Learn more about the production, cast & creative team with a peek into the program. Read full artist bios, in-depth articles and more.
Randy Guiaya (Ba/Vendor/A-Gong)
When I was four, I dragged my mom into a piano store, hoping she’d buy me a Yamaha Electone. Instead, Mom bought my older sister an upright piano and lessons that she didn’t ask for. I learned to play by watching my sister like a hawk when she’d practice. While my high school drama and choir teachers didn’t need accompanists for their programs, they taught me how to do a grapevine dance move across the stage without tripping and helped me expand my three-note grunting range into something more listenable. Thus, my love for acting was born. Since then, I’ve appeared on stage and screen, and my voice has been heard in movies, TV and radio programs, commercials and even a GPS app (WAZE) that’s pretty popular, I hear. I attended the University of Southern California and graduated with two degrees—music and something scientific to throw my parents off the “you’re-gonna-be-a doctor” scent.
Nicole Javier (Goldfish 1&2/Villager 2/Apprentice/Xiao Mao/Pottery Vendor/a-Fu)
I am an LA-based actor, teacher and yoga instructor—so, just like in this show, I play a lot of roles in my everyday life! I grew up in the Bay Area and found my passion for acting at a young age. I joined my drama club at my school, auditioned and was in every show; then I went on to study acting at Chapman University here in Orange County. I loved it so much I also got my MFA (a master of fine arts degree) in acting from UC-San Diego. I was recently in the original cast of Diana the Musical at La Jolla Playhouse, which opens on Broadway in March. Shhh. Here’s a secret: a common misconception is that actors don’t get nervous, but I still get nervous singing in front of people. So I practice a lot and try to remember what I do is fun! Enjoy the show, and do what you love!
Chloris Li (Minli/Old Woman)
Growing up, my aunt would tell me many Chinese folktales at bedtime. These were tales about dragons, mountains, lovers and heroes. My favorite stories were always the ones about
the legendary Monkey King. I fell in love with storytelling through hearing those folktales and decided that I wanted to become
a performer. Today, I am very grateful to be standing on this
stage and telling you the same stories that my aunt used to tell me. I was born in San Francisco, Calif., and recently graduated from UC-San Diego, where I studied theatre.
Mike Palma (Tiger/Goldfish Man/Peach Vendor/Villager 3)
I was born and raised in Los Angeles and got my start in acting when I auditioned for a musical touring company show that took me throughout the U.S. Since then, I’ve been in a wide variety of shows, but my most favorite thus far was this past summer’s production of Mamma Mia! at East West Players in Los Angeles. I’m also the associate artistic director of the longest-running Asian-American improv group in the nation, called Cold Tofu. Check us out at coldtofu.com. When I’m not performing, I am a professional photographer and have photographed celebrities and big events including the Oscars and the Golden Globes. In 2015, I was given the opportunity to photograph several dignitaries including the Prime Minister of Japan. I enjoy photographing people because it’s a chance for me to get to know them better and learn about the amazing things they do in their lives. Lastly, we hope to inspire you with our stories and talents on the stage today! Enjoy the show!
Albert Park (Old Man/Villager 1/Painter Chen/Beggar/King/Da-Fu)
A long time ago, I was a little boy who watched too much television (that’s what they used to call Netflix). I constantly practiced cartoon voices for my sisters, and I loved watching stories and making my family laugh as I acted them out. Then, in first grade, I went on a field trip to watch my first play, The Wizard of Oz performed by Asian Story Theater. Eureka! After that, I performed in plays at church and at school. Eventually, I went to UC-Berkeley to study art, where I learned how to “create visual interest” and read a lot about something called critical theory. I enjoyed painting and filmmaking, but I missed performing. After years of sitting behind a desk for money, I finally acknowledged my calling and returned to theatre. Nowadays, I love to tell stories of folks who look like me, such as Vietgone and Cambodian Rock Band.
Miller Tai (Dragon)
I am an actor, singer and dancer originally from Wichita, Kan. I got involved in my very first theatre show in eighth grade and I haven’t stopped since that moment. You might have seen me recently in The Emperor’s Nightingale, where I was one of the most important characters—a panda. I was also the emperor, but the pandas were the most important for sure. I have also been on TV shows like “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” “Mom” and “Young Sheldon.” You can find me at your nearest bakery, boba place or doughnut store!
Aja Wiltshire (Ma/Vendor/Amah)
I just moved to Los Angeles from across the country in Chicago. I studied acting and music at Oklahoma City University and am originally from Texas. I’ve done all kinds of plays and musicals (I did my first musical when I was five years old!) and, in one of them, we got to form an actual rock band. I love telling stories because they help people see parts of life that they might not have seen before—
and maybe even teach them something—or help them understand a different perspective. I hope you enjoy the play!
Jennifer Chang (Director)
I have always loved books and being told stories. When I was a kid, I would create stories and sets with my dolls and stuffed animals, recycling and reusing boxes of all shapes and sizes and used my bed as a stage. I was born in San Francisco, went to college in New York City (I got a BA from New York University) and graduate school in San Diego (I got my MFA from UC-San Diego) to study acting and now I’m a director. I even won a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for directing! I have two sons, ages 5 and 7, who also love stories and adventures, and I dedicate this show to them.
