Christmas in Camp (play)

Musical play set in a Japanese American concentration camp at Christmastime. Christmas in Camp, by playwright Dom Magwili, was the second play in East West Players' 1981–82 season—entitled "Kidoairaku"—in which all four plays centered on the Japanese American incarceration story. It premiered December 10, 1981. The central character is Hannah Sasaki, a disabled teenage girl in camp, whose letters to an older sister who had escaped camp through "voluntary evacuation" propel the story. Hannah ends up organizing a Christmas show to improve morale in the camp. The show, consisting of popular Christmas songs, is then performed for both the camp and theater audiences.

Unlike some of the other plays in the Kidoariraku series, Christmas in Camp proved to be a popular success, with its run extended and nearly all performances sold out. It's popularity inspired a sequel, titled Christmas in Camp II, also authored by Magwili (with "additional writing" by Mako and Keone Young), which debuted at East West Players on December 11, 1985. In the 1990s, Magwili and wife Sachiko Magwili created the similarly structured A Jive Bomber's Christmas, which became a holiday staple in Los Angeles into the 2000s.

Authored by Brian Niiya, Densho

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For More Information

"Finding Aid for the East West Players Records, 1965–1992." Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

Kurahashi, Yuko. Asian American Culture on Stage: The History of the East West Players. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1999.

Morioka-Steffens, Tamayo Irene. "Asian Pacific American Identities: An Historical Perspective Through the Theater Productions of the East West Players, 1965 to 2000". Ph.D. dissertation, Claremont Graduate School, 2003.