Curating Curiosity: an interview with Skirball Cultural Center curator Vicki Phung


Museums are so much more than noiseless halls filled with old, boring paintings. The Skirball Cultural Center has been proving this true for nearly 30 years. From their interactive, all-ages, recycled materials in their Noah’s Ark permanent exhibition, to one of their latest exhibitions,The American Library, I have always loved the Skirball for having fun, unique exhibits that are as whimsical as they are educational.

The first Skirball exhibit I remember going to was a Harry Houdini exhibit. I couldn’t have been older than 6 years old, but I was already enchanted with the grainy black-and-white footage of Houdini in a straitjacket, the life-size replica of his last diving tank, and the colorful old posters that brought this long-dead magician to life. For the next ten years, my family and I would go to the Skirball countless times, exploring and experiencing exhibits ranging from Simon and Garfunkel to Star Trek. Every visit I would learn something new about a figure or movement in history I loved.

Then, when I read about one of the most recent exhibits at the Skirball, The American Library, I knew I had to talk to the curator of the exhibit, Vicki Phung Smith. The first thing that caught my eye about the exhibit was the fact that it was styled like a library — I love books and am a huge supporter of public libraries! The second was that it featured a combination of physical and digital mediums, making it accessible and current. The third was that the artist was Yinka Shonibare, an artist whom my AP Art History class covered extensively, particularly his shocking and referential installation The Swing (After Fragonard). This artist — and his latest exhibit — is very relevant to my life as a student, art appreciator, and someone whose family is the result of many migration stories. I felt drawn to the installation and to its curator, so I sat down with her to learn about Smith’s experiences curating The American Library, and the magical world of museum curation as a whole.

Cyrus: Hi, Vicki. Do you want to start by telling me a little bit about your background and experience with the Skirball?

Vicki: So I've been an associate curator at the Skirball for a year now. I have been working in contemporary art and the art scene in LA for over 15 years. Prior to the Skirball, I worked at other contemporary art galleries in LA. My background and study was to be a studio artist. From a very young age, I was like I'm going to be an artist. And then, after I went to school, I realized that there were things about it, in terms of my temperament and personality, that made me very unhappy. So I pivoted to working with artists and curating as a way that I can still be creative and be surrounded by art. And it was just a much more healthy and happy experience for me. I started my career at contemporary art galleries, and the Skirball is the first nonprofit institution that I worked at. That was a big shift and change. One of the early things the museum director said to me is, ‘your background is contemporary art, but just so you know, the Skirball is not a contemporary art museum. We're a cultural center.’ It’s a broader audience. So I think that was something I was thinking a lot about when curating the show.

Cyrus: I love getting that background on like the differences between working for a museum and curating private collections. That's really cool. So you lead the guided tours for the American Library at the Skirball. What do you love most about leading tours? And what's also challenging about them?

Vicki: Contemporary art is all about keeping up to date. It’s weird to say, ‘oh, I’m a scholar of contemporary art’ like you would for a time period. With, say, post-World War II or 1960s performance art, you can study and research and go into depth. You go into a tour knowing the most on that subject and you’re teaching people. What I love about contemporary art and giving tours for The American Library is that it’s a conversation. I love the way Yinka Shonibare framed it as a library, with 6,000 books. It speaks to this idea that the story of the United States is not one story; there's many stories and not one story is more important than the other. I always learn something new every time I give a tour. I love hearing people’s responses and what they share with me.

Cyrus: The main themes of the American Library exhibit are immigration and diversity. Yet some of the names in the book are people who are anti-immigration. How do you think this contributes to the overall message of the exhibit?

Vicki: I think it’s one of the most evocative, almost punk-rock things that Shonibare does. I think it's really wonderful that alongside first and second generation U.S. immigrants who have made notable contributions to American life and culture, he also presents figures throughout American history that have opposed immigration. This speaks to the nuance and complexity of the ongoing debate. The fascinating thing is, many of these people against immigration are second- or third-generation immigrants. Trump is in the exhibit because his mother was from the UK. It’s great that Shonibare is showing the array of perspectives.

