Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Jackie Chung, Raymond J. Lee, MaryAnn Hu, David Shih and Nate Miller Set for Mike Lew’s TIGER STYLE! at La Jolla Playhouse, Sept. 6-Oct. 2

tiger style

La Jolla Playhouse is presenting Tiger Style!, by La Jolla native Mike Lew, directed by Playhouse Associate Artistic Director Jaime Castañeda in the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre, September 6 – October 2 (press opening: Wed, September 14 at 7:00pm).

Tickets available at or by calling (858) 550-1010.

Star students and squabbling siblings Albert and Jennifer Chen used to represent the pinnacle of academic achievement. But when it comes to adulthood, they’re epic failures. Albert’s just been passed up for promotion and Jennifer’s been dumped by her loser boyfriend. So they do what any reasonable egghead brother and sister would do; they go on an Asian Freedom Tour! Tiger Style! examines the successes and failures of tiger parenting from the point of view of a playwright who’s actually lived through it.

“Mike Lew returns to his native La Jolla for the West Coast premiere of his achingly funny piece that centers on the tumultuous relationship between parents and children in ways that are at once outlandish and universal,” said Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley. “He’s joined by Jaime Castañeda and a cracker-jack cast and creative team, to take us a wild journey from California to China and back again.”

The cast features Jackie Chung as “Jennifer Chen,” MaryAnn Hu as “Mom/Therapist/Cousin Chen/Matchmaker,” Raymond J. Lee as “Albert Chen,” Nate Miller as “Russ the Bus/Reggie/Customs Guy” and David Shih as “Dad/Tzi Chuan/Melvin/General Tso.”

The creative team includes Lauren Helpern, Scenic Designer; David Reynoso (Healing Wars, Kingdom City), Costume Designer; Anthony Jannuzzi, Lighting Designer; Mikhail Fiksel, Sound Designer; Arash Haile, DJ; Telsey + Company, Casting; Shirley Fishman, Dramaturg; and Jennifer Kozumplik, Stage Manager.

Jackie Chung (Jennifer Chen) has appeared off-Broadway in microcrisis, The Children of Vonderly, Mother Courage and Her Children, Trickle, Japanoir, After… and The Director. Regional credits include different words for the same thing (Center Theatre Group); Brownsville song (b-side for Tray) (Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival); Fast Company (South Coast Rep) and Macbeth 1969 (Long Wharf Theatre). Her film and TV credits include “Deadbeat” (Hulu), Someone Else. Ms. Chung is a member of Partial Comfort Productions and the Ensemble Studio Theatre.

MaryAnn Hu’s (Mom/Therapist/Cousin Chen/Matchmaker) Broadway credits include Lincoln Center’s The King and I (Lady Thiang u/s) and South Pacific (Bloody Mary u/s) and Miss Saigon. Off-Broadway, she has appeared in The Audience (Transport Group), Falsettoland (NAATCO), Signature and the Vineyard. Regional credits include Allegiance (The Old Globe) and Tiger Style! (O’Neill Conference). Film: Elanore in the upcoming independent film Wilde Wedding (2017), DeLoba, Falling for Grace. TV: “Elementary,” “Madam Secretary,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Law & Order” and the recurring character of Soo Lin on the NBC sitcom “WHOOPI”. Ms. Hu studied under Wynn Handman and Upright Citizens Brigade for Improv and sketch writing. She also performs on the indie-improv scene with Baby Grand: The Improvised Musical.

Raymond J. Lee (Albert Chen) appeared on Broadway in Honeymoon in Vegas, Anything Goes and Mamma Mia! and off-Broadway in Two Gentlemen of Verona (The Public) and The Wild Party (Encores!). Regional credits include Stuck Elevator (A.C.T.); Nerds (PTC); Great Wall (Village Theatre); ...Spelling Bee (PCS) and Seussical (MUNY). TV and film appearances include “Smash,” “The Jim Gaffigan Show,” “Fame,” “Red Oaks,” The Mikado Project, Ghost Town. and follow @raymondjlee.

