2016 AAP Summer Salon


featuring 
Melody Butiu (Broadway's Doctor Zhivago), John Cho (Star Trek), 
Kerri Higuchi (TV's "Grey's Anatomy") and Reggie Lee (TV's "Grimm")


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Armory Center for the Arts
145 North Raymond Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91103

11 a.m. Brunch
12 p.m. Special Presentation of Dinner with Friends

$70 per person
To make a reservation, please e-mail AAP.BoxOffice@gmail.com

About the Play: Ever since Karen and Gabe played matchmaker with their friends Beth and Tom, the two couples have been inseparable—going to the Vineyard every summer, raising their kids and enjoying countless dinners together. But when one marriage unexpectedly crumbles, the couples' lives begin to veer in opposite directions. Can these four friends move on to the next chapter without moving apart … or have they changed beyond recognition? Wryly funny and richly layered, Dinner With Friends is a modern masterpiece about the path you choose, the millions you don’t and the detours that make it worth the ride. Dinner with Friends won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2000.

The AAP Summer Salon is an opportunity to incorporate diverse casting for a popular play that does not require but is consistently cast with all white actors.

This event supports Artists at Play’s upcoming world premiere production of 
The Two Kids That Blow Shit Up by Carla Ching.

2016 Season

Artists at Play Readings
Sunday, March 20, 2016

by Nathan Ramos
directed by Snehal Desai
dramaturg: Michael Golamco

by Leah Nanako Winkler
directed by Deena Selenow
dramaturg: Michael Golamco

Continuing our mission to present stories of underrepresented communities, Artists at Play will develop and showcase these new works to the Los Angeles theatre community. In the midst of a national discussion on the lack of diversity and representation, we are proud to present two plays by Asian American playwrights that feature hugely diverse casts. Presented in conjunction with East West Players.

Artists at Play Readings







AAP Summer Salon
Sunday, May 28, 2016

Dinner with Friends
by Donald Margulies
directed by Peter J. Kuo
featuring Melody Butiu, John Cho, Kerri Higuchi, Reggie Lee

Artists at Play will hold their annual Summer Salon which presents an opportunity to incorporate diverse casting for a popular play or musical that does not require but is consistently cast with all white actors.

Mainstage Production
August-September 2016

The Two Kids That Blow Shit Up
World Premiere
by Carla Ching

After developing the play in the 2015 Artists at Play Reading Series, we are thrilled to present the world premiere of The Two Kids That Blow Shit Up by Carla Ching. The play follows Diana and Max meet at 10 years old, the day their parents start fucking. In the ensuing 18 years, their parents break up, get back together, marry and divorce. And they see each other through it all, trying not to make the same mistakes their parents did. A play about trying not to fall in love with your best friend so you end up hating them.
Ching Chong Chinaman (2011), Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them (2012),
Cowboy Versus Samurai (2013), 99 Histories (2014), In Love and Warcraft (2015)









Support the Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists (CAATA)

Artists at Play Producing Artistic Leader Stefanie Lau
It took a few years for me to find my identity as an arts administrator, and to figure out my role in the 50-plus-year history of Asian American theatre. In 2003 I represented East West Players at a Theatre Communications Group retreat for theatres of color. That’s where I met Mia Katigbak (National Asian American Theatre Company), Jorge Ortoll (Ma-Yi Theatre Company), Rick Shiomi (Mu Performing Arts), and representatives from Pan Asian Theatre and Second Generation. I was intimidated at first. How could I contribute to the conversation about Asian American theatre when I had only worked in the field for a few years and everyone else around me had dedicated decades of their lives?

But I quickly realized that “new” is what sustains theatre. Theatre grows and thrives because there are always new stories to tell, new innovative artists to work with, new technologies to integrate into our productions and new ways to connect with audiences. Asian American theatre is about forging forward with the experiences of the past and all possibilities of the future.

I finally understood that as a young arts administrator, an emerging arts leader, that I had to step up, use my voice and contribute alongside the veterans of our field. That it would take intergenerational collaboration to continue the movement of Asian American theatre and to assume our rightful place in American theatre.

The national gatherings organized by the Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists is the epitome of that collaboration. It’s an opportunity for theatre practitioners of all backgrounds, experiences and disciplines to come together and imagine what Asian American theatre can and should be.

Planning for the 5th National Asian American Theatre Conference and Festival is underway. We hope that you can support the future of Asian American theatre by contributing to our Indiegogo campaign.

Stefanie Lau represents Artists at Play as a board member of the Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists (CAATA), which hosts the biennial National Asian American Theater Festival and Conference (ConFest). Scheduled for October 1-8, ConFest is a week of performances, panel discussions, plenary and breakout sessions, new play readings, parties, networking and more. Please join us in supporting this year's gathering at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, titled "Seismic Shifts: Leading Change in the American Theater," by contributing to our crowd-funding campaign: https://igg.me/at/CAATAOSF

Through the generosity of Drs. Judy Shih and Joel Axelrod, major donors to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, every dollar raised through our campaign will be matched to double our impact in providing assistance to artists attending ConFest.

