Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Ariel Estrada, Hansel Tan and More Set for US Premiere of Wakka Wakka’s New Puppet Musical MADE IN CHINA at 59E59 Theaters, Jan. 10- Feb. 19

Wakka Wakka's New Puppet Musical MADE IN CHINA to Make US Debut at 59E59 Theaters59E59 Theaters will host the US premiere of MADE IN CHINA, written by Gwendolyn Warnock and Kirjan Waage (with help from the MADE IN CHINA ensemble), with music and lyrics by Yan Li, puppets by Mr. Waage, and directed by Ms. Warnock and Mr. Waage.

Produced by Wakka Wakka, in co-production with Nordland Visual Theatre, MiNEnsemblet, and The HOP at Dartmouth, MADE IN CHINA begins performances on Tuesday, January 10 for a limited engagement through Sunday, February 19. Opening Night is Sunday, January 15 at 3 PM.

The performance schedule is Tuesday – Thursday at 7 PM; Friday at 8 PM; Saturday at 2 PM & 8 PM; and Sunday at 3 PM. Performances are at 59E59 Theaters (59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues). Tickets are $25 – $60 ($25 – $49 for 59E59 Members). To purchase tickets, call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 or visit www.59e59.org.

From the Obie and Drama Desk Award-winning talents behind the acclaimed Baby Universe: A Puppet Odyssey comes a new puppet musical.

The MADE IN CHINA puppeteers include Lei Lei Bavoil, Ariel Estrada, Dorothy James, Wei-Yi Lin, Andrew Manjuck, Stephen J. Mark, Charles Pang, Peter Russo, and Hansel Tan. Music performed by The MiNensemblet with Yan Li and Max Mamon. (Please note that the MiNensemblet will be performing live January 10 – February 4 only.)

An isolated woman finds solace in shopping. After one of her big-box sprees, she finds a cry-for-help note, written by a woman in a Chinese labor camp, stuffed in a box of Halloween lights. Inspired into activism, she embarks on an odyssey of global proportions.

Inspired by true events, MADE IN CHINA dives into issues of human rights, consumerism and American-Chinese relations as told through the unlikely love story between this shopping-obsessed middle-aged American woman and her Chinese ex-pat neighbor.

Baby pandas, dancing appliances and romping middle-aged lovers populate Wakka Wakka’s fantastical universe. MADE IN CHINA features 30 puppets, seven puppeteers, music inspired by both American and Chinese traditions, as well as animated video to spin a contemporary issue of global relations into an entertaining tale of surreal dimensions with powerful take-aways and plenty of laughs.

The design team includes Yu Ting Lin (set design); Alex Goldberg (lighting design); and Tiger Cai (video animation). The Production Stage Manager is Mackenzie Blade.

Wakka Wakka Productions, Inc. is a non-profit visual theater company based in NYC, whose mission is to push the boundaries of the imagination by creating works that are bold, unique and unpredictable.

Since 2001, Wakka Wakka has created and produced eight original works of theater which have toured extensively throughout the US and abroad. All of Wakka Wakka’s productions have been highly physical, overlapping in a wide range of styles, including grotesque, absurd and clown; and incorporating elements such as object manipulation, puppetry, masks and original music.

Wakka Wakka was honored with a 2013 Special Drama Desk Award for Sophisticated Puppetry and a 2011 Obie Award Grant. In 2008, Wakka Wakka Productions was awarded a UNIMA Citation of Excellence for Fabrik: The Legend of M. Rabinowitz. In addition, the company’s work has been nominated for four Drama Desk Awards (Fabrik for Unique Theatrical Experience and Baby Universe for Outstanding Direction of a Play, Outstanding Music in a Play, Outstanding Sound Design in a Play), a Helen Hayes Award (Outstanding Visiting Production, Baby Universe) and a Hawes Design Award (Kirjan Waage, Fabrik).

The company is led by Gabrielle Brechner, Kirjan Waage and Gwendolyn Warnock and supported by company members Andrew Manjuck and Peter Russo.

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 Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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