Donatella Galella featured as a theatre historian in new PBS documentary

Author: Sandra Baltazar Martinez
November 28, 2023

A new one-hour documentary features the impact of Asian American actors and their contributions to the creation of East West Players theatre company.

Donatella Galella

Also featured in the documentary, “East West Players: A Home on Stage,” which is already airing on PBS SoCal and KCET, is Donatella Galella, associate professor of theatre, film, and digital production. Galella is one of two scholars who provide context on the impact of East West Player’s 58-year history. 

Galella joins a stellar cast in the documentary, including conversations with actors James Hong, George Takei, Tamlyn Tomita, Daniel Dae Kim, Emily Kuroda, John Cho, and others as well as playwrights David Henry Hwang and Velina Hasu Houston.

Galella said EWA intervened in two important ways: producing original Asian American musicals and doing canonical musicals with Asian American casts. 

 “This documentary gives much-needed attention to the oldest Asian American theatre company, East West Players, right here in southern California,” Galella said. “Whenever I take my students there, it's often a transformative experience because most of them have never seen a professionally produced Asian American play before; they have never seen themselves on stage in that light.” 

In the documentary, actors mention the importance of having this theatre open its doors to other Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders so that they can incorporate their own history and culture, as well as bring to life issues such as the Japanese internment camp experience.  

“East West Players: A Home on Stage” is available to stream free on YouTube or the PBS Passport app.

The public is invited to a free screening on Tues., Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. at The Crawford, LAist’s convening venue, 474 S. Raymond Ave. in Pasadena. Visit for tickets and information.

Donatella Galella, associate professor of theatre, film, and digital production, was featured as a theatre historian in "East West Players: A Home on Stage" documentary. (photo courtesy of PBS SoCal/KCET).