Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Thom Sesma, Emily Padgett, J. Elaine Marcos and Thai Superstar Bie Sukrit lead the cast of the world premiere of WATERFALL at The Pasadena Playhouse, May 29 – June 28 and Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre, October 1-25

Thom Sesma. Photo by Lia Chang

Thom Sesma. Photo by Lia Chang

Thom Sesma (Broadway: The Times They are A-Changin’Man of La Mancha), Emily Padgett (Broadway: Side Show, Rock of Ages), J. Elaine Marcos (Broadway: Annie, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert), and Thai superstar Bie Sukrit lead the cast of the world premiere of WATERFALL, an epic new Broadway bound musical love story, at The Pasadena Playhouse (Artistic Director Sheldon Epps and Executive Director Elizabeth Doran), 39 S. El Molino Avenue in Pasadena, May 29 – June 28, 2015. Tthe official press opening is on June 7, 2015.  The production will then play Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre October 1-25, 2015.

WATERFALL marks a groundbreaking collaboration between American and Asian theatrical artists. The musical, based on a contemporary classic Thai novel, Behind the Painting by Sriburapha, features book and lyrics by Tony Award-winner Richard Maltby Jr. (Ain’t Misbehavin’, Miss Saigon) and music by Oscar- winner and two-time Tony Award nominee, David Shire (Baby, Big, written in collaboration with Richard Maltby, Jr.) The production will be directed by Broadway and Thai theatrical impresario Tak Viravan and choreographed by Tony Award-nominee Dan Knechtges (Xanadu, Lysistrata Jones). Casting for WATERFALL is by Stewart/Whitley.

J.Elaine Marcos

J.Elaine Marcos

Sheldon Epps, Artistic Director of The Pasadena Playhouse, says, “We are blessed to have brought together a tremendously gifted company for this world premiere production. I know that this gifted group of actors will offer their vitality and energy to this wonderful material and that they will bring this beautiful and romantic story to life. I look forward to having this dazzling cast on our stage and I know that they will provide a wonderful finale to a truly terrific season.”

Director Tak Viravan of WATERFALL, says, “”I am so excited and thrilled to be working with this beautiful and talented cast, and I feel blessed to be among this amazing creative team, many of whom I have been idolizing ever since I knew musical theatre. WATERFALL has been a wonderful journey, and I’m sure will continue to be so. I hope its beauty will touch everyone who comes to experience it. It is such a beautiful and special world.”

Tak Viravan is the leading figure of Thailand’s burgeoning theatre scene, where he has directed 14 musicals and plays and has presented many international touring productions. WATERFALL is adapted from an earlier musical, Behind the Painting, which Viravan directed in Thailand. He has also been a producer for several Broadway musicals, including the Tony-nominated revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (2011) and Nice Work If You Can Get It. Viravan is one of the most prominent and influential figures of Thailand’s entertainment industry, where he is also known as a television producer/director and for music and artist management.

Emily Padgett (Katherine) was most recently seen in her critically acclaimed performance as Daisy Hilton in the 2014 Broadway revival of Side Show. Her other Broadway credits include Grease (Sandy), Rock Of Ages (Sherrie), and Legally Blonde. Emily originated the role of Alex Owens on the National Tour of Flashdance and appeared in the 25th Anniversary Tour of Cats. She has also appeared on television in the FX series “Louie”. @MissEmPadgett

Thai superstar Bie Sukrit (Noppon) will make his American stage debut in WATERFALL. From his discovery in 2006 on the Thai television talent contest, “The Star,” Bie has become one of Thailand’s most famous and recognizable young talents, starring on stage, screen and television. As a recording artist, his credits include several top-selling albums and sold out concert tours. Bie created the role of Noppon in the musical Behind the Painting, the earlier version of WATERFALL.

Thom Sesma’s (Chao-Khun) Broadway credits include the original 1983 Broadway production of La Cage aux Folles, Chu Chem, Nick & Nora, Search and Destroy, Man of La Mancha, and The Times They are A- Changin’. Thom’s additional New York credits include the recent Off-Broadway production of Craving for Travel.

