Episode 1: My Interview with HAMILTON’s Eddy Lee and Opening Night of The Classical Theatre of Harlem’s TWELFTH NIGHT -airdate July 27, 2022
In the first segment of Episode 1, Lia sits down with Eddy Lee, who is the first Chinese American actor to portray Alexander Hamilton on Broadway. He made his Broadway debut in 2017 as an Ensemble Swing in Hamilton at The Richard Rodgers Theatre, and after two years of being with the company, he auditioned and became the cover for Alexander Hamilton. In August, Eddy will take a hiatus from HAMLTON to join the Broadway company of KPOP. In the second segment of Episode 1, Lia heads up to the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater in Marcus Garvey Park for her All-Access Pass to the opening night of The Classical Theatre of Harlem’s Twelfth Night, helmed by Carl Cofield. The Classical Theatre of Harlem, a professional theater company that has brought audiences Black artistic excellence for over two decades, is presenting in association with Yale Repertory Theatre, Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night at the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater in Marcus Garvey Park in East Harlem through July 29.
Inside the NY Screening of EASTER SUNDAY with Jo Koy and Lydia Gaston at AMC LINCOLN SQUARE – posted Aug. 5, 2022
Lily Ling Makes Herstory as the First Person of Asian Descent to Conduct HAMILTON on Broadway-posted August 13, 2022
Episode 2: Inside the AAIFF45 NY Premiere of A FATHER’S SON with Tzi Ma-posted August 16, 2022
Episode 3: Chatting with Nelson T. Eusebio III, Jason Ma, Jojo Gonzalez about KCRep’s TWELFTH NIGHT- airdate Sept. 11, 2022
Opening Night of Ma-Yi Theater Company’s World Premiere of Daniel K. Isaac’s ONCE UPON A korean TIME-posted Sept. 18, 2022
Episode 4: DEATH OF A SALESMAN Stars Wendell Pierce & André De Shields-airdate Sept. 25, 2022
This episode of BACKSTAGE PASS with Lia Chang features Wendell Pierce and André De Shields chatting with Jared Grimes about the show at BroadwayCon’s First Look programming in the Grand Ballroom of The Manhattan Center in New York on July 8 and a sneak peek into the first day of rehearsal on August 1.
Emjoy Gavino, Rebecca Hirota, Hyunmin Rhee, Eric Sharp, Viet Vo in VIETGONE at Guthrie. – posted October 2, 2022.
I flew to Minneapolis to see Guthrie Theater’s terrific production of Qui Nguyen’s #vietgone, with the very fierce Mina Morita at the helm. When I heard that Hyunmin Rhee and Viet Vo were doing the show in Minneapolis, I knew I wanted to experience it again, having seen the original Off-Broadway cast at Manhattan Theatre Club. The performances by Hyunmin Rhee, Viet Vo, Eric Sharp, Rebecca Hirota, and Emjoy Gavino were so visceral, that it seems like yesterday. Representation is everything. I hope that more Asian Americans have an opportunity to see the show, and consequently see themselves onstage and feel seen. Do yourself a favor and go see this fabulous cast with performances through 10/16.
Episode 5: A Deep Dive w/ Drama Desk Nominated Actor & Playwright Daniel K. Isaac – airdate October 2, 2022
On my fifth episode of BACKSTAGE PASS with Lia Chang, you’ll meet actor and playwright Daniel K. Isaac, who recently made his playwrighting debut with Ma-Yi Theater Company’s critically-acclaimed world premiere of ONCE UPON A (korean) TIME at the Ellen Stewart Theatre at La MaMa. Daniel is currently in rehearsal for Roundabout Theatre Company’s world premiere of You Will Get Sick, a new play by Noah Diaz directed by Tony Award nominee Sam Pinkleton. The cast also features Marinda Anderson, Linda Lavin, Nate Miller, and Dario Ladani Sanchez.
