East West Players celebrates its 51st 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 24, 2017
5:30 PM VIP Reception* and Silent Auction
6:00 PM No-Host Cocktails
7:00 PM Dinner and Awards Show

(*For Titanium, Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze and Copper Sponsors)

Purchase Sponsorships and Tickets Here!

For sponsorship opportunities and more information, contact Development Manager
Monika Ramnath at galaguests@eastwestplayers.org or (213) 625-7000.

Daniel Mayeda, Co-Chair
Peter Shimamoto, Co-Chair
Ken Katsumoto
Jay Kim
Carrie Lee
David Lee
Ed Lew
Judy Sasaki
Randall Tamura
Lynn Waggoner

Jon M. Chu
Wenda Fong
Los Angeles City Councilmember José Huizar
Jeff Imada
Melvin Mar
Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas
Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu
George & Brad Takei
Janet Yang


The 2017 Honorees are:

Actor, producer, and writer Ken Jeong, known for his scene stealing abilities, has established himself as one of today’s top comedic stars. In 2009, Jeong appeared as the Asian mobster “Mr. Chow” in the sleeper-hit comedy The Hangover, which earned him 3 Teen Choice Nominations and an MTV Movie Award. Since his feature film debut playing the doctor in Knocked Up in 2007, Jeong has gone on to a number of memorable roles in a series of successful comedies, including Role Models, the DUFF, and recently in Universal’s Ride Along 2. Jeong’s career path started off on a different course, earning his undergraduate degree at Duke University and his medical degree at the University of North Carolina. In television, Jeong can be seen starring on ABC’s Dr. Ken, which he also created, writes, and is an Executive Producer. Jeong spends a lot of his off time volunteering with Stand Up 2 Cancer, which is a cause very dear to his heart. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife and twin daughters.


Randall Park, actor, and writer, is one of the freshest and most in-demand actors in Hollywood with his extraordinarily diverse skill set and wide-ranging background in both film and television. Park stars in Fresh Off the Boat as Louis Huang, the patriarch of a Taiwanese family adjusting to a new life in Orlando after moving from Washington D.C. in the 1990s. Park won a Best Actor Award at NBC’s 2010 Short Cuts Film Festival for the short Blueberry, which he also wrote. He is also the recipient of the 2011 CAPE New Writers Award for an original pilot he wrote entitled Erasists. Park is a frequent contributor to the monthly web series showcase and competition Channel 101, created by Dan Harmon (Community) and Rob Schrab (The Sarah Silverman Program).


Actress Chloe Bennet currently co-stars in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as Agent Daisy Johnson. Growing up on the Southside of Chicago, her father is first generation Chinese-American, her mother is Caucasian, and she has six brothers: three biological and three adopted. At 15, she moved to China to pursue a pop-music career, and her song single, “Uh Oh”, was hugely popular and catalyzed Bennet’s stardom.



The Ahmanson Foundation serves Los Angeles County by funding cultural projects in the arts and humanities, education at all levels, health care, programs related to homelessness and underserved populations as well as a wide range of human services. By supporting non-profit organizations that demonstrate sound fiscal management, efficient operation, and program integrity, the Foundation strives to enhance the quality of life and cultural legacy of the Los Angeles community.


Vincent Rodriguez III






Parvesh Cheena






Deedee Magno Hall will play Diana in East West Players’ Next to Normal. She is currently the voice of Pearl on Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe. Theater credits: If/Then (Broadway & US National Tour), Kim in Miss Saigon (Broadway, 2nd US National Tour & Asian Tour), Nessarose in Wicked (1st US National Tour), Mrs. Walker in The Who’s Tommy (East West Players). TV & Film credits: Original cast of Disney Channel’s New Mickey Mouse Club, Third Watch, DellaventuraRear Window, Face, Sister Act 2. Recordings: Original member of Hollywood Records’ pop group, The Party, and co-founder of mommy singing group, Mama Bares. Twitter: @DeedeeMagnoHall & @Mama_Bares | Instagram: @deedeemagnohallofficial


