East West Players’ Artistic Director Tim Dang
to direct World Premiere of Voices from Okinawa
Voices From Okinawa receives its World Premiere February, 2008 at East West Players (EWP) as the third production of its 42nd Anniversary Season, Navigating Home. Tim Dang places his director’s cap back on to direct Voices from Okinawa, two years since directing Sweeney Todd at EWP. Dang reunites with veteran writer Jon Shirota after their last writer/director project together, Leilani’s Hibiscus in 1999. Featured in the cast will be veteran stage and screen actress Amy Hill, who last appeared on the EWP stage in Follies.
“I have been working with Jon Shirota on Voices from Okinawa through several drafts over the past two years,” Dang said,“and I am looking forward to bringing the play to life at East West Players. I look forward to working with Amy Hill again. An EWP favorite, Amy will provide the show with a lot of energy and humor.”
Voices from Okinawa follows the story of Kama, an American of one quarter Okinawan descent, who is teaching English in Okinawa. Unfamiliar with his Okinawan heritage, he struggles to grasp the delicate balance between the local citizens and their relationship with American military GIs. Through interaction with a distant relative, Obaa-san, and encouraging his students to tell stories in English, he receives his own education about his Okinawan background.
Writer Jon Shirota spent six months researching in Okinawa for this piece. He is the recipient of numerous grants for his written work from the John F. Kennedy’s Center for the Performing Arts, the Rockfeller Foundation, the Japan/USA Friendship Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He wrote two novels that he adapted into plays, LUCKY COME HAWAII and PINEAPPLE WHITE.
Director Tim Dang has been the Artistic Director of East West Players since 1993. His directing credits at East West Players include Sweeney Todd (2006), Equus, Imelda: A New Musical, Passion, Pacific Overtures (Ovation Award,Garland Award) and Sweeney Todd (1994, Ovation Award, Drama-logue Award). Dang has also directed at Sinagpore Repertory Theatre, Asian American Theater Company, Mark Taper Forum New Works Festival, Celebration Theatre, and West Coast Ensemble.
The cast of Voices from Okinawa will feature Amy Hill as Obaa-san, an Okinawa shaman who fancies her sake. Hill has appeared in several films including 50 First Dates with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, and The Cat in the Hat with Mike Myers and Dakota Fanning. She has appeared on numerous television shows including “Friends,” “Desperate Housewives,” and recently “Grey’s Anatomy.”
The cast also features Joseph Kim in the role of Kama, the Asian-American English teacher. The rest of the cast features all Japanese bilingual actors including Sachiko Hayashi, Atsushi Hirata, Teruko Kataoka, Taishi Mizuno, Mari Ueda and Kotaro Watanabe.
The creative team includes set and projection designer Mina Kinukawa, costume designer Soo Jin Lee, lighting designer Guido Girardi, sound designer David Iwataki, property master Ken Takemoto, and production stage manager Ondina V. Dominguez.
All performances of Voices from Okinawa will be staged at the David Henry Hwang Theater at the Union Center for the Arts at 120 Judge John Aiso St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. Voices from Okinawa opens Wednesday, February 13th, 2008 and closes on Sunday, March 9th, 2008. Opening night will be accompanied by a pre-performance cocktail reception and a post show reception with the cast and creative team. Performances are Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, and Sundays at 2 pm. Previews are Thursday - Saturday, February 7th – 9th at 8 pm and Sunday, February 10th at 2 pm. An American Sign Language-interpreted performance is scheduled for Sunday, March 2nd, 2008. The Pay-What-You-Can Performance will be held Thursday, February 14th, at 8 pm.
General ticket prices are $35 in the orchestra and $30 in the balcony. Preview tickets are $20 for all seats. Opening night tickets are $60 for all seats. Tickets are currently on sale and can also be purchased in a subscription package to East West Players’ 42nd Anniversary Season. For ticket purchases, subscription requests or more information, please call East West Players at (213) 625-7000 or visit www.eastwestplayers.org. Senior, student and group discounts are available. Dates and details are subject to change.