Fri, Dec 22, 2006 - Page 13 News List

Head to Broadway for a cool yule

The lineup of festive tunes and Broadway classics by three musical stars offers audiences the fun of Christmas underlined with a social message

By Noah Buchan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Yang has been spending a considerable amount of time abroad, especially in Taiwan. Born and raised in New York, Yang began his professional career as a singer/actor with the lead role of Thuy in the original Broadway production of Miss Saigon. In addition to performing with the New York Philharmonic, he has recorded with Sony Music Taiwan and in 1997 founded Second Generation. During his stint there Yang co-wrote the musical Making Tracks before turning The Wedding Banquet into a musical that received critical acclaim. His most recent venture is a musical called Finding Home, a biographical work that traces his parent's departure from Taiwan during the 1960s because of political persecution and how they managed to blend into their new home in the US.

"That was a large reason why they left Taiwan, in the 1960s," Yang said referring to the political situation. "There was a huge brain drain at that time."

Last year, Yang founded Welly Yang Productions and created and produced the 2006 Asian Excellence Awards, a star-studded affair celebrating the cultural achievements of Asians; the ceremony included notables such as Lucy Liu, Quentin Tarantino, the Cirque du Soleil and Magic Johnson.

Though Yang has always maintained an avid interest in politics, the same cannot be said of his wife who claims that she knew little about politics until meeting Yang. "And now politics is a huge part of my life," she says laughing about how Yang taught her lessons on the Martial Law era and the one-China policy. "We've been to [election] rallies that [had] 20,000 people. It was like a rock concert," she said.

Though politics won't be part of the program this weekend, as with Yang and Rapp's previous work the trio's desire for a better world will be subtlety apparent throughout the performance, especially with regards the significance of Christmas.

"[Yes] it's about the Santa hats and all those fun things, but it's also a season of remembering and a season of celebration but celebrating the joy of life. And so for us, Christmas is about taking that time to remember everything that's happening in the world and all the people around us and being grateful for what we have in our lives," said Yang.

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