Tuesday, October 11, 2011

L.A. Malong Malong

LA Malong Malong

November 10th - 12th: 8pm

November 13th: 2pm

Miles Playhouse in Santa Monica, CA

TeAda Productions for more information

photos: Michelle G. Magalong

Join me for my first SOLO show in 6 years: L.A. Malong Malong

Opening Night Tickets are only $11 when you click here and use the code: 11FOR11 by 10/16/11

Short on cash: Pay What You Can Preview is on 11/10/11.
Wanna come with a group? Email kat@teada.org
For more info visit: www.teada.org

Who would you climb a tower for? Might be good to know that answer. Zelle knows enough to know that she doesn’t feel at home in her own skin and she’s the one stuck in the tower! Join Zelle, Princely Butch and a host of other characters in Alison M. De La Cruz’s new solo show L.A. Malong Malong. This re-imagined, interactive fairy tale takes part of its name from a Southern Philippines folkdance where the malong transforms into over 30 objects. Zelle knows there’s more to the story. Come help her explore the question.


Alison M. De La Cruz is a multi-disciplinary theatre artist, arts educator and cultural organizer. Her solo works include SUNGKA (1999) and NATURALLY GRACEFUL (2005); she also pulled together 9 collaborators on her last original piece: WHERE YOU STAY? (2006). De La Cruz is the Administrative Director for About Productions. She is also the Lead Teaching Artist for East West Player’s PEAC Program & Special Event Producer. She collaborated with Playwrights’ Arena. De La Cruz also served as a Director, Dramaturg, and Writing/Performance Teacher for TEADAWORKS 2010.

Friday, September 2, 2011

N.E.T. National Gathering 8/11 - 8/14 Minneapolis, MN

The EYE of the ROOM

From August 11th - 14th, 2011, I served as part of the Facilitation Team for the Network of Ensemble Theaters' National Gathering in Minneapolis, MN. That's me there on the right, facilitating in the eye of the room.

I will leave the synthesis of the actual content to the forthcoming NET publishings. However, I did want to take a personal moment to share the larger context of Patti McGuire's image above.

I was guiding an activity to help the Ensemble Theater Artists assess 3 things:
  1. their own thoughts about the major foci of our national conversation
  2. where our colleagues stand across a variety of these foci
  3. the larger field of ensemble artists and allies gathered for the conference.

One of my favorite discoveries in this process was:
sometimes, the conversation helps us get to the task
and other times, the conversation is the task.

I spent part of the time sitting in circles;
standing in circles
at my breakout session located in
with my colleagues
in each of the 3 sessions:
We created flashcards about
developing new plays.
We played in space,
collaborated and observed.
We generated questions to take home to
our ensembles and copied them
to share with the field.

Shymala Moorty's picture reminds me that a lot of the process was devised, but a lot of the work was just being up on my feet with the people in the room.

My favorite traffic advisory during the conference came
when getting directions for the Minneapolis Fringe Festival:

"Get there early and beat the lines."

THANKS SO MUCH to the Twin Cities.
Minneapolis, MN,
I loved being hugged
by your concrete soaked with nature.
I loved traversing the
urban spaces of of St. Paul, MN.

I definitely had an opportunity to take a couple of breaths while on this trip.
I look forward to returning.

Patti McGuire took this while we were at the Guthrie lookin' out over the original interstate highway - the Mississippi River.

My water ancestors were happy and content.

Thanks, it'd been a minute since I'd felt connected to a river.

A final footnote as I offer thanks to all the places in MN: It was announced and discussed on the last day of the Gathering, that NET was going to enter a new phase of dialogue and exploration that they are calling the Place Cycle. From what I understand - over the course of the next two years, our ensemble theater colleagues will spotlight ensemble theatre making and dialogue in places in MI, LA, KY and HI.

the Place Cycle...
I'm excited to listen and participate in dialogue in those places
and witness what ensembles are creating within their places.

Friday, July 1, 2011

June 4th -

It was a beautiful night with almost 500 people in attendance! As the Administrative Director at About Productions, I had the pleasure of helping to organize and produce the LA Premiere and Benefit Concert - Stories & Songs: An intimate evening with Los Lobos' David Hidalgo & Louie Perez at the LA Theatre Center.

