Brother and sister Warren Yang and Ericka Hunter are no strangers to a challenge.
The two siblings are appearing concurrently in the ensembles of two very different, very demanding shows: Ericka in the brand-new Broadway adaptation of Moulin Rouge! and Warren in King Kong, the massive musical spectacle at the Broadway Theatre.
Recently, Yang and Hunter took a second away from their respective Broadway gigs for a shoot with photographer Amanda Westcott to celebrate their simultaneous successes.
“King Kong is such a thrill to perform in,” says Yang, whose ensemble role in the show sees him interacting with the 2,000-pound puppet, as well as navigating director-choreographer Drew McOnie’s intricate movement and dance. “It’s a challenge like no other.”
“Our creative team is second to none,” says Hunter in regards to the all-star team behind Moulin Rouge!, which includes Tony-nominated director Alex Timbers, Obie-winning and Emmy-nominated choreographer Sonya Tayeh, Oscar-winning book writer John Logan, Tony-winning scenic designer Derek McLane, Tony-winning costume designer Catherine Zuber, and Tony-nominated lighting designer Justin Townsend, to name a few. “And there is a level of integrity within our cast that I have never experienced before.”
Hunter and Yang are delighted to be working on Broadway at the same time. Moulin Rouge marks Ericka's seventh show, while King Kong is Warren's second. However, in spite of having grown up together, their roads to Broadway were quite different.
Growing up in Ottawa, Canada, Hunter followed in the steps of their older sister Vanessa, who started dance at age three. Hunter went on to perform in community theatre productions as a teenage while attending an arts-based high school. At 17, she was told about an upcoming audition in Toronto to join the Radio City Rockettes.
“I went for the experience,” Hunter says, “and ended up with my first professional job.”
Yang, on the other hand, was an avid gymnast both as a child and a young adult. He became a member of the elite Canadian National Team by age 16 and received a scholarship to study at Penn State University, where he majored in business. Upon graduating in 2012, Warren retired from gymnastics; but after a brief flirtation with a career in advertising, a new opportunity changed everything.
“It wasn’t until I received the opportunity to audition for the revival of Miss Saigon that performing was even on my radar,” says Yang.
Not only did Yang land a role in the ensemble—he landed right beside Ericka, who had been cast in the ensemble as well. When the 2017 revival of Miss Saigon opened on Broadway, Yang and Hunter took their bows together. “A few years ago, we never could have imagined something like that would ever happen,” says Hunter.
“The revival of Miss Saigon was my first experience with theatre,” adds Yang. “It was a very special time for me to share that with my sister. We’ve always been close, but our professions never crossed until that moment. Broadway, theatre, performing was her world—I was lucky to have her guidance during that time.”
“Being able to witness my brother grow as a performer has been thrilling,” Hunter adds. “He is a very unique talent. It’s a tough business and Warren has taken everything in stride and has worked so hard to continue to improve.”
Photo shoot in collaboration with AK Collective
Photography by Amanda Westcott
Hair: Kristy Bauzo
Makeup: Steve Schepis