2013 Works in Progress

Nakano Theatre


Torrance Cultural Arts Center

3330 Civic Center Dr., Torrance

Coming of Age

2013 Works in Progress ~ Celebrating the Korean American experience


Hannah and the Dread Gazebo by Jiehae Park

Wednesday, June 26, 7:00 PM

Admission is FREE but reservations are required for early seating. RSVP to info@torrancelive.us

This stage reading is sponsored by Torrance City Council and Torrance Women’s Club

JIEHAE PARK is a playwright and actor in New York City. Her full-length play, Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, won the 2013 Leah Ryan Prize for Emerging Women Writers and will be developed at the Bay Area Playwrights Festival and Ojai Playwrights Conference this summer. The script was also a finalist for the O’Neill Playwrights Conference and Abingdon Theatre’s Chris Wolk Award. Her first play (and undergraduate thesis) Happy Moon Day, Holly Woo was a finalist for the Wolk Award and placed third in the East West Players Got Laughs national comedy playwriting competition. She is a proud member of the Ma Yi Writers Lab, a 2013 mentor for the O’Neill Young Playwrights Festival, and served two years as co-artistic director of title 3, a Los Angeles company dedicated to new works by women. As an actor, she has worked with NYTW, La Jolla Playhouse, Collection of Shiny Objects, Studio Theatre 2ndStage (DC), Young Playwrights Theatre (DC), title3 (LA), and REDCAT (LA). Film acting credits include: Step Up and Amateurs (2013). She holds an MFA (acting) from UC San Diego/La Jolla Playhouse and BA (general theater shenanigans) from Amherst College. 

Inside the FedEx box are two things: a 100% bon-fide-heart’s-desire-level wish and a suicide note. Hannah tracks the package back to Korea, where her grandmother recently jumped from the roof of the Sunrise Dewdrop Apartment for Senior Living to the wrong side of the Demilitarized Zone. Ooops.

Cast (partial)

Directed by Jennifer Chang

JENNIFER CHANG is an actor, director, and producer. She has performed with South Coast Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, East West Players, Company of Angels, Mixed Blood Theatre, and La MAMA among others. She has appeared in numerous commercials, TV shows and independent films. She is a founding member and Co-Artistic Director of Chalk Repertory Theatre and is currently in pre-production for a centennial project at the Natural History Museum. This summer she will be directing “Lady Windermere’s Fan” for Chalk Rep. She holds a BFA from New York University and a MFA from University of California, San Diego/ La Jolla Playhouse. www.chalkrep.com.

For its 10th consecutive year, Works in Progress presents dramas of compelling contemporary events in the intimate Nakano Theatre at Torrance Cultural Arts Center.  Reception will follow each event.



Works in Progress, formerly a program of the Cultural Services Division of the Torrance Community Services Department, is now produced as a partnership between Torrance Historical Society & Museum and John Powers and is sponsored by Torrance City Council, APC Fine Arts & Graphics, Arts Council of Torrance, Torrance Historical Society & Museum, and Torrance Women’s Club.

Experience LA

CELESTE DEN Theatre credits include the Broadway International Tour of Chinglish (Berkeley Rep, South Coast Rep and 2013 Hong Kong Arts Festival); World Premieres of Wild Swans (American Repertory Theatre and Young Vic Theatre, London); Between Two Friends, Island (Actors Theatre of Louisville); 11 Septembre 2001, Peach Blossom Fan (Center for New Performance); and Laws of Sympathy (Playwrights’ Arena). Regional credits include Conjunto (Borderlands Theatre); Othello (The Boston Court); The Joy Luck Club (East West Players); King Lear (Center for New Performance); and The Merchant of Venice (LA Women’s Shakespeare). Celeste received her BFA in Theatre from UF and MFA in Acting from CalArts.

MICHAEL YAMA is currently a series regular on Betty White’s Off Their Rockers. He has appeared in many television shows including Without a Trace, X-Files, and Alias. He was Kimo on General Hospital and Kai on the series Hotel. His feature film credits include Pure Country – The Gift, Click, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. He has appeared in numerous commercials. His voice credits include GI Joe, Rocket Power, and Spawn.  He was the voice of the Ancient One in the animated version of Doctor Strange and the Sorcerer Supreme. Los Angeles theatre credits include Shoe Story at The Theatre of Note, Climbing Everest at the Colony Theatre, Gumsimao at the Playwrights’ Arena at LATC, The Nisei Widows Club at East West Players and Bronzeville at the Robey Theatre at LATC.

