More Asian American stories are hitting the main stage in LA

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Jully Lee, Tess Lina, Ryun Yu, Jessica Ko, and Paul Juhn appear in South Coast Repertory's 2023 world premiere of “Coleman ’72” by Charlie Oh. Photo by Jenny Graham.

East West Players, the nation’s largest and longest-running Asian American theater company, has a long history of shining a spotlight on Asian American writers and actors in Los Angeles, with plays that explore everything from the history of Japanese internment camps to race relations in a modern-day beauty supply shop. 

Now, the company’s longtime artistic director, Snehal Desai, is stepping into a new role as artistic director of the massive Center Theatre Group, during a moment when more Asian American-led stories are hitting main stages across the city and country. 

And playwright Charlie James Oh, a recent Juilliard graduate, recently had the premier of his play, “Coleman 72,” at South Coast Repertory, where it is running for one more weekend. 

The play features a Korean American family’s journey to Los Angeles from the Midwest, but Oh says the themes of the piece have resonated beyond just other Korean Americans.




Luis Alfaro