The event supported About Productions' innovative literacy through theater programs: YOUNG THEATERWORKS. YT, as we call it, has been doing amazing work building literacy among East LA Youth. Its such a pleasure to watch youth transform as they develop communication and interviewing skills, interview elders, work with a mentor and develop an original theaterwork from these interviews. Our Through the Ages project was featured in the LA Times (Click HERE) earlier this year.

During the benefit concert, About PD also shared an excerpt from the new piece in development - Evangeline, The Queen of Make-Believe. This new theaterwork features the music of David Hidalgo & Louie Perez and is co-written by Perez and AP's Theresa Chavez and Rose Portillo.

Below: Alison w/ Louie Perez. Photo: paul-redmond.com
You know I have to admit - I first heard of Los Lobos because of the movie La Bamba. But over the last 3 years, while working at About PD, my appreciation for Louie and David's music has grown tremendously. Its been exciting to see how the creators of Evangeline are engaging with the Perez & Hidalgo songbook. Its been exciting to meet the poets and composers behind the Lobos catalogue and to hear David and Louie talk about their work. In the course of creating the video promo (see below) I fell in love with the song "Saint Behind The Glass."So it makes total sense that my favorite moment of the concert was hearing David and Louie perform it.

Since the event was pretty much sold out - I didn't sit in my seat - I gave it to a friend. Besides, as a producer and organizer, I actually had more fun standing in the back of the theatre, the doors swung open from the theatre, and hearing the music pour through the mini-lobby and out into the marbled-fabulousness of the great lobby at LATC.

If you know anything about me I hope it would be - I am from Los Angeles. I was born here. I LOVE being from L.A. I LOVE L.A. and by extension, I particularly love producing, supporting, and sharing in the work of LA artists (whether native or now rooted transplants). It was also particularly fun to watch David and Louie get a Proclamation from the City of Los Angeles (presented by Councilman Jose Huizar) honoring their 40 years of artistic collaboration, their artistic work and their international impact.

I'm so honored that I got a chance to help produce this musical homecoming in such an intimate venue for long-time fans and friends - as well as the newbies just discovering more of these East LA poets.

For more information about Louie Perez and David Hidalgo check out their website. Its an awesome site!

Excited about my work at About Productions? Join us - donate today.

Here is the promo DVD that I helped to create for the event.

Friday, June 10, 2011

EWP's 45th Anniversary Visionary Awards Dinner & Silent Auction

Its taken me a minute to breathe, but its time to share.

On May 2, 2011 the lights went up and lights went down on East West Players' 45th Anniversary Visionary Awards Dinner and Silent Auction at the Universal Hilton. It was my first time at the event as the Producer. I had been as a guest (thanks to brother Jim) and I had been as crew (thanks to Meg). But being the producer of an event with lots of moving parts is always a great ride.

It was truly a beautiful night. After several months of scheduling and inviting, we were excited to be able to honor HARRY SHUM JR., from GLEE; Bank of America for their support of East West Players and the larger ARTS COMMUNITY; and Michael Hagiwara - a long time East West Players family member. Karin Anna Cheung, Dante Basco, George Takei, John Cho, Rodney Kageyama and Aaron Takahashi were awesome presenters! James Kyson-Lee and Tamlyn Tomita were our MCs for the evening.

Its a fundraising Gala - but many people who attend say that its their favorite fundraiser of the season - because its not just a boring dinner and silent auction - its a show. This year - we had some amazing entertainment:
The 3 Filipino Tenors (Antione Diel, Randy Guiaya and Lino Villareal) turned it out with their Opening Medley - takin' us through the decades 4.5 decades that EWP has been producing Asian Pacific American theatrical work. Laurie Cadevida rocked it with 'Born This Way' and Joan Almedilla sent us all to the dessert buffet and final moments of the silent auction with "Song For You."

The night was amazing for many reasons. It was of course a personal milestone, since I've been a fan of EWP and a part of the community for over 10 years. It was great because I am also the Lead Teaching Artist for their PEAC Program. It was also great because my wife Ellen is part of the EWP family and crew regularly working shows.

I invite you to check out East West Players. I invite you to DONATE to them.

