Asian American pioneers Baayork Lee, Pat Suzuki, Alvin Ing, Virginia Wing and Lori Tan Chinn. Photo by Lia Chang

Alvin Ing and Yuriko Kikuchi Honored at NAAP Gala Celebrating 60th Anniversary of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s FLOWER DRUM SONG

Awards, Benefits, Photography, Reunion, Theater

National Asian Artists Project (NAAP) held their inaugural Gala entitled “The Corner of Chinatown and Broadway” on December 2nd at The Golden Unicorn in New York’s Chinatown in celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Flower Drum Song, and to honor Alvin Ing and Yuriko Kikuchi.

Susan Kikuchi, who accepted the award for her mother Yuriko Kikuchi and honoree Alvin Ing. Photo by Lia Chang

Susan Kikuchi, who accepted the award for her mother Yuriko Kikuchi and honoree Alvin Ing. Photo by Lia Chang

Directed by Richard Jay-Alexander, the evening featured performances by honoree Alvin Ing, Broadway’s Jose Llana (The King and I) and Yuka Takara (A Chorus Line), the award-winning Theatre Club from P.S. 124, alumni and NAAP kids, the NAAP Broadway Community Chorus, and members from the original casts of the Broadway and 2002 revival productions of Flower Drum Song.

Ted Chapin, Richard Jay Alexander, Baayork Lee and David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

Ted Chapin, Richard Jay Alexander, Baayork Lee and David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

Tony Award winning playwright David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly) was the Honorary Chairman of the evening with Viet Vo, a longtime NAAP member and the President of the NAAP Community Chorus,  serving as emcee for the evening and Yan Li as Musical Director. Möet-Hennessy was the Official Sponsor of the Gala.

National Asian Artists Project (NAAP) is a community of artists, educators, administrators, community leaders, and professionals. It is a not-for-profit organization that recognizes the need to build bridges between the work of artists of Asian descent, and the many communities that the work can serve, from underserved primary school students to seasoned arts patrons.

Click here for Richie Ridge’s excellent coverage of the night’s festivities and exclusive interviews.

NAAP co-founders Nina Zoie Lam, Baayork Lee and Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang

NAAP co-founders Nina Zoie Lam, Baayork Lee and Steven Eng. Photo by Lia Chang

Honoree Alvin Ing was one of the performers in Flower Drum Song. His work in the theatre, film and television industries pushed social and racial boundaries for the Asian American community. Since the 1970’s, he has advocated for increased Asian American representation in the arts, protested against Asian caricatures, stereotypes and practices such as yellow face, raising the consciousness of many.

Alvin Ing, Baayork Lee, David Henry Hwang and Yuka Takara. Photo by Lia Chang

Alvin Ing, Baayork Lee, David Henry Hwang and Yuka Takara. Photo by Lia Chang

Honoree Yuriko Kikuchi is an American Japanese pioneer of modern dance. She danced the lead role of ‘Mei Li’ in the original production of Flower Drum Song, and originated the iconic dance role of ‘Eliza’ in Jerome Robbins’ ballet, Small House of Uncle Thomas in the original company of The King and I. During WWII, she taught modern dance to children even as she was interned alongside other Japanese Americans in a relocation camp. In 1943, she moved to New York City and joined the Martha Graham Dance Company where she danced, choreographed, directed and taught for 50 years.

Lori Tan Chinn, Donna McKechnie, Adam Jacobs, Yuka Takara, Alvin Ing, Raymond J. Lee, Baayork Lee, Ali Ewoldt, Jose Llana and Karl Josef Co. Photo by Lia Chang

Lori Tan Chinn, Donna McKechnie, Adam Jacobs, Yuka Takara, Alvin Ing, Raymond J. Lee, Baayork Lee, Ali Ewoldt, Jose Llana and Karl Josef Co. Photo by Lia Chang

Baayork Lee, Pat Suzuki, Alvin Ing, Virginia Wing and Lori Tan Chinn. Photo by Lia Chang

Baayork Lee, Pat Suzuki, Alvin Ing, Virginia Wing and Lori Tan Chinn. Photo by Lia Chang

Stage Door Records Releases Pat Suzuki: ‘The Complete Album Series’ and ‘Singles And Rarities 1958-1967’ 

Lisa Yuen, Jodi Long, Miho Imoto, Lainie Sakakura, Rich Ceraulo, Robert Tadad, Sally Hong. Photo by Lia Chang

Lisa Yuen, Jodi Long, Miho Imoto, Lainie Sakakura, Rich Ceraulo, Robert Tatad, Sally Hong. Photo by Lia Chang

Alvin Ing, Yuka Takara, Virginia Wing and Jose Llana. Photo by Lia Chang

Alvin Ing, Yuka Takara, Virginia Wing and Jose Llana. Photo by Lia Chang

Donna McKechnie, Robert Longbottom, Susan Kikuchi, Lainie Sakakura and David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

Award-winning Theatre Club from P.S. 124, alumni and NAAP kids. Photo by Lia Chang

Award-winning Theatre Club from P.S. 124, alumni and NAAP kids. Photo by Lia Chang

Karen Huie, Jose Llana, Yuka Takara, Ali Ewoldt, Alvin Ing, Virginia Wing, Adam Jacobs. Photo by Lia Chang

Karen Huie, Jose Llana, Yuka Takara, Ali Ewoldt, Alvin Ing, Virginia Wing, Adam Jacobs. Photo by Lia Chang

Alvin Ing and Yuriko Kikuchi to be Honored at NAAP Gala 2018 Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of FLOWER DRUM SONG on December 2 

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

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s