As part of its mission to create educational programs that explore Asian Pacific American experiences, East West Players is committed to sharing multi-ethnic perspectives and stories with youth in the Los Angeles area.

Theatre for Youth Program


The East West Players’ Theatre for Youth touring production offers new ways to see the world through theatre that stimulate students to discover the prominent role Asian Pacific Americans have played in our history. Created in the early 1970s, Theatre for Youth was designed to promote cultural understanding and racial tolerance among youth. Today, the program strives to expand the history and curriculum to include stories about pioneering and groundbreaking Americans. The programs we offer illustrate the incredible wealth of Asian Pacific American cultural experiences in Southern California.

Theatre for Youth Current Tour (2018-19): TAM TRAN GOES TO WASHINGTON

As the nation’s longest-running theatre of color, East West Players (EWP) is committed to engaging our audiences using the unique platform of the Asian Pacific American experience. This year, EWP’s Theatre for Youth program has produced a critical work designed for youth to examine their dramatically shifting political future. The timeliness and urgency of this program cannot be overstated.

Tam Tran, a graduating student at UCLA, is a filmmaker and Radiohead fan. She and her best friend, Cinthya, are also undocumented Americans. Tam has been asked to testify on behalf of the DREAM Act to the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law. She is afraid because she is usually behind, not in front of the camera. But with the help of her friends, her teachers, and her mother – she gathers the courage to speak her truth to the Senate about the right to dream. But this is a cost: after her testimony, her family is arrested. She rallies her professors and every public official she can contact until they are released three days later. Tam and Cinthya continue their activism while living their dream to attend graduate school at Brown and Columbia, respectively. Three years later, on May 15, 2010, Tam and Cinthya are killed by a drunk driver. Their legacy lives on in the DREAM Act, DACA, and in this play.

This project is made possible by generous support from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), Los Angeles County Arts Commission, The Green Foundation, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, and Dwight Stuart Youth Fund.

For more information, please contact Arts Education Director Carolina San Juan at or (213) 625-7000 x 15.


Lynn Cao was raised in Connecticut and graduated Quinnipiac University with a BA in Biomedical Sciences; she shortly after moved to California to pursue her true passion in acting and is now currently studying at Lee Strasberg Film and Theatre Institute. She has participated in multiple short films, including her lead roles in Breaking Point and Offbeat, directed by Chris Nguyen and Annabell Liao, respectively. Lynn is incredibly honored and humbled to be playing Tam Tran in her first East West Players’ project. To the cast and crew: it’s been a privilege to be working alongside you. Thank you for the wonderful memories! To the students: I hope as Tam takes you on her journey, you feel her urge to fight for what is right, even if it’s hard. The choices that you make and the efforts you put in really do make a difference.


Tara Cox is honored to perform the role of Cynthia Felix in her East West Players debut. She graduated from UCLA with a BA in Theatre, has studied with the Groundlings, and acted in short films. Tara’s favorite roles have been Dromio of Syracuse in “Comedy of Errors,” Rosie Alvarez in “Bye Bye Birdie,” and Sarah Brown in “Guys and Dolls,” for which she received the Goldie award for “Best Actress in a Musical.” She holds this entire creative team in such high esteem, and is so inspired by Tam Tran and Cynthia Felix. Thank you for watching!



Thi Nguyen is an active storyteller in the LA circuit, winning a Moth Storyslam in 2017. She is currently a company member with Flat Tire Theatre Company and is collaborating/writing with others to develop their spring show. Three fun facts about Thi: she had active tuberculosis and was in isolation for a month; at the end of freshman year of high school, she won Most Improved in water polo as well as in orchestra for playing the flute; and finally she can solve the Rubik’s cube in under 2 minutes, (sometimes). Check out her website, where she shares about her pursuit for creative fulfillment.



