Daniel May as XIAN

Daniel May as XIAN

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you relate to the character you portray in Beijing Spring.
I love the character “Xian” I get to play in Beijing Spring. He is an ordinary young man who I believe is at that young age of 22 where I remember that feeling of being so excited for this life that you feel you are already in the middle of it and have no idea it’s just beginning. And I love him for his passion and his naive fearlessness… because that is how I lived when I was 22. I think he is more scared than he is willing to admit and that is what is special about his relationship with Ba and Qiao, They, each in their own way, give “Xian” permission to admit his uncertainty. He is, at the end of the day, a dreamer…even if he would never call it that. He believes in something that I don’t even believe he has words to express.

How did you first get involved with East West Players? If this is your first time, what did you know about EWP prior?
I became aware of EWP after just graduating from my arts high school (OCHSA) and starting to really work professionally and always wanted to work here and be a part of this community and family. I took a scene study class from the EWP conservatory with teacher Heidi Helen Davis and classmate Marilyn Tokuda, which was great being surrounded by fellow Asian American actors who were pursuing careers and living lives as artists. It was inspiring and motivating. I then, in 2008 was blessed with the chance to perform with EWP in their production of Pippin starring Beijing Spring choreographer Marcus Choi.

What would we find you doing on the set of Beijing Spring?
Stretching, lip trilling (vocal warm up), doing 10 crunches, laughing, and watching my fellow cast mates because they are all just so freaking talented. I get a front row seat to the best performances in town.

Being that Beijing Spring is a musical, can you share your favorite musical?
For me it has to be Rent. I just love the emotion that I get to feel when I go and see a production of Rent and hear that incredible music by the late Jonathan Larson. It’s just a full individual piece in itself. It’s unique to itself yet still speaks universally. It’s why I am so honored and impressed to sing this score by Joel Iwataki and words by Tim Dang. It too, is very unique to itself but communicates universal themes and emotions.

Do you have a fun fact(s) about yourself you’d like to share?
Theatre really has given me my connection to myself as a Korean American and Asian American person and performer. Growing up in my adopted Caucasian home I really didn’t identify as Korean. Getting to do work like this with casts of incredible people like this and because of companies like East West Players I continue to see myself in these stories and these amazing people. For that I am so grateful. I’m not sure how fun that was to read, but it’s an incredible ride for me.

How can fans stay updated about your projects?
I freaking love Facebook. I am learning to Tweet from fellow cast member Jaime Barcelon, who has over 1200 followers. But still feel most comfortable on the Book of Faces. Hoping to get a reel and website up in the next year or when I update it my blog www.holymothafreakingosh.blogspot.com

Buy tickets online or call (213) 625-7000 and receive $10 off for any performance of Beijing Spring using code: BEIJING10

“Beijing Spring” must close Sunday, June 15. Tickets are still available for the final 4 performances, beginning tonight at 8pm.