JEANNE SAKATA is a preeminent film, television, and stage actor. Her stage career has included performances at The Public Theater, Lincoln Center Theater, Kennedy Center, Mark Taper Forum, La Jolla Playhouse, South Coast Rep, ACT, Intiman Theatre, Berkeley Rep, Northlight Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Syracuse Stage, Sundance Theatre Lab. Her special honors include: Ovation Award, Best Lead Actress, in Chay Yew’s RED at East West Players (EWP); Outstanding Artist Award, Los Angeles's Asian Pacific American Friends of the Theatre; Jeanne Sakata Collection; Library of Congress Playwrights Archive, Asian American Pacific Islander Collection. Jeanne’s solo play HOLD THESE TRUTHS, inspired by the life of Gordon HIrabayashi, had its world premiere in Los Angeles during 2007 with EWP, followed by performances in Knoxville, Riverside, Sacramento, Salinas, and Chicago's Silk Road Rising/Millennium Park in 2011. The show had its New York premiere in 2012 with the Epic Theatre Ensemble (2013 Drama Desk Nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance), followed by a limited run in February co-presented by Daniel Dae Kim and the Honolulu Theatre For Youth, and will headline New York’s SOLO NOVA Festival in June. It is slated for the 2013-14 season at PlayMakers Rep, North Carolina.  www.jeannesakata.com

MONICA HONG, a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, has a BA in Mass Communications from UC Berkeley and an MFA in Acting from the Actors Studio Drama School. Theatre credits include: Ivanov (Mint Theater/NAATCO, NY), Please Stand By (Thumping Claw/Actor's Playpen), Found Objects (ASDS Theatre, NY), and Dissipating Heat (7-Eleven Convenience Theatre/Desipina & Co/Tenement Theatre, NY). TV credits include: Californication, Love Bites and Uncle Morty's Dub Shack. In her free time, she writes about food & TV for KoreAm magazine. She is grateful to be a part of this play reading - thanks to Jen & Jiehae!

DEBORAH S. CRAIG is best known for originating the role of Marcy Park on Broadway (also L.A., Off Broadway, Barrington Stage, and the original workshop) in the Tony Award winning musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Based on her overachieving childhood, she received critical acclaim, a Drama Desk Award, and is credited with creating the first Korean American character in a Broadway musical. West Coast premieres include Ordinary Days by Adam Gwon (South Coast Rep / Ethan McSweeny, director) and Enter Laughing, A Tribute to Carl Reiner (Center Theatre Group). On television, she is known for playing wisecracking southern waitress Shelley Ng on the CW’s Hart of Dixie and for providing the comic relief as Melanie on JJ Abrams/ABC’s Six Degrees. Additional TV credits include: Dumb Girls / MTV pilot; CW's Stupid Hype; and Unicorn Plan-It for Autostraddle.com. Film credits include: Ghost Town with Ricky Gervais; Just Wright with Queen Latifah; and the indie comedy 818 as Detective Pam Rudin. As a writer/actor/director/producer Miss Craig has been featured on the homepage of Funnyordie.com, Huffingtonpost.com, Buzzfeed.com and on female driven comedy site comediva.com where she is a YouTube channel partner. She is also an accomplished singer/songwriter, certified yoga instructor, a classically trained pianist, and a proud Korean American adoptee. www.deborahscraig.com   https://twitter.com/DeborahSCraig

GENE LEE is a playwright from Los Angeles, and his newest play, Ladies and Gentlemen, also directed by Jennifer Chang, will have a staged reading as part of the DHHWI New Works Festival at East West Players on June 29.

CHRISTOPHER LARKIN is an actor with notable credits. In New York City theater, he has performed in The Sugar House at the Edge of the Wilderness (The Connelly), Futura (NAATCO), Always Family (The Kirk at Theatre Row), Back From the Front (The Working Theater).  In regional theater, he has appeared in Kafka on the Shore (Steppenwolf), When Last We Flew (Sundance '10). In film, he worked on The Flamingo Rising, The Big Bad Swim. And in television, he has been seen in Awkward, 90210, Cooper and Stone (CW pilot), One Life to Live. He can be seen playing “Monty Green” in the upcoming CW series The 100. Thanks to Jen, Jiehae, and the cast for welcoming him on board.