Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Baayork Lee to Receive 2014 Paul Robeson Citation Award presented by the Actors’ Equity Foundation

Baayork Lee (Photo by Lia Chang)

Baayork Lee (Photo by Lia Chang)

Congrats to Baayork Lee, Asian American actor, dancer, singer, choreographer, director and author, who will receive the 2014 Paul Robeson Citation Award presented by the Actors’ Equity Foundation, on Friday, October 10, 2014, at 2 P.M., at the Actors Equity Building, 1560 Broadway, New York, New York 10036.  A small reception will follow the brief presentation at the beginning of AEA’s membership meeting. You do not have to be a member of AEA to attend the presentation – please RSVP by October 6 here.

Created in 1971, the Paul Robeson Citation Award honors individuals or organizations that best exemplify and practice the principles to which Mr. Robeson devoted his life: dedication to the universal brotherhood of all humankind, commitment to the freedom of conscience and of expression, belief in the artist’s responsibility to society, respect for the dignity of the individual and concern for and service to all humans of any race or nationality. Previous recipients include:Paul Robeson; Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee; Pete Seeger; Harry Belafonte; Studs Terkel; Lena Horne; Joe Papp; Maya Angelou; Bill Cosby; Sidney Poitier and, in 2013, Shauneille Perry.

Baayork Lee joined Christine Toy Johnson onstage at Charles Randolph-Wright’s “Three Voices” concert series at Stage 72 on November 11, 2013, to perform “Turkey Lurkey Time,” from Promises, Promises, with Lee performing for the first time in 37 years. Photo by Lia Chang

Baayork Lee joined Christine Toy Johnson onstage at Charles Randolph-Wright’s “Three Voices” concert series at Stage 72 on November 11, 2013, to perform “Turkey Lurkey Time,” from Promises, Promises, with Lee performing for the first time in 37 years. Photo by Lia Chang

Baayork Lee (playing Miss Wong in this clip from the 1969 Tony Awards) created the role of Connie in A Chorus Line, and in fact has made a career of recreating Bennett's choreography. Photo credit: Martha Swope on Armchair Actorvist

Baayork Lee (playing Miss Wong in this clip from the 1969 Tony Awards) created the role of Connie in A Chorus Line, and in fact has made a career of recreating Bennett’s choreography. Photo credit: Martha Swope on Armchair Actorvist

Lee, born in New York City’s Chinatown to an Indian mother and Chinese father, made her Broadway debut at the age of five as “Princess Ying Yaowalak” in the 1951 original production of The King and I. Her dream was to become a ballerina and she appeared in George Balanchine’s production of The Nutcracker, but this dream was dashed when she achieved her full height of just four feet, ten inches. In 1958, she returned to Broadway in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Flower Drum Song. Other Broadway appearances were in Bravo Giovanni; Mr. President; Here’s Love; Golden Boy; A Joyful Noise; Henry, Sweet Henry; Promises, Promises; Seesaw and Michael Bennett’s groundbreaking production of A Chorus Line, in which she originated the role of “Connie.” She worked with Bennett in several productions and over the years went from being his dance partner, to being his assistant. She would later supervise all major productions of A Chorus Line, choreographing 35 international productions as well as the 2006 Broadway revival. She is the co-author of the book, On the Line: The Creation of A Chorus Line, published in 1990.

Lee also has choreographed and directed scores of national and international tours of, among others, The King and I; Bombay Dreams; Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella; Porgy and Bess; Jesus Christ Superstar and Carmen Jones. In addition, she has choreographed several productions for the Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center, been a talent scout for Tokyo Disneyland and opened a musical theatre school in Seoul, South Korea. She was the recipient of the 2003 Lifetime Achievement Asian Woman Warrior Award from Columbia College in Chicago.

Larry Lee, Baayork Lee, Tommy Tune and Raul Aranas after a performance of NAAP's Hello Dolly! at The Pershing Square Signature Center on April 30, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang

Larry Lee, Baayork Lee, Tommy Tune and Raul Aranas after a performance of NAAP’s Hello Dolly! at The Pershing Square Signature Center on April 30, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang

Throughout her career, Lee has been committed to promoting a diverse society on American stages and dedicated to fostering opportunities for Asian American performers to play roles for which they might otherwise not be considered.

Nina Zoie Lam, Baayork Lee and Steven Eng, the founders of NAAP onstage before the performance of Oliver!,  at The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre 
inside The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on June 7, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Nina Zoie Lam, Baayork Lee and Steven Eng, the founders of NAAP, onstage before the performance of Oliver! at The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre 
inside The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on June 7, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

In 2009, Lee founded (with Steven Eng and Nina Zoie Lam) the National Asian Artists Project, which focuses on providing opportunities for the Asian American artistic community. NAAP’s “Discover New Musicals” program allows writers of all races and ethnicities to have new works showcased annually, utilizing Asian American casts, and its educational programs enable artists to hone their craft and to stay competitive in the workplace.

Bonale Zohn Fambrini, Raul Aranas, Mel Sagrado Maghuyop, Scott Watanabe, Cindy Cheung, Virginia Wing and John Haggerty at the curtain call of NAAP’s Oliver! at The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre inside The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on June 7, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Bonale Zohn Fambrini, Raul Aranas, Mel Sagrado Maghuyop, Scott Watanabe, Cindy Cheung, Virginia Wing and John Haggerty at the curtain call of NAAP’s Oliver! at The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre inside The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on June 7, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

The Actors’ Equity Foundation, a philanthropic and humanitarian non-profit organization, was created in 1962 to aid and assist the members of the acting profession and to promote the theatre arts. It is separate from Actors’ Equity Association and is funded by estate bequests and individual donations.

