Founded in 1997, Second Generation is a non-profit theater company dedicated to
- Creating contemporary, world-class Asian American theater that reaches across cultural, generational and racial boundaries;
- Cultivating the next generation of Asian American dramatic arts, by identifying and nurturing a vibrant community of actors, directors and writers from the established and emerging to the early-career and pre-professional; and
- Connecting with new and underserved audiences, especially young Asian Americans and other groups historically underrepresented in mainstream American theater, towards the establishment of a vital and effective platform for Asian American voices to be heard on the world’s stage.
Since its inception, Second Generation has supported several hundred artists, through full productions of new plays and community-based events, as well as small, grassroots developmental work in service of cultivating new generations of excellence in Asian American dramatic arts.
Since 2010, “Instant Vaudeville” has been a central aspect of 2g’s annual programming which challenges teams of artists to create live theatre in a fast, furious and collaborative manner over the course of one week. Playwright/director and/or devising ensembles will create 6-8 minute pieces of theater across a variety of genres such as puppetry plays, musicals, improvisation, choreography (dance and/or fight), clowning, physical theater, dramas and comedies. Instant Vaudeville is meant to be connective by bringing new artists together, including emerging and established artists and to inform our audience members of the many forms of theatrical artistry. Participants are a mix of artists dedicated to 2g and new collaborators from across New York City. Whether it is writing in a different form, working with a puppeteer or a songwriter, our artists gain exposure to other artists from across the community with whom they can collaborate and build new work. Through Instant Vaudeville, we are not only creating a collective of Asian American theatre artists who are at various stages of their careers, but we are also drawing new audiences from the participating artists’ own community.
TEN, 2g’s tenth anniversary celebration, was hosted by the Public Theater and featured numerous early-career actors identified via an open call, appearing in new ten-minute plays by a diverse selection of Asian American playwrights. ELEVEN, produced the subsequent year, featured over 75 artists working on eleven new plays in a single venue, including two different month-long runs of new Asian American plays.
2g also offers free, public performances of new plays as part of its In the Works reading series, hosted at venues including the Joseph Papp Public Theater, New York Theater Workshop, HERE Arts Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Culture Project and many others. Over 30 new plays have been developed via this process, from established, emerging and early-career writers, providing early-career support for hundreds of emerging and pre-professional Asian American actors and directors.
The company first burst onto the nation’s stage with the acclaimed Off-Broadway musical Making Tracks in 1999. The show was produced throughout the U.S. and Taiwan, including a record-breaking 2004 run at San Jose Repertory. 2g has also partnered with some of the country’s most exciting and prestigious theatre companies to co-produce world premieres of new Asian American plays, including Masha No Home with Ensemble Studio Theatre and Youngblood, The Karaoke Show, directed by Diane Paulus with Project 400 at El Flamingo, and American Hwangap with the Lark Play Development Center.
Second Generation also created and produced the Concert of Excellence, featuring the Remy Martin XO Excellence Awards (now the AXA Awards) on some of New York City’s most important and historic stages, including The New York State Theatre, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall.
Founded in 1997 by Welly Yang, he was succeeded by Artistic Director Lloyd Suh (2005-10) and Carla Ching (2010-12). 2g is currently led by Artistic Director Victor Maog and Managing Director Jane Jung, and has become one of the country’s most important incubators of Asian American theatrical talent, developing new plays from a new generation of Asian American dramatists, providing early-career opportunities for young actors, and reaching out to newer and more diverse audiences.