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Las Vegas musician brings together Asians working in the arts and theater

Angela Chan
Posted at 8:32 AM, May 08, 2023

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — As we continue to celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we look at the theatre world. While it's diverse, there's a long way to go when it comes to AAPI representation.

But Justin Hinton had the chance to meet one woman in Las Vegas, doing her part to stand up and stand out.

To catalogue Angela Chan's life, is to understand there are few things in the performance world this Las Vegas resident does not do.

There's the national tour of SIX The Musical, where she serves as Associate Conductor.

"I will conduct once a week for the show on stage as Joan on the Keys, which is fun," says Chan.

STUDENT LESSONS

She gives vocal lessons to students and plays for the Las Vegas group Broadway in the Hood. And on this day, she's accompanying a group of dancers with Nevada Ballet Theatre during warm-ups.

"It's a very good exercise for my brain," says Chan.

Coming up with melodies on the fly to match the impromptu dance moves the instructor gives. It's a feat she makes look way too easy.

"Sometimes I like to sneak in other little themes like Jeopardy. Sometimes I've snuck in Jurassic Park," says Chan.

Fitting for this dinosaur enthusiast who calls herself The Chanysaurus Rex, a play on her last name. Even dressing the part when she officiates weddings.

Being herself, bluish-purple hair and all, and inspiring others to do the same.

"I don't feel like I should have to adhere to a stereotype. I already play the piano (laughing) and I played other instruments over the years, but I don't have to be anything that anybody else wants to be. I only have to be what I want to be when I want to be it," says Chan.

AAPI REPRESENTATION

Letting the world see anything is possible, especially after living in a theatre community with so little AAPI representation.

"When I started touring, about a little over 20 years ago, there were literally 2 of us on the road that I knew. It was me and Faith Seetoo, who I'm very good friends with who was the conductor for the Frozen tour who was just here a month ago," says Chan.

That's part of the reason why Chan founded the Cre8sian Project and its subsequent blog Amazing Asians in the Arts.

"When I started it, I was like, ok, I'm going to hit up my 5 friends first and so right when I started it was right when the world shut down for the pandemic in 2020," says Chan.

She goes on to say, "It was a roadblock, but I was like now I have time because I'm not doing 50 thousand things to kind of start researching and kind of looking for other AAPI women in the industry."

And she found them. She's up to 150 women, covering all facets of the industry.

HUGE COMMUNITY

"What I really love about it is A. there's been a huge community just right in front of us that we didn't know about and they're everywhere," says Chan.

She goes on to say, "They're on a lot more tours now, on stage in the pit, behind the scenes and now we have a platform with which we can highlight what everybody does."

Shining a light on those already in the industry and those looking to join. As she looks to spread hope in addition to the gift of music.