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February 15, 2009 | Karen Wada
Paul Kikuchi has spent nearly half his life pursuing the Great Hollywood Dream: selling a screenplay. A couple of years ago, however, he hit a dry spell and decided to switch things up by taking a playwriting class at East West Players, the nation's oldest Asian American stage company. Kikuchi, a third-generation Japanese American, had never written about anything Asian American, and his theater experience was, he admits, "pretty thin." Even so, he appears to have aced the class. His first play, "Ixnay," will open at East West on Wednesday.
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ENTERTAINMENT
March 7, 2014 | By David C. Nichols
“Modern Family” goes Bollywood in “A Nice Indian Boy,” now receiving a stalwart premiere at East West Players. Although Madhuri Shekar's same-sex variant on the time-honored culture-clash comedy has its unfinished aspects, it's pleasantly funny entertainment. Transpiring in the Bay Area, “Indian Boy” establishes its premise immediately.  While praying at the Livermore Hindu Temple, Naveen (Andy Gala) and Keshav (Christian Durso ) catch each other's eye. Thereafter, they're living together and planning their nuptials.
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ENTERTAINMENT
September 14, 2012 | By Laura Bleiberg
The “encounter” that is at the heart of Navarasa Dance Theater's 80-minute performance piece has a specific and dreadful meaning. An “encounter,” the characters tell us, is the horrific practice of governments scooping up opponents and summarily murdering them. The example of the “disappeared” in Argentina comes to mind. Navarasa Dance Theater's dance-drama, “Encounter,” presented by East West Players at the David Henry Hwang Theater, concerns India and a fight over the lands of destitute indigenous peoples.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 18, 2013 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
In 21st century America, there is one subject even more difficult to discuss honestly in public than race: money. It took a while but near the end of Monday evening's diversity forum featuring the artistic leaders of Southern California's most prominent nonprofit theaters, the issue everyone was skirting was finally being loudly addressed. Barry Edelstein, still settling into his job as artistic director of San Diego's Old Globe, articulated the biggest obstacle to change in the American theater: "the inertia of the business model" that stems from "the fear" of jeopardizing the budgetary status quo.  CRITICS' PICKS: What to watch, where to go, what to eat   A single flop can result not only in a loss of the earned income that nonprofit theaters are relying on to an ever-greater extent, but also in a backlash with philanthropic giving that can have dire institutional consequences.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 17, 2013 | By David C. Nichols
There's a wryly energetic thrust to “Chess,” being revived by East West Players in an imaginative production that certainly puts its own spin on this problematic concept album-turned-popera. Here we get the almost through-sung U.K. version (Richard Nelson's book is virtually interjections). This favors the show's enduring asset: Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Tim Rice's soaring, wailing score. Director Tim Dang stylishly maneuvers his stalwart, multicultural players around set designer Adam Flemming's levels and arches, aided by Flemming's videos and Dan Weingarten's spectacular lighting.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 7, 2010 | By Karen Wada
To understand why East West Players loves Ken Takemoto, ask about "the duck." The fake fowl -- a Rube Goldbergian contraption he created for a 2008 revival of "Pippin" -- shows just how clever, conscientious and cheap the 75-year-old prop master can be. "Ken has spoiled us," says Tim Dang, producing artistic director of East West, the nation's leading Asian American stage company. "He can find almost anything, and what he can't find he can make himself." A script doesn't always describe what a prop should look like, he adds, "but Ken knows exactly what is wanted because he really listens to the play and the director.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 19, 2012 | By Charlotte Stoudt
Dorothy isn't the only one who got lost in Kansas. After World War II, more than 100,000 Japanese women married American GIs and resettled across the United States. We meet five of those brides, unmoored in the Midwest, in “Tea, With Music,” a bittersweet chamber musical with book and lyrics by Velina Hasu Houston and music by Nathan Wang, now at East West Players. The occasion is a tea ceremony - and an exorcism. In a small Kansas town, Himiko (Joan Almedilla) has killed herself after a downward spiral of loss and rage.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 20, 2010 | By Charlotte Stoudt
Les Thomas' "Cave Quest" is high concept -- i.e., Himalayan. The light but appealing new comedy, presented by East West Players at the Union Center for the Arts, is "The Odd Couple" at 14,000 feet. Video game designer Justin (West Liang) has dragged himself around the world in search of legendary Buddhist nun Padma (Kim Miyori), rumored to be in deep seclusion. He crashes her meditation pad, a rocky Nepalese cave inside the world's highest peaks. Justin's goals, however, are more entrepreneurial than mind-expanding: He wants to design a game that will bring players inner peace, for a mere $49.99.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 10, 1988 | JANICE ARKATOV
A high school reunion--Hawaiian style--is the setting for Ed Sakamoto's "Stew Rice," which just opened at East West Players. "It's my fourth 'Hawaii play,' " noted Sakamoto, who grew up in Honolulu. "In them, I try to recapture a time, a place, a people--give audiences an accurate picture of how we were, how we are, how we lived, thought, what we liked, didn't like. So, hopefully, it reflects a truth. Also, I use pidgin English.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 6, 1998
"Hero, a Tribute to George Takei," an evening of comedy and music honoring the actor of "Star Trek" fame, will be held Nov. 14 at 8 p.m. at East West Players' David Henry Hwang Theater at the Union Center for the Arts. The event, which features guest performers Garrett Wong ("Voyagers"), Jennifer Paz ("Miss Saigon"), Nichelle Nichols and Walter Koenig ("Star Trek") and Pat Morita ("The Karate Kid"), will benefit East West programs and operations.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 22, 2013 | By David Ng