Cyrus: Like many of the Skirball's exhibits, American Library offers digital learning opportunities. What do you like about combining digital museums with traditional museum experiences? And what would you say to people that don't like digital museum installations?

Vicki: Digital options in museums are really important. You have to keep up with the times and present to visitors in ways they’re familiar with, because that’s how you engage the audience. The artist created a website in tandem with the exhibit, where you’ll see names you recognize like Selene Gomez. It’s a digital catalog of all the names in the exhibit at the Skirball. There’s another really cool part of the website called Your Stories, which has an option to share how your family immigrated to the United States, or maybe migrated within the States. It makes the exhibit this ongoing thing -- history is still being written. A lot of our visitors at the Skirball are families with young kids going to see the Noah’s Ark exhibit, so the digital screens are more accessible to them. That doesn’t mean we can just throw out analog options. The American Library also has a story sharing prompt with paper and pencils to make it more physical and accessible to older generations. A combination of digital and analog creates more points of entry for people. It’s been such a successful interactive, with tons of responses.

Cyrus: That, that, what you were talking about, about digital accessibility is a great segue into my next question. The exhibit is interactive, which makes it accessible to people of all ages and walks of life, just something I've always loved about the Skirball. How do you find interactive art enhances or changes the message of an exhibit?

Vicki: We want to appeal to a beastly broad audience as a cultural center. A lot of our exhibits center around not wanting to talk down to the audience or present information in a hierarchical way. Interactives are great because then the visitor becomes a part of the story, and has their own agency in a bigger conversation. It creates investment and buy-in for visitors who think, ‘why should I care?’ I’m always curating for the person who doesn’t care, and make it exciting for them.

Cyrus: Lastly, what do hope visitors - especially teen visitors - take away from this exhibit?

Vicki: I can’t exactly put myself in the shoes of teens today, but when I was young, most of the heroes I looked up to were white men and they didn’t look like me. Through The American Library, I found out about this astronaut Eugene Trinh, the first Vietnamese American astronaut. It was amazing to learn about him because I loved space as a kid, but I only ever learned about the three men who landed on the moon, and I can’t really relate to them. To find a Vietnamese astronaut, even as an adult, was so meaningful. I hope people coming to this exhibit can see themselves and their aspirations.

Read More

Dive Deeper into Hamlet, Solus with David Melville

Iambic Sqnotext

Founded in 1998, Independent Shakespeare Co. started their iconic free outdoor

Shakespeare performances in 2003, at Barnsdall Park. By 2010, ISCLA had moved to Griffith Park’s Old Zoo and has since performed two shows every summer, with bonus live music and cultural performances for their audience of over 40,000. I am one of ISCLA’s many adoring patrons, and have seen their shows every summer for longer than I can remember. Their sense of whimsy, incredible commitment, total immersion with the outdoor performance space, and ability to adapt Shakespeare to modern sensibilities through music, costume, and more makes the experience a delight every time.

As a non-profit theater group, their longevity and ability to survive the pandemic

is inspirational -- amidst the Covid-19 lockdown, they even established a permanent stage at Griffith Park! But their outdoor space is not the only home of ISCLA’s breathtaking shows; in 2011, Atwater Crossing Complex welcomed ISCLA into their arms with a year-round indoor theater space. This 65-seat theater has been home to incredible shows over the years: Julius Caesar, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, singalongs, and even workshops with Independent Shakespeare’s wonderful founders, David Melville and Melissa Chalsma. Now, from March 21-April 9, David Melville will be performing Hamlet, Solus, a one-man show version of one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies.

