I've never been to Thailand, but I was transported to a modern-artistic kind of Siam on Monday, August 14th when La Ti Do Productions co-produced and presented a benefit concert called One Night in Bangkok to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BCEFA) and featured cast members of the Lincoln Center's touring production of The King and I.
As the Executive Artistic Director of La Ti Do Productions, it is my personal and organizational mission to provide a space for performers of color and underrepresented communities to create art, and this opportunity was the perfect fit, and the first time we would have an all-Asian American cast under our roof!
I immediately reached out to my venue contacts and ended up with our faithful home of Bistro Bistro to host the show. Over the coming weeks, Michelle and I - with help from her Co-Producer LaMae Caparas and my Associate Producer Matt Meyers - went over ticketing, venue set-up and logistics, and how the evening would play out. The cherry on top? Michelle and LaMae graciously allowed my LTD Co-Founder Regie Cabico and I to step up as the masters of ceremonies!
As soon the cast was confirmed, I was both excited and honored to work with such fine performers from the cast, which included a long-time Broadway idol of mine, Jose Llana (pictured right), with Joan Almedilla, Heather Botts, Amaya Braganza, Adriana Braganza, LaMae Caparas, Mindy Lai, Darren Lee, Michelle Liu Coughlin, Michael Lomeka, Graham Montgomery, Manna Nichols, Marcus Shane, Riley Sickles, Sam Simahk and Kelli Youngman.
When we got to performance day, we saw a diverse presentation of material including swing dancing, musical theatre, pop, original pieces, and even pole performance! NOTE: photos and videos to come soon.
In the history of LTD's shows, I have to say that this turned out to be the most successful in our (as of today) five and a half years of existence. Through the hard work of both teams - Team LTD and Michelle's self-titled Team Siam - we completed the event with 114 (60 VIP/54 General Admits) in attendance with more than $4,000 raised for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Additionally, we received media coverage from five local Washington, DC outlets including Washington Blade, BroadwayWorld.com, DC Theatre Scene, DC Metro Theatre Arts, and from Playbill.com in New York City!
I do want to take a moment in this blog post to shout out the sound and lighting people who came in to help us. They transformed Bistro Bistro into an even more beautiful experiential space with focused lighting and professionally tuned sound engineering. You'll see that in the videos we'll post on the La Ti Do YouTube Page.
This show was an evening I'll remember for the rest of my life, and I can't reiterate enough how humbled I am to have had LTD chosen to help make it happen. Now just because this happened and you weren't there, it doesn't mean you can't see it or donate to the cause! I saw this because the cast plans on doing this in all the cities they tour to in the coming months, so here are some good resource links for you:
If you do only one of these three things, though all of equal importance, I would encourage you to make a donation of whatever amount you can to their fundraising page. It goes to an excellent cause and BCEFA is a very reputable charity!
It was a pleasure to produce this event and I enjoyed working with every person on this endeavor, so I hope you can see them if they are coming through your part of the country.