Monday, June 16, 2008


Featuring: Tia Carrere with Daniel Ho, Jennifer Paz and Mariko with The Music Co.

A benefit concert kicks-off a year-long 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Aratani/Japan America Theatre in Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles.


For more than two decades Downtown Little Tokyo Los Angeles has been home to a gem of a theater. The Aratani/Japan America Theatre, established in 1989 as part of the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC), has become a symbol of artistic brilliance of Japanese, Japanese-American and Asian Pacific Islander cultural expression, preservation and innovation.

On Saturday, June 21st, 2008 from 7:30pm, a group of dedicated and talented artists come together to celebrate 25 years of excellence in the benefit concert "Sounds & Voices of J-Town".

This one-time concert event brings the sounds of classic Hawaiian songs from Tia Carrere accompanied by Daniel Ho, Jennifer Paz sings
inspirational new Broadway ballads while the Aratani/Japan America
Theatre welcomes community songstress Mariko with The Music Co. as she brings her classic dance songs to life on stage. Threaded throughout the evening are poetry and comedic sketches by local poet and performers Traci Kato Kiriyama, Keiko Agena and Alison De La Cruz. "Sounds and Voices of J-Town" illuminates the textured soul of these Asian Pacific American women.

Grammy nominated Tia Carrere (Wayne’s World, Relic Hunter, Lilo and Stitch) accompanied by three-time Grammy award-winner Daniel Ho will share some of her favorite classic Hawaiian songs from her newest solo album, "Hawaiiana".

Seattle native and musical leading lady Jennifer Paz (Miss Saigon,
Evita,The Fantasticks) will share selections from her solo album, Awakenings. Paz brings the bright lights of Broadway with this new collection of ballads and inspirational tunes.

Simply known throughout Southern California as Mariko, Mariko Nishizu has been a local singer at community dances and fundraisers throughout the Japanese American Community since the 1970’s. Sounds and Voices will celebrate her journey as an artist in this special homecoming to the Aratani/Japan America Theatre.

To round out the evening, Traci Kato Kiriyama, Keiko Agena and Alison De La Cruz will offer poetic and comedic interludes linking this amazing collection of textured voices.

Traci Kato Kiriyama has performed as a solo theater artist and as part of several productions in Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and Miami.As a community based artist she has been the leading force behind Tuesday Nights at the Café – a local performing arts venue that began on the steps of the Union Center for the Arts in Little Tokyo.

Keiko Agena is probably best known for her roles as Leila Foster on
“Felicity” and Lane Kim on “Gilmore Girls”. Agena is also a big fan of the band Los Denudos and can be scene frequenting their shows and Tuesday Nights at the Café in Little Tokyo.

Alison De La Cruz is a multi-disciplinary artist who has toured her
solo shows Sungka and Naturally Graceful throughout the country. Locally she has performed at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, Highways Performance Space and the Aratani/Japan America Theatre. She is also the narrator and writer for the full length documentary, Grassroots Rising produced by Visual Communications.

There will be a Meet the Artists reception and benefit raffle (two
round trip tickets to any American Airlines desintation in the U.S.!)
immediately following the concert out on the Isamu Noguchi Plaza.

Proceeds from the concert and raffle will go towards theatre equipment upgrades which will help sustain the Aratani/Japan America Theatre’s ability to showcase extraordinary artistry to Los Angeles.

About the Aratani/Japan America Theatre:
Following the building of the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC) in 1980, the 880-seat Aratani/Japan America Theatre was built in 1989 as the dream of visionary Issei and Nissei (first and second generation) Japanese American pioneers to create a permanent cultural center for the community and its future generations. Host venue to the very first Visual Communications Film Festival in 1989, the Aratani/Japan
America Theater stage has been blessed with performances by such groups and artists as Hiroshima, KODO, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Sadao Watanabe, Ravi Shankar and Hirokazu Kosaka..

Today, the Theater along with the JACCC at large, is still one of the
largest arts and cultural centers of its kind in the United States. The
Aratani/Japan America Theatre continues to play a crucial role in
bringing Asian Pacific Islander performing arts, music, word, and culture with extraordinary talent and shows such as Daniel Ho, Tia Carrere, Tamlyn Tomita, The Vagina Monologues, and World Festival of Sacred Music- Los Angeles.

For tickets and concert information,
call the Box Office at (213) 680-3700
(Mon-Sat, 12-5pm) or visit

Sponsorship opportunities are available for this concert. For sponsor
information contact Johnny Mori at (213) 628-2725, ext 139 or [ ]

What:SOUNDS & VOICES of J-Town featuring: Tia Carrere with Daniel Ho,Jennifer Paz and Mariko with The Music Co.
When: Saturday, June 21, 2008 7:30pm
Where: Aratani/Japan America Theatre
244 S. San Pedro St, Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles
Tickets: $45 balcony, $50 orchestra, $100 VIP Seating
(213) 680-3700 or