I invite you to join us next year for the 46th Anniversary Visionary Awards Dinner and Silent Auction on 4/30/12! If you'd like to volunteer you can email: galavolunteers@eastwestplayers.org

I am today's Filipino - circa 2006

And while I'm on the documenting past collaborations, projects and pop-ups... here is another lil' somethin' somethin'.


Producer of Events... Grace Nono

Over the course of the last 15 years I've produced many events. Here is one of those magical moments from 2006 that willed its way into being while I worked at FilAm ARTS.

The great Pilipina singer GRACE NONO was in Los Angeles for an artist exchange at UCLA. She had collaborative presentations through APEX Artist Exchange Program - but the community wanted a little more. So, we hustled and booked the small gallery next to Remy's on Temple in Historic Filipinotown for this small intimate concert.

Sadly, my Tagalog skills were not what they could be and Grace wouldn't talk to me very much in English. Joel Quizon and Ian Laczi's held it down as sound engineers and resident Tagalog speakers. Ernie Pena shot the video. Special thanks to Jilly Canizares - cuz nothing happens without her blessings or guidance. Thanks to everyone's efforts it was truly an intimate and amazing event in this tiny gem of a storefront with one of the biggest voices in the world.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Join Me June 4th for STORIES & SONGS

APICD Speech 05/2011

This speech was shared at the Asian Pacific Islander Commencement Dinner at Pomona College in May, 2011. The Asian American Resource Center produces this annual dinner in the Frank Blue Room. Highlights of the evening included a keynote speaker, dinner, slide show, graduating speaker, 2 award presentations and the presentation of the orchid leis to the graduates. Graduates each then shared 30 seconds of closing remarks and the AARC invited all graduates and alumni to stay in touch.

An Open Letter to Graduates
Keynote Address

by Alison De La Cruz

Dear Graduates,

I’m so honored to be here to celebrate with you. First, I want to give a shout out – to your parents and siblings; cousins and friends. Now, I ask all the parents in the room to please stand up. Thank you for the support you have given your graduating senior. Please let us applaud you. Let’s give them a big round of applause. (Applause).

Thank you always to the staff and students at the AARC who invite me and honor me with this speech and the award that will be presented later. My time at the AARC and here at Pomona was truly special – I began working at Pomona months after graduating from the University of Puget Sound. I was determined to engage in the community and find ways to impact students’ lives.

By the time I heard about the AARC - I had already been through a rigorous interview process, been the 1 of 2 final candidates for a nice job– but I was ultimately rejected. I got depressed. I had not given up – but I was starting to feel in a dent my armor of hope. I simply put trust in the universe and believed all my friends when they said – “Don’t worry the job you are REALLY supposed to have will come.”

And so it did – through the Asian American Resource Center. Back then, the AARC was located in 3 small offices in Oldenborg Hall. To get into our office you had to bend down, use this tiny key to unlock a small padlock at the foot of a sliding glass door. My time at the AARC would not only strengthen my quads and calves; but my own resolve that so much is truly possible when a group of people collaborate on a task as well as the overall health and well-being of those involved in the task. My work with students and my colleagues throughout the Claremont Colleges and beyond still resonates today. My life has been enriched by the relationships that I developed in the years that I was here.

In fact, just this past Thursday I was out at the Los Angeles Theatre Center during ARTWALK, I had been standing for hours, talking to people and promoting the LA Premiere of Stories & Songs – a benefit concert for theatre company I currently work for; when a Scripps alum walked through the door. We chuckled when we were introduced to each other by the mutual friend she was with and shared a smile over our connection made oh-so-long ago.

I share all of this with you graduates so that as you face your own job search know that when I interviewed for my position at the AARC there was a lot I didn't know. I didn’t know that my work here would strengthen my relationship to the API Community and my practice of developing our artistic expression and voice. In the months that followed my own graduation, I didn’t get that job I wanted because, in fact, I was being set up for the job I needed. It is truly special that I’m forever tied to the Sagehens, the AARC and the number 47.

So here we are – to celebrate this new class of graduating seniors – and watch as the torch is being passed to the next round of AARC interns; AAMP head mentors; and student leaders.

Graduates – I again congratulate you on your success. And to the village that supported you: Parents and family I congratulate on your success. And finally, to the staff and faculty here at Pomona who have contributed to the development of these students lives – I congratulate you on your success! Its been a long time coming. I’m sure.

