Lia Chang in New York in 2014.
September 29, 1963|
San Francisco, California
|Occupation||Actor, Photographer, Journalist, Filmmaker|
Lia Chang (born September 29, 1963) is an American actress, journalist, and photographer. After beginning her career modeling and acting in New York and on tour, Chang added parallel careers as a portrait and botanical photographer and journalist.
Chang's photographs have been exhibited in the United States and elsewhere and published in various media. In 2010, the "Lia Chang Theater Photography and Other Works Portfolio" was established in the Asian Pacific American Performing Arts Collection housed in the Library of Congress. She has written as a syndicated columnist and as a writer and editor for AsianConnections.com, is a writer for AsAmNews.com and maintains a blog about the arts, culture, style and Asian American issues.
Chang was born Kim Anne Chang in San Francisco, California, the daughter of Russell Chang, an engineer, and Beverly Umehara, who was president of the national executive board of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA).
Acting and modeling
Chang made her feature film debut in Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon in 1984, followed by John Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China in 1985. In 1986, Chang made her professional stage debut as Liat in a North American tour of Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific, starring Robert Goulet and Barbara Eden, and directed by Geraldine Fitzgerald. In 1990, she made her New York stage debut in Richard Caliban’s Famine Plays with Cucaracha Theatre Company. During her association with that company, she appeared in Two Gentlemen of Verona (1991) and the late night theater soap opera Underground Soap. She played Angela in Waitin' 2 End Hell, directed by Woodie King, Jr., at the New Federal Theatre, and starred as Jing-mei Woo in an adaptation of Two Kinds, directed by Isaiah Sheffer at Symphony Space, which she also performed for broadcast on National Public Radio. In 1993, at La MaMa she played Princess Noel in Lonnie Carter’s Gulliver in 1993, and she played Suzie in Hot Keys, by Jeff Weiss, with the Naked Angels Theatre Company with the Signature Theatre Company. In 1996, she was Sally and Joy in Sam Shepard's play Chicago at the Public Theater. In 2005 at the Billie Holiday Theatre she played Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes' Power Play. She reprised her role in the revival of Power Play at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival.
She has played the recurring character of Nurse Lia on the daytime soap operas One Life to Live and As the World Turns, guest roles on other television shows and minor characters in several feature films. In 2015, Chang co-produced, co-wrote and co-starred in the independent short film, Hide and Seek. She is included in Joann Faung Jean Lee's 2000 book Asian American Actors: Oral histories from stage, screen, and television.
- Selected filmography
|1985||The Last Dragon||Girl Student|
|1986||Big Trouble in Little China||Female Wing Kong Guard|
|1989||Another World||Attorney Han Su Lee (TV)|
|1989–present||One Life to Live||Nurse Lia (TV; recurring)|
|1989–present||As the World Turns||Nurse Lia (TV; recurring)|
|1990||King of New York||Gangster’s Gun Moll|
|1991||New Jack City||Scotty’s Girl|
|1991||A Kiss Before Dying||Shoe Saleslady|
|1995||New York Undercover||ICU Nurse (TV; episode: "Knock You Out")|
|1997||Taxman||Mr. Green’s Receptionist|
|2015||Hide and Seek||Woman|
Chang studied photography at the International Center of Photography. Since the 1980s, she has built a corpus of photographs of persons of color in the arts. In 1995, Chang was commissioned by the APALA to produce a photo essay, "Asian Pacific Americans in the Workforce". In 1996, she received a Murray and Isabella Rayburn Foundation Grant to produce three additional sets of related photos for her first solo exhibition, also titled "Asian Pacific Americans in the Workforce", which were on view for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month at the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Archives at New York University's Bobst Library; and in Washington D.C. at the National AFL-CIO Headquarters, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Justice. In 2001, the West Charleston Library of Las Vegas-Clark County Library District in Las Vegas, Nevada, featured a retrospective of Chang’s work in "Asian Americans: At Home in the Galaxy", a multi-component exhibition which included Notable Asian Americans who have broken boundaries and have carved unique paths to success in their specialized field and "Asian Pacific Americans in the Workforce", ordinary women and men of diverse Asian/Pacific ancestry, working in a variety of fields and occupations. The third component included a fabric book art installation piece called "Coming to America" which detailed her grandmother’s experience of being detained at the Angel Island Immigration Station.
