The opening night curtain call for GETTIN' THE BAND BACK TOGETHER at The Belasco Theatre in New York on August 13, 2018. Photo by Lia Chang

Inside the GETTIN’ THE BAND BACK TOGETHER Opening Night Party with Garth Kravits, Marilu Henner, Mitchell Jarvis, Jay Klaitz, Brandon Williams and More

Performances, Photography, Theater
The opening night curtain call for GETTIN' THE BAND BACK TOGETHER at The Belasco Theatre in New York on August 13, 2018. Photo by Lia Chang

The opening night curtain call for GETTIN’ THE BAND BACK TOGETHER at The Belasco Theatre in New York on August 13, 2018. Photo by Lia Chang

Gettin’ The Band Back Together opened on Broadway at The Belasco Theatre (111 W 44th Street) on August 13. The production, which is directed by Tony Award winner John Rando and choreographed by Chris Bailey, began previews on July 19. Scroll down for my complete coverage of the night including curtain call, backstage and the after party photos at Dave and Buster’s. Click here for tickets.

Curtain Call

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Gettin’ The Band Back Together has original music and lyrics by Mark Allen and a book by Ken Davenport and The Grundleshotz with additional material by Sarah Saltzberg. The creative team includes Tony Award winners Derek McLane (Scenic Design), Emily Rebholz (Costume Design), Ken Billington (Lighting Design), John Shivers (Sound Design) in addition to Music Direction by Sonny Paladino and Casting by Eisenberg/Beans Casting.

Backstage

The cast of Gettin’ The Band Back Together features Mitchell Jarvis (Mitch Papadopoulos), Jay Klaitz (Bart Vickers), Manu Narayan (Dr. Rummesh “Robbie” Patel), Paul Whitty (Michael “Sully” Sullivan), Sawyer Nunes (Ricky “Bling” Goldstein), Marilu Henner (“Mitch’s Mom,” aka Sharon Papadopoulos), Kelli Barrett (Dani), Becca Kötte (Tawney), Garth Kravits (Ritchie), Tamika Lawrence (Roxanne Velasco), Noa Solorio (Billie), and Brandon Williams (Tygen Billows). The cast also includes Lindsey Brett Carothers, Ryan Duncan, Scott Richard Foster, Jenny Hill, Nehal Joshi, J. Elaine Marcos, Rob Marnell, Jasmin Richardson, Ian Ward, and Tad Wilson.

Sonny Paladino, Garth Kravits, Jay Klaitz and Mitchell Jarvis. Photo by Lia Chang

Sonny Paladino, Garth Kravits, Jay Klaitz and Mitchell Jarvis. Photo by Lia Chang

Mitch Papadopoulos always wanted to be the next Bruce Springsteen, but he left those daydreams behind for a day job. When this big-shot banker is handed a pink slip on his 40th birthday, he’s forced to move back in with his mom in New Jersey.

Garth Kravits and Brandon Williams. Photo by Lia Chang

Garth Kravits and Brandon Williams. Photo by Lia Chang

A run-in with his former music rival leads to a threat of foreclosure on Mitch’s family home, unless he can win The Battle of the Bands-a rematch over 25 years in the making. So he dusts off his guitar, gathers his old gang, and sets out to win back his house, his pride-and maybe even the high school sweetheart he left behind-proving it’s never too late to give your dreams one last shot.

After party at Dave and Buster’s

Gettin’ The Band Back Together is produced by Ken Davenport, Hunter Arnold, Roy Putrino, Scott Abrams, Sandi Moran, Carl Daikeler, Broadway Strategic Return Fund, Rob Kolson, Marie Barton Stevenson, H. Richard Hopper, Richard Roth, Marguerite Hoffman, Diego Kolankowsky, Gary Nelson, Brian Cromwell Smith, Witzend Productions, David Bryant, Darrell Hankey, Trevor Coates, Ladybug Productions, Jim Wagstaffe, Laura Z. Barket, Judith Manocherian, John McGrain, Steve Reynolds, Sal Buscemi, Douglas K. Atamian, Rich Battista, Frederic J. Siegel, BF Investments, and Sean Attebury. The Associate Producers for the production are Kayla Greenspan and Valerie Novakoff.

Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang

Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang

Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang

Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang

Noa Solorio. Photo by Lia Chang

Noa Solorio. Photo by Lia Chang

Noa Solorio. Photo by Lia Chang

Noa Solorio. Photo by Lia Chang

Free original cast recording available at: www.GettinTheBandBackTogether.com

Town of Sayreville, NJ Becomes Co-Producer on GETTIN’ THE BAND BACK TOGETHER

Mitchell Jarvis, Garth Kravits, Marilu Henner, Jay Klaitz, Brandon Williams and More Kick Off Previews of GETTIN’ THE BAND BACK TOGETHER 

Garth Kravits Returns to Broadway in John Rando Helmed GETTIN’ THE BAND BACK TOGETHER

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Garth Kravits and Lia Chang. Photo by Jaygee Macapugay

Garth Kravits and Lia Chang. Photo by Jaygee Macapugay

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films with Garth Kravits, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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Michelle Wilson, Nedra McClyde, Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Lileana Blain-Cruz, Lynda Gravatt, Marie Thomas, Harriett D. Foy and Juliana Canfield. Photo by Lia Chang

Inside New York Theatre Workshop’s Opening Night Party of THE HOUSE THAT WILL NOT STAND with Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Juliana Canfield, Harriett D. Foy, Lynda Gravátt, Nedra McClyde, Marie Thomas and Michelle Wilson

Events, Photography, Theater
Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Faye Dunaway, Lileana Blain-Cruz and Nedra McClyde. Photo by Lia Chang

Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Faye Dunaway, Lileana Blain-Cruz and Nedra McClyde. Photo by Lia Chang

Last night, New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW) celebrated the opening night of the New York premiere of The House That Will Not Stand by Marcus Gardley (X: Or, Betty Shabazz v. The Nation) at Phebe’s.

