Interstate

March 6 – March 29, 2020
By Kit Yan and Melissa Li | Directed by Jesca Prudencio

Interstate is a Queer Asian-American pop-rock musical about two trans people at different stages of their journeys, navigating love, family, masculinity, and finding community in the era of social media. It charts Dash, a transgender spoken word performer as he goes on a cross-country tour with Adrian, a lesbian singer-songwriter, as the activist band, Queer Malady, fueled by the allure of fame and a desire to connect with the Queer Asian community. The band’s fiercely political and deeply personal music touches Henry, a transgender teenage blogger living in middle America, who finds solace in their art as he struggles with his own identity and family.

Meet the Creative Team

Kit Yan

Kit Yan (Co-Creator)

Kit Yan (he/she/they) is a Yellow American New York based artist, born in Enping, China, and raised in the Kingdom of Hawaii.  Kit is a 2019 Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow, 2019 Lincoln Center Writer in residence, a 2019 MacDowell Colony Fellow, 2019-2020 Musical Theater Factory Makers Fellow, and 2019-2020 Playwright’s Center Many Voices Fellow. Their work has been produced by the American Repertory Theater, the Smithsonian, Musical Theater Factory, the New York Musical Festival, Diversionary Theater, and Dixon Place. They have been a resident with the Civilians, Mitten Lab, 5th Avenue Theater, and the Village Theater. In 2018 Kit founded Translab, an incubator for Transgender and Non-binary voices in the American Theater, along with MJ Kaufman and supported by WP Theater and the Public Theater.

Melissa Yi

Melissa Li (Co-Creator)

Melissa Li (she/her/hers) is a composer, lyricist, performer, and writer based in New York and Baltimore. She is a recipient of the Jonathan Larson Award, a Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow, a 2019 Lincoln Center Theater Writer-in-Residence, a 2019 Musical Theater Factory Maker, a 2019 MacDowell Colony Fellow, and a former Queer|Art|Mentorship Fellow. Musicals include Interstate (New York Musical Festival, Winner “Outstanding Lyrics”), Surviving the Nian (The Theater Offensive, IRNE Award Winner for “Best New Play” 2007), and 99% Stone (The Theater Offensive). Her works have received support from The 5th Avenue Theatre, The Village Theater, Musical Theater Factory, National Performance Network, New England Foundation for the Arts, Dixon Place, and others.

Jesca Prudencio

Jesca Prudencio (Director)

Jesca Prudencio (she/her/hers) is a director and choreographer focused on creating highly physical productions of new plays, musicals, and documentary theater nationally, and internationally. Directing credits include Will Snider’s How To Use a Knife (Mixed Blood), Calling (La MaMa ETC), Anna Moench’s Man of God (East West Players), PDA (La Jolla Playhouse’s WoW Festival) Lauren Yee’s The Great Leap (Steppenwolf) A&Q (Philippines), and FAN: stories from the brothels of Bangkok (Thailand). Her critically acclaimed productions of Qui Nguyen’s Vietgone and Anna Ziegler’s Actually at San Diego Repertory Theatre received multiple Craig Noel nominations including Outstanding Director. She is a recipient of The Old Vic’s T.S. Eliot US/UK Exchange Fellowship, The Drama League Fellowship, and the inaugural Julie Taymor World Theater Fellowship. Jesca is Artistic Director/Founder of People Of Interest, dedicated to creating community specific documentary theater works. She is currently Head of Directing at San Diego State University. BFA Drama: NYU Tisch, MFA Directing: UC San Diego.

Shannon TL Kearns

Shannon TL Kearns (Assistant Director)

Shannon TL Kearns (he/him/his) is a transgender man who’s playwriting is obsessed with big questions told through small stories. He is committed to work by and for marginalized communities, using writing to create a new future for all of us. He is the founder and Artistic Director of Uprising Theatre Company in Minneapolis, MN. He is a Lambda Literary Fellow for 2019. He was awarded a spot in the HBMG Foundations’ Winter Playwright Retreat in 2018 and 2019. He has participated in Pillsbury House Theatre’s Chicago Avenue Project writing plays for and with children. He was a finalist for the Equity Library Theatre of Chicago’s Reading Series, the 2019 TransLab, and the American Stages 2019 New Play Festival. He also teaches storytelling and playwriting for youth and adults. Shannon’s plays include in a stand of dying treesLine of SightTwisted DeathsThe Resistance of My Skin, and Who Has Eyes To See.