Chang’s photographs are in the permanent collections of the Angel Island Immigration Station, Asian American Federation of New York, Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation Art Collection and the New York Historical Society. Her portraits of notable Chinese Americans can be seen at the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles, the Museum of Chinese in America in New York, the Chinese Historical Society of America in San Francisco (portraits of New York's Chinatown after 9/11), and the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.
In 2010, the "Lia Chang Theater Photography and Other Works Portfolio" was established in the Asian Pacific American Performing Arts Collection housed in the Library of Congress. In 2011, In Rehearsal, a display of 36 photographs drawn from that Portfolio were on view in the Asian Division Reading Room at the Library of Congress, and her "Portraits of New York Chinatown After 9/11" were featured in a Post 9-11 Commemorative Display for the 10th Anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center. In 2015, in Playbill, Laura Heywood picked Chang for her top ten list of "Most Useful Theatre Women on Social Media", writing: "Whether it's a live performance, on a red carpet, or behind the scenes at an awards show or opening night, Lia seems to always capture a moment of perfect realness between a star's planned poses. I always feel like I know the subjects more intimately than I did before viewing her photos."
Portraits from Chang's Asian American Pioneer Series are published in Chinese Americans: The Immigration Experience (2000) by Peter Kwong and Dusanka Miscevic. Portraits by Chang have been published in several other books. A photograph by Chang appeared on the book cover for But Still Like Air (2010) by Velina Houston. Her photographs have also appeared in such publications as Vanity Fair, Women’s Wear Daily, The Paris Review, TV Guide, Daily Variety, Interior Design, American Theatre, Washington Post, Backstage, New York Magazine, Playbill.com, Theater Mania, USA Today, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, San Diego Union-Tribune, Los Angeles Times, MinnPost, The Independent Weekly, The Villager, Windy City Times, MPR News, Chicago Magazine, Boston.com and The Wall Street Journal.
Chang studied film and communications at Hunter College. She is an Asian American Journalists Association Executive Leadership Graduate (2000), a Western Knight Fellow at USC's Annenberg College of Communications for Specialized Journalism on Entertainment Journalism in the Digital Age (2000), a National Press Photographers Association Visual Edge/Visual Journalism Fellow at the Poynter Institute for New Media (2001), a Scripps Howard New Media Fellow at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism (2002), and a National Tropical Botanical Garden Environmental Journalism Fellow (2003).
She was a syndicated columnist for KYODO News, writing about arts and entertainment in her "What’s Hot in New York" column from 1995-2004. In 1997 Avenue Asia magazine named Chang as one of the "One Hundred Most Influential Asian Americans". In 2000, she received an Organization of Chinese Americans Chinese American Journalist Award for an article entitled, "An Active Vision," which detailed the life of her mother, Beverly Umehara, a secretary and mother of four, who became a labor activist and president of the national executive board of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance. In 2001, she received the Asian American Journalists Association 2001 National Award for New Media for an article she wrote about her grandmother’s harrowing journey through the Angel Island Immigration Station.
Chang is an editor and writer for AsianConnections.com Arts and Entertainment reporter for AsAmNews.com and an arts reviewer for All Digitocracy. She maintains a blog about the arts, culture, style and Asian American issues, Backstage Pass with Lia Chang.
Awards and honors
- 1997 Avenue Asia magazine named her one of the "One Hundred Most Influential Asian Americans"
- 2000 Organization of Chinese Americans 2000 Chinese American Journalist Award
- 2001 Asian American Journalists Association 2001 National Award for New Media
- 2015 Top Ten Films of Film Lab's 11th Annual 72-Hour-Shootout Filmmaking Competition for "Best Short Film", Hide and Seek
- 2015 Top Ten Films of Film Lab's 11th Annual 72-Hour-Shootout Filmmaking Competition for "Best Actress", Hide and Seek (nomination)
- 1996: "Asian Pacific Americans in the Workforce" on view at National AFL–CIO Headquarters, Washington DC; Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC; U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC; Tamiment Labor Library/NYU Bobst Library, New York, NY; and Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, New Hampshire
- 1997: National Transportation Safety Board, Washington DC
- 2001: "Asian Americans: At Home in the Galaxy" on view at West Charleston Library, Las Vegas, NV. This multi-component exhibition includes notable Asian Americans as well as ordinary women and men of diverse Asian/Pacific ancestry, working in a variety of fields and occupations. The third component of the exhibition is a fabric book art installation piece called "Coming to America" which details Chang's grandmother’s experience of being detained at the Angel Island Immigration Station.