Michelle Wilson, Nedra McClyde, Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Lileana Blain-Cruz, Lynda Gravatt, Marie Thomas, Harriett D. Foy and Juliana Canfield. Photo by Lia Chang

Michelle Wilson, Nedra McClyde, Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Lileana Blain-Cruz, Lynda Gravatt, Marie Thomas, Harriett D. Foy and Juliana Canfield. Photo by Lia Chang

Helmed by NYTW Usual Suspect and Obie Award winner Lileana Blain-Cruz (Red Speedo; Pipeline), the play began previews on July 11 at New York Theatre Workshop (79 E. 4th Street New York, NY 10003), and will have performances through Sunday, August 12.

Lileana Blain-Cruz and Faye Dunaway. Photo by Lia Chang

Lileana Blain-Cruz and Faye Dunaway. Photo by Lia Chang

The cast for The House That Will Not Stand includes Helen Hayes Award nominee Joniece Abbott-Pratt (NBC’s “Blindspot,” Netflix’s “Luke Cage”), Juliana Canfield (He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box), Helen Hayes Award nominee Harriett D. Foy (Amélie), Helen Hayes Award winner Lynda Gravátt (This Flat Earth), Nedra McClyde (Marvin’s Room), Marie Thomas (Having Our Say) and Tony Award nominee Michelle Wilson (Sweat).

Jim Nicola, Michelle Wilson, Nedra McClyde, Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Lileana Blain-Cruz, Lynda Gravatt, Marie Thomas, Harriett D. Foy, Juliana Canfield and Jeremy Blocker. Photo by Lia Chang

Jim Nicola, Michelle Wilson, Nedra McClyde, Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Lileana Blain-Cruz, Lynda Gravatt, Marie Thomas, Harriett D. Foy, Juliana Canfield and Jeremy Blocker. Photo by Lia Chang

In the heat of summer in 1813, Louisiana passed from France to the United States. On the eve of the transfer, in a house in mourning, freedom hangs in the balance for a steely widow and her three eligible daughters, all free women of color. Inspired by Federico García Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba, Marcus Gardley’s lyrical, nuanced play, The House That Will Not Stand, is directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz.

Marie Thomas, Carmen de Lavallade, Count Stovall and Lynda Gravatt. Photo by Lia Chang

Marie Thomas, Carmen de Lavallade, Count Stovall and Lynda Gravatt. Photo by Lia Chang

Faye Dunaway, Carmen de Lavallade, Count Stovall, Ayad Akhtar, Ed Iskandar, Carl Cofield, Jeremy O. Harris, Purva Bedi, Angel Desai and more were on hand for the celebration.

Ayad Akhtar, Ed Iskandar and Jeremy Blocker. Photo by Lia Chang

Ayad Akhtar, Ed Iskandar and Jeremy Blocker. Photo by Lia Chang

Marie Thomas

Lynda Gravatt

Juliana Canfield

Joniece Abbott-Pratt

Harriett D. Foy

The creative team includes scenic designer Adam Rigg (The Mad Ones), costume designer Montana Levi Blanco (Red Speedo), lighting designer Yi Zhao (Pipeline), and sound design and original music by Justin Ellington (Until the Flood). Movement is by Raja Feather Kelly (The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World). The dialect and vocal coach is Dawn-Elin Fraser (Once on this Island). Terri Kohler (In the Blood) will serve as stage manager.

Single tickets for The House That Will Not Stand are $65, with $45 tickets available for performances from July 13-August 12.

Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis, online at NYTW.org or by phone from the NYTW Box Office at 212-460-5475. Standard ticketing fees apply.

Additionally, a CHEAPTIX $25 day-of ticket rush will be available for young people, seniors, artists and Lower East Side residents. Rush tickets are subject to availability and are sold cash-only, limit two per person. Proper identification is required for all rush tickets. Youth (ages 25 and under) and seniors (ages 65+) may present an ID indicating date-of-birth; Artists may present an ID and a program or union card; Lower East Side residents may present an ID that includes your address.

The performance schedule for The House That Will Not Stand is as follows: Tuesday and Wednesday at 7pm, Thursday and Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm & 8pm, Sunday at 1pm and 7pm. Exceptions: there will be no no performance on Tuesday, July 31; and no 7pm performance on Sunday, August 12.

