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Mu Performing Arts
and Artistic Director Randy Reyes invite you to experience an unparalleled variety of events in our 2015-16 Season of theater and taiko!

Celebrate 50 years of Asian American theater with Mu Performing Arts this season. Bringing you new taiko performances and innovative works from the heart of the Asian American experience, as well as our 50th World Premiere production.

2015-2016 Productions

TAIKO GROOVE
November 5 - November 8
Assistant Director: Emma Valentine

Featuring Los Angeles-based taiko group ON ENSEMBLE

Taiko Groove is a collaborative concert that explores a more contemporary taiko groove. Witness a variety of instrumentation, rhythms and melody, and of course the visceral excitement and chest-rattling of our big drum numbers that audiences love.
A VERY ASIAN XMAS 2015
November 28 - November 29

Starring Jasmine herself, Mu's annual holiday cabaret! A night of songs, smiles, and seasonal delights!

Inspired by her recent trip to France, this years holiday spectacular will be called "A Very Asian Xmas 2015: The Mu-lan Rouge." Join Jasmine and friends for a night of songs, smiles, and seasonal delights as she wishes Minnesota farewell and prepares to move to glamorous Paris! Ticket will include appetizers, dessert, and drinks. Join us! Food Sponsored by: TeaHouse_FinalLogo    Funfare Logo
PURPLE CLOUD
by Jessica Huang
December 4 - December 20

WORLD PREMIERE production by Minnesota playwright Jessica Huang

WORLD PREMIERE

When you’re hapa, you know deep down you’re greater than the sum of your many parts. In Purple Cloud, three generations of Huangs deal with the many facets of their multiracial identities as – accompanied by four Jade Pieces– they embark on a mythical journey from China to America and back again. Through three intertwining stories, we see the Huang family through the messy and beautiful business of acculturation: Grandpa Lee immigrates from Shanghai to America during World War II; his son Orville deals with his confusion as a first generation Asian American, taught to pass as white and unsure of his own blood; and his granddaughter fights for her Chinese-ness through a tattoo of a deer and the search for her true name.
YOU FOR ME FOR YOU
by Mia Chung
February 20 - March 6
Associate Producers Greg and Penny Anderson

REGIONAL PREMIERE at the Guthrie Theater's Dowling Studio

Mu presents the regional premiere of You for Me for You, a culture crossing tale critics have hailed a “rich and startling North Korean escape epic” (The Guardian), and a “brilliantly imaginative journey … not to be missed” (The Independent). As they attempt to flee the Best Nation in the World, North Korean sisters Minhee (Sun Mee Chomet) and Junhee (Audrey Park) are torn apart at the border. Each must race across time and space to be together again – navigating the perilous Land of the Free and the treacherous terrain of personal belief. Under the direction of Randy Reyes, this fantastical, humor-filled play runs for just two weeks in the Dowling Studio – don’t miss it!

PERFORMANCES

Friday, February 19 at 7:30 PM (Preview) Saturday, February 20 at 7:30 PM (Opening Night) Sunday, February 21 at 1:00 PM Sunday, February 21 at 7:00 PM

Wednesday, February 24 at 1:00 PM Thursday, February 25 at 7:30 PM (PSD) Friday, February 26 at 7:30 PM Saturday, February 27 at 1:00 PM Saturday, February 27 at 7:30 PM (PSD) Sunday, February 28 at 1:00 PM

Wednesday, March 2 at 7:30 PM Thursday, March 3 at 7:30 PM (PSD) Friday, March 4 at 7:30 PM Saturday, March 5 at 7:30 PM (PSD) Sunday, March 6 at 1:00 PM

Join us for Post-Show Discussions after select performances:

