Tim Dang

Last updated
Timothy Dang
Born (1958-08-04) August 4, 1958 (age 65)
Occupation(s)Actor, theatrical director
Years active1986-present

Timothy G. Dang (born August 4, 1958) is an American actor and theatre director originally from Hawaii of Asian origin. He served as the artistic director at the Asian American theatre company, East West Players (EWP), in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, California until 2016.


Early life and education

Dang was born on August 4, 1958, in Honolulu, Hawaii to Peter You Fu and Eloise Yuk ( née Ung) Dang. [1] Of Chinese American descent, [2] his father was an accountant at Shell Oil [3] and his mother was a clerk for the local District Court of Honolulu. [4] Tim had four older siblings: [1] Peter, Stephen, Edwin, and Kathleen. [3] Peter Dang died in January 1971 when Tim was 12. [3]

Tim Dang attended St. Patrick School, a Catholic parochial school in Honolulu. Music and theatre were a large part of student life, and helped Dang to express himself. He then attended Saint Louis School, a college preparatory institution for boys. [1] He was an excellent student, and was taking classes at the University of Hawaii while still in high school. [5] Although he intended to major in math or science in college, Dang was more attracted to the theatre as a high school student. Although the expense was significant, his mother paid for him to take dancing, piano, and singing lessons so he could advance his dreams of being on stage. [1]

Encouraged by his oldest brother, Peter, to attend a mainland college, Tim enrolled at the University of Southern California in the fall of 1976. A financial aid package covered most of his expenses. His first role in college was as a dancer in a production of Follies , and he was frequently cast in leading roles in plays at USC. [1]

When he was a senior, Jack Rowe, a professor (and later associate dean and director of the BFA Acting program) at the USC School of Dramatic Arts, [1] warned him that mainland film, television, and theatrical productions were not very inclusive, and he would have a tough time making a living as an actor. Rowe encouraged him to find work with the East West Players. [1]

Tim Dang graduated with a bachelor of Fine Arts degree in theatre in 1980. [5]


After graduation, Dang became a member of East West Players. He paid $35 a month in dues, which allowed him to take acting classes with the troupe's founders and permitted him to audition for EWP productions. He waited table and appeared in television commercials to earn a living. [1]

He became artistic director in 1993, succeeding Nobu McCarthy, guiding the company's transition from a small theatre company producing Equity 99-seat shows, to a mid-sized company in a 240-seat house in 1995. As a director, he has mounted productions at Singapore Repertory Theatre, Asian American Theater Company in San Francisco, Mark Taper Forum New Works Festival, Celebration Theatre, West Coast Ensemble, and the Perseverance Theatre in Juneau, Alaska. He has won numerous awards for directing and performing, including two Ovation Awards. He has served on the board of LA Stage Alliance. [6]

In 2019, Dang was awarded the Visionary Award at EWP's annual gala for his contributions toward furthering API visibility in the industry. [7]

Personal life

Even though Asians and Pacific Islanders make up the majority of the population in Hawaii, Dang saw very few Asian actors on film or television as a child. Seeing George Takei play Mr. Sulu on Star Trek impressed him, as Takei was one of the very few actors of Asian descent on TV. Dang later said that Takei became the role model for him and inspired his acting career. [5]

Dang is married to Darrel Cummings, retired chief of staff at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. [8]

Dang and Cummings have been important supporters of actor Wilson Cruz. When work was scarce for Cruz in 2002, Cummings (then with the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force) hired him to give him an income. During another lull in his career, Dang and Cummings took Cruz into their home. "You put a roof over my head, fed me, you kept me safe, in an act of generosity that I promise you I will never forget," Cruz said in 2022. [8]


