East West Players presents the return of The Nisei Widows Club Holiday on Thin Ice

East West Players, the nation's premier Asian American theatre organization, presents the return of the Japanese American-themed holiday show The Nisei Widows Club Holiday on Thin Ice for 10 performances only December 9-18.

Written by Producing Artistic Director Tim Dang, Arts Education Director Marilyn Tokuda and East West Players artist Denise Iketani, the original The Nisei Widows Club was a box office success in 2003 that used comedy to explore the lives of widowed Japanese American nisei (second-generation) woman - senior citizens who experienced the internment camps of World War II. Outstanding support from the Japanese American community prompted Dang, Tokuda and Iketani to collaborate again to create The Nisei Widows Club Holiday on Thin Ice in 2004.

"Audiences loved the women of The Nisei Widows Club. We saw an opportunity to integrate the culture of the Japanese American community into a new theatrical celebration for the holidays. Now, not only does the community identify and relate to what they see on stage, but we‚re letting people know that even though the customs may be different, the celebration is just as special," Dang said. "While plays like A Christmas Carol and The Nutcracker are classics and staples of the holiday season, East West Players has The Nisei Widows Club Holiday on Thin Ice, a home-grown tradition in the making."

In the play, the women of The Nisei Widows Club plan a special holiday show for the Little Tokyo community. The original cast of Takayo Fischer, Irene Sanaye Furukawa, Nancee Taye Iketani, Donna Kimura, Emily Kuroda, Annabelle M. Lee, June Kyoko Lu and Jeanne Sakata return to sing, dance and act. Each performance will feature special surprise guests. Last year's guests included actress Amy Hill, FOX 11 news anchor Susan Hirasuna and actor George Takei. Special performing groups included the Japanese American Optimist Club and the Ukulele Club from Sage Granada Park United Methodist Church.

Long-time East West Players artists Mike Hagiwara and Emily Kuroda will direct. The Nisei Widows Club Holiday on Thin Ice is their first opportunity to direct a show at East West Players since the organization's moved to the David Henry Hwang Theater in 1998.

The design team is set designer and property master Ken Takemoto and costume designer Rodney Kageyama.

All performances of The Nisei Widows Club Holiday on Thin Ice are in the David Henry Hwang Theater at the Union Center for the Arts, located in Little Tokyo at 120 Judge John Aiso St., Los Angeles, CA 90012 (formerly San Pedro St. between Temple and First streets). The show runs December 9-18, 2005 with performances Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 11 am and 3 pm, and Sunday at 11 am and 3 pm. An American Sign Language-interpreted performance is scheduled for December 10 at 3 pm.

Ticket prices are $25 for orchestra and $20 for balcony. Groups of 15 or more receive $5 off. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.eastwestplayers.org <http://www.eastwestplayers.org/> or calling (213) 625-7000 x20, Monday through Friday, 11 am to 5 pm.

The Nisei Widows Club Holiday on Thin Ice is supported in part by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.

The Rafu Shimpo is the media sponsor for East West Players 40th Anniversary Season.

Takayo Fischer and Jeanne Sakata in the 2004 production of THE NISEI WIDOWS CLUB HOLIDAY ON THIN ICE. Photo by Michael Lamont

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Copyright 2005, Roger W. Tang

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