Episode 6: Curtain Up! Broadway Concert-André De Shields, Myles Frost, Jaquel Spivey, Jewelle Shelley Blackman – airdate Oct. 9, 2022
BACKSTAGE PASS with Lia Chang: Highlights from Curtain Up! LIVE from Broadway! Concert Featuring André De Shields, Myles Frost, Jaquel Spivey, Jewelle Shelley Blackman, Emilie Kouatchou, Brandon Victor Dixon, and the company of &Juliet Airs on FIOS 34, RCN 83, and Spectrum 56/1996 The sixth episode of BACKSTAGE PASS with Lia Chang, executive produced and hosted by Lia, airs Sunday, October 9 at 6:30 pm (EST) on FIOS 34, RCN 83, and Spectrum 56/1996. This edition of Backstage with Lia Chang features highlights of Curtain Up! LIVE from Broadway!, the free outdoor concert held in Times Square on the 1st Sunday of October. Broadway favorites taking center stage included Tony, Grammy and Emmy winning DEATH OF A SALESMAN star André De Shields, Tony Winner Myles Frost and the company of MJ THE MUSICAL, A STRANGE LOOP star Jaquel Spivey, HADESTOWN star Jewelle Shelley Blackman, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA star Emilie Kouatchou, CHICAGO star Brandon Victor Dixon, and the company of &Juliet.
Episode 7: Signature Theatre Unveils the 42nd St. & Dyer Ave Intersection-the newly co-named Jim Houghton Way-airdate Oct. 16, 2022
On October 4, Signature Theatre unveiled the 42nd Street and Dyer Avenue intersection in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood as the newly co-named Jim Houghton Way, celebrating the groundbreaking company’s founder, the late James Houghton. For this festive gathering, elected officials, legendary members of the city’s theater community, and members of the Houghton family gathered at Pershing Square Signature Center in honor of Houghton, who formed the company in 1991 with a mission of supporting playwrights through a multi-play residency model designed to invest in a body of work and provide a supportive artistic home.
The program began at Pershing Square Signature Center featuring remarks by Signature Associate Artistic Director Beth Whitaker, Signature Artistic Director Paige Evans, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, City Council Member Erik Bottcher — whose office was commended for helping to push the initiative through, New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, Signature Board Chair Ed Norton, Houghton’s daughter, Lily Houghton, and Signature Resident Playwright Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins.
Houghton was beloved by the theatre community and known for supporting visionary playwrights and theatremakers including Edward Albee, Will Eno, Horton Foote, Athol Fugard, John Guare, Katori Hall, David Henry Hwang, Bill Irwin, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Adrienne Kennedy, and Sam Shepard.
Artistic alumni of Signature Theatre who came to celebrate Jim included Annie Baker, Becky Ann Baker, Dylan Baker, Jo Bonney, Martha Clarke, Will Eno, Hailie Foote, David Henry Hwang, Charles Mee, Edward Norton, Lois Smith, Harris Yulin and many more.
Episode 8: Interview with COST OF LIVING’s Martyna Majok & Katy Sullivan – airdate October 23, 2022
This episode features my interview with COST OF LIVING playwright Martyna Majok and star Katy Sullivan.
MTC has extended the critically-acclaimed Broadway premiere of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Cost of Living, written by Martyna Majok and directed by Obie Award winner Jo Bonney, at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre through November 6. The cast features acclaimed original stars Gregg Mozgala and Katy Sullivan who reunited for the Broadway production; Tony Award nominee Kara Young and David Zayas. Winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize, Martyna Majok’s powerhouse play received its Broadway premiere after a celebrated run at MTC’s Stage I. I sat down with Martyna and Katy in the Coles Family Patron Lounge at the Friedman to chat about the show and their latest projects.
Episode 9: Death of A Salesman & Wine in the Wilderness Opening Nights; Black is Beautiful Exhibit – airdate October 30, 2022
On this edition of Backstage Pass with Lia Chang, I’ll be featuring a Backstage Pass to the opening nights of the Broadway production of Arthur Miller’s Death of A Salesman (10/9/22), directed by Miranda Cromwell, and starring Wendell Pierce, Sharon D Clarke, Khris Davis, McKinley Belcher III, André De Shields, Blake DeLong, Lynn Hawley, Grace Porter, Kevin Ramessar, Stephen Stocking, Chelsea Lee Williams, and Delaney Williams; Two River Theater’s production of Alice Childress’s Wine in the Wilderness, directed by Brandon J. Dirden and starring Crystal Dickinson, Brittany Bellizeare, Ricardy Fabre, Korey Jackson, and Keith Randolph Smith (10/21/22); and the New-York Historical Society’s opening reception of Black is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite (10/19/22).