Michelle Wilson, Nedra McClyde, Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Lileana Blain-Cruz, Lynda Gravatt, Marie Thomas, Harriett D. Foy and Juliana Canfield. Photo by Lia Chang

Michelle Wilson, Nedra McClyde, Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Lileana Blain-Cruz, Lynda Gravatt, Marie Thomas, Harriett D. Foy and Juliana Canfield. Photo by Lia Chang

Michelle Wilson, Nedra McClyde, Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Lileana Blain-Cruz, Lynda Gravatt, Marie Thomas, Harriett D. Foy, Juliana Canfield and Michael R. Jackson. Photo by Lia Chang

Michelle Wilson, Nedra McClyde, Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Lileana Blain-Cruz, Lynda Gravatt, Marie Thomas, Harriett D. Foy, Juliana Canfield and Michael R. Jackson. Photo by Lia Chang

Jaime Lincoln Smith, Lia Chang, Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Charlie Hudson III, Nedra McClyde, Lilean Blain-Cruz. Photo by Lia Chang

Jaime Lincoln Smith, Lia Chang, Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Charlie Hudson III, Nedra McClyde, Lilean Blain-Cruz. Photo by Lia Chang

Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Lileana Blain-Cruz, Lia Chang, Harriet D. Foy. Photo by Charlie Hudson III

Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Lileana Blain-Cruz, Lia Chang, Harriet D. Foy. Photo by Charlie Hudson III

Joniece Abbott-Pratt. Photo by Lia Chang

Joniece Abbott-Pratt. Photo by Lia Chang

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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Rona Siddiqui, Kirsten Childs and Ashley D. Kelley. Photo by Lia Chang

Inside The Dramatists Guild Awards Night with Kirsten Childs, Charles Busch, Jocelyn Bioh and More

Awards, Photography, Theater

The Dramatists Guild of America held their annual awards ceremony at the Hilton Midtown in New York last night during the Guild’s National Conference.

Stephen Schwartz, Lynn Nottage, Christine Toy Johnson and Kirsten Childs. Photo by Lia Chang

Stephen Schwartz, Lynn Nottage, Christine Toy Johnson and Kirsten Childs. Photo by Lia Chang

Samuel French, BMI and The Dramatists Guild Foundation presented the awards night hosted by Doug Wright, President of The Dramatists Guild of America.

Doug Wright, Carl Andress, Charles Busch, Jeffry Melnick. Photo by Lia Chang

Doug Wright, Carl Andress, Charles Busch, Jeffry Melnick. Photo by Lia Chang

Tina Fallon, Perryn Leech, Rory James Leech and Lynn Ahrens. Photo by Lia Chang

Tina Fallon, Perryn Leech, Rory James Leech and Lynn Ahrens. Photo by Lia Chang

This year’s awards were presented to Jocelyn Bioh, recipient of the Hull-Warriner Award for her play School Girls; or the African Mean Girls Play; Kirsten Childs, recipient of the Frederick Loewe Award for Dramatic Composition for her score to Bella: An American Tall Tale; Charles Busch, recipient of the Flora Roberts Award; James Anthony Tyler, recipient of the Horton Foote Playwriting Award; Isaac Gomez​ and R. Eric Thomas​,co-recipients of the Lanford Wilson Award and Sawyer Rayne Garrity​ and Andrea Pena, recipients of the DLDF Defender Award. Doug Wright presented a surprise award of an honorary lifetime membership to The Dramatists Guild to Jane Chu, former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

Christine Toy Johnson, Lynn Ahrens, Paula Vogel and Stephen Schwartz. Photo by Lia Chang

Christine Toy Johnson, Lynn Ahrens, Paula Vogel and Stephen Schwartz. Photo by Lia Chang

Lynn Ahrens  and Stephen Flaherty​ introduced Rory James Leech, who delivered a powerfully, moving speech.

Rory James Leech. Photo by Lia Chang

Rory James Leech. Photo by Lia Chang

Kia Corthron presented the 2018 Horton Foote Award to James Anthony Tyler. The Horton Foote Award includes a check for $25,000 and is presented to a dramatist whose work seeks to plumb the ineffable nature of being human, and is sponsored by the Richenthal Foundation.

Kia Corthron and James Anthony Tyler. Photo by Lia Chang

Kia Corthron and James Anthony Tyler. Photo by Lia Chang

James Anthony Tyler was a 2014-2015 Dramatists Guild Fellow. His plays include Some Old Black Man (Berkshire Playwrights Lab, upcoming NYC premiere in February, 2018), Dolphins and Sharks (LAByrinth Theater Company and Finborough Theatre in London), and Artney Jackson (The New Black Fest). He has received a Theatre Masters Visionary Playwrights Award, The Playwrights’ Center’s Many Voices Fellowship and a Working Farm Writers Group Residency at Space on Ryder Farm. Tyler has an MFA from Howard University and NYU, and is a 2017 graduate of Juilliard.

Lynn Nottage presented the 2018 Frederick Loewe Award to Kirsten Childs​. The Frederick Loewe Award, given by the Frederick Loewe Foundation and presented annually by the Dramatists Guild Council to a composer, recognizes achievement in a theatrical score presented in New York during the previous theatrical season. Past winners include Benj Pasek & Justin Paul, Jeanine Tesori, Amanda Green & Trey Anastasio, Alan Menken, Michael John LaChiusa, Robert Lopez, Trey Parker & Matt Stone, John Kander, Tom Kitt, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Scott Frankel.

Rona Siddiqui, Kirsten Childs and Ashley D. Kelley. Photo by Lia Chang

Rona Siddiqui, Kirsten Childs and Ashley D. Kelley. Photo by Lia Chang

Kirsten Childs is the composer/lyricist/librettist of Bella: An American Tall Tale, The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, Miracle Brothers, Fly(with Rajiv Joseph and Bill Sherman), and Funked Up Fairy Tales. For her work she has received Obie, Kleban, Larson, Richard Rodgers, Audelco, and Gilman/Gonzalez-Falla awards, as well as Lortel and Drama Desk nominations. She is a professor in NYU’s Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program, a member of both the Dramatists Guild Council and the Dramatists Guild Foundation, and is proud to be a mentor in Theatre Development Fund’s Open Doors program.

