Lainie Sakakura was living her best ‘Oprah’ moment at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts’ presentation of My AAPI Broadway Story: Breaking Barriers in the Bruno Walter Auditorium at the Library for the Performing Arts on March 14.
Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Broadway stars came together to share stories of how they broke the mold, pushed their way into non-traditional casting, and continue to work as actors, directors, choreographers, writers, producers, and educators to create space for future generations.
In “My AAPI Broadway Story,” Lainie Sakakura (6 Broadway shows including Fosse, Chita Rivera The Dancer’s Life), spoke with Baayork Lee (13 Broadway shows, Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award recipient), Ann Harada (7 Broadway shows including Cinderella, 9 to 5), Telly Leung (7 Broadway shows including Aladdin, In Transit), Jose Llana (7 Broadway shows including Rent, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee),and JoAnn M. Hunter (19 Broadway shows including School of Rock, Jerome Robbins’ Broadway) about their journeys on the Great White Way. The program included incredible live performances and never-before-aired archival footage of their original Broadway performances.
The program also featured Lincoln Center Theater’s original cast members of the Tony Award winning revival of The King and I – Adriana Braganza, Amaya Braganza, James Ignacio, Timothy Yang.
Special thanks to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts’ Curator of the Billy Rose Theater Division Doug Reside, Artistic Producer Ryan Patrick Ervin, Nick Karalexis, Manager of Audio and Video Technologies, Patrick Hoffman, Director, Theatre on Film and Tape Archive, and intern, Avelina Sanchez.
The program was taped for the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive, and will be available to the public to view.
The free program was directed and conceived by Lainie Sakakura.
Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer, a performing arts photographer and an award-winning filmmaker. A co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, Lia makes films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, and The Last Dragon. She stars in and is the Executive Producer for the indie films Hide and Seek (AA Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Best Actress Nomination), Rom-Com Gone Wrong, and When the World Was Young (2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative). Lia made her stage debut as Liat in a national tour of South Pacific with Barbara Eden and Robert Goulet, was featured as Joy in Signature Theatre’s revival of Sam Shepard’s Chicago and has worked extensively Off-Broadway. Photo archives: Lia Chang Theater Portfolio collection,1989-2011, housed in the AAPI collection in the Library of Congress’ Asian Reading Room; Lia Chang Photography Collection in The Billy Rose Theatre Division of the New York Public Library. Awards: 2000 OCA Chinese American Journalist Award, the 2001 AAJA National Award for New Media. Lia is an AAJA Executive Leadership Graduate (2000), a Western Knight Fellow at USC’s Annenberg College of Communications for Specialized Journalism on Entertainment Journalism in the Digital Age (2000), a National Press Photographers Association Visual Edge/Visual Journalism Fellow at the Poynter Institute for New Media (2001), a Scripps Howard New Media Fellow at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism (2002), and a National Tropical Garden Environmental Journalism Fellow (2003). www.liachang.com, www.liachangphotography.com
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