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inside news about Asians and women on stage


Scene from "Bombay Dreams" opening at the Broadway Theatre March 29th.

BOMBAY DREAMS: Direct from London's West End, A R Rahman's smash hit musical "Bombay Dreams" will open at the Broadway Theatre (1681 Broadway at 53rd Street) with previews beginning Monday, March 29, 2004 . Based on an idea by Shekhar Kapur and Andrew Lloyd Webber, "Bombay Dreams" tells the story of a handsome young slum-dweller and his dreams of becoming a Bollywood movie star. "Bombay Dreams" weaves together the glamour of the movies, heart-aching romance and epic spectacle in a musical the London Sunday Express called the "best British-originated musical since The Phantom of the Opera." "Bombay Dreams" is directed by Steven Pimlott and choreographed by Anthony Van Laast and Farah Khan. For tickets, call Telecharge.com at 212-239-6200 visit www.bombaydreams.com.

"Bombay Dreams" had its world premiere at London's Apollo Victoria Theatre on June 19, 2002. The musical, produced in London by Andrew Lloyd Webber, has quickly become the biggest hit currently playing in London's West End. "Bombay Dreams" has music by A R Rahman, lyrics by Don Black and book by Meera Syal and Thomas Meehan.

A R Rahman has garnered a multitude of awards and accolades for his music, and is among the highest selling musicians in the world, having sold over 200 million albums worldwide. He has composed the soundtracks for over fifty films and has collaborated with innumerable artists including Dominic Miller, David Byrne and Michael Jackson.
Featuring a cast of 39 "Bombay Dreams" stars Manu Narayan as Akaash and Anisha Nagarajan as Priya, both of whom are making their Broadway debuts.

A recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, Manu Narayan's theatre credits include the National Tour of Miss Saigon (Thuy), Tom Stoppard's Indian Ink (Nirad Das) at the Wilma Theater, and David Henry Hwang's Largo (starring Cyndi Lauper and Fisher Stevens) at New York Stage and Film, as well as Suzan-Lori Parks' F*cking A at The Public Theater.

Plucked from her sophomore year at New York University, Anisha Nagarajan was offered the starring role of Priya - the up-and-coming young Bollywood film director - after attending an open call audition for "Bombay Dreams"earlier this year. Nagarajan is also a composer, having written the children's musical Eleven with lyricist Michael Mitnick.

"Bombay Dreams" also stars world-famous actress and food writer Madhur Jaffrey as Shanti, with Ayesha Dharker as Rani (reprising the role she created in London's West End), Sriram Ganesan as Sweetie, Marvin L. Ishmael as Madan and Deep Katdare as Vikram.

The ensemble includes Jolly Abraham, Mueen Jahan Ahman, Aaron J. Albano, Celine Alwyn, Anjali Bhimani, Shane Bland, Gabrielle Burrafato, Wendy Calio, Tiffany Cooper, Sheetal Ghandi, Krystal Kiran Garib, Tanvir Gopal, Tania Marie Hakim, Dell Howlett, Suresh John, Ian Jutsun, Miriam Laube, Aalok Mehta, Ron Nahass, Michelle Nigalan, Zahf Paroo, Danny Pathan, Bobby Petska, Kafi Pierre, Sarah Ripard, Rommy Sandhu, Darryl Semira, Neil Jay Shastri, Lisa Stevens, Kirk Torigoe, James R. Whittington and Nicole Winhoffer.

A.R.Rahman (Music) is the son of the late R K Sekhar, the well-known music director in the Malayalam film industry. He began his musical career at the age of 11 as a keyboard player. He graduated with a degree in Western Classical Music and began composing in 1987. Film: A R Rahman's first film soundtrack was for Roja. The score of Roja earned A. R. Rahman every conceivable music award in India in 1992. Since then he has composed the soundtracks for over fifty films including Lagaan, Fiza, Taal, Earth, Dil Se, Fire and Bombay. The soundtrack for Bombay sold over 5 million copies. A. R. Rahman has sold over 100 million soundtrack albums worldwide. Concerts/Recording: Collaborations on keyboards with innumerable artists including Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Apache Indian, Zakir Hussein, Dr. L. Shankar, Dominic Miller, David Byrne and Michael Jackson. Television: Long association with the Indian Advertising Industry in creating music for advertisements. A R Rahman's portfolio includes music and jingles for award-winning commercials for television and radio as well as scores for corporate videos and documentaries. He composed the score for the acclaimed, award-winning television serial "Vande Mataram." Awards: Telega Purashkar Award for 1992, 1993 and 1994; Rajat Kamal Award for Best Music Director at the National Film Awards; National Award for Best Music Direction for Minsara Kanavu; Filmfare Award every year from 1992 to 2001, Cinema Express Award, Nagi Reddy Award, Rajiv Gandhi Award, Screen Award for Vande Mataram and Taal, awarded the Padma Shree by the President of India. A R Rahman recently composed music for Friends of the World, which he performed in Munich with Michael Jackson.

The Arts of Noh, at Japan Society.

NOH & KYOGEN THEATER: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of their Performing Arts Program, Japan Society presents "Noh & Kyogen: Masters of Performance" beginning with a Special Gala performance, Thursday, March 18 at 7:30. Nohgaku Kyokai, an association of 1,500 professional noh and kyogen performers, brings together a veritable "Dream Team" of the 20 most highly ranked performers for this special event, including Katayama Kuroemon, Hosho Kan and Shigeyama Sensaku, all of whom the Japanese government have designated Living National Treasures. Performances run March 18 - 20. Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street. For tickets, call 212-752-3015 or visit www.japansociety.org.

The traditional Japanese theater arts of noh and kyogen are rarely performed together in the United States and "Noh & Kyogen: Masters of Performance" offers a unique opportunity to see an unbelievable cast of the most acclaimed masters of traditional Japanese theater. The program includes the noh theater piece The Heavy Burden of Love (Koi no Omoni) and the kyogen theater piece Horizontal Singing (Neongyoku). The March 18 Gala performance will also include a special presentation of noh music The Lion (Shishi) and tickets include a post-performance champagne reception with the distinctive opportunity to meet the performers. All performances are in Japanese with English subtitles.

