Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

BWW Spotlight Series: Meet Anzu Lawson - Asian-American Actress, Playwright, Stand-Up Comic, and Yoko Ono Doppelganger

BWW Spotlight Series: Meet Anzu Lawson - Asian-American Actress, Playwright, Stand-Up Comic, and Yoko Ono Doppelganger

With the current theatre world on hiatus, I have created a Spotlight Series of interviews with some of am the many talented artists who make our Los Angeles theatre community so exciting and vibrant thanks to their ongoing contribution to keeping the arts alive in the City of the Angels. And like all of us, how are they dealing with the abrupt end of productions in which they were involved?

This Spotlight focuses on Anzu Lawson, an Asian-American Actress, Playwright, Stand-Up Comic, and Yoko Ono doppelganger who I first met during the 2014 Hollywood Fringe Festival.

Shari Barrett (SB): What would you like readers to know about your personal theatrical background?

BWW Spotlight Series: Meet Anzu Lawson - Asian-American Actress, Playwright, Stand-Up Comic, and Yoko Ono Doppelganger Lawson (Anzu): I'm an Asian-American Actress, Playwright, and Stand-Up Comic who has been performing my One Woman Show called DEAR YOKO www.DEARYOKO.com to sold out theatres here in Los Angeles. It was an official selection for 2019 Binge Fringe Festival, the 2020 SOLOFEST & the 2020 CRAZY WOKE ASIAN FESTIVAL.

I also penned & starred in an all original musical called DEAR JOHN, WHY YOKO? which garnered my first Best Actress nomination at the 2014 Hollywood Fringe Festival for my role as "Yoko Ono." www.DEARJOHNWHYYOKOMUSICAL.COM

(SB): And I am happy to share links to my reviews of both your shows during which you absolutely amazed me with your authentic portrayal of a woman so erroneous hated the world over for her involvement with John Lennon.

/los-angeles/article/Review-Anzu-Lawson-Opens-Her-Heart-and-Shares-Her-Soul-in-DEAR-YOKO-20190827

/los-angeles/article/Review-DEAR-JOHN-WHY-YOKO-Musically-Celebrates-the-Love-that-Survived-Despite-Overwhelming-Odds-20180427

(SB): Were you involved with any production(s) when word went out that you needed to immediately postpones/cancel a show?

(Anzu): I was playing the role of YEN opposite Al Pacino with a huge talented cast in a Benefit Staged Reading for Al Pacino's charity in the David Rabe play called "The Basic Training Of Pavlo Hummel" that garnered Al his first Tony Award on Broadway in 1977. Al Pacino and director Robert Allan Ackerman revived it on stage to help raise funds and awareness for one of Al's charities to help war veterans. We performed it Sunday March 8th at The Wallis Annenberg in association with The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles. There were talks of doing it again, but the very next day the Wallis Annenberg closed its doors due to the Corona Pandemic. Here's a link to a Broadway World article about that amazing production: /article/Photo-Flash-Al-Pacino-Headlines-Staged-Reading-Of-THE-BASIC-TRAINING-OF-PAVLO-HUMMEL-20200311

(SB): How has the shutdown affected your current and future production plans?

BWW Spotlight Series: Meet Anzu Lawson - Asian-American Actress, Playwright, Stand-Up Comic, and Yoko Ono Doppelganger (Anzu): I had to make some hard decisions. This has been an extremely unforeseeable event affecting every single human on this planet and not knowing how long we will be quarantined, has many artists unsure if they can even afford to do their show, even WITH rescheduled dates. I feel bad, but I am canceling all my show commitments until there is a vaccine.

I heard the remaining solo artists involved in the 2020 SOLOFEST dates at The Whitefire Theatre, in which I have participated, have been offered to have their performances streamed online. Personally, as good a solution as that may sound, performing to an empty theatre is not the ideal situation when a) audience interaction and response is a huge part of the experience as a solo performer and b) the main world focus is on Live Coronavirus news updates. I appreciate everyone trying to rally together to find a solution but I think people everywhere will need more time. Every person is processing what is happening very differently.

As for my future plans, I was about to fly to Chicago's Cinespace Studios to film another episode of CHICAGO MED on which I have a recurring role, and I was counting on that money to pay for my 2020 Fringe solo show dates. Unfortunately, I had to cancel my entire participation in the 2020 Hollywood Fringe and am trying my very best to get my invested monies and deposits back. Even though, 2020 Hollywood Fringe has been moved to October (much like Stage Coach and Coachella) at this time, I do not have the heart to ask my friends to hurry and get over their Coronavirus/social distancing fear by October to buy tickets and sit in a crowded theater while there is no income coming in for most, nor a readily available vaccine on the horizon.

(SB): How are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?

