East West Players to Honor Paul Kikuchi, Reggie Lee & More at 48th Anniversary Visionary Awards Gala
East West Players (EWP), the nation's premier Asian American theatre, celebrates the achievements of individuals who have raised the visibility of the Asian Pacific American (APA) community through their craft at the 48th Anniversary Visionary Awards Dinner & Silent Auction. The fundraising event will take place on Monday April 28, 2014 at the Universal Hilton. Proceeds from the gala will benefit East West Players' educational and artistic programs.
"Opportunities for Asian American artists and executives in the entertainment industry are beginning to increase each year with greater momentum," said Tim Dang, Producing Artistic Director of East West Players. "With America's changing demographics and a larger global reach, the entertainment industry must recognize the wealth of Asian American talent and the rich and cultural diversity that emanate from our community. While there is still much work to be done to increase our visibility, we thank our long standing partners at The Walt Disney Company, CBS and NBC and welcome new partners such as Mattel, HBO and Mnet America. We salute those who have made a valuable impact on the APA community and congratulate all of our honorees."
"I am humbled receiving an award with the word 'visionary'in it," says honoree, actor Reggie Lee. "Especially from a theatre organization that has not only been considered the largest, and first and foremost Asian American theatre company in the United States, but one which I call home. Feeling like I'm being honored by my peers for having, in some way, been an example of paving the way is nothing short of heartwarming. I am grateful and eagerly look forward to celebrating the progress of our Asian American creatives as well as those who have given us tremendous opportunity. Here's to a bright future for East West Players and a good time on April 28th!"
The 2014 Honorees are:
Paul Kikuchi (Made In America Award) is a Japanese American playwright/screenwriter. His first play, Ixnay received its world premiere in East West Players' 2008-2009 season. In 2011, East West Player presented the world premiere of Paul's third play Wrinkles. The following year, his fourth play Slice was presented by Metamorphosis Theatre Company at the Fremont Center Theatre in South Pasadena. His other play is The Long Arm of Stanly Matsui. As a screenwriter, two of his screenplays, Blindsided and Turnaround have been optioned.
Reggie Lee (Visionary Award) stars as 'Sgt. Wu' on NBC's hit sci-fi police drama Grimm currently in its third season. Prior to Grimm he was best known for his role as Secret Service Agent 'Bill Kim' on the popular FOX show Prison Break. Since having starred as Lance Nguyen in Universal's high-octane blockbuster The Fast and the Furious in 2001, Lee has had memorable roles in films from Pirates of the Caribbean to Tropic Thunder, and more recently, in Safe and The Dark Knight Rises. Stage credits include Broadway and National Touring Companies of Miss Saigon and Carousel. He continues to be active with East West Players.
Maurissa Tancharoen (Visionary Award) is currently co-creator and executive producer on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for ABC television. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she grew up singing and dancing, and toured the country as a member of a Motown pop group. At Occidental College, she became heavily involved in the theater and wrote several award-winning plays. She started her screenwriting career as a staff writer on the FOX series Oliver Beene before moving on to write an action-comedy for Revolution Studios. She also created and executive produced the MTV series DanceLife with her brother, director KevinTancharoen (Mortal Kombat Legacy, Fame). With her husband, Jed Whedon, and his brothers, she co-wrote and appeared in the Emmy Award winning musical Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. She then went on to write and produce for television shows such as Dollhouse, Drop Dead Diva, and Spartacus.
Peter Lenkov and Ken Solarz (Visionary Award) are the Executive Producers of TV show Hawaii 5-0 airing on CBS and is seen in over 200 countries.
Ken Solarz began his professional writing career as a journalist for both print and television. He covered organized crime, politics and produced documentaries while working for ABC, PBS and CNN. Ken came to Hollywood in 1986 to write for Michael Mann's Crime Story and Miami Vice. Ken has also had four movies produced, including City of Industry. He has written and produced thirteen other television series including the Untouchables, Profiler, and CSI:NY.
Peter Lenkov has been a writing producer of movies and television shows for nearly 20 years. Prior to Hawaii 5-0, Lenkov served as executive producer on CSI:NY for which he won a Media Access Award. Lenkov's additional television credits include 24, for which he earned an Emmy nomination for Best TV Series, the District and La Femme Nikita. He also co-produced the miniseries XIII based on the popular graphic novel and video game of the same name and created Metajets and Kung Fu Dino Posse, two new animated TV shows. On the big screen, writing and producing credits include Demolition Man, starring Sylvester Stallone and Sandra Bullock, Son in Law and Jury Duty. In July 2013, Universal released R.I.P.D., starring Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, and Kevin Bacon. The film was based on the comic book written by Lenkov for Dark Horse Publishing. Lenkov's second comic series Fort: Prophet of the Unexplained was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award in 2002.
Current major sponsors of the gala include: PLATINUM CIRCLE - Edison International, NBC Universal, Mattel, The Walt Disney Company, CBS; GOLD CIRCLE - The Thomas R. Bancroft Family, Wells Fargo; SILVER CIRCLE - Sony Pictures Entertainment; BRONZE CIRCLE - Lynn & Brian Arthurs, Tim Dang & Darrel Cummings, I.W. Group, Inc., Rod Nakamoto, Lynn Waggoner, Reggie Lee, Sanrio, HBO, Union Bank, Mnet America; VIP Reception Sponsor is Comcast.