The twenty fourth episode of BACKSTAGE PASS with Lia Chang, executive produced and hosted by Lia, airs on March 6 at 6:30pm on FIOS 34, RCN 83, and Spectrum 56/1996, and streams on MNN2. If you miss the episode, it is archived on my youtube channel.
On this episode of Backstage Pass with Lia Chang, I am taking you inside La MaMA Experimental Theatre Club’s re-opening of its landmark home 74A for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the refurbished building located at 74A E. 4 St. in the East Village.
Tony, Grammy and Emmy winning Death of Salesman star André De Shields – whose career was launched from the very stages of the old La MaMa at 74A in the 70’s and 80’s, served as master of ceremonies for the event.
The old La MaMa is where André and I first worked together in Lonnie Carter’s Gulliver in 1993.
Recently, De Shields’ fellow La MaMa alumnums, Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein, donated a $250,000 grant to the institution to help complete the renovation of the historic space.
Representatives from New York City and New York State governments, which have been instrumental in providing funding and support for the 3-year, $24 million renovation, included DCLA Commissioner Laurie Cumbo, NY City Councilmember Carlina Rivera, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, NY City Council Member Erik Bottcher.
La MaMa is dedicated to the artist and all aspects of the theatre. La MaMa’s 61st “Remake A World” Season believes in the power of art to bring sustainable change over time and transform our cultural narrative. At La MaMa, new work is created from a multiplicity of perspectives, experiences, and disciplines, influencing how we think about and experience art. The flexibility of our spaces, specifically the newly reimagined building at 74 East 4th Street (La MaMa’s original permanent home), gives our local and remote communities access to expanded daytime programming. The digital tools embedded in the space allows artists to collaborate remotely, and audiences worldwide to participate in La MaMa’s programming. A recipient of the 2018 Regional Theater Tony Award, more than 30 Obie Awards and dozens of Drama Desk, Bessie, and Villager Awards, La MaMa has been a creative home for thousands of artists, and resident companies, many of whom have made lasting contributions to the arts, including Blue Man Group, Bette Midler, Ed Bullins, Ping Chong, Jackie Curtis, André De Shields, Adrienne Kennedy, Harvey Fierstein, Diane Lane, Playhouse of the Ridiculous, Tom Eyen, Pan Asian Rep, Spiderwoman Theater, Tadeusz Kantor, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, Mabou Mines, Meredith Monk, Peter Brook, David and Amy Sedaris, Julie Taymor, Kazuo Ohno, Tom O’Horgan, and Andy Warhol. La MaMa’s vision of nurturing new artists and new work from all nations, cultures, races and identities remains as strong today as it was when Ellen Stewart first opened the doors in 1961.
Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer, activist, documentarian, corporate photographer and an Award winning filmmaker and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Lia is also the host and Executive Producer of BACKSTAGE PASS WITH LIA CHANG, an Arts and Entertainment and Lifestyle program that airs on Sundays at 6:30pm on FIOS 34, RCN 83, Spectrum 56/1996, and streams on MNN2.
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. Her short film, When the World Was Young garnered a 2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative. 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. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations.
Lia is the recipient of the 2022 Prospect Muse Award, 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 Botanical Garden Environmental Journalism Fellow (2003).
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