Pan Asian Repertory 37th Season Benefit Dinner

Ming Cho Lee (right)

Article by Yvonne Lo
Photo credit Niko

Pan Asian Repertory Theatre held their 37th Season Benefit Dinner at the Golden Unicorn on November 7th. The night featured a traditional Chinese banquet, music and hula entertainment, with presentations to salutes Ming Cho Lee, Elizabeth R. OuYang, and OCA-NY with emcee Ron Nakahara, director of FISHING FOR WIVES and NO-NO BOY.

Ron Nakahara

Like the legendary Phoenix who is reborn every 100 years, rising from its own ashes, Pan Asian Repertory Theatre rises to new heights in this 37th year in 2014. In tandem with a Capacity Building and transition to a new theatre venue, Pan Asian Repertory Theatre affirms commitment to excellence and education while soaring with new partnerships. They support Asian American artists of all ages that include the voices of octogenarian Edward Sakamoto with a new romantic comedy of mistaken identity set in vintage 1913 Hawaii, and veteran Ken Narasaki with NO-NO BOY adapted from the benchmark John Okada novel.

Tisa Chang

Pan Asian Repertory Theatre’s mission is to celebrate the artistic expressiveness of Asian and American theatre artists under the highest standards of professional theatre and professional productions; to encourage the production of new plays, especially those with contemporary Asian American themes; to draw upon the unique heritage of Asian Americans by utilizing the style, music and movement of Asian performing arts traditions in order to explore new theatrical forms; to nurture emerging Asian American talent through professionally led workshops and on-the-job training; to introduce Asian American Theatre to the general theatre-going public as well as the differently-abled; to deepen the appreciation and understanding of Asian American cultural heritage.

Ming Cho Lee (third from the left)

Ming Cho Lee has designed nationally and internationally for 50 years, for opera, dance, Broadway, and regional theatre, and is the recipient of the National Medal of Arts, the highest national award given in the arts. Other awards include the Mayor’s Award for Arts and Culture; Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement, Outer Critic’s Circle and Drama Desk Awards; the TCG Theatre Practitioner Award; many others from the theatre and Chinese communities; and five honorary degrees. His work has been shown in a retrospective at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, in Taiwan, and in China, and will be exhibited at the Yale School of Architecture from November 18, 2013 through February 8, 2014. The book Ming Cho Lee: A Life in Design, by Arnold Aronson, will be published by Theatre Communications Group in the spring of 2014. Ming Cho Lee serves as a member of the Board of the New Forty Second Street, Inc., as well as that of the Alliance for the Development of Theatre Artists, Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, the Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts, and many others. He is the former co-chair of the Design department of Yale School of Drama, and holds the Donald Oenslager Chair in Design. Ming Cho Lee was given the “Shining Star” Award for reaching the pinnacle of success, making himself a true shining example of the principles for which Pan Asian Repertory Theatre stands.

Elizabeth R. OuYang

Elizabeth R. OuYang is a four year Board member and is currently President of OCA-New York. With 27 years of experience as a civil rights attorney, Liz’s expertise is in immigration, voter rights protection and combating hate crimes. She teaches a pre-law course on the Constitution and Communities of Color at Columbia University and NYU. She created and oversees OCA-NY’s Hate Crimes Prevention Art Project. With OCA-NY, she advocates for victims of hate crimes and fair media representation of Asian Americans and has served as Editor-in-Chief of OCA-NY’s newsletter, The Big Apple. Since the 1990’s, Liz has worked with OCA National on the passage of Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act that requires voting materials be translated into Asian languages, hate crime prevention and as a consultant on OCA’s 2003 publication of Voices of Healing, Spirit and Unity after 9/11 in the API Community. Elizabeth R. OuYang was given the “Making the Difference” Award for her dedicated years of outstanding service and commitment.

OCA-NY (June Jee, Chi Loek, Elizabeth R. OuYang)

OCA-NY was founded in 1976, the New York Chapter of OCA is one of over 100 chapters and affiliates across the country dedicated to advancing the social, political and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans in the United States. OCA-NY is a community leader in advocating on important local and national issues, including voting rights, immigration reform, language rights, health care reform, and combating hate crimes and hate media. Most recently, OCA-NY was the lead advocacy organization in seeking justice for Private Danny Chen, a 19-year old solider who died after being hazed by his superiors and successfully securing a governor’s pardon for Qing Wu, a permanent resident facing deportation because of an old and minor teenage record. OCA-NY was given the “Making the Difference” Award for their outstanding services and commitment.

It was a night of good food, good people, and good fun. There was a cocktail hour with spring rolls, sui mai (steamed pork dumplings), and har gow (steamed shrimp dumplings), followed by a music and hula entertainment performed by Marina Celander, Claudia Goddard, and Anne Matematico. After the performance, dinner was served. For the traditional Chinese banquet, the dishes of the night were Peking Duck, Jumbo Shrimp with Vegetables, Steamed Fish, T-bone steak, Lobster with Ginger and Scallion, Chinese Broccoli in Oyster Sauce, House Special Fried Rice, and E-Fu Noodle. Dessert was a Red Bean Sweet Soup and Fresh Fruit.

A successful night filled with many supporters and special thanks to the volunteers for making the dinner such a wonderful time. Congratulations to Ming Cho Lee, Elizabeth R. OuYang, OCA-NY and Pan Asian for a great success in its 37th Benefit Dinner.

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