Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang: The Playwrights Realm Presents Jen Silverman’s CRANE STORY at the Cherry Lane Theatre, 9/6-10/1

Christine Toy Johnson Photo by Bruce Alan Johnson

Christine Toy Johnson Photo by Bruce Alan Johnson

Louis Ozawa Changchien, Susan Hyon, Christine Toy Johnson, Angela Lin, Jake Manabat, Barret O’Brien, and David Shih are featured in the world premiere of Jen Silverman’s Crane Story, helmed by Katherine Kovner and presented by The Playwrights Realm, at the Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce Street in New York, from September 6 – October 1, 2011. Crane Story previews begin Tuesday, September 6, at 8:00pm for an opening Thursday, September 15, at 8:00pm. Performances are Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 8:00pm with an additional performance Monday, September 12, at 8:00pm.

Inspired by the Japanese legend of the Crane Wife, Jen Silverman’s odyssey unfolds in the space between two worlds as Cassis, a Japanese American girl played by Angela Lin, embarks on a quest to save her brother’s soul from the Land of the Dead. Crane Story interweaves Japanese Bunraku-inspired puppetry, music, and folklore to weave a universal story of love, loss and life. The title of the play is derived from the ancient Japanese Myth of The Crane, a mystical creature that can live a thousand years and, to anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes, can grant a wish.

Angela Lin

Angela Lin

Creating the Bunraku-inspired puppets is Puppet Kitchen.
“The play has been such a personal journey for me,” said Ms. Silverman, who grew up in a number different countries including Japan and was influenced by a cultural grab-bag of stories like Hansel & Gretel, Norse mythology and The Crane Wife. “I’m also still asking myself questions about all of the different worlds in the play¬the underworld, the rainy spirit world, Tokyo¬and how these worlds build on each other and where they connect.”

The Playwrights Realm, under the leadership of Artistic Director Katherine Kovner and Producing Director Stephanie Ybarra, is New York’s largest theater dedicated solely to supporting early-career playwrights through Off-Broadway productions, new plays and the professional development of playwrights.
Crane Story
Concentrating on emerging young playwrights, The Playwrights Realm produces only a single full Off Broadway play each year. This year that one full production of this five-year-old developmental theatre company is Crane Story, developed over four years with a series of workshops and readings.

Previous Playwrights Realm full productions include last season’s Gonzalo Rodriguez Risco’s Dramatis Personae (2010), Christopher Wall’s Dreams of the Washer King (2010), Anna Ziegler’s Dov and Ali (2009) and Anton Dudley’s Substitution (2008).

Scenery is by Michael Locher, lights by Ji-Youn Chang and costumes by Moria Clinton. Music and sound is by Nathan Roberts. The production stage manager is Joanne E. McInerney.

Jen Silverman, American born, was raised in America, Europe and Asia. Her plays have been developed with New Georges, where she is an Affiliated Artist, New York Stage & Film, Powerhouse Theatre Company at Vassar College, the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, the hotINK International Festival, The Lark Playwrights Week and Seven Devils Playwrights Conference. Her work has been produced in the NYC International Fringe Festival, in New Mexico, Seattle, D.C. and L.A., and her short play The Education of Macoloco won the 2009 Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Play Festival and was published by Samuel French. Ms. Silverman just received a commission for a new play from InterAct Theatre and the NNPN.

Katherine Kovner founded The Playwrights Realm five years ago. For Playwrights Realm she has directed Dov and Ali by Anna Zeigler and Substitution by Anton Dudley. Other directing credits include Roxy Font by Liza Lentini at the New York Fringe Festival (four stars from Time Out magazine) and won the Fringe’s Best Ensemble Award, Elliot: A Soldier’s Fugue by Quiara Allegra Huades at Luna Stage, Iphigenia and Other Daughters by Ellen McLaughlin also at Luna Stage and Lizardskin by Jen Silverman at The New York Fringe Festival. She has developed work with New York Theater Workshop, Soho Rep, New Dramatists, New Georges, EST and Classic Stage Company where she was an Artistic Associate. Ms. Kovner is a member of the Lincoln Center’s Director Lab and an affiliated artist with New Georges.

Crane Story performs Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 8:00pm with an additional performance Monday, September 12, at 8:00pm.

Tickets for Crane Story are $30 and available through TeleCharge at 212-239-6200 or online at
September 6 – October 1
Cherry Lane Theatre
Crane Story
Cherry Lane Theatre
38 Commerce Street (Off 7th Avenue, 1 block south of Bleecker)
Buy-One-Get-One discount at, includes $31 for 2 tickets.

Other Articles by Lia Chang
Portraits of New York Chinatown After 9/11 Featured in “Post 9/11”: Commemorative Display at Library of Congress Asian Reading Room, 8/30-9/15
Henry Chang, Paula Bomer, Juliann Garey & Alex Shakar during Lit Crawl at Scratcher on 9/10
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 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
Desipina & Co. Presents Pooja Kumar, Sunkrish Bala, Joe Petrilla, Eileen Rivera, Jon Norman Schneider & Rajeev Varma in Rehana Lew Mirza’s Barriers at HERE, 9/7-18
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 Photo Flash: Library of Congress’ IN REHEARSAL Exhibit
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 Chinglish in Rehearsal
Coming to America through The Angel Island Immigration Station
Photos:Meredith Anthony, David Levien, Lyndsay Faye, Henry Chang & Dr. Julie Salzano Discuss the Mind of Sexual Predators
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.

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. 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,, Life & Style, OUT, New York Magazine, InStyle,,,,, 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 She writes about culture, style and Asian American issues for a variety of publications and this Backstage Pass with Lia Chang blog.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow Backstage Pass with Lia Chang on