Karl Josef Co, Jaygee Macapugay, Raul Aranas, Christine Toy Johnson and the company of NAAP's Hello Dolly! at The Pershing Square Signature Center on April 30, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang

Karl Josef Co, Jaygee Macapugay, Raul Aranas, Christine Toy Johnson and the company of NAAP’s Hello Dolly! at The Pershing Square Signature Center on April 30, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang

Other articles by Lia Chang:
National Asian Artists Project To Present All-Asian Production of OLIVER! Featuring Raul Aranas, Anthea Neri, Bonale Zohn Fambrini, Mel Sagrado Maghuyop, Cindy Cheung, Scott Watanabe, Virginia Wing, David Shih and More
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
Christine Toy Johnson and Raul Aranas Lead the Cast of the National Asian Artists Project’s (NAAP) Benefit Presentation of Hello Dolly!, at The Pershing Square Signature Center
Geoffrey Holder, Artist, Dancer, Choreographer, Two-Time Tony Award-winning Director and Costume Designer for The Wiz, Dies at 84; Son Pens Intimate Account of Last Days
Oct. 28-Nov. 23: Ma-Yi Theater Company Presents Carlos Celdran’s LIVIN’ LA VIDA IMELDA and Han Ong’s CHAIRS AND A LONG TABLE at the Clurman Theater at Theatre Row
The Fortress of Solitude starring André de Shields, Adam Chanler-Berat, Kevin Mambo, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Kyle Beltran & More Begins Performances at The Public
Photos: Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion on View through April 19, 2015 at New York Historical Society
Coming to America through The Angel Island Immigration Station
Celebrating my Mom – AN ACTIVE VISION: BEVERLY UMEHARA…LABOR ACTIVIST…1945-1999
Museum of the Moving Image Presents A Tribute to Ruby Dee
Yuri Kochiyama Memorial Service at First Corinthian Baptist Church in New York
Oct. 5: Meet Award Winning Playwright J.E. Franklin at Booksigning for ‘To Break Every Yoke’ at Castillo Theatre
Rome Neal Seriously Injured in Fall; Fundraisers Set at The Five Spot on October 12 and the Nuyorican Poets Cafe on November 6
TCG’s SPARK Leadership Program Class of 2014: Victor Maog, Nelson T. Eusebio III, Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr, Snehal Desai, Deena Selenow, Jacob G. Padrón, Jr., Karena Fiorenza Ingersoll, Kelvin Dinkins, LaTeshia Dezelle Ellerson, Lisa Portes
Video: Jeremy Lin Pranks Visitors at Madame Tussauds San Francisco
Oct. 8 – 12: 2014 National Asian American Theater Conference & Festival Lineup
Oct. 10-12: Dan Kwong’s WHAT? NO PING-PONG BALLS? with Kenny Endo at Interact Theatre Company as part of 2014 National Asian American Theater Festival and Conference
David Henry Hwang and Lynn Nottage Appointed to the Playwriting Faculty of Columbia University School of the Arts Theatre Program
Photos & Video: The Wiz’s André De Shields Sang “So You Wanted to Meet the Wizard” in The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream at Carnegie Hall 
Joe Mantegna to Helm ‘Criminal Minds’ Season 10 Episode to Honor the late Meshach Taylor
Photos: Maxine Hong Kingston, Billie Tsien, Bill T. Jones, Linda Ronstadt, John Kander, Julia Alvarez, Jeffrey Katzenberg Receive 2013 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama 
Golden Globe Winner James Shigeta, Veteran of Film and TV, Dies at 85; Excerpts of 2007 A/P/A Institute Q & A with Sukhdev Sandhu 
Photos: Artist Arlan Huang, One Brush Stroke at a Time
Late Night Singing with Garth Kravits at 54 Below with The Skivvies, at Jim Caruso’s Cast Party at Birdland and Michael Raye’s Soul Gathering 
Photos and Video: Ben Vereen Performs at Carnegie Hall in The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream 
Photos and Video: Obba Babatunde and cast members from the original cast of Dreamgirls perform at Carnegie Hall in The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream
Joe Mantegna, Delta Burke, Gerald McRaney, President Bill Clinton and More Remember Meshach Taylor
Photos: Meshach Taylor Celebrates 67th Birthday with Arlene and Joe Mantegna, Delta Burke, Gerald McRaney, Jean Smart, Dennis Franz, Ernie Hudson, John Heard, Keith Szarabajka, Stuart Gordon, Shadoe Stevens and More
Bryan Cranston, Audra McDonald, Neil Patrick Harris, Jessie Mueller, Lena Hall, Sophie Okonedo, Kenny Leon, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, All The Way, A Raisin in the Sun, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and More Take Home 2014 Tony Awards 
Celebrating my mom – AN ACTIVE VISION: BEVERLY UMEHARA…LABOR ACTIVIST…1945-1999 
Crafting a Career
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang Photo by GK

Lia Chang Photo by GK

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, and made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York. She is profiled in Jade Magazine.

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 liachangpr@gmail.com

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