Artistic Statement

Artistic Statement

Since the 2016 Presidential election, I’d venture to say that our tribe of storytellers has written a ton of new work. “Anything is possible” has taken on a whole new meaning - for better or (often) worse - and has inspired a whole lot that needs to be expressed. I do believe that through all of this, new, important, and courageous art is being created. And in the face of unabashed prejudice, bias and bigotry that has become the new normal – “compassionate” may have just become the new “edgy”.

I used to apologize for having a sort of pathological optimism that compelled me to write stories embroidered with intentionally hard earned joy and hopefulness, when (yes, even in musicals) there was an unspoken understanding that you weren’t really considered cool (or relevant) if you weren’t writing about man’s unrelenting inhumanity to man - often dripping with irony, and centered around anti-heroes. These works for sure have an important place in the canon. And/but I always found myself slightly ashamed for wanting to write about the antithesis of these kinds of stories: journeys filled with compassion; not without conflict, of course, but dwelling in and swelling in possibility.

Today, as we witness inhumanity in every day living, when world events make it difficult to summon any sense of optimism for the future, I hold my stories of hope, possibility, and compassion close to my heart, not only to survive these times, but to remain lifted up so I can continue fighting the good fight. I vow that despair will not kill my spirit. Divisiveness will not kill my spirit. Fear of a disappearing democracy will not kill my spirit. I pledge to no longer apologize for having the kind of artistic voice that wants to sing a joyful song of radical hope for humanity.

As a sixth generation Asian American woman who is constantly questioned for my provenance, who carries the baggage of exclusion acts that resonate today in terrifying new ways, who fights for my vision to be seen through my own authentic lens, not the lens of what others expect from eyes shaped like mine – I am compelled to write stories of perseverance against impossible odds, of faith in the potential of the human spirit, and of the possibility of kindness without irony. I bring them - now unapologetically - into today's landscape of American musical storytelling.

I continue to believe in the power of art to cause that sometimes tiny, sometimes gigantic tug of our heart strings that insists that love wins, family endures, and so do the possibilities that come with being human, of running the human race, the race to be human.