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Sunday Spotlight: In Honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month



Welcome to our “Sunday Spotlight” series, where we recognize many of the incredible artists who have been awarded by the Princess Grace Foundation-USA.


In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the Princess Grace Foundation is highlighting some of the many extraordinary voices of Princess Grace Award winners working in theater, dance, and film.


At age 21, Mira Nadon (Dance 2022) is the first Asian American female principal at New York City Ballet (NYCB). Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Mira began her training at the Inland Pacific Ballet Academy in Montclair, California, and attended summer courses at the School of American Ballet (SAB) before entering SAB full-time. In 2017, she became an apprentice with NYCB and joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in November 2018. Mira was promoted to soloist in 2022 and became principal earlier this year.


Director, producer, and screenwriter Jon M. Chu’s (Film 2001) highly anticipated two-part film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical, Wicked, stars Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, and Ariana Grande as Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. Wicked: Part 1 arrives in theaters Thanksgiving 2024, followed by Wicked: Part 2 in December 2025. Prior to Jon’s time in the Land of Oz, he directed In the Heights, the adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s critically lauded musical, and Crazy Rich Asians, based on the bestselling book by Kevin Kwan.


A preview of Wicked: Part 1, directed by Jon M. Chu.

“Kween” by Vichet Chum

Vichet Chum’s (Playwriting 2018) plays have been workshopped at Steppenwolf Theatre, Cleveland Play House, the Magic Theater, the Alley Theatre, the UCROSS Foundation, Fault Line Theatre, Crowded Outlet, Second Generation Productions, Weston Playhouse, Cleveland Public Theatre, All For One Theater, Amios, Florida State University, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, and the New Harmony Project. Vichet’s debut Young Adult novel, Kween, tells the story of a queer Cambodian American teen’s journey to find her voice and step into her legacy. Kween is now available for pre-order.







Immersive media designer and visual artist Hana S. Kim’s (Theater 2011) work has been seen at Lincoln Center Theater, The Public Theater, Geffen Playhouse, Center Theater Group, Pasadena Playhouse, Baltimore Center Stage, Opera Colorado, Shaw Festival, South Coast Rep, and Baryshnikov Arts Center, among others. Hana was nominated the for Lucille Lortel Awards for her work on The Visitor at The Public Theater, and her designs have been recognized by the Helen Hayes Award, Stage Raw Awards, StageSceneLA Awards, and Bay Area Theater Critics Circle Awards.

“The Harder They Come” at The Public Theater (February 16 – April 9, 2023). Projection design by Hana S. Kim.

Norbert De La Cruz III (Choreography 2012) is a freelance contemporary dance choreographer and educator. Norbert has received the Asian Arts Alliance Jadin Wong Award, and McCallum Theatre Choreography Festival Award, and was featured in Dance Magazine’s “Top 25 to Watch.” He has been commissioned to create and premiere new works for Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Hubbard Street 2, Joffrey Academy of Dance, Big Muddy Dance Company, Ballet X, Olympic Ballet Theatre, to name some. Additionally, Norbert has instructed and created works for The Juilliard School, SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance, Ailey School Fordham University, Point Park University, and Golden State Ballet, and others.


Writer, editor, director, and producer Ham Tran (Film 2001) is part of the filmmaking movement – the Viet Wave – to bring Vietnamese-content films to American movie houses. After the loss of his mother, Ham came across the outline for Maika: The Girl from Another Galaxy. Maika tells the story of 8-year-old Hung, who has recently lost his mother and meets an alien girl from the planet Maika searching for her lost friend. Based on a Czechoslovakian children’s television program from the 1970s called Spadla z oblakov, the show became popular in Vietnam in the 80s and 90s with many parents naming their daughters Maika. Ham’s adaptation made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival last year in the Kids section, and Maika: The Girl from Another Galaxy is now available on Tubi, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, and Apple TV.


A still from Maika: The Girl from Another Galaxy, directed by Ham Tran (Film 2001).

Love Sunday Spotlights? Read more here.


Interested in learning more about all of our award winners? Visit us at www.pgfusa.org/award-winners

 

Cover photo: Mira Nadon and New York City Ballet in Justin Peck’s Copland Dance Episodes | Photo by Erin Baiano

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