Casting Announced for the Midwest Premiere of American Hwangap

For media inquiries, contact:
Liza Massingberd/Brynn Murphy | The Silverman Group
Liza@silvermangroupchicago.com| 312-932-9950

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 

American Hwangap cast

A Co-Production by Halcyon Theatre & A-Squared Theatre

February 24 – April 1, 2017

January 18, 2017 – Halcyon Theatre and A-Squared Theatre are proud to announce casting for the Midwest Premiere of Lloyd Suh’s American Hwangap—led by Jeff Award-winner Joseph Anthony Foronda. Helen Young is set to direct the co-production that runs February 24 through April 1 (press opening Thursday, March 2 at 8 p.m.) at Halcyon Theatre located in residence at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, 3253 W. Wilson Avenue, on Chicago’s north side.

The cast features Gordon Chow (David Chun), Joseph Anthony Foronda (Min Suk Chun), Cheryl Hamada (Mary Chun), Jin Kim (Ralph Chun) and Helen Joo Lee (Esther Chun). Understudies include Joe Yau, Jay Españo, Francesca Atian and Ian Michael Smith.

American Hwangap tells a deftly observant, funny, and moving story about the difficulty of reunification and reconciliation during a weekend in the lives of the Chuns. After abandoning his family to return to his native South Korea, Min Suk Chun abruptly reappears in the lives of his ex-wife and children on the day of his hwangap, the traditional way of celebrating one’s 60th birthday in Korean culture. However, his ex-wife and kids, now adults, have moved on and do not readily welcome the patriarch back into the family with open arms. As his birthday approaches, Min Suk struggles to reunite his family and obtain forgiveness from the ones he loves most.

“Well before diversity became a hot topic on the Chicago theatre scene, Halcyon Theatre was already steadfastly devoted to creating theatre that reflects the racial and ethnic makeup of Chicago,” says A-Squared artistic director Cary Shoda. “My colleagues and I fell in love with this script a few years ago, but felt that A-Squared Theatre could not properly stage it with the company’s limited resources. The partnership with Halcyon gives A-Squared Theatre the opportunity to strive for heightened artistic ambitions in producing a play examining universal themes that surpass cultural boundaries.”

Performance schedule and tickets
Press Opening: Thursday, March 2 at 8:00 p.m.
Regular Run: Friday, February 24 – Saturday, April 1
Curtain: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.; Sundays at 6 p.m.

Tickets for American Hwangap are $20 for guaranteed advance admission or at no-cost through the Radical Hospitality program. For additional information, please visit halcyontheatre.org/hwangap or call 773-413-0454.

Cast Bios

Gordon Chow (David Chun) previously worked with A-Squared Theatre on a staged reading of Purple Cloud and with Halcyon Theatre on their production of Family Devotions. Other Chicago credits include The World of Extreme Happiness (understudy) and Fish Men at Goodman Theatre, Yellow Face (performing understudy), Durango (performing understudy) and Golden Child (performing understudy) at Silk Road Rising; Jade Heart at Chicago Dramatists; Struggling Truths at Prop Theatre; Around the World in 80 Days at Lifeline Theatre (Jeff Citation for Best Ensemble) and Dope at Defiant Theatre. Television credits include Chicago Med (NBC).

Joseph Anthony Foronda (Min Suk Chun) is a proud AEA Chicago actor. His Chicago credits include Brigadoon (Goodman Theatre), Yellow Face (Silk Road Rising), Miss Saigon (Paramount Theatre, Drury Lane), The King & I (Marriott Theatre, Drury Lane Oakbrook), Pacific Overtures (Chicago Shakespeare) and The Romance of Magno Rubio (Victory Gardens). Regional credits include Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land, The Yeomen of the Guard (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Stuck Elevator (American Conservatory Theatre), The Golden Dragon (Studio Theatre), Les Miserables (Weston Playhouse); The House That Jack Built (Indiana Rep), The Fantasticks (East West Players), Flower Drum Song (San Jose Rep) and Miss Saigon (TUTS, Casa Mañana, La Mirada). Broadway/West End credits include Pacific Overtures 2004 Revival, Miss Saigon, Shogun: The Musical and Pacific Overtures (Donmar Warehouse). Foronda was seen on film in Contagion and Formosa Betrayed.