Designated as "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO, noh and kyogen are world-renown forms of traditional Japanese theater with a history of over 600 years. In the early fourteenth century, acting troupes in a variety of centuries-old theatrical traditions were touring and performing at temples, shrines and festivals, often with the patronage of the nobility. The performing genre called sarugaku was one of these traditions.

During the 14th and 15th centuries, under the leadership of the distinguished performer -playwrights Kan'ami (1333-1384) and his son Zeami (1363-1443), sarugaku was transformed into noh and developed into its present form, which combines elements of dance, drama, music and poetry into one highly aesthetic stage art. About 250 plays written by Zeami are still performed in today's classical repertory.

Kyogen, the classical comic theater, shares a common sarugaku heritage with noh theater. While Noh is musical in nature, kyogen is comic theater. In contrast to the expressionless quality of noh characters, whether masked or not, kyogen performers depend on exuberant facial expressions for comic effect.

To balance the more serious noh with the comical kyogen, they have been traditionally performed alternately in the same program. However, this tradition is not usually maintained in their appearance abroad because of booking and financial hurdles. Japan Society's program will be a rare opportunity for American audiences.

On Wednesday, March 17 at 6:30 pm, Japan Society presents the lecture "Living Traditions: The Art of Noh & Kyogen in Japan Today" in conjunction with the performances. The three highly distinguished members of Nohgaku Kyokai, Katayama Kuroemon, Hosho Kan, and Shigeyama Sensaku, discuss their craft and efforts to keep noh and kyogen alive in Japan and around the world. The discussion is moderated by Jonah Salz, contemporary noh and kyogen expert, Professor of Comparative Literature and currently a Visiting Fellow, Wesleyan University. Students are free.

THE WARRIOR'S SISTER: "The Warrior's Sister" will be presented at La MaMa E.T.C. , 74A East Fourth Street March 5 to 21. The newest work by Yara Arts Group, is based on an ancient Buryat Mongolian epic song about the sister of a legendary warrior who puts on his armor when he is killed. This World Music-Theater piece includes fragments of the epic performed live by Buryat artists from Siberia in the traditional throat-singing style, while Yara artists perform in English. Virlana Tkacz directs. For tickets, call the Box Office 212-475- 7710. For more info about Yara, visit www.brama.com.

The production follows the Yara Arts Group style of dramatizing ancient myths with movement, world music, and songs sung in many languages. This time, however, the show is based entirely on a single poetic text. "Alamzhi the Warrior with the Eagle Eye and His Sister Aguy Gokhon" was recorded from the great story teller Yolbon Shalbykov August 18-20, 1903 in the Ust-Orda Buryat Region near Lake Baikal in Siberia. It has been translated for the show into English from Buryat Mongolian by Sayan Zhambalov, Virlana Tkacz and Wanda Phipps. The cast includes four performers from Buryatia, two of them being Honored Artists of the Republic, and New York members of Yara Arts Group.

"The Warrior's Sister" is being created in rehearsals by director Virlana Tkacz and Buryat artists Sayan and Erzhena Zhambalov. Set, lights and costumes are by Watoku Ueno, Yara's resident designer and founding member, who is an NEA/TCG award-winning designer. Movement is by Shigeko Suga. Photographs are by Siberian photographer Alexander Khantaev. Music is by Emilio China, composer, violinist and founder of popular NY rock band Nyqwill. It features traditional Buryat music and throat singing by Sayan and Erzhena Zhambalov, Victor Zhalsanov, and Bayarto Endonov. The sister of the warrior is played by Eunice Wong. The cast also includes Yara artists Andrew Colteaux, Hettiene Park and Meredith Wright.

Director Virlana Tkacz heads the Yara Arts Group and has created fourteen original theater pieces with the company, all of which had their American premieres at La MaMa. She is the author with Sayan Zhambalov and Wanda Phipps of the prize-winning book Shanar: Dedication Ritual of a Buryat Shaman in Siberia (Parabola, 2002).

Sayan and Erzhena Zhambalov have worked with Yara Arts Group since 1996. They live in the Buryat Republic in Siberia and are considered the premiere artists of their generation. They perform as the band "Uragsha" with Victor Zalsanov and Bayarto Endonov. They have played traditional Buryat Music at the Museum of Natural History, the Knitting Factory, and twice to sold-out auditoriums for the World Music Institute. Reviewing their work in "Circle" for Rhythm Magazine, Michal Shapiro wrote, "The next time someone tells you that the Yara Arts Group at La MaMa is putting on a show, go see it! It isn't often that one can enjoy such a satisfying evening of Theatre perfectly fused with music. This is what good art is all about--exhilarating, uplifting and entertaining. And for the world music lover, it is a feast of gorgeous singing, authentic costuming and masterly instrumentals."

Founded in 1990, Yara Arts Group, a resident company of La MaMa, creates original pieces that explore timely issues rooted in the East through the diverse cultural perspectives of the group's members. Yara artists are of Asian, African, Eastern and Western European ethnic origin. They bring together poetry, song, historical materials and scientific texts, primarily from the East, to form what one critic described as "extended meditation on an idea." The company has created seven pieces based on materials from Eastern Europe including: "A Light from the East," "Blind Sight," "Yara's Forest Song," and "Swan." The New York Times (D.J.R. Bruckner) called one of these pieces, "Waterfall/Reflections" developed with folk singer Nina Matvienko, "a theatrical enchantment given cohesion by choreographed movement and by music on a prodigal scale." Since 1996 Yara has also created six theater pieces with Buryat artists from Siberia.

The Buryat artists, performing under the name Uragsha, will perform excerpts from various uligers, or Siberian Epic Songs, on March 10 at 7:30 pm at La MaMa's La Galleria (info 212-475-7710) for the opening of an exhibit of photographs of Mongolia by Alexander Khantaev. The exhibit runs through March 21. They will also play a concert of traditional Buryat songs, music and throat singing from China March 24 at 7:30 pm at La MaMa's La Galleria for the opening of an exhibit of photographs of Buryat villages in northern China by Mr. Khantaev. That exhibit runs through April 4. Uragsha will also perform at the Bowery Poetry Club March 17.