Episode 10: Asian Americans Taking Center Stage, Hollywood Chinese: The First 100 Years Film Series -airdate Nov. 13, 2022
On this edition of BACKSTAGE PASS with Lia Chang, I’ll be shining the spotlight on my Asian American colleagues taking centerstage.
Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Arthur Dong has curated a terrific film series presented by The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Hollywood Chinese: The First 100 Years. Screenings of all 27 films in the series take place at the museum’s state of the art Ted Mann Theater in Los Angeles through Nov. 27.
The film series both critiques and celebrates Hollywood’s depictions of the Chinese, and presents groundbreaking Chinese American artists who navigated industry challenges from the beginning of film history to now.
On the opening weekend, I flew to LA to celebrate the 15th anniversary since Arthur Dong’s Hollywood Chinese documentary was release as it kicked-off the 27-film series, watched a double bill Anna May Wong in Daughter of the Dragon and King of Chinatown and then reconnected with my Big Trouble in Little China cast mates Peter Kwong and Dennis Dun at a screening of the film, followed by Q & A.
Here are few of the films and plays featured:
Patrick Chen’s award winning short film, A Father’s Son, starring Tzi Ma, Ronny Chieng, Perry Yung and Kathleen Kwan.
Audible, Inc.’s production of Yilong Liu’s Good Enemy, directed by Chay Yew and featuring Francis Jue, Ron Domingo, Tim Liu, Geena Quintos, Alec Silver, Ryan Spahn and Jeena Yi. Performances at Minetta Lane Theatre through Nov. 27.
Noah Diaz’s You Will Get Sick, directed by Sam Pinkleton and starring Daniel K. Isaac, Linda Lavin, Marinda Anderson, Nate Miller and Ryan Landani Sanchez. Performances at the Laura Pell Theater through Dec. 13.
Playwrights Horizon’s production of Mia Chung’s Catch As Catch Can, directed by Daniel Aukin and starring Cindy Cheung, Jon Norman Schneider and Rob Yang. Performances at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater through Nov. 20.
Amaterasu Za production of Chushingura – 47 Ronin, adapted and directed by Ako Dachs. The cast includes Ako, Yoshi Amao, Saori Goda, Tatsuo Ichikawa, Rina Maejima, Jun Suenaga, Yasu Suzuki, Hiroko Yonekura, and Minami Yoshimura. Performances at A.R.T. /New York, Mezzanine Theater, 502 West 53rd Street, NYC, through Nov. 13.
Jiehae Park’s peerless, directed by Margot Bordelon at 59E59’s Theater A . The cast of peerless features Marié Botha, Anthony Cason, Sasha Diamond, Benny Wayne Sully, and Shannon Tyo.
Manhattan Theatre Club’s Broadway premiere of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Cost of Living, written by Martyna Majok and directed by Obie Award winner Jo Bonney, at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Cost of Living’s cast features Gregg Mozgala, and Katy Sullivan,Tony Award nominee Kara Young; and David Zayas.
Episode 11: Maulik Pancholy and Jesse Tyler Ferguson at Books of Wonder Launch of “Nikhil Out Loud” – airdate Nov. 27, 2022
BACKSTAGE PASS WITH LIA CHANG: Books of Wonder Launch of Maulik Pancholy’s NIKHIL OUT LOUD with Jesse Tyler Ferguson will air on FIOS 34, RCN 83, and Spectrum 56/1996 on Nov. 27.
On this edition of Backstage Pass with Lia Chang, I observed “National Coming Out Day” at Books of Wonder in New York with the launch of Nikhil Out Loud, the sophomore offering by Award winning actor and author Maulik Pancholy, that tells the story of a gay Indian American boy who learns the power of using his voice.
Maulik was joined by his friend and colleague, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, best known for his role as Mitchell on “Modern Family,” who received the 2022 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his performance in Richard Greenberg’s Take Me Out, and can been seen in the remounted Broadway revival at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre through February 5, 2023. They chatted about Maulik’s inspiration for writing the book, the power of representation and so much more.
