By TOM LAVENTURE
AAP staff writer
Los Angeles (Sept. 20, 2013) — Jodi Long is best know today as ‘Ok Cha Sullivan’, the frugal Korean immigrant wife of ‘Jack Sullivan’ (Dan Lauria) and mother of Steve Sullivan’ (Steve Byrne) on the hit TBS comedy series “Sullivan & Son.”
Long is also an actress with more than 30 major theater roles on and off-Broadway productions, appearances in 18 feature films as well as dozens of television shows. She also produced her own documentary about her theatrical parents, “Long Story Short”, and is currently reviving the original one-woman piece that inspired the film, “Surfing DNA” that is about to wrap up a successful reprise run at Working Stage Theater in Los Angeles.
The play and the film documentary (www.longstoryshort documentary.com), tells the story about Long’s vaudevillian parents Larry and Trudie Leung, who had a nightclub act in the 1940s and appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show on May 7, 1950.
The couple divorced when Jodi was a girl and she revisits the memories of a time that inspired her education and future to be a stage actress.
AAP interview with Jodi Long:
AAP: How has the performance evolved since the last production?
JODI LONG: Well, I like to think I get better with age! And since I am now a better actor, writer, and person, it has more depth.
AAP: What has changed (if anything) in content, delivery, technology, or even updates of your own life that changed the history or context of anything in the play?
JL: I have rewritten about a third, maybe more of it. It has been restructured and it now has a lot more media elements. It has also been updated to include all that has happened and everything I have sorted through to get to today! It is ever evolving and growing, kinda like DNA.
AAP: Has your work on the television show made it difficult to get this production underway?
JL: Just the opposite! I think SULLIVAN AND SON has created more of an interest in the theater stuff I do. The hard part was finding the time I could devote to working on it. And this was a very small window of time as we put this up in three weeks, which includes major restructuring, rewrites and relearning!
AAP: How does your parents’ career as pioneering theater and television performers along with your legacy as an APIA actor in mainstream Broadway and off-Broadway theater, film and television impact your perspective on expanding the personal to the community impacts of this wonderful experience?
JL: I think SURFING DNA has quite a lot of history in it, from my parents to my early days bouncing around New York off Broadway and through the burgeoning Asian American theater movement. But I feel it goes beyond that, to encompass a very personal story that is universal to us all.
AAP: Question for after the opening weekend: How was the performance and the reaction from the audience?
JL: I am very pleased with the audience reaction. So many, including Steve Byrne who plays my son in SULLIVAN AND SON, came away wanting to know more about their own family history. Which is really the point of the title SURFING DNA. Another reaction is that people seemed genuinely moved by what happens in the piece. This is why I love the theater! As a writer, it is very gratifying to know people are having an experience and as a performer, I know I’ve done my job.
Read more about Jodi Long at aapress.com/community/from-shakespeare-to-tiger-mom-jodi-long-has-done-it-all.
Visit Long’s “Long Story Short” page at http://www.longstoryshortdocumentary.com. Her Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/JodiLongOfficialFanPage?ws&nr and Twitter at https://twitter.com/xoJodiLong.