"Harlem Canary / Tokyo Crow" First Reading

An audience viewing a performance in a dimly lit studio space

    "Harlem Canary / Tokyo Crow" First Reading

  • WHEN

    5 PM–7 PM on May 23, 2023

Join us for a first reading of Harlem Canary / Tokyo Crow - a new play being developed by Andrew Saito, with support from Asian Arts Initiative and the Montalvo Arts Center.

Harlem Canary / Tokyo Crow is a comedic theatrical exploration of a little-known Japanese propaganda program during WWII, "Negro Propaganda Operations," in which captured African American Prisoners of War (POWs) recorded radio plays that contrasted the supposed joys the POWs experienced living in Japan with the horrors of racism in the US. These recordings were intended for broadcast in black communities in the US, to foment civil unrest within Japan's enemy’s borders. In this play, Bizmark Whittico and Chuancey Bliss, two African American soldiers, record said radio plays under the watchful eye of program director Yasuichi Hikida, who lived in Harlem for over twenty years, is in love with Ella Fitzgerald, and claims WEB DuBois as his best friend. Bizmark and Chauncey try to hide their contempt and desire to escape from Hikida and prison guard Kazumaro Uno, who harbors secrets about his identity.


Andrew Saito is a playwright, TV writer, dramaturg, translator, and educator who has practiced community-engaged theater making and taught internationally. He writes stories that focus on intersectionality and hybridity. Increasingly, his work highlights AAPI-Black connections, as well as climate change.


Cat Ramirez is a Philly-based director and producer who specializes in new plays, devised work, multidisciplinary performance, and event production. They have turned boiler rooms into dilapidated mansions, studios & galleries into living achieves of local Asian American histories, and bars into dreamscapes for queer love stories.

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