Artists at Play Readings 2016



Sunday, March 20, 2016


12 p.m. - As We Babble On
2 p.m. - Mid-day Reception/Hosted Bar
3 p.m. - Two Mile Hollow

East West Players
120 Judge John Aiso Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

by Nathan Ramos
directed by Snehal Desai
dramaturg: Michael Golamco

by Leah Nanako Winkler
directed by Deena Selenow
dramaturg: Michael Golamco

Continuing our mission to present stories of underrepresented communities, Artists at Play will develop and showcase these new works to the Los Angeles theatre community. In the midst of a national discussion on the lack of diversity and representation, we are proud to present two plays by Asian American playwrights that feature hugely diverse casts. Artists at Play presents these readings in conjunction with East West Players.

The readings will be presented in conjunction with East West Players, on Sunday, March 20, at East West Players. As We Babble On will be presented at 12 p.m., and Two Mile Hollow at 3 p.m.

Each reading will be followed by a talkback. A $13 ticket includes the mid-day reception and hosted bar. (All readings are complimentary)

Get Your Tickets!

AS WE BABBLE ON by Nathan Ramos

Artists at Play is proud to present As We Babble On by Nathan Ramos as part of our annual spring reading series on Sunday, March 20, 2016 at 12 p.m.

The Play
As We Babble On explores the pursuit of success, its costs and how our drinking habits change with money. Benji, a first generation Asian American struggles in New York City to find his voice as his writing career stalls. As the professional paths of his best friend Sheila and his half sister Laura begin to blossom, he begins to unravel. As We Babble On explores what lengths we are willing to go to realize our dreams, whether morality is tied to upward mobility and whether boxed wine and soda is an appropriate sangria recipe after the age of 24. Winner of of East West Players’ 2042: See Change Playwriting Competition.


The Playwright
Nathan Ramos is honored to share his debut play As We Babble On here on the West Coast. An Ohio native currently in New York City, he splits his time between writing, acting, and teaching. As an actor he has performed regionally and in New York, Off-Broadway. As a teacher he has worked with the Great Lakes Theater in Cleveland, OH, as well as various New York City institutions. He is currently penning a musical about an academic decathlon. Nathan has a BFA in Acting from Ohio University.

The Director
Snehal Desai, director
Snehal Desai is the Associate Artistic Director at East West Players (EWP) in Los Angeles. At EWP, he recently directed the rock musical The Who’s Tommy and the world premiere of A Nice Indian Boy. Other directorial credits include: Free Outgoing (Boom Arts-Portland), Love’s Labour’s Lost (Old Globe), Peregrine: Balboa Park (Old Globe) and Shakuntala (James Madison) and Baal (Yale). Snehal was the inaugural recipient of the Drama League’s Classical Directing Fellowship. He is also a member of the inaugural class of Theater Communication Group's Spark Leadership Program and recently named as a Theater Maker to Watch by American Theatre magazine. As a director, Snehal has worked at the Public, the Old Globe, La Mama, the Old Vic, Ars Nova, the Lark and PS122. He is a former resident director with Theater Emory and Ensemble Studio Theatre. Snehal is a recipient of a Doris Duke Grant, the Tanne Award and a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship. He was a literary fellow with the Royal Shakespeare Company and a member of the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab. As a playwright, Snehal has toured his solo show, Finding Ways to Prove You’re Not an Al-Qaeda Terrorist When You’re Brown, across the United States. He holds a MFA from the Yale School of Drama.

The Dramaturg
Michael Golamco’s plays (Build, Year Zero, Cowboy Versus Samurai) have been produced at NYC’s Second Stage Theatre, the Geffen Playhouse, Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Guthrie, LA’s Colony Theater and many others both nationally and internationally. He has received playwriting commissions from Second Stage, South Coast Repertory and the Geffen, and is a resident playwright at New Dramatists. As a screenwriter, Michael has sold pilots to NBC, WB Television and ABC Family; he currently writes for NBC’s “Grimm.”  His latest feature film is Please Stand By—from the producers of Juno and Up in the Air, starring Dakota Fanning, Toni Collette and Alice Eve.  

The Cast


Jasmin Savoy Brown, ZoĆ« Chao, Daniel Vincent Gordh, 
Marc Pelina, Daniel Segura.

Get Your Tickets!

TWO MILE HOLLOW by Leah Nanako Winkler

Artists at Play is proud to present Two Mile Hollow by Leah Nanako Winkler as part of our annual spring reading series on Sunday, March 20, 2016 at 3 p.m.

