ST. PAUL (April 22, 2014) — Mu Performing Arts, Artistic Director Randy Reyes announced Tuesday an exciting lineup of plays, concerts, and events for his second season at the helm of the Midwest’s largest Asian American performing arts company.
“I want this season to truly reflect the amazing diversity of local Asian American performing arts,” Reyes said. “We’re thrilled to present a wonderful mix of classic and brand new plays, exciting taiko and christmas concerts, as well as embarking on new partnerships and collaborations around the Twin Cities.”
Mu’s 2014-2015 subscription season kicks off at The Southern Theater with the world premiere of Middle Brother (September 12 – 28, 2014) written by and starring longtime Mu performer Eric Sharp (Yellow Fever, Into the Woods, Ching Chong Chinaman). The latest product of the Mu Performing Arts/Jerome Foundation New Performance Program, the play was recently named as a finalist for the National New Play Network Showcase.
The new play will be directed by Robert Rosen (Co-director of Studio 206, former co-artistic director of Theatre de la Jeune Lune) and is the most recent addition to Mu’s body of work exploring the diverse stories from the Korean adoptee experience. Told in a bold physical theatre style, Middle Brother follows Billy, an adult Korean adoptee living and working in Seoul, South Korea for the first time since being adopted to the Midwest as a toddler.
Just days from moving back to the states, Billy is unexpectedly reunited with his older birth brother and must somehow reconcile his modern American life with his newfound Korean past.
Next up is Mu Daiko in Concert (November 12 – 16, 2014). Mu Daiko returns to its Twin Cities community roots with an innovative taiko drumming concert at Mixed Blood Theatre.
The nationally recognized ensemble celebrates its 18th season of taiko with reimagined pieces from the ensemble’s repertoire and brand new compositions, including a collaboration with celebrated local director/choreographer Joe Chvala (Flying Foot Forum, Guthrie Theater).
“You owe it to yourself to see [Mu Daiko] perform at least once; it’s a thrill that engages the mind, body, and soul and leaves you feeling invigorated and energized.” (Jill Schafer of Cherry & Spoon reviewing Mu Daiko’s 2014 concert Rhythm in Motion). Mu Daiko’s brand of heart-pounding rhythms and high-flying movement will be showcased in Mixed Blood’s intimate auditorium.
A popular Mu tradition, A Very Asian Christmas Concert (Nov. 29 – 30, 2014) returns to The Southern Theater for its 5th installment over Thanksgiving weekend. The holiday season takes its toll on us all… Santa’s hitting the bottle again, and Jasmine is down in the dumps. The only thing that will cheer her up is singing, dancing, and laughing the night away with her talented friends and family members.
Hosted as always by Jasmine (Randy Reyes’ drag persona), this irreverent holiday cabaret showcases Mu’s best musical theater and taiko talent and features delicious food and drinks included in the price of admission.
The subscription series continues with the Obie award-winning F.O.B. (January 30 – February 15, 2015) at Mixed Blood Theatre. Written by pre-eminent Asian American playwright David Henry Hwang (Broadway’s Kung Fu, Chinglish, M. Butterfly).
Directed by Artistic Director Randy Reyes, Hwang’s landmark 1979 play explores relationships and conflicts between established ABC (American Born Chinese) and FOB (fresh off the boat) newcomers. The production stars Eric Sharp, Meghan Kreidler (Kung Fu Zombies Vs. Cannibals), and Michael Sung-Ho (Into the Woods, Little Shop of Horrors).
In anticipation of the 2015 full production, Mu will tour F.O.B. to Chinese restaurants in Greater Minnesota (Perham, Mankato, Red Wing, and Rochester) this summer (June 7 – 29, 2014) with the Arts Tour grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. F.O.B. follows Mu’s successful recent productions of other David Henry Hwang plays including Yellow Face (2010) and his adaptation of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Flower Drum Song (2009).
In the spring of 2015, Mu collaborates with the History Theatre on their world premiere of The Debutante’s Ball (March 21 – April 12, 2015). The new play is written by Mu actor-turned-playwright (and three time Deb’s Ball escort) Eric ‘Pogi’ Sumangil (Mu Performing Arts, La Jolla Playhouse). Is family something we’re born into or something we choose?
Ana’s parents want her to be an All-American rather than a Filipino-American girl. When she signs up for the Filipino community’s Debutante’s Ball against her parents’ wishes, she puts her family relationships on the line and begins a complicated waltz between tradition and assimilation, self-reliance and interconnectedness, hip-hop and haranas (traditional Filipino serenades). Directed by Randy Reyes at the History Theatre in downtown St. Paul, the play (inspired by true events) pays tribute to a unique rite of passage for Minnesota’s Filipino American community.
The final production of Mu’s 14-15 Subscription Series is a glittering new adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (May 29 – June 21, 2015) starring and directed by Randy Reyes at Mixed Blood Theatre. As the melancholy clown Feste, Reyes leads a large ensemble cast in an immersive production which mark’s Mu’s first foray into Shakespeare since the 2006 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Mu’s biggest production of the year, this Asian American-inspired romp through the land of Illyria will feature live original music and physical comedy in a highly innovative take on one of the bard’s most beloved plays.
Randy Reyes brings considerable experience to bear as a Shakespearean actor at the Guthrie Theater (A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2000, 2009), Pericles, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Comedy of Errors) as well as his experience as Artistic Director of The Strange Capers, a company which produces accessible Shakespeare in the park for Twin Cities audiences.
New Partnerships and Collaborations
Three of the shows in the 2014-2015 season (Mu Daiko in Concert, F.O.B., and Twelfth Night) are being produced by Mu as Resident Producing Company at Mixed Blood Theatre. This new relationship
For the second season in a row, Mu will collaborate with The Playwrights’ Center to present the 23rd annual New Eyes Festival. Festival dates will be announced soon for Mu’s longest running tradition, a showcase of new Asian American playwrights and their stunning new works for the stage.
Mu Performing Arts is also excited to announce a developmental work with local indie rocker Mayda. Performances are slated for July 10 – 11, 2015 at The Guthrie Theater’s Dowling Studio. Randy Reyes has worked with the popular local musician on a live performance piece that combine’s music and storytelling.