East West Players (EWP), the nation’s longest-running professional theater of color and the largest producing organization of Asian American artistic work, announces the appointment of five new members to the Board of Directors: Jason M. Blackwell, Reggie Lee, Rose Chan Loui, Sally Pai Unruh, and Jeff Yang.
The new appointees hail from diverse backgrounds in finance, media, television, film, and philanthropy, and arrive at a significant time for the organization as EWP embarks on the biggest season in its 52-year history, which includes the Los Angeles premiere of the Broadway musical “Allegiance,” in partnership with Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC).
EWP Board Co-Chair Randall Tamura says, “We are thrilled to welcome our new board members, who are passionate in their support of EWP and its mission. They each bring unique skills, experience, and expertise, and they strengthen East West Players in many ways. It’s a privilege to have them join the board, and we look forward to working with them all.”
Jason M. Blackwell is program associate at the James Irvine Foundation, where his portfolio includes the Arts Engagement Initiative, Immigrant Integration and Protecting Immigrant Rights Initiative, Research and Development Initiative, and work in the Priority Regions (San Bernardino/Riverside) Initiative. He previously worked at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and at numerous performing arts institutions in Los Angeles (Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre) and New York City (Manhattan Theatre Club, The Public Theatre, and New Victory Theatre) in areas of development, capital projects, and programming.
Blackwell received a BA in business administration (majoring in both marketing and theatre) from The College of William and Mary, and has an MA in Arts and Cultural Management from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.
Reggie Lee is known for playing Sgt. Wu on NBC’s hit sci-fi police drama “Grimm” and Secret Service Agent Bill Kim on the popular Fox show “Prison Break.” His memorable film roles include playing Lance Nguyen in “The Fast and the Furious” and Tai Huang in “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”; starring opposite Jason Statham in “Safe” and opposite Justin Long and Allison Lohman in “Drag Me to Hell”; and starring in Ben Stiller’s directorial debut, “Tropic Thunder.” He also appeared in “Here Comes the Boom” and “The Dark Knight Rises.” Lee has regularly appeared in the Fox comedy “Luis”; Lifetime’s “The Division,” “Judging Amy,” and “Philly”; NBC’s “Persons Unknown”; and ABC’s “No Ordinary Family.”
He toured nationally in “Heartstrings” and “Miss Saigon,” and was cast in the original company of the 1994 Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of “Carousel.” Lee received a Los Angeles Dramalogue Critics Award for his performance in “F.O.B.” in 1997 and a 2017 Drama Critics Circle Award nomination for his choreography for “La Cage aux Folles,” both at East West Players.
Rose Chan Loui is of counsel at Rodriguez Horii Choi & Cafferata LLP, a law firm that specializes in advising nonprofit organizations. She works with founders on structuring their nonprofit organizations and obtaining their tax-exempt status, advises boards on corporate governance issues, and assists organizations in drafting and updating their governing documents. Loui also represents taxpayers — including individuals, businesses, and nonprofit organizations — in matters before the Internal Revenue Service, the Franchise Tax Board, and other taxing authorities. Loui’s career includes stints at Latham & Watkins, ARCO, and Deloitte & Touche.
She is currently on the boards of Stanford Club of Pasadena, Twelve Oaks Foundation, and The Artists Platform, and is on the Reunion and Special Gifts Committees for the Stanford Class of 1982. Loui graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in communications (journalism) and international relations. She earned her J.D. at New York University and was a member of the NYU Law Review.
Sally Pai Unruh is vice president of the Beverly Hills Women’s Club and has served on the board of the American Red Cross (Santa Monica Chapter), served twice on the board of Santa Monica Rotary, and is currently a member of Los Angeles World Affairs Council and Pacific Council of International Affairs. Unruh recently served as director of advancement at USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering, where she focused on high-capacity USC alumni in Asia, Hawaii, and West Los Angeles. She has 25 years of intensive experience in the financial industry. Before returning to Los Angeles in 2001, she worked as an investment banker at Nomura Securities in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Taiwan, New York, and London.
Fluent in Mandarin, Japanese, and English, Unruh received her B.A. in economics and business administration from Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo; completed an executive education program at Harvard University Business School in Boston; and was recognized as one of the 100 Outstanding Chinese in Southern California in 1995.
Jeff Yang is a veteran author and cultural critic, a featured op-ed columnist for CNN Online, and a regular contributor to NPR and Quartz, the business publication of The Atlantic Monthly. He was the founder of the pioneering Asian American periodical aMagazine: Inside Asian America, and has authored and edited a number of bestselling books, including “Eastern Standard Time”; “I Am Jackie Chan: My Life in Action” (the international action hero’s official autobiography); “Once Upon a Time in China”; and the graphic novel collections “Secret Identities” and “Shattered.”
In 2016, he was asked by the Japanese American National Museum to curate an exhibition, “New Frontiers: The Many Worlds of George Takei,” based on the actor’s eight-decade artifact collection, donated to the museum the year before. He subsequently edited a graphic novel anthology inspired by Takei’s life and activism, also called “New Frontiers.” Yang has two children, Hudson and Skyler. Hudson stars in ABC’s groundbreaking Asian American family comedy “Fresh Off the Boat,” now in its fourth season.
Over its 52-year history, EWP has produced over 230 plays and musicals. Its 2017-18 season, “The Company We Keep,” features notable artistic partnerships and co-productions that reflect on and refract a wide range of Asian Pacific Islander experiences as seen through the lens of gender, race, and sexuality. EWP not only ensures that API stories are told, but works to increase access, inclusion, and representation in the economy. For more information, visit www.eastwestplayers.org.