  • Sunday February 21 (1:00PM performance) Guest: Playwright Mia Chung
  • Thursday February 25 (7:30PM performance) Guest: Dr. Rich Lee, Professor of Psychology and the Editor of the Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology at the University of Minnesota
  • Saturday, February 27 (7:30PM performance) Guests: Julia Nekessa Opati and Angilee Shah from Gazillion Strong
  • Thursday, March 3 (7:30PM performance) Guest: Kurt Robert Kim Blomberg and Jennifer Kwon Dobbs
  • Saturday, March 5 (7:30PM performance) Guest: Hyon Kim of Freedom for North Korean Refugees of Minnesota

Resources on North Korean Refugees

"The family I lost in North Korea. And the family I gained." A TED Talk with Joseph Kim: Press play below or  WATCH HERE A refugee now living in the US, Joseph Kim tells the story of his life in North Korea during the famine years. He's begun to create a new life — but he still searches for the family he lost.   FreedomLogoFreedom for North Korean Refugees Freedom for North Korean Refugees Minnesota is a Minnesota based non-profit organization working toward the safe and humane resettlement of North Korean refugees in the United States. Freedom for North Korean Refugees Minnesota is pioneering an initiative to educate about the plight of North Korean refugees and to promote relationships and policies that provide for safe, welcoming, and expedite settlement in the United States.  www.freedomrefugeesmn.org "My escape from North Korea" A TED Talk with Hyeonseo Lee: Press play below or  WATCH HERE As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee thought her country was “the best on the planet.” It wasn't until the famine of the 90s that she began to wonder. She escaped the country at 14, to begin a life in hiding, as a refugee in China. Hers is a harrowing, personal tale of survival and hope — and a powerful reminder of those who face constant danger, even when the border is far behind. She recently returned to North Korea to rescue her family.     200px-LiNK_LogoLiberty in North Korea Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) is a nonprofit organization based out of Torrance, California, United States, and Seoul, South Korea. The organization hiding in China and resettles them in South Korea or the United States, so that they can avoid being forcibly repatriated back to North Korea, where they can face harsh punishments as a result of illegally emigrating. The refugees first travel from China to Southeast Asia through what the organization calls a modern-day "Underground Railroad", where they can then be processed and travel to South Korea (or occasionally, the United States) where they are recognized as refugees. From there, LiNK helps the refugees through its resettlement programs. Each rescue costs approximately $3,000 USD, and includes $500 for resettlement programs. As of October 2015, LiNK has resettled 400 refugees throughout the U.S. and South Korea. www.libertyinnorthkorea.org       High Resolutoin MNAPABA Logo Thank you to the Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association for their support
NEW EYES FESTIVAL 2016
March 18 - March 20

This series of readings of new works from Asian American playwrights is an artistic incubator for thoughts and ideas looking to be born onto the stage.  

Friday, March 18 at 7pm

Charles Francis Chan Jr's Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery

by Lloyd Suh -  directed by Randy Reyes Synopsis: 1967. The auspicious beginnings of a new political identity called Asian American, as a young literary hippie named Frank essays an inscrutable Chinese detective. A harmless sing-song orientalist minstrel show that ENDS IN A GROTESQUE CARNIVAL OF MURDER!!! With Eric Sharp as FRANK / HASTINGS Hope Nordquist as KATHY / LINDA Stephanie Bertumen as SUZY / ELENOR Nathan Keepers as SERGEANT / CHARLIE Song Kim as CHARLES SR / COP / BARTENDER / ALFRED Randy Reyes as MONKEY   unnamedLloyd Suh is the author of American Hwangap, The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go!, Jesus in India, Great Wall Story, The Children of Vonderly, Masha No Home and others, produced with Ma-Yi, The Play Company, Ensemble Studio Theatre, La Mama ETC, Magic Theatre (SF), ArtsEmerson (MA), Denver Center Theatre Company, Children’s Theatre Company (MN), East West Players (LA), and internationally at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Manila, and with PCPA in Seoul, Korea. He has received support from the NEA Arena Stage New Play Development program, the Andrew W. Mellon Launching New Plays Into the Repertoire initiative via The Lark, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, Jerome Foundation, Theatre Communications Group and Dramatists Guild. His plays have been published by Samuel French, Playscripts, Smith & Kraus, Duke University Press and American Theater magazine. He is a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre and The Actors Studio, an alum of Youngblood and the Soho Rep Writer Director Lab, and from 2005-2010 served as Artistic Director of Second Generation and Co-Director of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab.  He has served since 2011 as Director of Artistic Programs at The Lark.    

