Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang: Epic Theatre Presents Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths, starring Joel de la Fuente, May 20-21, 2012


The NYC Epic Theatre Ensemble is presenting Jeanne Sakata’s solo play Hold These Truths (formerly known as Dawn’s Light: The Journey of Gordon Hirabayashi), directed by Lisa Rothe and starring Joel de la Fuente, in a free and prototype production at the 47th Street Theatre, 304 W. 47th St. between 8th and 9th Ave in New York on May 20 and 21 at 8pm.

Inspired by a true story, Hold These Truths takes place in Seattle during World War II, where University of Washington student Gordon Hirabayashi is agonizing over U.S. government orders to forcibly remove and mass incarcerate all people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast. As he fights to reconcile his country’s betrayal with his passionate belief in the U.S. Constitution, Gordon journeys toward a greater understanding of America’s triumphs — and a confrontation with its failures.

The production is free and open to the public, and begins at 8pm. Click here to RSVP. http://epictheatreensemble.org/holdthesetruths

Remembering Civil Rights Leader Gordon Hirabayashi,1918- 2012
President Obama Names Asian American Civil Rights Hero Gordon Hirabayashi Recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom

Jeanne Sakata (Photo by Lia Chang)

Jeanne Sakata (Photo by Lia Chang)


Jeanne Sakata made her playwriting debut in recent years with her solo show Hold These Truths (formerly Dawn’s Light: The Journey of Gordon Hirabayashi). The play had its world premiere in 2007 at East West Players, co-presented by the Japanese American National Museum, UCLA Department of Asian American Studies, and the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, and was subsequently chosen by the Epic Theatre Ensemble and the Lark Play Development Center for their first joint presentation, as well as by the New York Theatre Workshop to be showcased at their 2009 Dartmouth Residency. Most recently, the play was performed at Chicago’s Pritzker Pavilion with Silk Road Rising/Millennium Park as part of the Park’s 2011 IN THE WORKS New Plays Series. It was also presented in the Epic Theatre Ensemble’s 2010 Passion Play Festival with the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, at the University of California at Riverside, the 16th Annual Conference of the Japan Studies Association in Honolulu, at Japanese American Citizens League Day of Remembrance events in Sacramento and Salinas, California, and at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where it served as the inspiration and theatrical centerpiece of the civil rights symposium Civil Liberties, National Security and the Legacies of the Japanese Removal and Incarceration. With the East West Players Theatre For Youth program in 2008 and 2010, the play has twice toured high schools and junior high schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District. HOLD THESE TRUTHS is part of the Library of Congress Playwrights Archive in the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection in Washington DC, where Sakata’s working script is currently on view till May 31st in the Thomas Jefferson Building in conjunction with the Library of Congress celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

As an actress, Jeanne recently performed in Seven at USC, Julia Cho’s The Language Archive at East West Players, Don Nguyen’s RED FLAMBOYANT at Ojai Playwrights Festival and Velina Hasu Houston’s Calligraphy. An LA Ovation Award Winner for Best Lead Actress for her portrayal of Master Hua in Chay Yew’s RED at EWP, Jeanne has performed with The Public Theater, Lincoln Center Theater, Kennedy Center, Mark Taper Forum, La Jolla Playhouse, South Coast Rep, American Conservatory Theater, Northlight Theatre Intiman Theatre, Berkeley Rep, A Contemporary Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Syracuse Stage and Arizona Theatre Company, and is a member of LA’s renowned classical group The Antaeus Company. Screen credits include Tyler Perry’s “Meet The Browns,” “Desperate Housewives,” “ER,” “Threat Matrix,” “Line of Fire,” “Presidio Med,” “American Family,” “NUMB3RS,” John Ridley’s “I Got You,” the MOW’s “The Reading Room,” “HIROSHIMA,” “Consensual Relations,” and the feature films XXX2: State of The Union and American Fusion She will next be seen in the upcoming feature comedy The Babymakers, and will be workshopping Daniel Akiyama’s new play A Cage of Fireflies at the 2012 Sundance Theatre Lab, directed by Phyllis Look.

In December 2011, Jeanne was honored with the Outstanding Artist Award for her career achievements by Los Angeles’ Asian Pacific American Friends of the Theatre.

