The OBIE Award-winning NAATCO (National Asian American Theater Company) continues their 25th season with the World Premiere of Lloyd Suh’s Charles Francis Chan, Jr.’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery. Ed Sylvanus Iskandar directs a cast that includes Jeff Biehl, Jennifer Ikeda, Peter Kim, Orville Mendoza, KK Moggie and Jeffrey Omura. This Off-Broadway limited engagement at Walker Space (46 Walker Street) will begin October 26th, with Opening Night set for November 2nd. The limited engagement continues through November 21st.
1967. The auspicious beginnings of a new political identity called Asian American, as a young literary hippie named Frank essays an inscrutable Chinese detective. A harmless sing-song Orientalist minstrel show that ends in a grotesque carnival of murder! Lloyd Suh’s Charles Francis Chan, Jr.’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery is NAATCO’s first commission. It is an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles, the novel that introduced Hercule Poirot.
Lloyd Suh is the author of American Hwangap, The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go!, Jesus in India, Great Wall Story, Franklinland, The Children of Vonderly, Masha No Home and others, produced with Ma-Yi,The Play Company, Ensemble Studio Theatre, La Mama ETC, Magic Theatre (SF), ArtsEmerson (MA), Denver Center Theatre Company, Children’s Theatre Company (MN), East West Players (LA), and internationally at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Manila, and with PCPA in Seoul, Korea. He has received support from the NEA Arena Stage New Play Development program, the Andrew W. Mellon Launching New Plays Into the Repertoire initiative via the Lark Play Development Center, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, Jerome Foundation, Theatre Communications Group and Dramatists Guild. Additional residences and readings include: Ojai Playwrights’ Conference, Public Theater, Powerhouse Season at New York Stage & Film, Stamford Center for the Arts, Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum, Arena Stage, and the National Theatre of Timisoara in Romania. His plays have been published by Samuel French, Playscripts, Smith & Kraus, Duke University Press and American Theater magazine. He is a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre and The Actors Studio, an alum of Youngblood and the Soho Rep Writer Director Lab, and from 2005-2010 served as Artistic Director of Second Generation and Co-Director of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab. He has served since 2011 as the Director of Artistic Programs at The Lark.
Ed Sylvanus Iskandar is the recipient of the 2014 Drama Desk Special Award for the “visionary directorial excellence [and] bold and strikingly original imagination” of The Mysteries (NY Times Critic’s Pick, The Flea) and The Golden Dragon (Time Out NY Critic’s Pick, Play Co). Ed is also a two-time Drama Desk nominee for Outstanding Direction for Restoration Comedy and These Seven Sicknesses (both NY Times Critic’s Picks, The Flea). As Founding Artistic Director of invite-only NYC theatre collective Exit, Pursued By a Bear [EPBB], he has served over 12,000 free home-cooked meals and shared 150 priceless nights of theater over the course of staging 8 Labs and 40 Salons (all NY or world premieres). Ed’s body of work was honored with the 2013 National Theatre Conference Emerging Professional Award. Ed is a New York Theatre Workshop [NYTW] Usual Suspect, and Artist-in-Residence at Singapore Repertory Theatre. Previously honored as an NYTW Emerging Artist Fellow, Drama League Directing Fellow, two-time OSF Resident Director and Lincoln Center Directors Lab participant, Ed is the recipient of the Robert M. Golden Medal for excellence in the creative arts and the Sherifa Omade Edoga Prize for work involving social issues for his body of work as an undergraduate at Stanford University. Coming up: Mfoniso Udofia’s Sojourners (world premiere, Playwrights’ Realm); and an immersive all-male Taming of the Shrew (Shakespeare Theatre, D.C.). Ed is also under commission by Broadway Asia to conceive and create an immersive experience in Macau Island based on the The Golden Lotus, an erotic Chinese novel.
Charles Francis Chan, Jr.’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery will have scenic design by Jason Sherwood, costume design by Loren Shaw, lighting design by Seth Reiser, projections design by Olivia Sebesky, and sound design by Jeremy S. Bloom. Composer and Musical Director is Alan Schmuckler, Dramaturg is Kimber Lee, Props Supervisor is Samantha Shoffner and Qui Nguyen will serve as Fight Choreographer.
Under the leadership of Artistic Producing Director Mia Katigbak and co-founder Richard Eng, NAATCO was founded in 1989 to assert the presence and significance of Asian American theatre in the United States, demonstrating its vital contributions to the fabric of American culture by offering European and American classics as written with all Asian American casts; adaptations of these classics by Asian American playwrights; and new plays – preferably world premieres – written by non-Asian Americans, not for or about Asian Americans, but realized by an all Asian American cast. NAATCO puts into service its total commitment to Asian American theatre artists to more accurately represent onstage the multi- and inter-cultural dynamics of our society. By doing so, they demonstrate a rich tapestry of cultural difference bound by the American experience. The enrichment accrues to each different culture as well as to America as a whole. NAATCO performs the western classical repertory as written, with no forced Asian cultural associations. The repertory’s importance comes not only through the valuable training it provides for theatrical craft, but also from its ability to reach across ethnic boundaries to illuminate abiding characteristics of human nature. For her performance in the 2013 production of Clifford Odets’ Awake and Sing!, Mia Katigbak won an OBIE Award. NAATCO was the recipient of the 2012-13 Lucille Lortel Award from the League of Professional Theatre Women for their work “highlighting the multi- and intercultural dynamics of our society” and the 2006 Rosetta LeNoire Award from Actors’ Equity Association in recognition of its contribution toward increasing diversity and non-traditional casting in American theatre. NAATCO received an OBIE Grant in 2000 in recognition of the season’s productions: William Finn’s Falsettoland and the Brecht/Weill pieces, He Who Says Yes/He Who Says No. For more information, visit www.naatco.org.
Performances are Monday through Saturday evenings at 7:00pm with matinees Saturday at 2pm. Tickets for all seats for all performances are from $25 – $40 and may be purchased at www.naatco.org or by calling 866/811-4111.
Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a special events and performing arts 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, Taxman and Hide and Seek, which will screen at the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival on November 21st. She is profiled in FebOne1960.com Blog, Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.
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