November 19, 2012 |
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.
May 17, 2013 |
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.
February 20, 2010 |
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.
March 7, 2010 |
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.
January 10, 1988 |
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.
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.