Asian Pacific American Heritage Month may have ended, but the Los Angeles-based theatre organization East West Players (EWP) continues to celebrate Asian and Asian American by announcing their 54th season which they have dubbed “We Are the Ones We Are Waiting For.” EWP’s 2019/2020 season takes place from Summer 2019 through Spring 2020 and consists of four productions, including a Los Angeles Premiere, a West Coast Premiere, and co-productions with The Fountain Theatre and Pasadena Playhouse. The forthcoming season includes The Great Leap written by award-winning playwright Lauren Yee and directed by Emmy-nominated BD Wong as well as Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, written by Jiehae Park, directed by Jennifer Chang.
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EWP is the longest-running professional theatre of color and the largest producing organization of Asian American artistic work. Coming off of its successful run of Mamma Mia! for the 53rd season, is ready to bring more inclusive, Asian-centered stories.
“For our 54th season, I reflected on these interesting times we live in where there has both been a democratization of storytelling and a rise in authoritarian-minded leaders,” said EWP Producing Artistic Director Snehal Desai. “It all begs the question of what do we do, who do we turn to times where we as individuals are caught against a larger backdrop of political turmoil and uncertainty. And that unpredictable as these times seem to be, we need to not diminish, shy away from, or be afraid of joy.”
Desai continued, “Through collective laughter we eliminate fear of those things that are unknown or different. Our 54th season is one of laughter and change often in the face of loss. A season of works all by Asian American women playwrights.”
The 54th season will kick off with the Los Angeles premiere of the aforementioned Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, which is co-produced with The Fountain Theatre. The story follows the titular Hannah and her family travel back to South and North Korea to recover their grandmother’s body in the DMZ after her flamboyant suicide. Performances run from August – September 29th, 2019 at The Fountain Theatre.
The Great Leap is a co-production with Pasadena Playhouse. Written by award-winning playwright Lauren Yee and directed by Wong the play follows an American basketball team as they travel to Beijing for an exhibition game, finding themselves in a conflict running deeper than the strain between two countries. Performances run from October 8 – December 1, 2019 at The Pasadena Playhouse.
EWP will present Sandra Tsing Loh’s Sugar Plum Fairy just in time for the holidays. The play follows the dreams of a 12-year-old girl and her ambition to dance the lead in The Nutcracker. Exploring a holiday classic through an offbeat comedic lens, audiences of all ages can enjoy this absurd and relatable coming of age story. Performances run from December 5 – December 22, 2019 at the David Henry Hwang Theater.
The 54th season will close with the Los Angeles premiere of the Korean drama Addict’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity, written by May Lee-Yang. The story follows a Hmong personality coach addicted to Korean Dramas awaits her fate with her 30th birthday swiftly approaching. Performances run from March 19 – April 5, 2020at the David Henry Hwang Theater.
In addition to their lineup, EWP will continue its Counter Culture Series, presenting a series of community conversations and readings of new works that are free and open to the public.
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