Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Meet the cast!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

First off, we'd like to once again thank everyone who have donated to our Kickstarter page towards the making of this production. We have so many new backers this week, and we just want to let you know how much your support is appreciated. We are so thankful to have such terrific friends like you! Thank you very much!

Next, it our distinct pleasure to introduce you to our amazing cast! Yup, the 4 actors who we dwindled down from the thousands who submitted and auditioned! (Okay, not thousands, but would you believe, a few?!) Nonetheless, we are so proud and fortunate to be working with such a talented group of actors. Now here they are!

Julia Cho, a Los Angeles native, made her professional acting debut in the Bay Area premiere of An Alphabet, presented by the John Cage Trust Fund. She later starred in the Word for Word production of Amy Tan’s Immortal Heart at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco. After an extended and award-winning run, the show toured domestically and in France. Since then, Julia has performed/toured with East West Players, Will & Company, hereandnow theatre company, Lodestone Theatre Ensemble, and sketch comedy group OPM.

Julia embarked on her first major venture as a theatre producer in the summer of 2009, leading the ensemble-based Beware of Cupid, an original Valentine’s Day show. Beware of Cupid had a successful run in February 2010 and was featured on Angry Asian Man as well as the Hyphen Magazine blog. Julia is one of the founding members and producing partners of Artists at Play, a new theatre collective. Last November marked their debut with the Los Angeles premiere of Ching Chong Chinaman. The production, along with Julia’s performance (described as “hilarious” and “wonderfully offbeat”), was met with much success and acclaim.

Film credits include Wedding Palace and the Tom Hanks/Julia Roberts film Larry Crowne. TV credits include I’m In the Band (Disney XD), Fresh Beat Band (Nick Jr.), the series finale of Hannah Montana (Disney Channel), and the pilot episodes of Whitney (NBC) and Work It (ABC). Julia also starred in the web series Jeff and Ravi Fail History, which screened at SXSW 2011, and is currently filming The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a YouTube adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Check out IMDb for a full list of TV/film credits and Facebook for news and updates. You can also follow @thatjuliacho on Twitter.

Helen H. Ota is the co-founder of Yes, and … Productions which, produced Songs for a New World at the Tateuchi Democracy Forum in 2009. She is also the Artistic Director of COLD TOFU, the nation’s premier Asian American comedy improvisation group. A member since 1993, she has performed in and produced numerous COLD TOFU improv and sketch shows.

Helen is also a performing member of the Grateful Crane Ensemble, whose mission is to present educational and theatrical programs in appreciation for the unique hardships and inspiring contributions of Japanese Americans in our country’s history.

Some of her recent stage and film credits include Ching Chong Chinaman, Songs for a New World, The Betrayed, Manzanar: Story of an American Family, Nihonmachi: The Place To Be, Project Momotaro, Natsukashi Kouhaku Utagassen, Twelfth Night, The Golden Hour, Back in the Day, A Jive Bomber’s Christmas, Umamiya, Hands On, Carpool and BuddhaHeads.

Helen enjoys supporting and being active in the Japanese American community by serving on the Board of Directors for the Nisei Week Foundation and the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center. She also works in Development for Center Theatre Group, a nonprofit arts organization in Downtown Los Angeles.

Growing up in Los Angeles, Michael C. Palma has always been around the entertainment industry. But what got him started with performing was when he was “forced” to take piano lessons with a local Filipino teacher, who also taught traditional Pilipino cultural dances and songs. Not only was he learning how to play piano, but his affiliation with the cultural group enabled him to perform at various festivals, recitals, parades, etc., all of which developed his love of performing.

Mike’s break came when he was 8 years old and cast in a Philippine national touring group’s production of Walang Sugat (roughly translated as having “no scars”). He played the lead boy who gets caught in the Philippine/Spanish war, and sadly dies ever so dramatically during a fight scene. The production toured the United States and Canada. It was his first real taste of life as a performer, but all he remembers from it was the cool Darth Vader action figure he got while in Toronto … and the great friends he made in the cast, all of whom were household names in the Philippines.

Since then, Mike has been in film, television and stage productions. He once played Pat Morita’s henchman in an independent film, as well as a photographer in a commercial starring Nicholas Cage. Other highlights include Imelda: A New Musical (East West Players), A Jive Bomber’s Christmas, and as core performing member of Cold Tofu, the nation’s oldest Asian American comedy improv group.

Mike has always had an affinity towards musicals and theater as the immediate response and energy from the audience is what captivates him to perform. There’s nothing better than a darkened theater, stage lights, and hearing the musical director give you the downbeat to start.

When not performing, Mike’s is a professional wedding and portrait photographer. Retaining the creativity garnered from performing, Mike loves creating modern, fun, and energetic photographs with his clients. The most rewarding part of the “job” is getting to know his clients while creating awesome photos. You can see his work at M. Palma Photography.