Melville is no stranger to solo theater; for many consecutive years, he has

performed a two-person show of A Christmas Carol, playing both Dickens and most of the characters. He’s also done some even more minimalist one-person shows including Nicholas Nickelby and Solemn Mockeries. Hamlet, Solus, however, is an entirely different beast. Fascinated by the commitment to such an emotional and complex show, as well as being a huge fan of Shakespeare, I sat down with David Melville to discuss what led him to create this iambic lab.

Cyrus: Of all the famous and beloved Shakespeare plays, what drew you towards Hamlet for the Iambic Lab?

David: Well, I suppose I have a long history with Hamlet. I've done it a number of times, not just with ISC. It was the play that brought me to America. I was in a production that was on Broadway in 1995, and Ralph Fiennes was playing Hamlet, and that's where I met Melissa, and Melissa and I run the company together. So really, Hamlet's the reason I ended up in America, and I ended up meeting Melissa, and without Hamlet, I wouldn't have my children, or Independent Shakespeare Company wouldn't exist. And then when we started doing shows in the park, our second season, 2005, we did Hamlet, and I played Hamlet that time. And I think it was the first show where things really started to take off. It was the first show that really started attracting significantly large audiences, and it was popular.So we did it again the next year, and then we came back to it several times, and it's always been really good to us, I think, in that regard. And the last time I did it was, gosh, must be about 12 years ago now, and I was sad when it was over, because I had such a long relationship with the play. But I always thought it was unfinished business somehow, and I think I was doing a school's workshop, and I had to do some speeches from Hamlet, and I just got the idea then, I wanted to actually do this as a one-person show. But if you do a one-person show, you're not just playing Hamlet, you're playing everyone, so that kind of gives you license to, you know, to be creative. So that's kind of how we arrived at it.

Cyrus: That's perfect. That's actually a great segue to my next question of playing even one of the main roles in Hamlet would be a daunting task, and you're playing them all. What's that like, emotionally and physically, and even practically?

David: We're not doing four and a half hours of me saying absolutely every line. And it's been whittled down quite a bit. I think that it probably should be, it's a little, probably a little over 90 minutes. So I've had to cut quite a lot of roles, and I've really sort of centered on certain themes and certain relationships. But, you know, most of the main characters are there. So I found it interesting starting to work on it, having been so familiar with Hamlet and Hamlet's point of view, it does feel a little bit like the characters are being presented from Hamlet's perspective. So Claudius is way more evil than an actor would approach him, probably, you know, and Gertrude is way more fickle and flighty. And I don't know whether that's how it'll end up in the actual sort of final mix, but certainly as a way in, it was hard to dissociate myself from Hamlet's perspective and his point of view.

Cyrus: One thing that fascinates me about Independent Shakespeare is that you guys often incorporate modern music and live music into your productions. I noticed that that's also a theme for Hamlet, Solus. How do you think that enhances or changes the meaning of the story?

David: Hopefully it enhances it. I think there might be some people that come and see it and strongly disagree with that. You know, there's not a whole lot of music. I mean, it's mostly the Shakespeare text, but I, you know, we wanted to use this as an opportunity to experiment with a certain way of doing things. And I've done a number of one person shows before and I've always approached them in a very minimal way.But, you know, I've been interested in -- I've started doing a lot of sound design for the show. So when I work as a director, I often do my own sound design. And I really like it. And I record my own music at home because I write. So I've been writing songs for the Shakespeare plays. So I do love sound design. And I was sort of curious about how to use looping and whether there was a practical application for that in a stage. So I wanted to see if there was a way to create live loops on stage, and I'm trying to incorporate it on some lines. So certain words can be put into a loop and then sort of repeat. It's quite complicated, because it means I've got to have various trigger points around the stage, where I can activate these things. I mean, doing Hamlet as a solo show is a tightrope walk, as it is, but to deal with all this very fiddly tech stuff… I don't know, my mind might explode.

Cyrus: But hopefully not until after the show.

David: During the show, probably.But, you know, in rehearsals, we've done it, you know, it's quite satisfying when it works. But so yeah, I was just really interested in can I do that? Can I build just using the kind of synthesizer applications that you would use in a program like Logic? There's a live version of that called Main Stage. And I'm not using it a whole lot, but to be able to sort of play just a tone that will underscore a speech in a way.