Sung Rno's "wAve" Left to Right: Ron Domingo, Aaron Yoo and Michi Barall Photo credit: Ralph B. Pena

MA-YI'S WAVE: Obie Award-winning Ma-Yi Theater Company celebrates its 15th anniversary season with the world premiere of Sung Rno's "wAve," directed by Will Pemerantz. Previews begin Off-Broadway on March 14 at the Ohio Theater at 66 Wooster Street. "wAve," a satrirical new play about collision of cultures, concerns a modern-day Asian American family living at the juncture between happiness and hallucination - mother, father, son: one has been seduced by fame while another becomes fascinated with firearms. For reservations, call Theatermania at 212-352-3101 or visit www.theatermania.com. For more info about Ma-Yi, visit www.ya-yitheatre.org.

Will Pomerantz directs Michi Barall, Deborah S. Craig, Ron Domingo, Paul Juhn, Patrick McNulty and Aaron Yoo.

Sung Rno's work has been produced by East West Players, Asian American Theater Compnay, San Diego Asian American Rep, Dance Theater Workshop and Immigrant's Theater Project, Seoul International Theater Festival and the New York International Fringe Festival. His plays include "Cleveland Raining," "Gravity Falls from Trees," "Drizzle and Other Stories," " New World," Principia" and "Ya Sing Counts To Thirteen," which won a New York Fringe Festival Excellence Award for Best Overall Production in 2002. Other honors include an NEA/TCG playwriting fellowship with Ma-Yi Theater Company, first prize in the Seattle Multicultural Playwrights' Festival, and commissions from the Mark Taper Forum, the Joseph Papp Public Theater, and Ma-Yi Theater Company. He received a B. A. in physics from Harvard and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Brown. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and is a first year resident of New Dramatists. "wAve" was originally commissioned by the Mark Taper Forum Asian American Workshop.

Director Will Pomerantz is best known for his work at the Culture Project, most notably, Julia Jordan's recent "Tatjana in Color," Prater Violet," "Social Note: An Evening with Dorothy Parker" and Dicken's "A Tale of Two Cities. He has also been associated with theatres including Mark Taper Forum, Pittsburg Public Theater, Williamstown Theatre Festival and New York Theatre Workshop. His production of "The Shape of Things" in Washington, D.C. received a Helen Hayes Award and was voted Best Production of 2002 by Wathington's Metro Weekly. Additionally, Pomerantz has directed at Mark Taper Forum, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Williamstown Theatre Festival and The Juilliard School, among others. He is an alumnus of Cornell University.

Last season, Ma-Yi won Village Voice OBIE Awards for its highly praised premiere of Lonnie Carter's "The Romance of Magno Rubio," whih has since toured the Philippines and California. Other recent Productions of note by Ma-Yi include "The Square," Han Ong's "Middle Finger," "Watcher" and Alice Tuan's "Last of the Suns." Ma-Yi's Artistic Director is Ralph Pena and Executive Director Jorge Ortoll.

A WOMAN AT HEART: Diverse City Theater Company's reading of Linda Faigao-Hall's "A Woman at Heart" will be held on Monday, March 15, 6:30PM at the Manhattan Theatre Club Studios at 311 West 43rd Street, 8th Floor. The play is about a Filipina, confronted by extreme poverty and her brother's ailing health, decides to become a mail-order bride for an American man and discovers how poverty corrupts and absolute poverty corrupts absolutely. For more info, visit www.diversecitytheater.org.

"A Woman at Heart" is the inaugural production of Diverse City Theater Company. Originally commissioned and later produced by Starfish Theater Works, Diverse
City has been developing this revised piece during the past year. There will be a
Q&A session after the reading performance. The cast features a diverse
ensemble of New York actors, including Obie Award-winner Ching Valdes-Aran.

Diverse City Theater Co. Inc. was formed in April of 2003. Its mission is to promote new plays and emerging playwrights that portray our society's evolving cultural and lifestyle diversity issues as well as the non-traditional casting of actors. Diverse City's productions will reflect the company's commitment to inclusion, cultural and demographic cross-section, and acceptance of individualities and differences.

Ms. Linda Faigao-Hall's plays have been produced, workshopped and published both in the East and West Coasts. "Salad Days and Other Stories,"
featuring three of her one-act plays were recently produced by Ma-Yi Theater in New York April 2003 at the Blue Heron; "Pusong Babae (A Woman at Heart)," "Duet," and "The Interview," developed and produced by Starfish Theatreworks Inc, NYC; "God, Sex, and Blue Water," Lark Theater Company NYC; "He & She," Expanded Arts NYC; "Woman From the Other Side of the World," InterAct Theater, Sacramento, CA; East West Players Inc. Los Angeles; Ma-Yi Theater NYC; "The Boy Who Wouldn't Read," P.S. 282, Brooklyn, "Men Come and Go," LAHI Productions NYC; "Requiem," Henry Street Theater Arts Center NYC; "State Without Grace," Pan Asian Repertory Theater NYC; Asian-American Theater Company, San Francisco; Northeast/College Tour: Arlington, Virginia; Washington, D.C; Tufts University; Rutgers University; Syracuse University; Cornell University. Her plays have been published by Dramatic Publishing Company and Alexander Street Press. Her most current work, "Walking Iron,"
commissioned by The Working Theater, won a National Endowment of the Arts, Department of Labor and Department of Cultural Affairs grants. Ms.
Faigao-Hall has a Master of Arts in English Literature from New York University where she also continued her postgraduate studies in Educational Theater. She also studied Medieval Theater at Bretton Hall College, Wakefield, England. She is currently teaching Literary Criticism at the College of New Rochelle.

TEABAG OPEN MIC: Teabag Open Mic presents "Teabag : Amplified," featuring p.i.c. with special guests PaperDoll, THE FRANCIS KIM BAND and BARF BROOKZ on Saturday, March 6, 8PM at Silk Road Place at 30 Mott Street, in Chinatown, NewYork City. "Teabag : Amplified, " is a monthly concert series that showcases some of New York's top musical acts. To reserve tickets, call 646-613-8887 or visit www.teabagopenmic.com.

p.i.c. blends hip hop, hardcore punk, Latin rhythms, funk and ska - to entertain, offend, charm, and confuse audiences in New York and around the world: their wildly successful debut album hiphopunkfunkmamboska has been added to over 300 radio stations nationwide and has hit #1 on CMJ charts from Canada to Hawaii. PaperDoll mixes melodic vocals and piano with driving bass, drums and guitar. The result is some of today's most upbeat and unique rock music that will have listeners dancing by the speakers and singing the hooks all the way home.

