Posts filed under Representation

Revisiting, revising, and reviving MOUNTAIN

There was a time when I believed the 2014 production of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon: A Musical Adaptation would be the only time the story would make it to the stage. Not for a lack of trying, mind you. After the world premiere closed, I met with director Mina Morita (currently Artistic Director of Crowded Fire Theatre) and BACT Executive Artistic Director Nina Meehan to talk about where the show could go next. We looked at festivals and other submission opportunities. And then, it all came to a halt. There was a potential movie deal in the works, so any adaptations of the book were not to be produced. This was very sad to hear (and wouldn’t be the last time this would happen), and I came to terms with the idea that the show would only live on in a much-cherished memory.

Then, in 2017, news came that further productions of the show would be allowed by the publisher. BACT wanted to do a remount. And South Coast Rep wanted to include it in their Theatre for Young Audiences programming! So we went from zero chance to getting two productions in the 2019-2020 season. One of the biggest changes this time around is that, due to budget constraints, there won’t be live instruments. I took this opportunity to completely revisit the show, tightening and shoring up the previous script, and even penning a new reprise that hadn’t existed before. The BACT remount is in previews right now, and it has been poignant seeing the show return to the Osher Studio - where the world premiere occurred. This show that I had thought would never see the light of day again is getting its second go starting this weekend, and its third in February in SoCal.

All this, I suppose, is a lesson in “You never know.” That doesn’t mean I should have held out hope against the odds. I believe it was right for me to make peace with the idea that the world premiere would be the only production of Mountain. But you just never know how events might turn and surprise you as you make your writer's way.

Chelsea Wellott as Minli in the 2019 BACT Production. Photo by Roger Jones.

Chelsea Wellott as Minli in the 2019 BACT Production. Photo by Roger Jones.

Discussing Brecht's GOOD PERSON

Recently, choreographer Natalie Greene and I discussed how we tackled Brecht in Cal Shakes’ current production of THE GOOD PERSON OF SZECHWAN. Take a listen to the podcast episode below! But SPOILER ALERT: Listening is only recommended once you’ve seen the show!

ConFest 2018

Last week, I was in Chicago for ConFest 2018 - the bi-annual gathering hosted by the Consortium of Asian American Theatres and Artists (CAATA). Upon returning, I set out to write a blog post outlining my experience at ConFest, but found that words fell short. Randy Reyes of Theater Mu recently wrote an article for American Theatre magazine, and it seems he faced the same issue. He writes: 

How would I be able to summarize the experiences of attendees who used adjectives like “inspiring,” “incredible,” “exhausted,” “life-affirming,” “breathtaking,” “amazing” and “life changing”?

So similarly, I'll just post his article here in lieu of a blog post. And if you're really curious why ConFest was so "inspiring," "incredible," etc., you can ask me in person next time you see me! ;)

Me with some ConFest colleagues: Traci Kato-Kiriyama, Byron Au Yong, and Howard Ho.

Me with some ConFest colleagues: Traci Kato-Kiriyama, Byron Au Yong, and Howard Ho.

THE FOUR IMMIGRANTS Cast Album is here!

Photograph by Hans Cardenas

Photograph by Hans Cardenas

After two days of recording in January, followed by six months of squeezing in studio time, the original cast album for THE FOUR IMMIGRANTS: AN AMERICAN MUSICAL MANGA is finally here! On Monday, we celebrated with a release party at the Opal Nightclub in downtown Mountain View, hosted by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley. Of course, I have had access to the album's files for a few weeks now, as we were waiting for the CDs to be published. But the excitement from folks at the party was so invigorating and uplifting, I was filled with gratitude. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of the journey of THE FOUR IMMIGRANTS so far. Now, with this album, more people will be able to experience the music of the show. And hopefully, it will help us get to a second production soon enough!