MINNEAPOLIS — Mu Performing Arts has concluded casting and full production details for The Tiger Among Us, the next Mu show written by Lauren Yee (Ching Chong Chinaman). A previews show on Jan. 24 with the show running Wednesday through Sunday, Jan. 25-Feb. 3 at Mixed Blood Theatre, 1501 South 4th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55454.
Its November in Minnesota and to bored high school student Lia, it’s just another unbearably cold month. For Lia’s troubled father, November means the start of the hunting season and a chance to capture what has eluded him his entire life. For her entrepreneurial brother Pao, each day offers the opportunity to scratch out a new way of living in this rural landscape. But soon, Lia finds herself caught between her responsibilities and her dreams. And just outside their door, something is about to break.
The world premiere commission will be directed by Ellen Fenster (Pillsbury House Theatre, Gremlin Theater, Phoenix Theater Project) and assistant directed by Kathy Mouacheupao (former Executive Director of CHAT: Center for Hmong Arts and Talent). Katie Ka Vang is the Cultural Consultant.
The cast features exciting young actors Maxwell Thao (Mu: Into the Woods, Stages Theater Company, TigerLion Arts) as Pao and Gaosong Vang (Mu: Into the Woods, WTF) as his younger sister Lia, two Hmong American teens growing up in rural MN with their father (Saikong Yang, WTF). The cast also includes the siblings’ family, friends and neighbors played by Sheng Kong, Claire Bancroft and Garry Geiken (Jungle Theater, Gremlin Theatre, Park Square Theatre).
The creative team includes Ron Albert (Scenic Designer), Mike Kittel (Lighting Designer),Andrea Gross (Costume Designer), Katharine Horowitz (Sound Designer) and Kellie Larsen (Props Designer).
Playwright Lauren Yee (www.laurenyee.com) is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama and UCSD. This is Yee’s second collaboration with Mu after the successful world premiere of Ching Chong Chinaman in 2009. She has been a Dramatists Guild fellow, a MacDowell Colony fellow, and a member of the Public Theater Emerging Writers Group. Yee has also been a finalist for the Heideman Award, the Jerome Fellowship, the PEN USA Literary Award for Drama, and the Wasserstein Prize.
Ching Chong Chinaman was a finalist for the 2008 Princess Grace Award and the winner of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival’s 2010 Paula Vogel Award and Kumu Kahua Theatre’s 2007 Pacific Rim Prize. Named one of the top 10 plays of the year by the East Bay Express and City Pages, the play has been produced at Artists at Play, Impact Theatre, Mu Performing Arts, the New York International Fringe Festival, Pan Asian Rep, and SIS Productions. The play has been published by Samuel French.
Ellen Fenster (Director) is a company member with Pillsbury House Theater and has served as director of the Chicago Avenue Project since 2007. Ellen is an artistic associate with the Illusion Theater where she has directed several new plays and for seven years managed the Lights Up! series, an annual performance event that features new work by emerging artists.
As a teaching artist Ellen works in many area schools, is the resident creative movement instructor with theater e3 (a summer theater institute for children), and is the director of the South High Theater Program. Recent directing credits include Sea Marks and Burn This at Gremlin Theater and Art with the Phoenix Theater Project. Ellen is honored to be working with Theater Mu on their upcoming production, The Tiger Among Us.
Kathy Mouacheupao (Assistant Director) is the former director of CHAT: Center for Hmong Arts and Talent. Founded in 1998, the company is the world’s first Hmong arts organization and serves an ever-expanding group of youth artists at its Saint Paul location.