Thursday, May 31, 2012

Opening weekend - Recap

Whew! We did it! We finally opened this past weekend, Memorial Day weekend of all times, and to great success! Not only did we have great, full houses, but the reception in regards to the show has been terrific as well!

Last week was definitely a whirlwind of getting things done, last minute rehearsals, prepping for opening night reception, previews, etc. And in the end, it was all worth it as everything came together in a splendor that was once just a vision, but is now pure, dynamic, artistry. It's amazing when all the elements come together!!!

Huge thanks goes out to EVERYONE who has touched this show in one way or another, whether it be through our Kickstarter campaign, designers, volunteers, etc. All of you have helped bring this show to life, and as always, we are most grateful for you!!! What an awesome team!

With this said, here are a few photos from our opening weekend, including some awesome photos taken by our friend Keri Kaba of some of the scenes from the show.

If you are interested in catching the show, seats are filling up fast!!! Seriously!!! Click on this link for more details on how to purchase tickets!

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Note from Peter Kuo, our Director of Ordinary Days

I was first introduced to Ordinary Days when I started working at South Coast Repertory in November 2009. It was my first show at the theatre and I remember listening to the music and laughing and falling in love with it right away. But I didn't want to immediately share that love. I was protective of it, in the way one is protective of finding money on the street. You are afraid someone else will see it and claim it as theirs. At the same time, I knew this show was too beautiful to keep as a secret.

Just months beforehand, I had completed a run of Songs for a New World that I directed for Yes, And ... Productions, and I felt this show might appeal to its producers, Helen Ota and Mike Palma. I was right. After seeing it they called me right away praising the production, declaring their desire to produce it, and asking for information about the rights. -- My worst nightmare had come true. Someone else in my circle had discovered the gloriousness of Ordinary Days and Adam Gwon. And they hadn’t even discovered it on their own, I introduced it to them!

Now, more than two years later, that discussion has come to fruition. We're producing Ordinary Days and I'm directing it. And I don’t regret inviting Helen and Mike to see it. I'm excited about this production for two reasons. One, I just love this show. The SCR production was fantastic. It had big budgets, amazing talent and supportive audiences, but I always had a different vision of the show. To me, what Ordinary Days really focuses on is allowing the simple moments in life to be beautiful. A memory. A look. A word. These intimate moments are what make life worth living, and by putting the show in an intimate theatre, it’ll be hard not to really feel and appreciate them.

The second reason I'm excited about this production is that I love Adam Gwon's work. He has a brilliant mind and he is going to rise up to become one of America's greatest composers. And though he's growing in popularity, his work is still relatively new, so to be one of the first few hundred or so directors to bring his work to life is exciting. His humor and heart drip from the story while his music easily carries you away to emotionally beautiful places. And even in a piece that celebrates simple moments, there is complexity in the music, text and characters that still makes working with the show a challenge.

I hope you will join us for this production. I'm certain this production will make your "Ordinary Days" a little more extraordinary.

Peter J. Kuo

Me and Adam Gwon, Composer, "Ordinary Days"

Note from our Producers:

Now that we're getting closer to opening night, tickets are selling, and FAST! If you'd like to purchase tickets to our production of Ordinary Days, please visit our Brown Paper Tickets link for more information. Some dates are filling up, so please check there sooner than later :) Thanks!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Our All Star Team!

As of this writing, we are now just 14 days away from previews for "Ordinary Days", and what a journey it has been so far.

To begin, last Friday, some of the cast and crew were able to meet our show's composer, Adam Gwon down at South Coast Repertory. His current show, "Cloudlands" is playing down there, so our director Peter said that we may be able to catch him after the show. So we did!

We have to say Adam is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Very friendly and outgoing. It's so nice when you meet someone with such immense talent who is still grounded and personable. I say this living in an industry town where sometimes "stars" (and I use that loosely) think that the world owes them. (Yeah right). Nonetheless, Adam has our vote for being a really cool dude! Thanks for letting us take pictures with you Adam!

Adam Gwon (Center Between Peter (in blue) and me (with jacket).

Getting closer to opening, it is now our pleasure to introduce to you the rest of our creative team. The unsung heroes that literally make the show what it is through their talents and creativity. 

Drum roll please!...

Stefanie Wong Lau - Marketing/ Assoc. Producer. This is Stef's second go-around with Yes, And... Productions, and we are so grateful to have her with us! She's helping with getting the word out on the show, and with ticket sales. Yay for Stef.

Sandy Fury - Stage Manager. She's Peter's right-hand person, and essentially a second lieutenant. Without her we'd be rehearsing without breaks, and not knowing where our blocking is. 

Nicholas Pilapil - Production Director. Nicholas helps Helen and myself with all the production stuff - logistics, inquiries, etc. Without him, life would be a whole lot more difficult.