Cheryl Hamada (Mary Chun) most recently appeared onstage in last season’s production of Chimerica at Timeline. Other stage work includes roles in Washer/Dryer for Rasaka, Golden Child and Yohen at Silk Road Rising, Race at Lookingglass, 6 seasons with A Christmas Carol at Goodman Theatre, Claudia Allen’s The Gays Of Our Lives for Zebra Crossing, Wild Indian at Victory Gardens, Blood Wedding for Pegasus Players, E/R Emergency Room for Organic Theatre, and Talking With…., and Innocent Thoughts, Harmless Intentions at Next Theatre for which she received a Jeff citation. Film and TV work includes 4 seasons hosting the HGTV series Extreme Homes, 1 season hosting WTTW’s Your Chicago Kitchen, roles in the films: About Schmidt, The Dilemma, Nothing Like The Holidays, Above The Law, Chain Reaction, and Losing Isaiah, and roles on TV series: Boss, Betrayal, Mind Games, Early Edition, Unsolved Mysteries, the pilot for Doubt, and Chicago Med, Chicago Hope, The Chicago Code and Chicago Story.

Jin Kim (Ralph Chun) has performed a bunch of shows in a bunch of places for a bunch of years. Currently, Jin spends his time at Laugh Out Loud, performing and teaching the lucrative art of improv, and at Kamehachi, hosting Chicago's very own live Japanese game show, BATSU! Chicago. Special thanks to friends and family for their tireless support, no matter the pursuit. Jin Kim is represented by Paonessa Talent, and likes oysters.

Helen Joo Lee (Esther Chun). A recent transplant from California, Lee is thrilled to be making her Chicago theatre debut. Her favorite roles include Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream with the Seoul Shakespeare Company, Mrs. Drudge in The Real Inspector Hound and Dotty Otley/Mrs. Clackett in Noises Off with Seoul Players. She has studied improv at The Groundlings School and can be found hoofing around Chicago with the Comedy Dance Collective.

Radical Hospitality program

As a core part of Halcyon’s mission of eradicating economic boarders and building inclusive audiences, the theatre offers no-cost access to all productions for any audience member. There are two ways to see a performance:

1) No-cost admission: Halcyon holds a significant number of seats for no-cost admission on a first come, first served basis for each performance. To access these seats, provide contact information at the box office up to one hour prior to curtain. Seating begins 30 minutes before show time. No assigned seats.

2) Guaranteed admission: $20 guaranteed seats can be reserved online or in person at the box office. Seating begins 30 minutes before show time and is open. No assigned seats.

About Halcyon

Halcyon Theatre is fiercely committed to making the stage as diverse as the city of Chicago. Dedicated to presenting new voices from inadequately represented communities, Halcyon works to recast classic works in order to showcase contemporary relevance.

Based in the Albany Park neighborhood, Halcyon Theatre was formed in 2006 to connect people, transform borders and ascend toward a more just union. The theatre’s artistic philosophy is driven by the continuing belief that at every point of human history where there has been an explosion of artistic creativity, it has happened when different cultures and traditions have met and learned from each other. Halcyon’s work includes productions as well as providing platforms—including Compass Lab as well as writing workshops & new play labs—for artists to grow and reach their full potential. For more information, please visit www.halcyontheatre.org.

About A-Squared

As an Asian American theatre company, A-Squared Theatre provides opportunities for Asian American theatre artists to develop and showcase their work and talent by staging stories that accurately depict the Asian American cultural identity and experience. A-Squared’s productions and readings also educate the general public on issues relevant to the Asian American community, such as family, immigration, assimilation, social justice, sexuality, mental health, and other pertinent themes. By addressing these important issues, A-Squared creates theatre that reflects the diversity of Asian cultures present in the Chicago area.

A-Squared Theatre was founded in December 2006 by a collective of Asian American theatre artists based in Chicago. Noting that many important Asian and Asian American plays, both new and old, have never been produced in Chicago, these artists united for the common goal of bringing these stories to the Chicago stage. In doing so, the founders pledged to showcase the talents of Asian American theatre artists who they believe were underrepresented and misrepresented in Chicago theatre. For more information, please visit http://www.a-stw.org/

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