To mark this occasion – it feels important to share in a ritual. So, I would like to share with you a ritual that is integral to my practice as a community-based theatre artist. Something simple, yet effective. Please let’s celebrate this moment - by all taking a breath together.

Breathe in through the nose and out and through the mouth.

Our breath is central to our life. Our breath is central to our voice. Our breath is central to us. Please one more communal breath, in through your nose, and out through your mouth.

Awesome, we've shared in a ritual breath and so – onto the ceremonial task of a commencement type address. I’m community based theatre artist and cultural organizer. So I thought I would offer –5 TIPS:






Let me apologize now for the 1 perfectly placed curse word in this speech.


It seems a given in our API community, that family is an important thing, but I really want to underscore this point. My wife likes to remind me, nothing is ever promised. We make each day our own. Cherish those close to you with your time and your energy.

Cherish time, because it is fleeting – even in an age with digital this and technological that ; skype-ing here and facebook there - cherish each second with your family as if an Olympic medal depends on it. Train yourself to put down the device and engage in the present. There will come a time where you wish you had spent just a little more time or whole lot more time sitting around, doing nothing, and just being with your family. Cherish time with your family and family of friends as if you were part of a great jazz band improv’ing and playing – syncopating rhythms to discover the greatest composition of all time. The nuances of your relationships and the insight you can offer each other could spawn the next great American genre of family or friendship. And even if only you and your family know of this great treasure – it is that much more precious and valuable.

Cherish your energy because it is precious and finite – even if you feel it to be infinite today. You need only spend time with a newborn or toddler to discover that even the happiest child has a tantrum when they are exhausted and won’t go to sleep.

Cherish your parents and elders – ask them about their own personal history, your family history, your community history. Enveloped within these conversations are the support beams, hidden staircases and bountiful surprises that enrich your life and ultimately the lives of those around you. The older we get, the more we discover that our parents – are their own individual persons with foibles and follies. That they, have chapters of their own histories that have nothing to do with you. As you continue to age as an adult, you may discover that this person has an answer – not because they are your mother or your father or your auntie or uncle – but because they are a person who has lived a whole universe of experiences that you have yet to explore, know about or understand.

In the process of asking your parents and elders who they are - you may also be surprised to discover that their stories are in fact the stitches or bandages to a wound that you carry. Their insight might offer the antiseptic to the great pain in your heart or that scab in your mind that you unknowingly are picking at each time you live in self-doubt or fear. Or perhaps in hearing their stories – you become the antiseptic, stitches and bandage to their own wounds. Cherish your family and your family of friends; so that together you might heal any wounds or strengthen any weaknesses as you forge ahead into the new phases of your lives.


As you enter in the post-graduation working world – I invite you to collaborate with your colleagues. Collaboration is one of those words that a lot of people use. As you begin to define it for yourself I would encourage you to consider: No matter your field of interest; your path or profession – collaboration is an invaluable tool in your professional success.

I challenge you to discover – what does collaboration mean in your field of work? Does it involve a top down hierarchy? Or is collaboration a free flowing organic process? Is it something that is valued? Why or why not? I ask these questions because I know - collaboration is not easy – it requires clear honest and thoughtful communication. And in the inevitable event that it doesn’t always go well – true collaborators know that they need to sit down and check in about what is going well and what needs to be changed.

While capitalism often invites us to compete against each other; community process has taught me that dedication to both the task and to the people that you are working with can yield amazing results. When colleagues and coworkers are invited to participate and engage with their whole selves – their investment in the project is often stronger and their work more dedicated. When collaborating we are forced to use skills such as empathy and compassion. We are forced to use tools like active listening and risk-taking to try and develop connections to our colleagues that ultimately form the bridges of trust that can be invaluable in the times of stress while completing deadlines and deliverables.


My next suggestion is to confide in the universe or god, or the goddess, or your higher power, or your higher self. Confide in the universe your deepest fears and your wildest hopes and dreams. Search for an internal acceptance and spiritual center. When you truly come from a grounded place – your reach and impact is that much more powerful. Cherish your thoughts because they influence your attitude; your perceptions and your possibilities.