Nate Miller (Russ the Bus/Reggie/Customs Guy) is an actor/producer and Founding Member/Producing Director of Lesser America. Off-Broadway credits include Of Good Stock and Ripcord (MTC); Wyoming (Lesser America); Love and Information (NYTW); Peter and the Starcatcher. Regional credits: This Random WorldRomeo & Juliet, True West (Actors Theatre of Louisville) and Curse of the Starving Class (Wilma Theater). Film/TV: “The Good Wife” (CBS), “Us & Them” (Fox), “Another Kind” (Vicart Ent.). Education: Marquette University. Training: Juilliard (Group 39).

David Shih (Dad/Tzi Chuan/Melvin/General Tso) has appeared Off-Broadway in Mike Lew’s Bike America (Ma-Yi), Awake and Sing! (The Public/NAATCO), The World of Extreme Happiness (Manhattan Theatre Club), Crane Story (Playwrights Realm), Dojoji: The Man Inside The Bell, Sake with the Haiku Geisha. TV credits include “The Path,” “The Blacklist,” “Mozart in the Jungle,” “Unforgettable,” “Blue Bloods,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”. Film: The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Fan Girl, Old 37, Saving Face. He is the voice of Eddie Toh in the video game Grand Theft Auto V. Mr. Shih also works with Only Make Believe performing for kids in hospitals and care facilities.

Mike Lew grew up in La Jolla and is hugely grateful to be back at La Jolla Playhouse after interning at the theatre in 2000. In addition to Tiger Style! (Alliance and Huntington productions; O’Neill, CTG, and Juilliard workshops), his plays include Teenage Dick (Public Studio; O’Neill, OSF, FST, and PF workshops), microcrisis (Ma-Yi, InterAct, and Next ACT Productions), Stockton (AracaWorks and EST workshops), People’s Park (Victory Gardens workshop), In Paris You will Find Many Baguettes… (Humana), Roanoke (Humana), and Moustache Guys. He is a Tony Voter, Dramatists Guild Council member, and recipient of a Mellon Foundation Residency, NYFA fellowship, and the Lanford Wilson, Helen Merrill, Heideman, and Kendeda awards. He holds a new play commission from La Jolla Playhouseand is co-director of Ma-Yi Writers Lab, the largest collective of Asian-American Playwrightsin the country. Education: Juilliard, Yale, La Jolla High. Website:

Jaime Castañeda joined The Playhouse in 2014 as the Associate Artistic Director, where he recently directed Guards at the Taj by Rajiv Joseph. He has directed productions for Dallas Theater Center, Atlantic Theater Company, Cleveland Playhouse, The Old Globe, Perseverance Theatre, Kitchen Dog and American Theater Company. Jaime has developed new plays with the O’Neill, Rattlestick Theater, Portland Center Stage, Denver Center Theater Company, The Kennedy Center and the Atlantic Theater Company, where he spent five seasons as Artistic Associate. He is a Drama League fellow, has received the Princess Grace Award and the TCG New Generations Grant. M.F.A. in Directing from University of Texas at Austin.

The Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse is internationally-renowned for creating some of the most exciting and adventurous work in American theatre, through its new play development initiatives, its innovative Without Walls series, artist commissions and residencies, including BD Wong, Daniel Beatty and Kirsten Greenidge. Currently led by Artistic Director Christopher Ashley and Managing Director Michael S. Rosenberg, The Playhouse was founded in 1947 by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer, and reborn in 1983 under the artistic leadership of Des McAnuff. La Jolla Playhouse has had 25 productions transfer to Broadway, garnering 35 Tony Awards, among them Jersey Boys, Memphis, The Who’s Tommy, Big River, as well as Billy Crystal’s 700 Sundays and the Pulitzer Prize-winning I Am My Own Wife, both fostered as part of The Playhouse’s Page To Stage Program. Visit

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

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. Lia is a Signature Theatre alumni who was in the cast of Sam Shepard’s Chicago, during his Signature 1996-1997 Playwright-in-Residence Season. 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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