1986 Night Court Prince MauriceEpisode: "Prince of a Guy"
1987 Star Trek: The Next Generation Tactical Officer "Main Bridge Security"Episode: "Encounter at Farpoint"
1989 Listen to Me Bobby ChinFeature film
1990 Hunter Tun RohEpisode: "A Snitch'll Break Your Heart"
1994 Deadly Target ChoyFeature film
Brooklyn Bridge Donald LeeEpisode: "War of the Worlds"
1997 Extreme Ghostbusters Various charactersVoice
The Blues Brothers Animated SeriesJohn FunVoice
Blade Runner IzoVideo game
2003 Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman KevinVoice
2004 GoldenEye: Rogue Agent Triad InformantVideo game
2008 Avatar: The Last Airbender Yon RhaVoice, episode: "The Southern Raiders"

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jack Lord</span> American actor (1920–1998)

John Joseph Patrick Ryan, best known by his stage name, Jack Lord, was an American television, film and Broadway actor, director and producer. He starred as Steve McGarrett in the CBS television program Hawaii Five-O, which ran from 1968 to 1980.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">George Takei</span> American actor, author and activist (born 1937)

George Takei is an American actor, author and activist known for his role as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the fictional starship USS Enterprise in the television series Star Trek and subsequent films.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jason Scott Lee</span> American actor and martial artist

Jason Scott Lee is an American actor and martial artist. He played Mowgli in Disney's 1994 live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book and Bruce Lee in the 1993 martial arts film Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. He is not related to Bruce Lee.

<i>Pippin</i> (musical) Musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz

Pippin is a 1972 musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Roger O. Hirson. Bob Fosse, who directed the original Broadway production, also contributed to the libretto. The musical uses the premise of a mysterious performance troupe, led by the Leading Player, to tell the story of Pippin, a young prince on his search for meaning and significance. The 'fourth wall' is broken numerous times during most traditional productions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">James Shigeta</span> American actor (1929–2014)

James Saburo Shigeta was an American actor of Japanese descent. He was noted for his roles in The Crimson Kimono (1959), Walk Like a Dragon (1960), Flower Drum Song (1961), Bridge to the Sun (1961), Die Hard (1988), and Mulan (1998). In 1960, he won the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer – Male, along with three other actors.

Randall Duk Kim is an American actor. He is a co-founder of the American Players Theatre.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">East West Players</span> Asian-American theatre company

East West Players is an Asian American theatre organization in Los Angeles, founded in 1965. As the nation's first professional Asian American theatre organization, East West Players continues to produce works and educational programs that give voice to the Asian Pacific American experience today.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Randall Park</span> American actor, comedian, writer, director (born 1974)

Randall Park is an American actor and comedian. He is best known for his role as Louis Huang in the ABC sitcom Fresh Off the Boat (2015–2020), for which he was nominated for the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Comedy Series award in 2016.

Terence Richard Knapp was an English actor, director, educator, and author. He was an Emeritus Professor of Theatre, University of Hawaii at Manoa, a Churchill Fellow and a Royal Academy of Dramatic Art Associate.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chris Tashima</span> Japanese American actor and director

Christopher Inadomi Tashima is a Japanese American actor and director. He is co-founder of the entertainment company Cedar Grove Productions and Artistic Director of its Asian American theatre company, Cedar Grove OnStage. Tashima directed, co-wrote, and starred in the 26-minute film Visas and Virtue for which he and producer Chris Donahue won the 1998 Academy Award for Live Action Short Film.

Tim Toyama is a playwright and producer. He is Sansei living in Los Angeles, California. He is co-founder of the Asian American media company Cedar Grove Productions, and its sister Asian American theatre company, Cedar Grove OnStage. He attended California State University, Northridge (CSUN) as an English major.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cedar Grove Productions</span>

Cedar Grove Productions is an independent production company based in Los Angeles, California, specializing in media and theatre arts representing the Asian Pacific American community. Media projects are educational, with Visual Communications (VC) serving as a non-profit fiscal sponsor.