Bonus Clip: BACKSTAGE PASS with Lia Chang: Chatting with A SHERLOCK CAROL Stars Drew McVety and Allen Gilmore
Chatting with A SHERLOCK CAROL Stars Drew McVety and Allen Gilmore; Limited Run Through at New World Stages through January 1
Broadway favorite Drew McVety (Billy Elliot, Spamalot) returns as the titular sleuth, with AUDELCO Nominee Allen Gilmore (Classical Theatre of Harlem’s Twelfth Night, Yale Rep’s Choir Boy) joining the company as Scrooge.
Episode 14: BACKSTAGE PASS with Lia Chang: Dr. Kevin Nadal and Dave Lu Receive CACF’s 2022 Catalyst for Change Awards at Annual Gala Benefit Celebrating The Growing Leadership Of The AAPI Community -airdate 12/4/22
275 Advocates, civic leaders, and supporters gathered at Manhattan’s Edison Ballroom on Monday night for the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF)’s annual Catalyst for Change Awards Gala. The organization’s Catalyst for Change Award celebrates leaders in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community that exemplify CACF’s commitment to the nation’s children and families.
This year’s Catalyst for Change honorees were entrepreneur and community advocate Dave Lu and distinguished professor and writer Dr. Kevin Nadal.
The ceremony was emceed by two longtime friends of CACF, journalist Ernabel Demillo and “Sesame Street” star Alan Muraoka.
Featured performer Shoba Narayan, who currently stars as Princess Jasmine in Disney’s Aladdin, dazzled the audience with a two song performance that included a rendition of “Dear Theodosia” from Hamilton and the uplifting anthem “Rise Up” by Andra Day.
Episode 15: A Sherlock Carol, A Child’s Christmas in Wales, The Far Country, You Will Get Sick, KPOP-airdate Dec. 18, 2022
This edition of Backstage Pass with Lia Chang features interviews with A Sherlock Carol stars Drew McVety and Allen Gilmore; A Child’s Christmas in Wales’ Ali Ewoldt & Kylie Kuioka: You Will Get Sick star Daniel K. Isaac. Also coverage of KPOP, Lloyd Suh’s The Far Country, Evanston Salt Cost Climbing and More.
Episode 16: Henry Chang Book Reading, A Father’s Son Awards, Christmas with You, A Child’s Christmas in Wales-airdate Dec. 25, 2022
This edition of Backstage Pass with Lia Chang will feature a short story reading with Crime Novelist Henry Chang at Yu & Me Books, A Child’s Christmas in Wales’ Featuring Ali Ewoldt and Kylie Kuioka, Latest Awards Tally for A Father’s Son; and Christmas with You Production Designer Wing Lee.
Winter Wonderland Gingerbread House Contest Winners-HAMILTON & INTO THE WOODS -at Museum of Broadway-posted Dec. 24, 2022
The 2nd annual Winter Wonderland Gingerbread House Contest winners were announced by Project1voice’s Erich McMillan-McCall at Museum of Broadway on 12/4/22. Into the Woods won the in-store contest and Hamilton won the online contest. To check out all the entries, search #WWLHouse on IG. Museum of Broadway is located at 145 W. 45th St. in NYC
Helen Hayes Award Winner Lori Tan Chinn performs Bali Ha’i at 54 Below-posted Jan. 5, 2023
Helen Hayes Award Winner Lori Tan Chinn performs Bali Ha’i at 54 Below as part of Ilene Graff’s Holiday Show on DEc. 28, 2022. Lori Tan Chinn is currently co-starring in her third season as Grandma in Comedy Central’s “Awkwafina is Nora from Queens,” has been declared a style icon by the Hollywood Reporter and a scene-stealer by Time Magazine. Considered the definitive Bloody Mary, Lori became the first racially correct Asian personification of James Michener’s muse in ABC-TV’s “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific.” She is proud to have been instrumental in correcting this 50-year miscasting, for which she was honored with a Helen Hayes Award for her first onstage performance of this role at Arena Stage. She also served seven seasons as the model prisoner, Chang, on Netflix’s first streaming original series, “Orange is the New Black,” and as Iris, the hairdresser in “Roseanne”. Film Credits include: Disney Pixar’s “Turning Red”, “Mickey Blue Eyes”, “What About Bob?”, “She-Devil”. Her theater credits include runs in the original Broadway companies of “M. Butterfly,” and “Lovely Ladies, Kind Gentlemen,” and in Marvin Hamlisch’s last project, “Gotta Dance”, later re-titled “Half Time”.
