Tea, With Music

East West Players has partnered with the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC) and USC Center for Japanese Religions & Culture (CJRC) for the world premiere of TEA, WITH MUSIC.

Book and lyrics for TEA, WITH MUSIC are by acclaimed playwright Velina Hasu Houston, music by Nathan Wang and choreographed by Giovanni Ortega. This production is directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera. The musical features Joan Almedilla (Miss Saigon, Les Miserables), Tiffany-Marie Austin (Miss Saigon, A Little Night Music), Yumi Iwama (Our Town, South Pacific), Jennie Kwan (TV’s California Dreams, Avenue Q), and Janet Song (Twelfth Night, Medea).

Founded in 1971, the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center is one of the largest ethnic arts and cultural centers of its kind in the United States. The JACCC is the preeminent presenter of Japanese and Japanese American, and Asian American performing and visual arts nationally. Their mission is to present, perpetuate, transmit and promote Japanese and Japanese American arts and culture to diverse audiences, and to provide a center to enhance community programs. The JACCC also provides office space to a wide variety of nonprofit cultural, educational and community-based organizations in Los Angeles.

“The Japanese American Cultural Community Center (JACCC) fully values a partnership with other arts groups that present quality works of art for the community. We share much in common – and we can only wish the greatest success for EWP in this production of Tea, With Music!” says Bill Watanabe, Interim Executive Director of the JACCC.

The Center for Japanese Religions and Culture was established at USC in September 2011. The Center’s mission is to promote the study of Japanese religions and culture at USC and in the broader intellectual community of Japan Studies. The CJRC will foster this area of study by funding faculty-led research projects; planning conferences, colloquia, and workshops; providing faculty and graduate student research support awards; and by building our capacity to host visiting scholars and postdoctoral fellows in the near future. CJRC is the first research center for Japanese religions on the West Coast of the United States, and only the second such center in the country.

“We are honored to be associated with one of the most important plays on the post-war Japanese-American experience, Tea With Music by Velina Hasu-Houston,” says Duncan Williams, Director of the USC Center for Japanese Religions and Culture. “We are excited about this collaboration with East West Players to celebrate one of our faculty affiliates’ major works, this time as a musical production. The struggles overcome by the war brides depicted in the play are one of the many stories that represent the fabric of the U.S. – Japan relationship today.”

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