East West Players First Production of 33rd Anniversary Mainstage Season: Yohen | Asian American Theatre Review: Spring 1999
East West Players, the nation’s first and foremost Asian American theatre, announces the opener of its 33rd Anniversary Season at the David Henry Hwang Theater at the Union Center for the Arts in downtown Los Angeles. A co–production with The Robey Theatre Company, YOHEN, written by Philip Kan Gotanda and directed by Ann Bowen, opens January 13 and closes on February 5, 1999.
The world premiere of YOHEN, will star Nobu McCarthy (Karate Kid II, The Wash, and former artistic director of EWP) and Danny Glover(Beloved, Lethal Weapon, The Color Purple), and is a story of an elderly African American–Japanese couple struggling to maintain their marriage. Sets are designed by Edward E. Haynes Jr., Resident Scenic Design Associate at the Center Theatre Group, costume design by Joyce Kim Lee, lighting design by Doc Ballard, sound design by Anthony Brown, and props and set dressing by Ken Takemoto. Irma Escamilla is the production stage manager.
YOHEN is significant in East West history because it is the first co–production with an African American theatre company. Providing audiences with a cross cultural experience, this show will join the Asian American and African American communities.
Philip Kan Gotanda, the playwright of THE BALLAD OF YACHIYO, THE WASH and SONG FOR A NISEI FISHERMAN, will coincidentally be opening another world premiere at the same time, SISTERS MATSUMOTO, which will open at Seattle Repertory and then later at San Jose Repertory as a co–production with Asian American Theatre Company.
The Robey Theatre Company was founded in 1994 by Danny Glover and Ben Guillory (Producing Artistic Director). Its mandate is to encourage, explore and develop relevant, provocative, and innovative writing that mixes socio–political issues with human stories, and encourages new plays written about the Black experience for the American theatre through readings, labs, productions and performances.