Telly Leung, Stafford Arima, Mariko Kojima and More Take Part in WESONGCYCLE

The Virtual Song Cycle Will Begin at 8:45am (EST) / 7:45am (CST) in the United States on YouTube

By: Jul. 23, 2020
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Telly Leung, Stafford Arima, Mariko Kojima and More Take Part in WESONGCYCLE

On August 8, 2020, P.A. TOKYO will host a live, virtual premiere of their cross-continental musical collaboration, WeSongCycle. The virtual song cycle will begin at 8:45am (EST) / 7:45am (CST) in the United States on YouTube.

This virtual premiere marks the season finale of an online documentary-style series in which P.A. TOKYO brought together an international group of the next generation of composers, lyricists, writers, and directors to create an original song cycle. The creators were guided by Broadway mentor Rob Rokicki (The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical) and Broadway advisors Telly Leung (Aladdin, Allegiance), Stafford Arima (Allegiance, Ragtime), and Mariko Kojima (Pacific Overtures).

Creators from Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, the United States, and the United Kingdom came together through Zoom video calls and work sessions to write a musical based on the theme, "Heroism." Led by project director Makiko Shibuya, the artists collaborated to craft a new story and found their journeys documented in a five-part series on YouTube. Participating composers included AKIHA URYU, Minhui Lee, Jamie Maletz, and LUCY O'BRIEN. Lyricists for the cycle included POLLY HILTON, TSUKURI MIYANO, JOE SLABE, Brandon Michael Lowden, and ANNABEL MUTALE REED.

Reflecting on WeSongCycle, mentor Rob Rokicki shared, "Given the current state of the world, it's exciting to see a project that connects, unites and inspires with an international group of artists. Audiences will get a unique behind-the-scenes view of the writing process. Musical theatre creates empathy and collaboration, things we desperately need more of right now."

Translators Toshiyuki Dokiya, Emi Yoshida, and Marie Kuroda aided participating lyricists and composers to break through language barriers to create a truly unique piece of theater, centered on several cultures' definition of "Heroism." Series video editing was led by video director Shiori Saito.

WeSongCycle Creative Director Makiko Shibuya explained, "Musical theater is such a universal collaborative art that could unite artists and audiences around the world. In this chaotic time, WeSongCycle brought beautiful artists to get through this with our creativity and plant a seed for the future. Be creative, collaborative, and brave. Together, that's how we'll get through." Added SHIBUYA's Directing Advisor Stafford Arima, "Artists have always used their stories to heal, to touch, and to inspire. With the world in such a state of chaos, I look to the writer as a source of power to help connect us. WeSongCycle has united a team of musical theatre writers from around the world who have taken collaboration to an entirely new level - using tools like Zoom and Skype to write. I am moved by this team and of Makiko Shibuya's vision that inspired this entire project."

Producer MANATSU DOMOTO offered, "This pandemic gave us a chance to make this project happen and this project, to me, feels like a light in the darkness."

Said composer and performer AKIHA URYU, "We are being asked to make a genuine connection with this unprecedented situation in the world. We believe that through the warmth of an earnest creation and the unwavering passion required to create something from scratch, we will be able to shine the light of hope to the hearts of our creators and our audience."

The song cycle's cast that will bring the new project to life on August 8 includes sixteen actors in total, from the United States, Australia, and Japan. Performers based in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia include Noah Virgile (Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Sower by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon), Cori Jaskier (Charlotte's Web National Tour), Dani Weiner (NYU Tisch), Badia Farha (School of Rock, Broadway Bounty Hunter), Gen Parton-Shin (Miss Saigon, RENT), Jarran Muse (Motown the Musical, Ain't Too Proud), Lina Zikas ("Start Over") Kennedy Kanagawa (Dinner With Georgette) Jason SweetTooth Williams (Be More Chill, Disney's Freaky Friday), Shannen Alyce Quan (Six Australia, Priscilla Queen of the Desert), Enzo Veiga (ASCAP), and Jade Johnson (West End's The Book of Mormon). Actors based in Japan include Eliana (Phantom, Chess), Sayaka Watabiki (Les Miserables, Beauty and the Beast at Hollywood Bowl), Akiha Uryu, and Masato Takeuchi (Anastasia).

Visit and follow P.A. TOKYO on Facebook and Twitter. To donate and support future international creators through WeSongCycle, click here or email