- 2002: "From Clay Street to Canal: Remembering NY Chinatown in the Wake of Sept. 11th" at Museum of Chinese in America; and Chinese Historical Society of America, San Francisco, CA.
- 2008: "Actor BD Wong: In Rehearsal with Herringbone at McCarter Theatre", Princeton, NJ
- 2009: "Chinese New Year in New York Chinatown" at Gouveneur Healthcare Services, New York, NY, presented by New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation Art Collection
- 2010: "Art and Healing-Healthy for the Holidays Features Andy Warhol, Romare Bearden, Lia Chang" at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, Staten Island, NY
- 2011: "In Rehearsal" in the Asian Division Reading Room of the Library of Congress, Washington DC
- 2011: "Portraits of New York Chinatown After 9/11" in the Asian Division Reading Room, Library of Congress, Washington DC
- 2012: "In Rehearsal" in the Asian Division Reading Room of the Library of Congress, Washington D.C.
- "Getting Personal with Lia Chang and her Asian American Arts World", Jade Magazine, March–April 2014.
- "Famous Chinese-Americans in News Media", Yellowbridge.com, accessed July 31, 2015
- Jdang, "People in the News" Archived 2015-09-23 at the Wayback Machine., Asian Week, July 20, 2000, accessed July 31, 2015
- Lee, "Lia Chang", pp. 62–68
- Yamamoto, J.K. "A Little China Reunion", Rafu Shimpo, May 7, 2015
- Nugent, Patrick. "Pauletta Pearson Washington and Roscoe Orman Lead Cast in Revival of Lorey Hayes' Power Play", October 16, 2012, accessed August 1, 2015
- Gussow, Mel. "Review/ Theater; Dark Visions of America In a Modern Depression", The New York Times, November 3, 1990, accessed August 6, 2015
- Holden, Stephen. "Review/ Theater; A Politically Correct Two Gentlemen, The New York Times, December 12, 1991, accessed August 6, 2015
- "Lia Chang", Backstage.com, accessed August 6, 2015
- Bruckner, D. J. R. "Review/Theater: Gulliver", The New York Times, October 13, 1993, accessed August 6, 2015
- McCallister, Jared. "Caribbean Week Set to Kick Off", New York Daily News, May 29, 2005, accessed August 8, 2015
- DeCwikiel-Kane, Dawn. "National Black Theatre Festival: NC Natives Bring ‘Power Play’ to the Festival", News and Record, July 25, 2013, accessed August 8, 2015
- "The Winners of Film Lab's 11th Annual 72 Hour Shootout Announced!", Prlog.org, July 25, 2015; "72-hour-shootout", Asian American Film Lab, July 25, 2015, accessed August 3, 2015
- "Playing Hide and Seek with Actress Lia Chang", Asamnews.com, July 29, 2015; Hide and Seek poster, showing awards, Bev's Girl Films, accessed August 8, 2015
- Chang, Lia. "About Lia", Backstage Pass with Lia Chang, accessed August 4, 2015
- Benson, Heidi. "Enter Gotanda: Ground-breaking Playwright Becomes a Ground-breaking Professor", California Magazine, Summer, 2014; and Clement, Olivia."Victory Gardens' New Play Festival to Feature Solo Show by André De Shields", playbill.com, June 01, 2015; Chai, Barbara. "Why David Henry Hwang Wrote Chinglish", The Wall Street Journal, October 10, 2011, accessed August 1, 2015; Combs, Marianne. "McKnight Foundation honors Mu Performing Arts' Rick Shiomi", mprnews.com, May 14, 2015; Piepenburg, Erik. "In New York, Everywhere a Writing Nook", The New York Times, April 9, 2015; Reid, Kerry. " How Chay Yew Made Victory Gardens Feel New Again", Chicago Magazine, November 4, 2013; Hebert, James. "Globe taps Richard Thomas for 'Othello'" The San Diego Union Tribune, March 21, 2014
- "Photojournalist’s Exhibit on 'Asian Pacific Americans in the Workforce' on Display: Lia Chang's series is on view at four sites on the East Coast, including the U.S. Department of Justice," Rafu Shimpo, May 18, 1996
- "Eye Openers: Asian Americans: At Home in the Galaxy", The Las Vegas Review Journal, May 4, 2001.