Confide in the universe or your guardian angels, the things that you want most to do and be and then discover everyday the ways to become that person – to become, as my good friend and colleague Chris Anthony says - to become your best possible self. Nurture the part of yourself that believes in awe-inspiring things. Delight in the blowing of the wind; the crash of the waves and the crackling of a fire. Don’t forget to breathe in all of the wonderful moments that the universe or your higher-power have provided for you to help you make it through the rough times. Nurture time within your life and your schedule to confide in the universe on a regular basis and explore and expand and engage with your spiritual self.


You gotta do that because tip number 4 is Challenge Yourself. You obviously have an amazing drive and passion – otherwise you wouldn’t have come to Pomona or be graduating from Pomona. As you embark on this next phase –Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If this is something easy for you – then don’t be afraid to do something by yourself. Challenge yourself – do not wait for others to set the standard – and do not worry what others will think. Don’t be afraid to be wrong. As we say in our theatrical practice – BE STRONG EVEN IF YOU BE WRONG. Because only when you fully commit to a choice – can you then discover if it is the right choice. As a friend says: “Cuz half-hearted steppin’ just isn’t going to do”. Confide in yourself the truths that are essential to the fabric of you and fulfill your own boundless potential. Trust that your higher power or higher self has a plan and challenge yourself to achieve it.


My final tip of the evening is to Cackle with Hilarity. Find humor in life. Believe in the statistics that people who laugh live longer, healthier lives. Let your body heal and cleanse with all the benefits of a good laugh. Give the gift of laughter to someone else. Let your laughter and joy be contagious that we might wipe away the darkness and remind ourselves of the goodness possible. Breathe big full belly laughs till tears run from your eyes and your cheek muscles hurt from the work out of joy. Sometimes the best joke – is the one that you write in your head or discover on your own. Don’t stifle that - engage your joy muscles – LAUGH. Laugh at the tragic turned hilarious. Cackle at the success that were hard won.. Laugh so hard you snort and then laugh some more because that SHIT WAS FUNNY! (well placed curse word)


And so I’ve offered my insight into some broad sweeping advice. As part of my duty as a commencement dinner speaker; I take seriously one other responsibility – to welcome you into the world. And the best way I know how to do that is to invite you into the larger Los Angeles community and beyond.

I offer ways to explore and expound on my 5 tips by inviting you to support the arts and cultural resources of our communities. I ask you to sustain these resources because THE ARTS are the enzymes and amino acids in the digestion of our lives’ experiences. The arts are like enzymes help us break down our experiences to process them. Our cultural resources are the amino acids or the building blocks of our community protein that keep us alive and healthy.

The Asian Pacific Islander and South Asian arts and cultural community in Los Angeles is vibrant and I welcome you. Our arts and cultural community in California is vibrant and I welcome.
Asian Pacific Islander and South Asian arts and cultural community in the US is vibrant and I welcome you. Asian Pacific Islander and South Asian arts and cultural community throughout the world is vibrant and I welcome you. We have a full and diverse menu of options for you to choose from and I invite you to engage. So here are 10 ways to engage:

1. Enroll yourself, an elder or a child in an arts or cultural class.

2. Buy 2 theatre tickets and actually attend a show at a local theatre company

3. Take an elder to an Independent Film Festival Screening

4. Buy a painting or sculpture of an unknown artist whose work moves you

5. Pay for the download of an ALBUM of a local band or musician
6. Take a child or young adult to a professional dance concert
7. Plan a trip for your family to a local cultural festival and buy stuff
8. Volunteer at a Non-Profit event
9. Become a regular donor to them

10. OR Serve as a Board Member for an Organization that you believe in.

And with that - I welcome all of you – Graduates; family members; staff; faculty and students to come and explore what is out there.


Congratulations and I look forward to seeing you out in the world soon.

Big light and much love,


Final Post Scripts:
To learn more about the Asian American Resource Center visit here:

Alumni Group: http://www.yahoo.com/group/AsianAmericanAlumni

Former Pomona College and Claremont Colleges alumni involved in the Asian American Resource Center should consider donating to the AARC as part of their planned alumni giving. Pomona Alumni you could designate that you want to support the Asian American Resource Center when you give.
5-C Alum - contact the AARC directly to find out how to donate.

Friday, March 11, 2011

see - bonded

Join us for
by Donald Jolly
directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera