Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Broadway Veteran Lainie Sakakura to Choreograph Woodminster Summer Musicals Production of CHICAGO, August 5-14

Lainie Sakakura

Lainie Sakakura

Woodminster Summer Musicals continues its 50th Season with Chicago, August 5-14, 2016, at Woodminster Amphitheater in Oakland’s Joaquin Miller Park, located at 3300 Joaquin Miller Road in the Oakland Hills.

Presented by Producers Associates, Chicago will featured direction by Joel Schlader, musical direction by Daniel Thomas, choreography by Lainie Sakakura and script adaptation by David Thompson.

chicagohpslideChicago is a stage musical with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb and a book by Ebb and Bob Fosse, based on a 1926 stage play of the same name by Maurine Dallas Watkins, a newspaper crime reporter. The story satirizes corruption in the criminal justice system through the stories of husband-killers Velma and Roxie, and their “celebrity lawyer,” Billy Flynn. The vaudeville-inspired performance style provides the perfect opportunity for several flashy dance numbers. (The story and themes in this musical are created for adults, though they’re not terribly shocking by today’s TV standards.)

Chicago‘s original 1975 Broadway production, choreographed by Bob Fosse, ran for about 2 years, but the 1996 Broadway revival is the second-longest running show in Broadway history, having surpassed Cats in 2014. This revival won 6 Tony awards, 6 Drama Desk Awards, and a Grammy for the cast album.

The stage musical inspired a 2002 film of the same name, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renée, Zellweger, Richard Gere, and Queen Latifah. This film version won 6 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and was the first film musical to win the Best Picture Oscar since Oliver! in 1968.

The cast features Christine Marie Capsuto* as Velma Kelly, Deborah Leamy* as Roxie Hart, Sebastian Romeo as Amos Hart, Jenny Matteucci as the Matron, Dwight Mahabir* as Billy Flynn and Damian Chambers* as Mary Sunshine. Ashley Cowl*, Heather Klobukowski, Harmony Livingston, Allison Naganuma, Jillian Owens*, Sarah Stahl,  Katherine Stein, Phoebe Tamble,  Charlie Fields,Travis Patton*, Mark Reis*,  Adam Rogers*, Oscar Tsukayama round out the ensemble.

The creative team includes set design by Maggie Lamb, lighting design by Jon Gourdine, costume coordination by Alison Morris, and sound designer by Carole Davis.

Performance Schedule:
Friday, August 5 @8pm
Saturday, August 6 @8pm
Sunday, August 7 @8pm
Thursday, August 11 @8pm
Friday, August 12 @8pm
Saturday, August 13 @8pm
Sunday, August 14 @8pm

Tickets are available by phone, at 510-531-9597, online, or in person at Woodminster Amphitheater 10-4 daily or at the box office before any performance.

Tickets for summer musicals at Woodminster Amphitheater range from $30 to $64 with a $2 discount for children and seniors.  Season tickets  provide about a 15% discount over the single ticket prices.    Also, groups of 25 and more can purchase blocks of seats for about half price, providing an affordable outing or fundraiser for a church or service group, neighborhood association, or any other group.  For information about tickets, including other discount programs, check online or call 510-531-9597.

Woodminster continues its popular Kids Come Free program, where children and teens 16 or younger who are attending with paying adults can get free tickets on performance nights. Producers Associates is seeking sponsors for this longstanding program, which helps families introduce their kids to live theater in a relaxed and affordable environment.  In its 25-year history, the Kids Come Free program has provided over 43,000 free tickets to young theater-goers.

Lainie Sakakura is a 22+ year Broadway veteran, a choreographer, teacher, director and writer.

Her teaching career of over 25 years includes American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, New York University, CAP 21, University of the Arts, Jacob’s Pillow, Steps NYC, Broadway Dance Center, Alonzo King LINES Ballet Center, CCCEPA, New Jersey Ballet, and she was the proprietor of her own school, Dance Theatre Arts in CA.

Her professional performing career started with joining Ballet Hispanico in 1988 after training with San Francisco Ballet for 8 years. Since then, she has been in the Original Cast of six Broadway shows including FOSSE and CHITA RIVERA, THE DANCER’S LIFE. Also in NYC – Radio City Music Hall Rockette; ARMIDA, Metropolitan Opera; 3 shows for City Center Encores! and many other shows, productions and tours too numerous to name. Currently in the Tony Award winning Broadway revival of THE KING AND I at Lincoln Center.

Sakakura is an Award winning choreographer and is the recipient of the 2015 Joe Callaway Award for Best Choreography – Off Broadway RED EYE OF LOVE with co-choreographer Alex Sanchez; Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Choreography – DAMN YANKEES and Nominated for Best CHoreography – HOT MIKADO both at the Marriott Theatre in Chicago. She recently choreographed and associate directed THE MERMAN SONGBOOK at the 92Y Lyrics and Lyricist Concert Series; choreographed two new shows for Holland America Lines; Jimmy Buffett’s Concert Tour; Allen Knee’s Syncopation (NY Times, “sheer movement provides its dramatic momentum, visual grace and defining metaphor”). She recently directed, produced and wrote ALVIN ING – GOT A LOT OF LIVIN’ TO DO, a cabaret show, at The Duplex.

Over the last 50 years, Producers Associates has presented 157 productions, entertaining about a million Woodminster Summer Musicals ticket holders.  The shows have been performed by more than 5000 actors, over 20% of them members of Actors Equity Association, making the organization one of the Bay Area’s most reliable employers of professional actors.  The musicals have always been performed with live professional orchestras, which have included 23 different conductors and over 1800 members of Musicians Local #6.  In addition, the organization has employed 25 professional set designers, 17 lighting designers, 24 costume designers, 6 sound technicians, 18 choreographers, 6 directors, and over 1,500 young backstage interns.

Woodminster Summer Musicals are performed under the stars at Woodminster Amphitheater, an open-air performance facility in Joaquin Miller Park high in the Oakland Hills.The park’s spectacular views and serene woodsy environment made it the perfect setting for the amphitheater, cascades, reflecting pool, and paths that were originally built as a WPA project in 1939-40. For many East Bay families, it is a long-standing summer tradition to enjoy a picnic in the park and then see a musical at Woodminster.   For more information about the 2016 season or the history of the organization, visit Woodminster Summer Musicals

An Afternoon of Pure Joy at Lainie Sakakura’s UWS DANCE 

Robert Longbottom, Jodi Long, Jose Llana, Virginia Wing, Darren Lee, Hazel Anne Raymundo, Lainie Sakakura and More Celebrate Alvin Ing’s 84th Birthday -“GOT A LOT OF LIVIN’ TO DO” at The Duplex Cabaret Theatre Photo Flash: Alvin Ing Celebrates Birthday Post-Show at The Duplex Photo Flash: First Look at Alvin Ing’s GOT A LOT OF LIVIN’ TO DO at The Duplex STAGE TUBE: Sneak Peek of Alvin Ing and Friends in Rehearsal for GOT A LOT OF LIVIN’ TO DO at The Duplex Photo Flash: In Rehearsal for Alvin Ing‘s GOT A LOT OF LIVIN’ TO DO at The Duplex Piano Bar 

Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. 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. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and

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