Noelle Rodriguez, a rare native Angeleno, is elated to joining this production of Tam Tran Goes to Washington. She received her BA in Acting at Sonoma State University. Credits include: Marisol, of which she was nominated for Best Actress; Comedy of Errors, Turnings by Stephanie Neuerburg; and Technicolor Life by Jami Brandli. It has been a dream to be part of a show that reaches such a wide audience and can truly make an impact on young minds. You can find Noelle on Instagram: @TheNoelleRodriguez  or at



Elizabeth Wong (Playwright). Her award-winning plays for family and young audiences include Boid & Oskar, a modern retelling of Oscar Wilde’s “The Happy Prince” about a classic Corvette with a heart (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park); Prometheus, an adaptation of Aeschylus’ “Prometheus Unbound” using Greek language and a Chorus of Conscience speaking to the nature of cruelty (Denver Center Theatre); Amazing Adventures of the Marvelous Monkey King melds classic Chinese opera, martial arts, hip-hop and a mischievous monkey (Denver Center Theatre); Goloshes of Fortune is about greed, money, and how to be happy in an unhappy world in a modernized look at a beloved Hans Christian Andersen story (Denver Center Theatre). Ms. Wong wrote the libretto for Ibong Adarna: A Filipino Folktail (Honolulu Theatre for Youth); and The Play Formerly Known as The Happy Prince (Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts), music by Oscar-nominated Michael Silversher. Dragon/Sky about ancient Chinese Astronomers and video games (Silk Road Theatre in association with the Adler Planetarium and Museum in Atlanta). With teen novelist Jeff Gottesfeld, she co-wrote stage adaptation of Randa Abdel-Fattah’s Does My Head Look Big in This (Dramatic Publishing) and Josh Hanagarne’s The World’s Strongest Librarian,  which was awarded the AATE 2017 Distinguished Play Award. Ms. Wong was a Disney Studio Writing Fellow and a staff writer for All-American Girl with Margaret Cho. She is a proud member of PEN, Writers Guild West and the Dramatist Guild.

Marilyn Tokuda (Director) recently retired from East West Players (EWP) where she has worked as the organizations’ first Arts Education Director for fourteen years. Marilyn also participated with the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition (APAMC) to evaluate the visibility and portrayals of Asian Pacific Americans in the media. Her directorial credits include several benefit performances including The Aloha ConcertHeroVery Funny People, the 37th-50th EWP Visionary Awards, and EWP’s holiday show The Nisei Widows Club Holiday On Thin Ice. She was one of the founding members of COLD TOFU, the first Asian American comedy group and served as its Artistic Director for six years. As an actress, Marilyn has performed in numerous productions at EWP including:  Sweeney Todd in the role of Mrs. Lovett, FolliesThe Theory of EverythingHanako, and Woman From the Other Side of the World.  Television shows include  FrasierFriendsSeinfeld, Magnum P.I. and JAG.  Currently, she can be seen in a recurring role on Grey’s Anatomy.

Howard Ho (Sound Designer) is a playwright, composer, and Ovation-nominated sound designer. This is his seventh East West Players Theatre for Youth show as sound designer. He also has worked or is currently working on sound design at Center Theatre Group (CTG), TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, East West Players, Playwrights’ Arena, Native Voices, Sierra Madre Playhouse, Pull Project, and Company of Angels. As a writer, his play Various Emporia was a 2017 O’Neill National Playwrights Finalist, and his musical Pretendo will be featured in the CTG Library Reading Series this April. He was a CTG Literary Fellow in 2016. He would like to thank Marilyn, Elizabeth, and Carolina for the opportunity to share Tam’s story.

Ashphord Jacoway (Costume Designer) is honored to be the Costume Designer for East West Player’s production of Tam Tran Goes to Washington . She holds a B.F.A in Theatre Performance and a minor in Political Science, so she is always looking for ways to combine her two passions to create positive change. Her previous credits include The Watson’s go to Birmingham-1963, Paradise LostReturn to Oz, and The Music Man at The Nate Holden Theatre. She works as East West Player’s Wardrobe Supervisor year around and is a Founding Sister of Chocolate Covered Cosplay, a group dedicated to diversity in the Cosplay Community through open dialogue by hosting panels across the country. Ashphord hopes this piece will inspire you to live your life fully and stand for your beliefs and human rights. We are truly the future.