BWW Spotlight Series: Meet Anzu Lawson - Asian-American Actress, Playwright, Stand-Up Comic, and Yoko Ono Doppelganger (Anzu): Thank God for the internet and the free classes being offered by so many teachers and studios. I am also grateful for the funny memes on social media keeping me light-hearted and smiling through all this uncertainty. This pandemic has given all of us a "pause button" to reassess our beliefs, our tribes, our creative visions for ourselves as well as for the world. We are being forced to look at our individual contribution to humanity, not only as humans but as artists. This will forever change us as a society, hopefully for the best.

Personally, I'm in research mode. I started revisiting scripts and thinking deeply about what I want to say as an artist from here on out. I am forced to sit still, get grounded and put pen to paper.

(SB): What thoughts would you like to share with the rest of the L.A. Theatre community while we are all leaving the Ghostlight on and promising to return back to the stage soon?

(Anzu): Never forget there is ALWAYS A SILVER LINING and now more than ever, we artists are being called upon to be the beacon for a new humanity. We will get through this but only together and only by thinking of each other. Feed your soul now and get ready to CREATE! INSPIRE! And be DARING with your artistic voice. We have a huge responsibility ahead of us to shine bigger light and tell new stories that will ever remind us there is nothing more valuable than our ability to care for each other. As Yoko Ono always said, "We Are All Connected Together. We Are All One."

I invite everyone to follow me on IG/FB/Twitter @AnzuLawson and read more about my credits on my IMDB profile. I also want to give a shout out to my director Jessica Lynn Johnson who offers free Solo show creative writing classes now on ZOOM. Sign up at www.jessicalynnjohnson.com

(SB): Thank you Anzu. I am hoping to focus a spotlight on Jessica Lynn Johnson in the near future so more people learn about her outstanding contributions to the L.A. Theatre world.




From This Author - Shari Barrett

Shari Barrett, a Los Angeles native, has been active in the theater world since the age of six - acting, singing, and dancing her way across the boards all over town. After teaching in secondary schools,... (read more about this author)


Interview: Meg Lin on Developing Her Solo Show WHAT AM I, CHOP SUEY?
June 29, 2022

Prior to pursuing her childhood dream of becoming an actor, Meg Lin was a former K-12 teacher, school principal, college professor, and non-profit CEO. But along the way, she struggled finding her true identity as a Chinese American as the first in her family born in the U.S. In her original solo play What am I, Chopped Suey? Meg shares how she struggled to defy cultural norms to 'save face' while coping with challenges she went through to overcome stereotypes and redefine what it means to be Asian in America. I decided to speak with Meg about how universal her first-generation American tale will resonate with so many, as well as her plans to continue presenting it as an Encore selection from this year's Hollywood Fringe Festival.

BWW Interview: Multi-Talented Actor Ron Bottitta on his roles in WAKINGS! at the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble
April 21, 2022

The ability to totally transform yourself into the physical, emotional and intellectual persona of another person so believably that audience members will see the character and not the actor is one of the most fascinating elements of live theatre to me. This is especially true for actors I follow, seeing them in several productions and always being surprised at the new person presented in front of me, often having nothing in common with the real personality of the actor. One such actor is Ron Bottitta, an English-born actor who has called the USA his home since 1980, who I spoke with about his characters in WAKINGS! at the Odyssey Theatre,

BWW Interview: Director Elisabeth Tsubota on the World Premiere of LIVE AT THE PURPLE LOUNGE
April 20, 2022

Crimson Square Theatre Company is presenting the world premiere of Live at the Purple Lounge, a drama by five talented female playwrights featuring a cast of five women (plus a few men) involved at a stand-up comedy club. I decided to speak with playwright/director Elisabeth Tsubota about her experience working with the all-female writing team and almost exclusively female cast to bring the production to the stage.

BWW Interview: Sona Tatoyan on her Multimedia Theatrical Experience AZAD at the Pico Playhouse
April 15, 2022

During the darkest of times, surprise discoveries of childhood joy can allow the sunshine in on even the bleakest of situations. And with Ukrainian refugees in the news daily, when I heard about Sona Tatoyan's Multimedia Theatrical Experience AZAD ('free' in Armenian) which offers 'one woman's magical, multi-generational, healing journey from the Armenian Genocide to the Syrian war,' I decided to speak with her about her creative journey to, as she shares, 'find the brightest light from the deepest shadows, while living in an upside-down world.' And we can all understand living in that type of situation given the past two years. Performances April 21-22-23 at the Pico Playhouse.

BWW Interview: GMCLA Executive Director & Producer Lou Spisto on QUEEN OF THE NIGHT at UCLA Royce Hall
March 30, 2022

GMCLA's next long-anticipated event, QUEEN of the night, featuring the greatest hits from the critically acclaimed legendary rock band Queen, mixed with opera and high-energy dance numbers performed by the Chorus, live, in-person at UCLA Royce Hall on Saturday, April 2 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 3 at 2:00 p.m. To find out more about the production, I spoke with GMCLA Executive Director & Producer Lou Spisto about the creation of this special event concert