Saturday, March 19 at 7pm

The Two Kids that Blow Shit Up

by Carla Ching - directed by Katie Bradley Synopsis: Diana and Max meet at 10 years old, the day their parents start fucking. In the ensuing 18 years, their parents break up, get back together, marry and divorce. And they see each other through it all, trying not to make the same mistakes their parents did. A play about falling in and out of love with your best friend.

 With Sheena Janson as DIANA and Sherwin Resurreccion as MAX

 
CARLA CHING THE KILROYS ©ELISABETH CAREN 2015 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

PHIOTO BY ©ELISABETH CAREN

  An LA native, Carla Ching started doing autobiographically-based theater with NYC collective Peeling, which she still considers her first theater training. Her plays include Nomad Motel, Fast Company, TBA, The Sugar House at the Edge of the Wilderness, Big Blind/Little Blind, and The Two Kids That Blow Shit Up. Her work has been produced or workshopped by South Coast Rep, Center Theater Group, Lyric Stage, the Eugene O’Neill Playwright Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Ma-Yi Theatre Company, 2g, Partial Comfort, Porkfilled Players and Artists at Play among others. Alumna of the Women’s Project lab, Ma-Yi Writers Lab and the Lark Play Development Center’s Writers’ Workshop. BA, Vassar College. MFA, New School for Drama. Former Artistic Director of Asian American Theater Company, 2g. Fast Company is published by Sam French. Proud member of New Dramatists and The Kilroys. Carla wrote on Season Two of USA’s Graceland and currently writes on AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead.    

Sunday, March 20 at 7pm

The Sex Show

conceived and directed by Sun Mee Chomet Synopsis: The Sex Show is an exploration of intimacy, sexual stereotypes, and sexuality in the Asian American community.  Using movement, music, and text, the artists have collaborated to explore their own bodies and sexuality in a raw, humorous, and imaginative way.  This is a work-in-progress. WIth Katie Bradley, Kurt Blomberg, Suzie Juul, Rich Remedios, Maxwell Thao The workshop has been funded by a 2012-2016 TCG Fox Fellowship with Mu as the host theater. dbda0e6d-8282-415f-aeb4-ec06e82db40f Sun Mee Chomet has worked with Mu Performing Arts (You for Me for You, Cowboy vs. Samurai, Asiamnesia [playwright and actor], Circle Around the Island, WTF); Lincoln Center Theater (brownsville song: b-side for tray); Guthrie Theater (Othello, The Burial at Thebes, Macbeth, The Intelligent Homosexual…); Broadway tour of Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses; Syracuse Stage/Charlotte Repertory (M. Butterfly); Ten Thousand Things Theater (Forget Me Not When Far Away, Dirt Sticks, A Midsummer Night’s Dream); Penumbra Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre, and many other theaters locally and nationally. Sun Mee’s recognition includes a 2015 Lucille Lortel nomination (brownsville song); 2013 McKnight Theater Artist Fellowship, 2013-15 TCG Fox Fellowship, Star Tribune’s ‘Best of’ lists for The Origin(s) Project (2012) and Asiamnesia (2007); “2012 Best Solo Performance” honors for her play, How to Be a Korean Woman (Lavender Magazine), and one of City Pages’ 2008 Artists of the Year. Upcoming, Sun Mee will be acting in the Guthrie’s production of Harvey and assistant directing Disgraced.
TAIKO LAB 2016
by Mu Daiko
April 3 - April 3

Taiko Lab is your opportunity to experience original compositions, experimental melodies, and brand new rhythms from the innovative composers/ensemble members of Mu Daiko. You will see the evolution of ideas presented in last year's lab, as well as a host of brand new pieces. We will explore using fue melodies, Japanese folk dance, tai-chi movement and heart pounding rhythms that seek to stretch the melodic and choreographic elements of taiko.  Similar to last year, every Mu Daiko and MTI members has been challenged to create and perform new work. Seating is very limited, so please reserve your seat in advance for this exciting showcase.  

