Photo 1 – (l to r) Michael Sasaki (Masao Imoto) and Angela Oliver (Charlene Williams, The Bronze Nightingale) in the World Premiere production of MASAO AND THE BRONZE NIGHTINGALE, written by Dan Kwong and Rubén Funkahuatl Guevara, directed by Dan Kwong, presented by CASA 0101 Theater in association with the Japanese American National Museum from April 22 – May 15, 2022 at CASA 0101 Theater, 2102 East First Street, Boyle Heights, CA 90033, – Photo by Daren Mooko

A new play by Boyle Heights resident Rubén “Funkahuatll” Guevara and his longtime collaborator Dan Kwong will have its world premiere Friday at Casa 0101 Theater.

Set in postwar Little Tokyo, “Masao and the Bronze Nightingale,” tells the story of a Japanese American jazz musician who falls in love with a Black jazz singer. Opening Night is Friday, April 22, 2022 at 8:00 p.m.  Thereafter, performances will be presented on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. through May 15, 2022.

Written by Kwong and Guevara, based on a short story written by Guevara, the world premiere production is directed by Kwong and stars Michael Sasaki as Masao Imoto and Angela Oliver as Charlene Williams, also known as The Bronze Nightingale.

The plot, according to a press release:

In the aftermath of World War II, formerly incarcerated Japanese Americans are shocked to discover Little Tokyo has become “Bronzeville,” an African American community.  When a Japanese American jazz musician from Boyle Heights falls for a Bronzeville singer, the ripple-effect of their romance causes upheaval in every direction as the Japanese, Black and Mexican American communities react.

The play is being presented by CASA 0101 Theater in association with the Japanese American National Museum.

Other members of the cast include:  Greg Watanabe (April 22 – May 1), Dan Kwong (May 6-15), Sachiyo K, Roberta H. Martínez, José A. Garcia, Isaac Cruz, Scott Golden, Jon Gentry and Pauline Yasuda.

The show will be presented at CASA 0101 Theater, 2102 East 1st Street (at St. Louis Street). Tickets are $30 for General Admission, $25 for Students and Seniors, $20 for Boyle Heights residents, $25 for Groups of 10 or more, $20 for Groups of 20 or more.  

Special Guest Speakers will be featured after Sunday matinee performances.  For tickets and more information, please call 323-263-7684 or visit

Concurrently with the performances of “Masao and the Bronze Nightingale,” the Jean Deleage Art Gallery, located in the lobby of CASA 0101 Theater, and the Japanese American National Museum are presenting an art exhibit through May 15, 2022, entitled, “Bronzeville: Modernity,, Race and the Search to Belong,”  featuring the works of artists: Bryan Ida, Laura Vazquez Rodriguez, Sandra Vista, Aydee Martinez and Brandy Maya Healy. 

Curated by Jimmy Centeno, with the help of Assistant Researcher, Shelley Johnson II, the exhibit binds together the multiple contradictions and complexities of identity in a racialized modern society.  Five artists share their personal relationship and their connections with the Japanese American experience through the visual language of art.  The exhibit can be viewed prior to performances of the play and during regular Gallery Hours, which are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

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Boyle Heights Beat

Boyle Heights Beat is a bilingual community newspaper produced by its youth "por y para la comunidad". The newspaper and its sister website serve an immigrant neighborhood in East Los Angeles of just under...

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