David (continued): I'm giving a little bit more space to a character who I think is probably the most important character in Hamlet, outside of Hamlet, who doesn't have any lines. And that's Yorick. Whenever you see a picture of Hamlet, you know, it's Hamlet holding Yorick. He's quite sort of iconic as far as the production goes. But we don't really know too much about him [Yorick]. But he has a very interesting perspective, I think, because Hamlet is so much about death and grief. And that's one of the themes I'm trying to explore in this. And, you know, of course, Yorick sort of is on the other side of that. He does know a thing or two about it. You know, he might just be the court fool, but he is actually, something that Hamlet doesn't know, and it's not until Hamlet meets Yorick that it's after his meeting with Yorick that he's finally ready to do what he's been avoiding all of this time, not until he stares into Yorick's eyes, or what used to be his eyes. So I've sort of resurrected him, and he's helping to narrate the show a little bit. But rather than me sort of trying to write Shakespeare, I'm doing it mostly in the form of this 1930s/40s English Music Hall style, in the style of this performer called George Formby, who played a banjolele. And so I'm sort of riffing around his song style, which is very upbeat and comedic. So, tonally, it's very much against the grain of what people would expect from something like this. I'm not sure, you know, whether it's going to please people or not. But I'm just -- this is a ridiculously indulgent project. (laughs)

Cyrus: What was the process of making Hamlet, Solus? Like, I know sometimes productions can be sat on for years. If so, how many months, years, how much time has been spent?

David: We've talked about it for a long time, mostly sort of as a joke. When we're trying to think about what we're going to put in our indoor space, and something drops out. And I said, ‘Well, I can always do my one-man Hamlet’. But this year, I guess, Melissa, just put it on the calendar. And I didn't know whether she was serious or not, but I decided to take her seriously. And then the next part, I guess, was trying to learn some of the speeches of the characters that I'd not played before. So that they're sort of more in my bones, because Hamlet's very in my bones, but you know, Gertrude obviously isn't. So that was the other key part of the process, but it's been very, very much “solus”. But, you know, one of the nice things about doing a one person show is that you can always be in rehearsal. If you're in the car, or whatever you're doing, you know, you can always be working on it. But one of the downsides is that it's rather lonely. And I, one of the things I love about being in the theatre is, you know, having my fellow actors around to goof around and play with and, you know, it's a little lonely. Although I do anticipate that I can have many cast parties, and they'll all be very cheap.

Cyrus: You can invite Hamlet and Gertrude.

David: I don't know that you’d want Hamlet at a party. (laughs)

Cyrus: What do you want or hope audiences to take away from this show?

David: I think that I'd like people to connect with the themes that I want to explore. I'd like them to have a slightly deeper understanding of some of the relationships. I'd like them to sort of understand the graveyard scene as more than just a comic bit. I'd like to think that one of the advantages of doing it as a one person show is you can show characters' points of view a little clearer. Because you have to take a little bit more time in between reactions, and you can stay with reactions, you can show one person saying something to show the other reaction. But if it's just you, you can highlight some of the characters' points of view. There are some key moments. The piece with Hamlet meeting Yorick, which I'm setting up Yorick as kind of this dark comic character. But there's a seriousness when they meet. And also the scene with Gertrude -- I think there's something about the way that it's been edited that it sort of really leads to that moment. So I hope I can sort of highlight some of Gertrude's turmoil and her guilt. And I hope it sort of weirdly, even though it's very sort of edited, I hope there are some elements of the story that maybe make a little more sense. Something I'm very interested in is why Hamlet pretends to be mad. I'm making Hamlet's madness, this sort of weird, like early Pink Floyd sort of noise that sort of keeps coming back and annoying Claudius. So I can create this sort of sound character. So and again, because you're seeing things, you know, the perspective of the characters a little more clearly because it's one person show. I hope I can sort of hone in on the use of Hamlet’s feigned madness that’s a little different from what you would be able to do in a bigger production. Basically grief and madness.

