photo by Reme Grefalda

From July 20 through August 23, “In Rehearsal”, a display of photographs drawn from the Lia Chang Theater Portfolio in the Library of Congress’ Asian American Pacific Islander Collection, is on view in the Library of Congress’ Asian Division Reading Room, located in Room 150 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. The hours of the Library of Congress’ Asian Division Reading Room are 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

The cast of Robert Lee and Leon Ko’s Heading East at the Lila Acheson Wallace Auditorium at Asia Society in New York. Credit:  Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

The cast of Robert Lee and Leon Ko’s Heading East at the Lila Acheson Wallace Auditorium at Asia Society in New York. Credit: Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

Sponsored by the Library of Congress’ Asian Division, the display features photos of Thom Sesma’s Makeup Transformation as Scar in Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas and Robert Lee and Leon Ko’s Heading East Starring BD Wong, on view Through August 23.

BD Wong in rehearsal for a staged concert of Heading East, a Richard Rodgers Development Award-winning musical by Robert Lee and Leon Ko on May 22, 2010, at the Lila Acheson Wallace Auditorium at Asia Society in New York. Credit:  Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

BD Wong in rehearsal for a staged concert of Heading East, a Richard Rodgers Development Award-winning musical by Robert Lee and Leon Ko on May 22, 2010, at the Lila Acheson Wallace Auditorium at Asia Society in New York. Credit: Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

In May, 2010, actor BD Wong invited me to photo-document his latest theatrical passion project. The staged concert performance of Heading East, a Richard Rodgers Development Award-winning musical by Robert Lee and Leon Ko, which BD was co-producing with Andrew Asnes and starring in, also featured Cindy Cheung, Fay Ann Lee, Manu Narayan, Lydia Gaston, MaryAnn Hu, Ming Chan Lee, Angela Lin, Kelvin Moon Loh, Hazel Anne Raymundo, Jon Norman Schneider and Rodney To at the Lila Acheson Wallace Auditorium at Asia Society in New York. Helmed by Darren Lee, the staged concert performances of Heading East benefitted the Asia Society. Click here to learn more about Heading East.

(1st Row)Rodney To, MaryAnn Hu, Cindy Cheung, Fay Ann Lee, Angela Lin, Hazel Anne Raymundo,(2nd Row) Jon Norman Schneider, Ming Chan Lee, Manu Narayan and Kelvin Moon Loh in rehearsal for a staged concert of Heading East, a Richard Rodgers Development Award-winning musical by Robert Lee and Leon Ko on May 22, 2010, at the Lila Acheson Wallace Auditorium at Asia Society in New York. Credit:  Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

(1st Row)Rodney To, MaryAnn Hu, Cindy Cheung, Fay Ann Lee, Angela Lin, Hazel Anne Raymundo,(2nd Row) Jon Norman Schneider, Ming Chan Lee, Manu Narayan and Kelvin Moon Loh in rehearsal for a staged concert of Heading East, a Richard Rodgers Development Award-winning musical by Robert Lee and Leon Ko on May 22, 2010, at the Lila Acheson Wallace Auditorium at Asia Society in New York. Credit: Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

“The historical importance of these rehearsal photographs is in its documentation of Asian American theater in a working and evolving environment. The camera captures the spontaneous interactions among actors, playwright, stage director, choreographer, producer, and musicians before opening night,” said Reme Grefalda, curator of the AAPI Collection at the Library of Congress.

