For 25 years Jude Narita’s award-winning one-woman plays have portrayed Asian and Asian American women with honesty, compassion, humor and celebration. She explores then transcends Asian issues, illuminating the universal humanity of us all.
Narita is best known for her award-winning one-woman play, COMING INTO PASSION/SONG FOR A SANSEI. PASSION ran for over two years in Los Angeles, and was awarded:
- the Los Angeles Drama Critics' Circle Award
- a Drama-Logue Award for Creation and Performance
- the James Wong Howe "JIMMIE" from the Association of Asian Pacific American Artists
- the VESTA Award from the Woman's Building of Los Angeles
Narita was featured on the PBS Smithsonian episode GENDER, which presented the work of five U.S. artists across the United States.
Narita has produced theatrical runs of her plays in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Hawaii. Over her 25 years of touring, she has also been presented in almost every state in the U.S., including Hawaii. She has been presented in Vancouver, was the first international artist to perform for the Inaugural season of the Singapore Repertory Theatre in Singapore, and was chosen to represent American theater in the Mark Taper / USIA tour of Poland.
Narita has written eight other one-woman plays: Stories Waiting To Be Told; The Wilderness Within; Stories and Wilderness edited and combined; Celebrate Me Home; Safe Passage Towards This Fertile Ground; Walk The Mountain; With Darkness Behind Us, Daylight Has Come; Lift Up Thy Self/Inheritance; From The Heart.
Her awards include:
- the Western Arts Alliance Jerry Willis Award for “Artistic Excellence and Extraordinary Leadership in the performing arts community”;
- the Integrity Award from the Los Angeles Women's Theatre Festival
- a City of Los Angeles Fellowship (C.O.L.A.)
- a National Civil Liberties Public Education Grant
- two California Civil Liberties Public Education Grants
- Eight grants from the Cultural Affairs Department of Los Angeles
- a Rockefeller from UCLA Asian American Studies
- a Raznick Distinguished Lecturer Fellowship in the College of Letters and Science
- Recognition Award from University of Santa Barbara
- a Living History grant from the State of California
- a Durfee Grant
- a Poets and Writers’ Grant
- a Brody Foundation grant
Narita was named one of the "50 Asian Americans Who'll Be Making a Difference" by Asian Week, The Voice of Asian America, and one of the "Top 100 Asian Americans in the Nation" by Trans-Pacific Magazine.
Narita taught an L.A. acting/writing workshop to encourage other Asian American actresses to write and perform their own original material, and produced The Tiger on the Right/The Dragon on the Left. The other actresses and Narita won Drama-Logue Awards for Performance, and Narita also won a Drama-Logue Award as Producer. She taught a women's writing/acting workshop in Singapore, culminating in The Tiger on the Right/The Dragon on the Left - II, the Singaporean women's ensemble production of original material co-produced by Narita/No Surrender Productions.
Narita created and performed original materiel in the first New Works Festival at the Mark Taper Forum; was the female lead in the Jon Voight Production of The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel; and was the lead in Hedda Gabler at East-West Players.
Narita is the current acting President of PAAWWW (Pacific Asian American Women Writers West), an organization that encourages other Asian American women writers.
She has had the great joy of acting in two of Darling Narita’s films: SLAM BAM, coming of age in Hermosa Beach; and SEX 101, a comedy about relationships. Narita played the lead in SPRING ETERNAL, and has received the Method Fest “Best Actress” award for NISEI FARMER. She was Executive Producer on the independent film BANG, which was on many Top 10 Films of 1997 lists, including The Los Angeles Times. Darling Narita (yes, Judes's daughter ;-) starred in and received an Independent Spirit Award Nomination for BANG.
Jude’s strongest inspiration and supporter is her mother, Cobi Nobuko Narita, who has produced jazz concerts for over 50 years. Cobi encouraged Jude and also produced her plays in those difficult early years, making possible Jude’s work as an artist.