小記者專訪兒童百老匯歌舞劇創作人 Todd Lien 暢談新作 Once Upon the First 創作心得

丫丫小記者 Aaron 和 Phoebe 都是熱愛百老匯歌舞劇的小粉絲,不但愛看,更常常參與演出。在六月中於好萊塢舉辦的 Hollywood Fringe 演藝節中,有一套新劇吸引了大家的關注 ~~  Once Upon the First,這部以亞裔青少年的成長為主題的音樂劇,小記者們非常推薦給大家觀賞喔!

Hollywood Fringe Festival 是歷史悠久的演藝文化活動,每年都有許多新劇在這裡發表,讓更多觀眾認識。Once Upon The First 將在本週末以及下周六上演多場,大家一起來捧場吧!


An Actor or A Career in Medicine

An Interview with Actor, Singer, Producer, and Composer, Todd Lien

by Aaron Estrade, age 13

Do you feel that you want to become a singer or actor, but it’s not what your parents want for you as a career? Today, I woke up looking forward for a new and exciting experience. As a La JaJa kids junior journalist, I have had the opportunity and pleasure of interviewing many different types of individuals. But today, for the very first time I get to interview an actor. Having limited experience in the acting industry, this should be a pretty interesting experience.

I arrived at the interview location with anticipation and ready to go. The interview was taking place at an art academy in Rosemead, California called StarFactory. I met with my co-interviewer, junior journalist, Phoebe Zhang. Together, we organized how we were going to conduct our interview. Just like me, Phoebe was energetic and excited about the interview. We interviewed a young actor and singer named Todd Lien.

Todd Lien was born and raised in Taiwan. He studied in a career for medicine at the University Of Washington, but all along while studying this, he had a deep interest in the arts. In a bold and courageous move, he decided to pursue a career in the arts. In 2014, he pursued his passion for acting and studied at the New York Film Academy graduating with an MFA degree where he studied, acting, musical theatre, film, music, and directing.

It was a pleasure to meet Todd Lien. He’s very friendly, personable, and I must say a dashing young man who is full of energy and positivity. Over the course of his new career, Todd has been involved in many artistic productions. He has acted on film as recently as two months in a production filmed in Mexico. He has performed live in several musical theater productions, he has directed and produced various artistic productions with the most recent one currently running which he wrote and directed “Once Upon The First”, and he’s a talented and captivating singer.

This interview was an informative, energetic, and fun experience. Even in the context of an interview, Todd Lien is entertaining and captivating. We had such a great time with lots of laughter. He’s also a wonderful acting and singing teacher. It was a pleasure and an honor to get to talk with him on such a personal level. I highly recommend that everyone goes to see his currently running performance at the Hollywood Fringe Festival if possible. Once Upon The First is based on a true life story of one of his students. It is currently performed by a group of 15 of his own talented students, and Phoebe and I are very fortunate to be amongst the cast.

Here are some highlights of the musical “Once Upon the First"

– The only American-born Chinese-American children’s cast performance group at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

-Eighty percent of music and dance is original and supported by Tony Award winner Broadway composer, Jeff Marx.

– The Hollywood documentary filmmaker Selena Moshell is shooting the whole film and it will be released to the mainstream film festivals.

– The director and screenwriter of this drama is Todd Lien. The original music arrangement was done by the talented musician/composer Christina Chen.

This musical had me thinking about times when we feel different or wanted to go a different or nontraditional path from those around us including our own parents.

The show will continue to run the following times and dates if you are looking to attend this show

6/15 Saturday 1pm & 7pm
6/16 Sunday 2pm
6/23 Sunday 11am & 9pm

There are also lots of others shows you can go see with your family. Check out https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/

Be bold and be yourself. Until next time …


by Phoebe Zhang , 9 years old

Have you ever wanted to watch a musical or maybe even be in One?? Well today, we interviewed Todd Lien on the musical named Once Upon The First. This play is mostly about a boy that is different from people that is around him in school and gets bullied for it. But in the end, they all become friends because of one reason that changed the thoughts of the bully’s, to not bully anyone because that person is different Todd Lien is an acting teacher that teaches at starfactory in Rosemead. He teaches adults and students.
When he has time off from teaching, he usually goes to acting auditions and also has been in many movies. This year the musical is going to be competed at the Fringe. He had won 2 awards in the Fringe, 2 in a row. He works really hard on his scripts for his students to perform and compete. This year is the first year that his students will compete at the Fringe. He is hoping that his students will win. There will be 8 characters in the musical. The billy’s are Sammie, Jessie, and Ryan. The bullied kid is named Simon. The non-bully kids are ruby, grace, Riley, and Ariana. There are two sets of groups that are going compete the same musical so either of the groups won’t get tired to compete. If you want to know more about Todd Lien and hid acting career, you can look in the description for this topics video.
About the show ~~~

The storyline explores the topics of self-acceptance and love by guiding the audience through the journeys of a girl who is half Chinese and half Caucasian and a boy who pursues his artistic dream of performing Chinese Opera as the beautiful Empress from an ancient Chinese dynasty. An American-born child whose parents are different ethnicities struggles with her own identity of who she really is because of the Asian way she was raised within the melting pot culture of the U.S. While she struggles for the first time with finding out who she really is, she meets a boy who also struggles with pleasing his parents without losing his artistic identity and passion for acting as the famous concubine in Beijing Opera. The new friendship helps both of them to realize that they are both special individuals and they are not defined by the color or their skins or whichever artistic passion they pursue. The bully, the main antagonist, serves as a main cause of all the turmoil theses two protagonists go through in the musical, but the bully ends up going through a change of heart.