J. Elaine Marcos’ (Nuan) Broadway credits include The Wedding Singer, Sweet Charity, Wonderful Town, Flower Drum Song, Miss Saigon and A Chorus Line. She also played the role of Lily St. Regis in the recent revival of Annie on Broadway.

The cast of WATERFALL also features Celia Mei Rubin as Ensemble (Broadway’s Matilda The Musical, London West End’s Parade), Colin Miyamoto as Surin/Ensemble (National Tours of Beauty and the Beast and How I Became a Pirate), Darryl Semira as Ensemble (Broadway’s Mamma Mia! and Bombay Dreams), Eymard Cabling as Siamese Ambassador/Ensemble (National Tour of Miss Saigon and International Tour of The King and I), Jordan De Leon as Santi/Ensemble (Drury Lane Theatre’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Kansas City Starlight Theatre’s Footloose), Kay Trinidad as Ensemble (Broadway’s The Little Mermaid, Off-Broadway’s Bare), Kenway Kua as Ensemble (Broadway’s Wicked and The Frogs), Kimberly Immanuel as Pree/Ensemble (Regional credits include Crazy For You and Love’s Labour’s Lost, the Musical) , Koh Mochizuki as Ensemble (Broadway’s Mary Poppins and Aida), Leon Le as Ensemble (Broadway’s Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, Theatre Under The Star’s West Side Story), Lisa Helmi Johanson as Kumiko/Ensemble (Off-Broadway, National and International Tour of Avenue Q), Marcus Choi as Japanese Attache/Thai Minister/Ensemble (Broadway’s Wicked and Flower Drum Song), Minami Yusui as Ensemble (National Tour of Mary Poppins, Meadow Brook Theatre’s Lysistrata Jones), Riza Takahashi as Ensemble (The MUNY’s The King and I and Thoroughly Modern Millie), Rona Figueroa as Ensemble (Broadway’s Miss Saigon and Les Miserables), and Steven Eng as Takamoto/Ensemble (London West Ends’ The King and I, North Shore Music Theatre’s Pacific Overtures).

The creative team for WATERFALL includes John McDaniel (Music Supervisor/Conductor), Sasavat (Ja) Busayabandh (Scenic Designer), Wade Laboissonniere (Costume Designer), Ken Billington (Lighting Designer), Dan Moses Schreier (Sound Designer), and Caite Hevner Kemp (Projection Designer).

WATERFALL is an epic love story, set in Bangkok and Tokyo between the turbulent years of 1933 and 1939, as a monarchy falls in Thailand and Japan is on the brink of war. A young Thai student falls in love with the American wife of a Thai diplomat, and the story of their forbidden love parallels history as the new democracy of Siam moves into the vortex of the increasingly anti-American Japan. With a gloriously romantic score, WATERFALL is a modern love story of timeless scale.

WATERFALL will be produced on Broadway by Scenario Company Ltd. and Jack M. Dalgleish. Foresight Theatrical serves as general managers. Production dates for Broadway will be announced once a theatre has been confirmed.

The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101. The performance schedule is Tuesday through Friday at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday at 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Tickets, priced from $47.00 to $87.00, are available online at PasadenaPlayhouse.org; by calling The Pasadena Playhouse at 626-356-7529; or visiting The Pasadena Playhouse Box Office, Tuesday – Sunday from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. during non-performance dates. On performance dates the Box Office is open Tuesday – Saturday from 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, visit PasadenaPlayhouse.org.

cropped-lia-chang_photo-by-carlos-flores-3.jpgLia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon and Taxman. She has guest starred on “One Life to Live,” “As the World Turns,” and “New York Undercover.” Lia starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington and Roscoe Orman. She is profiled in Jade Magazine.