Elaine Kao is a Taiwanese-American theatre, television and film actress, best known for her roles in Bridesmaids (2011), Funny People (2009) and Red Doors (2005).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Philip Kan Gotanda</span> American dramatist

Philip Kan Gotanda is an American playwright and filmmaker and a third generation Japanese American. Much of his work deals with Asian American issues and experiences.

Asian American theatre is theatre written, directed or acted by Asian Americans. From initial efforts by four theatre companies in the 1960s, Asian-American theatre has grown to around forty groups today. Early productions often had Asian themes or settings; "yellowface" was a common medium for displaying the perceived exoticism of the East in American performance. With the growing establishment of second-generation Asian-Americans in the 21st century, it is becoming more common today to see Asian-Americans in roles that defy historical stereotypes in the United States.

Rodney Masao Kageyama was an American stage, film and TV actor. He was a Nisei Japanese American (second-generation) and besides acting in Asian American theater groups, he was also a director and designer. With his roles in the “Gung Ho” film and television series and the “Karate Kid” franchise, he was a trailblazer for Asian Americans in Hollywood.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cedar Grove OnStage</span>

Cedar Grove OnStage is an Asian Pacific American theatre arts organization established in 2006, based in Los Angeles, co-founded by playwright Tim Toyama and actor/director Chris Tashima who serves as Artistic Director. It is a division of the entertainment company, Cedar Grove Productions and their focus is to develop, produce and present new and original Asian American theatre works.

Marlene Mikahala Sai is a Hawaiian classic-style female solo singer, born in Honolulu of Hawaiian–Chinese heritage. The San Francisco Chronicle refers to Marlene Sai as one of the true icons of the islands. The Santa Cruz Sentinel refers to Sai as a living legend of Hawaiian music. PBS Hawaii's Leslie Wilcox says of Sai "There are only a handful of true divas in Hawaiian music, women who wrap their powerful voices with grace, elegance and beauty. You can add to the list Marlene Sai."

Tisa Chang is a Chinese-American actress and theatre director born in Chongqing. Her father, Ping-Hsun Chang, was a diplomat, and her family moved from China to New York City when she was a child. Chang was interested in theatre and began studying acting in high school, at the High School of Performing Arts, then at Barnard College. Soon after finishing college, she started her career as an actor performing in Broadway plays and musicals, including Lovely Ladies, Kind Gentlemen and The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel. She also appeared in a few films, including Ambush Bay and Greetings.

<i>Allegiance</i> (musical) Musical by Jay Kuo, Marc Acito and Lorenzo Thione

Allegiance is a musical with music and lyrics by Jay Kuo and a book by Marc Acito, Kuo and Lorenzo Thione. The story, set during the Japanese American internment of World War II, was inspired by the personal experiences of George Takei, who starred in the musical. It follows the Kimura family in the years following the attack on Pearl Harbor, as they are forced to leave their farm in Salinas, California and are sent to the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in the rural plains of Wyoming.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Kim, Eddie (May 19, 2014). "How East West Players Head Tim Dang Turned the Tiananmen Square Crackdown Into a Musical". Los Angeles Downtown News. Retrieved June 17, 2023.
  2. Tran, Diep (October 2013). "The Long View: A Look at Tim Dang's Legacy". American Theatre. Retrieved June 17, 2023.
  3. 1 2 3 "Funeral Notice". The Honolulu Advertiser. January 6, 1971. p. 42.
  4. "Obituaries". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. December 15, 1991. p. 29.
  5. 1 2 3 Quan, Kenneth (July 29, 2003). "Interview with Tim Dang". UCLA International Institute. Retrieved June 17, 2023.
  6. Tim Dang's 15th Anniversary at EWP on PinoyWired.com
  7. Wood, Ximón. "East West Players' 53rd Anniversary Visionary Awards Dinner and Silent Auction". East West Players. Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  8. 1 2 Hernandez, Greg (April 12, 2022). "A Legacy Celebration for the Ages Honoring Lorri L. Jean and Darrel Cummings". LGBT News Now. Retrieved June 17, 2023.