Program Detail

Scenes From A Memoir with Cherylene Lee

90 min


“We were a collection of Asian American performers who wanted to be discovered, like the plotline of the ‘Oriental Holiday’ show. Where else on the Strip could you see a Kabuki version of the tale of Frankie and Johnny, or a world-class pipa player, or two cute (though extremely young for the Strip) Chinese American sisters singing and dancing, backed up by a live five-piece band?”
—Cherylene Lee

Best known perhaps for her performance in Flower Drum Song, Cherylene Lee is an unsung Asian American showbiz pioneer with dozens of network television and Hollywood film credits during the 1950s and 1960s. At a time when most Asian Americans were shut out of headlining theatrical roles, she and her sister starred in a popular Las Vegas revue, “Oriental Holiday.” Gene Kelly, no slouch himself, stated that Cherylene was his favorite dancing partner.

A born storyteller, Cherylene has a unique perspective on the entertainment industry, and fortunately also has the ability to convey her experiences as a Chinese American child performer with candor and insight. For those who best know Cherylene as a widely produced playwright (Arthur and Leila; Carry the Tiger to the Mountain; The Legacy Codes), her ability to tell a tale will come as no surprise.

We have asked Cherylene to stage a reading of excerpts from her soon-to-be-published memoir, Just Like Really. The reading will be illustrated with stills and clips from her remarkable career in film, television and stage. After the reading, Cherylene will be joined by her sister Virginia for a conversation with film historian Stephen Gong.

Attending guest: Virginia Lee
Co-presenters: Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA), Asian American Theater Company


March 11, 2012 6:00 pm
Pacific Film Archive Theater
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