Theater leaders in Southern California will convene for a second panel on racial diversity that will serve as a sequel of sorts to last year's discussion hosted by East West Players in downtown Los Angeles. The upcoming panel will be held Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Pasadena Playhouse. While last year's event was by invitation only, the upcoming discussion is free and open to the public. Panelists expected to attend include Michael Ritchie, artistic director of Center Theatre Group; Marc Masterson, artistic director of South Coast Repertory; Sheldon Epps, artistic director of the Pasadena Playhouse; Tim Dang, artistic director of East West Players; and Jessica Kubzansky, co-artistic director of the Theatre @ Boston Court.  PHOTOS: Arts and culture in pictures by The Times The 2012 panel was convened in response to a production of the Duncan Sheik musical "The Nightingale" at the La Jolla Playhouse earlier that year.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 18, 2013 | By Margaret Gray
Four popular characters introduced by East West Players in “The Nisei Widows Club” (2003) and “The Nisei Widows Club Holiday on Ice” (2004) return for a new comic adventure directed by Amy Hill: “The Nisei Widows Club: How Tomi Got Her Groove Back.” The now elderly widows (Nisei are the American-born children of Japanese immigrants) are rallying around Tomi (Jeanne Sakata), whose only son has died. Sumi (Takayo Fischer), Hana (Emily Kuroda) and Betty (June Kyoko Lu) look for new activities that will push all four of them out of their comfort zone.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 17, 2013 | By David C. Nichols
There's a wryly energetic thrust to “Chess,” being revived by East West Players in an imaginative production that certainly puts its own spin on this problematic concept album-turned-popera. Here we get the almost through-sung U.K. version (Richard Nelson's book is virtually interjections). This favors the show's enduring asset: Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Tim Rice's soaring, wailing score. Director Tim Dang stylishly maneuvers his stalwart, multicultural players around set designer Adam Flemming's levels and arches, aided by Flemming's videos and Dan Weingarten's spectacular lighting.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 19, 2012 | By Charlotte Stoudt
Dorothy isn't the only one who got lost in Kansas. After World War II, more than 100,000 Japanese women married American GIs and resettled across the United States. We meet five of those brides, unmoored in the Midwest, in “Tea, With Music,” a bittersweet chamber musical with book and lyrics by Velina Hasu Houston and music by Nathan Wang, now at East West Players. The occasion is a tea ceremony - and an exorcism. In a small Kansas town, Himiko (Joan Almedilla) has killed herself after a downward spiral of loss and rage.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 14, 2012 | By Laura Bleiberg
The “encounter” that is at the heart of Navarasa Dance Theater's 80-minute performance piece has a specific and dreadful meaning. An “encounter,” the characters tell us, is the horrific practice of governments scooping up opponents and summarily murdering them. The example of the “disappeared” in Argentina comes to mind. Navarasa Dance Theater's dance-drama, “Encounter,” presented by East West Players at the David Henry Hwang Theater, concerns India and a fight over the lands of destitute indigenous peoples.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 19, 2012 | By Mike Boehm
The next play from East West Players, a Los Angeles theater company whose annual budget of about $1.2 million typically doesn't leave room for buying spots on network television, will receive many hours of free promotion this summer on NBC -- at least indirectly. The show, “Three Year Swim Club,” by Hawaiian writer Lee Tonouchi, concerns one of the great underdog sporting feats in U.S. history. It's the true story of Soichi Sakamoto, a science teacher in Maui who decided that he could turn the children of sugar cane workers into Olympic swimmers - - never mind that he initially lacked a pool to train them in and had to use 3-foot-deep irrigation ditches as a substitute.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 22, 2003 | Don Shirley
David Henry Hwang's "M. Butterfly" hasn't been professionally revived in L.A. since the touring version stopped at the Wilshire Theatre in 1991, and according to the playwright, it has never been professionally staged by an Asian American theater company. East West Players plans to change that by staging Hwang's play about a French diplomat whose Chinese mistress turns out to be a man from June 9 to July 4 next year. Hwang didn't intentionally withhold the L.A.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 19, 2002
East West Players will premiere its first South Asian-themed play, Sujata G. Bhatt's "Queen of the Remote Control," as part of its 2002-03 season. The play, about a family of affluent Indian immigrants in Calabasas, is slated for Sept. 11 to Oct. 6 at the company's home in the David Henry Hwang Theater in downtown Los Angeles' Little Tokyo.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 7, 2010 | By Karen Wada
To understand why East West Players loves Ken Takemoto, ask about "the duck." The fake fowl -- a Rube Goldbergian contraption he created for a 2008 revival of "Pippin" -- shows just how clever, conscientious and cheap the 75-year-old prop master can be. "Ken has spoiled us," says Tim Dang, producing artistic director of East West, the nation's leading Asian American stage company. "He can find almost anything, and what he can't find he can make himself." A script doesn't always describe what a prop should look like, he adds, "but Ken knows exactly what is wanted because he really listens to the play and the director.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 20, 2010 | By Charlotte Stoudt
Les Thomas' "Cave Quest" is high concept -- i.e., Himalayan. The light but appealing new comedy, presented by East West Players at the Union Center for the Arts, is "The Odd Couple" at 14,000 feet. Video game designer Justin (West Liang) has dragged himself around the world in search of legendary Buddhist nun Padma (Kim Miyori), rumored to be in deep seclusion. He crashes her meditation pad, a rocky Nepalese cave inside the world's highest peaks. Justin's goals, however, are more entrepreneurial than mind-expanding: He wants to design a game that will bring players inner peace, for a mere $49.99.
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