PAN ASIAN REPERTORY THEATRE continues its 38th Season with a re-imagining of the epic musical, James A. Michener’s SAYONARA. This classic story of romance and the power of love to overcome the conflict between two clashing cultures, the US Military and a world-famous all female Takarazuka dance theatre, has a book by William Luce, lyrics by Hy Gilbert, music by George Fischoff, and is adapted from the novel by James A. Michener. Directed by Tisa Chang, with choreography by Rumi Oyama, and musical direction by Sarah Brett England; the production will begin previews on July 5, 2015 and run until July 26, 2015 at the Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row (410 W 42nd Street between 9th and Dyer). The official opening is on Thursday, July 9 at 7:30PM.
Director Tisa Chang says “Pan Asian’s re-envisioning will focus on the integrity and strength of the women characters and their relationships rather than ‘exoticism’ of Japanese culture. 2015 will be the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII and we feel this is the ripe time to re-visit this story of love versus prejudice, and questions of loyalty, sacrifice, and of what constitutes a legal or acceptable marriage – an issue we see tested even now. We are proud that alumna and Honorary Advisor, June Angela, originated the role of Hana-Ogi, and now Pan Asian is taking on the challenge of this musical to introduce it to a new generation of audiences, and to expand meaningful opportunities to Asian artists.”
Also envisioned as an Academy Award winning movie starring Marlon Brando, SAYONARA the musical follows Lloyd “Ace” Gruver, played by Morgan McCann, a US military fighter pilot stationed in post-WWII Japan who is beginning to question his military destiny. When he falls in love with the beautiful Hana-Ogi, a star performer in the Takarazuka dance troupe played by Ya Han Chang, compassion and love heal prejudice despite the inevitable collision of two disparate worlds. The cast features Pan Asian veteran performer, Ako, who previously played the roles of Fumiko and Katsumi, joined by a stellar team including Natsuko Hirano who is performing with the permission of Actors’ Equity Association, Justin Holcomb, Scott Klavan, Justin McEllroy, Rumi Oyama, Edward Tolve, Mollie Vogt-Welch, and Sandy York. The multi-faceted dancers are Carol Angeli, Yurina Kutsukake, Azumi Milligan, Michiko Sasaki, Alicia Kaori Shumway and Jessica Wu. Stage Manager is Taylor Alyssa Marun.
Production design includes sets by Sheryl Liu, lights by Marie Yokoyama (both of FILM CHINOIS); costumes by Carol Pelletier (DOJOJI), dance costumes by Keiko Obremski, and sound by Ian Wherle, (NO-NO BOY, FISHING FOR WIVES).
Performances of SAYONARA are Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7:30pm with matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2:30pm, added performance Monday July 6 at 7:30 and Wednesday July 8 at 2:30; no performance Friday July 10 or matinee Saturday July 11 at 2:30. Opening Night on July 9 includes a post-show party with the cast.
Tickets are $61.25 (Opening Night $126.25). Contact Telecharge at 212-239-6200 or www.telecharge.com.
Lia 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.” She is profiled in Jade Magazine.
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