Saturday, April 01, 2006

Ya done good (paca)

My prep school's alumni magazine came last night and, like I always do, I skipped pretty much the whole magazine and read the Class Notes for my year, 1990. There was a note there that my old friend, Welly, had just gotten engaged in front of 1600 people during the curtain call of, get this, his musical named Welly Yang: Finding Home. Now, Welly was a close friend for one year of our lives at L'ville, 10th grade. But we sort of went our own ways after that year. I was in the theater, and he was not. (Now he is in theater and I am not.) We didn't have a falling out; we just didn't spend much time together. Senior year, somehow, Welly mentioned that he was thinking of trying out for the Spring Musical. He had never been in a show in his life. I remember that he was one of the killers in the school orchestra - perhaps 2nd violin or something? - but had never sang or acted. Well, I and my friends convinced him to go for it and he ended up with the lead in the show for our very last term there.

I took off to Carleton, where I periodically dabbled in doing some sound and lights for shows, but focused most of my efforts on N and classes, where I was an Asian Studies major. Welly went to Columbia, where he finished with a political science degree, but he did more than dabbled. In 1993, he took over a lead role in Miss Saigon on Broadway. In 1997, he founded 2nd Generation, a non-profit New York based theater company, that puts on Asian-American themed shows. He has received all sorts of awards and been praised both from the Asian American community and at large. His latest effort, that I know of, was this show, which seems to have been a fundraiser for The Taiwanese United Fund. The show is all about his parents coming to the US from Taiwan and includes his story. I am happy to say that, at least in the synopsis, L'ville doesn't figure very prominently.** It goes on to tell the story of how he fell in love with Dina, who is the female lead in the show, since it is autobiography, and how they moved to Los Angeles together. Finally, back in real life, when the show was done, he actually proposed to her on stage. How freaking romantic is that?

Anyway, I just wanted to express my admiration to Welly and all that he has accomplished. You can see his web site here. The man's even got a Wikipedia entry. And I do feel good that, while the Spring Musical would have happened without my involvement, I was in fact one of the people who made that happen, which then let Welly discover something he loved. Pleases me to no end.

**The last time I was back at my prep school was the 10th reunion, in 2000. Another classmate who was then a writer for, I believe, Vanity Fair UK came with a photographer because she was on assignment to write an article on this posh American reunion. I only knew her a little - she was the nurse in the spring musical - but somehow she ended up spending a good bit of time with my friends and I that weekend. I always wondered what sort of article she wrote about all of us. Honestly, I can't imagine it is anything good.

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