‘Tea’ for All

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In the front row is the cast of the current production, (from left) Janet Song, Yumi Iwama, Jennie Kwan, Joan Almedilla and Tiffany-Marie Austin. Second row: Natsuko Ohama, Marilyn Tokuda, Haruye Ioka, Takayo Fischer, Velina Houston, Gerrielani Miyazaki, June Angela, Ren Hanami, Shuko Akune. Back row: Sharon Omi, Kimiko Gelman, Esther Chae, June Kyoku Lu (obscured), Amy Hill, Diane Tanaka (obscured), Momo Yashima, Leilani Chan, Dian Kobayashi, and Sakiko Taoka Flower. (Photo by Michael Palma/MPalma Photography)

“Tea, with Music” is being performed at East West Players, 120 Judge John Aiso St. in Little Tokyo, through Dec. 9.

Velina Hasu Houston has adapted her drama about five Japanese war brides, first produced 25 years ago, into a musical. Directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera, the show features book and lyrics by Houston, music by Nathan Wang, and choreography by Giovanni Ortega. The cast: Joan Almedilla, Tiffany-Marie Austin, Yumi Iwama, Jennie Kwan and Janet Song. Presented in partnership with the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center and the USC Center for Japanese Religions and Culture.

Houston, the daughter of an African American/Native American father and a Japanese mother, is also known for such plays as “Asa ga Kimashita,” “American Dreams,” “Kokoro (True Heart),” “Calling Aphrodite,” “Ikebana (Living Flowers),” “Calligraphy,” and “Kapiolani’s Faith.”

On opening night (Nov. 14), the playwright was joined by nearly 20 actresses who have appeared in “Tea” over the years. The play has been performed across the country as well as in Japan.

Showtimes are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. There will be a post-show discussion with the artists on Sunday, Dec. 2. For more information, call (213) 625-7000 or visit www.eastwestplayers.org.

A scene from the current production. From left: Janet Song as Chizuye, Jennie Kwan as Teruko, Joan Almedilla as Himiko, Tiffany-Marie Austin as Atsuko, and Yumi Iwama as Setsuko. (Photo by Jon Lawrence Rivera)

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