Ashley D. Kelley​ performed “Impossible” from Bella: An American Tall Tale with Music Director Rona Siddiqui​.

Ashley D. Kelley and Rona Siddiqui. Photo by Lia Chang

Ashley D. Kelley and Rona Siddiqui. Photo by Lia Chang

Martyna Majok​ presented the 2018 Lanford Wilson Award to Isaac Gomez​ and R. Eric Thomas​. The Lanford Wilson Award is named after the Pulitzer Prize-winning, Tony-nominated playwright-and longtime Dramatists Guild Council member-who passed away in 2011. The award was established by a generous contribution from Wilson’s estate, and a matching contribution from the Guild; it is presented annually by the Dramatists Guild Council to a dramatist based primarily on their work as an early career playwright. Previous recipients are Francine Volpe, Michael Lew, Chisa Hutchinson, Lauren Gunderson, Christopher Chen, and Martyna Majok.

Isaac Gomez, Martyna Majok and R. Eric Thomas. Photo by Lia Chang

Isaac Gomez, Martyna Majok and R. Eric Thomas. Photo by Lia Chang

Isaac Gomez is a Chicago-based playwright originally from El Paso, Texas/Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. His play La Ruta will be receiving its world premiere at Steppenwolf Theater Company this fall. Current commissions: South Coast Repertory, Goodman Theatre, Steep Theatre, StepUp ChicagoPlaywrights. For more information on awards, plays, and affiliations, visit isaacgomez.org.

R. Eric Thomas’ productions include: Mrs. Harrison (Azuka), Miriam1234 (City Theater) and Time Is On Our Side (About Face & Simpatico). In addition to winning two Barrymores, Time… was a finalist for the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award. Forthcoming: TYA development at Act II Theatre, Safe Space (Cohesion Theater Company), Nightbird (NNPN commission/InterAct).

Craig Lucas presented the 2018 Flora Roberts Award to Charles Busch. The Flora Roberts Award, administered by the Dramatists Guild Foundation, is presented to a dramatist in recognition of distinguished work in the theatre and to encourage the continuation of that work. Previous recipients include Mac Wellman, Dael Orlandersmith, Charles Fuller, Arthur Kopit, Philip Kan Gotanda, Michael Weller, Polly Pen, Craig Lucas, Ed Bullins, Adrienne Kennedy, and Tina Howe.

Doug Wright, Jeff Melnick, Charles Busch and Craig Lucas, Carl Andress. Photo by Lia Chang

Doug Wright, Jeff Melnick, Charles Busch and Craig Lucas, Carl Andress. Photo by Lia Chang

Charles Busch is the author and star of such plays as The Confession of Lily Dare, Cleopatra, The Divine Sister, The Lady in Question, Red Scare on Sunset and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, which ran five years and is one of the longest running plays in Off-Broadway history. His play The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife ran for 777 performances on Broadway and won Mr. Busch the Outer Circle Critics John Gassner Award and received a Tony nomination for Best Play. He wrote and starred in the film versions of his plays Psycho Beach Party and Die Mommie Die, the latter of which won him the Best Performance Award at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2003, Mr. Busch received a special Drama Desk Award for career achievement as both performer and playwright. He is also the subject of the documentary film The Lady in Question is Charles Busch.

Paula Vogel presented the 2018 Hull Warriner Award to Jocelyn Bioh. The Hull-Warriner Award is the only award given by dramatists to dramatists; it is presented annually by the Dramatists Guild Council to an author or team of authors in recognition of their play dealing with controversial subjects involving the fields of political, religious, or social mores of the times. Previous winners include Paula Vogel, Lynn Nottage, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Annie Baker, August Wilson, Stephen Karam, Marsha Norman and Dael Orlandersmith.

Paula Vogel and Jocelyn Bioh. Photo by Lia Chang

Paula Vogel and Jocelyn Bioh. Photo by Lia Chang

Jocelyn Bioh is a Ghanaian-American writer/performer from New York City. Her plays include 2015 Kilroys’ List selection Nollywood Dreams, which was presented in the spring of 2017 as part of the Cherry Lane Mentor Project; School Girls; or the African Mean Girls Play (Lortel Award, OCC John Gassner Award, Drama Desk nomination, Drama League nomination, Kilroys’ List 2016, produced at MCC Theater in 2017 and returning for an encore run in October, 2018), Happiness and Joe (2017), African Americans (Ruby Prize Finalist 2011), Goddess (book writer), and The Ladykiller’s Love Story, of which she conceived the story and wrote the libretto with music/lyrics by Cee Lo Green. She is a commissioned playwright with MTC, Atlantic Theater Company, and Williamstown Theater Festival (2018 Lilly Award) and is a Resident Playwright at Lincoln Center and is a Tow Foundation Playwright-in-Residence with MCC Theater for 2017/18. Jocelyn received a B.A in English/Theatre from The Ohio State University and the MFA in Playwriting.