Meet the Cast

Kai Alexander Judd as Dash

Kai Alexander JuddKai Alexander Judd (he/him/his) is honored to be making his Twin Cities debut with Interstate. Favorite credits: James and the Giant Peach (James), Into the Woods (Baker), Cats (Mungojerrie). He will be graduating from Viterbo University with a BFA in Music Theatre this coming May. Much love to his friends, his family, the Viterbo faculty, and his cat Chashi.

Rose Van Dyne as Adrian

Rose Van DyneRose Van Dyne (she/her/hers) (Adrian) is an NYC-based actor and musician. Some previous theatre companies include the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Argyle Theatre, and Town Hall Arts Center. Rose also works as a music director; most recently “Second Line” by Carner and Gregor with the Pace New Musicals program. B.A. University of Northern Colorado. Represented by HCKR. Eternal love to 엄마 and Ace.

Sushma Saha as Henry

Sushma SahaSushma Saha (she/her/hers or they/them) (Henry): Off-Broadway: Interstate (New York Musical Festival 2018). Regional Theatre: The Wolves (Actors Theatre of Louisville). Other Theatre: The Naked Cross (Pride Plays 2019), Little Shop of Horrors (1st site-specific production at Bool’s Flower Shop in Ithaca, NY), Dance Nation (Ithaca New Voices Festival 2019). Additional credits: Saha is a current senior at Ithaca College pursuing a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre. They won Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role at New York Musical Festival 2018.

Lily Tung Crystal as Mom

Lily Tung CrystalLily Tung Crystal (she/her) is excited and grateful to be making her Twin Cities acting debut at Mixed Blood in Interstate. A native Californian, she is now the artistic director of Theater Mu. Acting credits include: Mrs. Shin/God #2/Niece (Good Person of Szechwan, Cal Shakes), Prosecutor Li (Chinglish, Portland Center Stage/Syracuse Stage), Bloody Mary (South Pacific, Mountain Play), Rachel Li/Rashida (Tough Titty, Magic Theatre), Amanda (Private Lives, Whirligig Theatre), Lulu (Cabaret, SF Playhouse), Mrs. Park (Jay Kuo’s Homeland, Magic Theatre; New World Stages), Korean #2 (Songs of the Dragons, Crowded Fire; BATCC nomination). Film: Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs. Lily is also a director who is a 3-time Theatre Bay Area Award finalist. She is a 2016 YBCA 100 honoree, named by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts as a “creative pioneer making the provocations that will shape the future of culture.” lilytungcrystal.com, theatermu.org

Brian Kim as Dad

Brian KimBrian Kim: (he/him/his) MIXED BLOOD: debut; TWIN CITIES: The Korean Drama Addict’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity, Fast Fast Company (Theater Mu), Caught (Full Circle), Les Miserables, The Producers, 42nd Street, Joseph… Dreamcoat (Chanhassen Dinner Theater), Mulan Jr. (Children’s Theater Company), Charlotte’s Web (Old Log), Joseph… Dreamcoat (Ordway); REGIONAL: Carousel, Gold Mountain (National Asian Artists Project), The Emperor’s Nightingale (Pan Asian Rep), Dinner with Georgette (NYTW), Aubergine (San Diego Rep), Labour of Love (Olney); TV/FILM: Pokemon: Sun and Moon, Naughty Nuts, Mazinger Z: Infinity, EDF: Iron Rain, Modern Combat Versus, The Beach House, The Struggle; AWARDS: 2018 Best Actor/Director Asian American Film Lab

Zeniba Now as Carly

Zeniba NowZeniba Now (she/hers/her) is a musical storyteller and art scientist creating for the stage and film. Her work has been featured and produced by PBS, The Public Theater, Dramatist Magazine, and more. She has performed internationally, regionally and Off-Broadway as a vocalist and actress… and she has recently retired. To learn more about her art or millennial retirement visit www.zenibanow.com

Tom Reed as Pastor Fred

Tom ReedTom Reed (he/him/his) is an actor, writer, and improviser based in Minneapolis, MN. In addition to nearly 20 shows on the Brave New Workshop Comedy Theater’s mainstage, Reed’s acting credits include Autonomy: Karl, Gloria: Dean/Devin, Hooded: Hunter/Burns, Curious Incident: Ensemble, Next to Normal: Henry, Avenue Q: Princeton (Mixed Blood Theatre), The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged): Daniel (Actor’s Theater) and several shows at HUGE Improv Theater. Writing credits include Greenway (Twin Cities Horror Festival), and a string of successful Minnesota Fringe Festival musical parodies – including Game of Toms, Stranger Things: Netflix and KILL and Parry Hotter – along with a gun culture satire, Gunplay! Reed can also be seen on screen in Netflix’s Lady Dynamite, award-winning short films, and commercials.

