East West Players celebrates its 52nd Anniversary at the Annual Visionary Awards Dinner & Silent Auction. The Visionary Awards laud the achievements of individuals who have raised the visibility of the Asian Pacific American (APA) community through their craft. Proceeds from the gala will benefit East West Players’ educational and artistic programs.

555 Universal Hollywood Drive
Universal City, CA 91608

MONDAY, APRIL 30, 2018
5:30 PM VIP Reception sponsored by CBS Television Network, Silent Auction, and Registration Begins
7:00 PM Dinner and Awards Show

Purchase Sponsorships and Tickets Here!



For sponsorship opportunities and more information, contact info@eastwestplayers.org or (213) 625-7000.

Daniel M. Mayeda, Chair
Peter Shimamoto, Co-Chair
Albert E. Aubin
Jason M. Blackwell
Kin W. Cheng
Snehal Desai
Nora DeVeau-Rosen
Ken Katsumoto
Jay Kim
David & Carrie Lee
Reggie Lee
Ed Lew
Carolina San Juan
Judy M. Sasaki
Sally Pai Unruh
Jeff Yang

The 2018 Honorees are:

Jon Jon Briones, actor, was born and raised in Quezon City, Philippines. At 9 years old he was sent to live at Santo Domingo convent as a boy soprano in the “Tiples of Santo Domingo” choir. This was to be his first formal training. In 1989, he joined the original London cast of Miss Saigon. Recently, he played the Engineer in the London 2014 revival (Olivier Award nominee, What’s On Stage Award winner) and its Broadway transfer (Drama Desk Award nominee, Theater Award winner). He has appeared in several other productions of Miss Saigon, among numerous additional stage credits. He has had the privilege of working with East West players in La Cage Aux Folles (Ovation Award nominee) and A Little Night Music. He was proudly involved in the pre-Broadway development of Allegiance at The Old Globe. Last month he appeared on the television drama American Crime Story: Assassination of Gianni Versace as Modesto Cunanan.



Lily Mariye, actor and director, is a 2018 Outstanding Directorial Achievement nominee for the 70th Annual DGA Awards for her episode of Amazon’s “Just Add Magic.” She is a television and film director, best known for CBS’ “Criminal Minds” and “NCIS: Los Angeles,” NBC’s “Chicago PD,” Freeform’s “The Fosters,” and CMT’s “Nashville.” Model Minority (modelminoritymovie.com) is Mariye’s feature writing and directorial debut and has won 11 Film Festival Awards around the world, including Best Film, Best Director, Best New Actress and Best Cinematography. As an actor, Mariye is best known for her role as nurse Lily Jarvik on the award-winning TV series “ER” for 15 seasons, for which she won the SAG Award for Best Ensemble in a Drama Series four times.



Suzy Nakamura, actor. Born and raised in Chicago, Suzy began her career in the touring company of The Second City, and then opened the first two revues at The Second City Detroit. After moving to Los Angeles, she began guest starring on television, landing recurring roles on The West Wing and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Series regular roles include the ABC comedy Dr. Ken, opposite Ken Jeong, and NBC’s Go On, opposite Matthew Perry. Recent guest starring credits include Station 19, Elementary, and Veep, and recurring roles on Blackish, The Goldbergs, and Modern Family. Her film credits include Hollywood hits, but she is most proud of smaller independents like Afternoon Delight, Strawberry FieldsTreasure Island, and Timecode



Wendy Chang/Dwight Stuart Youth Fund. A long-time supporter of East West Players, Wendy Chang is the Director of the Dwight Stuart Youth Fund, a private family foundation that supports organizational capacity building and educational enrichment programs for children and youth. Wendy’s community contributions include serving as chair of the Los Angeles Partnership for Early Childhood Investment; co-chair of the Arts Education Collective Funders Council; board member of Lambda Legal; chair of OUT Fund and member of Circle of Change giving circles; advisory council chair and former executive board member of the Liberty Hill Foundation; president of the National Charity League, Inc., Westside Chapter; chair of Asian American Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, Los Angeles; member director of the Trustee Initiative: Effectiveness through Diversity; co-founder and president of the Long Beach Nonprofit Partnership; president of Leadership Long Beach; membership vice president and training chair of Junior League of Long Beach; president of Asian Heritage Council; and chair of Financial Literacy of Women’s Leadership Circle. The Dwight Stuart Youth Fund was endowed by Dwight L. Stuart, Sr. to benefit and serve the needs of children and youth in Los Angeles County. Since 2001, the Fund has made grants of over $60 million to support organizations that provide direct services and experiences to underserved youth so they may gain values, skills and confidence to achieve their potential. The Fund also supports ground-breaking partnerships and place-based initiatives that support the continuum of care for youth and adds leverage to interconnected systems.



