East West Players’ world premiere BE LIKE WATER brings Bruce Lee to life on the theatrical stage.

East West Players (EWP) launches its 43rd anniversary season, Beyond Presence, by drawing together an amazing team of artists to premiere BE LIKE WATER. The talent will not only shine onstage but also behind the scenes with an Academy Award winning director and a martial arts choreographer who is the god-daughter of Bruce Lee. Premiering September 11 – October 12, BE LIKE WATER is produced in association with Cedar Grove OnStage.

“Bruce Lee is an international icon,” says EWP Producing Artistic Director, Tim Dang, “He is responsible for one of the first major positive portrayals of an Asian American male in the film and television industry. I am looking forward to working with Cedar Grove OnStage on this production. Watching director Chris Tashima transform Dan Kwong’s written work on-stage is truly inspiring. All of us are especially grateful to have Diana Lee Inosanto, Bruce Lee’s god-daughter, as one of our martial arts choreographer. In a way it is like bringing a part of Mr. Lee’s spirit to the piece.”

BE LIKE WATER takes places in the 1970’s a few years after Bruce Lee’s death. The production tells the story of 14 year-old Tracy Fong who is trying to deal with school bullies and family expectations. As a huge fan of Bruce Lee, she trains in martial arts to deal with her rivals. However when she bypasses the philosophies of Jeet Kune Do, the Ghost of Bruce Lee appears to guide her.

BE LIKE WATER has four 14 year-old characters which will actually be portrayed by 14 year-old actors. The teenage actors are being trained in Jeet Kune Do by martial arts choreographer, Diana Lee Inosanto and Ron Balicki. Set in the 70’s there will also be disco dancing in the production, choreographed by Blythe Matsui (most recently co-choreographer for EWP’s box-office hit PIPPIN).

Cedar Grove OnStage (CGO) is a non-profit division of the independent entertainment company, Cedar Grove Productions (CGP), which was originally formed in 1996. CGO was formed in 2006 later when CGP was invited to join the “Cultural Roundtable” at the new Los Angeles Theatre Center. CGO’s co-artistic directors are writer Tim Toyama and actor/director/designer Chris Tashima.

Directing BE LIKE WATER is CGO’s Chris Tashima. One of Tashima’s many great achievements includes winning the Academy Award for Live Action Short Film for Visas and Virtue (1997). He has also received numerous awards for his performances and set designs including EWP’s theatrical production of SWEENEY TODD (1995).

The role of Ghost of Bruce Lee will be portrayed by Cesar Cipriano. Cipriano was recently seen in the role of Lewis in EWP’s production of PIPPIN where he received flattering reviews for his portrayal. Additional EWP credits include EQUUS and SWEENEY TODD (2006).

Additional cast members include Jordan Dang (no relation to Tim Dang), Jonathan Decker, Pam Hayashida, Shawn Huang, Michael Sun Lee, Yvonne Lu, Stephen Oyoung, Sean Peavy, Ariel Rivera, Saya Tomioka. The design team consists of; set designer Akeime Mitterlehner, costume designer Naomi Yoshida, lighting designer Jose Lopez, sound designer Dave Iwataki, property master Ken Takemoto, stage manager Ondina V. Dominguez and assistant stage manager, Irma Escamilla.

All performances of BE LIKE WATER 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. BE LIKE WATER opens Wednesday, September 17, 2008 and closes on Sunday, October 12, 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 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm. Previews are Thursday - Saturday, September 11 - 13 at 8pm and Sunday, September 14 at 2pm. An American Sign Language-interpreted performance is scheduled for Sunday, October 5, 2008. The Pay-What-You-Can Performance will be held Thursday, September 18 at 8 pm.

Special events include “Wine” down Fridays where complimentary wine will be served at every regular Friday performance. The Next Generation Community Night, Wednesday, September 24 will have free pizza and soda served at 7:00pm along with $1 opportunity drawing tickets for a Nintendo DS and Bruce Lee merchandise.

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. For ticket purchases 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.

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Copyright 2008, Roger W. Tang

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