Episode 17: André De Shields’ 2022 BIV Inspiration Award; Lillias White Sardi’s Caricature-airdate Jan. 1, 2023
2022 BIV Inspiration Award Honoree DEATH OF A SALESMAN Star André De Shields and HADESTOWN star Lillias White’s Sardi’s Caricature Unveiling
This edition of BACKSTAGE PASS with Lia Chang celebrates Tony, Grammy and Emmy winning Death of A Salesman Star André De Shields and Tony, Obie and Emmy Award winning Hadestown star Lillias White.
Last October, Broadway Inspirational Voices (BIV) honored Tony André De Shields (Death of a Salesman, Becoming Lincoln, Hadestown), Tony Award winner LaChanze (The Color Purple, Producer: TopDog/Underdog, Kimberly Akimbo), and three-time Tony Award winner Alex Lacamoire (VIVO, Dear Evan Hansen, Hamilton) for being true agents of INSPIRATION using the arts as a conduit for social change, at their BETTER DAYS: Fundraising Cocktail Party and Award Ceremony in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s American Airlines Theatre’s Penthouse Lobby. Lillias White presented the 2022 BIV Inspiration Award to André.
On December 2, Lillias, who plays Mrs. Hermes in Hadestown, was honored with a Richard Baratz caricature, presented by Sardi’s owner Max Klimavicius at Sardi’s.
Episode 18: Death of A Salesman, Bald Sisters, Gingerbread Houses, Cambodian Rock Band, Kwame Brathwaite Photos
This eighteen episode features Winter Wonderland Gingerbread House contest winners at Museum of Broadway; Theatre Communications Group to honor THE PIANO LESSON’s Director LaTanya Richardson Jackson and star, Samuel L. Jackson on 1/9; Hadestown star Eva Noblezada in performance – 1/12-14 at Audible’s Minetta Lane Theater; Previews of Steppenwolf’s production of Vichet Chum’s BALD SISTERS; Tour Launch of Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND at Alley Theater; limited runs of DEATH OF A SALESMAN on Broadway and BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite at New York Historical Society through 1/15.
Episode 19: Morgan James, Pearl Sun, Tamika Lawrence, Ellyn Marie Marsh, and Orfeh in Concert on Little Island
Jan. 15: BACKSTAGE PASS with Lia Chang Features Morgan James, Pearl Sun, Tamika Lawrence, Ellyn Marie Marsh, and Orfeh in EVERYBODY SAYS DON’T Concert on Little Island
On this nineteenth edition of Backstage Pass with Lia Chang, Morgan James is in concert at The Glade on Little Island on 7/31/22 and is joined by four cast members from her all-female JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR studio cast recording: Tamika Lawrence, Ellyn Marie Marsh, Orfeh and Pearl Sun for her EVERYBODY SAYS DON’T Concert, interpreting lyrics assigned to other male characters in musicals, and makes a compelling case for nontraditional casting as it relates to gender. Helmed by Richard Amelius, the concert features musical direction by Geraldine Anello on keys, Paul Adamy on bass, and Sarah Gooch on drums.
Bonus Clip: Pearl Sun Sings “Mr Cellophane” at Little Island
Bonus Clip: Pearl Sun and Morgan James Sing “Lily’s Eyes” from THE SECRET GARDEN at Little Island
Bonus Clip: Black is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite at New-York Historical Society through 1/15
The New-York Historical Society is the exclusive New York City presenter of the traveling exhibition Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite, the first major show dedicated to this pivotal figure who helped launch and popularize the “Black Is Beautiful” movement of the 1960s.
On view through January 15, 2023, the exhibition features 40 large-scale color and black-and-white photographs that document how Brathwaite helped change America’s political and cultural landscape during the so-called Second Harlem Renaissance, using his art to affirm Black physical beauty, celebrate African American community and identity, and reflect the vibrancy of Harlem’s jazz scene, local businesses, and events.
