November 19, 2020 12:30pm
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The Los Angeles-based East West Players, the nation’s first professional Asian American theatre organization, is teaming with musician AJ Rafael again for the holiday edition of Crazy Talented Asians, the ninth edition of the live show celebrating represenation of Asians in the arts. This year will feature performers Isa Briones (Picard, Hamilton), Josh Dela Cruz (Blues Clues), Dante Basco (Hook, Avatar The Last Airbender), Deedee Magno Hall (Steven Universe, Mickey Mouse Club), among others. The event is set to take place virtually on December 13 starting at 5:30pm PT via Rafael & East West Players’ Facebook Pages and YouTube channels.
After being inspired by the groundbreaking box office hit Crazy Rich Asians, Rafael launched Crazy Talented Asians in September 2018 to put a spotlight on Asian Americans in media. The live show of muscial performances, dancing and poetry started at the Rockwell Table & Stage in Hollywood before it partnered with East West Players to move into The David Henry Hwang Theatre. The pandemic halted the live show but they continue to bring Asian excellence virtually.
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“Putting on this show virtually, even through this pandemic, is really important to me because I truly believe in the power of music & entertainment and it’s ability to bring light to the dark times,” Rafael told Deadline. “We’ve never put on a holiday edition of Crazy Talented Asians, so this one is really special because it’s my favorite time of the year.
Rafael, who has over 980,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel, admits his love for Christmas music so having a holiday show was inevitable. “This really is one of my dreams to bring people together for a show like this that celebrates family, traditions, and being proud to be Asian,” he said. “It’s been really cool to put on this show thinking about that young Asian American person watching, seeing a lineup full of people they can identify with and relate to, which may end up inspiring them to pursue a career in the arts when it’s not exactly encouraged in Asian American culture. Thankful for East West Players to produce this show with me, especially virtually– for everyone to see no matter where they are in the world… and to feel that Holiday spirit.”
Rafael and Alyssa Navarro, who have become a popular TikTok duo, will host the event that will also include performances by Cathy Ang (Over The Moon), singer and actress Jules Aurora, Jasmine Rafael & Justine Rafael, ukulele virtuoso Daniel Ho as well as Gabe Bondoc, Melissa Polinar and Jeremy Passion of MPG. Melody Cheng, Helen Wu and Janet Wang of AsianBossGirl Podcast will also make an appearance.
Performers from previous Crazy Talented Asians include Jon Jon Briones (Ratched), Chris Pang (Crazy Rich Asians), Courtney Reed (Broadway’s Aladdin), Sherry Cola (Good Trouble), Amy Hill (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Simu Liu (Shang Chi), Jimmy Wong (Mulan), Tamlyn Tomita (The Good Doctor) among others.