Christopher Singleton - Lighting Designer. Chris is a lighting Ninja MASTER. So much so, his e-mail address starts off with "ninja lighting". He's so good at what he does! He can make a blank, black box look magical with his lighting expertise. 

Chika Shimizu - Set Design. You've seen Chika here on the blog earlier with her model mock-up of the set. She's so awesome! I seriously can't wait to see her set built up to its fullest. 

Rachel Stivers - Costume Design. Ah, costume design. Rachel is the person who will make us look like a million bucks come curtain time. Her designs are so good, that I'm keeping my stuff once the show is done. 

Arturo Bentanzos - Property Master. Art is taking care of all the details from the libretto/script, making sure we have all the necessary props to make this New York "real". It ain't easy, but Art is pro at getting things when and where needed. 

Mark Johnson - Sound Design. A later addition to the team, but glad to have him and his assistants on board to help bring the sounds of New York to life, as well as our voices! Big job, and we're looking forward to "hearing" from him. Ha!

And there you have it. The team. I may be forgetting someone, and if I have, my apologies. So many terrific people go into making a production come to life, and we're so lucky to have them on board. Without them, none of this would happen :)

Also, now that we're getting closer to opening, don't forget to buy your tickets to see it all come to life. Click on our Brown Paper Tickets link to get info and reserve your seats. We anticipate sell out shows, so get yours today (and soon!).

And now, more rehearsal photos! Enjoy!

Another one with Adam. With Peter and Lisa. 

Thanks for stopping by everyone. And don'e forget to buy your tickets now :) 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ready?! Set! GO!!!

Hi Everyone!

We're officially off and running with rehearsals for "Ordinary Days" and it has been a blast! We've all been rehearsing diligently, learning our parts, and getting our intentions in, that hey, we could put this whole thing up tomorrow if we wanted to! (Okay, maybe not, but still, it's going along pretty well).

Here are a few photos of our most recent rehearsals.

Lastly, if you want to get a jump on ticket sales, we're open for that as well! Check out our Brown Paper Tickets link  for details on how to purchase.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fun-draising with our Captain Part TWO

First off, we'd like to again thank everyone who contributed to our successful Kickstarter campaign. We did it! We raised more than the goal amount of $5,000.00 and are well on our way towards bringing this production to life. We are so humbled to have so many terrific supporters that we can't thank you enough. In addition to our Kickstarter campaign, a few weeks ago we also held a special cabaret style fundraising event at our good friends Sumi and Howard's home in Huntington Beach. Sumi and Howard are HUGE musical theater fans and were our first donors to step forward to support "Ordinary Days." On top of that, they were kind enough to open their home to us for two nights, to put on a show for anyone interested in supporting our musical. Not only did they provide their beautiful house for us, they also sang and performed with us as well! In addition to Sumi and Howard, Sumi's equally talented sister Masako joined us too.

The five of us essentially rocked the house with Broadway tunes for two nights, thrilling, and amazing the audience with all the fun we were having. Believe me, it was a lot of fun. So much so, I call it FUN-Draising!!!

Throughout the two night event, some 70+ audience members enjoyed various Broadway selections, both old and new, in addition to a sneak-peek song from "Ordinary Days" performed by yours truly and Helen. Plus, the food and appetizers made for a great evening. It was so nice to perform in front of such an enthusiastic audience. Thanks to everyone who attended and supported the fundraiser! :)

Lisa Joe, with her other passion, the ukulele.

Behind the five us, and definitely the guiding force for us and for "Ordinary Days" is none other than our esteemed Musical Director, Lisa Joe. For the time that I've known her, she has always been the one to help hone our vocal skills, push us to our music theory limits, and along the way, become of one our "bestest" friends. And for the second time in Yes, And... Production's life, she is at the musical helm of our show! Our Second Captain, right next to Peter (who you guys met in a previous blog post).

Lisa is a long-time musician, having been formally taught by her equally amazing mom who was a vocal titan in her day. After her mom's passing, Lisa took over her mom's vocal teaching duties, and has been training many a singer for years now, in addition to musical directing, and playing for shows more often than not. Helen and I definitely attribute all our vocal stylings to her and are most appreciative and proud to have her aboard with us on this production. Yay!!!

When she's not playing piano, teaching, or musical directing, Lisa is a huge Disney fan, plays Table Tennis (don't call it "Ping Pong") and is constantly on the lookout for more apps to get for her iPad and iPhone. :)

Last but not least, we also want to announce that tickets to our production of "Ordinary Days" are now available via Just click on the link and it'll bring you directly to our ticket page. With all the wonderful support, be sure to book your tickets now to make sure you get a seat. :)

Thanks again everyone!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Help bring New York to life!

Hi everyone!!!

