News: Playing Jewish at the National Asian American Theatre Company

Stephen Brown-Fried, Lisa Silberman Brenner, Mia Katigbak, and William Finn (left to right)/ photo credit: Peter Kim

Stephen Brown-Fried, Lisa Silberman Brenner, Mia Katigbak, and William Finn (left to right)/ photo credit: Peter Kim

Theatre scholar Lisa Silberman Brenner began the Public Theater’s June 8th panel discussion Playing Jewish at the National Asian American Theatre Company with the following provocations:

  • According to an Asian American Performers Action Coalition analysis, from 2006 onwards the percentage of Asian American actors performing in Broadway or major non-profit off-Broadway productions has ranged from 1% to 4% (an all time high, never repeated).
  • Of all ethnic minorities, actors of Asian descent are least likely to play roles not defined by race
  • Twenty percent of approximately 6 million Jewish Americans are non-Caucasian.

These statistics informed a lively discussion about issues of ethnicity and representation in the theatre as they intersect with and inform the National Asian American Theatre Company’s upcoming all Asian-American production of Clifford Odets’ Awake and Sing!, a play about a three-generation Jewish American family set during the Great Depression. Continue reading

SPOTLIGHT: Mia Katigbak

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Photo Credit: NAATCO

Artistic Producing Director and co-founder of NAATCO (National Asian American Theatre Company), Mia Katigbak sits among those to be honored by the League of Professional Theatre Women at its award luncheon on June 5. Her career is long with withstanding, having won some of the most prestigious awards offered in theatre.

Mia Katigbak is a founding director of CAATA and chaired its Strategic Planning Committee. She was one of the organizers of the 1st and 2nd National Asian American Theater Festivals in 2007 and 2009.

Having acted extensively in New York City with Ma-Yi, Target Margin, Intar, New York Theatre Workshop, the Public Theater, Women’s Project, Pan Asian Rep, New Federal Theater, Henry Street Settlement, and in several productions with NAATCO, it is not hard to imagine that she’d be presented with the LPTW Lucille Lortel Award and accompanying grant. In April 1999, the LPTW received a bequest from the Lucille Lortel estate to establish a fund, which would annually provide a grant to an aspiring woman in any discipline of theatre who demonstrates creative promise and deserves recognition and encouragement. This not-for- profit organization, “committed to promoting visibility and increasing opportunities for women in the professional theatre,” gets it right!

The mission of NAATCO is to develop an Asian-American audience and encourage Asian-Americans to become a significant part of the diverse audience in American theatre and to cultivate an appreciation of Asian-American contributions to the theatre arts in America today.

In efforts to reflect the face of America today, NAATCO performs European and American classical and contemporary works, as written, the goal is not to force the face of Asians.

 

Credits: Playbill