Making Tracks rolls into Issaquah's Village Theatre
Village Originals presents Making Tracks, the second musical of series 2000, opening April 13th at First Stage. A young Asian-American rock musician uncovers the stories behind his family¡s six-generation struggle to find a voice in America. The story travels through time to significant points in history: experiences of Asian immigrants building the first American railroads, the trials of immigrating through Angel Island, WW.II and the upheaval caused by the Japanese internment camps, and establishing the information highway of today¡s hyperlinked society. Presented in collaboration with the authors, Welly Yang, Brian Yorkey, and composer, Woody Pak, "Making Tracks" is a modern tale of tragedy and triumph.
Originally commissioned by Second Generation Productions in New York, "Making Tracks" made its Off-Broadway premiere at the Taipei Theatre in 1998. The New York Times wrote, "a promising new rock musical with energy and hopefulness", NBC's Today in New York said, "making Asian American history". And A. Magazine said, "magnificent, impassioned, breathtakingly original". Recently Welly Yang was honored with CBS's "Fulfilling the Dream Award", in honor of those who have furthered the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. After the Village Originals' performances, the authors are coordinating a production of "Making Tracks" at the National Theater of Taiwan in the next few months.
The mission of Village Originals is to present new musicals in collaboration with their creators. Village Theatre has been very involved with every aspect of this production. In February, Village Theatre staged a reading of the show, and from there the authors began reworking the script. Now with their Director, Alan Muraoka, (also from New York and known for playing "Alan", the new proprietor of Mr. Hooper's store, on the Emmy-Award winning series Sesame Street) they are rehearsing with the Seattle cast and crew.
Village Theatre has felt a special connection to "Making Tracks" since the beginning of the project. Book and lyric writer Brian Yorkey grew up in the Issaquah area and was very involved with Village Theatre's KIDSTAGE program, performing on stage, writing, and directing musicals. "Brian was a KIDSTAGE prodigy," said Executive Producer Robb Hunt, "We've been interested in his work from the beginning." "Making Tracks" is the fourth show Village Theatre has produced that Brian has written. "When we discovered the writers were interested in further developing 'Making Tracks' after its first New York presentation, we knew we wanted to include it in the Village Originals Series," Hunt stated.
Director Alan Muraoka's credits include working with new Asian-American writers as the director in residence at Second Generations Productions for the past two years. Other projects include directing and co-writing A Tribute to Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall, a loving send-up of Julie Andrews' and Carol Burnett's 1962 concert.
The design of this "Making Tracks" production, the costumes, sets, and lighting, coordinate together to create the effect of viewing family photographs, representing black and white early photography to the brighter, colorful and more modern imaging of today.
"Making Tracks" is also intriguing because it has a cast of 10 actors, each of whom play multiple parts. "The actors are purposely doubled," says Welly Yang, "Rather than the traditional protagonist, "Making Tracks" has a series of protagonists played by the same actor, who takes a journey, literally, through his family's past. And from each consecutive story, the character grows from who he was in his last life, and continually inherits the spirit and souls of those who came before him." And though the show follows the experiences of a specific Asian-American family, the authors wanted to ensure that the universal human experiences were expressed simultaneously."One of the things we've always hoped for is that the audience would walk away with the feeling that these aren't the stories of just one person, or of just Asian-Americans, but really the stories of all Americans and of all people," says Yang.
Tickets range from $7-14 and are available at the Village Theatre Box Office, open Tuesday - Saturday 11 am- 7 pm at 303 Front Street North. Call (425) 392-2202 for more information, or try our web site at wwwvillagetheatre.org. Please note all performances are held at Village Theatre¡s First Stage; 120 Front Street North, in Issaquah.
