Pan Asian Repertory Theatre’s 36th Season Salute

(Left to Right) Salutee Mei Hua Reps Gloria Chin Besthoff, Deborah Chan Esq., Comptroller John C. Liu, Artistic Producing Director Tisa Chang, Salutees Julie Azuma, Tamio Spiegel

Photo by Corky Lee

Pan Asian Repertory Theatre Artistic Producing Director, Tisa Chang, received a Commendation from New York City Comptroller John C. Liu at the company’s 36th season kickoff dinner on Thursday night, November 29th, at the Golden Unicorn in Chinatown. The event, which had been rescheduled due to Hurricane Sandy, saluted Community Leaders Julie Azuma, Tamio Spiegel and Mei Hua Society, which was represented by Gloria Chin Besthoff and Deborah Chan Esq. The evening, emceed by Pan Asian artists Henry Yuk and Rebecca Lee Lerman, also introduced Pan Asian’s upcoming 2012/13 season that is focused on Japan.

(Left to Right) May Ying Chen, Rocky Chin and Nicki Minaj played by Katie Takahashi

Founded 36 years ago, Pan Asian Repertory Theatre is dedicated to providing a professional forum to Asian American and minority artists. Led by Tisa Chang, Pan Asian Rep celebrates the talent and creativity of professional Asian American Theatre Artists. It has opened doors for many who enjoy careers in film, television and on Broadway. Daniel Dae Kim, Lucy Liu, David Henry Hwang and Philip Kan Gotanda are several actors and playwrights who have collaborated with Pan Asian Rep over the years. The company has been invited to many international theater festivals including Edinburgh, Singapore, Cairo and Johannesburg. It was the first professional theater from the United States to be requested at the Havana Theatre Festival in 2003. Variety Magazine continued to note “….the aesthetic mission and professional chops of the Pan Asian Repertory Theater are admirable.”

Lu Yu and Bea Soong, director of THE WIVES OF HENRY YUK

Mr. Liu praised Tisa Chang for the important work she does through Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, the East Coast’s premiere Asian American theatre company. The Comptroller also acknowledged salutees for the important contributions they make to society. Julie Azuma is founder of Different Roads to Learning that sells educational products for children diagnosed with autism and other developmental disabilities, Board Chair of Asian Women in Business and Foundation for the Advancement of Autistic Persons, and active within the Japanese Community. Tamio Spiegel is a business consultant and CEO of Chelsea Christmas, Inc., who has written for NY Nichibei, AsianWeek, and Nikkei Heritage, and recently served as Executive Director of the Gohan Society. The Mei Hua Society was organized in 2006 to explore and share knowledge about China and Chinese culture, and to support worthy organizations in New York City that promote Asian culture or offer social services targeted to Asians.

The festivities included a 9-course traditional Chinese banquet, a presentation to salutees with reminiscences of past iconic productions, EAT A BOWL OF TEA and SONG FOR A NISEI FISHERMAN and a showing of THE WIVES OF HENRY YUK, a documentary short film by actor and Pan Asian veteran, Bea Soong. Attendees, including Emmy nominated artist Tina Chen, representative of Governor Cuomo Robert Zukerman, from the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Lourdres Vazquez, and Japanese Consul and Cultural Attache Kentaro Ando and Masakazu Kigure, were surprised by “celebrity” guests, Marlene Dietrich (played by Sandy York), Nicki Minaj (played by Katie Takahashi) and Lady Gaga (played by Chiho Araki).

The evening benefited Pan Asian Repertory’s 36th milestone season, which will focus on Japan with two world premiere productions in spring 2013:

Three Trees

THREE TREES (March 23 – April 14 at the West End Theater)- set in Paris in the 1950’s about Alberto Giacometti, by Alvin Eng, directed by Ernest Abuba;

Dojoji: The Man Inside The Bell

DOJOJI: THE MAN INSIDE THE BELL (May 18 – June 9 at Theatre Row)- a new version of the Kabuki dance classic, written by Ernest Abuba, with choreography by and in collaboration with Sachiyo Ito, and directed by Tisa Chang. More information on 36th season programs at

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