Hold These Truths (Formerly Dawn’s Light: The Gordon Hirabayashi Story) is part of the Playwrights Archive in the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection, and Sakata’s working script is currently on view in the Library of Congress’ Asian Division Reading Room in the Thomas Jefferson Building in Washington DC through May 31, 2012, in conjunction with the Library of Congress celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM).    Photo by Lia Chang

Hold These Truths (Formerly Dawn’s Light: The Gordon Hirabayashi Story) is part of the Playwrights Archive in the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection, and Sakata’s working script is currently on view in the Library of Congress’ Asian Division Reading Room in the Thomas Jefferson Building in Washington DC through May 31, 2012, in conjunction with the Library of Congress celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM). Photo by Lia Chang


Joel de la Fuente (Photo by Lia Chang)

Joel de la Fuente (Photo by Lia Chang)


Most recently, Joel de la Fuente has appeared onstage playing Vershinin in The Three Sisters, directed by Brian Mertes at the Chautauqua Theatre Conservatory. On screen, de la Fuente stars in the feature film Brief Reunion, which just won the Audience Choice Award at the Gotham International Film Festival and in the upcoming film, Forgetting the Girl, which also took home Audience Award honors at the Soho International Film Festival. Selected New York theatrical credits include: Ivanov in Ivanov (Mint Theater/NAATCO, Jonathan Bank, dir.); The Downtown Plays (Tribeca Theater Festival, John Rando, dir.); Claudio in Beatrice and Benedict with the New York Philharmonic (conducted by Sir Colin Davis); The Square (Lisa Petersen, dir.); America Dreaming (Michael Mayer, dir.); Valentine in The Two Gentlemen of Verona (NYSF, Adrian Hall, dir.). In 2005, Joel de la Fuente served as the Artistic Associate of the National Asian American Theater Company. In addition to Ivanov, he has also appeared with NAATCO in the world premiere of Cowboy v. Samurai; Air Raid;Fuente Ovejuna (David Herskovitz, dir.); and as Iago in Othello (also directed by Jonathan Bank). Other theatrical credits include: Ariel in The Tempest (Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey); Florizel in The Winter’s Tale (Williamstown Theatre Festival, Darko Tresjnak, dir.); Chay Yew’s Wonderland (La Jolla Playhouse, Lisa Petersen, dir.); Liu Mengmei in the Peter Sellars’ production of The Peony Pavilion which performed in Vienna, Rome, Paris, and London’s Barbican Centre. On television, de la Fuente has spent ten seasons appearing as TARU technician Ruben Morales in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” He was a series regular on the Fox drama, “Space: Above & Beyond;” and has had recurring roles on: “E.R.;” “High Incident;” and the Sidney Lumet series, “100 Centre Street.” Additional film credits include: Personal Velocity (Sundance Jury Prize Winner, Best Film); The Adjustment Bureau; The Happening; Heights; Return to Paradise; From Other Worlds. As a writer, de la Fuente’s essay on his experiences as an Asian American actor is published in Pyong Gap Min’s “Struggle for Ethnic Identity,” and he is a co-writer of “Life Document 2: Identity” with Ayad Akthar, which won the Columbia Students Award for Best Film in 2002. Joel de la Fuente is an alumnus of Brown University and the Graduate Acting Program at N.Y.U.

Lisa Rothe

Lisa Rothe

Most recently, Lisa Rothe directed Penelope by Ellen McLaughlin & Sarah Kirkland Snider at Playmakers Repertory Company and is currently developing a new opera about Ada Byron (Ada) by composer Kim Sherman and librettist Margaret Vandenburg, which was presented this spring as a part of the Center for Contemporary Opera’s Development Series. She has also workshopped, developed and directed over one hundred new plays and musicals, working with award winning writers such as James Still, Ellen McLaughlin, Karen Hartman, Andrea Lepcio and Pulitzer nominated and Grammy winning Rinde Eckert. Lisa is also the director of Offsite Programs and Partnerships at the Lark Play Development Center where she deals with providing expanded opportunities for playwrights, aimed at advancing new work to production nationally and globally. She has also spent time in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, working with the World Wide Orphans Foundation by creating theatre pieces with the children at Ahope Orphanage and helping to develop an arts based summer camp. She has taught and directed at many prestigious theatre programs around the country including NYU’s Graduate Acting Program, Yale School of Drama, The Juilliard School, The Actor’s Center, Stella Adler, Long Island University, Willamette University, Cornell College, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, University of Evansville and Chautauqua Conservatory. Lisa is a graduate of NYU’s Graduate Acting Program and Director’s Lab, as well as a Drama League alum, Fox Fellow, and member of the Women’s Project Director’s Lab and the League of Professional Theatre Women.
Playwright Jeanne Sakata with Joel de la Fuente, who portrays Gordon Hirabayashi in her play Hold These Truths, in rehearsal at 440 Studios in New York on May 10, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Playwright Jeanne Sakata with Joel de la Fuente, who portrays Gordon Hirabayashi in her play Hold These Truths, in rehearsal at 440 Studios in New York on May 10, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang


Playwright Jeanne Sakata with Joel de la Fuente, who portrays Gordon Hirabayashi in her play Hold These Truths, in rehearsal at 440 Studios in New York on May 10, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Playwright Jeanne Sakata with Joel de la Fuente, who portrays Gordon Hirabayashi in her play Hold These Truths, in rehearsal at 440 Studios in New York on May 10, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang


Playwright Jeanne Sakata with Joel de la Fuente, who portrays Gordon Hirabayashi in her play Hold These Truths, in rehearsal at 440 Studios in New York on May 10, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Playwright Jeanne Sakata with Joel de la Fuente, who portrays Gordon Hirabayashi in her play Hold These Truths, in rehearsal at 440 Studios in New York on May 10, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang


Joel de la Fuente, who portrays Gordon Hirabayashi in Hold These Truths, with playwright Jeanne Sakata in rehearsal at 440 Studios in New York on May 10, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Joel de la Fuente, who portrays Gordon Hirabayashi in Hold These Truths, with playwright Jeanne Sakata in rehearsal at 440 Studios in New York on May 10, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang


Joel de la Fuente, who portrays Gordon Hirabayashi in Hold These Truths, with playwright Jeanne Sakata in rehearsal at 440 Studios in New York on May 10, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Joel de la Fuente, who portrays Gordon Hirabayashi in Hold These Truths, with playwright Jeanne Sakata in rehearsal at 440 Studios in New York on May 10, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang


Playwright Jeanne Sakata with Joel de la Fuente, who portrays Gordon Hirabayashi in her play Hold These Truths, in rehearsal at 440 Studios in New York on May 10, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Playwright Jeanne Sakata with Joel de la Fuente, who portrays Gordon Hirabayashi in her play Hold These Truths, in rehearsal at 440 Studios in New York on May 10, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Joel de la Fuente, who portrays Gordon Hirabayashi in Hold These Truths, with playwright Jeanne Sakata in rehearsal at 440 Studios in New York on May 10, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Joel de la Fuente, who portrays Gordon Hirabayashi in Hold These Truths, with playwright Jeanne Sakata in rehearsal at 440 Studios in New York on May 10, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Other articles by Lia Chang:
Performing Arts Images from the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection on Display at the Library of Congress to Celebrate APA Heritage Month
Reading of Jeanne Sakata’s Dawn’s Light: The Journey of Gordon Hirabayashi Starring Joel de la Fuente in New York
Thom Sesma Stars in Jeanne Sakata’s Dawn’s Light: The Journey of Gordon Hirabayashi
Photos: David Henry Hwang, Oskar Eustis, BD Wong, Brian d’Arcy James, Francis Jue, Jennifer Lim and Leigh Silverman at WNYC’s The Greene Space
Raymond J. Lee and Ali Ewoldt star in Concert Reading of Jason Ma’s Gold Mountain on May 21, 2012
BD Wong to Star in Live Concert Recording of HERRINGBONE for 2 Nights Only as a Benefit for Dixon Place, 5/21, 5/22
Emmy Award Winner Richard Thomas Hosts Give Kids a Shot! National Meningitis Association Gala 2012 at the New York Athletic Club
Filmmaker Justin Lin Acquires Film Rights to David Henry Hwang’s Critically Acclaimed Broadway Comedy Chinglish
David Henry Hwang Set as Signature Theatre’s Residency One Playwright for the 2012-2013 Season
Photos: BD Wong, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Brandon Victor Dixon, Tom Viola at “Passing It On: An Evening of Mentorship to Benefit Rosie’s Theater Kids”
Photos: BD Wong in Rehearsal for “Passing It On: An Evening of Mentorship to Benefit Rosie’s Theater Kids”
Photos: Alan Cumming, Sutton Foster, David Pittu, Jarlath Conroy and Gordana Rashovich at Charles Busch’s Judith of Bethulia
Photos: Highlights of Shinsai: Theaters for Japan (3pm) with Andre Bishop, Mary Beth Hurt, Jennifer Lim, Angela Lin, Philip Kan Gotanda, Thom Sesma, Sab Shimono, Richard Thomas, Jay O. Sanders, and more
Photos: Highlights of Shinsai: Theaters for Japan (8pm) with Oskar Eustis, Patti LuPone, Lisa Emery, Ann Harada, Paolo Montalban, Thom Sesma, Sab Shimono, Henry Stram, Richard Thomas, John Weidman and more
Photos: Yellow Fever Playwright Rick Shiomi Explores New Territory with An All-Female Cast
Photos: “How To Succeed” stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rose Hemingway and John Larroquette at Lord & Taylor for Windows Unveiling
Multimedia: Promises, Promises’ Stars Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes at Lord & Taylor Fifth Ave
Broadwayworld.com Photo Flash: Library of Congress’ IN REHEARSAL Exhibit
Photos: David Duchovny, John Earl Jelks, Amanda Peet, Tracee Chimo at Opening Night Party of Neil LaBute’s Break of Noon
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, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2012 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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