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TENOR BY NIGHT Comes to El Portal Theatre

The world premiere of the new musical Tenor by Night, with book, music and lyrics by James Chiao will take place September 22-26 for six performances at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. Tickets are available online at

Tenor by Night is a fantasy musical, loosely based on author-composer's own life story as a Chinese businessman who immigrated to the United States and overcame the odds and obstacles to realizing his American dream. He founded an internationally successful mannequin business, married to a beautiful wife, and father of two wonderful children. How dare he desire more?

In this Hitchcockian musical Tenor by Night, the main character James by day designs and sells mannequins and by night he sings, rehearsing opera. His passion and desire for a musical career has turned into an obsession. His (fictional) frustrated wife kicks him out of the house and James takes up residence at his mannequin warehouse. His next-door neighbor, a magician, with an eye on his neglected wife, befriends James - and one night helps bring all the mannequins to life. As his singing improves, James finally has his adoring and appreciative audience (his mannequins) as his life spirals out of control

What James - both the character in the musical and composer in real life -- really wants is to become a great tenor. The real Chiao himself immigrated to the United States in 1980 and with his wife Lily, built a successful business, CNL Mannequins, which sells to major departments stores and fashion brands. Two decades later, Chiao himself began his vocal training in 1998 eventually earning his MFA in music at CalArts in 2017 at the age of 67.

At his Masters' recital Chiao presented selections from this new musical. Chiao has also performed in China and North America in the Three Chiao Tenors with his father songwriter Fei Chiao, and brother, Ping, also a well-known tenor in China.

Born in Guangzhou, China in 1949, James Chiao is one of three sons of the famous Chinese composer Fei Chiao, best known for his Chinese folk songs. James grew up during China's Cultural Revolution, and during this turbulent time, many intellectuals and musicians were persecuted and treated unfairly. Due to his family's background as musicians, James was sent to the countryside for six years, where he farmed the land and roamed the waters as a fisherman.

James immigrated to the United States in 1980 and he and his wife Lily built the business, CNL Mannequins. James began his vocal training in 1998 and in 2001, The Three Chiao Tenors was formed, with his father and brother, Ping, also a well-known tenor in China. Their concerts in the United States and China have included Italian opera, English songs, and Chinese folk songs, accompanied by Western and Chinese instruments.

James earned an MFA in music at CalArts in 2017 and presented selections from his new musical for his masters' recital. James strives to be creative and innovative in business, music, and art. This musical, Tenor By Night, is the first major American musical composed by a Chinese American.

The show is choreographed by Becky Castells, resident choreographer for Actor's Repertory Theater of Simi. She has been recognized as "Artist of the Year" by the Los Angeles Music Center Spotlight Awards and Awards for Best Choreography by Stagescene LA for five years in a row. Tenor by Night is presented with a full orchestra, conducted by Charles Fernandez, Emmy-nominated television and film composer, who arranged and orchestrated the score.

This production stars Filipino-American tenor Kevin Gino as James. Recognized for his "strong, utterly determined" singing, tenor Gino performs widely in both solo and choral capacities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Gino holds degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Chapman University, and is an alumnus of both the Janiec Opera Company at Brevard Music Center as well as the Music Academy of the West. Gino has worked with Sir. Thomas Allen, Marilyn Horne, Anthony Dean Griffey, Patrick Summers, Dean Anthony, and Jeffrey Buchman. He is originally from Diamond Bar, California and currently studies with Cesar Ulloa.

The El Portal Theatre is at 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601. TENOR BY NIGHT Comes to El Portal Theatre

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