Doug Wright presented a surprise award of an honorary lifetime membership to The Dramatists Guild to Jane Chu, former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

Jane Chu. Photo by Lia Chang

Jane Chu. Photo by Lia Chang

Lydia R. Diamond presented the DLDF Defender Award to Sawyer Garrity and Andrea Pena, two young theater artists from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School who, in the wake of a horrific tragedy, gave courageous, consoling, inspiring voice to the deepest feelings of their classmates, their community and their country. ‘You may have brought the dar, but together we will shine the light.”

Lydia R. Diamond, Sawyer Garrity and Andrea Peña. Photo by Lia Chang

Lydia R. Diamond, Sawyer Garrity and Andrea Peña. Photo by Lia Chang

Alton Fitzgerald White​ sang “Make Them Hear You,” from Ragtime, accompanied by Stephen Flaherty, to close out the evening’s festivities.

Alton Fitzgerald White and Stephen Flaherty. Photo by Lia Chang

Alton Fitzgerald White and Stephen Flaherty. Photo by Lia Chang

Timothy Huang, Tina Fallon, Robert Schenkkan and Lynn Nottage. Photo by Lia Chang

Timothy Huang, Tina Fallon, Robert Schenkkan and Lynn Nottage. Photo by Lia Chang

Kirsten Childs, Tari Stratton, Ashley D. Kelley, Tina Fallon. Photo by Lia Chang

Kirsten Childs, Tari Stratton, Ashley D. Kelley, Tina Fallon. Photo by Lia Chang

Andrea Peña, Rory James Leech and Sawyer Garrity. Photo by Lia Chang

Andrea Peña, Rory James Leech and Sawyer Garrity. Photo by Lia Chang

Lily Dwoskin, Kristin Kapinos, Christine Toy Johnson, Sarah Rebell. Photo by Lia Chang

Lily Dwoskin, Kristin Kapinos, Christine Toy Johnson, Sarah Rebell. Photo by Lia Chang

Lydia R. Diamond, Mara Isaacs, Tod London and Winter Miller. Photo by Lia Chang

Lydia R. Diamond, Mara Isaacs, Tod London and Winter Miller. Photo by Lia Chang

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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Lin-Manuel Miranda and MIcki Grant. Photo by Lia Chang

Lin-Manuel Miranda, George C. Wolfe, Jeanine Tesori, Anne Kaufman and More Celebrate Micki Grant and Vinnette Carroll’s DON’T BOTHER ME, I CAN’T COPE at New York City Center Encores! Off-Center

Music, Performances, Photography, Theater
Marshall L. Davis, Jeff Foote, Alexandria Brinae Ali Bradley, Shonica Gooden, Amber Barbee Pickens, Dayna Jarae Dantzler, Rheaume Crenshaw, Aisha de Haas, Wayne Pretlow, James T Lane, Nina Hudson, Marla McReynolds and Ck Edwards. Photo by Lia Chang

Marshall L. Davis, Jeff Foote, Alexandria Brinae Ali Bradley, Shonica Gooden, Amber Barbee Pickens, Dayna Jarae Dantzler, Rheaume Crenshaw, Aisha de Haas, Wayne Pretlow, James T Lane, Nina Hudson, Marla McReynolds and Ck Edwards. Photo by Lia Chang

Micki Grant was the toast of the town last night at the opening night party of the Off-Center revival of Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope, the third production of the Encores! Off-Center season at New York City Center, which has performances through July 28.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, George C. Wolfe, Encores! Off-Center Co-Artistic Directors Jeanine Tesori and Anne Kaufman, Anthony Chisholm, Chapman Roberts, Marjorie Johnson, Adrienne C. Moore, Jocelyn Bioh, Voza Rivers, Kendall Clagett and more were in the house to celebrate.

Directed and choreographed by Tony Award-winner Savion Glover (Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk), the Off-Center revival stars Rheaume Crenshaw, Dayna Dantzler, Aisha de Haas, James T. Lane, and Wayne Pretlow, with Alexandria Bradley, Marshall L. Davis Jr., CK Edwards, Jeffry Foote, Shonica Gooden, Nina Hudson, Marla McReynolds, and Amber Barbee Pickens rounding out the ensemble.

Back row: Rheaume Crenshaw, Savion Glover, Michael Mitchell, Annastasia Victory, Wayne Pretlow, Jeanine Tesori, Aisha de Haas, Marshall L. Davis. Front Row: Marla McReynolds, Ck Edwards, Alexandria Bradley, Shonica Gooden, James T Lane. Photo by Lia Chang

Back row: Rheaume Crenshaw, Savion Glover, Michael Mitchell, Annastasia Victory, Wayne Pretlow, Jeanine Tesori, Aisha de Haas, Marshall L. Davis. Front Row: Marla McReynolds, Ck Edwards, Alexandria Bradley, Shonica Gooden, James T Lane. Photo by Lia Chang

Micki Grant and Vinnette Carroll’s Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope (1971) is a radical and irreverent protest cycle that laid bare the political issues facing the African American community when it first premiered at the Ford’s Theatre in Washington D.C. The show continued to raise voices for change in its Philadelphia and New York productions through a lively mix of song and dance, and a score by Grant that includes gospel, jazz, soul, calypso, and rock. It ran over 1,000 performances on Broadway, earning four Tony Award nominations, and winning an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, as well as a Grammy Award for Best Score from an Original Cast Show Album.

