Thursday, April 24, 2014

and another (yes, another!) one of my books hits the stage!

As if seeing Where the Mountain Meets the Moon onstage wasn't enough, I am so over-the-top-thrilled that Starry River of the Sky has also been adapted for the stage! It premieres TOMORROW at Stages Theatre in Hopkins, MN!

Here's a sneak peak of the set (all photos stolen from the Stages Theatre Facebook page! Hope they don't mind):
doesn't it look great?

as well as Peiyi and Rendi (displaying their mutual dislike!):

It seems hard to believe that I would have two novels adapted for the stage, but it makes more sense  when one realizes that Stages Theatre is the company who first adapted Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. Their script is the one that Wheelock used to put on their show, which I think, in turn inspired other places like the Bay Area Children's Theater and other places see the book's stage potential. Stages Theatre is truly the visionary and not just in bringing my books to life (which is a feat in itself) but, also by having the courage to take on what others have thought as "ethnic stories" and revealing them to what stories to be enjoyed by all.  Having both Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky produced as plays (hopefully to extreme success!) is, as my friend Janet Wong put, "a huge milestone for diversity in children's literature."

So, I am extremely grateful to them! I wasn't able to see the Stages Theater  production  of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (I had a production of my own to attend to), but I'm not missing this one! While I won't be at the premiere tomorrow, I will be at the May 3rd show! Schedule below:

Saturday, May 3rd 2014
Hopkins Jaycees Studio Theatre
1111 Mainstreet
Hopkins, MN 55343

Prior to the 1:00 pm Performance:
12:30 - 1:00 PM: Grace Lin book signing 
1:00 PM: Performance of Starry River of the Sky
2:15-2:45 PM: Talk with audience

Prior to the 7:00 pm Performance:
6:30-7:00 PM: Pre-show reception and Grace Lin book signing
7:00-8:15 PM: Performance of Starry River of the Sky

So, if you are local to the area--please, go see the show! If you aren't local, please spread the word! If it does well, maybe, just like what happened with Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, it'll catch the eye of other places and Starry River of the Sky could be performed in a theater near you! I can dream, anyway...

More info about the show HERE!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Belated Hong Kong post: A Banner Day!

I've been so wrapped up in current happenings, that I've been remiss in posting about past events! I've had some wonderful memories that need to be noted, if only for my own posterity.

My trip to Hong Kong was filled with memorable moments! They talk about banner years, banner days--well, I had a banner visit! Literally!

First, there was the banner on awesome HKIS librarian Amy Robinson:

And then there was a contest for the students, where they designed welcomed banners for your truly:

And the winners of the contest had their designs made into actual banners:

Aren't they neat?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

an "epoch" in my life

There's a scene in the book Penderwicks on Gardam Street  where one of the sisters, Jane, has her play performed and she thrilled beyond measure--when she realizes, “... all this was the result of her imagination come to life.”

Well, this weekend, I felt the same way! I truly had, as Anne of Green Gables would say, an "epoch" in my life. Because, for the first time, I was able to see my book performed as a play!

Being the author of the book, Wheelock let me have some sneak peaks before the show. Unfortunately, I was so captivated by everything, I didn't take that many photos! But here are some that I did take.

First, there was the set. It simple, but so effective! One of my favorite parts of the show is the fact that the never had the moon and the mountain onstage together until the very end...until the "mountain meet the moon." Such a subtle but effective touch!

 And then there were the costumes and props! They were amazing! I'm really sad that I didn't take more pictures. There were more than 70 costumes to create and the wardrobe people made all of them (working until the crack of dawn before the show, I am told). I was so impressed! These are the heads for the stone lions and the green tiger:

And then right before the curtain opened, I sneaked in and saw the performers:

 including some of my favorite characters, the monkeys:

And then it was SHOWTIME!

And it was wonderful.

Truly, truly, I loved it! I thought it was the perfect stage adaptation. The actress, Caroline Workman,  who played Minli was incredible, I couldn't believe she was only 14 years old. She had the perfect balance of earnestness, enthusiasm and optimism. And Ba (played by Michael Tow) truly captured the kindness of the character I envisioned while Ma (Grace Napier) was played with just the right mix of vulnerability and bitterness. For her part, Rain Dragon adored Dragon (Stewart Evan Smith) and has been talking about "Red Dragon" ever since the show.  But ALL the actors and actresses were marvelous!

