Members of Cold Tofu. Helen Ota, artistic director, is third from left.
Steven Yeun plays Glenn on AMC’s hit series “The Walking Dead.”

East West Players celebrates its 47th season, themed “Spirited Away,” with its annual Anniversary Visionary Awards Dinner & Silent Auction, and salutes those who have made a valuable impact on the Asian Pacific American community.

The fundraising event will take place on Monday, April 22, at the Universal Hilton. Proceeds will benefit EWP’s educational and artistic programs.

“EWP and the APA performing arts community continue to expand the spectrum of voices and stories of our vast, complex yet underrepresented community,” says Tim Dang, EWP producing artistic director. “This year’s Visionary Award honorees reflect some of the best of our community, who raise the visibility of APAs through their craft – Cold Tofu for the past 30 years, and Steven Yeun as a breakout star on the hugely popular television show ‘The Walking Dead.’”

Tamlyn Tomita (“Glee,” “Days of Our Lives,” “Law & Order: L.A.”) will serve as mistress of ceremonies of the event.

Award-winning composer Nathan Wang (Beijing Olympics/Shaolin Monks, Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning documentary “The Last Days”) will serve as the evening’s musical director.

Cold Tofu, receiving the Visionary Award, is the nation’s premier Asian American comedy improv group. Under the leadership of its current artistic director, Helen H. Ota, and core cast members, it continues to grow and develop its distinctive brand of comedy. The members consistently strive to create unforgettable characters, improvised scenes and original sketch materials.

From its inception in 1981 by Marilyn Tokuda, Denice Kumagai, Judy Momii and Irma Escamilla to today, Cold Tofu has grown to 25 members who perform improv shows regularly in Little Tokyo and emcee events for several community organizations. Cold Tofu shares the thrill of performing improv and sketch, while training up-and-coming performers by providing improv workshops year-round.

Steven Yeun, receiving the Breakout Performance Award, currently stars on AMC’s hit series “The Walking Dead,” where his portrayal of Glenn, the pizza boy turned “walker killer,” has developed into a leading role on the show and has quickly become a favorite for both fans and critics alike.

“The Walking Dead,” which follows survivors of a zombie apocalypse, has become the most watched drama series in basic cable history, and has launched internationally in over 120 countries in 33 different languages.

The Breakout Performance Award was created to recognize an individual or group who, through an outstanding performance, has made a significant contribution to the community by helping raise the visibility of the Asian Pacific experience.

Additional honorees and entertainment to be announced at a later date.

The Hilton Universal City is located at 555 Universal Hollywood Drive, Universal City. The no-host reception and silent auction will start at 6 p.m. and the dinner and awards program at 7 p.m. Tickets are $175 to $1,500. Full table sponsorship packages are also available.

For more information, contact Development Manager Rosalyn Kawahira at (213) 625-7000, ext. 17 or, or visit

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