Photo by Lia Chang
'MY AAPI BROADWAY STORY: BREAKING BARRIERS' Conceived & Directed by Lainie Sakakura
Interviewing Jose Llana, Public Library for the Performing Arts, Bruno Walter Auditorium
LAINIE SAKAKURA is a NYC based director, award winning choreographer (Joe A. Callaway Award & Joseph Jefferson Award), writer, educator and long time advocate for diversity and inclusion in the performing arts. Conceived & Directed 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 adapation of New York Times Bestseller, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, Music/Lyrics by Paul Fujimoto (29 hour AEA reading co-produced by the 5th Avenue Theatre, Abingdon Theatre Company,). 2022 CONNECTICUT CRITICS CIRCLE NOMINATION for Outstanding Choreography Cabaret, Goodspeed Musicals
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)