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Greg Watanabe Returning to the San Francisco Bay Area for a Concert Dramatic Reading of Hold These Truths

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Fresh from his Broadway debut in George Takei’s “Allegiance,” Greg Watanabe will be returning
to the San Francisco Bay Area for a concert dramatic reading of Hold These Truths . Local
performing arts fans will remember Watanabe from his performances with the comedy sketch
group 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors and with the Asian American Theater Company.
The San Francisco chapter of the Japanese American Citizen’s League has chosen to present
Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths at this time because it brings to life the courageous actions
of Gordon Hirabayashi who challenged the government’s orders to forcibly remove and mass
incarcerate all people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast. Hirabayashi’s case made it all
the way to the Supreme Court where he was not successful but he was vindicated 44 years
later and posthumously awarded the 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“When I discovered Gordon’s story in the late 1990’s – so full of heartbreak, but also his
irrepressible humor and zest for life – it was a life-changing experience,” said playwright Jeanne
Sakata. “I knew I had to try to bring his story to the American stage, not just as an act of healing
for myself, my family and my community, but also to inspire and give hope to any American
citizen who has been denied equal treatment under the law promised by our Constitution
because of factors such as race, gender, sexual orientation, and who must battle constantly to
make those promises a living reality.”

During World War II, University of Washington student Gordon Hirabayashi fought the
government’s orders to forcibly remove and mass incarcerate all people of Japanese ancestry
on the West Coast. As he struggled to reconcile his country’s betrayal with his passionate belief
in the U.S. Constitution, Hirabayashi journeyed toward a greater understanding of America’s
triumphs — and a confrontation with its failures. Hold These Truths was first produced in 2007
by East West Players in Los Angeles under the title Dawn’s Light: The Journey of Gordon
Hirabayashi.

The plot has a strong and timely message about civil rights, the Constitution, and one man’s
battle against civil liberty violations. The evening performance will be followed by a panel
discussion moderated by SF-JACL’s John Hayashi with Dale Minami, Don Tamaki, and Greg
Watanabe. Generous support has been received by the California Civil Liberties Public
Education Program and proceeds from the performances will benefit the SF JACL’s Arts and
Advocacy activism programs and anti-bullying education.

TICKET AND PERFORMANCE INFORMATION

WHEN:
Saturday, November 18th
2pm Matinee
7pm Evening Performance

WHERE:
Cowell Theater | Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture
2 Marina Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94123

TO PURCHASE:
2pm:
$25
$20 for seniors
7pm:
$50 General
$100 VIP (reserved seating and acknowledgment in printed program)
$40 Early Birds (before 11/1/17)
$45 JACL Members

Performance followed by a panel discussion moderated by SF-JACL’s John Hayashi with Dale
Minami, Don Tamaki, and Greg Watanabe, plus a post-panel reception.
For tickets or more info, please email judy.hamaguchi@gmail.com
Please Note:
Recommended for ages 14 and up. Contains mature language.
The estimated run time is approximately 90 minutes with no intermission

– – – – –

About San Francisco JACL:
SAN FRANCISCO JACL is the local chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), a
national civil rights organization dedicated to protecting civil rights for all. They are dedicated to
promoting and protecting civil rights for everyone, primarily through education. They also serve the
local San Francisco Japantown community by holding events throughout the year and supporting
other community organizations and causes. They are an active and visible member of the SF
Japantown community, thus they do not act in isolation but instead work with other community
organizations to improve the quality of life for the residents of Japantown and the surrounding
communities, and also for those who visit and work in Japantown. https://www.sfjacl.org/

About the Actor:

GREG WATANABE made his Broadway debut in Allegiance. Off Broadway credits: The Ballad
of Yachiyo (The Public) and Golden Child (Signature Theater). Regional credits include the
world premiere productions of The Summer Moon (A Contemporary Theater), The Happy Ones
(South Coast Repertory Theater; L.A. Drama Critics Circle nomination- Best Featured
Performance) and Extraordinary Chambers (Geffen Playhouse, Ovation nomination- Best
Featured Actor).
Others favorites include Yellow Face (Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company; San Diego Theater
Critics Circle nomination- Outstanding Lead Performance in a Play), No-No Boy (adapted by
Ken Narasaki). Greg is member of the 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors, an Asian American
comedy troupe.

About the Playwright:

JEANNE SAKATA’s renowned solo play Hold These Truths will be produced in the 2017-18
season at the Arena Stage in Washington DC the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, and the
Sheen Center in New York City. Premiering at East West Players in 2007, the play has since
had numerous productions across the country with the Epic Theatre Ensemble, (2013 Drama
Desk Nomination, Outstanding Solo Performance), Pasadena Playhouse, the Guthrie Theater,
Portland Center Stage, Seattle’s ACT Theatre, Perseverance Theatre, PlayMakers Repertory
Company, New Century Theatre, Honolulu Theatre for Youth, Coachella Valley Repertory, and
Plays and Players. As an actor, Jeanne has performed with the Public Theater, Kennedy
Center, Mark Taper Forum, La Jolla Playhouse, South Coast Repertory, American Conservatory
Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, People’s Light, Northlight Theatre, and the Intiman
Theatre, among others. Recent TV and film credits include BIG HERO 6, DR. KEN, TRUE
FICTION, and the internationally acclaimed Sundance indie film ADVANTAGEOUS. Special
honors: LA Ovation Award, Outstanding Lead Actress, Chay Yew’s RED at East West Players;
Lee Melville Award, Outstanding Contribution to LA Theatre Community, Playwrights’ Arena;
Outstanding Artist Award, Los Angeles’ Asian Pacific American Friends of Theatre.
www.jeannesakata.com, www.holdthesetruths.info

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