Tim Dang wins theater award

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The James Irvine Foundation held a ceremony this month in Sacramento to announce and honor the recipients of the 2009 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Awards. Now in its fourth year, the awards celebrate extraordinary leaders who are advancing innovative and effective solutions to significant state issues. The awards are intended to publicize proven solutions that can inform policymaking and better the lives of more Californians.

One of the awardees, receiving $125,000, is Tim Dang, East West Players, Los Angeles.

The nation's oldest professional theater of color, East West Players has been the stage for major Asian American actors (Tony Award-winner B.D. Wong, Star Trek's George Takei and House's Kal Penn, among others). Under Dang's leadership, East West Players has also become a full-fledged regional theater and multicultural hub. Dang has expanded the public's understanding of "Asian American" by showcasing a wide range of Asian characters and cultures, as well as non-Asian artists. He has brought new playwrights and audiences (nearly half of whom are non-Asian) to the theater through his emerging playwrights contest, innovative new works and creative outreach strategies. Dang's influence extends well beyond his theater, with East West Players' school performances and workshops aimed at bridging the gap among students of different racial backgrounds.