THE FRANCIS KIM BAND's music can be described as thoughtful pop or tuneful rock with a strong, striking sense of melody, ranging from the simple to the dissonant. Francis' lyrics are intelligent without being pretentious, irreverent without being juvenile, heartfelt without being melodramatic. BARF BROOKZ is one of the hottest acts on the New York comedy circuit. Outrageous, explicit and politically incorrect, Barf has performed at top comedy clubs all over the country. Barf seamlessly mixes music and stand up with an irresistible pimp sensibility. SLUTS ON ICE!: Stolen Cow Productions, the cutting-edge producing company that presented last year's sold out event "Ex Marks the Spot," teams up once again to bring you its daring new sketch-comedy show "Sluts On Ice!" The show will take place on Friday, March 26th and Saturday, March 27th with performances each night at both 7:30pm and 9:30pm at 440 Studios on 440 Lafayette St. (at the corner of Astor Place), Studio Theatre 3D, 3rd Fl. For reservations, email stolen_cow@yahoo.com.

"Sluts On Ice!" is a comedic scream in the face of daily life from the writing talents of Jennifer Chen, Celena Cipriaso, and Brendan Hay. Rage with the underpaid assistant trapped in a world of rich white people. Tremble as a man's penis betrays his cheating ways. Wonder at the sight of Manhattan's newest trend - the straight queer! Dustin Chinn, one of the directors from last year's smash hit "Ex Marks the Spot," returns to direct this saucy new show. "Sluts On Ice!" is guaranteed to be the cheapest ticket to the funniest show in town.
The show features the performing talents of Jimmy Donn, Nancy Kim, Fitz Mangubat, Matt Moses, and Campbell Smith.

Brendan Hay, Jennifer Chen, and Celena Cipriaso first began Stolen Cow Productions as a writer's group of NYU Dramatic Writing alumni with the purpose of developing new work. All three work professionally in the arenas of television, theatre, publishing and film. Stolen Cow Productions eventually evolved into a production company with a mission to create fresh, exciting entertainment.
Dustin H. Chinn is a former member of Peeling, the Asian American performance collective. A native of Seattle, he's worked with the Northwest Asian American Theater, Repertory Actor's Workshop, Pork Filled Players, and 11:07 late night comedy series.

KWATZ! THE TIBETAN PROJECT: Pan Asian Repertory Theatre will present the World Premiere of Ernest Abuba's new play "Kwatz! The Tibetan Project" (The Sound of a Hammer Hitting the Ehad") March 16 - April 11 at the West End Theatre on 263 West 86 Street. Tisa

will direct this fascinating tale told through poetry, music and humor, and named for Kwatz!, the exclamatory cry in Buddhist tradition signifying an "Awakening." The play centers around Dorje, a Tibetan émigré, who is randomly attacked with a hammer. Sliding into a comatose state, Dorje's mind takes him from the chaos of New York City to the beauty of old Tibet, where he enters the astral realm of truth and illusion. For reservations, call Ticket Central at 212-279-4200 or visit, www.panasianrep.org.

The cast includes Arthur T. Acuña, John Baray, John Chou, Rosanne Ma, Tom Matsusaka, Shigeko Suga, and Tran T. Thuc Hanh.

"Kwatz" was inspired by playwright Abuba's own near fatal experience when in 1995, a homeless man randomly attacked with a hammer, splitting his head and sending him to the hospital for three months. The actor/playwright, who confessed to having a certain "indifference to life" before the attack, found it to be an "awakening" in his own world. Abuba's plays have been produced by Pan Asian Rep, La mama ETC and the Asian American Theatre Company of San Francisco. Recipient of numerous grants and awards (an OBIT and a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, to name just tow), Abuba can currently be heard as narrator on the audio book "The Art of Happiness" by His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cultler, M.D., published Simon & Schuster.

"My plays; "Cambodia Agonistes," "Eat A Bowl of Tea," "An American Story," "Papa-Boy," "Night Stalker," "The Dowager," "Spleen," and "Lier Rex," said Abuba, "have addressed the subjects of genocide, alienation, political, historical and social injustices, and the states of poetic madness. "Kwatz!" confronts each of these issues centering upon the moment of death, the "indifference to life", re-birth, and the hope for salvation of one man's search for his soul.

"According to tradition in Buddhist texts when the student is meditating the Master will strike the disciple on the shoulder or on the head, (of course not with a hammer, but with the hand or a stick),," he explained, "and at this moment there is an "awakening", which is the sound or cry by the student called "kwatz". I now look at the moment of my own "hammering on the head" as an awakening to learning to laugh and embrace life simply as a truthful metaphor that thematically is the core of the play."

TULIPS AND CADAVERS: Harvey Tavel will play Rembrandt in "Tulips and Cadavers," March 18 to April 11 at the Theater for the New City (Johnson Theater), 155 First Avenue. Written and directed by Jimmy Camicia, the play is a high-spirited and acerbic portrait of the artist in his final days. For tickets, call 212-254-1109 or visit www.theaterforthenewcity.net.

No academic tribute to the painter, Camicia's play presents Rembrandt in all his twisted, willful and demented glory. Crystal Field plays Flora, an enigmatic, aging street beggar who was the artist's favorite model and Craig Meade plays a modern playwright obsessed with the painter.

"Tulips and Cadavers" hurls you into a world where the brilliant, wicked and world-renowned painter free falls into ruin and degradation, thumbing his nose at society as he spirals out of control but continuing to turn out one masterpiece after another. As he paints his coarse, loud, brassy model, Rembrandt battles his demons in a life and death struggle he is determined to win. "Tulips and Cadavers" is also about Rembrandt's glorious days as an acknowledged painter and serial lover. Parallel to his degradation is revealed his ongoing artistic growth, partly by projections of various paintings along the play.

