Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Ma-Yi Presents Carla Ching’s The Sugar House at The Edge of The Wilderness at The Connelly Theater, 11/8-12/4

Cindy Cheung Photo by Lia Chang

Cindy Cheung Photo by Lia Chang

The Drama Desk and Obie Award-winning Ma-Yi Theater Company – one of the country’s leading Asian-American theater companies – is presenting the World Premiere of Carla Ching’s new play The Sugar House at The Edge of The Wilderness, directed by Daniella Topol featuring a cast that includes Cindy Cheung (Will Eno’s Middleton) and April Matthis (Young Jean Lee’s Lear). Preview performances of The Sugar House at The Edge of The Wilderness begin November 8 prior to an official press opening of November 15 at The Connelly Theater (220 East 4th Street) in Manhattan.

The Sugar House at The Edge of The Wilderness centers on Chinese adoptees Greta and Han, who are sent to live with their ex-rockstar uncle and his young girlfriend when their father dies suddenly and their mother goes on a grief pilgrimage. Wrestling with the wilds of New York and their grief, Greta gets in trouble with the law and is put in a court mandated reform program and Han runs away to play music on the street. On The Edge of the wilderness, Greta and Han must ask themselves: If I can’t go home, where do I go? A play with music and a live twitter feed about kids growing up fast, children raising children, and shifting notions of home.

Directed by Daniella Topol, the cast of The Sugar House at The Edge of The Wilderness includes Ali Ahn, Bjorn DuPaty, Cindy Cheung (Will Eno’s Middleton), Christopher Larkin (Back From The Front), April Matthis (Young Jean Lee’s Lear at Soho Rep) and David Spangler. The design team is Clint Ramos (Set Design), Japhy Weideman (Lighting Design), Shane Rettig (Sound Design), Theresa Squire (Costume Design), and Alex Koch, David Tenant, and Kate Freer (Video Design).

Carla Ching is a playwright, teaching artist and artistic director of 2g, she wrote and performed with the Pan Asian Performance group “Peeling” at venues like Second Stage Theater, The Asian American Writers Workshop, NYU, Cornell and The Puffin Room. Her plays have been produced or developed by 2g, Ma-Yi Theater Company, Desipina, Vampire Cowboys and IRT. She received a 2008 Urban Artists Initiative Fellowship, a 2009-1010 Teachers & Writers Collaborative Fellowship and a 2010 commission from EST/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to write a game theory play. She is a member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, a member of the Women’s Project Lab 2008-2010. MFA, Actors Studio Drama School, BA, Vassar College. Ms. Ching is a current member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, which was founded in 2004 by playwright Sung Rno and boasts the largest resident company of Asian American Playwrights ever assembled.

Daniella Topol is a New-York based freelance theater director primarily focused on working with writers to develop and direct relevant, theatrical and adventuresome new plays and musicals. Some recent productions include: Rajiv Joseph’s Monster at The Door (Alley Theatre), Anna Ziegler’s Photograph 51 (Theatre J, Washington D.C.), Willy Holtzman’s The Morini Strad (City Theatre, PA), Chiori Miyagawa’s Firedance (Bard College), Jeff Hughes and Scott Ethier’s Red Clay (NAMT Festival of New Musicals, Richard Rodgers Development Award at Queens Theatre in the Park/Playwrights Horizons under previous title Rosa Parks), Janet Allard and Niko Tsakalakos’ Pool Boy (Barrington Stage), Sheila Callaghan’s Lascivious Something (Women’s Project/Cherry Lane), and many others.

Founded in 1989, Ma-Yi Theater Company is a Drama Desk and Obie Award-winning, Off-Broadway not-for-profit organization whose primary mission is to develop new plays and performance works that depict Asian American experiences. Its numerous acclaimed productions include last season’s acclaimed production of Michael Lew’s Microcrisis and the revival of Ralph B. Pena’s Flipzoids. Other productions include: Rescue Me by Michi Barall, Lloyd Suh’s American Hwanggap, Soul Samurai, The Romance of Magno Rubio, The Children of Vonderly and wAve. Through successful programs such as the Writers Lab, Ma-Yi emboldens a new generation of Asian American artists to voice their experiences, while developing a steady stream of quality new works by Asian American Playwrights for its own performing repertory. Ma-Yi Theater Company productions have earned nine Obie Awards, numerous Henry Hewes Award nominations, a Drama Desk nomination and the Special Drama Desk Award for more than two decades of excellence and for nurturing Asian-American voices in stylistically varied and engaging theater.

Scheduled to run November 8 through December 4, performances of The Sugar House at The Edge of The Wilderness will run Tuesdays through Fridays at 7:30pm; Saturdays at 2:00pm and 7:30pm; and Sundays at 3:00pm at The Connelly Theatre (220 East 4th Street). Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by calling TheaterMania at 212-352-3101 or online at

Other Articles by Lia Chang
Tina Chilip and Jojo Gonzalez Star in Leviathan Lab’s Dynamic Hong Kong Re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night Featuring an All-Asian American Cast, at the Arclight in NY, 11/3-11/19
David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish Takes Home 2 Jeff Awards
Photos: Fall Foliage at Devil’s Lake State Park
Michael Etzwiler is Featured in Miracle on 34th Street at the Al. Ringling Theatre through 11/13/11
Photos: Backstage with the Cast of Chinglish and David Henry Hwang at the Longacre Theatre
Cathy Foy-Mahi Plays Bloody Mary in 2011-2012 National Tour of South Pacific
Photos: Opening Night of Mu Performing Arts’ Katie Hae Leo’s Four Destinies
Photos: Backstage at Mu Performing Arts’ Four Destinies by Katie Hae Leo, 10/15-10/30
Photos: Crossroads’ Ain’t Misbehavin’ 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: “How To Succeed” stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rose Hemingway & John Larroquette at Lord & Taylor Fifth Ave
Photos: David Duchovny, John Earl Jelks, Amanda Peet, Tracee Chimo at Opening Night Party of Neil LaBute’s Break of Noon
Multimedia: Promises, Promises’ Stars Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes at Lord & Taylor Fifth Ave
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, 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 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, 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.

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

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