East West Players (EWP), the nation’s longest-running Asian American theater and the largest producing organization of Asian American artistic work, celebrates “Here, Us, Now!,” its 56th anniversary season, with the Annual Visionary Awards Dinner and Silent Auction.

Recognizing the achievements of individuals who have raised the visibility of the Asian Pacific American (APA) community through their craft, the gala fundraiser takes place on Saturday, April 23, at City Market Social House. Proceeds benefit EWP’s educational and artistic programs. This year EWP will honor multi-faceted artist Kristina Wong and EWP Board Chair Emeritus Randall Tamura.

Kristina Wong (Photo by Tom Fowler)

Kristina Wong is a performance artist, comedian, writer and elected representative in Koreatown Los Angeles who has been presented internationally across North America, the U.K., Hong Kong and Africa. In the pandemic, she founded Auntie Sewing Squad, a national network of volunteers sewing masks for vulnerable communities. Their book “The Auntie Sewing Squad Guide to Mask Making, Radical Care and Racial Justice” is published by the University of California Press.

The experience of erecting this remote factory turned national mutual aid collective at the start of the pandemic is the subject of  “Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord” — a New York Times Critics’ Pick that premiered off-Broadway at New York Theater Workshop. 

Wong also devised and directed last season’s “From Number to Name” at EWP with members of API Rise, a support group for individuals who have been impacted by the criminal justice system.

Randall Tamura (Courtesy Randall Tamura)

Randall “Randy” Tamura currently serves as the chair emeritus of the board for EWP and was chair from 2015 to 2021. He is a retired software engineering executive and worked as the president of his own software consulting practice. Prior to consulting, he worked as senior VP of engineering for several startups as well as a general manager for IBM.

He has written and/or managed many applications for mainframe, PC, server, and iOS devices. He created and taught the first iOS programming class for UCLA Extension and has taught several other programming classes for UCLA, community colleges, and for Girls Who Code. Tamura wrote and edited seven books and has two patents.

He previously served as the president of the Asia America Symphony Association, and as president of the Venice Japanese Community Center.

“East West Players is thrilled to recognize Randy and Kristina – two pillars of the EWP and larger API community.” says EWP Producing Artistic Director Snehal Desai. “Their leadership  has been pivotal in raising the visibility of Asian Americans and they have done so by generously giving their time and expertise. They also have deep, personal connections to East West Players and have been instrumental in supporting our work and growth. Quite simply, Kristina and Randy are also just two of the kindest, most selfless people I know. It’s an honor to name them as honorees of our 2022 Visionary Awards.”

Leading EWP’s Gala Committee are Co-Chairs Peter Shimamoto and Judith Sasaki.

City Market Social House is located at 1145 San Pedro St., Los Angeles. Sponsor reception, silent auction, and cocktail hour start at 5:30 p.m. The dinner and awards show begin at 7 p.m.

Individual tickets are $250- $1,500. Full table sponsorship packages are also available from $2,500-$50,000. For more information, visit www.eastwestplayers.org, call (213) 625-7000 or email galaguests@eastwestplayers.org.

EWP was founded in 1965, at a time when Asian Pacific Islanders (APIs) faced limited or no opportunities to see their experiences reflected outside of stereotypical and demeaning caricatures in the American landscape. EWP not only ensures that API stories are told, but works to increase access, inclusion, and representation across the performing arts and entertainment media.

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