AUTHOR and DIRECTOR BIOS.:
Alan Muraoka (Director) is proud to be a part of the New York collaborative team that has been brought to Seattle for this production. Mr. Muraoka received acclaim for his 1998 Off-Broadway revival of William Finn's Falsettoland for the National Asian-American Theatre Company. For the past year, he has been director in residence for Second Generation Productions, working with new Asian-American writers, and overseeing staged readings of their work. In 1999, he also directed and co-wrote A Tribute to Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall, a loving send-up of Julie Andrews¡ and Carol Burnett's famed 1962 concert. As an actor, Mr. Muraoka has appeared on Broadway in Mail, Shogun, the Musical, My Favorite Year, The King and I, and Miss Saigon, where he played the leading role of the Engineer. And for the past two years, Mr. Muraoka has been on the Emmy-Award winning series Sesame Street, where he plays "Alan" the new proprietor of Hooper's Store.
Welly Yang (Concept and book) made his Broadway debut at age twenty in the leading role of Thuy in Miss Saigon, and went on to receive international acclaim for his performances as a civil rights attorney in John Adams/Peter Sellars' Ceiling/Sky and in the title role of Cole Porter's Aladdin. In New York, Welly has continued to remain active on Off-Broadway stages, and on television, with accolades for his performances in Making Tracks and Falsettoland, and occasional appearances on PBS's Ghostwriter, NBC's Law and Order SVU, and numerous television commercials. Welly has recorded with Electra/Nonesuch Records and been a guest soloist of the New York Philharmonic. He is currently host of Metro Channel's Studio Y¨, a daily talk show for teenagers. In 1997, Welly founded Second Generation Productions (www.2g.org), a non-profit theater company dedicated to telling daring and original Asian-American stories, most recently Making Tracks. In recognition of his artistic and community work, Welly received a recommendation from the National Arts Club in Gramercy Park and the Man of the Year Award from the Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Students Association in 1997. In 1998, he was named one of A. Magazine's "Ten Hot Asian American Entrepreneurs Under 30." Born and raised in New York, Welly is a second generation Taiwanese American and holds an honors degree from Columbia University in political science/international relations.
Brian Yorkey (Book and lyrics) has been writing for the stage and screen for more than ten years. Previous Village Theatre productions include the original musical Funny Pages (with composer Scott Warrender), and the KIDSTAGE productions: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Leaders, and Senior Portrait. New York credits include the musicals Feeling Electric and Devil ... (with composer Tom Kitt) and the Off-Broadway production of Making Tracks (with Welly Yang and Woody Pak). Other stage credits include the musical The Lion Game and the plays Charlie and Me, Friendly Fire, An Apple, The Universe, and Mrs. Fintz, and The Suicide Project. Brian's work for the screen includes the independent film Following Oliver Fulton and The David Exchange. His screenplay Straight Up is currently in development with Morningtown Productions, and his television pilot Sit and Spin has been optioned to SlickerMedia. Brian is a member of the Dramatists' Guild and the BMI/Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. He is a graduate of Columbia University (where he was Artistic Director of the Columbia University Varsity Show), of Issaquah High School, and of Village Theatre's KIDSTAGE Program.
Woody Pak (composer) a graduate of MIT and Julliard. The movie, Miss Monday, with his music has won the Special Jury Prize (Best Actress) at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival Competition. Full-length commercial films he has written under commission include Southern Heart (1998), Ok Soo Tang (1997), and Mijiwang (1996). Among his numerous shorts are such winners of international awards as Mouse (Best Dramatic Short and Audience Award, 1998 New Haven Film Festival), The Somnambulist (First Prize, 1995 Seoul Short Film Festival), and M.P. (3rd Prize, 1995 Seoul Short Film Festival). He has composed Off-Broadway musicals (Making Tracks, 1998), dance sequences (Rainbow Cafe, 1997, Tomb, 1996), and recorded with Virgil Moorefield's avant-garde ensemble, The Temperature in Hell is Over 3000 Degrees (1997). He has also arranged and produced many albums of both classical and popular music, performed by world class artists. Composer of the Asian American Theme for the PBS news magazine, he has been its music director since 1994. Woody Pak has also been active on the New York performance scene in venues ranging from musical theater and classical halls such as Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center to jazz clubs and contemporary clubs such as The Kitchen, The Fez and CBGB's.
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