BD Wong, Kelvin Moon Loh, Hazel Anne Raymundo, Manu Narayan rehearse with director Darren Lee at the Lila Acheson Wallace Auditorium at Asia Society in New York.. Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

BD Wong, Kelvin Moon Loh, Hazel Anne Raymundo, Manu Narayan rehearse with director Darren Lee at the Lila Acheson Wallace Auditorium at Asia Society in New York.. Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

Heading East co-creator Robert Lee rehearses a Peking opera move with actress MaryAnn Hu during a rehearsal at the Lila Acheson Wallace Auditorium at Asia Society in New York.. Credit:  Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

Heading East co-creator Robert Lee rehearses a Peking opera move with actress MaryAnn Hu during a rehearsal at the Lila Acheson Wallace Auditorium at Asia Society in New York.. Credit: Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

Heading East co-creator Robert Lee rehearses a Peking opera move with actress MaryAnn Hu during a rehearsal at the Lila Acheson Wallace Auditorium at Asia Society in New York.. Credit:  Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

Heading East co-creator Robert Lee rehearses a Peking opera move with actress MaryAnn Hu during a rehearsal at the Lila Acheson Wallace Auditorium at Asia Society in New York.. Credit: Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

Director Darren Lee stages a scene of Robert Lee and Leon Ko’s Heading East at the Lila Acheson Wallace Auditorium at Asia Society in New York..  Credit:  Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

Director Darren Lee stages a scene of Robert Lee and Leon Ko’s Heading East at the Lila Acheson Wallace Auditorium at Asia Society in New York.. Credit: Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

The cast of Robert Lee and Leon Ko’s Heading East at the Lila Acheson Wallace Auditorium at Asia Society in New York.. Credit:  Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

The cast of Robert Lee and Leon Ko’s Heading East at the Lila Acheson Wallace Auditorium at Asia Society in New York.. Credit: Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

Director Darren Lee stages the curtain call for Robert Lee and Leon Ko’s Heading East at the Lila Acheson Wallace Auditorium at Asia Society in New York. Credit:  Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

Director Darren Lee stages the curtain call for Robert Lee and Leon Ko’s Heading East at the Lila Acheson Wallace Auditorium at Asia Society in New York. Credit: Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

Opening night champagne toast for the cast of Robert Lee and Leon Ko’s Heading East backstage at the Asia Society in New York on May 24, 2010. Credit:  Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

Opening night champagne toast for the cast of Robert Lee and Leon Ko’s Heading East backstage at the Asia Society in New York on May 24, 2010. Credit: Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

In August, 2010, I photographed Thom Sesma’s makeup transformation into Scar for The Lion King Las Vegas at The Mandalay Bay Theatre.

Thom Sesma in the makeup chair in his dressing room on August 23, 2010, at the Mandalay Bay Theatre, where he is currently starring as Scar in Disney's The Lion King Las Vegas through December, 2011.  Credit:  Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

Thom Sesma in the makeup chair in his dressing room on August 23, 2010, at the Mandalay Bay Theatre, where he is currently starring as Scar in Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas through December, 2011. Credit: Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

Makeup artist Laura Sill transforms Thom Sesma into Scar, in his dressing room at the Mandalay Bay Theatre, where The Lion King Las Vegas has performances through December, 2011.  Credit:  Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

Makeup artist Laura Sill transforms Thom Sesma into Scar, in his dressing room at the Mandalay Bay Theatre, where The Lion King Las Vegas has performances through December, 2011. Credit: Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

Thom Sesma, who plays Scar in The Lion King Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay, in his dressing room on August 23, 2010. Photo by Lia Chang  Credit:  Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

Thom Sesma, who plays Scar in The Lion King Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay, in his dressing room on August 23, 2010. Photo by Lia Chang Credit: Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

The Library of Congress is a central repository for all types of Asian publications that are not broadly available at other locations in the United States. Initiated in 1869 with a gift of 10 works in 934 volumes offered to the United States by the Emperor of China, the Library’s Asian collection of more than 2 million items is the largest and most comprehensive outside of Asia. For more information about the division and its holdings, go to www.loc.gov/rr/asian/.