The Play
When the Donnelly's gather for a weekend in the country to gather their belongings for their recently sold estate—both an internal storm and a literal storm brews. As this brood of famous, longing-to-be-famous and kind of a mess but totally Caucasian family comes together with their personal assistant, Charlotte, some really really really really really complicated and totally unique secrets are revealed (over white wine). A parody coupled with moments of disorienting sincerity, Two Mile Hollow explores the dysfunctional family genre with brutality, awe and compassion.

The Playwright
Leah Nanako Winkler, playwright
Leah Nanako Winkler is from Kamakura, Japan and Lexington, Kentucky. Her plays include Kentucky (2015 Kilroys List, Upcoming world premiere April 2016 w/ Page 73 and Youngblood/EST), Death for Sydney Black (terraNova Collective), Double Suicide At Ueno Park!!! (35th Marathon of One-Act Plays) and more. Her work has been developed at Page 73, Playwrights Horizons, Clubbed Thumb, New Georges, New York Theatre Workshop, The Bushwick Starr, The Flea Theatre and more.  She is a two-time recipient of NYU’s A/P/A commission and one of her essays was a part of the exhibition, "Visible & Invisible" at the Japanese American National Museum. Her collections of short plays, NAGORIYUKI & Other Short Plays and The Lowest Form Of Writing are available on Amazon and have been performed all over the world. Other publications include Nanjing University’s Stage and Screen Reviews (China, December 2014 edition), Simon and Krauss, and Samuel French. She was a winner of the 2015 Samuel French OOB Festival and a 2016 Susan Smith Blackburn nominee. She has received a 2016 commission from 2G and is currently pursuing her MFA at Brooklyn College where she is a recipient of the Capote Fellowship in Creative Writing. She is a current member of Youngblood and the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group at Primary Stages.


The Director
Deena Selenow, director
Deena Selenow is a director for live performance. She has directed opera, theater, concerts, puppetry, and site-specific happenings in Los Angeles and New York with organizations including REDCAT, La Jolla Playhouse/Chalk Rep, Highways Performance Space, Company of Angels, Machine Project/The Music Center, Watts Village Theater Company, Dixon Place, New York Theatre Workshop’s 4th Street Theatre and chashama. Deena was a recipient of the 2006 Baryshnikov Art Center Multi-Disciplinary Artist Fellowship, the 2009/2010 NYTW Emerging Artist Directing Fellowship, and was a participant in the 2013 Walt Disney Imagineering/CalArts Educational Initiative. She is a member of Theatre Communications Group’s SPARK Leadership Cohort, funded by American Express, The Joyce Foundation, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. In 2015 she was recognized nationally by American Theatre Magazine as a “Person to Watch." MFA: CalArts, BFA: NYU.

The Dramaturg
Michael Golamco’s plays (Build, Year Zero, Cowboy Versus Samurai) have been produced at NYC’s Second Stage Theatre, the Geffen Playhouse, Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Guthrie, LA’s Colony Theater and many others both nationally and internationally. He has received playwriting commissions from Second Stage, South Coast Repertory and the Geffen, and is a resident playwright at New Dramatists. As a screenwriter, Michael has sold pilots to NBC, WB Television and ABC Family; he currently writes for NBC’s “Grimm.”  His latest feature film is Please Stand By—from the producers of Juno and Up in the Air, starring Dakota Fanning, Toni Collette and Alice Eve.

The Cast


Jessica Jade Andres, Parvesh Cheena, Julia Cho, Arjun Gupta, Dian Kobayashi


Get Your Tickets!

Playwright Interview: Nathan Ramos

What drew you to playwriting?
I taught for two years, but became very disillusioned by the state of our education system. I moved to NYC, and worked as an actor, but then again became disillusioned with acting, being told I’m too Asian or not Asian enough, or getting backhanded compliments about thank god you’re like a ‘white’ Asian, or being told I would never work in TV/film because of my cleft lip and palate. I was called in for an appointment for a show that was on Broadway, and the casting director was texting during my audition.

Romeo Candido, one of the creators of Prison Dancer the Musical said that we can’t wait around for someone to write roles for us, and that planted a seed that I fed and watered with my frustration and depression, which eventually bloomed into the play As We Babble On.

Ramos' writing space.
Take a photo of your writing space and give us one fun fact about it.
I write at Manhattanville coffee at 142 and Edgecombe in Harlem.  It has gorgeous floor to ceiling windows that let in an incredible amount of natural light.  They also serve beer so if I’m feeling like a fraud, I just shotgun a pint.


What do you hope to get out of this play reading?
I am very new to this side of the art form. I have never heard my play with a cast of actors, so I am just excited to hear how others bring the story to life. I think hearing the play out loud is going to be equal parts exhilarating and torturous. I watch horror movies with a blanket over my head the whole time and I feel like the experiences will be parallel in nature.

