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Conversation with Lynn Chen

Discover this Upcoming Actress of Many Talents
In this in-depth interview with this hard-working NYC-based actress

Page 2 of 8


US ASIANS: What things did your training with Sherry Landrum, Tim Raphael and Rex Knowles (improve) shaped your talents as an actress?

LYNN CHEN: I’m not a big fan of acting classes….they can be pretty expensive and I feel like I get similar training when I’m at my theater company, NiteStar. But when I first started out again, it helped me to feel free to play around with a character and to make strong decisions when acting.

It is the epitome of the use of theater as a component of primary prevention strategies addressing urgent issues. The actors/educators serve as role models for the young peole that they meet. The program sets the standards for all such initiatives acress the country. With uncommon energy, wisdom and creativity, the NiteStar Program/Star Theater has developed into a vehicle that is worthy of being viewed as a national model - Leslie Jaffe M.D.

US ASIANS: Could you describe the training that you received at NiteStar?

LYNN CHEN: NiteStar helped me to figure out the motivation and back story for each character, to learn how to act in an ensemble, and how to perform non-comedic improvisation.

US ASIANS: How did you get involved with the Nitestar Program, the theater-through-education company that performs shows for students, educators and adults?

LYNN CHEN: I auditioned for NiteStar through a casting ad that I saw in Backstage.

US ASIANS: What made you committed to their programs, as oppose to all others?

LYNN CHEN: I’ve always had an interest in sex education, since I feel that it is important and is done poorly in most schools. It’s something that I’ve become passionate about, through NiteStar, which is why I focus my energy specifically on this program.

US ASIANS: With all the turmoil that surrounds the world and New York – what drew you to a youth program that deals in HIV/AIDS, sex education, racism, homophobia, violence, etc?

LYNN CHEN: I think it’s important to talk about this stuff, instead of pretending it doesn’t exist.


This well-respected program was developed by the renowned voice teacher - Kristin Linklater and used by theatre companies and university theatre programs throughout the world.

This physical investigation of sound on breath frees the natural voice of every human being. Relaxation exercises allow contact with freely expressed impulses, impulses of imagery that spur the production of truthful sound.

This process addresses the vital issues of tension and inhibition of breath which inhibits the optimum creativity. It develops in the actor the ability to recognize and release tension which allows for the greatest spontaneous creative action and trust to produce their best work.

US ASIANS: How did your training with Stephanie Gilman and Cheryl Cutler (dance) maximize your talents in your acting and music career?

LYNN CHEN: Dance classes are a good way to get to know my body, and to become a more physical person when performing.

US ASIANS: Were the teachings of Wayne Rivera and Andrea Haring more for your music or acting career?

LYNN CHEN: I took voice lessons because I enjoy singing; I studied Linklater with Andrea Haring, but I wasn’t disciplined enough to really benefit from it.

US ASIANS: Has your ability to speak fluent Mandarin provided more opportunities for you to work as an actress and/or musician?

LYNN CHEN: I don’t speak Mandarin fluently – I can understand what my relatives say to me on an everyday basis and I can converse at a so-so level, but I’m nowhere near the point where it can help me with my career.


: Tell us about your many music gifts. Your background is seemingly based in the classical music area, in light of your expertise classical piano, oboe and guitar – while having “perfect pitch.”

LYNN CHEN: I consider myself a pianist because I’ve been playing for so long and feel very comfortable with the instrument. I am learning guitar again and can’t even remember how to play a scale on the oboe. Having a classical music background has helped me with many things, except improvisation. I wish I could cut loose and play/sing something without having it all mapped out for me first, but I just can’t. I would like to take some jazz lessons some day.

US ASIANS: How did you get involved in the recordings of “The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen (Selection: Voyaging Moon - Lead Vocalist)/Brian Vinero/Seth Weinstein and "Merrill Staton Voices" (Soloist and Chorus)/CBS Records?

LYNN CHEN: I just auditioned for the parts.

US ASIANS: When did your parents get you involved with the NYC Children’s Choir?

LYNN CHEN: The NYC Opera Children’s Chorus Director asked me to join when I was around 10-years-old. At that point, I had been a member of the Metropolitan Opera House’s Children’s Chorus for 3 years, so I was already familiar with most of the operas they needed me for.


US ASIANS: When and how did your interest change from Opera/Broadway style to the music of your group?

LYNN CHEN: I’m not a thoroughly trained singer, I haven’t had a voice lesson in years, so I don’t feel comfortable alongside professional opera/Broadway singers.

I still enjoy opera/Broadway music, I just don’t feel as though I could do it justice.

In the same way, I enjoy hip hop music but am fully aware that my rhyming skills suck.


Members of "YPOK2"

US ASIANS: What the plans of your group, YPOK2, in the future?

LYNN CHEN: We are continually writing and recording.Our drummer, Nate, is in a couple of bands, “Shy Child” and “Touchdown,” so we are working around his busy schedule. We hope to be done with our demo in a few months, at which point we’ll probably play it for everyone we know.

US ASIANS: Are there any songs or music from Eric Lin's "Fortune" soundtrack on your MP3.Com website?


US ASIANS: What passions were the driving force(s) behind your music?

LYNN CHEN: Most of those songs I wrote during my freshman year of college, when I spent a lot of time “finding myself.” I was in some messed up relationships that resulted in those sad little tunes.

(Check out Lynn singing her "Scooter Song" and other talented Asian Pacific American music artists by clicking HERE)


Click HERE to continue
Read about Lynn's views on other subjects by clicking on the subjects listed below
  Part 1: Background Information (Family and Personal)
  Part 2: Training as an Actress and a Singer, YPOK2 and Linklater
  Part 3: Eric Lin's "Fortune," Priorities, Entertainment Role Models, Contact Info, Print and Commercial Work
  Part 4: Film and Television Work, Her Dance Career and Theater Life
  Part 5: Past Theater Roles, Industrial Films, Actor Role Models and Father's "Kunqu Society"
  Part 6: Fav Films & Directors, Life on "All My Children" and Ivan Shaw
  Part 7: Her views on diversity and the status of "Asian American Cinema"
  Part 8: Fav Asian Pacific American directors and films - along with her overall aspirations




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