Thom Sesma, who plays Scar in The Lion King Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay, in his dressing room on August 23, 2010. Photo by Lia Chang  Credit:  Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

Thom Sesma, who plays Scar in The Lion King Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay, in his dressing room on August 23, 2010. Photo by Lia Chang Credit: Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

Thom Sesma with makeup artist Laura Sill in the dressing room on August 23, 2010, at the Mandalay Bay Theatre, where he is currently starring as Scar in Disney's The Lion King Las Vegas. Credit:  Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

Thom Sesma with makeup artist Laura Sill in the dressing room on August 23, 2010, at the Mandalay Bay Theatre, where he is currently starring as Scar in Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas. Credit: Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

Thom Sesma, who plays Scar in The Lion King Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay, in his dressing room on August 23, 2010. Photo by Lia Chang  Credit:  Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

Thom Sesma, who plays Scar in The Lion King Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay, in his dressing room on August 23, 2010. Photo by Lia Chang Credit: Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at myLOC.gov.

Thom Sesma, who plays Scar in The Lion King Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay, in his dressing room on August 23, 2010. Photo by Lia Chang  Credit:  Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

Thom Sesma, who plays Scar in The Lion King Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay, in his dressing room on August 23, 2010. Photo by Lia Chang Credit: Photo from The Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at the Library of Congress/AAPI Collection

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, Chang 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. Chang was featured as Joy in the Signature Theater Company’s revival of Sam Shepard’s 1965 Obie award winning play, Chicago directed by Joseph Chaikin at the Public Theater. Off Broadway credits include: Jeff Weiss’ Obie Award winning Hot Keys (Naked Angels), Raunchy Asian Women (Ohio Theatre), The Confirmation (The Vineyard), Behind Closed Doors (MCC), Power Play (Billie Holiday Theatre), Two Gentlemen of Verona, Underground Soap, and Famine Plays (Cucaracha Theatre). She has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon and Taxman. Chang currently plays Nurse Lia on “One Life to Live”.

Chang’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, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Boston Globe, New York Times and Washington Post.

Selections of Chang’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. Photographs by Lia Chang are in the permanent collections of the Angel Island Immigration Station, Asian American Federation of New York (AAFNY), the Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA) in San Francisco, Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation Art Collection and the New York Historical Society.

A former syndicated arts and entertainment columnist for KYODO News, Chang 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. She is a National Tropical Botanical Garden Environmental Journalism Fellow, a Scripps Howard New Media Fellow at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, a Visual Journalism Fellow at the Poynter Institute for New Media and a Western Knight Fellow at USC’s Annenberg College of Communications for Specialized Journalism on Entertainment Journalism in the Digital Age. She is the recipient of the Asian American Journalists Association 2001 National Award for New Media and the Organization of Chinese Americans 2000 Chinese American Journalist Award. Avenue Magazine named her one of the “One Hundred Most Influential Asian Americans” in 1997. She is featured in Joann Faung Jean Lee’s book “Asian American actors: oral histories from stage, screen, and television”.
Other Articles on “Asian American Plays for a New Generation” & “In Rehearsal”
Extended through 8/23- “In Rehearsal” Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at Library of Congress Featuring Robert Lee and Leon Ko’s Heading East Starring BD Wong, Thom Sesma as Scar in The Lion King Las Vegas
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
OCA Awards Gala Photos: David Henry Hwang, Tamlyn Tomita, BD Wong, Dr. Bobby Fong & Tammy Duckworth
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

Other articles by Lia Chang
Coming to America through The Angel Island Immigration Station
Celebrating my mom – AN ACTIVE VISION: BEVERLY UMEHARA…LABOR ACTIVIST…1945-1999
Photos:Meredith Anthony, David Levien, Lyndsay Faye, Henry Chang & Dr. Julie Salzano Discuss the Mind of Sexual Predators
Coming to America through The Angel Island Immigration Station
H I R O S H I M A in Benefit Concert for Japan on 9/21 at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in NY
Photo Preview of BD Wong and the Cast of Heading East at the Asia Society, May 24-26, 2010
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

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