Cyrus: I love that. You’ve touched on this a little bit, but what do you hope to take away from this experience? Do you think you’ll do an iambic lab or Solus project like this in the future?

David: Well we haven’t performed it yet, so we don’t know. It is an act of extreme hubris, so I could fall on my face and regret it. Or I could find wonderful new modes of expression. I mean, I’m challenging myself in ways I’ve never done before, and it’s really scary, and I hope it’s successful and it resonates. If it isn’t successful, I hope I give myself permission to be brave.

Cyrus: Lastly, do you think Hamlet, Solus is accessible to teens who have never seen Sahelsepate and how might they want to prepare for the show?

David: That’s a really good question. I hope it will be; I’m trying to make the story as clear as I can get. I do think the approach to it is playful, hopefully humorous, moving when it needs to be. That’s always a dangerous area with tragic materials -- you don’t want to overplay that comedy, but not overlay the tragedy that people are so bored with. Checkhov used to say “you need to make people laugh before they can cry”. It’ll never be boring, any of this. I do think it’ll be of interest to teens. Even if students don’t study Hamlet, they’ll probably hear some of these lines used as quotations; it’s nice to know where it sits, where it stems from.

Cyrus: Thank you so much; that’s all the questions I’ve prepared. Do you have anything else you’d like to say to teens or anyone else preparing to see the show?

David: Just come with an open mind (laughs). Everything we do, we try to make it warm and welcoming to everyone. If you don’t know Hamlet, it could be the beginning of a wonderful journey, and if you do know Hamlet, it could lend you some deeper insights.

Though Hamlet, Solus has only been in production for a few months, it seems as

though this production from David Melville was inevitable. Hamlet is interwoven with ISCLA’s very DNA, from Melville’s move to America to Independent Shakespeare’s rise in local fame. His personal connection to Hamlet creates a gripping, personal narrative that just hearing about made me jittery with excitement. From the moment I heard about Hamlet, Solus and marked my calendar to see it, to every detail I learned about its creation and nuance by talking to David Melville, I knew this solo expedition into Hamlet would be something unforgettable.

This interview-article is compiled from an audio interview conducted on 5/3/24. Not all of Mr Melville’s full responses have been included. Some responses have been edited or cut.

Read More

Introducing TeenTix LA's New Interns

Screen Shot 2023 11 21 at 2 29 21 PM

We have a huge announcement! TeenTix LA has proudly welcomed 5 new teen interns for the 2023-2024 school year! Our new interns include: Ghino, Cyrus, Callie, Silvia, and Aubrey who are so excited to be a part of TeenTix LA. We can’t wait for the amazing ways they will be supporting the arts community in LA. We asked each teen intern to send their own responses to the questions below so you can get to know a little bit more about them, their experiences with the arts, and why they were passionate about joining the TeenTix LA family.

Fun fact:

Silvia: I have two pet rabbits!

Ghino: I want to go skydiving when I turn 18.

Callie: I’ve been a turophile my whole life.

Cyrus: Fun fact — I played Friar Laurence in a lesbian-cowboys themed Romeo and Juliet. (With Shakespeare Youth Festival)

Aubrey: I have a hairless guinea pig.

Why did you want to be a part of the TeenTix LA team?

Silvia: I think it's really important that kids my age are exposed to great art opportunities and all teens should have access to art experiences throughout LA.

Do you have a favorite arts going experience/memory you would like to share?

Cyrus: I’ve been to many arts experiences, one of my favorites was seeing Chicago (my favorite musical since childhood) on Broadway. I also enjoy going to the Skirball, and I particularly enjoyed their Simon & Garfunkel and Star Trek exhibits.

What are you most looking forward to working on as you work with TeenTix LA?

