Photo Flash: NAATCO's LOVE! VALOUR! COMPASSION! Benefit
On Monday, September 14th, The National Asian American Theatre Company (NAATCO) will present a one-night-only all Asian-American performance of Terrence McNally's LOVE! VALOUR! COMPASSION!, directed by Alan Muraoka, at the Cherry Lane Theatre (38 Commerce Street) to benefit NAATCO. Joe Mantello, the original director of LOVE! VALOUR! COMPASSION! and Stephen Bogardus, a member of the play's original cast, were honorary chairs for the NAATCO benefit performance.
The performance was staged as part of the National Asian American Theatre Company's 20th anniversary season of presenting classical and new works with cast comprised of all Asian-American actors and actresses.
Alan Muraoka previously directed NAATCO's OBIE Award winning, critically-acclaimed production of FALSETTOLAND, which debuted Off-Broadway at The Vineyard Theatre in 1998. Adored by critics and audiences alike, notably composer William Finn, FALSETTOLAND became an instant, sold-out and extended hit. The production was revived in 2007 for the first National Asian American Theatre Festival in New York.
LOVE! VALOUR! COMPASSION! is Terrence McNally's Tony Award-winning play about eight gay friends who spend the three major holiday weekends (Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day) of one summer together at a summer vacation house in Dutchess County where they struggle with infidelity, flirtations, soul-searching, AIDS, truth-telling and skinny-dipping.
The cast of NAATCO's LOVE! VALOUR! COMPASSION! featured: Satya Bhabha as Ramon, Joel de la Fuente as Gregory, Francis Jue as John/James, Orville Mendoza as Buzz, Andy Pang as Arthur, Ralph Peña as Perry, James Yaegashi as Bobby, with stage directions by Ann Harada. Musical direction and accompaniment is by Joseph Thalken, who worked on the original Manhattan Theater Club version of the show and did all the piano recordings for MTC and the Broadway versions.
Directed by Joe Mantello, LOVE! VALOUR! COMPASSION! was first seen Off-Broadway at the Manhattan Theatre Club on October 11, 1994 - it then transferred to the Walter Kerr Theatre on Broadway where it ran for 28 previews, and 248 performances; it was nominated for 5 1994-1995 Tony Awards, winning for Best Play and Best Featured Actor in a Play (John Glover). The original Broadway cast of LOVE! VALOUR! COMPASSION! was Stephen Bogardus, John Glover, Anthony Heald, Nathan Lane, Randy Becker, John Benjamin Hickey, Justin Kirk.
Mr. Mantello and Mr. Bogardus are the honorary chairs for the one-night-only NAATCO production of LOVE! VALOUR! COMPASSION!. The benefit committee is co-chaired by Larry Schafer and William P. Steele, with a committee of Margo Amgott, Eric Achacoso, Ted Dawson, Richard Eng, Mel Gionson, David Hajjar, Ann Harada, Eric Heyer, Holly Hyans, Sharon Jensen, Mia Katigbak, Lani Kennedy & Lewis Kwit, Emily Lloyd, Sam Rudy, Diana Steele, Kevin Sterns, Timothy Walther, Alice J. Wong, and Henry Yuk. Catering will be provided by James Chew.
Richard Eng and Artistic/Producing director Mia Katigbak founded NAATCO in 1989. Now in its 20th season, it is one of the country's leading theatre companies providing a stage for the talents of Asian-American theatre artists. NAATCO presents classical and contemporary works with all Asian-American casts and adaptations of these works by Asian American Playwrights. Most recently, NAATCO presented a revival of the Tennessee Williams classic OUT CRY and the world premiere of Karen Hartman's LEAH'S TRAIN. Other notable NAATCO productions since 1990 include OTHELLO, LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, OUR TOWN, YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU, Archibald MacLeish's AIR RAID, Joseph Conrad's TALES OF UNREST, ANTIGONE, Catherine Filloux's EYES OF THE HEART, Christopher Fry's A PHOENIX TOO FAR, IVANOV, THE DISPUTE, and Michael Golamco's COWBOY V. SAMURAI. This fall, NAATCO will present a new adaptation of Chekhov's THE SEAGULL, performed in conjunction with the 2nd National Asian American Theatre Festival in New York.
NAATCO's LOVE! VALOUR! COMPASSION! benefit reading at the Cherry Lane Theater in New York on September 14, 2009. (L-R back row) Joseph Thalken, Stephen Bogardus, Joe Mantello Ann Harada, Satya Bhabha, Joel de la Fuente,Orville Mendoza, James Yaegashi, Ralph Pena, Justin Kirk, Mia Katigbak (L-R front row) John Glover, Francis Jue, playwright Terrence McNally, Andy Pang and Alan Muraoka
NAATCO's LOVE! VALOUR! COMPASSION! benefit reading at the Cherry Lane Theater in New York on September 14, 2009. (L-R back row) Director Alan Muraoka, Ann Harada, Satya Bhabha, Joel de la Fuente,Orville Mendoza, James Yaegashi, Ralph Pena, (L-R seated) Francis Jue, playwright Terrence McNally and Andy Pang.
Photo Credit: Lia Chang