East West Players, one of the foremost Asian-Pacific-American theatres, will inaugurate its new home in January with Stephen Sondheim's Pacific Overtures. The theatre, known as the David Henry Hwang Theatre, will be located at the Union Center for the Arts in downtown L.A. Exact production dates have not yet been announced.
Pacific Overtures, to be directed by Tim Dang, will be followed in April by the world premiere of Big Hunk O' Burnin' Love, by Thai-American playwright Prince Gomilvilas; the play is a contemporary screwball comedy about a Thai-American man who must get married before his 30th birthday to avoid the consequences of a cruel and unusual family curse. Chay Yew, director of the Asian Theatre Workshop of the Mark Taper Forum and resident director of East West Players, will direct.
Other plays to be produced this season include Maid of Orleans, a musical about Joan of Arc with book and lyrics by Alberto Isaac and music by Joel Iwataki; and Lava, by the popular Hawaiian playwright Edward Sakamoto. Lava will be directed by Shizuko Hoshi.
In addition to the above lineup, East West Players will present a special two-week engagement of a world premiere musical, with the working title Angel Island, in May. The composer for this work is Leon Ko, with book and lyrics by Robert Lee. The production will commemorate Asian Pacific Heritage Month and the upcoming150th anniversary of the California Gold Rush.
Exact performance dates are unavailable, pending completion of the Hwang Theatre. The 32-year-old theatre company is currently in the process of moving from its old home on Santa Monica Blvd. In Silver Lake to its new location in the Union Center for the Arts in L.A.'s Little Tokyo. The address of the David Henry Hwang Theatre is 120 N. Judge John Aiso St. (formerly San Pedro St.) between Temple and First St. For more information, call (213) 660-0366. After Dec. 8, call (213) 625-7000.
--By Rebecca Paller