Photo by Lia Chang
'MY AAPI BROADWAY STORY: BREAKING BARRIERS' Conceived & Directed by Lainie Sakakura
Public Library for the Performing Arts, Bruno Walter Auditorium
LAINIE SAKAKURA - NYC based director, award winning choreographer (Joe A. Callaway Award & Joseph Jefferson Award recipient), librettist, educator, producer, and long time advocate for diversity and inclusion in the performing arts. Most recently she received great notices for her work directing LIZZIE at TheaterWorks Hartford and for choreographing THE FROGS at the Rose Theater at Jazz Lincoln Center directed by Ted Sperling and hosted by Nathan Lane. Ms Sakakura continues to seek out and create work that inspires her everyday to lift and support her community. Concept and Direction for MY APPI BROADWAY STORY: BREAKING BARRIERS, Lincoln Center Public Library for the Performing Arts (2022 Archival viewing TOFT). Book & Direction for CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, the musical adaptation of The New York Times Bestseller, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, Music/Lyrics by Paul Fujimoto. Concept and Choreography for 'National Tours' representing families for the 2023 BCEFA EASTER BONNET.
Directing style - infused with her deep understanding of storytelling through movement, born from her intensive acting training combined with her classical ballet and concert dance background. Over her 32 year professional career, she has worked on dozens of original musicals regionally and on Broadway as a performer, associate, choreographer, director, and/or writer. Ms Sakakura has directed new works at the Joyce Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, Bruno Walter Auditorium, Neighborhood Playhouse, Summer Stage in Central Park, Theatre 71, The Duplex, and Don't Tell Mama. Creating and developing new work is her greatest passion.
Choreography style - real people moving to music. Dance is a scene without text. As Christopher Arnott from the Hartford Courant wrote, "...choreographer Lainie Sakakura shines with ingenuity and progressive spirit. There’s a lot of casual, natural movement in the show that slyly grows into full ensemble dances." (2021) She fully utilizes the power and impact of storytelling through movement without overchoreographing. Steps means nothing without intention. If you don't know why you're dancing, then you shouldn't be doing it. Recipient of the 2015 JOE A. CALLAWAY AWARD for Outstanding Choreography and the 2002 JOSEPH JEFFERSON AWARD for Best Choreography.
Diversity and inclusion - A longtime driving force in her life, born from a Japanese American Internment Camp survivor and immigrant mother. Co-founder of SAKACHEZ® with Alex Sanchez to mentor, train and build support for young performers of color, Co-founder/Co-chair ROCKETTES OF COLOR ALUMNAE (1994 Sakakura became the second AAPI Radio City Music Hall Rockette hired following Setsuko Maruhashi, who was the first Rockette of color), and 7-year Co-chair of PS 87 CULTURE AND COMMUNITY COMMITTEE producing and directing 30 multicultural performance events for a NYC public school. Currently 2023 cohort Theatre Producers of Color (TPOC)