Related articles:
Christine Toy Johnson, Thom Sesma, Cindy Cheung, Raymond J. Lee, Pearl Sun, Marc delaCruz, Arielle Jacobs, Daniel J. Edwards, Kamala Sankaram, Mel Sagrado Maghuyop & More Set for The Asian American Composers and Lyricists Projects’ “Arriving In Asian America”
Nicole Ari Parker, Esau Pritchett, Thom Sesma, Everett Quinton and More Set for Antony and Cleopatra at McCarter Theatre
Thom Sesma and Sklyer Adams Star in Music Theatre Wichita’s Catch Me If You Can
Thom Sesma and Michele Ragusa Star in Greg Edwards & Andy Sandberg’s Craving for Travel through February 9, 2014 
Photos: Backstage Q & A with Thom Sesma and the cast of Signature’s Miss Saigon
Thom Sesma and Michele Ragusa to Star in Off-Broadway World Premiere of CRAVING FOR TRAVEL at Peter J. Sharp Theater
A Summer in Bangkok for Thom Sesma, Star of Signature’s Miss Saigon
Production Photos: Music Theatre of Wichita’s The King and I Starring Thom Sesma, Kim Huber, Alan Ariano, Karl Josef Co, Kay Trinidad, Tami Swartz at Century II Performing Arts Center through July 14, 2013
Christine Toy Johnson, Thom Sesma, Ali Ewolt, Jose Llana, Ann Harada, Telly Leung and More Set for The Asian American Composers and Lyricists Project at The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre on May 19, 2013
Thom Sesma, Francis Jue, Robin de Jesus and John Tartaglia set for MUNY’s Aladdin, July 5-13
Thom Sesma is the keynote speaker for the Library of Congress celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM) at the Mary Pickford Theater on May 17
Photos & Video Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas-In the Makeup Chair with Thom Sesma
Spotlight on Shanghai Moon’s Thom Sesma
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
Extended through 8/23- “In Rehearsal” Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at Library of Congress Featuring Robert Lee and Leon Ko’s Heading East Starring BD Wong, Thom Sesma as Scar in The Lion King Las Vegas
Photos: On the town with Rick Shiomi, Co-Editor of “Asian American Plays for a New Generation”, in D.C. & NY
Backstage at The Lion King Las Vegas with Thom Sesma
Thom Sesma as Scar in The Lion King at Mandalay bay
Thom Sesma, Peter Kim and Andrew Cristi star in Durango
Thom Sesma Stars in Jeanne Sakata’s Dawn’s Light: The Journey of Gordon Hirabayashi
Thom Sesma in The Epic Theatre Ensemble’s A HARD HEART

