HomeBad Ass AsiansTheatre Mu artistic director to join East West Players

Theatre Mu artistic director to join East West Players

The East West Players in Los Angeles announced Tuesday its appointed Lily Tung Crystal from Theater Mu in St. Paul, Minnesota as its new artistic director.

She fills the vacancy left when Snehal Desai who left East West to join the Center Theater Group also in Los Angeles just over one year ago.

Tung Crystal will join the largest Asian American theatre group in the country. In a statement to AsAmNews, she described her new position as “bittersweet” because she’s leaving a place she has loved. She also sees her future at East West as one filled with “immense possibilities.”

“My life’s work has centered on the intersection between art and social justice; increasing representation of Asian American and other marginalized artists on stage, TV, and film” she said. “I look forward to returning to Los Angeles, where I was born and raised. I hope to continue this work and bring more artistry and equity to theater nationally, in collaboration with artists and organizations across the country, including Theater Mu. I’m humbled and honored to be given the opportunity to lead the nation’s largest Asian American theater company and longest-running theater of color.”

East West said it chose Tung Crystal from an impressive field of applicants, including many women. They considered that a welcomed sign of progress and growth in developing AAPI talent in the theatre.

She served five years at Mu, nearly doubling its budget to Prior to that she co-founded Ferocious Lotus Theatre Company in the Bay Area.

“Her belief in widening our circles ensured that Mu’s mainstage work centered and amplified an
intersectional Asian American voice while not losing the artistic excellence that Mu has
always been known for. I will miss having her as a colleague, thought-partner, and
friend,” said Theatre Mu managing director Anh Thu T. Pham.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Tung Crystal said “It’s also become very important to me to work at the intersection of our community and other marginalized communities, whether they’re other racialized communities or communities of disability or queer communities. Programming always means asking the questions, “Why this play? Why now?” I go one step further: How does this play intersect with other marginalized communities, both outside our community and within our community?”

AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc. Follow us on FacebookX, InstagramTikTok and YouTube. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our efforts to produce diverse content about the AAPI communities. We are supported in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.


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