Michael O. Mitchell, Annastasia Victory, Rheaume Crenshaw, Patience Higgins, David F. Gibson and Konrad Adderley. Photo by Lia Chang

Michael Mitchell, Annastasia Victory, Rheaume Crenshaw, Patience Higgins, David F. Gibson and Konrad Adderley. Photo by Lia Chang

Music Director Annastasia Victory leads a team that features Associate Music Director and Conductor Michael Mitchell, Assistant Music Director Josh Clayton, with Michael Mitchell on the keys, Ayodele Maakheru on Guitar, David F. Gibson on Drums, Konrad Addlerly on Bass and Patience Higgins on Woodwind.

Monique Smith, Dayna Dantzler, Marshall L. Davis, Alexandria Bradley, Nina Hudson, Marla McReynolds, Amber Barbee Pickens, Rheaume Crenshaw, Shonica Gooden, Jeff Foote, Ck Edwards and Aisha de Haas. Photo by Lia Chang

Monique Smith, Dayna Dantzler, Marshall L. Davis, Alexandria Bradley, Nina Hudson, Marla McReynolds, Amber Barbee Pickens, Rheaume Crenshaw, Shonica Gooden, Jeff Foote, Ck Edwards and Aisha de Haas. Photo by Lia Chang

The creative team includes Scenic Design by Donyale Werle, Costume Design by Clint Ramos, Lighting Design by Mark Barton, Sound Design by Leon Rothenberg.

With five 1972 Tony Award nominations (including Best Musical) and an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical the same year, Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope also won Micki Grant a Grammy Award for best score-the first female to be so honored. Ms. Grant was also one of the stars of the show, which came to Broadway after successful runs in Washington DC, Detroit, and Philadelphia. The show ran for over two years on Broadway. Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope  is the first Broadway musical written entirely by a woman and the first Broadway production to be directed by a female African-American.

Micki Grant. Photo by Lia Chang

Micki Grant. Photo by Lia Chang

Ms. Grant has received many Grammy and Tony nominations for her various musicals, such as Your Arms Too Short To Box With GodIt’s So Nice To Be Civilized, J.E. Franklin’s Prodigal SisterEubie, and Sweet & Hot.  As an actress, Ms. Grant has performed on and Off-Broadway and in regional theatres around the country, having made her Broadway debut as the ingenue in Langston Hughes’ Tambourines To Glory. In the late nineties, a two-year tour of the play Having Our Say took her to more than 68 U.S. cities and to Johannesburg, South Africa, earning her the Helen Hayes Award for her performance as Sadie Delany. The first African ­American contract player on a daytime serial, she played the role of attorney Peggy Nolan on NBC’s “Another World” for seven years, and has had continuing roles on “Edge of Night” and “Guiding Light,” as well as guesting on “All My Children”. She is the recipient of multiple awards, including: Obie Award, NAACP Image, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Audelco’s Outstanding Pioneer, AEA’s Paul Robeson and the Nat’l Black Theatre Festival’s Living Legend and Sidney Poitier Lifelong Achievement Awards.

Amber Barbee Pickens, Ck Edwards, Nina Hudson, Rheaume Crenshaw and Jeff Foote. Photo by Lia Chang

Amber Barbee Pickens, Ck Edwards, Nina Hudson, Rheaume Crenshaw and Jeff Foote. Photo by Lia Chang

Annastasia Victory, Marla McReynolds, Rheaume Crenshaw, Micki Grant, Nina Hudson and Monique Smith. Photo by Lia Chang

Annastasia Victory, Marla McReynolds, Rheaume Crenshaw, Micki Grant, Nina Hudson and Monique Smith. Photo by Lia Chang

Annastasia Victory, Wayne Pretlow, Jeanine Tesori, Aisha de Haas, Marshall L. Davis. Front Row: Marla McReynolds, Ck Edwards, Alexandria Bradley, Shonica Gooden, James T Lane. Photo by Lia Chang

Annastasia Victory, Wayne Pretlow, Jeanine Tesori, Aisha de Haas, Marshall L. Davis. Front Row: Marla McReynolds, Ck Edwards, Alexandria Bradley, Shonica Gooden, James T Lane. Photo by Lia Chang

Jeff Foote, Aisha de Haas, Wayne Pretlow, James T. Lane and Nina Hudson. Photo by Lia Chang

Jeff Foote, Aisha de Haas, Wayne Pretlow, James T. Lane and Nina Hudson. Photo by Lia Chang

James T Lane, Nina Hudson, Marla McReynolds and Ck Edwards. Photo by Lia Chang

James T Lane, Nina Hudson, Marla McReynolds and Ck Edwards. Photo by Lia Chang

Rheaume Crenshaw, Aisha de Haas and Wayne Pretlow. Photo by Lia Chang

Rheaume Crenshaw, Aisha de Haas and Wayne Pretlow. Photo by Lia Chang

Aisha de Haas and Wayne Pretlow. Photo by Lia Chang

Aisha de Haas and Wayne Pretlow. Photo by Lia Chang

Marshall L. Davis, Jeff Foote, Alexandria Bradley, Shonica Gooden, Amber Barbee Pickens, Dayna Dantzler, Rheaume Crenshaw. Photo by Lia Chang

Marshall L. Davis, Jeff Foote, Alexandria Bradley, Shonica Gooden, Amber Barbee Pickens, Dayna Dantzler, Rheaume Crenshaw. Photo by Lia Chang

Remaining performances are Friday at 8pm, and Sat at 2 & 8pm at New York City Center,  131 W 55th St (between Sixth and Seventh Avenues) in New York. Click here for tickets.

