Review Fix chats with “The American Dream: A Story of Two Crazy Broke Asians” producer Maya Avisar, and her company, Yanzi Ding, Grace Shih, Kui-Fang Tseng, Leo Chang, Ming-Hsueh (Mitch) Lin, who tell us what makes their upcoming production a unique one.
About the Production:
The American Dream: A Story of Two Crazy Broke Asians is a musical revue, following the journey of two young women, in a search for happiness – and for themselves. Yanzi, a hopeless romantic, is following her love from Taiwan to New York City, where she reconnects with her old friend Grace, who is struggling with life in the big Apple as she tries to tough it out on her own. Featuring songs from some of Broadway’s finest, American dream will premiere at one of NYC’s most historic clubs – The Duplex, 61 Christopher Street. Wednesday, July 3 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets: $15 Ticket in Advance & a 2 Drink Minimum in the Cabaret Theatre; $18 Ticket at the Door (plus service fee) & a 2 Drink Minimum in the Cabaret Theatre.
Review Fix: What was the inspiration for this project?
Maya Avisar: We are a group of international artists who share a similar background and live the same dream: to pursue our performing arts career in the US. A big part of the show is based on our own experience about surviving in the city, the mutual feelings we share when we are all making an effort towards our goals and dreams; and also the challenges and culture shock that we encountered; and most importantly our relationships and friendships that keep us going forward in our own journey. All the good and bad things that happened to each of us in the past are the inspiration that we put into the stories of this show.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Avisar: When we were creating the show, we all knew that we want to include our cultural background and speak out for immigrants. So first, we created two characters based on our two main performers, both foreigners, but also very different in personality to emphasize the differences of all individuals, and also to avoid stereotypes. Then we included tiny details which we as foreigners encounter in our daily life like love and relationships, language barrier, and culture differences in our plot. We also included things that we all love about America like NYC attractions, Disney, and American pop songs. Then we wrap up the show with how each individual that are so different come across together, and how they learned from each other and the love between each character help and lead them to a better future. During our creating process, we also have to face the fact that we are creating an entire show in our second language, and frankly that is quite challenging. So we had to invite our American friend, Mackenzie Tank, as well as producer Maya Avisar, to jump in to help us, just to make sure that our language and jokes speak to American audiences as well.
Review Fix: What makes this different or special from other musical events of this genre?
Avisar: First of all, it’s an all-Asian cast. Instead of doing a regular cabaret-style and tell stories about ourselves, we made it into a musical revue. We created a complete storyline, and each character has a full journey in the show. We want the story to reach our audience’s heart, so we put our effort into combining true stories of ourselves and small details that resonates among us all. In addition, We picked songs from different eras that will fit into the storyline. From Irving Berlin and Cole Porter to popular musical Wicked; Disney songs; even songs from television series Crazy Ex-girlfriend, and pop songs like Bruno Mars and Alicia Keys. In short, We really want to celebrate diversity and who we are in this world.
Review Fix: What did you learn/are learning about yourself through this process?
Avisar: Creating a show in English is a breakthrough to all of us, through the process, we also get to look back and rethink the past experiences of how we adapt into this place, and how we learned from different people in our personal life. Especially in this huge melting pot, it is important to recognize the ability to open up to new ideas or concepts, and willing to interact and compromise between different cultures. Just like the show, the two main characters end up learning the most important aspect in their life from each other through their own unexpected way, which led them to a better result. We all agree that this element of the show surely reflects to our real life, and had taught us a lot about love and compassion.
Review Fix: What are your ultimate goals for this for the future?
Avisar: We want to be able to bring positive message of love and understanding. To our foreign audience, we want them to be able to relate to our story, and we want to stress that love is the key that support us all and bring us together. And to everybody, no matter how different each of us are, how we look or how we act, at the end of the day, we should embrace the uniqueness and respect one another. This sounds ambitious, but don’t we prefer a society that fills with more kindness, empathy, tolerance and respect?
Review Fix: What’s next?
Avisar: We created this entire show together from scratch, this is definitely just a beginning. We started putting in ideas using our own personal experiences to create an entertaining story, and then we found that this topic is really worth exploring, although it’s rather common. During the working process, we also dig in deep with each character and realized they have so much more to develop. We are looking forward to getting feedback from our first production, and definitely would love to push this into a more refined version, and continue to share our story to the world.