Arena Stage The Mead Center for American Theater MY ACCOUNT
Hold These Truths
Event Calendar

Hold These Truths

By Jeanne Sakata
Directed by Jessica Kubzansky

February 23 — April 10, 2018
Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle

Reeling from the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, and driven by fear and prejudice, America placed its own citizens of Japanese ancestry in internment camps. A play for our times, Hold These Truths tells the true story of Gordon Hirabayashi, the American son of Japanese immigrants who defied an unjust court order to uphold the values on which America was founded. Filled with hope and buoyed by unquenchable patriotism, Hirabayashi’s unflinching defiance will leave you cheering the strength of the individual and his dedication to his own unalienable rights. “Surprisingly humorous and openhearted.” (Seattle Times)

Hold These Truths is generously sponsored by Joan and David Maxwell.
Additional support is provided by Susan and Steven Bralove.


RYUN YU (Gordon Hirabayashi) makes his Arena Stage debut. He originated the role of Gordon Hirabayashi at East West Players in 2007, and has since performed it at ACT, Portland Center Stage and Pasadena Playhouse. Ryun collaborated with David Henry Hwang twice: Yellow Face (the first adaptation of a major theatrical play for YouTube) and the film adaptation of the play Bondage. Additional credits include Kimber Lee’s Tokyo Fish Story (South Coast Repertory); Richard Greenberg’s Take Me Out (Geffen Playhouse); the world premiere of Lloyd Suh’s American Hwangap (Magic Theatre); and Art and Julia Cho’s The Language Archive (East West Players). Ryun directed and starred in the feature film The Last Tour. TV appearances include Baskets, Fuller House and Animal Kingdom. He is the first theater major from MIT. Twitter / Instagram: @RealRyunYu.


JEANNE SAKATA (Playwright) is honored to bring Hold These Truths to Arena Stage. After premiering at East West Players in 2007, the play had its Off-Broadway debut with Epic Theatre Ensemble in 2012 (Drama Desk Nomination, Outstanding Solo Performance) and has since earned rave reviews with Hang A Tale at the Sheen Center, Lyric Stage Company, Pasadena Playhouse, The Guthrie, Portland Center Stage, Seattle’s ACT Theatre, Perseverance Theatre, PlayMakers Repertory and Honolulu Theatre for Youth, co-produced with Daniel Dae Kim. As an actor, Jeanne has performed with The Public, the Kennedy Center, Mark Taper Forum, La Jolla Playhouse, South Coast Repertory, American Conservatory Theater, Berkeley Repertory, People’s Light, Northlight Theatre and the Intiman Theatre, among others. Recent film /TV credits include Advantageous, Big Hero 6, Dr. Ken and True Fiction. She received a Los Angeles Ovation Award for Outstanding Lead Actress for Chay Yew’s RED at East West Players, and the Playwrights’ Arena Lee Melville Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Los Angeles Theatre Community.

JESSICA KUBZANSKY (Director) is the Co-Artistic Director of The Theatre @ Boston Court in Pasadena and an award-winning director working nationally. She had the privilege of developing and directing the world-premiere of Hold These Truths at East West Players and has directed many subsequent productions, most recently at The Pasadena Playhouse. Recent credits include Orange (South Coast Repertory); Stupid Fucking Bird (A Contemporary Theatre); Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles (The Getty Villa), Colony Collapse, The Children and RII, her own three-person Richard II (Boston Court); Pygmalion (Pasadena Playhouse); the world-premiere Sheila Callaghan’s Everything You Touch (Rattlestick at The Cherry Lane and Boston Court); Hamlet with Leo Marks and The Winter’s Tale (Theater 150); Two Gentlemen of Verona (Illinois Shakespeare Festival); Macbeth (Antaeus Company); and Glass Menagerie, Toys in the Attic and Heartbreak House (The Colony Theatre). Jessica received the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Sustained Excellence in Theatre.

BEN ZAMORA (Set and Lighting Designer) is an American artist and designer. He has created large-scale installations and sculptures for galleries, museums and public art projects including Park Avenue Armory (New York), Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Amsterdam Light Festival, Art Basel/Design Miami, Frye Art Museum, Kunsthalle Krems (Austria) and the Vienna Festival. Moving seamlessly between performance and visual art, Ben has created light-based sculptures and art installations for performance-based work, including projects with Kronos Quartet, Saint Genet, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Barbican, Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Internationally, His design work has been seen at Festival d'Aix-en-Provence (France), Royal Festival Hall (London), The Mariinsky Theatre (Russia), Brisbane Festival (Australia), Helsinki Festival, Berliner Festspiele and Lucerne Festival (Switzerland). He has also worked with Lincoln Center, Portland Center Stage, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Pasadena Playhouse and the Getty Villa (Los Angeles).

CIERRA COAN (Costume Designer, based on the original costume design by Soojin Lee) is currently the assistant to the costume director here at Arena Stage. In 2015, she was the Allen Lee Hughes costume fellow at Arena Stage. Recent credits include, costume designer for Heathers: the Musical at Red Branch Theatre. She’s also assisted award-winning designer Toni Leslie-James on the world premiere of Familiar at Yale Repertory Theatre. She worked on Broadway’s Amazing Grace: A New Musical and TV shows such as Turn: Washington’s Spies and Mercy Street. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in costume design and technology in 2015.

JOHN ZALEWSKI (Sound Designer) is happy to be back at Arena Stage with the Hold These Truths company and resonant perspective, after working on the world premiere of Destiny of Desire in 2015. John has worked at the Goodman Theatre, the Guthrie, Portland Center Stage, South Coast Repertory, Humana Festival, Perseverance Theatre, Lewis Family, Disney Hall, the Geffen Theatre, Center Theater Group, Broad Stage, Wallis Annenberg, and with companies in Los Angeles including Boston Court, Evidence Room, Antaeus, Padua Playwrights and Actors’ Gang, among others. Awards include seven LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards, seven LA Weekly Awards, three Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards and ten Backstage Garlands. Recent work includes A Mexican Trilogy (Latino Theater Company) and Destiny of Desire (2018 Oregon Shakespeare Festival).

CHRISTI B. SPANN (Stage Manager) returns to Arena Stage after serving as stage manager for Nina Simone: Four Women, A Raisin in the Sun, The Little Foxes and Love in Afghanistan. Christi spent 12 seasons on the stage management staff at the Denver Center Theatre Company and has also worked with The Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, MN, and Virginia Repertory Theatre in Richmond, VA.

Photo Gallery


Post-Show Discussions

March 7, 2018 – 12:00 p.m.
March 13, 2018 – 7:30 p.m.
March 22, 2018 – 8:00 p.m.
March 27, 2018 – 12:00 p.m.
April 4, 2018 – 12:00 p.m.

These post-show conversations will be in partnership with both the Japanese American Citizens League and the Council on American - Islamic Relations.

March 25 at 1:00 p.m.
Join us following the performance for a post-show conversation and book signing with Hold These Truths playwright Jeanne Sakata. First-edition copies of the script are available exclusively at Arena Stage and may be purchased on the day of the show.

April 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Join us following the performance for a book signing with Hold These Truths playwright Jeanne Sakata. First-edition copies of the script are available exclusively at Arena Stage and may be purchased on the day of the show.


Audio Described

March 24, 2018 – 2:00 p.m.

Open Captioned

March 21, 2018 – 7:30 p.m.
March 29, 2018 – 8:00 p.m.
April 7, 2018 – 2:00 p.m.
April 9, 2018 – 7:30 p.m.

This show contains the use of profanity, racial slurs, and a gun shot. The run time is approximately 90 minutes with no intermission.

Hold These Truths