Ghino: I'm excited to work with like-minded individuals and build community, not only strengthening our bond as a team, but also organizing events that bring attention and satisfaction to our modern arts environment.

Aubrey: I’m looking forward to meeting new artists my age!Lastly, what do you hope to gain from this internship?

Callie: As I embark on this internship, I'm looking forward to gaining a more well-rounded perspective on the arts. I'm eager to contribute my skills, learn from the expertise around me, and actively participate in initiatives that promote the arts and make it more accessible to students. I hope to explore the intersection of creativity, community, and personal growth.


We are so happy to have 5 unique and passionate teen interns on our team. We hope you got to learn more about them – you’ll definitely be seeing more of them throughout the school year. If you want to read more info about the interns’ responses from the other questions, make sure you check back on our Instagram where we’ll be highlighting them and their full responses over the next month. Until then, happy arts-attending! Meet Ghino!Meet Silvia!Meet Aubrey!Meet Callie!Meet Cyrus!

Read More

Learn more about A NEW BRAIN

Q&A by Hannah Gumpert, TeenTix LA Intern

CA23 2023 New Brain FB Event Header FINAL3 1

A New Brain, a show put on by Celebration Theatre and Los Angeles LGBT Center, delves into the concepts of mortality, second chances, and the healing power of art. It follows songwriter Gordon Schwinn, who, after collapsing into their lunch and waking up in the hospital, is faced with the possibility that they might die before writing their greatest songs. The show, Celebration Theatre's first musical in years, is performed with gender-expansive casting. We get the opportunity to learn more about the experience of being in this show and theater through A New Brain's lead actor, Amanda Kruger (they/them).


Read More

Celebrate A Holiday Classic with A Noise Within

Q&A by TeenTix LA Marketing Assistant Albert Tran

ACC 03 Photo by Craig Schwartz 1 300x240

The holiday season is upon us, and A Noise Within has brought back a yearly festive classic. If you haven’t heard about the tale of A Christmas Carol, now is the time to feel immersed within this world. This universal experience unravels the story through its main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, as he discovers change within himself as a person during Christmastime. Lucky for you all, we were able to learn more about this production through the creative eye of Geoff Elliott, the adapter of A Christmas Carol who plays Scrooge himself.


Why did your team decide to showcase A Christmas Carol and have it performed?

Charles Dickens’ short novel A Christmas Carol is an unparalleled tale of transformation and forgiveness. We as an audience are given the opportunity to experience, through Scrooge, the possibilities for change-how just one person can dramatically affect those around them for good or evil. We believe it is vitally important to share with the community such a transformation.

Why do we do it every holiday season and how is the audience impacted?

Well before we began performing the adaptation as a yearly event beginning in 2012, we dreamed of having this holiday tradition on a yearly basis. After we moved into our new and permanent home in 2011 we knew the time was now. The play brings new, younger, families to the theatre, many for the first time. It introduces them to the caliber of work at A Noise Within and many come back to see the other productions. It has become a tradition for members of our community with many coming back over and over again. To be onstage and feel the emotional impact from the audience at curtain call is an experience an actor never forgets.

Why is A Christmas Carol significant to you or your organization?

Dickens’ masterpiece is timeless. Its relevance today, in our rather troubled world, is a healing balm both to us and our audiences every year.

What do we hope for teens to obtain from the production?

First and foremost, that this specific classic and indeed all of the great classics have real world significance-that these plays are not dusty old library books forgotten on a shelf, but have a great deal to tell us about our lives right now. And our young audience members are given the opportunity to realize that live theatre is a once in a lifetime experience, that their active participation as audience members energizes the performers, making that particular day a group effort.


We would like to thank Geoff Elliott for sharing his experience working on this production with TeenTix LA. Click HERE to learn how to see this production for just $5 before it closes on December 23rd. Be like Ebenezer Scrooge and don’t miss out on feeling transformed by art this season. Enjoy the holiday excitement with your loved ones. We wish you all a happy holiday!

