The play stars Michael Sasaki as Masao Imoto and Angela Oliver as Charlene Williams, the Bronze Nightingale.

CASA 0101 Theater, in association with the Japanese American National Museum, will present the world premiere of “Masao and the Bronze Nightingale,” written by Dan Kwong and Rubén Funkahuatl Guevara, based on a short story by Guevara, directed by Kwong and starring Michael Sasaki as Masao Imoto and Angela Oliver as Charlene Williams, the Bronze Nightingale.

The cast also includes Greg Watanabe, Sachiyo K, Roberta A. Martinez, José A. Garcia, Isaac Cruz, Scott Golden, Jon Gentry and Pauline Yasuda. There will be special guest speakers following Sunday performances.

In the aftermath of World War II, formerly incarcerated Japanese Americans are shocked to discover Little Tokyo has become Bronzeville, an African American community. When a Japanese American jazz musician from Boyle Heights fall for a Bronzeville singer, the ripple effect of their romance causes upheaval in every direction as the Japanese, Black and Mexican American communities react.

The show will be presented at CASA 0101 Theater, 2102 E. First St. (at St. Louis Street) in Boyle Heights on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m., April 22 to May 15, with previews on April 15, 16 and 17.

Rubén Funkahuatl Guevara and Dan Kwong, co-authors of “Masao and the Bronze Nightingale.”

Ticket prices: $30 general; $25 for students and seniors; $20 for Boyle Heights residents; $25 for groups of 10 or more; $20 for groups of 20 or more; $5 off preview date. For tickets and more information, call (323) 263-7684 or visit www.casa0101.org.

Free parking available at Boyle Heights City Hall, 2130 E. First St. (entrance on Chicago Street).

Concurrently with the performance, the Jean Deleage Art Gallery, located in the lobby of CASA 0101 Theater, and JANM are presenting an art exhibit through May 15, entitled “Bronzeville: Modernity, Race, and the Search to Belong,” featuring the works of artists  Bryan Ida, Laura Vazquez Rodriguez, Sandra Vista, Aydee Martinez and Brandy Maya Healy. 

Curated by Jimmy Centeno, with the help of assistant researcher Shelley Johnson II, the exhibit binds together the multiple contradictions and complexities of identity in a racialized modern society. The five artists share their personal relationship and their connections with the Japanese American experience through the visual language of art. 

The exhibit can be viewed prior to performances of the play and during regular gallery hours, which are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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  1. I loved it. I am Japanese and lives in Boyleheights. The story telling of the history and the illustration were accurate and very well done. As you know this community was Jewish neighborhood as well. I was hoping to see Jewish couple in the story.