Why this play? 
I wrote this play because I found myself in [the main character] Benji’s shoes. Very jaded, angry and with a lot of self-loathing about my talents and personal/romantic life. I decided to write this play because it was like a "put your money where your mouth is" moment. I also wrote this play because I just want to see a story where Asians get to sit on the couch and drink boxed wine. So often with Asian casts, it becomes about what struggles happened in the past, or what exotic land the play is set. Period pieces are really important, but I want to be able to see a play where Asians buy groceries. It’s like the US Magazine segment "Asians, they’re just like us!"—we never see them in normalized situations. I love Chris Rock, but the only time Asians are mentioned in Top 5 is to say they have small dicks, and the only time they appeared on the Oscars was a joke about making iPhones. It just reiterates that we have to fight for our voices to be heard, and that even other active voices are fallible.

I also wanted to tackle the fractured nature of the Asian American experience. We don’t have a unifying tragedy to unite the continent under some bannered collective emotional experience. I had absolutely nothing in common with Shioko Kakinuma, the Japanese foreign exchange student in my first grade class, yet the lunch aides suggested I sit next to her because we have an overlapping genetic disposition for straight black hair and almond eyes.

I hope that the play begins a dialogue of shared parallel experience that can create a commonality within the Asian American community. Also I hope with my new found celebrity I will find my own Joel (Applications accepted).

How would you describe As We Babble On in three words?
Yasss, writing, yasss.

Playwright Nathan Ramos
How would you describe your writing style or “voice?”
In a sentence: A pop culturally immersed voice speaking of the fractured Asian American experience, tinged with satire and emojis.

In more depth: I wasn’t really allowed to watch tv or listen to music until I was 14 so my formal entry into the cultural zeitgeist was "American Idol" and "Survivor." Those shows were the first time I saw diversity, specifically Asians, allowed to be sentient, well-rounded characters. The following have shaped my voice in various ways:

Roald Dahl - emotionally malicious storytelling rooted in truth, shrewdly intelligent children that were not treated less than the adults, simple what-if’s with fruitful dividends. My young brain exploded and blossomed with every page turn. In third grade, I wasn’t allowed to read books anymore because I broke the Accelerated Reader Record, and my teacher said I was showing off. Roald Dahl was the first time a storyteller gave me power despite marginalization.

Yul Kwon - Winner of "Survivor Cook Islands"—first time I saw an intelligent well-rounded Asian man on television, and the first time I felt like I had permission to be sexually attracted to another Asian male. Yul represented everything that I didn’t think I was allowed to be. His existence alone, was activism in my eyes.

Margaret Cho - The first person’s work that spoke directly to my core being. She recently said on Chelsea Does Race that you can tell how Asian someone is by how bad their house smells. She compels me to be honest, cutting, but still buoyantly open with my work.

Kelly Clarkson - Every time I would contemplate killing myself, she would come out with a new album, and I would have major FOMO about her new single. We were on the same cycle.

Kelly Kapoor - The first character that I would have loved to write for. Hyper vapid and emotionally unpredictable, I felt like she perfectly lampooned millennial sentiment. Mindy Kaling then subverted these ideas when she fleshed out Dr. Lahiri on "The Mindy Project." I have never connected to a line more than when her character says that her favorite singer was Katy Perry. I feel insecure that I don’t have a strong writing pedigree, but that TV moment bolstered my individual storytelling voice.

Alicia Keys - I wanted to be a pop star growing up. Her song "Diary" taught me how to create tone and mood with cadence, rhythm, vocal quality and simply crafted suggestive lyrics.

Star Trek Voyager - My entry point into asking large scale questions about humanity’s role, moral fluidity, and personal ideology.

Marvel Comics Universe (not the cinematic universe) - Marvel has a litany of incredible Asian characters (Psylocke, Amadeus Cho, Jubilee, Shang-Chi to name a few) that are not defined by their ethnicity, but enriched by their cultural specificities. I got to be the Hulk for Halloween this year without having to put myself in another’s skin. I didn’t know how empowering it was to actually truly embody a superhero until I blacked out from witch’s brew (mango hard cider, tequila, ginger beer).

Basically I'm saying my dream show would be Matilda Part 2: Matilda in Space, co-written by Margaret Cho and Alicia Keys. Matilda, played by Mindy Kaling, would have her psionic powers returned to her to fight a rag tag space gang of cyborg pirates. Kelly Clarkson would play the late Miss Honey who is now a sentient A.I. System. Together they grapple with ideas of multiple universes and whether body hacking should be permissible. There will be at least four costume changes per episode.


Nathan Ramos' As We Babble On will be presented in Artists at Play's spring reading series on Sunday, March 20 at 12pm at East West Players.