Thursday, May 16, 2013

Welcome Colorado's First Asian American Theatre Company!

Theatre Esprit Asia Announces Inaugural Season
at Vintage Theatre in Aurora

In the summer of 2012, while celebrating the success of Vintage Theatre's production of "The Joy Luck Club," cast mates Tria Xiong and Maria Cheng sparked an idea for a new venture. After a glass of wine [or two], they realized with utter certainty, the need for an Asian American company in Colorado's theater climate, and thus, like all great wine-induced ideas, Theatre Esprit Asia (TEA) was born.

Maria Cheng says, "Theatre Esprit Asia (TEA) is an idea overdue to happen. The national Asian American Theatre movement has been for years waiting and wanting a presence in the Rocky Mountains region. Well, finally we are here, due to phenomenal grass roots support from Colorado's Asian American Theatre artists and enthusiasts. The response has been humbling and TEA aims to fulfill the expectations of bringing passionate, truthful and humorous narratives on the contemporary human condition, inspired by the wisdom of the Asian cultures."

Tria Xiong proudly states, “Part of TEA’s mission is to present original voices as well as produce plays by established playwrights. Our first season features critically acclaimed plays that draw from the great traditions of China, Japan and Korea. In our second season, to fulfill the latter part of our mission, we will produce David Henry Hwang’s Pulitzer prize winning drama "M. Butterfly," Lisa Loomer’s poignant "The Waiting Room" and Phillip Gotanda’s "Yohen."

"Spirit & Sworded Treks," directed by Maria Cheng & Tria Xiong, plays in repertory with "Dust Storm," directed by Paragon Theatre founder Warren Sherrill from May 30 through June 23. Then from October 24 to November 17, TEA presents Julia Cho's "99 Histories" directed by Henry-Award winner Christy Montour-Larson

Season tickets are currently on sale for this 3-play series at $48 Adult; $43 Students/Seniors 60+ or with six *ACE tickets for $72 Adult; $65 Students/Seniors 60+.  Single tickets are $17 Adult/ $15 Students/Seniors 60+ (Advance purchase); $20 at the door.  Tickets are available by calling 303-856-7830 or online at All performances are held at Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010

*ACE - Asian American Cabaret Events $5 - gourmet tea and snacks provided.

  May 30 - June 23
Rick Foster's Dust Storm (in rep with Spirit & Sworded Treks)
Directed by Warren Sherrill

This coming of age story is about Seiji, a rebellious Japanese American youth interned during WWII. We journey through his eyes as he experiences the shock of forced relocation and imprisonment, to anger and violence, and finally from confused guilt to emerging insight. Using the art of Chiura Obata, also an interned US citizen and artist of international renown, this solo work relives a tragic period of American history through a powerful tale of hope and redemption.

Sonoran Union: powerful force …the most palatable examination possible of a grievous episode in history. And it's the greatest kind of drama - the truth.

"Dust Storm" is triple cast with, Dale Li, Peter Trinh as Seiji. Invited guest artist, Zachary Drake, who has been with Dust Storm since its creation, will perform the role of Seiji on Saturday, June 1 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, June 2 at 1:30 p.m. "Dust Storm" opens on Thursday, May 30 at 7 p.m. with performances on Thursdays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 4:30 and 8 p.m.; Sundays at 1:30 and 4: 30 p.m. and Sunday, June 23 at 1:30 p.m.

Playwright Rick Foster joins the company Thursday, May 30 through Sunday, June 2 and will be part of post-show talk-backs with the director, actor and internment survivors.

May 30 – June 23
Maria Cheng's Spirit & Sworded Treks (in rep with Dust Storm)
Directed by Maria Cheng & Tria Xiong
*mature adult language

What do Johnny Unitas, ecstatic sex, beheading a Barbie doll and martial arts have to do with the Tao of spirituality? Cheng weaves tai-ji forms, storytelling, stir-fry cooking and stand-up comedy in a tour de force performance work addressing the struggles of following a spiritual path by a Chinese American woman.

"Spirit & Sworded Treks" is double cast with Maria Cheng and Michelle Hurtubise in the role of Woman and plays Fridays and Sundays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 1:30 p.m. and Sun, June 23 @ 4:30 p.m.

San Francisco Examiner: Cheng carves an exquisite show...frequently wry ...often affecting tribute to Cheng’s homeland and to the new ode to all the ties that bind, the prejudices that impede and the dreams that inspire.

NY Times: exquisitely crafted…wickedly funny

Post-show talk-backs will include the directors, the actor, clergy of various religions and practitioners of various spiritual paths. 

October 24 - November 17
Julia Cho's 99 Histories
Directed by Christy Montour-Larson

What is remembered is made up.  The only homelands that exist are the imaginary.  29-year-old Korean American cellist prodigy Eunice, comes home pregnant and unmarried, and tries to mend her estranged relationship with her very Korean mother.  Haunted by memories of a violent past, Eunice must confront her ghosts before she can move forward.  This powerful story is about memory, legacy, and the bond between mothers and daughters across three generations.

Chay Yew of Mark Taper Forum: Cho offers great emotional maturity and economy of words and a great passion for language. She's very good at drawing characters who have emotional complexity.

"99 Histories" plays Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m.

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