Well, we had our first designers production meeting last night, at the ever so popular Oiwake in Little Tokyo, bringing together an insanely talented group of people once again. Some new, and others veterans from our last production, but nonetheless, the talent that everyone brings to this project is seriously going to make Ordinary Days rock!!!

For those of you unfamiliar with designers meetings, especially the first one, it's where the production staff (set design, costume, lighting, audio, etc.) all meet for the first time to present and share with everyone their ideas (designs) for the show. Last night, we were able to hear from our designers about their WILDLY exciting ideas for each of their respective duties. In a nutshell, everything looked and sounded insanely creative and amazing! No kidding!

Chika S., our set designer presented to everyone her set design using a model mock up of the entire space, along with miniature furniture of what it will look like. Here's a photo of one of the scenes from the show:

This set design is still a model in progress, but gives us an idea of what this scene will look like once completed. Thanks to Chika for letting us share this :)

Here she is presenting her set ideas to us.

How the actors are going to look on stage is the duty of our wonderfully stylish costume designer, Rachel. She came in prepared to share with us her costume ideas, and we have to say that our actors are going to look really GOOD! Here she is with some of her renderings:

So, now that we're getting closer and closer to opening night, we still need your help! As of this writing (4/11/12, 10:50am PST) we still have 27 hours to go till our Kickstarter campaign ends. After last night's meeting, we have found that we could still use any and all support towards bringing our designers' visions to life, and you can help us by spreading the word, or by donating. So please help us bring these amazing designs to life!

We'll be bringing you more updates through out the day and weeks ahead, so keep on coming back! Until then, please share our links :)

Thanks again everyone, and here's a parting shot of all of our wonderful production staff/designers:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Our Captain! Part ONE

Greetings everyone! Thanks again for "tuning" in to our blog post here today :) First off, some terrific news!

We have reached our Kickstarter goal!!! Hooray!!!

We'd like to thank everyone who has donated to our production thus far, and want you to know how grateful we are for all your support! We truly couldn't do a production like this without the help of all our friends and theater aficionados, and for that, we are super thankful :) We can now breathe a little sigh of relief, that is, until we get closer and closer to opening night! But that's another story ;p

However, if you would still like to donate and continue helping towards our cause, we still have 7 days to go (as of 4/5/12). You can click on this link for more info. We may have reached our goal, but any additional help would totally move the production further along, so thanks in advance :)

Now, last post, we introduced to you our supremely talented cast of performers, and today's post will introduce to you our director, heir direktor, our captain - Peter Kuo.

We first worked with Peter on our production of "Songs for A New World" in 2009, and since then, he's always been on the top of our list to work with again. Thank goodness he was available! He's one of the best, and most talented directors out there, and a super sweet guy to boot. And now, with much fanfare and hoopla, here he is, Mr. Peter Kuo!!

PETER J. KUO has been producing, directing and writing theatre in Los Angeles since 2005. Currently the Communications Associate for South Coast Repertory, Orange County’s Tony Award-winning theatre company, he was previously the PR and Marketing Manager for East West Players, the nation’s preeminent Asian American theatre company. In 2005 he was the Membership Coordinator of LA Stage Alliance working with over 200 theatre companies in Los Angeles. He has worked as a producer and/or administrator with several LA based theatre companies, including Cornerstone Theater Company, Sacred Fools Theatre Company and Metamorphosis Theatre Company. He is a Founding Member of the new L.A. based theatre collective Artists at Play, where he recently directed the Los Angeles Premiere of Ching Chong Chinaman, a Back Stage Critic’s Pick.

As an artist he has directed several plays and readings in Los Angeles for East West Players, USC Master in Writing Program, Yes and ... Productions, Chinatown 90210, AddWord Productions, Metamorphosis Theatre Company and Resident Theatre Company. His most well-known production of Letters to a Student Revolutionary, about the Tienanmen Square Massacre, was awarded Best of Fest at the Fullerton College Directors Festival, and moved on to two revivals in downtown Los Angeles where he was awarded letter of commendation from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. The performance included a panel attended by survivors of the Tienanmen Square Massacre, a college tour and a commemorative performance on the 20th anniversary.

He earned his A.A. in Theatre with high honors from Fullerton College where he received the Leadership Award and Anita & Everette Theatre Arts Scholarship. He earned his B.A. in Drama with a minor in Business Management at UC Irvine, where he was accepted into the Honors in Directing program and founded the theatre organization Diversity University Irvine which produce seven productions, three of which he directed. His work founding and leading Diversity University Irvine earned him multiple Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program grants as well as the Chancellor’s Award for Claire Trevor School of the Arts.

We're so lucky to have him :) Plus, his vision towards "Ordinary Days" is going to make it amazing!!! Definitely come out and see the show once it opens.

Okay, so that was part one of our "captains" post. Next post, we introduce to you our Musical Director, Lisa Joe, so stay tuned!

Thanks for stopping by everyone :)