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KUNG FU: Vanessa Kai Reveals Pei-Ling's Secret History

Personal Message:

I had a wonderful time chatting with Sam Stone. I am grateful he made me sound smarter than I felt.

- moi

DEADLINE - Full article


Personal Message: 


I’ve been sitting with this for a while, and I don’t think it’s possible to play it cool. Every excitement and joy and wonder you imagine I’m feeling? I’m feeling it, multiplied by a million.

Most of all, I am feeling a deep, DEEP well of gratitude for the opportunity to help bring this groundbreaking show to the world with this brilliant and talented group of artists. This is made possible with the work and unwavering support of my incredible management team Cyd LeVin and Harold Lewter at @clapartners; my amazing Attorneys at SRDA, Julie Feldman and Amber Payne; to my husband, my family and friends; to Alaine Alldaffer and every person (you know who you are) who made and held space for me (artistically and personally), advocated for me, and all the other innumerable ways, small and large, that have guided me along the way. From all of my being, THANK YOU.

To the Kung Fu team, @christinakimla@martingero & Co, @hanelleculpepper, WB Casting Director Findley Davidson and Matthew Wise, @warnerbrostv@gberlanti & Co, @thecw - thank you for this opportunity to let me be your Pei-Ling. It is a true, true honor. 

I need a little more time to unpack it all. And I’ll probably add to this again and again. But for now, all I have to say is, THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.

- moi


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Personal Message: 


I am honored to have contributed to this timely and relevant piece.

- moi

NY TIMES - Full article

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Personal Message: 


Congratulations, NAATCO!


I am thrilled that NAATCO is nurturing such great partnerships and moving Asian American representation forward.

And I am so proud to have been included and to have collaborated in NAATCO's most recent and successful production of HENRY VI. It was indeed epic!

I'm very excited for what the future will bring to this incredible theater company and the inclusive evolution of American Theater. 

- moi

Written by Halley Feiffer
Directed by Trip Cullman


(Photo Credit: Joan Marcus)

"I won’t say much more about this final scene, except that it introduces (Yuki)... convincingly embodied by Vanessa Kai."- Ben Brantley, New York Times


"“Pain” is perfectly cast, beautifully acted, fluidly directed and astutely designed"

- Ben Brantley, New York Times

"Yuki (cool and poised Vanessa Kai), excellent)" - Michael Dale, BWW

"The kind and deliberate wife, Yuki, beautifully portrayed by the stunningly wise Vanessa Kai" - Time Square Chronicles

"Yuki (a superb Vanessa Kai), who punishes herself, in ways different than Cat’s, for both her enormous success in business and her failure to leave the constantly cheating Guy." - TheaterNewsOnline

HENRY VI - Shakespeare's Trilogy in Two PartsNational Asian American Theater, NYC

Written by William Shakespeare 

Adapted & Directed by Stephen Brown-Fried 




"Kai, one of the few actors who gets to play just one part all the way through, becomes more and more prominent and impressive as the Earl of Warwick, a subtle schemer unashamed to change his stripes at the last minute." - Dan Rubins,

(Photo Credit: William P. Steele)


Book by Jason Kim

Music & Lyrics by Max Vernon & Helen Park

Directed by Teddy Bergman 



(Photo Credit: Ben Arons)

TOP GIRLS - Huntington Theatre Company, Boston, MA.

Dir. Liesl Tommy

"Lady Nijo (Vanessa Kai, terrific) a 13th-century Japanese courtesan to an emperor, who later became a Buddhist nun."  - Don Aucoin, Boston Globe

"As played by Vanessa Kai, conveys an interesting blend of fragility, fierceness, and an unexpected sense of humor." - Helen Epstein, The Arts Fuse

"Vanessa Kai a standout as Lady Nijo." Carolyin Clay, The ARTery

SOMEBODY'S  DAUGHTER - Second Stage Theater, NYC

Written by Chisa Hutchinson

Directed by May Adrales

"As Millie, Kai embodies the tiger mother from hell. Her glances are so withering, her words so cutting, that we pray the house lights stay dim, lest she turn her claws on us inferiors seated in the audience. Still, we come to understand her bullying is all the natural result of the rotten deal she has been handed: She credits herself with creating this new American family — Richard would have been content to stay in China as a Communist bureaucrat without her intervention — but her role has been relegated to enforcer for an unaccountable patriarchy with unquestioned values. Dad gets to stay jovial and aloof while mom transforms into a monster. The fact that we can feel some shred of empathy for Millie by the end of the play is not just a testament to Kai's performance, but Hutchinson's incisive writing." - Zachary Stewart, Theatermania

"Millie's early scenes give Kai little opportunity for nuance. But when the character drops her guard in Act Two, the results are an alarming burst of violence, a heartrending confession, and a performance that's what spectators will recall most vividly about this production" - Charles Wright, CurtainUp

"...especially the character of Millie, the “tiger mom.” Although the character did some reprehensible things, in the end, I felt I understood her choices and sympathized with her. And Vanessa Kai did a stunning job of bringing Millie to life" - Donna Herman, TheFrontRowCenter

(Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel)


Written by Kara Lee Corthron, Sarah Gancher, Dipika Guha, Virginia Grise, & Lauren Yee 

Directed by Elena Araoz, Lydia Fort, & Lauren Keating

Produced by Deadria Harrington, Meropi Peponides, Aktina Stathaki, & Lanie Zipoy

"Vanessa Kai is particularly notable for her lovely performance as Tomomi"

- Brooke Pierce, EdgeBoston

"I would see any of these actors in future work"

- Constance Rodgers, TheFrontRowCenter

"Vanessa Kai's stoic Tomomi Nakamura drags at the heart strings while later roles throw the chains of "Gaman" and reveal a new side of Kai"

- Paul Morin, Entertainment Hour

WHAT WE KNOW - One Year Lease Theater Company, NYC


- Hayley Levitt, Theatermania

FAR EAST - Stamford Theatre Works, CT

"Vanessa Kai is MARVELOUS as the Reader!"

- WMNR 88.1FM Fine Arts Radio

"The casting of Vanessa Kai as the Reader was a MASTERSTROKE!"

- Shore Publications

"Notable here is the Reader, PLAYED BRILLIANTLY by Vanessa Kai....She does so by impressively assuming the role of numerous unseen American and Japanese characters, including a military aide, a secretary, Mrs. Anderson's maid, a naval wife, a male servant, a Vietnamese prostitute, a military lawyer and a hilarious dance instructor who laughably steals the scene....The only regret is we don't see more of her. "

- The Stamford Advocate

"The Reader, played by the ABSOLUTELY ASTONISHING Vanessa Kai, who, dressed in a kimono and wearing Kabuki make-up, is called upon to play everything from a Mama-san running a string of B-girls in a bar in Saigon to a prim and proper 'Cross your legs at the ankles, ladies' - dance instructor. In the style of Kabuki, Kai also ends each scene with a sharp clack from two rectangular pieces of wood she slams together. Amazingly, Kai is able to convey different emotions through this simple act."

- Fairfield Citizen News

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