Producing Artistic Leaders Julia Cho, Stefanie Lau, Marie-Reine Velez
Founders Julia Cho, Peter J. Kuo, Stefanie Lau, Marie-Reine Velez
Julia Cho (Producing Artistic Leader, Founding Member), born and raised in Los Angeles, is an actor and proud member of Artists at Play. Upon graduating from UC Berkeley, Julia made her professional acting debut in the Bay Area premiere of An Alphabet, presented by the John Cage Trust Fund. She then starred in the Word for Word production of Amy Tan’s Immortal Heart at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco. After an extended award-winning run, the show toured domestically and in France. Since then, Julia has performed/toured shows with East West Players, Will & Company, Lodestone Theatre Ensemble, hereandnow, as well as readings for The Blank Theatre, Playwrights’ Arena, Pasadena Playhouse, and Center Theatre Group.
In the summer of 2009, Julia embarked on her first producing venture, leading an ensemble cast– calling themselves Actors at Play– to create and perform an original Valentine’s Day show. Beware of Cupid had a successful run in February 2010 and was featured on angryasianman.com as well as the Hyphen blog.
Julia is probably best known for playing “Charlotte Lu” in the Emmy Award-winning web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Other credits include films like Larry Crowne (starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts), the web series Jeff and Ravi Fail History which screened at SXSW, and recurring roles on TV shows such as Scandal, Goliath, and This Is Us. Check out IMDb for a full list of credits, and look for @thatjuliacho online.
Stefanie Wong Lau (Producing Artistic Leader, Founding Member) has been a theatre professional since 2000 when she graduated from UCLA and became an intern and volunteer at East West Players. She joined the staff full-time in 2001, serving as the Public Relations and Marketing Director. Before Stefanie left in June 2006, she increased the theatre’s earned income through innovative marketing and outreach initiatives and helped launch the first national Asian American theatre conference. In November 2006, Stefanie joined the Center Theatre Group Development Department as their Special Events Coordinator. She helped plan the organization’s successful annual fundraisers, and other major events include Freakin’ Sweet! with Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane and Center Theatre Group’s 40th Anniversary Luncheon. When Stefanie left in July 2008, she had organized or assisted with more than 75 donor events ranging from opening night dinners to backstage tours and intimate artist dialogues. She continues to work part-time at CTG on fundraising events including Season Celebration, Angels’ Night Lite and Enter Laughing (honoring Carl Reiner).
Stefanie is the Managing Director of Cold Tofu Improv, the nation’s oldest Asian American comedy improv group. She started with the organization as a student in 2003, completing its improv training workshops and becoming an Ensemble member. She joined the Board of Directors in 2006 and was appointed Managing Director in 2013. As a producer, Stefanie has worked on the organization’s comedy sketch show Tofu Exposed, fundraiser Changing of the Guard, monthly improv performances in the Los Angeles Arts District and TeleMongol: Invading Your Box 24/7 (co-production with Cold Tofu Improv, Lodestone Theatre Ensemble, 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors and OPM).
As an independent theatre professional, Stefanie has worked with many organizations on a number of successful productions including: Letters to a Student Revolutionary (AddWord Productions and Metamorphosis Theatre Company); Songs for a New World and Ordinary Days (Yes, and… Productions); Beware of Cupid (Actors at Play); and The Chinese Massacre (Annotated) (Circle X Theatre Company). She also worked for the Ford Amphitheatre’s Community Bridges Program and served on its advisory committee. Twitter: @MsStefanieL
Marie-Reine Velez (Producing Artistic Leader, Founding Member) is an arts leader working towards systemic anti-racism and equity through radical empathy, resource sharing, and questioning the status quo. She is the assistant director at Visions and Voices, the arts and humanities initiative at the University of Southern California, where she has had the honor of working events with noted speakers and artists such as Ira Glass, Anna Deveare Smith, Pedro Almodovar, David Henry Hwang, Patti Smith, Tony Kushner and Alonzo King Lines Ballet, among others.
Having served on the host committee of the National Asian American Theatre Festival and Conference in Los Angeles (2011), Marie-Reine has been a theatre and music events producer in Los Angeles since 2005. At TeAda Productions, she produced four years of the TEADAWORKS New Performance Festivals and Labs, along with work by D’Lo, Robert Karimi, Leilani Chan, Ova Saopeng, and Kristina Wong.
Marie-Reine previously worked with Center Theatre Group in the literary department. From 2005 to 2009 she co-founded and ran the Eagle Rock Indie Rock Bowling Night at All Star Lanes, providing community and production support for rising local and touring bands in the greater Los Angeles area. Twitter and IG: @mariezpz
Nicholas Pilapil (Producer) is a Filipino American producer and playwright. As a producer, he is passionate about developing new works by AAPI writers, and has been an Artists at Play producing member since 2013.
Nicholas has a B.A. in Theatre Management from CSU Long Beach and is an alumnus of artEquity’s National Facilitator Training. As an arts administrator, he specializes in marketing and communications, and has worked at Long Beach Opera, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, and South Coast Repertory.
In 2015, he co-founded the production company Becky and Baldwin, and has since produced the new play festival Other Plays, the critically-acclaimed short film I Don’t Love You and the podcast Dealing (One of the Best Podcasts of 2021 by Music Times), among other theatrical and digital projects. @nicholaspilapil
Katherine Chou (Producing Associate) is a Taiwanese American writer and director. A graduate of Sciences Po Paris, her work is driven by questions of identity and personhood inspired by her itinerant life experience around the world. Having worked as a post-production assistant on a series of features at HBO, Warner Bros., and 20th Century Fox, she continues to hone her craft by producing original fiction work and digital content, as well as collaborating on narrative and episodic indie projects. Most recently, she produced a Chinese-language short in Taiwan and was invited to Bucheon International Film Festival’s Fantastic Film School in South Korea. She is currently an Associate Producer at Artists at Play and a Visual Communications Armed With a Camera Fellow in Los Angeles.