‘Happa Girl Sushi Bar’ Reading Hosted by SFV JACL

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PACOIMA — The San Fernando Valley JACL and Cedar Grove Onstage will present a concert reading of “happa girl sushi bar after hour,” a new play by Perry Miyake, directed by Chris Tashima, on Sunday, May 19. at 2 p.m. at the SFV Japanese Community Center, 12953 Branford St., Pacoima.

A staged reading of the play will be followed by a short question-and-answer session with the author, director and cast, then a bento dinner.

Michael Hagiwara (“Slice”; “Manzanar, the Musical”; “Law & Order: L.A.”) plays David, a Venice Sansei down-and-out musician who has hit bottom, gotten divorced and is working as church janitor while living in its storeroom.

Shuko Akune (“Tea”; “General Hospital”; “E/R-Emergency Room” the sitcom; “Seinfeld”) plays Kats, the owner of a neighborhood Japanese restaurant, struggling to survive, years after adding a sushi chef and a karaoke bar.

Kym Hoy (Kim in “Miss Saigon” in second national Broadway company; “NCIS”; “Manzanar, the Musical”) plays Mitzi, an Asian/Caucasian waitress from Iowa. David discovers, after karaoke time is over at Kats’ restaurant, that she has a great voice, but Mitzi is as uncertain about how to sing as she is about her racial background. As he helps her learn how to interpret a song, and her Asian/American-ness, she helps him rediscover long-dormant feelings and his long-lost talent, and soon it’s uncertain who’s teaching whom, and who’s helping whom.

Tashima, co-founder of Cedar Grove Productions, directed, co-wrote and starred in the Academy Award-winning “Visas and Virtue” (1997), in which he played Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara. He also directed, co-wrote, and acted in “Day of Independence” (2003), a story about baseball in the internment camps. He has appeared in such films as “Americanese,” “Model Minority” and “Lil Tokyo Reporter.”

Miyake is a former Rockefeller Foundation playwright-in-residence with East West Players and recipient of EWP’s 2000 “Made in America” Award for his body of work, including “What the Enemy Looks Like” (1980), “Visitors from Nagasaki” (1984), and “Doughball” (1991), numerous one-acts, skits for Cold Tofu, and “Interracial Relations” (Seattle Group Theater, 1990). He is also the author of the novel “21st Century Manzanar” (2002) and the pictorial history “Venice Japanese Community Center and the 100+ Year History of the Japanese American Community of Venice, California” (2011).

Tickets are $15; bento is $10. For reservations, contact Nancy Gohata at [email protected] or (818) 899-4237. Checks payable to SFVJACL.

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