Nihonmachi Little Friends’ Annual Theater Show

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SAN FRANCISCO – Nihonmachi Little Friends (NLF), a community-based Japanese bilingual and multicultural non-profit childcare organization, is presenting their annual theater production and auction, “Dowa no Omatsuri: A Festival of Children’s Stories” on Sunday, Feb. 24, at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater, 3301 Lyon St. in San Francisco.

Well-known community personalities June-ko Nakagawa and Benh Nakajo are serving as co-hosts for the program, which features GenRyu Arts and the students of NLF.

The preschoolers’ performances of “Sweet Dreams” and “A Journey Together” were inspired by various children’s stories and will showcase the creativity of the children and teachers. The elementary school-age children of the After School Program are staging “NLF’s Super Bowl AFTER Show,” featuring commercials for the students’ invented products.

The silent auction begins at 12 p.m. in the lobby preceding the 1:30 p.m. theater show, with live entertainment provided by Carey Huang, Jan Yonemoto, and Al Sugaya, who are parents of NLF alums, and accomplished active musicians in the Asian American community for over many decades. A raffle and refreshments in the lobby will follow the theater performance.

NLF’s elementary school-age children’s performance will again feature the choreography of NAGATA Dance, led by Corrine Nagata with main choreographer, Kathryn “Kat” Healy. Nagata’s role as a teacher and contributor to the world-renowned Alvin Ailey American School of Dance, the National Dance Institute with Jacques D’Amboise and the Dance Theater of Harlem prepared her well for teaching all forms of dance and at all levels to a wide variety of students.

NAGATA Dance services nearly a dozen public and private schools in San Francisco while NAGATA Dance Studio, located in the heart of Japantown, offers all-day summer dance camps, children’s ballet and hip-hop classes, teacher training along with scholarship, space for parties, and community-building programs.

Joelle Matsuura, NLF’s board vice chair and parent in the program, described this annual production as “one of the best fundraisers and shows around. It’s definitely one of the highlights of the school year!”

Executive Director Cathy Inamasu added, “This event’s venue provides the perfect backdrop to showcase the creative energy and talents of our teachers, staff, parents, board, and members of our greater NLF family. It’s always a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with old friends, find incredible auction deals and enjoy memorable performances!”

NLF has been providing quality childcare, educational programs and services for preschoolers through elementary school-age children and their families since 1975. Full- and part-day schedules are offered to over 200 children annually with a Japanese bilingual and multicultural emphasis.

Through government subsidies and sliding fee scales, affordable services are available to all families. Its preschool building addition to its historic 1830 Sutter St. facility provides permanent program and administrative office space, and ongoing fundraising is continuing through its Plant a Seed Capital Campaign.

More information about NLF can be found at www.nlfchildcare.org.

Tickets to the event are $30 in advance, (two or more are $25 each), or $40 at the door for adults. Youth 5 to 17 years are $10; and children 4 years and under are free. Proceeds from this fundraiser will benefit the programs and operations of NLF. For more information on the event, contact NLF at (415) 922-8898 or email [email protected]

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