Organized by Aperture in partnership with Kwame S. Brathwaite, Brathwaite’s son and director of the Kwame Brathwaite Archive, the photographs—mostly shot in Harlem and the Bronx—tell a story of a movement and a time. Following its presentation at New-York Historical, the exhibition travels to the University of Alabama at Birmingham for the Abroms‐Engel Institute for the Visual Arts in February 2023.
The exhibition is accompanied by the first monograph dedicated to Kwame Brathwaite. Featuring essays by Tanisha C. Ford and Deborah Willis and more than 80 images, Kwame Brathwaite: Black Is Beautiful (Aperture, 2019) offers a long-overdue exploration of Brathwaite’s life and work and is available from the NYHistory Store.
Bonus Clip: Wendell Pierce, Sharon D. Clarke, André De Shields and More Take Their Final Bows in the Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s DEATH OF A SALESMAN at the Hudson Theatre in New York on January 15, 2023.
Bonus Clip: DEATH OF A SALESMAN Stars Sharon D Clarke and Wendell Pierce Receive Portraits at Sardi’s
Episode 20: Lia Chang Receives the 2022 Prospect Muse Award
On the twentieth episode of Backstage Pass with Lia Chang, I’m bidding farewell to the Year of the Tiger and embracing, my year, the year of the Water Rabbit by sharing my epic evening at Prospect Theater Company’s Gala at the Edison Ballroom, at which I was honored with the 2022 PROSPECT MUSE AWARD alongside Leonard Majzlin, Naima Kradjian, and Kenita Miller on May 1, 2022.
Co-hosted by Jose Llana and Anika Larsen, the evening featured performances by André De Shields, Sean Mayes, Ali Ewoldt, Jonny Lee Jr., Jason Ma and more and aired on January 29, 2023 at 6:30pm on FIOS 34, RCN 83, Spectrum 56/1996, and streamed on MNN2. https://wp.me/pXK8r-4DE
Bonus Clip: BACKSTAGE PASS with Lia Chang: The Town Hall Presents A Celebration of Twinkie Clark
Bonus Clip: Bo Law Kung Fu at The Town School
Episode 21: 2023 Doris Duke Artist Kristina Wong, Interview w/ Perry Yung, Lunar New Year at The Met and in New York Chinatown
Kristina Wong Wins 2023 Doris Duke Artist Award, Perry Yung Interview, Star of The Harvest; Lunar New Year at The Met and Lion Dancers in NY Chinatown
This twenty first episode of Backstage Pass with Lia Chang features 2023 Doris Duke Artist Award winners Kristina Wong, Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah, Charlotte Brathwaite, Ayodele Casel, Somi Kakoma, Rosy Simas in 10th Anniversary Class of Doris Duke Artists, Receiving $550K; an interview with Perry Yung, Star of The Harvest, Lunar New Year at The Met Featuring Sesame Street’s Alan Muraoka, Puppeteers Jennifer Barnhart, Pam Arciero: Chinese Center on Long Island Lion Troupe; #AAPIJazzCollective; Kimono Style; Lion Dancers in New York Chinatown.
Bonus Clip: 2023 Doris Duke Artists Kristina Wong, Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah, Charlotte Brathwaite, Ayodele Casel
BACKSTAGE PASS with Lia Chang: 2023 Doris Duke Artists Kristina Wong, Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah, Charlotte Brathwaite, Ayodele Casel, Somi Kakoma, Rosy Simas
At the tenth anniversary celebration and first-ever awards ceremony for the Doris Duke Artist Awards on February 13, 2023, the Doris Duke Foundation announced the newest class of Doris Duke Artists and revealed it is doubling the size of the prize. Each artist is receiving an award of $550,000, up from the previous sum of $275,000, in recognition of their transformative creative potential and seismic ongoing contributions to the fields of contemporary dance, jazz and theater at large.
Hosted by Common at New York’s singular Jazz at Lincoln Center, the landmark event not only revealed the identities of the six new recipients but honored—and featured performances by six of—the 129 exemplary individual artists in contemporary dance, jazz and theater to have received the Doris Duke Artist Award over the last decade.
The 10th anniversary class of Doris Duke Artists are visionary performing artists and trailblazers in their fields. The awardees include composer and trumpeter Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah, director Charlotte Brathwaite, choreographer and performer Ayodele Casel, composer and vocalist Somi Kakoma, choreographer and performer Rosy Simas, and playwright and performer Kristina Wong.
