East West Players Honors THE WALKING DEAD's Steven Yeun and COLD TOFU at Gala Tonight


East West Players (EWP), the nation's premier Asian American theatre, celebrates its 47th Season, themed "Spirited Away," with its dazzling Anniversary Visionary Awards Dinner & Silent Auction, and salutes those who have made a valuable impact on the Asian Pacific American (APA) community. The fundraising event will take place tonight, April 22, 2013 at the Universal Hilton. Proceeds from the gala will benefit East West Players' educational and artistic programs.

"EWP and the APA performing arts community continue to expand the spectrum of voices and stories of our vast, complex yet underrepresented community," says Tim Dang, Producing Artistic Director of East West Players. "This year's Visionary Award Honorees reflect some of the best of our community, who raise the visibility of APAs through their craft - Cold Tofu for the past 30 years, and Steven Yeun as a breakout star on the hugely popular TV show, the Walking Dead."

Tamlyn Tomita (Karate Kid Part II, Joy Luck Club) will serve as mistress of ceremonies of the event.

Award-winning composer Nathan Wang (Beijing Olympics/Shaolin Monks, Steven Spielberg's Oscar Award-winning film The Last Days) will serve as the evening's Musical Director.

The 2013 Honorees are:

COLD TOFU, receiving the Visionary Award, is the nation's premier Asian American comedy improv group. Under the leadership of its current Artistic Director Helen H. Ota and core cast members, COLD TOFU continues to grow and develop its distinctive brand of comedy. The members of COLD TOFU consistently strive to create unforgettable characters, improvised scenes and original sketch materials. From its inception in 1981 by Marilyn Tokuda, Denice Kumagai, Judy Momii and Irma Escamilla to today, COLD TOFU has grown to 25 members who perform improv shows regularly in historic Little Tokyo in Downtown Los Angeles and MC events for several community organizations. (continues)

COLD TOFU shares the thrill of performing improv and sketch, while training up- and-coming performers by providing improv workshops year-round.

East West Players Honors THE WALKING DEAD's Steven Yeun and COLD TOFU at Gala TonightSteven Yeun, receiving the Breakout Performance Award, currently stars on AMC's hit series, The Walking Dead, where his portrayal of 'Glenn,' the pizza boy turned "walker killer" has developed into a leading role on the show and has quickly become a favorite for both fans and critics alike. The Walking Dead has become the most watched drama series in basic cable history, and launched internationally in over 120 countries in 33 different languages. The Breakout Performance award was created to recognize an individual or group who, through an outstanding performance, has made a significant contribution to the community by helping raise the visibility of the Asian Pacific experience.

Additional honorees and entertainment to be announced at a later date.

East West Players' 47th Anniversary Visionary Awards Dinner and Silent Auction will be held on Monday, April 22, 2013 at the Hilton Universal City, 555 Universal Hollywood Drive, Universal City, CA 91608. The no-host reception and silent auction will start at 6pm. The dinner and awards program will start at 7pm. Tickets are $175 - $1,500. Full table sponsorship packages are also available. For more information on East West Players' 47th Anniversary Visionary Awards Dinner and Silent Auction, visit www.EastWestPlayers.org or contact Development Manager Rosalyn Kawahira at (213) 625-7000 x17 or rkawahira@eastwestplayers.org.

Photo Credits: Cold Tofu: Michael Palma; Steven Yeun: Getty Images/Frazer Harrison.

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