If you are looking for some fantastic vocals, aristocratic hijinks, and want to support a good cause then look no further than CollaborAzian’s upcoming abridged A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER on July 15th. Directed by Alan Muraoka, and features an all-Asian American cast and production team, can be viewed through Broady on-demand, and all proceeds will benefit the Stop AAPI Hate initiative. Alan Muraoka talks about the show, and why it’s important for theatre to continue to strive for representation in productions.
Alan Muraoka has been an actor and director for years, performing in both Los Angeles, and New York, but you may also know him as Alan from Sesame Street who runs Hooper’s Store. He is currently directing the abridged version of A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER with a phenomenally talented all Asian American cast including Cindy Cheung (13 REASONS WHY), Karl Josef Co (PACIFIC OVERTURES), Ali Ewoldt (THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA), Diane Phelan (SCHOOL OF ROCK), and Thom Sesma (SWEENEY TODD) with Steven Cuevas (ONCE ON THIS ISLAND) serving as music director. Lea Salonga also makes an appearance as the host of this event.
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER is a delightful, madcap musical set in Victorian England. And tells the story of Monty Navarro, a distant heir to a family fortune who decides to try to inherit using his charm, his smile, and a small dash of murder.
Alan has directed other all Asain cast productions before and says that there is something very special and valuable about the experience. As a performer when he went to UCLA he experienced how powerful it was first hand when he worked with the East-West Players.
“I didn’t really have an Asian American identity per se, or think about the Asian American perspective or performing with a group of Asian Americans. It’s different, that dynamic and not having to explain yourself in the room. I try to do as much Asian American theatre here as I can to pay it forward from the time I was a kid growing up and learning things, and I try to pay that forward. Which I am also trying to do with A GENTLEMANS GUIDE TO MURDER, and CollaborAzian – I’m trying to promote Asian American awareness and diversity and I’m very proud of that.”
Muraoka was excited to tackle this musical but also knew after a year and a half of pandemic that maybe the full musical was a bit much for a virtual audience at this point and they got permission for an abridged version of the show.
“I’m really excited about it and I’m really excited for everyone to see it. We tried to capture the costumes and the spirit of the show and the antic-ness of the show. . We were lucky enough that someone knew the original designer for the projections and they gave us the Broadway projections as the backplates for this production. We’ve been very blessed and lucky for this-and how people have jumped on board to help.”
Muraoka is excited for audiences to have fun watching this talented cast perform and also realizing that there is no reason why anyone shouldn’t be playing any roles just because no one had before.
“The most important thing is that people have fun watching the show, and then they will think ‘Oh, they were perfect for those roles’ . Why couldn’t they be in a Broadway production of this show? Ali Ewoldt, who is playing Phoebe was the first Asian American Christine in PHANTOM OF THE OPERA on Broadway and she played for almost 2 years. That’s just a celebration of growth and people saying ‘She’s fantastic, there’s no reason she shouldn’t play this role, so let her play this role.”
Alan has also worked on other projects with an AAPI focus, including the recent video “Proud of Your Eyes” on Sesame Street, and “I Am Here” a song that was created in response to the Atlanta shootings earlier this year.
“I was contacted by a theatre person after the Atlanta shooting. A small group of us met and decided to make a music video. What came out of that was a music video by an Asian American composer named Adam Qwon “I Am Here.” We got 32 Asian American Broadway and Off-Broadway performers, and George Takei to do an intro for it and I’m so proud of it.”
You can watch the all-Asian American production of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder will take place on July 15th, 2021 at 7pm ET. Donations for StopAAPIHate.org are now being accepted and tickets for the virtual show are now available.
Tickets are available now: http://bit.ly/collaborazian-ggtlm
Photo Credit: CollaboAzian – A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER, Alan Muraoka
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