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!

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