CHEF'S THEATRE: "Chef's Theatre: A Musical Feast:" is a brand new form of entertainment, a lush evening of cooking and eating, singing and dancing. It's stars the best chefs from the most popular restaurants in New York and around the world. Cooking on stage and Broadway's performers singing new songs. "Chef's Theatre" will begin performances March 30, featuring Todd English of Olive's Restaurant, at the Supper Club on 240 West 47th Street. For tickets, call Telecharge at 212-239-6200.

Each evening, the bar will open at 6:30PM. The performance gets underway at &;30PM with a three course meal featuring a star chef demonstrating their process and personal approach to cuisine while cooking a meal for the audience. Giant video monitors will offer close ups of the preparation. The evening is framed with original songs by Broadway composers about the fun of dining and drinking.

World renowned sommeliers including Josh Wesson, Andrea Immer and Steve Olsen will present a wine tasting with wines selected to best complement the meal. Following the chef's performance, the audience will be served the meal they've just watched the chef prepare. The second act is devoted to dessert and includes a show stopping performance by a Broadway star.

The cast includes Shannon Lewis, Paige Price, and Jim Walton. The songs are by Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty, Andrew Lippa, Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich. "Chef's Theater is directed by Stafford Arima and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw.


"The Story of the Weeping Camel, ", by filmmakers Byambasuren Davaa and Luigi Falorn,i presented by the "New Directors/New Films" festival.

NEW DIRECTORS/NEW FILMS: For the 33rd consecutive year, spring in New York is ushered in by "New Directors/New Films", the acclaimed festival presented by the Department of Film and Media, The Museum of Modern Art, and The Film Society of Lincoln Center. The festival, which opens Wednesday, March 24, with Jim McKay's Everyday People (2004), takes place at Alice Tully Hall and Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center and MoMA Film at The Gramercy Theatre at 127 E. 23rd St. at Lexington Ave. The festival runs through Sunday, April 4. For tickets, call Alice Tully Hall box office (212/875-5050) for all performances at all three venues (Alice Tully Hall, Walter Reade Theater, and MoMA Gramercy) or visit www.filmlinc.com.

This popular and influential 12-day event showcases the finest in new filmmaking talent from around the world. "New Directors/New Films" 2004 includes 52 screenings of 28 works from 23 countries, from Armenia to Mongolia, Brazil to Pakistan, Israel to Peru. There are twenty-two feature films and six short films in the festival, among them four American features and two American shorts. Fifteen of the feature films are U.S. premieres; the other seven are New York premieres.

"New Directors/New Films" opens Wednesday, March 24, at Alice Tully Hall with Jim McKay's newest film ""New Directors/New Films"Everyday People". Raskin's is the kind of neighborhood Brooklyn restaurant where young and old, black and white, artists and professionals have mingled for generations. But now everything is about to change. Faced with a business slump, Ira, the stressed-out Jewish owner (Jordan Gelber) decides to shut down--or rather, sell out to a corporate gentrification plan implemented by Ron (Ron Butler), an ambitious young black real estate developer. Smack in the middle of the controversy is Arthur (Stephen Henderson), the loyal maitre-d' and the restaurant's oldest employee. The story follows these three, as well as waiters and kitchen staff, over the course of a single tense day as all face an uncertain future with very mixed emotions and from diverse ethnic and cultural perspectives. Writer/director McKay (Our Song ND/NF 2000) is our populist poet of everyday life and he weaves together many diverse characters who, in their complexity, make up the fabric of a beautiful, multi-cultural New York. USA, 2003. 91 min. A HBO Films release. Wed. MARCH 24 at 8PM ATH; Thurs. MARCH 25 at 6PM GRAM

Entries by Asian filmmakers include:
"The Story of the Weeping Camel": Living a way of life that may be nearing extinction, the nomadic shepherds of Mongolia take great care of their camels, their livelihood and only asset. When one of the animals rejects her newborn calf, the shepherds try everything they can think of to connect the two since, without his mother's milk, the baby will die. Finally the nomads send their two young sons on a journey from the desert to the city to find a special musician, one whose music may reach the mother camel's heart. Filmmakers Byambasuren Davaa and Luigi Falorni have meticulously woven fact and fiction to capture the harsh realities of nomadic life, and the rugged beauty of both the Gobi desert and the actual ritual that these nomads use to save their herd - and, yes, the camels do weep. A stunning achievement and a unique cinematic experience. Germany/Mongolia, 2003. 93 min. A THINKFilm release. Fri. MARCH 26 at 6PM GRAM; Sat. MARCH 27 at 12:30PM ATH

"Untold Scandal" This masterfully crafted costume drama is a luscious, sexy and sly retelling of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, brilliantly transposed to Korea during the eighteenth-century Chosun dynasty. More a comedy of manners than a savage satire, director E J-yong's adaptation concentrates on the hypocrisy of a society in which slander, seduction and gossip have a field day among the aristocrats. For this visually gifted filmmaker, a single barbed remark or sidelong glance conjures up a world ruled by artifice. Korean TV idol Bae Yong-jun makes his big screen debut as the philandering aristocrat, the stunning Lee Mi-Suk is charming and chilling as his royal cousin and arch manipulator, and Jeon Do-yeon elicits sympathy as the pure young widow who is the object of the scheming. South Korea, 2003. 124 min. Mon. MARCH 29 at 8:45PM ATH; Wed. MARCH 31 at 6PM GRAM

"Silent Waters" A woman's fragile destiny provides a rare window on a tumultuous period in Pakistani history - the late 70s when the country, under military rule, swung toward Islamic extremism. Ayesha, an impoverished woman with liberal values, supports herself by giving Koran lessons to girls in her small village and dedicates herself to her 18-year-old son Saleem. Saleem secretly loves Zoubida, an upper-class girl following a traditional path. Unwilling to submit to a rural life like his mother, Saleem looks to further his ambitions in town, where student activism is taking hold. As tensions tighten Ayesha's painful past returns to haunt her. Gritty yet exquisite in its picturesque setting and assured pacing, this powerful drama is cast with gifted non-actors guided by documentarian Sabiha Sumar in her feature film debut. Pakistan/France/Germany 2003. 99 min. A First Run Features release. Tues. MARCH 30 at 6PM WRT; Thurs. APRIL 1 at 8:30PM WRT; Fri. APRIL 2 at 8:15PM GRAM

"Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…And Spring" In a beautiful temple on a secluded lake live an old monk and his young charge, a boy of barely school age. Under the old monk's tutelage, the youngster learns the secrets and lessons of the world around him. When he gleefully ties stones to a fish, a frog and a snake, his master binds a rock to the child's back. As a teenage boy, the young monk experiences carnal passion and attachment; as an adult, jealousy and profound despair. He leaves and returns cyclically, each season a stage in his progress from novice to enlightened human being. This ravishingly beautiful film never leaves the floating monastery and its breathtaking vistas, yet its seemingly hermetic world is a window on life's mysteries. Director Kim Ki-duk has created a deeply personal work of extraordinary elegance and spiritual feeling. South Korea, 2003. 103 min. A Sony Pictures Classics release. Wed. MARCH 31 at 6PM & 8:45PM WRT; Thurs. APRIL 1 at 6PM GRAM

NEW ZEALAND FILM FEST: Asia Society presents a rare opportunity to see a series of the latest features, documentaries and shorts reflecting the range of creative films made in New Zealand. The recent popularity of the award winning "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "Whale Rider" indicates a growing presence and recognition in the film industry for New Zealand-made films. Presented in cooperation with the New Zealand Film Commission, and in conjunction with the Asia Society exhibition "Paradise Now? Contemporary Art from the Pacific" on view until May 9, 2004. For more information, contact the Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10021. (212) 288-6400. (www.asiasociety.org).

"TE RUA" (Barry Barclay/1990/96 min./35mm), Friday, March 12, 7:00 PM.
Ancient grievances spawn distinctly modern attempts at redress in this unusual thriller by Maori/New Zealand filmmaker Barry Barclay. In this feature film, Maori tribe members attempt to recover ancestral carvings stolen from their homeland a century before and now stored in the vaults of a Berlin Museum.

"SAVAGE SYMBOLS" (Makerita Urale/2002/55 min./video), "GEORGIE GIRL"(Annie Goldson & Peter Wells/2001/70 min./video), Friday, March 19, 7:00PM..
In "Savage Symbols," Samoan documentary filmmaker Makerita Urale chronicles the lives of nine Samoan men living in urban New Zealand who chose to have the pe'a (a traditional tattoo) applied to their bodies as a rite of passage, artistic expression and cultural allegiance. In "Georgie Girl," a one-time sex worker of Maori descent stunned the world in 1999 by becoming the first transgendered person to hold national office as a New Zealand Member of Parliament. These documentaries are preceded by the short film "Moko: The Art of Nature" (Serena Stevenson & George Nuku/2002/5 min./video), the story of a man going through the ritual of "Ta Moko Kanohi," the process of Maori facial tattoo. Program ends with the short film "The Other Day in Paradise" (John Ioane & Andy Leleisi'uao/2003/10 min./DVD), an audio-visual installation in Australasia's premiere adult store about reclaiming ancient Pacific Island sensuality.

"RAIN" (Christine Jeffs/2001/92 min./35mm), Friday, April 2, 7:00PM. A beautiful and provocative coming-of-age film, Rain captures the disquieting mood of the summer when thirteen-year-old Janey's family vacation on the Mahurangi Peninsula of New Zealand's North Island takes an unexpected turn. Official selection at Cannes 2001.

NEW ZEALAND SHORTS, Wednesday, April 21, 6:30PM. International festival picks, these short films are the latest out of New Zealand, ranging from comic to dramatic pieces, including "Turangawaewae," "Delores," "Kitty," "The Freezer," "Pikowae," "Needles and Glass," and "From Where I Am Standing," among others. Curated by Susan Talbot.

Asia Society is America's leading institution dedicated to fostering understanding of Asia and communication between Americans and the peoples of Asia and the Pacific. A nonprofit, nonpartisan educational institution, the Asia Society presents a wide range of programs including major art exhibitions, performances, media programs, international conferences and lectures, and initiatives to improve elementary and secondary education about Asia.


Cellist Han-Na Chang
Photo credit: Askonas Holt

HAN-NA CHANG PLAYS DVORAK: Music Director Lorin Maazel will conduct the New York Philharmonic in Dvorák's Cello Concerto, featuring 20-year-old Han-Na Chang as soloist, and Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra, March 4 - 6 at Lincoln Center, Avery Fisher Hall. The program also includes Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra. For tickets, call 212-875-5656, or visit www.newyorkphilharmonic.org.

Cellist Han-Na Chang first won recognition in October 1994, at age 11, at the Fifth Rostropovich International Cello Competition in Paris, where she took first prize as well as the contemporary music prize. Since then, Ms. Chang has collaborated closely with conductors Lorin Maazel and Giuseppe Sinopoli, as well as with Antonio Pappano, Leonard Slatkin, Charles Dutoit, Herbert Blomstedt, Mariss Jansons, Riccardo Muti, Christoph Eschenbach, Seiji Ozawa, James Conlon, Mstislav Rostropovich, Zubin Mehta, and Myung-Whun Chung.

An avid recitalist, Ms. Chang maintains a balance between her appearances with orchestras and her chamber music activities. During the spring of 2003 she completed a tour with the Bayerischer Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra and Mr. Maazel that featured concerts in Munich, Japan, and at Carnegie Hall. These appearances were framed by extensive recital activity in major European cities, among them Milan, Florence, Bologna, Paris, Lisbon, Bilbao, Athens, London, and in Japan. In the next two seasons, Ms. Chang will give recitals in Munich, Cologne, Hanover, Milan, Florence, Bologna, Lucerne, Valencia, Los Angeles, and Tokyo.

An exclusive recording artist for EMI Classics, Ms. Chang made her first recording in November 1995 with Mstislav Rostropovich and the London Symphony Orchestra,
featuring Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations, Saint-Saëns's Cello Concerto No. 1, Fauré's Elegie, and Bruch's Kol Nidre, for which she received the Young Artist of the Year Award from the 1997 ECHO Klassik-Deutsche Schallplattenpreis. Ms. Chang is continuing her academic studies at Harvard University.