Taiko Lab 2016

Hikari Kaze by Michiko Todokoro Buchanan Taiko Pop! By Jennifer Weir Untitled by Kai Anderson (MTI) Inspiration by Chiaki O’Brien Sakura Sakura by Junko Kumamoto (MTI) Emi by Heather Jeche Impermanent Wind by Jeff Ellsworth Falling Flowers by Arlene Teraoka and Cathie VanDanacker Summer Storm by Jennifer Weir  

Hikari Kaze (Light and Breeze) 

A mysterious feeling surrounds you.  Then you notice that a person you shouldn’t be able to see in this world is standing by you.  The sun envelopes you both, and you embrace the person energetically.  After a moment the person disappears, but you feel a nice breeze as it whispers “it’s OK.  I’m always with you.” Players: Michiko Todokoro Buchanan, Jeff Ellsworth, Heather Jeche, Susan Tanabe, Cathie VanDanacker,  Emma Valentine, Arlene Teraoka, Jenifer Cho  

Taiko Pop!

Inspired by a Korean pop song played to Jen by Sara Ochs. The idea was to create a loosely structured groove with solos that can change depending on the players and instrumentation. Performers: Jennifer Weir, Jeff Ellsworth, Susan Tanabe, Michiko Todokoro Buchanan, Jennifer Cho, Junko Kumamoto, Kai Anderson  

Untitled

A piece about how stress builds up over time. Performers: Kai Anderson, Jeff Ellsworth, Susan Tanabe  

Inspiration

This is a piece that incorporates sections that are like "drills" and was inspired by a professional Taiko player Yuichi Kimura in Japan and Tiffany Tamaribuchi. I participated in Tiffany's workshops twice in the past. Please enjoy watching our teamwork and seeing how women can be strong! Performers: Cathie VanDanacker, Michiko Todokoro Buchanan, Arlene Teraoka, Emma Valentine  

Sakura Sakura (cherry blossoms cherry blossoms)

Also known as “Sakura”, is one of the most popular Japanese folk song. Choreography by Junko Kumamoto, Arranged fue part by Michiko Buchanan. Performers:  Junko Kumamoto, Susan Tanabe, Michiko Todokoro Buchanan  

Emi (smile)

Emi is about that one thing in your life that picks you up, motivates you, gives you reason to celebrate, brings you true bliss…makes you smile. Performers: Heather Jeche, Cathie VanDanacker, Emma Valentine, Arlene Teraoka, Jennifer Cho  

Impermanent Wind

This song is dedicated to all the people that have blown into and out of the composer's life leaving lasting impressions. Performers: Jeff Ellsworth, Susan Tanabe, Michiko Todokoro Buchanan  

Falling Flowers

Falling Flowers is an exploration of incorporating tai chi movements into taiko performance. Special Thanks To:  Sifu Ray Hayward, Twin Cities T'ai-Chi Ch'uan Studio Performers: Arlene Teraoka, Cathie VanDanacker, Heather Jeche, Emma Valentine, Jennifer Cho  

Summer Storm

This composition is an exploration of movement and repetition with the images of clouds rolling in.  Fue melody composed by Michiko Todokoro Buchanan. Performers:  Mu Daiko & MTI
tot: THE UNTOLD, YET SPECTACULAR STORY OF (a filipino) HULK HOGAN
by Victor Maog
June 16 - June 26

WORLD PREMIERE production in partnership with the JEROME FOUNDATION

TOT follows an immigrant boy who travels from the Ferdinand Marcos-ruled Philippines to the San Francisco Bay Area to meet his long lost parents. He journeys from a country full of strife and military rule only to find himself in his lonely American bedroom conjuring a pro wrestling fantasy to escape his new life.
MU GALA 2016
June 24 - June 24

Get in the ring with The Main Event, the 2016 gala fundraiser for Mu Performing Arts!