I’m headed back for the Saturday, July  28 matinee at 2pm which will be followed by a conversation between Kirsten Childs and Micki Grant about writing and composing for musical theater.

NEW YORK City Center (Arlene Shuler, President & CEO) has played a defining role in the cultural life of the city since 1943. The landmark 75th Anniversary Season (2018 – 2019) pays tribute to this rich history and celebrates the institution’s singular role in the arts today. For 25 years, City Center’s Tony-honored Encores! series has been “an essential New York institution” (The New York Times), and since 2013, the Encores! Off-Center series has featured seminal Off-Broadway musicals filtered through the lens of today’s innovative artists. Dance has also been integral to the theater’s mission from the start and programs like the annual Fall for Dance Festival remain central to City Center’s identity. Home to a roster of renowned national and international companies including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (City Center’s Principal Dance Company) and Manhattan Theatre Club, New York City Center was Manhattan’s first performing arts center, founded with the mission of making the best in music, theater, and dance accessible to all audiences. That mission continues today through robust education and community engagement programs, which bring the performing arts to over 9,000 New York City students each year, and the expansion of the theatrical experience to include art exhibitions, pre-show talks, and master classes that offer an up-close look at the work of the great theater and dance artists of our time. NYCityCenter.org

Lia Chang, Micki Grant, Anthony Chisholm and Lori Minor. Photo by Marjorie Johnson

Lia Chang, Micki Grant, Anthony Chisholm and Lori Minor. Photo by Marjorie Johnson

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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Lainie Sakakura, David Bell, Paul Fujimoto, Allyson Tucker-Mitchell and Kenny Ingram. Photo by Lia Chang

Lainie Sakakura, David H. Bell and Paul Fujimoto’s THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET Musical Reading

Music, Photography, Theater
Kids (L to R): Liam Kaznelson, Andrew Chen, Avelina Sanchez, Joshua Turchin. Front row Adults (L to R): Mary Beth Purdy, Kenny Ingram, Jane Bernhard, Allyson Tucker, Alex Sanchez, Paul Fujimoto. Back row adults: Wai Ching Ho, Ethan Phong, Thomas Conroy, Fenton Li, Lainie Sakakura, David Bell. Photo by Lia Chang

Kids (L to R): Liam Kaznelson, Andrew Chen, Avelina Sanchez, Joshua Turchin. Front row Adults (L to R): Mary Beth Purdy, Kenny Ingram, Jane Bernhard, Allyson Tucker, Alex Sanchez, Paul Fujimoto. Back row adults: Wai Ching Ho, Ethan Phong, Thomas Conroy, Fenton Li, Lainie Sakakura, David Bell. Photo by Lia Chang

In early June, I documented the first read thru of a new musical, THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, based on the award winning, NY Times Best Selling novel, “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford at Ripley-Grier Studios, featuring a book by Lainie Sakakura & David H Bell, with Lyrics by Paul Fujimoto & David H Bell. Music by Paul Fujimoto.

Paul Fujimoto, David Bell and Lainie Sakakura. Photo by Lia Chang

Paul Fujimoto, David Bell and Lainie Sakakura. Photo by Lia Chang

Under the Musical Direction of Thomas Conroy, the cast featured Jane Bernard, Andrew Chen, Wai Ching Ho, Kenny Ingram, Fenton Li, Ethan L. Phong, Mary Beth Purdy, Liam Kaznelson, Avelina Kiyome Sanchez, Alex Sanchez, Allyson Tucker-Mitchell and Joshua Turchin.

David Bell, Lainie Sakakura and Paul Fujimoto. Photo by Lia Chang

David Bell, Lainie Sakakura and Paul Fujimoto. Photo by Lia Chang

1942 wartime Seattle, 12 year old Henry Lee, a lonely Chinese American boy starts a secret friendship with Keiko Okabe, the first Japanese American girl he’s ever met, and his world is turned upside down. A multigenerational story about fathers and sons, coming of age, first love, Seattle jazz, racism, blind patriotism. and unbreakable bonds.

Wai Ching Ho, Fenton Li and Kenny Ingram. Photo by Lia Chang

Wai Ching Ho, Fenton Li and Kenny Ingram. Photo by Lia Chang

“The musical adaptation of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford actually started with Paul Fujimoto’s mother, who is not a theater professional,” shared director and co-writer Lainie Sakakura. “She loved the book and told her son to read it because she thought it would make a great musical. I didn’t know Paul at the time but I needed a Japanese American musician for The Japanese American Association of New York’s 107th Anniversary Gala. When Paul Fujimoto was recommended to me, I was excited to discover he was also a great composer/lyricist that I could collaborate with on future projects. He introduced me to the book his mother recommended. I read it and fell in love. I had never felt such a strong connection to a book before. Paul and I brainstormed on how to adapt the musical for many months until we finally reached out to the author. We were thrilled that Jamie was responsive to our idea. I then brought in David H. Bell, head of the musical theater writing program at Northwestern. He and I had worked on many new musicals together in the past, and I knew he would be a strong guiding force on the structure of this adaptation.