YUNG WOOK YOO ON PIANO: Manhattan School of Music's Eisenberg-Fried Concerto Competition winner, Yung Wook Yoo, will perform with the Manhattan School of Music Symphony on Friday, March 26, 8PM, at the School's John C. Borden Auditorium on Broadway and 122 Street. Sergiu Comissiona conducting, the program features Yoo as soloist for the Brahmns Piano Concerto No.2 in B flat major as well as Brahms/Shoenberg Piano Quartet in G minor. The concert is FREE and tickets are not required. For more information, call 212-749-2802 or visit www.msmnyc.edu.

Yung Wook Yoo, pianist, was the First Prize winner by unanimous vote of the 1998 Paloma O'Shea Santander International Piano Competition. Since then, he has performed in over 20 countries throughout the world, and has released his first CD under the Naxos label, featuring piano transcriptions by Franz Liszt. Yoo was previously a winner of several national and international competitions, including the Montreal International Music Competition (1996) and Kosciuszko Chopin Competition in the US (1994).

Yoo has performed as soloist with symphony orchestras of St. Petersburg, Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga and Tenerife, and the national orchestras of France, Spain, Venequela, Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, under the baton of such notable conductors as Pinchas Steinberg, Jesus Lopez Cobos, Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos and Victor Pablo. He has performed at Wigmore Hall in London, the 92nd Street Y in New York, Tonhalle in Zurich, UNESCO Hall in Palas, Palau de la Musica in Barcelona and the Auditorio Nacional de Musica in Madrid. He also participated in the Berliner Begenungen 2000, Ruhr Klavierfestival, Hundisburg, Yokohama, Radio France and Al Bustan international festivals.

Yoo was born in 1977 in Seoul, Korea, where he began his musical studies. He gave his first recital at age 10, performing his own compositions. As result of his exceptional talent, he received several grants to support his education in his native country and later on in the United States. In 1996, he enrolled at The Juilliard School as a scholarship student of Martin Canin, graduating in 2001 in the class of Jerome Lowenthal. Since 2002, Yoo has been a student of Salomon Mikowsky in the Master of Music degree program at Manhattan School of Music as recipient of the Elva Van Geldar Memorial Scholarship, while pursuing his concert career.

HARPIST MARIKO ANRAKU: On Monday, March 22, 8PM, Harpist Mariko Anraku and flutist Emmanuel Pahud will perform at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Anraku and Pahud will perform Bach's Sonatas in E flat major, G minor and A minor, for flute and harpsichord, and transcriptions for flute from the Partitas for Violin and Suites for Cello. For tickets, call 212-570-3949 or visit www.metmuseum.org.

Mariko Anraku has won attention as one of the world's outstanding young harpists through numerous appearances as soloist and chamber musician. Her impressive list of competition awards include First Prize of the Concert Artists Guild Competition, where she also won the Channel Classics Recording Prize and ITT Corporation Prize, the Pro Musicis Foundation Awards, first Prize of the Japan International Harp Competition, and Third Prize of the International Harp Contest in Israel, where she also was awarded the Pearl Chertok Prize. Since her debut as soloist with the Toronto Symphony conducted by Andrew Davis in 1987, Anraku has appeared with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, the Yomiuri Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, the Japan America Symphony Orchestra, and the Tokyo Solisten among others. As a recitalist, she has been heard in major concert halls on three continents, including Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and Merkin Concert Hall in New York, Jordan Hall in Boston, Bing Theater in Los Angeles County Museum, the Opera Comique in Paris, the Palazzo dell'Esposizioni in Rome and the Casals and Kioi Halls in Tokyo.

Anraku is an exclusive recording artist with EMI Classics. Her two recordings include works by Rota, Tournier, Handel, Scarlatti, Faure, Debussy, Satie, Hindemith, and Salzedo. Anraku is associate principal harpist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. She holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from The Juilliard School, where she was a student of Nancy Allen.

Emmanuel Pahud was born in Geneva in January 1970 and began music lessons at age six. In 1990 he graduated with First Prize from the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied with Michel Debost, Alain Marion and Pierre Yves Artaud. While still at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique, he was appointed principal flute of the Basel Radio Symphony. Following his graduation, he pursued advanced studies in Paris with Aurele Nicolet and in 1991 was chosen for the position of principal flute of the Munich Philharmonic under Seriu Celibidache. In 1993, at age 23, he accepted the same position with the Berlin Philharmonic. In 1992 Pahud won first prize in the prestigious Geneva International Music Competition, having already received numerous prizes in European and Japanese competitions, including Kobe in 1989 and Duino in 1988. He is also laureate of the Yehudi Menuhin Foundation and of the International Tribune for Musicians of UNESCO. In the 1999-2000 season, Pahud made his New York concerto and Lincoln Center debuts at the Mostly Mozart Festival.

LEONORA'S COSI FAN TUTTE: Filipino American Leonora McClernan will sing the mischievous maid Despina in Mozart's "Cosi Fan Tutte" with the New York Metro Vocal Arts Ensemble March 26 & 28, 7:30PM at Jan Hus Playhouse at 351 East 74 Street in New York City. NYMVAE will hold a special benefit performance at the Lighthouse International at 111 East 59 Street on April 2, 6PM. For reservations, call NYMVAE at 212-981-8951 or e-mail us at visit www.nymvae.org. For tickets to the Benefit Performance at Lighthouse International call, 212-981-8951.

Mozart's hilarious and provocative comedy "Cosi Fan Tutte" begins with a wager - can two soldiers seduce each others' fiancées? Their cynical friend is sure of it. "Fidelity in women is like the Arabian phoenix. Everyone says it exists but no one knows where it is." NYMVAE bets you'll be seduced by the timeless beauty of Mozart's melodies. South Shore Symphony's acclaimed musical director, Scott Jackson Wiley conducts an ensemble of international instrumentalists, a talented cast (Jorge Alzadon, Charles Baad, Elizabeth Brookes, Pamela Lloyd, Leonora McClernan and John Schenkel) and a chorus consisting of members of the La Guardia High School for the Performing Arts Opera Theatre. Ian Marshall, fight captain for The Metropolitan Opera and HB Studio faculty member stages this perennial favorite with charm.