Mu Performing Arts is hosting our Annual Gala Benefit: THE MAIN EVENT on Friday, June 24th, 2016 at the Boss Thrust Stage at Park Square Theatre in the Historic Hamm Building in Downtown Saint Paul. The centerpiece of the evening is a performance of tot: THE UNTOLD, YET SPECTACULAR STORY OF (a filipino) HULK HOGAN by Victor Maog, the final production in Mu's 2015-2016 season. The gala features cabaret-style drinks and food, an exciting live auction, a special award ceremony honoring Mu Champions, and a festive night of artistry.  Mingle alongside our community partners, artists, and Mu Champions, enjoy performances by Mu artists, and bid on one of a kind experiences. Doors open at 6:00pm.

 TICKETS

General Admission – $100 One general admission ticket includes food, desserts, and a seat at the performance of tot and Mu’s award ceremony.   For questions about the event or sponsorship opportunities, please email tiffany@muperformingarts.org or 651-789-1012.
PASSING THE BEAT 2016
July 9 - July 10

17th Annual Taiko Student Recital

Come see our amazing taiko students as they take the stage alongside their Mu Daiko instructors for this popular annual recital. We are thrilled to have guest artist Yuichi Kimura from Kobe, Japan, returning for a special performance.

TWO PERFORMANCES ONLY:

  • Saturday July 9 at 7:00 PM
  • Sunday July 10 at 2:00 PM

Japanese Drummer (Wadaiko Player) Yuichi Kimura

Born in Kobe in 1976, Yuichi Kimura first encountered taiko as a member of the high school taiko club. In the wake of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake that destroyed his home, Yuichi and his team performed taiko at evacuation centers in order to raise the spirits of those suffering. From that experience he felt the mysterious and invigorating effect of taiko on the audience, and decided to set his sights on becoming a professional taiko artist. From the spring to summer of 1995, he joined Ichiro Jishoya’s group, Wadaiko Ichiro, and performed sixty concerts across Europe. In 1996, he encountered one of the leading experts in taiko, Eitetsu Hayashi, and came under his study as a member of his professional ensemble, Fu-Un no Kai. In 1997 he toured Europe again with Wadaiko Ichiro, performing a grueling 120 times in 6 months. From 1998-2002 he became a full-time supporting member of Eitetsu Hayashi’s Fu-Un no Kai and performed in concerts and events throughout Japan before returning to Kobe to perform with his hometown group. In 2005, in observance of the 10th anniversary of the Great Hanshin Earthquake, he produced the charity taiko concert, "From Kobe: Thanks and Hopes, Facing to the Future", and also wrote the original requiem piece "Daichi" ("Earth"), a piece now played by taiko groups across Kansai area. In 2010 he was an invited guest performer of Japan Chinese Orchestra (Nihon Kagakudan) on the mainstage of the World Expo in Shanghai. In 2011, he began activities as an independent solo artist. Under the theme of “Music Without Borders/One World”, he began with joint performances with Chinese guzheng (koto) artist Wu Fan, and then formed the Kansai-based "Kimura Yuichi & Special Sauce", a pioneering jazz/classical/latin/world genre-blending collaborative unit. For young taiko enthusiasts interested in more in-depth training, he has established the Wadaiko Unit “Daiichi no Kai”, which performs concerts and school shows in the area. Yuichi Kimura is a recipient of the 2010 Hyogo Prefecture Sakai Tokitada Music Award, the 2012 Kobe City Cultural Promotion Prize, and the 2013 Hyogo Prefectural Arts Promotion Prize.