And Wheelock, true to their "color-blind casting" added some surprising but completely cool things. For example, one small part was given to a deaf actor who signed in Chinese sign language!

So, obviously I ♥ the show!

At the end of Saturday's show, they asked me to come onstage, which was another thrill...

Which I will truly remember my whole life!

Many people have asked me if the show will be coming to their area. All I can say is, I wish it would! Wheelock decided to produce Where the Mountain Meets the Moon after someone on their advisory board heard (and saw) the Stages production in MN. After seeing that show, she brought the script to Wheelock and the rest is history!

So if you'd like to have the show come to your area, I'd suggest doing the same. Find a local theater company and recommend  the play. The script is available and I think Wheelock might even rent out their costumes and props!  Or if you are interested in the musical version, you could even contact the Bay Area Children's Theater about their script! I'd love to see the story performed everywhere, and not just for selfish reasons.

But, in the meantime, please see the Wheelock show! You won't be disappointed!

Monday, April 14, 2014

on my desk monday

It's a goldfish prop from the Where the Mountain Meets the Moon play! I had the most amazing weekend participating in its premiere--I'll post more tomorrow, but in the meantime go see the show! If you enjoyed the book, you'll love the play!

Friday, April 11, 2014

fortune cookie friday

"If you hurry through long days, you will hurry through short years."
- Chinese Proverb

Thursday, April 10, 2014

still talking

I'm at the Texas Library Association and for the first time in what feels like forever, I reunited with my Hi-YAH! sisters, Justina Chen and Janet Wong:
Justina Chen, me and Janet Wong 

I call them my Hi-YAH! sisters because a million years ago (in 2006) the three of went on what we called the Hi-YAH! tour;  a nationwide tour to bring attention to Asian YA and Children's Literature in honor of Asian Pacific Heritage Month:

the three of us in 2006
During that tour we talked about the lack of diversity in children's literature, the problems books with minority characters had breaking the stereotype of being niche and unmarketable and how to make readers see that multicultural literature was literature for everyone. 

Well, it's been eight years since we that tour and, ironically, we're still having the same conversation, over and over again.

It's tempting to think that nothing has changed, but they have. Not huge, big steps but there have been steps. I know I have been going on and on about the Where the Mountain Meets the Moon play  and the other performances of my book that have and will occur, but, honestly,  it isn't solely about me. Eight years ago, perhaps a theater wouldn't have taken a chance with such an "ethnic" play.  But  now  places like Wheelock are producing it and I truly want it to be a success. Because if it does really well it's another step that shows that a story like Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, an "Asian, multicultural, ethnic story," is a story everyone can enjoy. 

And would be a great way to continue an eight year conversation. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Belated Hong Kong post: Man Mo Temple

After the Big Buddha, we went to Man Mo Temple--another place I had visited last time.  I thought the incense was less stifling this time (however, I was soon to find out that was just because my nasal passages were blocked as my illness was just starting to get going) and I was able to gaze at the mesmerizing incense coils:

And be enchanted by the lanterns:

As well as the overall ambiance:

But I admit it was the less picturesque  things outside that made me happiest. I found out I  am supposed to have a wonderful year this year! This chart--with its recommended "lucky accessory" list--told me so:

And, even with the year's past illness and upcoming craziness, I believe I will.  Even though they weren't on the list,  I have two accessories that I am sure are extremely lucky.

Don't you agree?

Monday, April 7, 2014

on my desk monday

It's the Korean version of Starry River of the Sky! It's on my desk as I am just finishing up my monthly (well, it's supposed to be monthly but lately it's been every other month) newletter. I'm giving this Korean edition away to a newsletter subscriber (I do a book giveaway every newsletter). If you want to subscribe to my newsletter, you can HERE.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Another event!

In honor of the  Where the Mountain Meets the Moon performance, I will be participating in another (yes, another) event!

Benefiting the Chinese Historical Society of New England, I will be giving a special "Embracing the Multicultural Label" presentation as well as discussing the Where the Mountain Meets the Moon performance adaptation.

Sunday, April 13th at 1 pm
Film Lecture Hall
Newton North High School
457 Walnut St., Newton, MA
Tickets available HERE!
A book signing and reception will follow.

Please come! I know it's a little late notice, so please spread the word even if you can't come yourself. But I hope to see you!

As usual, please check my event calendar for updates and changes to where I'll be!