EWP Presents Musical Version of ‘Tea’

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“Tea, with Music” cast members (from left) Joan Almedilla, Janet Song, Yumi Iwama, Jenni Kwan and Tiffany-Marie Austin.

East West Players presents “Tea, with Music” from Nov. 8 to Dec. 9 at the David Henry Hwang Theater at Union Center for the Arts, 120 Judge John Aiso St. in Little Tokyo.

Books and lyrics by Velina Hasu Houston; composed by Nathan Wang; directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera; choreographed by Gionvanni Ortega. Featuring Joan Almedilla, Tiffany-Marie Austin, Yumi Iwama, Jennie Kwan, and Janet Song.

Velina Hasu Houston (Photo by Ken Matsui)

In honor of the 25th anniversary of the seminal play “Tea” by critically acclaimed playwright Houston, East West Players dares to present this story as a new musical. “Tea, with Music” is about a group of Japanese war brides from World War II, now living in Kansas, who gather for a farewell tea ceremony for one of their friends who has mysteriously passed away. The characters — Atsuko Yamamoto, Setsuko Banks, Teruko Mackenzie, Chizuye Juarez and Himiko Hamilton — are married to Americans of different racial backgrounds.

Presented with support from the S. Mark Taper Foundation Endowment for East West Players, in community partnership with the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center and USC Center for Japanese Religions and Culture.

To purchase tickets, visit https://eastwestplayers.secure.force.com/ticket.

Preview performances: Thursday, Nov. 8, to Sunday, Nov. 11.

Opening night: Wednesday, Nov. 14. All seats $65, which includes pre-show hosted bar and post-show reception with cast and crew.

Performance run:

Wednesday and Thursday at 8 p.m. Balcony $31/Orchestra $36

Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. Balcony $36/Orchestra $41

Sunday at 2 p.m. Balcony $36/Orchestra $41

$4 per ticket handling fee on all regular ticket purchases.

Student and senior discounts: $5 off regular ticket price.

Special group rates available for 10 or more. Call (213) 625-7000, ext. 20 for details.

Pay-what-you-can performance: Wednesday, Nov. 21, at 8 p.m.

Southern California Edison Community Night: Wednesday, Nov. 28.

Post-show discussion with the artists: Sunday, Dec. 2.

Wine Down Fridays: Complimentary glasses of red or white wine before the show, during the regular performance run. (Must be 21+ years of age.)

About the Playwright

Velina Houston has written over 30 plays, including 17 commissions in a career that began Off-Broadway with “Tea” at Manhattan Theatre Club and “American Dreams” at Negro Ensemble Company. Her plays have been produced globally at such venues as the Old Globe Theatre, George Street Playhouse, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Smithsonian Institution, Whole Theatre (Olympia Dukakis, producer), NHK (Japan), Syracuse Stage, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, A Contemporary Theatre, Playwrights’ Arena, and others in China, Japan, Singapore, Australia, and Malaysia.

Houston also writes opera, television, and film and is a published poet and essayist.

Recent world premieres of her plays include “Calligraphy” (Playwrights’ Arena/Latino Theatre Company at Los Angeles Theatre Center), “The DNA Trail” (Silk Road Theatre Project with the Goodman Theatre), and “The Intuition of Iphigenia” (multinational commission, U.S.-U.K.-Canada-Greece-Croatia) with Timberlake Wertenbaker and Judith Thompson (Athens and Vlichos, Greece).

Current projects include two commissions: “Another Perfect Day” and “Jonah and the Whale” (both with Los Angeles Opera). Her new play “Provinces” (formerly “The Territory of Dreams”) was featured at Pasadena Playhouse’s Hothouse.

Houston also writes theater for young audiences, including “The Matsuyama Mirror” (Kennedy Center New Visions/New Voices, Singapore Youth Festival, Honolulu Theatre for Youth, published by Smith and Kraus) and “Hula Heart.” A collection of her plays, “Green Tea Girl in Orange Pekoe Country,” will be published in 2013.

On the Web:

www.eastwestplayers.org

www.velinahasuhouston.com

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