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Read More

Get Ready To SMILE for IAMA Theatre

Q&A by TeenTix LA Marketing Assistant Albert Tran

IAMA 2223 SMILE Poster Social Press1080px

Get Ready To SMILE for IAMA Theatre

We are so excited to be back promoting another show with our arts partner, IAMA Theatre! SMILE premiered on November 10th. This show explores the story of a 17 year old girl from Northeast Philadelphia. When an “incident” follows pursuit at her affluent school landing her in the guidance counselor’s office, the two find themselves forming an unlikely yet complicated relationship. The main character is also learning how to navigate a world defined by her race, gender, and class. We wanted to learn more about their upcoming production so we asked Stefanie Black, IAMA’s Artistic Director, for more insight.

Why did your team decide to showcase SMILE and how did it come about when choosing which productions to perform?

SMILE was originally developed in 2018 in IAMA's New Works Festival. Melissa Jane Osborne, the playwright, is an ensemble member and submitted the piece. We have been developing it with her and director, Michelle Bossy since 2018. It was originally programmed to premiere in the fall of 2020, but due to the Pandemic, it had been postponed till now. We were and still are so excited about sharing this very relevant and timely piece of theater. It's a story with many perspectives and touches on the very potent themes of grief, trauma, and connection.

What message do you or your team want for teens to obtain from seeing this production?

We want to create more dialogue around feeling seen and heard as a young person. This play examines the many ways that teenagers do not have agency over their own experience, their bodies, their choices; how they rely on adults for safety and care, and how their feelings and perspective is so important. That their voices matter.

What’s something you or your team have learned while participating in this production and are there any lasting impressions you might have?

We have learned that centering the experiences of others around us is the best path to true collaboration and trust. In an environment where you are developing a new play, it's so important for everyone to feel they have a voice in the process and are a vital part of telling this story.

If you could explain this production in one word, what would it be and why?


Why do you think this production deserves to be seen by audiences?

There is a lot to be learned from the past. Not just our own, but our society's. It's so important to be able to hold a mirror up to ourselves and see where we have grown and where we still have work to do. This play helps us look at how not much has changed since 1992 and that we, as a society, still have much to do when it comes to uplifting women and their freedoms.

We would like to thank all of the members in IAMA Theatre, including Melissa Jane Osborne, Michelle Bossy, and Stefanie Black for all of their hard work to piece together this production after a long hiatus. This story serves as a touching reminder reflecting on our own society and how much change there is still needed to have.

Check out our events calendar for more details on this interesting and complex production. Teens – take advantage of this deal while you can! In addition, TeenTix LA is having a TeenTix Night with IAMA Theatre on Sunday, November 20th. Don’t miss an opportunity to sign up for lots of fun, food, and a post-show talkback!

Read More


Q&A by TeenTix LA Intern Albert Tran

1649708239 back image 2021 KOTY 1077x541 RESIZED

In the spirit of celebrating last month’s AAPI month, we at TeenTix LA wanted to highlight Sierra Madre Playhouse’s current production of KING OF THE YEES. This spectacular production was directed by Tim Dang and written by Lauren Yee. The play tells the comical yet realistic story of growing up in Chinese American culture. For nearly twenty years, playwright Lauren Yee's father Larry has been a driving force in the Yee Family Association. Lauren has to race through history, space, and the fourth wall to find her father in this adventurous joyride through San Francisco’s disappearing past. KING OF THE YEES celebrates the emotional truths that everyone, including AAPI folks, can relate to. We asked the play’s director, Tim Dang, to further elaborate on this topic.


Why did your organization want to specifically showcase KING OF THE YEES?

Because of the diverse communities in the San Gabriel Valley, Sierra Madre Playhouse's mission is to connect people of our diverse communities to each other through bold, resonant live theater in an intimate setting that inspires, entertains, and celebrates our shared humanity. And in honor of May being Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, this play, King of the Yees by Lauren Yee, is the perfect production at the right time with its Asian Pacific. Although the themes are specifically educating us about Chinese American culture, this story has universal truths for all of us.

