As theatergoers ate dinner and sipped drinks at Joe’s Pub Monday night, one thing had to be made clear for them.
“Just fair warning everybody,” said Victor Maog, artistic director for the New York-based Second Generation (2g) theater company. “There’s going to be a lot of Asians on the stage.”
To celebrate 16 years of supporting the Asian American theater community, 38 artists came together for a variety of original works 2g named Sixteen Going On Seventeen.
“Each of these writers tonight is answering a personal dare,” Maog told the audience. “Each of them said, ‘Yes,’ to their commission on the spot, and then they ran out and bought a very small yacht with their money.”
The evening showcased sneak peeks of five of the company’s upcoming plays and musicals-in-progress, including A Smooth Transition by Mrinalini Kamath; Not Far From China by Anna Moench; Galois the Musical by Sung Rno and Aaron Jones; Daddy Taught Me How to Woo by Lolan Buhain Sevilla; and songs by Adam Gwon, who is working on his first Asian-American musical.
As the company’s newly appointed artistic director, Maog wrote in the evening’s program that he has asked 2g’s artists to begin to question their place in society and the very definition of being an Asian in America.
“This night is about Asian representation,” Maog wrote. “More, it’s about how we can be leaders in artistic innovation and diversity and inclusion.”
2g is a non-profit and artistic home for emerging talent to help develop new plays from a new generation of Asian-American dramatists, provide early-career opportunities for young actors and reach out to newer and more diverse audiences. The company provides support both onstage – through developmental programs and performances – and offstage by cultivating an artist community.