Kimora Lee Simmons will be honored by East West Players at the 46th Anniversary Visionary Awards taking place on April 30th, 2012 at the Universal Hilton. As a fashion and entertainment leader of Korean, Japanese and African American ancestry, she has raised the visibility of Asian Pacific Americans as trendsetters on a global scale.
"What an honor to be recognized by East West Players and to join the company of the other honorees [Hiroshima and TAIKOPROJECT]. As a producer, it's rewarding to know that the work endures and has impact," Simmons said. "As a mother, it's exciting to share a world with my children in which they can celebrate who they are. I'm grateful EWP has been doing that here in Los Angeles for such a long time."
"We are excited to celebrate Kimora Lee Simmons and her impact on American culture," says Tim Dang, EWP's Producing Artistic Director. "While her brand is larger-than-life, it is a relatively little-known fact that she is also a Tony Award-winning theatrical producer, and I believe may be the only Asian Pacific American with this accolade to date. Celebrating Ms. Simmons is really poignant right now, as producers can make a critical impact and it can go unnoticed. We want to acknowledge this along with all of her amazing accomplishments."
DEF POETRY JAM ON BROADWAY featured Staceyann Chin and Beau Sia, two Asian American writers and performers in a diverse cast of 9. Sia would later go on to pen the lyrics for EWP's recent world premiere production of the hip hop musical KRUNK FU BATTLE BATTLE (2011).
East West Players is the largest producing organization of Asian American artistic work and the longest running professional theater of color in the country. EWP has been working with Asian Pacific American actors, producers, writers, directors, designers, crew, stage management, box office and administrative staff for the last four decades. EWP celebrates its 46th Season, themed "Languages of Love," with its captivating Anniversary Visionary Awards Dinner & Silent Auction, and salutes those who have made a valuable impact on the Asian Pacific American (APA) community through their artistic excellence and support of the Asian Pacific American performing arts. Proceeds from the gala will benefit East West Players' educational and artistic programs.
Honorees also include groundbreaking jazz ensemble Hiroshima and the internationally-recognized Japanese drum group TAIKOPROJECT.
Tamlyn Tomita (Karate Kid Part II, Joy Luck Club) and Parvesh Cheena (Outsourced, Barbershop 1 & 2) will serve as emcees of the event. The evening's performers include MTV's America's Best Dance Crew Season 5 champions Poreotics, silk aerialist Sarah M. Moser, 14-year old musician/songwriter Russell Dimaano. Award-winning composer Nathan Wang (Beijing Olympics/Shaolin Monks, Steven Spielberg's Oscar Award-winning film The Last Days) will serve as the evening's Musical Director.
Current major sponsors of the gala include: PLATINUM CIRCLE - CBS Corporation, Comcast/NBCUniversal, Mattel, Inc., Southern California Edison, The Walt Disney Company; GOLD CIRCLE - The Thomas R. Bancroft Family, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.; SILVER CIRCLE - LA Gay and Lesbian Center, Sony Pictures Entertainment, David L. Mauss, Arthurs/Nakamoto, Tara Inouye Hill - Trustee, Hugh O'Mara Living Trust; BRONZE CIRCLE - Tim Dang & Darrel Cummings, Paramount Pictures, Superstar Friends of Teri Pham, and Union Bank. Comcast/NBCUniversal is the sponsor of the VIP Reception (invite only).