Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Feb. 12: Benefit Performance of The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go! at La MaMa For the Randy Gener Fund

Samuel L. Jackson and Randy Gener at The Drama Desk & Fordham University Theatre Program’s  “Anatomy of a Breakout” Panel in New York on November 16, 2011. on Photo by Lia Chang

Samuel L. Jackson and Randy Gener at The Drama Desk & Fordham University Theatre Program’s “Anatomy of a Breakout” Panel in New York on November 16, 2011. Photo by Lia Chang

The February 12 performance of THE WONG KIDS IN THE SECRET OF THE SPACE CHUPACABRA GO! – a co-production of Ma-Yi Theater and La MaMa – will be a benefit for the Randy Gener Fund to raise money to help support the medical costs of Mr. Gener, an award-winning journalist, editor and artist, who was attacked in Midtown, a block away from his apartment on November 17, 2014, according to a report on He had just left a party around 4 a.m. and was on his way home near West 54th and 7th Avenue. Police found Mr. Gener lying on the ground with severe head wounds. Emergency crews transported him to St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital, where he is listed in stable condition, after undergoing brain surgery.
Theater Journalist Randy Gener Recovering From Brain Surgery After Assault

The recipient of the 2009 George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism, the 2010 SPJ Deadline Club Award for Best Arts Reporting in New York City and the 2010 NLGJA Journalist of the Year Award, Mr. Gener is the U.S. editor of Critical Stages, and has worked for The New York Times, the New York Daily News, National Public Radio and many other news organizations in the United States, Europe and Asia. Mr. Gener’s family and friends have also set up a website to help cover the his medical expenses.
Friends, family raise about $50G for Randy Gener, a gay journalist beaten in Midtown

According to a report in the New York Daily News, police arrested 24-year-old Leighton Jennings for second-degree assault on January 28, 2014.
Cops arrest suspect wanted for attack on gay journalist in Midtown
All proceeds from the 7 pm show of The Wong Kids at La MaMa (66 E. 4 St. in Manhattan) on Feb. 12 will go to the Fund, it has been announced by Jorge Z. Ortoll, executive director of Ma-Yi, an Asian-American theater company now celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Regular-priced tickets or ‘Give What You Can’ ticket can be purchased online at or at the door.

Written by Lloyd Suh – whose previous productions with Ma-Yi include AMERICAN HWANGAP and JESUS IN INDIA Off-Broadway and who is a member of Ma-Yi’s celebrated Writers Lab – THE WONG KIDS IN THE SECRET OF THE SPACE CHUPACABRA GO! is helmed by Ma-Yi’s artistic director Ralph B. Peña (director of the company’s production of MICROCRISIS, along with CENTAUR BATTLE OF SAN JACINTO) with Jack Tamburri. THE WONG KIDS  marks Ma-Yi’s first production of a new work fully suitable for family audiences of all ages. This exciting first-time collaboration between Ma-Yi Theater Company in New York and Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis is also notable for its rare depiction of young Asian-American characters as “heroes” of an adventure tale. The producers liken the sensibility and humor of THE WONG KIDS to that of the popular TV series “PHINEAS AND FERB”.

THE WONG KIDS uses time-honored stage magic – a mix of intelligent and fun action-driven storytelling, puppetry, and visual effects – as it transports its audience into the far reaches of the galaxy. Violet and Bruce Wong just don’t fit in with the other Earth kids. Sure, they have superpowers, they’re just not very good ones. But when an evil beast called the Space Chupacabra appears, intent on universal destruction, The Wong Kids must travel to outer space in order to stop it… if they can only stop bickering. Violet and Bruce ultimately realize that being different isn’t just okay, it might just be the most important thing like ever.

Since its opening on Sunday, Feb. 2, THE WONG KIDS has received praise from all corners:

Suh has duly pitched the work well above a stereotypical kid level. Listening to the audience, you can hear the swell of adult laughter in one section, then a burble of child giggling in the next. There are broad moments, and there are sly jokes.”
  • Helen Shaw, TDF Stages
Young fans of The Big Bang Theory and other quirky comedies will find this sci-fi fest endlessly entertaining, but geeks of all ages will get a kick out of it. The real secret of The Wong Kids? It’s likely one of the best shows currently running in New York for young theatergoers. But that shouldn’t be a secret much longer.”
  • Pete Hempstead, TheaterMania
It is great fun and will serve as an excellent introduction to theater for any youngsters lucky enough to see it. We hope lots of kids GO!”
  • Maxamoo
“…this play is filled with imagination, spontaneity, comedy, and heart. It is both moving and hilarious.  Multi-layered, it is geared towards children and adults.”

The cast of THE WONG KIDS at La MaMa includes Alton Alburo, Curran Connor, Sasha Diamond, Ethan Hova, Kate Marley, Matthew Gunn Park. The design team includes Meredith Ries (set), Becky Bodurtha (costumes), Paul Whitaker (lighting), Shane Rettig (original music & sound), David Parkinson Valentine (puppets), Jennifer Delac choreographs.

Ma-Yi Theater Company, founded in 1989 and now celebrating its 25th anniversary season, is a Drama Desk and OBIE Award-winning, Off-Broadway not-for-profit organization whose primary mission is to develop and produce new and innovative plays by Asian American writers. It is currently led by Ralph B. Peña (Artistic Director), and Jorge Z. Ortoll (Executive Director). Since its founding, Ma-Yi has distinguished itself as one of the country’s leading incubators of new work shaping the national discourse about what it means to be Asian American today. Its numerous acclaimed productions include this season’s BIKE AMERICA, last season’s JESUS IN INDIA, Qui Nguyen’s THE INEXPLICABLE REDEMPTION OF AGENT G (with Vampire Cowboys) and SOUL SAMURAI (with Vampire Cowboys), Mike Lew’s MICROCRISIS and the revival of Ralph B. Peña’s FLIPZOIDS. Other productions include: RESCUE ME by Michi Barall, Lloyd Suh’s AMERICAN HWANGAP and THE CHILDREN OF VONDERLY and THE ROMANCE OF MAGNO RUBIO. 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. New works developed at the Writers Lab have gone on to successful productions around the country, at such theaters as Victory Gardens, Laguna Playhouse, Long Wharf Theater, Woolly Mammoth, and the Actors Theater of Louisville, to name a few. Ma-Yi Theater Company productions have earned 10 OBIE Awards, numerous Henry Hewes Award nominations, a Drama Desk nomination for Best Play 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.”

Children’s Theatre Company began as The Moppet Players, a small company, which produced creative dramatics, dance and theatre for children. In 1965, The Moppet Players moved into Minneapolis Institute of Arts and in 1975 was incorporated as Children’s Theatre Company. The Theatre’s reputation was built on a history of adapting classic children’s literature and storybooks, in addition to its extraordinary accomplishments in the areas of scenic and costume design. Today, CTC is recognized as North America’s flagship theatre for young people and families as well as a major cultural and artistic resource in Minnesota. CTC has been dedicated to advancing the art of theatre for families and young audiences for almost 50 years.

Ticket prices are $30 (regular), $20 (seniors/students), $10 (children under age 10). For tickets, visit or call the La MaMa Box Office at 212.475.7710.
Now through Sunday, February 16, 2014.

Remaining Performances:
Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 7 pm, Thursday – Saturday at 7:00PM, Saturday – Sunday at 1:30PM at La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theater (66 East 4th Street) – between Bowery and 2nd Ave.

Dedicated to the artist and all aspects of the theatre, La MaMa provides a supportive home for artists and takes risks on unknown work. An integral part of New York City’s cultural landscape, La MaMa has a worldwide reputation for producing daring work in theatre, dance, performance art, and music that defies form and transcends boundaries of language, race, and culture.  Founded in 1961 by theatre pioneer and legend Ellen Stewart, La MaMa is a global organization with creative partners and dedicated audiences around the world.

La MaMa presents an average of 60-70 productions annually, most of which are world premieres. To date, over 3,500 productions have been presented at La MaMa with artists from more than 70 nations. Honored with more than 30 OBIE Awards, dozens of Drama Desk and Bessie Awards, La MaMa’s programming is culturally diverse, cross-disciplinary and draws audiences from all walks of life.

Latest coverage of Randy’s attack:
Amid the Super Bowl hype, Randy Gener’s story is more typical of the Asian American immigrant experience than you think
AAJA and NLGJA hopes for Randy Gener’s speedy recovery
ABC7: Police investigating possible Midtown bias attack on gay journalist
New York Daily News: Journalist brutally beaten in possible Midtown hate crime, undergoes brain surgery
CBS: NYPD Releases Sketch Of Suspect Wanted In Beating Of Journalist Randy Gener

Other articles by Lia Chang:
Photos: David Henry Hwang, Jennifer Lim, Leigh Silverman, Samuel L. Jackson, Kenny Leon, David Ives, Douglas Carter Beane and More at The Drama Desk & Fordham University Theatre Program’s “Anatomy of a Breakout” Panel
Randy Gener of American Theatre magazine Receives the NLGJA Journalist of the Year Award
Randy Gener Wins 2010 SPJ Deadline Club Award for Best Arts Reporting in New York City
Where to Celebrate the Lunar New Year -Year of the Horse in New York 
Photos: A Suckling Pig and a Lion Dance to Usher in the Year of the Horse at Asia Roma 
2014 is the Year of the Horse, Dragons and Lions in The Chinese New Year Parade
Photos: Celebrating the Year of the Horse with David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu at Signature, Previews begin February 4, 2014 
Feb. 4 – Mar. 16: Phoebe Strole, Jon Rua, Join Cole Horibe and More for Signature’s World Premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu 
Photos: David Henry Hwang, Annie Baker and Rajiv Joseph honored at Sixth Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards 
March 21 – May 4: Arena Stage Presents World Premiere of Lawrence Wright’s Camp David Starring Tony Award winner Ron Rifkin and Emmy Award winner Richard Thomas 
Feb. 7-22: Maggie Alexander and Ciarán Sheehan Star in Michael Weller’s Fifty Words at The Gene Frankel Theatre 
Q & A with Meet Me in St. Louis: A Live Radio Play’s Garth Kravits
Photos: Tracey Conyer Lee, Lelund Durond Thompson, Matthew Murumba, and Carmen LoBue set for Camile Darby’s Lords Resistance Featured in The Fire This Time Festival at The Kraine Theater 
Peter Scolari, C.J. Wilson, Francois Battiste, Chris Henry Coffey and More in Eric Simonson’s The Bronx Bombers at Circle in the Square Theatre
Photos: André De Shields, Michael Shannon, Rajiv Joseph, Christine Sherrill, Doug Peck, Alexis J. Rogers, Karen Ziemba and More Celebrate 2013 Jeff Equity Awards
Photos: Cheryl Lynn Bruce, André De Shields, Sandra Marquez, Dennis Zacek and More Celebrate Opening Night of Appropriate by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins at Victory Gardens
Photos: Christine Toy Johnson, Baayork Lee, Jose Llana, Ann Harada, Dodie Pettit and More at Charles Randolph-Wright’s “Three Voices” concert series at Stage 72 
Photos: Denise Burse, Michael Genet, Doug Eskew, Tracie Thoms, Sakina Ansari-Wilson and More Celebrate Marcus Gardley’s dance of the holy ghosts Opening Night at Center Stage 
Photos: Backstage with Michi Barall and the cast of Regina Taylor’s stop.reset. at Signature Theatre 
Photos: The 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards and After Party 
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Charles Richard Barboza

Lia Chang. Photo by Charles Richard Barboza

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2014 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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