Meredith Casey as Madison

Meredith CaseyMeredith (she/her/hers) is thrilled to be making her Mixed Blood debut! Local Credits: Guthrie Theater (The American Clock) The Jungle (The Wolves – original and remount cast) Theater Mu (Peerless) Artistry (Tinker to Evers to Chance – regional premiere) Regional Credits: Theater at Monmouth (Sense & Sensibility) Shakespeare on the Sound (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, All’s Well That Ends Well) Hope Repertory (Hairspray, Oedipus, Go, Dog. Go! The Musical) Upcoming: Amadeus at Gremlin Theatre. Education: UMN/Guthrie BFA Actor Training Program. Meredith is also the author of ‘Spitting Glass’ a new poetry collection, you can find it at www.meredithcasey.com

Interstate Partners

Mixed Blood is proud to partner with these amazing groups and organizations.

Asian American Organizing Project

Asian American Organizing Project (AAOP) is a non-partisan, not-for profit organization, created by young queer Asian people for young queer Asian people to build self-determination and autonomy through civic engagement, youth empowerment, and gender justice.

Bisexual Organizing Project

BOP (Bisexual Organizing Project) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit registered in Minnesota that serves the Upper Midwest. We are committed to building the bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer, and unlabeled (bi+) community through regular events and the yearly national BECAUSE conference. BOP is welcoming and inclusive of everyone, including but not limited to people of all gender identities, sexual orientations, sexes, relationship orientations, ethnicities, abilities, religions, and political affiliations.
BOP also works in partnership with other groups and individuals in the Upper Midwest who are organizing events serving bisexual and other non-monosexual communities.
Their Mission Statement is: Build, serve, and advocate for an empowered bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer, and unlabeled (bi+) community to promote social justice.

Hayden Bui

Hayden Bui is a full time student at the U of M, studying Art and Asian American Studies. He is an emerging queer and trans artist that is passionate about organizing and creating art for LGBTQ people of color, primarily trans and queer Asian individuals. Hayden’s work endeavors to build something unlike anything around us, expressed through paintings and sculptures that use color and movement.
IG: @OnlyKeep | bui00088@umn.edu

Coalition of Asian American Leaders

The Coalition of Asian American Leaders (CAAL) envisions a State where all Minnesotans, regardless of background, are actively engaged and can achieve prosperity. Asian American leaders formed CAAL in 2013 after a series of conversations about the state of the community. It was our assessment that there was not another effort that intentionally brought emerging and experienced leaders from different sectors, age groups, and various ethnic communities together. CAAL was created as a vehicle to organize us towards creating shared agendas that can be collectively advanced, as well as to be a network of support for leaders who want to use their experience, assets, and skills to ensure equity is achieved for all.
To learn more about CAAL, please visit caalmn.org or @CAALmn twitter | @CAALminnesota facebook.

Tori Hong

Tori Hong is an independent illustrator, workshop/small group facilitator, community-driven curator, and public artist. Tori explores the connections between art and ancestors, using bold lines, vibrant colors, and deep trust in her work. Through her art, Tori centers communities of color & LGBTQ communities, particularly queer & trans Asian Americans.

Keefer Court

The story of Keefer Court Bakery & Cafe started long before the doors opened in 1983. It began with a dream to leave China. From Hong Kong, Sunny Kwan went to Vancouver where he began his baking journey at the already established Keefer Bakery. He then brought his family to Chicago to open his own Keefer Court Bakery. With too much competition in the Chicago Chinatown, he decided to move further north. Keefer Court Bakery and Cafe opened in Minneapolis, where they found much success within the Asian community. While the location in Vancouver and Chicago closed down, our beloved Minneapolis shop has been thriving for 36 years. After all of his years of hard work, Sunny is now passing the business on to his daughter, Michelle, to carry on the legacy of Cantonese baking.

On Stage

On Stage, a fiscally sponsored program through Springboard for the Arts, brings actors to college classrooms and community settings around the Twin Cities. Local actors read scenes from a play in current local production followed by a lively discussion of the themes tying in current events, personal values and narratives, and stimulating critical thinking. For more information about On Stage, please visit: onstagemn.org  

OutFront Minnesota

OutFront Minnesota’s mission is to create a state where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people are free to be who they are, love who they love, and live without fear of violence, harassment or discrimination.

“We envision a state where LGBTQ individuals have equal opportunities, protection and rights. We are working toward the day when all Minnesotans have the freedom, power and confidence to make the best choices for their own lives.”

Ring of Keys

Ring of Keys is a National network of queer women, trans, and gender-nonconforming artists working on and offstage in musical theatre. 
© 2020 — Mixed Blood Theatre