We are writers from 3 generations with 3 different backgrounds. Paul Fujimoto is Yonsei (4th generation Japanese American), a trumpet player born and bred in Seattle, where the book takes place.  I am Nisei (2nd generation Japanese American). My mother immigrated here alone from Japan and my father was interned for 3 years in the Japanese American camps during WWII.  David H. Bell is non-Asian, brought up in a conservative Anglo American community. He makes sure that our story is understood by all audiences and evokes empathy from our non-Asian audience members. Paul, David, and I collaborate with love and respect to bring our unique points of view to adapt an extraordinary novel into a beautiful new musical, THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET.”

Industry Reading anticipated in NYC, Monday, Sept 17, 2018.

Avelina Sanchez, Joshua Turchin. Photo by Lia Chang

Avelina Sanchez, Joshua Turchin. Photo by Lia Chang

Andrew Chen, Avelina Sanchez, Joshua Turchin, Liam Kaznelson. Photo by Lia Chang

Andrew Chen, Avelina Sanchez, Joshua Turchin, Liam Kaznelson. Photo by Lia Chang

David Bell, Lainie Sakakura and Paul Fujimoto. Photo by Lia Chang

David Bell, Lainie Sakakura and Paul Fujimoto. Photo by Lia Chang

Avelina Sanchez, Joshua Turchin. Photo by Lia Chang

Avelina Sanchez, Joshua Turchin. Photo by Lia Chang

Thomas Conroy. Photo by Lia Chang

Thomas Conroy. Photo by Lia Chang

Kenny Ingram. Photo by Lia Chang

Kenny Ingram. Photo by Lia Chang

Alex Sanchez, Wai Ching Ho, Fenton Li and Kenny Ingram. Photo by Lia Chang

Alex Sanchez, Wai Ching Ho, Fenton Li and Kenny Ingram. Photo by Lia Chang

Paul Fujimoto, David Bell and Lainie Sakakura. Photo by Lia Chang

Paul Fujimoto, David Bell and Lainie Sakakura. Photo by Lia Chang

Photo by Lia Chang

Photo by Lia Chang

Allyson Tucker-Mitchell. Photo by Lia Chang

Allyson Tucker-Mitchell. Photo by Lia Chang

Alex Sanchez, Wai Ching Ho and Fenton Li. Photo by Lia Chang

Alex Sanchez, Wai Ching Ho and Fenton Li. Photo by Lia Chang

Fenton Li. Photo by Lia Chang

Fenton Li. Photo by Lia Chang

Thomas Conroy. Photo by Lia Chang

Thomas Conroy. Photo by Lia Chang

Avelina Sanchez, Joshua Turchin, Liam Kaznelson, Andrew Chen. Photo by Lia Chang

Avelina Sanchez, Joshua Turchin, Liam Kaznelson, Andrew Chen. Photo by Lia Chang

Lainie Sakakura, David Bell, Paul Fujimoto, Allyson Tucker-Mitchell and Kenny Ingram. Photo by Lia Chang

Lainie Sakakura, David Bell, Paul Fujimoto, Allyson Tucker-Mitchell and Kenny Ingram. Photo by Lia Chang

Ethan L. Phong and Jane Bernhard. Photo by Lia Chang

Ethan L. Phong and Jane Bernhard. Photo by Lia Chang

Wai Ching Ho and Alvin Ing. Photo by Lia Chang

Wai Ching Ho and Alvin Ing. Photo by Lia Chang

Ethan L. Phong, Lainie Sakakura and David Bell. Photo by Lia Chang

Ethan L. Phong, Lainie Sakakura and David Bell. Photo by Lia Chang

Lainie Sakakura, Avelina Sanchez and Alex Sanchez. Photo by Lia Chang

Lainie Sakakura, Avelina Sanchez and Alex Sanchez. Photo by Lia Chang

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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“Celebrating Bill Cunningham” On View at the New-York Historical Society through September 9

Art, Museum, Photography, Theater
The Celebrating Bill Cunningham exhibition is on display at the New York Historical Society through September 9, 2018. Photo by Lia Chang

The ‘Celebrating Bill Cunningham’ exhibition is on display at the New-York Historical Society through September 9, 2018. Photo by Lia Chang

Bill Cunningham

Bill Cunningham

The Celebrating Bill Cunningham exhibition on display at the New York Historical Society through September 9, 2018, marks the New-York Historical Society’s recent acquisition of objects, personal correspondence, ephemera, and photographs that reflect the life and work of Bill Cunningham, one of the late 20th century’s most influential trend-spotters and style authorities.

The legendary New York Times journalist and photographer was frequently spied on the city’s streets, at fashion shows, and elegant soirées capturing New York’s fashion innovators and cultural glitterati.

Selection from Cunningham’s Facades project―his eight-year photographic project documenting New York City’s architectural and fashion history, shown at the Museum in 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Selection from Cunningham’s Facades project―his eight-year photographic project documenting New York City’s architectural and fashion history, shown at the Museum in 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Showcasing a selection from Cunningham’s Facades project―his eight-year photographic project documenting New York City’s architectural and fashion history, shown at the Museum in 2014―Celebrating Bill Cunningham also features photographs documenting his friendship with floral designer Toni Cimino, known as Suzette; a Cunningham bicycle; his Nikon camera; signature blue jacket; ephemera; and unforgettable William J hats. Curated by Debra Schmidt Bach, curator of decorative arts.

The Celebrating Bill Cunningham exhibition is on display at the New York Historical Society through September 9, 2018. Photo by Lia Chang

The ‘Celebrating Bill Cunningham’ exhibition is on display at the New-York Historical Society through September 9, 2018. Photo by Lia Chang