What message do you (or your team) want for teens to obtain from seeing this play?

The message of the play is for everyone, especially teens and young adults to always be “curious" about life. In this specific production, the knowledge about what our parents' generation grew up with will have a significant impact on the current generation and their future. By being curious, we ask a lot of questions. How do we stay connected to our past while moving forward in a changing world? How do the different generations navigate cultural, national, and familial borders of appreciation and understanding of each other?

What are some of your favorite moments and/or obstacles your team has faced in bringing this production to the big stage?

As this is an intimate theater, our challenge is to bring the human story up close and personal to our audience members. Unlike a big blockbuster film where you will see big special effects and action sequences, live theater has a smaller budget which gives each audience member the opportunity to use their imagination of what they are seeing. The audience member sees their own unique special effects and action sequences in their mind. But our favorite moments are bringing the celebration of Chinese culture and sharing it with the entire community.

What is the underlying significance of this play and why should people see it?

People are starting to travel again now that we are post-pandemic. Adventure is back in style. All the news headlines are telling us that the world is constantly changing at lightning speed. What playwright Lauren Yee has created is a fantastical journey through San Francisco Chinatown right from your seat. It is a theatrical joyride that is part Alice in Wonderland, part Wizard of Oz, and part lesson of self discovery. Everyone should see this play because it is a hilarious adventure while being a heartbreakingly honest story about the relationship between a daughter and her father.

What does this production mean to you and your team?

This production is all about connections. How can we appreciate the life that our parents went through in order to make our lives so much better and to make a better future for us and for our children. We need to be curious about how our parents grew up so that we can learn from them and apply our own life skills to building a better future.

In addition, I do have one bonus question – with May serving as AAPI month, what type of impact do you want for AAPI individuals to take away from this experience?

One of the best things for AAPI individuals to take away from this experience is to have pride about the culture in which we grew up in. To celebrate the culture, to celebrate the language, and of course, to celebrate our food. In many ways Chinese food is one of the easiest ways to share our stories. Eating is such a big part of our culture, that the conversations we have over a meal can have life long lessons along our journey of life.


Here at TeenTix LA, it’s so important to us that we take the time to acknowledge different cultures and to create a better understanding of the individuals around us. That is why it is significant to experience the stories of the people who have gone through different cultural shifts and experiences. KING OF THE YEES serves as a purposeful message to show how AAPI culture creates universal lessons amongst ourselves. This play is OUT NOW – available until June 12th, so make sure to head over to our events calendar and purchase your $5 tickets using our TeenTix Pass.

Read More

The Skirball’s Newest Exhibition Explores Our Universe

Learn more about The Skirball Cultulral Center's awesome exhibition.

Q&A by TeenTix LA Intern Albert Tran.

IMG 5009

“To boldly go where no man has gone before…,” is a well-known and iconic quote that has been referenced throughout culture in shows and movies. A generational franchise like Star Trek broke boundaries, creating a cult following for all sorts of people, especially those interested in science fiction. At first, it started as a television show, but that later grew into several spin-off shows as well as film adaptations. It’s no wonder that our friends at The Skirball Cultural Center decided to highlight a phenomenal franchise like Star Trek. We went on the scene to ask members of their staff a series of questions of why they decided to focus their current exhibition on the world of Star Trek and more. Read below to see what they answered!***Q&A between Albert Tran (Marketing Intern, TeenTix LA), Meredith Lancaster (Administrative Assistant for Communications and Marketing, The Skirball Cultural Center), Jennifer Caballero (Marketing Director, The Skirball Cultural Center) and Laura Mart (Curator, The Skirball Cultural Center)

Why did your organization decide to choose to curate an exhibition about the history of Star Trek?

Read More

TeenTix Logo
Sign Up


Create an account | Reset your password