Welly Yang: Finding Home

No matter what the language, everyone has dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It does not matter where you live, be it California, Canada, or Asia, human beings everywhere have the same need for love, acceptance, and a sense of purpose. Welly Yang an award winning Broadway actor and vocalist gave us a glimpse inside this reality in his show, 'Welly Yang: Finding Home'; an autobiographical journey of his life and the life of his family past, present, and looking towards the future.

Broadway actor Welly Yang brings us home to meet his family

With a talented cast of musicians, back round vocalists and dancers, Welly, interacts with the audience, speaking to us as friends around a dinner table sharing his life. The play opens with the voice of Welly's grandmother, singing about a bird trying to find its nest. As the song fades, Welly is on the ground in what appears to be a patch of dirt. He is singing about his ancestors and the generations that have tilled the ground in Taiwan laboring and searching for their purpose. He then takes the role of his father as he shares with the audience of his father leaving his home land of Taiwan to start a new life as a doctor in America. After singing a song in his father's native tongue, he shares his fathers struggle to fit into and adjust to his new life in New York among strangers who struggle to pronounce his name and accept his presence among them.

Welly (second from right) with well wishers at afterparty.

Homesick and discouraged, Welly's father is given a glimpse of hope when his parents send him a photo of a beautiful young woman and encourage him to correspond with her after a brief courtship, Welly's father returns to Taiwan to marry Welly's mother. Welly and actress Dina Morishita (Who is also Welly's real life girlfriend) portrays Welly's mother and they together sing the song, Picture Perfect as old footage from Welly's parent's actual wedding is displayed on screen. Welly shares the culture shock his mother endures in America and the longing to return to her homeland. It is with the birth of Welly's bother Winston that she is able to adjust. Dina sings beautifully the song, My baby's eyes to capitalize on the moment. After Welly's birth, Welly's paternal grandfather dies. After the funeral, Welly's father and mother together are determined to provide everything possible to ensure their sons have all the advantages to become successful in their lives in honor of their grandfather. After Welly and Winston leave for college, Welly's mother embarks on a journey to reconcile some of her unfulfilled dreams. She takes a job in Taiwan to work with a political party geared at liberating Taiwan from the harsh brutalities of dictatorship. After many years of hard work, she sees her homeland finally taste the freedom that they were denied for many years.

Welly with Dina In her new role as blushing bride-to-be.

Welly then brings us forward to his life. He shares how he was bit by the acting bug and wanted to work in theatre, though his mother was convinced he should have been a lawyer since he liked to argue with her so much. He shares the struggle of his disappointment with rejection, and the excitement of finally making it to Broadway to be a part of an award winning show, to the frustration to being limited to certain roles because of his Asian heritage. This bias became the catalyst for him starting an organization to bring theatre productions to stage that represent the Asian community. It was at a casting call he met the love of his life Dina and he brings us to present day and the current happenings in his life, including the celebration of the new house he and Dina just purchased. This one night show was entertaining from beginning to end. Infused with a wide range of songs, from Disney (When you wish upon a star) to Barbara Steisand (Papa Can you hear me) to Country (I Hope you dance) helping to tell the story of his family, I walked a way with a sense I knew his family personally by the end of the program. After the final song and bows from the cast, Welly invited the audience into the new chapter in his life by surprising Dina with a marriage proposal on stage. She happily accepted and on that happy note the program ended. This program was sponsored in part by the Taiwanese United Fund to celebrate Asian culture in the theatre. For more information, go to www.tufusa.org

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