Friday, April 2nd marks NYMVAE's annual benefit performance with reception and silent auction. Catering has been graciously donated by Bimmy's (455 West 16th Street). This year's exciting auction items include two ticket vouchers to the Manhattan Theatre Club's highly praised production Sight Unseen, tickets to the American Composer's Orchestra April 28th appearance at Carnegie Hall, a unique creation from Marcia Jean Jewelry Design, sold exclusively at Henri Bendel's, original artwork by innovative modern artist Clarisse Perrette, a two hour private Italian lesson with an instructor from Marymount Manhattan College, an hour Shiatsu massage, a two hour couples Swedish massage (both with a New York State licensed massage therapist) and many other luxuries.

Originally from Philadelphia, Leonora McClernan has appeared as a soloist with La Vetrina dell'Opera and the Novum Convivium Musicum in Rome, Italy and toured Wales and England with the Friends of Margham Abbey as Angelus Primus in the British Premiere of Resurrexit by K.H. Füssl. In New York, Ms. McClernan has appeared in numerous productions with local companies in repertoire that includes the roles of Blonde (Die Entführung aus dem Serail) and Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro). Ms. McClernan is equally active as a concert artist and has appeared at the Philippine Center of the Philippine Consulate in a program of Filipino and Spanish Art Song and Zarzuela arias. Appearances with NYMVAE have included Adele (Die Fledermaus), Lucy (The
Telephone ), Suor Genovieffa (Suor Angelica), Bowl (New York Premiere of Bowl Cat Broomstick) and Gretel (Christopher Columbus).

New York Metro Vocal Arts Ensemble has a passion for music and people. NYMVAE, a nonprofit organization, is dedicated to providing performance opportunities to young singers in a supportive atmosphere, and to bringing music to under-served populations in the New York City area. NYMVAE performs concert-version and staged operatic works in public locales, as well as in hospitals, nursing homes and senior centers throughout the New York Metropolitan area. Since its founding in the spring of 2000, NYMVAE has performed 21 works for over 3,000 audience members, produced outreach programs for area community centers, created performing opportunities for over 60 singers, and given seminars on the vocal arts to inner-city students. The group has collaborated with, among others, the national nonprofit organization LIFEbeat/ the Music Industry Fights AIDS, Hamilton House, a senior residence on Manhattan's West Side that provides low-income and homeless seniors with affordable housing and access to recreational activities, the Northern Adult Day Health Care Center in Brooklyn and the International Organization for Adolescents' Girls Talk! conference. In addition, we have provided educational performance opportunities for the gifted teenagers from La Guardia High School for the Performing Arts in Manhattan.

BACHANALIA: BACHANALIA offers "An Evening of Ciacconas and More" for the fourth concert in its 2003/4 season on Tuesday, March 9 at 8 pm. The program takes place at St. Peter's Church at Citicorp Center, 619 Lexington Avenue at 54th Street. The program includes Jakov Jakoulov, Johann Sebastian Bach's Ciaccona for violin, viola, double bass & harpsichord, Tomaso Antonio Vitali, Ciacccona for violin, organ and strings, transcribed by Ottorino Resphigi, Aavo Pärt, Summa for violin, two violas & cello, transcribed by the composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Grand Sestetto Concertante. For tickets, call 212-239-5906 or visit www.bachanalia.org.

BACHANALIA, an orchestra of international competition winners and soloists, was founded in 1988 by violinist Nina Beilina. Unlike traditional symphony and chamber orchestras, the Bachanalia Festival Orchestra is organized as a community of equals, and performs without a conductor. The ensemble gives an annual series of six concerts at Merkin Concert Hall and St. Peter's Church. Each concert opens with a work by Bach and continues with a musical exploration of different chamber music traditions which have developed and been influenced by his work.

Violinist Nina Beilina, of whom The New York Times wrote: "Russia's loss is our gain," concertizes extensively in Europe, and the United States both as soloist and with BACHANALIA. She studied with Abraham Yampolsky, Julius Eidlin, and David Oistrakh. Competition honors include the Gold Medal in Enesco, Grand Prix in Long-Thibaud, and Laureate in Tchaikovsky. She received Italy's Gold Medal as Musician of the Year in 1983.

ASIANS, SALOME, SCARLETT LETTER ON STAGE: Hei-Kyung Hong sings Zerlina in the new production of Mozart's masterpiece, "Don Giovanni," opened this month at the Metropolitan Opera, James Levine conducting. Thomas Hampson sings the title role. "Don Giovanni" recounts the life, fortunes and downfall of the infamous Spanish rake, Don Juan. Meanwhile, Richard Strauss' "Salome" will open at the Met on March 15 with guest conductor Valery Gergiev conducting. Karita Matilla sings the title role. For tickets, call 212-632-6000 or visit www.metopera.org.

92ND STREET Y: Tokyo String Quartet performs with Bejun Mehta, countertenor, on March 27, 8PM works by Smetana and Schubert. Also Meet the Virtuoso Ana Maria Rosado, Guitar, and Francesca Vanasco, Cello who will discuss and perform their works on March 26, 2PM, FREE. "Hester Prynne at Death", a new chamber opera based on Hawthorne's "The Scarlett Letter", will premiere on Monday, March 8, 8PM, music by Stephen Paulus and Libretto by Terry Quinn, Elizabeth Dabney sings. For tickets, call 212-415-5500 or visit www.92Y.org.

AND OTHERS: Asians performing in the following: Continuum, March 6, New York New Music Ensemble March 8, Festival Chamber Music Society, Korean Chamber Orchestra of New York, March 13, March 24, New York Philomusica, March 25, and Concertante, March 30. For tickets, call 212-501-3330 or visit www.kaufman-center.org.

Pianist Lang Lang will be playing Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 with the Philadelphia Orchestra on Tuesday, March 9, at Carnegie Hall. On March 11, pianist Eriko Sano will perform at the Weill Recital Hall, and March 20, pianist Bo Tang will play with Holly violinist Huelskamp at the Weill. Yang Kyung Lee, winner of the Pinault Sixth International Piano Competition will play at the Weill on March 27. For tickets, call CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or visit www.carnegiehall.org. [Abalos]

Copyright © 2004 Marilyn Abalos.
Marilyn Abalos is an arts writer published in Asian New Yorker, AsianWeek, Filipinas and Filipino Reporter.

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