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Photos: Garth Kravits, Laura Benanti, Brian Nash, Lena Hall, Erin Davie and More in “Broadway Sings Tori” Benefit Concert for RAINN
Production Photos: Jon Tenney, Emily Ruth James, Tessa Auberjonois, John de Lancie, and Kwana Martinez in World Premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s MR. WOLF at South Coast Repertory through May 3
Production Photos: Tam Mutu, Kelli Barrett, Tom Hewitt, Lora Lee Gayer & Paul Alexander Nolan in DOCTOR ZHIVAGO on Broadway; Opens April 21
Photos: Inside THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE CD Release Concert with André De Shields, Kevin Mambo, Adam Chanler-Berat, Michael Friedman and More
David Henry Hwang, Laura Poitras, Amitav Ghosh, Deeyah Khan, Bill Rauch, Robert Battle, Carrie Mae Weems named among 13 Ford Foundation “Art of Change” Fellows
Photos: Traveling through the mouth of the Dragon with BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA’s James Hong, Peter Kwong, Lia Chang, Gerald Okamura, George Cheung, Al Leong, Jeff Imada, James Lew, Gary Goldman, Eric Lee, Joycelyne Lew
Photo: The Public Theater Presents Tony Award-winner Lemon Andersen’s TOAST starring Tony Nominees Keith David and John Earl Jelks, Hill Harper and more, April 21 – May 10 
A Sumptuous View of Ken Watanabe, Kelli O’Hara, Ruthie Ann Miles, Ashley Park, Conrad Ricamora, Jon Viktor Corpuz, Paul Nakauchi and More in Lincoln Center Theater’s Revival of The King and I
Joe Mantegna receives Lifetime Achievement Award for Film and Television from The Riverside International Film Festival
Hamilton tops Lucille Lortel Award Nominations along with Into the Woods, Between Riverside and Crazy, The Invisible Hand, The Nether and The Fortress of Solitude
The Women in the Arts & Media Coalition, Inc.: 2015 Collaboration Award recognizing Women Working with Women Open Call
Sinatra: An American Icon Exhibit on View through September 4 at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
“Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men” on view at Museum of the Moving Image through June 14; Required Viewing: Mad Men’s Movie Influences Film Series Screenings through April 26
Disney Developing Live-Action ‘Mulan’
Kenny Leon Helmed ‘The Wiz’ Set as NBC’s Next Live Musical to air on Dec. 3; Broadway Revival Slated for 2016-17
Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion Exhibition on view at New-York Historical Society through April 19; Photos of An Evening with Amy Tan
“Water to Paper, Paint to Sky: The Art of Tyrus Wong,” – Retrospective of Disney Legend at MOCA through September 13
Dining out at élan with Artist Arlan Huang; New Paintings on view at Trestle Gallery
Award Winning Actor Raul Aranas Talks THE BLACKLIST, NAAP’S OLIVER!, Songwriting and the Zen of Cycling
Tony Award Winners Chita Rivera and Roger Rees, Jason Danieley, Mary Beth Peil, David Garrison & More in Terrence McNally’s THE VISIT
Photos: David Byrne, Alex Timbers, Jaygee Macapugay, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Adam Guettel, Sarah Saltzberg and More Celebrate Jose Llana’s Lincoln Center American Songbook Debut
Signature Theatre Company’s Founding Artistic Director James Houghton To Step Down After 2015-16 25th Anniversary Season
Apr. 20: Garth Kravits joins Laura Benanti, Lena Hall, Scott Alan and more for BROADWAY SINGS TORI Concert to Benefit RAINN at (le) poisson rouge
Jerome Preston Bates, Michael Chenevert, Stephanie Berry, Terria Joseph, Kim Weston Moran, Tony Sallemi and Count Stovall set for World Premiere of Richard Wesley’s AUTUMN at Crossroads Theatre in New Brunswick, April 23 through May 3
April 23-30: The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) Lineup includes EVERYTHING BEFORE US, KTOWN COWBOYS, Shonali Bose’s MARGARITA, WITH A STRAW, Jennifer Phang’s ADVANTAGEOUS, Arthur Dong’s FORBIDDEN CITY, U.S.A. and THE KILLING FIELDS OF DR. HAING S. NGOR
The 31st Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) presents Jennifer Phang’s ADVANTAGEOUS Featuring Jacqueline Kim, James Urbaniak, Freya Adams, Ken Jeong, Jennifer Ehle, Samantha Kim, Jeanne Sakata, Jennifer Ikeda and Matthew Kim at the Aratani Theatre on April 24
April 26: The 31st Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) Artist Spotlight- Arthur Dong’s FORBIDDEN CITY, U.S.A. and THE KILLING FIELDS OF DR. HAING S. NGOR
May 1: A/P/A Institute at NYU presents Remembering SlutForArt: Tseng Kwong Chi with Muna Tseng, Ping Chong, and Bill T. Jones
15th Annual New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) Lineup includes Shonali Bose’s MARGARITA WITH A STRAW & Aparna Sen’s SAARI RAAT; May 4-9
Photos: Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Spring Exhibition, CHINA: THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, May 7–August 16
Tony Award® Nominees Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed to star in Rajiv Joseph’s GUARDS AT THE TAJ, helmed by Amy Morton, at Atlantic Theater Company, May 20-June 28
World Premiere Musical HAMILTON Transfers to Broadway; Previews begin July 13
Photos: National Black Theatre Festival 2013; NBTF runs August 3-8, 2015 and will include Act III – A Celebration of Life Reception saluting the late theatre icon Garland Lee Thompson, Sr.
Star Trek’s George Takei & Broadway Bound ALLEGIANCE Create Indiegogo Campaign as Endowment for the Japanese American National Museum 
Tony Award winner Lea Salonga and Telly Leung Set to Co-star with George Takei in ALLEGIANCE; Previews Begin at the Longacre Theatre on October 6
Photos: John W. Kuo, Jessica Hagedorn, and Neal Katyal Receive AALDEF 2015 Justice in Action Awards
Suzan-Lori Parks’ FATHER COMES HOME FROM THE WARS, PARTS 1, 2 & 3 is the 2015 Winner of the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History 
Crafting a Career
Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s