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Leslie Ishii Named Perseverance Theatre Artistic Director

Nov 4, 2019 | Media & Arts, Right Moves

Right Moves Leslie Ishii

After an extensive search, Perseverance Theatre hired Leslie Ishii for the role of Artistic Director. Ishii has been serving as interim artistic director since July and has already energized the theatre with her initiative, ideas, and community-minded approach to leadership.

“Leslie Ishii has been outstanding to work with these past months,” said Perseverance Theatre Board President Joe Bedard. “Her vision as a creative leader and her passion for equity and justice will be an amazing voice in Alaska theatre and community.”

Ishii has an extensive artistic record, including stage director and actor with appearances on Broadway (Shogun), regional theatre (Manahatta, Hold These Truths), film (Fame, Species), and television (Jane the Virgin, Lost, Days of Our Lives, Beverly Hills 90210). As a member of the Actor’s Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, Ishii has established herself across the nation as an artistic leader, including a ten-year relationship with Perseverance Theatre.

“I’m excited to continue working with the amazing team at Perseverance Theatre,” said Ishii. “We’ll be focused on listening and learning from the Alaska community, and striving toward art that is exceptional, equitable, and thoughtful.”

Her years of organizational experience include serving as co-chair, organizer, and board member for the Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists’ fifth and sixth national ConFest; founder and co-director for the National Cultural Navigation Theatre Project for the sustainability of theatres and artists of color; co-facilitator of the launch of the Theatre Communication Group’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Institute; and core faculty for artEquity.

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Jack Amon and Richard “Van” Hale opened the doors of the Marx Bros. Café on October 18, 1979; however, the two had already been partners in cuisine for some time, having created the Wednesday Night Gourmet Wine Tasting Society and Volleyball Team Which Now Meets on Sunday, a weekly evening of food and wine. It was actually the end of the weekly event that spurred the name of the restaurant: hours after its final service, Amon and Hale were hauling equipment and furnishings out of their old location and to their now-iconic building on Third Street, all while managing arguments about equipment ownership, a visit from the police, and quite a bit of wine. “If you’ve ever seen the movie ‘A Night at the Opera” starring the Marx Brothers, that’s what it was like,” Hale explains.

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