East West Players presents world premiere production of a new comedy The Nisei Widows Club

East West Players, the nation’s premier Asian American theatre, builds on its mission to give voice to the Asian Pacific American community with the fourth selection of its 37th Anniversary Season, THE NISEI WIDOWS CLUB written by Betty Tokudani and directed by Tim Dang, the company’s award-winning artistic director.

With THE NISEI WIDOWS CLUB, East West Players will explore the traditions, loves, losses and lives of Nisei women (second-generation Japanese Americans), many of whom were children and teenagers interned in relocation camps during World War II as a result of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. This comedy, about a group of widows who have formed a support group for bereaving spouses, begins the night unexpected visitors attend their weekly gathering and hijinks ensue. The play is set in Los Angeles with many local references and a very familiar culture.

“Many Japanese American plays explore the theme of internment, and while it was a very important time in our history as Asian Americans, we know that there are many other stories that also need to be discovered and told,” Dang says. “THE NISEI WIDOWS CLUB gives voice to an older, and often under-represented, community and allows them to share a different and sometimes private part of their lives with their families and younger generations.”

The cast for THE NISEI WIDOWS CLUB includes (in alphabetical order) Takayo Fischer, Emily Kuroda, June Kyoko Lu, Robert Lee, Jeanne Sakata, Sab Shimono and Michael Yama.

THE NISEI WIDOWS CLUB will also have members of the Japanese American community act alongside professional actors as members of the club.

The creative team for THE NISEI WIDOWS CLUB includes Set Designer Wayne Nakasone, Lighting Designer G. Shizuko Herrera, Costume Designer Naomi Rodriguez, Sound Designer Kaname Morishita, Property Master Ken Takemoto and Production Stage Manager Victoria A. Gathe.

All performances in the David Henry Hwang Theater at the Union Center for the Arts, located in Little Tokyo at 120 Judge John Aiso St. (formerly San Pedro St. between Temple and First streets). Opening night is May 14, 2003 (includes gala reception with the director, cast and crew) and closing on June 8, 2003. Previews begin May 8. Performances are Thursday – Sunday. An American Sign Language-interpreted performance is schedule for Friday, June 6.

Ticket prices are $55 for Opening Night; regular performances are $30 in the orchestra and $25 for the balcony. Tickets can be purchased Monday through Friday, 11 am – 5 pm by calling (213) 625-7000 x20. Senior, student and group discounts are available.

THE NISEI WIDOWS CLUB is supported in part by The James Irvine Foundation and The Wells Fargo Foundation.

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Copyright 2003, Roger W. Tang

Questions? Email gwangung@u.washington.edu