Christopher Scott Murillo (Set Designer) is a scenic designer, artist, and educator based in Los Angeles, CA. He is thrilled to be working at EAST WEST PLAYERS once again. Recent Credits at EWP include: Yohen, Criers for Hire, Beijing Spring, and Steel Magnolias. Most recently, his work has been seen at Native Voices at The Autry, New Village Arts, The Chance Theater, The Getty Villa and the Hollywood Bowl (to name a few). Currently, he is an associate artist with Playwrights’ Arena serving as their resident scenic designer. Christopher is a member of United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829 He is a 2016 recipient of the Princess Grace Fellowship- Pierre Cardin Award. He holds an MFA from the UCSD Department of Theatre and Dance and a BA from the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television.


World Premiere – Friday, March 2, 2018
Palms Middle School
10860 Woodbine Street, Los Angeles, CA 90034


Commissioned by the Japanese American National Museum, the play RESIDENCE ELSEWHERE was conceptualized in the summer of 2016  to address the alarmingly divisive election. Today, it is extraordinarily prophetic and relevant. As a reflection on the 75th Anniversary of FDR’s signing of Executive Order 9066, the 35-minute piece has three movements:

– Internment of Japanese Americans in 1942
– Native American relocation after World War II
– The recent Immigration Ban that highlights the threat to what we believe defines our American identity

RESIDENCE ELSEWHERE explores responses to challenges faced historically and today. This work asks youth audiences to reflect on the local (home, community, and identity) with global (immigration, assimilation, and citizenship). The play provides students a means of inquiry to interpret today’s discourse on the limitations of national security and preservation of our civil liberties. We are committed to performing at as many venues as possible beyond what our small grants provide.

Written by Andrew Saito, Anna Moench, and Lina Patel, and directed by Jennifer Chang, actors Alison Minami, Ricky Pak, Krishna Smitha, Michael Barnum, and April Lam depict three different narratives in time, location, and sentiment.

This project is made possibly by generous support from City of Los AngelesDepartment of Cultural AffairsDwight Stuart Youth FundThe Green Foundation and Wells Fargo Foundation.

Visit to hear excerpts from the play and learn more about the history of Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo.

LTSC’s creative community development strategy, +LAB, is working with three organizations—East West Players, Visual Communications and the Japanese American National Museum—to elevate their cultural and artistic work and draw attention to the importance of First Street North. +LAB utilizes collaboration and experimentation to advance Little Tokyo’s power over its future.


The production for the 2015-16 school year focused on the story of the first Indian-American to join the US Army and his fight for citizenship in front of the Superior Court. Bhagat Singh Thind was born on October 3, 1892 in the state of Punjab, India. He was a spiritualist and the first Indian-American Sikh to join the US Army. After the war, he sought the right to become a naturalized citizen based on the legality that Caucasians had access to these rights. When Bhagat Singh Thind was denied citizenship, he took his case to the Supreme Court. In 1923, United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind was decided in favor of the United States, which led to all Indian citizenships being revoked for not being a White person in accordance with the definition defined by the US government.

This program was made possible in part by a grant from the City of Los AngelesDepartment of Cultural Affairs, and sponsored by the Dwight Stuart Youth Fund and Edison International.

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P.E.A.C. is a residency program that brings the EWP programming to local schools, especially those without other arts-education funding. EWP performers lead a weekly after-school program for 7th graders designed to give students a basic foundation in theatre techniques as well as foster awareness and appreciation of class members’ cultural heritage. For more information about the P.E.A.C. program or to bring it to your school, contact EWP Arts Education Director Carolina San Juan at or (213) 625-7000 x 15.