Scott Keiji Takeda began doing musical theatre at the age of nine in his school district’s annual musical production. He continued in this program through high school, participating in nine spring productions and five summer productions. In middle school, Scott won his first leading role as “Tevye” in a junior summer production of Fiddler on the Roof. It was at Temple City High School that he had the opportunity to play such roles as “J. Pierrepont Finch” in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and “Lumiere” in Beauty and the Beast. Scott went on to graduate from Pepperdine University with a BA in Theatre Arts. While at Pepperdine he continued in musical theatre, playing “Ching Ho” in Thoroughly Modern Millie and having ensemble parts in three other productions. After Pepperdine, Scott made his professional debut at East West Players in September 2010, starring as “Brian Lackey” in Mysterious Skin. Most recently, Scott played the part of “Upton” in Artists at Play’s inaugural production of Ching Chong Chinaman. Ordinary Days marks Scott return to musical theatre and his first professional musical theatre production.

There you have it! Our four "Ordinary" talents for our big production!!! Please do check them out at their respective web links to learn more about them and their terrific endeavors.

Till next time, thanks again for stopping by, and if you haven't done so already, please stop by our Kickstarter page for more info and further updates on the show!

Monday, March 19, 2012

EXTRA "Ordinary Days"

Happy Tuesday to everyone! First off, we here at Yes, And... Productions would like to thank everyone who have donated to our production so far! Your generosity is so overwhelming, and we'd just like to say how much we appreciate you for being our donors! We can't wait for you to see the production once it opens in May!

With that said, you may be wondering what exactly is the story behind "Ordinary Days"?

The musical "Ordinary Days" is written by relative new comer to the musical theater world, Adam Gwon, who in 2006, was "discovered" in a musical theater master class in New York. After being invited to take part in the prestigious Dramatists Guild Of America's Fellows Program, the instructors knew that they had someone special in their midst. And over the course of the year that followed Adam's enrollment into the program, the show "Ordinary Days" was born.

With Adam's participation in the Fellows Program, "Ordinary Days" world premiered at the Pennsylvania Centre Stage in 2008, and made its New York debut in 2009 at the Roundabout Theater. Since then, it has made its way throughout the eastern US, and the U.K., making its west coast premiere in January 2010 at South Coast Repertory.

Adam Gwon (image courtesy of Univ. of Oklahoma, Musical Theater Dept.)

(image link)

The story of "Ordinary Days" follows the lives of four New Yorkers trying to find their own paths and "life stories". The stories of each of the characters and their relationships are done without any real spoken dialogue, but sung throughout the show, in a musical style known as a song cycle. As in most musicals, characters begin to sing their inner most thoughts or have their most important conversations sung vs. spoken, especially when just mere "talking" won't work anymore!

Over the course of the next few weeks, we'll be introducing the cast and crew of our production of "Ordinary Days", and previewing some other cool stuff from the show. But today, we'd like to leave you with a little preview link to one of the songs from the show, sung by actors Jared Gertner and Kate Wetherhead from the New York production. One of MY favorite songs from the show, "Beautiful".

"Beautiful" - Ordinary Days

By Adam Gwon

Sung by Jared Gertner and Kate Wetherhead

Thanks again for stopping by. And if you haven't already done so, please check out our Kickstarter page ( more info on how you can be a part of our production!

Happy Spring Equinox everyone! Check back soon for more updates!

Mike (& Helen)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Back to ONE!

Hi everyone! Long time no "logging" in!

Ever since our last production, nearly 3 years ago, we've been going about our lives, taking part in other productions and gigs, always with the intention of getting back to producing another extraordinary show. Now, after a few months of getting the pieces together, including the cast, designers, etc., we are excited to introduce to you our latest endeavor -

Ordinary Days
by Adam Gwon

As you may have read at our kickstarter page, this musical is a relatively new one in the world of musicals, only having been first produced back in 2008. The story revolves around four New Yorkers trying to find their "life stories". Written by Adam Gwon, "Ordinary Days" is a production that Helen and I were drawn to the first time we saw it back in 2010. We were so compelled by the music and story that once the last note was sung, we knew that THIS was going to be our next production. And, here we are, two years later, and ready to go!!!

The other reason why we wanted to come back to producing is to once again work with our amazing and talented friends! 2009's "Songs for a New World" was such a labor of love, that we knew we wanted to experience that "magic" again with our "band" of creatives! So we got the "band" back together again. This time through, we've added a few new faces to the mix, all of whom we know will make this yet another FUN experience.

This first installation to this blog for this project is to welcome everyone back, and to thank you for supporting our endeavors. We so appreciate the generosity and kindness of everyone, that we can't say "thank you" enough! So we'll say it again, THANK YOU!

As for the title of this post, the term "back to one" is used on film and TV sets letting everyone know to return to the beginning, to the start of the scene, etc. Since this our latest NEW show, I figured we had to start somewhere, and this post is our "ONE". We just can't wait to share Ordinary Days with everyone and show you where it'll end.

If you're coming across this page for the first time, and are interested in supporting our cause, please don't hesitate to go to our Kickstarter page, to learn more, and perhaps even help us make this production a reality. We'll be updating regularly on the the progress of our show, so please check back often.

Thanks again everyone! On with the show!!!

Mike (& Helen) :)