Current major sponsors (as of April 25, 2018) of the gala include:

TITANIUM- $25,000
The Walt Disney Company
Dwight Stuart Youth Fund

PLATINUM- $15,000
CBS Television Network

GOLD – $10,000
Aratani Foundation
Warner Bros. (“Crazy Rich Asians”)

SILVER – $7,000
Rosenthal Family Foundation
Diana Buckhantz, Vladimir & Araxia Buckhantz Foundation
David & Kiki Gindler

BRONZE – $5,000
Los Angeles LGBT Center
Carmen J. Smith
Randall & Mari Tamura
Lynn Waggoner
Wells Fargo
21st Century Fox

COPPER- $3,500
Asian Pacific American Friends of the Theatre
Snehal Desai, Pia Palomo & Jerry A. Gonzales II
Peter Shimamoto
Union Bank
Jeff Yang

FRIENDS $2,000 (Early bird by 2/27/17 – $1,750)
Albert E. Aubin (2)
Artists at Play & Cold Tofu Improv
Jason M. Blackwell (5)
City National Bank
John Gong
Ken Katsumoto
Japanese American Cultural & Community Center
Japanese American National Museum
David & Carrie Lee (2)
Reggie Lee
Ed Lew
Rose Chan Loui
Daniel M. Mayeda (2)
Paramount Pictures
Royal Property Management Company
Judith M. Sasaki
Jack & Mary Ellen Kwoh Shu
Ken Takemoto (2)
Sally Pai Unruh
Suzy Nakamura
Parvesh Cheena


  • Elite Island Getaways
  • African Safari for Two
  • Two tickets to Hamilton at the Segerstrom Center + Backstage Meet-and-Greet with Marcus Choi & Joseph Morales
  • Private Dinner for Two with George & Brad Takei
  • Four VIP Guest Passes to the the World Famous Hollywood Magic Castle
  • Private Dinner for Two with the cast of NBC’s GRIMM

CLICK HERE for the full Silent Auction Catalog.

For press inquiries, please contact Kat Carrido Bonds at pr@eastwestplayers.org or PR/Marketing Manager Patricia Tumang at ptumang(at)eastwestplayers.org.

East West Players’ THE COMPANY WE KEEP 52nd Anniversary Visionary Awards Dinner & Silent Auction was held on Monday, April 30, 2018 at the Hilton Universal City in Universal City, CA. East West Players honored JON JON BRIONES (The Engineer in “Miss Saigon” on Broadway and Modesto Cunanan in “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”), LILY MARIYE (TV director and star of “ER”), SUZY NAKAMURA (star of “Dr. Ken”), and WENDY CHANG/DWIGHT STUART YOUTH FUND. The evening was hosted by Amy Hill and Anna Khaja, featuring presenters Aaron Takahashi, Marilyn Tokuda, Giovanni Ortega, Mitchell Singer, Dee Johnson, Gedde Watanabe, Reggie Lee, Ken Jeong, and Adele Lim. Performers include Samahang Modern Dance Group, Deedee Magno Hall, Cliffton Hall, Justin W. Yu, Janelle Dote, Nicole Barredo, Carissa Dizon, Randy Guiaya, Anthea Neri, Lito Villareal, and Jon Jon Briones. Thank you to EWP’s Board of Directors, Gala Committee, sponsors, Malibu Family Wines, Old Elk Bourbon, and for our centerpieces sponsored by Tanduay Rum from the Philippines. Photos by Sthanlee Mirador, Mike Palma, and Steven Lam.

CLICK HERE for the full album on our Facebook page.

Past Honorees:

Ken Jeong

Nahnatchka Khan
Daniel Dae Kim
Nancy Kwan
Jay Kuo

Christopher Lee
Guy Lee
Jason Scott Lee
Reggie Lee
Peter Lenkov
Jet Li
Pat Li
Lucy Liu
Yet Lock
June Kyoko Lu

Paula Madison (AARP Real Possibilities Award)
Alec Mapa
Melvin Mar
Nobu McCarthy
Noriyuki Pat Morita

Sandra Oh
Soon-Tek Oh

Randall Park
Councilmember Jan Perry

Beulah Quo

The Ahmanson Foundation
Bank of America
California Community Foundation
Edison International

Pixar Animation Studios
Ralph M. Parsons Foundation
S. Mark Taper Foundation

Sony Pictures Entertainment
The James Irvine Foundation
The Walt Disney Company

Prince Gomolvilas
Velina Hasu Houston
Hiroshi Kashiwagi
Paul Kikuchi

Cherylene Lee
Perry Miyake
Edward Sakamoto
Jon Shirota

Nathan Wang
Wakako Yamauchi
Chay Yew

Rae Creevey
Tom Donaldson
Irma Escamilla
Michael Hagiwara
G. Shizuko Herrera

Rodney Kageyama
Alberto Isaac and Emily Kuroda
Mark Jue
Saachiko and Dom Magwili
Nelson Mashita

Nobu McCarthy
Scott Nagatani
Ken Takemoto
Andrew K. Wong, D.D.S.