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New Musical Brings History to Life

SANTA MONICA — “Letters to Eve,” a new musical, brings the Japanese American World War II experience to life with original songs.

The show will have a two-week run at the Miles Playhouse, 1130 Lincoln Blvd. in Santa Monica. Showtimes: Thursday, Nov. 10, Friday, Nov. 11, and Saturday, Nov. 12, at 8 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 13, at 5 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 19, and Sunday, Nov. 20, at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 general, $40 VIP.

A special performance will be held Saturday, Nov. 5, at 8 p.m. at The Three Clubs Hollywood, 1123 Vine St. in Los Angeles. Tickets are $10.

A seven-year labor of love by Daniel Sugimoto, “Letters to Eve” is a classic story of love, friendship, family, and honor. It follows a Japanese American family and their plight through forced incarceration; an African American jazz musician captured during Germany’s occupation of France; and the powerful spirit of music and literature.

Writer/co-director Sugimoto’s theater credits include being a cast member and musical director of such shows as “Les Miserables” and “The Experiment” at Creating Arts Studios and “The Music Man” and “The Boondoggles” at the Miles Playhouse.

Daniel Sugimoto

Daniel Sugimoto

Inspired by conversations with his grandmother, Sugimoto did extensive research and created a list of goals for the musical — to show the perseverance of Japanese Americans during the war; to depict a black protagonist using music and hope to be a hero; to address sexual violence against Jewish women during the Holocaust; to show Germans as humans, not just Nazis; to emphasize the importance of writing one’s own story and using music as a tool to deal with horrific situations; to use music, rhythm and poetry as a form of communication that crosses boundaries of race, religion, country, class and gender.

“Letters to Eve” had its first workshop event at the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute, where a cultural event featured musical selections as well as accounts written by members of the community.

The cast consists of Melvin Biteng, Andrea Somera, Scott Takeda, John F. Thomas, Cassandra Noel, James Chacon, Justin Yu, April Lan, On Shiu, Michael Thomas-Visgar, Max Lichtig, Abigail Somera, Mark Labella, Zhan Wan, Genie Nakano, Erik Blair, Karen Takahashi and Linda Gohata. The team also includes Julia Lisa (co-director, production designer), Emi Kamemoto (ensemble, dramaturg), Austin Schumacher (ensemble, designer), and Julia Lanctot (ensemble, dramaturg).

For reservations and more information, visit

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