The anniversary celebration also featured special performances by six extraordinary artists from the inaugural class of Doris Duke Artists, including Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Vijay Iyer, Bebe Miller, Nicole Mitchell, Eiko Otake and Basil Twist. In addition, all new and previous awardees received the first-ever Doris Duke Artist Award statuette, designed by noted sculptor Tarik Currimbhoy. Previous recipients also received a gift of $20,000 each, totaling more than $2.5 million in additional unrestricted grants.
To learn more about the Doris Duke Artist Awards and the six new Doris Duke Artists, please visit: http://www.dorisdukeartistawards.org. #dorisdukeartists #dorisdukeartistawards #whenartiststhrive
Bonus Clip: BACKSTAGE PASS with Lia Chang: Playwright Gaven D. Trinidad on LEARNING HOW TO READ BY MOONLIGHT
I was invited to be a guest narrator for the work-in-progress production of Gaven D. Trinidad’s new play, Learning How to Read By Moonlight. Of course, I had questions so we chatted over cocktails and wings. Check out our conversation, then go see the play.
UNDER THE MOONLIGHT…
six-year-old Eddie imagines a dragon eating moons and an imaginary friend teaching him English. His mother smokes as she prays to a statue of the Santo Niño. His father waits alone in Manila for their daily phone calls. Songs from a mythical giant turtle travel across oceans, but are drowned by the voices of Duterte and Trump on the television. As fantasy and reality become indistinguishable, the family is forced to learn how to articulate unspoken truths that will either break them or heal them. How will the weight of living undocumented in New York City force them to reevaluate their understanding of “community”, “dreams”, and “home”?
To assist the actors, a new narrator (a fellow artist, community organizer, or elected official) joins the cast every night.
Episode 22: BACKSTAGE PASS with Lia Chang: International Week of Black Women in the Arts Special on MNN
The episode features four-time Grammy Award-winning Gospel legend, Elbernita Twinkie Clark who is celebrating a five-plus-decade career as one of the most prolific gospel composers in music history; The Billie Holiday Theatre’s Black Genius in The American Theater: A Concert Reading; Angela Robinson-Whitehurst presenting the 2022 Broadway Inspirational Voices Hope Award to Tony Award winning Actress and Producer LaChanze; Sardi’s Restaurant Portraits for Hadestown Star Lillias White and Death of a Salesman Broadway Broadway stars Sharon D. Clarke and Wendell Pierce; and Classical Theatre of Harlem’s TWELFTH NIGHT Opening Night.
Observed from February 7 to February 15, the International Week of Black Women in the Arts celebrates the achievements of Black female artists in various fields. I am so happy to join other MNN Community Producers as we highlight some amazingly talented Black women.
Episode 24: BACKSTAGE PASS with Lia Chang: Inside the Re-opening of La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club with André De Shields, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, DCLA Commissioner Laurie Cumbo, NY City Council Member Carlina Rivera, NY City Council Member Erik Bottcher and NYSCA Council Member Janet Kagan
Airs on Sunday, Mar. 6 at 6:30pm on FIOS 34, RCN 83, Spectrum 56/1996 and streams on MNN2. On this episode of Backstage Pass with Lia Chang, I’m taking you inside La MaMA Experimental Theatre Club’s re-opening of its landmark home 74A for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the refurbished building located at 74A E. 4 St. in the East Village. Tony, Grammy and Emmy winning Death of Salesman star André De Shields – whose career was launched from the very stages of the old La MaMa at 74A in the 70’s and 80’s, served as master of ceremonies for the event on February 9, 2023. The old La MaMa is where André and I first worked together in Lonnie Carter’s Gulliver in 1993. Representatives from New York City and New York State governments, which have been instrumental in providing funding and support for the 3-year, $24 million renovation, included Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, DCLA Commissioner Laurie Cumbo, NY City Council Member Carlina Rivera, NY City Council Member Erik Bottcher and NYSCA Council Member Janet Kagan.
NoMBe – Kemosabe Music Video
Director: Matthew Dillon Cohen / Producer: itsbongoboy & NoMBe / DP: Anthony Carella / Cast: Vincent Leong, Lia Chang