Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Rick Shiomi helms Mu Performing Arts’ Asian American Cast of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods at Park Square Theatre in St. Paul, July 17-August 5, 2012

Randy Reyes, Sheena Janson, Sara Ochs, Katie Bradley, Eric Sharp, Suzie Juul, Alex Galick and Maxwell Thao are set for Mu Performing Arts’ production of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods, directed by Rick Shiomi, which runs at the Park Square Theatre, 20 W. 7th Place, St. Paul, MN, from July 17 – August 5, 2012. Opening night is Friday, July 20, 2012. Single tickets start at $25 (adults) / $10 (students and children under 18) and are now on sale through the Park Square Theatre box office at 651-291-7005 or by visiting www.muperformingarts.org.

Mu Performing Arts' Into the Woods, directed by Rick Shiomi. Photo by Michal Daniel

Mu Performing Arts’ Into the Woods, directed by Rick Shiomi. Photo by Michal Daniel


Into the Woods, a multiple Tony Award winning modern classic with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine, takes familiar fairy tales and turns them on their heads. Sondheim’s memorable score includes crowd-pleasing musical numbers such as “Agony,” “Giants in the Sky,” and “No One is Alone.”

Randy Reyes, who has appeared in Mu Performing Arts’ productions of Little Shop of Horrors, Flower Drum Song, Yellowface, The Romance of Magno Rubio; at the Guthrie Theater in M. Butterfly, Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Government Inspector); and in Il Campiello, As You Like It with Ten Thousand Things, leads the cast of Into the Woods as the Baker. Sheena Janson (Theatre Latte Da’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), whose sultry voice brought new life to Audrey II in Mu’s production of Little Shop of Horrors, plays the Baker’s Wife.

Also featured in the cast are Sara Ochs (Little Shop of Horrors, Flower Drum Song, Four Destinies) as Cinderella; Katie Bradley (CTC’s Mulan, Jr, Little Shop of Horrors, Four Destinies) as the Witch; Suzie Juul (Park Square’s Ragtime) as Little Red Riding Hood; Alex Galick (Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them), as Prince Charming; Maxwell Thao (Stages Theatre Co.’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon) as Jack. Eric Sharp, who has appeared in numerous Mu productions and in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Odyssey and Oliver Twist at Park Square Theatre returns to play the Wolf and Rapunzel’s Prince.

Jeannie Lander, Tom Thao, Lara Trujillo, Meghan Kreidler, Danice Cabanela, Alice McGlave, Tom Lee, Jennifer Kelley, Natalie Chung, Michael Sung Ho, Kim Egan, and Brianna Heu round out the twelve member ensemble, many of whom are making their Mu Performing Arts debut.

Rick Shiomi Photo by Lia Chang

Rick Shiomi Photo by Lia Chang


Mu concludes its landmark 20th Anniversary Season, by diving further into its musical theater initiative. Into the Woods marks the Midwest’s first production of the show by a nationally recognized Asian American theater company. Director Rick Shiomi explains how the popular musical will been re-imagined from an Asian American perspective:

“Ever after… like you’ve never seen it before. We are transporting the musical from the woods of Europe to the forests of Asia. Imagine Jack and his mother in Hmong attire, Little Red in a Cambodian skirt, Cinderella in a Filipino gown and the Baker and his wife in Korean hanboks. It will be a striking variation on the original and yet, since the stories are so universal (many of these fairy tales have Asian equivalents) they will feel as funny and real, sad and sweet, beautiful and moving as ever, but in a totally different context.”
~ Rick Shiomi, Director

The artistic team includes Denise Prosek (Music Director). Maria Kelly (Choreographer), Jennifer Weir (Assistant Director),Gunther Gullickson (Scenic Designer), Karin Olson, Lighting Designer, Tom Sandelands (Sound designer), Paula Lee (Costume Designer), Sarah Salisbury (Props Designer) and Lisa Smith (Stage Manager).

Into the Woods begins preview performances on July 17, opens on July 20 and continues through August 5 at Park Square Theatre (20 W. 7th Place, St. Paul, MN 55102). Single tickets start at $25 (adults) / $10 (students and children under 18) and are now on sale through the Park Square Theatre box office at 651-291-7005 or by visiting www.muperformingarts.org

Click here for more photos of the production by Michal Daniel.
citypages.com Into the Woods at Mu Performing Arts Shows Dark Side of Fairy Tales
startribune.com: Mu Performing Arts ventures ‘Into the Woods’
pioneerpress.com: Mu’s Take on ‘Into the Woods’ lively, fresh and full of highlights
howwastheshow.com: Into the Woods by Mu Performing Arts’ at Park Square Theatre
startribune.com: Going all in for ‘Woods’
Mu Performing Arts
blogs.citypages.com: Mu Performing Arts goes ‘Into the Woods’
Mu was first founded in 1992 as Theater Mu, a theater company dedicated to bringing Asian American voices to the stage in the Twin Cities at a time when Asian American theater did not exist in the area and the Asian American community was rarely recognized. After forming Mu Daiko, a taiko drumming ensemble, the company rebranded itself as Mu Performing Arts, reflecting their broad artistic base of theater, taiko, and artist development. Mu Performing Arts remains Minnesota’s only pan-Asian performing arts organization, and has grown into the second largest Asian American performing arts company in the United States. In 2011, Mu Performing Arts published a new anthology of plays through Temple University Press, Asian American Plays for a New Generation. Six of the seven plays included were commissioned and/or produced by Mu. Each season, Mu produces three mainstage plays and one mainstage taiko concert, along with numerous artist development programs and other special events. Celebrating its 20th Anniversary mainstage season, Mu Performing Arts continued its string of ‘Best of’ top end of year picks by The Minneapolis Star Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press, with last year’s musical offering Little Shop of Horrors. In the last three seasons, seven out of nine productions have been listed on end of year lists. www.muperformingarts.org.

Other articles on Mu Performing Arts:
Randy Reyes Embraces his Passion for Storytelling as an Actor, Director and Theater Educator
Randy Reyes directs Mu Performing Arts’ production of EDITH CAN SHOOT THINGS AND HIT THEM by A. Rey Pamatmat at Mixed Blood Theatre, March 13-April 1, 2012
Mu Performing Arts’ Little Shop of Horrors on 2 ‘Best of’ Lists; Women in Arts Panel on 1/29, in Conjunction with Mu Daiko’s 15th Anniversary Concert and Tour
Mu Daiko 15th Anniversary Concert and Minnesota Tour, February 9-19, 2012
Photos: Yellow Fever Playwright Rick Shiomi Explores New Territory with An All-Female Cast
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
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
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
Click here for more articles on Rick Shiomi.

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Daniel Hsia’s Shanghai Calling, Simon Yin’s Supercapitalist & Michael Kang’s Knots to Screen at 35th annual Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF) in New York, which runs July 25 – August 5, 2012
Tony Award-winning Playwright Terrence McNally to be feted at Westport Country Playhouse Annual Gala, September 24, 2012
Dian Kobayashi, Emily Kuroda and Jeanne Sakata set for Daniel Akiyama’s A Cage of Fireflies at 2012 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab
Epic Theatre Presents Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths, starring Joel de la Fuente, May 20-21, 2012
Photos: All-Access Pass to Disney’s Aladdin at The Muny with Thom Sesma, Francis Jue, Robin De Jesus, John Tartaglia, Jason Graae, Curtis Holbrook, Eddie Korbich, Samantha Massell and Ken Page
Performing Arts Images from the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection on Display at the Library of Congress to Celebrate APA Heritage Month
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: 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: In Rehearsal with Director Bartlett Sher and the cast of Shinsai: Theaters for Japan
David Henry Hwang Set as Signature Theatre’s Residency One Playwright for the 2012-2013 Season
Photos: In Rehearsal with BD Wong at Dixon Place for Live Concert Recording of Herringbone
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
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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