- Chang, Lia. "Awards, Exhibitions and Published Work", Backstage Pass with Lia Chang, accessed August 5, 2015
- "New Anthology of Asian American Plays Is Subject of Book Talk July 27", Library of Congress, July 15, 2011, accessed July 31, 2015
- "Photo Flash: Library of Congress' In Rehearsal Exhibit", Broadwayworld.com, July 26, 2011, accessed August 6, 2015
- Lapid, Robin. "Remembering 9/11: An Events and Resource Guide", Hyphen magazine', September 9, 2011, accessed August 4, 2015
- Heywood, Laura. "Retweet! BroadwayGirlNYC's Picks For Most Useful Theatre Women on Social Media", Playbill, July 31, 2015
- Kwong, passim. Portraits include Ang Lee, David Henry Hwang, Yeohlee, David Chu, Maxine Hong Kingston and Ti-Hua Chang.
- Houston, Velina. "About the Contributors", But Still Like Air, Temple University Press (2010), p. 515 ISBN 1439906122
- Tran, Diep. "Knock Me a Kiss", Backstage, November 22, 2010, accessed August 1, 2015; Kachka, Boris. "The Impressionist: André De Shields", New York magazine, March 22, 2009, accessed August 1, 2015; Clement, Olivia. "Victory Gardens' New Play Festival to Feature Solo Show by André De Shields", Playbill, June 1, 2015; "Cori Thomas and Daniella Topol to Participate in Talkback for When January Feels Like Summer", TheaterMania.com, May 27, 2014, accessed August 1, 2015; Freydkin, Donna. "A sniff of 'Sex,' a spray of success for Sarah Jessica Parker", USA Today, August 8, 2007, accessed August 1, 2015; Wada, Karen. "BD Wong Plays Favorites in Herringbone", August 1, 2009, accessed August 1, 2015; Espeland, Pamela. "Couldn't keep up? Media all over MN Orchestra Cuba trip; Mondale Collection at Northern Clay", MinnPost, May 19, 2015; Ariail, Kate Dobbs. "Theater review: PlayMakers' Hold These Truths", The Independent Weekly, April 24, 2014, accessed August 1, 2015; Stiffler, Scott. "Generating ‘black theater’ for today’s generation", January 23, 2014, accessed August 1, 2015; Morgan, Scott C. "Talking with Victory Gardens' Chay Yew", Windy City Times, February 1, 2012, accessed August 1, 2015; and English, Bella. "A one-man history lesson", Boston.com, September 4, 2009, accessed August 1, 2015
- "Through the Lens of Lia Chang", AsianConnections.com, May 2002, accessed August 3, 2015
- Joe Kai, Suzanne. "About us", AsianConnections.com, accessed August 5, 2015; "Documenting a Community on the Brink, New York Chinatown Post-September 11", AsianConnections.com, 2002, accessed July 31, 2015
- "Posts by Tag: Lia Chang", AsAmNews.com, accessed August 8, 2015
- Chang, Lia. "Inside China: Through the Looking Glass at The Met, Part 2", All Digitocracy, May 26, 2015
- Chang, Lia. "Articles by Lia Chang Archive", Backstage Pass with Lia Chang, accessed August 5, 2015
- "Special events to mark the day", New York Daily News, September 11, 2002, accessed August 6, 2015
- Michael J. Fressola, "Snug Harbor art exhibit features Andy Warhol, other renowned artists", Staten Island Advance, December 7, 2010
- " Photo Flash: Library of Congress' 'In Rehearsal' Exhibit", Broadwayworld.com, July 26, 2011
- Lapid, Robin. "Remembering 9/11: An Events and Resource Guide", hyphenmagazine.com, San Francisco, September 9, 2011
- Lee, Joann Faung Jean (2000). "Aspiring Actors". Asian American Actors: Oral Histories from Stage, Screen, and Television. McFarland. ISBN 0786407301.
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