What better way to examine Asian contributions to the American experience than through theatre, and what better people to do it than Asian actors with Broadway experience? That's what happens Jan. 15 when the folkloric piece, Making Tracks opens at NYC's Pace Downtown Theatre for a run through Jan. 18. Choreographer Shawn Ku, current dance captain of The King And I, directs Tracks, which is a collaboration among several members of the recently-formed "Second Generation Productions." Welly Yang, who appeared in Miss Saigon, started the non-profit troupe, which has as its mandate "smashing cultural stereotypes and chronicling Asian contributions to the fabric of American culture." Says Yang, "As we move farther away from the survival mentality of first-generation immigrants, more young Asian-Americans are choosing to leave their mark through artistic expression." Making Tracks is the company's third production, after 1997's From Chinatown With Love and the dance piece "Unfinished Dreams."
Lyrics in the show are by Matt Eddy, Chad Tanaka and Brian Yorkey; the libretto is by Yang and Dmae Roberts. Designing the show are Wan-Lin Cheng & Shih-Pao Lin (set), Richard Tatum (lighting) and Amil David (sound).
A cast of 17 appears in Making Tracks, featuring Joan Almedilla and Roxanne Taga, both veteran "Kims" of Miss Saigon. Also in the cast are fellow-Saigonites Melanie May Po, Tom Kuono and the aforementioned Yang, alongside Gene Chen, Paul Keoni Chun, Ryohei Hoshi, Tim Huang, Scott Kitajima, Jun Kim, Soomi Kim, Mary Lum, J. Elaine Marcos, Billy Mendola and Bert Wang.
For tickets ($20) to Making Tracks at Pace Downtown Theatre, 3 Spruce St., call (212) 346-1715.