Founded over 30 years ago to provide a forum for Asian American Artists to participate in American Theater by Artistic Producing director Tisa Chang, Pan Asian Repertory Theater is America’s first theatre to explore the Asian-American experience. Mel Gussow of The New York Times noted that “Before Pan Asian Rep, Asian Americans had severely limited opportunities in the theater…(now) heartened by Ms. Chang’s example, similar companies have sprung up around the United States.” Pan Asian has opened doors and paved the way for many who have formed their own companies or enjoy careers in film, television and on Broadway, and continues to be the flagship organization advancing the vitality of American Theater by nurturing the next generation of Asian American Artists and providing opportunities for Senior Artists.
Marilyn Stasio of Variety noted, “For all the variety of theater art produced in New York City, there are some things you don’t see a whole lot of-like an Asian-American theater company that develops and showcases plays by Asian American playwrights addressing Asian American themes. For that reason alone, the aesthetic mission and professional chops of the Pan Asian Repertory Theater…lead by Tisa Chang are admirable.” Specializing in intercultural productions of Asian American new plays, Asian masterworks in translation and innovative adaptations of Western classics, our many acclaimed presentations and contributions to the rapidly growing canon of Asian American plays include: EMPRESS OF CHINA, featuring Tina Chen in the title role of China’s last dowager ruler; YELLOW FEVER, which went on to enjoy a long Off-Broadway run; CAMBODIA AGONISTES by Ernest Abuba, with music by Louis Stewart; THE TEAHOUSE OF THE AUGUST MOON by John Patrick; and stagings of the early works of Asian American pioneers such as Momoko Iko, Wakako Yamauchi, Philip Gotanda, and David Henry Hwang.
In 2011/12, the company’s 35th Milestone Season celebrated “Legacy and Homecoming,” and highlighted new works created by Senior Artists: Its signature musical SHANGHAI LIL’S, a 1940’s romantic song ‘n’ dance, ran Nov 2011; March 2012 premiered the musical play STELLA RISING and dance theatre BAUDELAIRE: LA MORT, which fuses Butoh, Spanish Flamenco and poetry. Raul Aranas returned from Broadway to direct RANGOON May-June at the Clurman Theatre. At the company’s 35th Anniversary Gala on March 19, Pan Asian proudly honored alumn Daniel Dae Kim who starred in its 1993 production of A DOLL HOUSE and has gone on to leading TV roles, including “Hawaii Five-0”, and Dr Patricia Taylor, who along with her husband, Ambassador Ken Taylor, helped American hostages escape Iran during the hostage crisis of the 70’s.
As Pan Asian looks to the next 35 years, we continue our pioneering tradition of intercultural epics and adaptations of Eastern classics for Western audiences with a seasonal focus on Japan: on the main stage, THREE TREES and DOJOJI: THE MAN INSIDE THE BELL challenge our artist and designer core; and Plays In Process staged readings of NO-NO BOY and FISHING FOR WIVES nurture new works; while Training in acting, writing, directing, and community outreach continues.