Cliffton Hall will play Dan in East West Players’ Next to Normal. He played Capt. Walker, also opposite Deedee, in The Who’s Tommy! He recently finished a tour of If/Then with Deedee. Broadway/Equity Nat’l Tours: Fiyero in Wicked (with Deedee), Chris in Miss Saigon (with Deedee), and Marius in Les Miserables. Other credits: Master Class (Tony), Grease (Danny), Oklahoma (Will), and Flower Drum Song (Ta). Twitter @Clifftonhall



Isa Briones will play Natalie in East West Players’ Next to Normal. She was born into a musical family and has been singing and acting as long as she can remember. Before graduating in March, she attended performing arts schools: Millikan Middle School and LACHSA. During her final two years, she was homeschooled, which allowed her to travel to London for workshops at RADA and LAMDA, and to do her first professional roles, Natalie in Next to Normal at Pico Playhouse and Peron’s Mistress in Evita at Cabrillo Music Theater. In school, she appeared as Velma in Hairspray, Brooke Wyndham in Legally Blonde, and Abigail in The Crucible. She often sings as a soloist at benefit concerts in Los Angeles. Favorite film roles include Sunday in Takers and Mia in Lonely Boy.


Justin W. Yu will play Gabe in East West Players’ Next to Normal. Recent credits include LA’s Next Great Stage Star presented by Princess Cruises, the World Premiere of Letters to Eve (Ken), the World Premiere of The Story of Alice (White Rabbit), Center Theatre Group’s West Coast Premiere of The Christians, the Los Angeles Premiere of Frankenstein (Henry), Gold Mountain (ASCAP/DreamWorks Musical Theatre Workshop), EDGES (Man 2), The 25th…Spelling Bee (William Barfée), Chess (Anatoly), and Spring Awakening (Otto). Justin was featured on NBC’s The Winner Is and two VH1 Do Something Awards shows and has sung backup for Sara Bareilles, Stephen Schwartz, Liz Callaway, LeAnn Rimes, “fun.”, and Amber Riley. A UCLA graduate, Justin also manages Location Based Entertainment for Lionsgate. More at www.justinwyu.com and @justinwyu on social media.


Julianne Aurora is a Filipino-American recording artist, songwriter, and actress based in Los Angeles, CA. She has appeared on FOX’s American Idol: Season 10 and The X Factor USA: Season 3. She also earned principal roles in a number of musical theatre productions, including the role of Mulan in Mulan at The Lyceum Theatre. Julianne has performed as the opening act for Macklemore; sang the national anthem at the San Diego Padres Petco Park Stadium; headlined the Apl.de.ap Foundation’s Annual Summer Extravaganza, alongside Grammy Award winning artist, Apl.de.ap of The Black Eyed Peas; and starred as a Featured Singer for Royal Caribbean Productions.


Disoriented Comedy is the first-ever (mostly) female Asian American standup comedy tour that has built a movement to promote stories not typically seen on mainstream comedy stages. Since its first show in July of 2012, this national network of veteran and up-and-coming comedians have performed in over 70 independently-produced comedy and storytelling shows at comedy clubs, theaters, colleges and universities. In 2015, Disoriented Comedy founded the first-ever annual Asian American comedy festival, The Comedy Comedy Festival: A Comedy Festival.

Jenny Yang (co-founder of Disoriented Comedy) is a LA-based writer/stand-up comedian who produces The Comedy Comedy Festival, a festival showcasing the best in Asian American comedic talent. In 2016, Jenny was honored as a White House Champion of Change for API Art and Storytelling. She is a frequent collaborator on viral videos with Buzzfeed and Fusion, and an actor in digital projects from Comedy Central, Funny or Die, Sourcefed/Nuclear Family, and Cracked.com. She was dubbed one of LA’s “most fascinating people” in LA Weekly’s 2015 Annual “People” Issue.