Deborah Wicks La Puma (Musical Director)
I am a composer and music director who loves working at SCR, where you might have seen my musicals Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Experience, Ella Enchanted and Jane of the Jungle. I have been writing shows for kids and grown-ups for more than
20 years including Elephant and Piggie: We Are in a Play! at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; Einstein is a Dummy at the Alliance Theatre (Atlanta, Ga.); and Ferdinand the Bull at Imagination Stage (Md.). I started playing piano, singing and writing songs when I was nine and studied music at Stanford University and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. While I have never made friends with a dragon, I really love playing with my cat, Mimi, and hanging out with my family. Check out my website: crunchynotes.com.
Tesshi Nakagawa (Scenic Designer)
I am a Los Angeles-based scenic designer and originally hail from Tokyo, Japan. I always liked drawing and crafting as a child. When I was 20 years old, I had a chance to go to New York City and saw many Broadway musicals such as The Phantom of the Opera and Cats. I was blown away by this experience and decided to come to the U.S. to study theatrical design. I started at Los Angeles City College, then went to Boston University and UCLA to pursue my dream. Now I work in theatre and also in the film and commercial industry as a scenic designer/art director. I received my MFA from University of California, Los Angeles.
Anthony Tran (Costume Designer)
I am a Los Angeles-based costume designer for theatre, film and television. As a kid, I would draw on anything I could get my hands on—scrap paper, napkins and the margins of essays. I went to college at UCLA, where I studied theatre design and art history. My work has taken me all over, from tiny remote parts of Montana to tropical Puerto Rico. You may have seen my work in TV shows like “Teen Beach 2,” “Andi Mack” (Disney) and “Star Trek: Picard” (CBS All-Access). Costume design combines many of the things I love—art, storytelling, analysis and collaborating with fellow artists.
Lonnie Rafael Alcaraz (Lighting Designer)
I’m a professor at UC-Irvine and a professional lighting designer. I have designed for various regional theatres, such as Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Great River Shakespeare Festival and Utah Shakespeare Festival. Among the productions I designed for SCR are The Whipping Man, The Long Road Today, La Posada Mágica, Goldfish, Bunnicula, James and the Giant Peach and Jane of the Jungle. My recent designs include American Mariachi at SCR, The Lion in Winter at Laguna Playhouse, Murder for Two at Center REPertory Company, All Is Calm at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and Macbeth and Cymbeline at Great River Shakespeare Festival. I am a member of the United Scenic Artists/IATSE–Local 829. My complete design portfolio can be found at www.lradesigns.com
Melanie Chen Cole (Sound Designer)
I am a San Diego-based freelance sound designer who grew up in Cerritos, Calif. I started taking piano lessons when I was four years old and later, in elementary school, I learned how to play the flute. I went to college at UC-San Diego and that’s where I discovered how to use my love of music to help tell stories through theatre. I stayed at UC-San Diego for another three years to get my MFA. I’ve enjoyed designing all over the country including states like Alabama, Ohio, Texas, Indiana, North Carolina and in Washington, D.C. It’s exciting to return to Orange County for my design debut at SCR on this production.
Yee Eun Nam (Video Designer)
I like making art. When I was in elementary school, I drew chicks and frogs every day for years. In high school, I made a giant horse with clay. In college, I studied graphic design, video design and metal craft. I spent days making a 3D ball bounce smoothly. And I thought, “What kind of job could I get to use all of these different types of art that I learned?” So I became a theatre designer. I received an MFA from UCLA, where I studied professional theatre design. Now I design logos, posters and wallpapers for shows. Sometimes I make news footage, hand-drawn animations and moving waves and clouds. It is so much fun to design new worlds for theatre! When I am not in theatre, I am usually at home with my cat and watching hummingbirds outside of my window.
Talia Krispen (Stage Manager)
I am a New York-based stage manager. I grew up in Southern California and started seeing theatre at the age of five and was in my first production at age nine. One of my favorite roles was playing Milky White (a cow!) in a production of Into the Woods. I went to the University of the Pacific as an actor. Shortly after I graduated college, I found my true calling as a stage manager on a Theatre for Young Audiences production of Sarah, Plain and Tall in New York City. Then I went back to school and got my master's degree in educational theatre at New York University. My last young audiences production was SCR’s Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook! Working backstage is so much fun—we’re like ninjas! Try to spot us! I have been stage managing professionally for more than 17 years. When I’m not stage managing, I like to travel and spend time with my friends. For Mychal and Dad. Instagram: teekrisp. www.taliakrispel.com
The Actors and Stage Managers employed in this production are members of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
Albert Park, Miller Tai, Nicole Javier, Chloris Li and Mike Palma in "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Albert Park and Chloris Li in "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Chloris Li, Albert Park, Randy Guiaya, Aja Wiltshire, Miller Tai and Mike Palma in "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Nicole Javier, Mike Palma, Randy Guiaya, Chloris Li, Aja Wiltshire and Albert Park in "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Nicole Javier, Randy Guiaya, Chloris Li, Albert Park and Aja Wiltshire in "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Nicole Javier and Miller Tai in "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Randy Guiaya, Chloris Li and Aja Wiltshire in "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Aja Wiltshire, Mike Palma, Chloris Li, Nicole Javier and Randy Guiaya in "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Chloris Li and Albert Park in "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Aja Wiltshire, Chloris Li, Randy Guiaya and Mike Palma in "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Mike Palma, Chloris Li and Miller Tai in "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Chloris Li and Miller Tai in "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Chloris Li and Miller Tai in "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon." Photo by Jordan Kubat.