Atsuko Okatsuka (co-founder of Disoriented Comedy) is a stand-up comedian, actress, and filmmaker residing in Los Angeles. Her stand-up comedy credits include having been featured in Comedy Central Presents: Stand Up, Asia!, performing at the Laughing Skull Comedy Festival, being written up in the LA WEEKLY, to opening for Margaret Cho at The historic Wiltern. Comedy Invasian just produced her one-hour stand-up special, soon to be released. Currently, she is in development for her comedy feature, This Is Chinatown, which she will star in and direct.



D’Lo (co-producer Disoriented Comedy) is a queer/trans Tamil-Sri Lankan-Am writer/actor/comic. Some of his credits include Looking (HBO), Transparent (Amazon), and Sense8 (Netflix). He also can be found in the documentary based on his life/work called Performing Girl and the film, Bruising for Besos. Lastly, he’s featured in Buzzfeed videos and on the web series Eastsiders and Dyke Central, and in two soon-to-be released web series: Issa Rae-produced Minimum Wage and his own series, Private Dick.

Current major sponsors (as of April 10, 2017) of the gala include:


GOLD CIRCLE: East West Bank, Wells Fargo.

BRONZE CIRCLE: Nielsen, Randall & Mari Tamura, Lynn Waggoner.

COPPER CIRCLE: Asian Pacific American Friends of the Theater, Snehal Desai & Friends, Carmen J. Smith, Union Bank.

Silent Auction Highlights Include

2 Tickets to Hamilton in Chicago – $1000 Value
Home-cooked Dinner for 6 by the “Doctor of the Kitchen” Jeffrey Scott Mio – $240 Value
High Quality, Fresh, Bluefin Tuna (Belly) – $500 Value
Jing Jing Cloisonne Chest of the Nine Dragon Wall Forbidden City – $3100 Value
3 Diamond Club Tickets and Premier Parking Anaheim Angels vs. K.C. Royals, Friday, June 16, 2017 7PM – $675 Value
Shakespeare in the Park – $Priceless
4 Orchestra Tickets to Jersey Boys the Ahmanson Theater – $550 Value
4 Tickets to Book of Mormon at the Pantages Theatre on June 2, 2017 8PM –  $380 Value

Google voice activated home speaker – $130 value
2 Tickets to the new Broadway Production of Miss Saigon – $330 Value
Star Wars Loot Crate – $150 Value
Five VIP Tickets to The Comedy & Magic Club, Hermosa Beach – $150 Value
Cuisinart Aluminium 7 Piece Set (graphite/black) – $330 Value
Wine Camp for Two at Wine LA, Los Angeles – $138 Value
Oxygen Facial Treatment at Westside Aesthetics –  $175 Value
Four tickets and VIP Parking Passes to a UCLA Bruins Basketball Game at Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles – $250 Value
Two Night Stay for Two at Rosarito Beach Hotel, Baja, Mexico – $224 Value
Two Tickets to Orchestra Section to the New York Philharmonic – $200 Value
Paintball Party at Paintball USA, Canyon Country – $300 Value
Family Pass for Four to the Kidspace Children’s Museum, Pasadena – $208 Value
Three Day, Two Night Stay at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, plus Show Tickets for Two – $300 Value
Two Night Stay at La Casa Del Zorro Resort & Spa in Borrego Springs, which includes  Welcome Beverages & Breakfast for Two – $1000 Value
Four Park Hopper Passes to Disneyland & Disney’s California Adventure – $620 Value
The Springs at Borrego or Road Runner (Four 18-hole rounds with Carts) – $200 Value

Check back weekly to view new items!

For press inquiries, contact PR/Marketing Manager Patricia Tumang at PR(at)eastwestplayers.org.

View photos from the 50th Anniversary Visionary Awards Dinner and Silent Auction when East West Players honored Jay Kuo and Lorenzo Thione, producers of the groundbreaking musical Allegiance, Pan Asian Repertory Founding Artistic Director Tisa Chang, and creators of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna. The event was co-emceed by actors Tia Carrere and Mark Dacascos.

Past Honorees:

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

Councilmember Jan Perry

Beulah Quo

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.