Cedric Yau is a Speculator, Philosopher, Martial Artist, Actor, Dancer, and Singer...in that order. After learning that "Theatrical Investing" is an oxymoron, Cedric decided to go whole hog and take the helm. Around the World in 80 Days is Cedric's first attempt at entertaining the masses.
Around the World in 80 Days is a dazzling fast-paced play with 39 characters comedically portrayed by 5 unparalleled actors. To win a bet, Phileas Fogg and his acrobatic sidekick Passepartout must circle the globe and return to London inside of 80 days.Unknowingly pursued by a tireless detective convinced Fogg is a robber on the run, the fast-minded, fleet-footed pair traverse 4 continents and 3 oceans in a white-knuckled sprint. Phileas Fogg is the Victorian Action Hero.
Around the World in 80 Days plays at The New Theater at 45th Street (354 West 45th Street, between 8th & 9th Ave). Click here for tickets and follow the show at http://www.aroundtheworldinnyc.com, on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!
1. You are a Speculator, Philosopher, Martial Artist, Actor, Dancer, and Singer. What made you want to move into theatrical producing? It just happened. This started out as a vanity production of David Auburn's Proof (I have a Masters Degree in Computer Science and wanted to play "Hal"--the role in the play and not the computer in the movie), but I couldn't get the rights. However, I had a theater. In search of another project, Around the World in 80 Days came up. I'm a Sci-Fi geek and wanted to see how much of the retro-futuristic world we could create. In the process of creating awesomeness, the budget doubled 4 times!
2. What do you love about working in the theatrical industry? I can't speak yet about the industry as this is my very first project as lead producer. But I love the creative process and creation. You don't get that playing the financial markets. There's something about taking a run-down black box and transforming it into a Purpose-Built Venue. So really, it's the time spent with artists transforming the raw into the refined.
3. What made you want to produce Around The World In 80 Days? The opportunity to take a play and produce it in a way no one else could or would. It is also at the top of the alphabet, which is excellent for A-Z listings.
4. What do you identify most with about the show? Phileas Fogg. I'm a numbers guy. And producing this show is as much a big bet as it is a thesis on what is possible for theater in a world in which entertainment can be delivered to an iPhone anytime and anywhere. With today's electronic devices, you cannot have your peripheral vision filled with murals, nor do you have live interaction with performers, augmented by state-of-the-art lighting and projection, or 6.1 challenge surround sound. We live in a post-Jobsian world--it will be decades before you can have a 1000 watt subwoofer to rumble your iPad.
5. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? The feeling they got an excellent return for their time and money. I'm sure my publicist and marketing team would prefer I say something like an "awesome experience." But really, I've done my best to create a premium product, and I hope people come away feeling it has excellent value that exceeds expectations.
6. What excites you about having this cast and director Rachel Klein on board to bring this show to life? For the cast, the ability to improvise when things don't go as planned. We have the most technologically advanced show Off-Broadway. I've been to every dress rehearsal and preview, and I totally love how the cast keeps the show fun and light while we work out the kinks.
As far as Rachel goes, she combines design with delight. There is nothing more I can add than to say that I would be honored to work with her on my next project, Kung Fu Shakespeare: The Bard No Longer Sucks.
7. What does The New Theater at 45th Street offer the show that another venue might not? They offered me the ability to create a venue specifically purpose-built for Around the World in 80 Days. I got to try things I had never seen in theater--we painted murals on the walls! And once you do something crazy like that, where do you stop on the quest for awesome?
8. What have you learned about yourself from your various endeavors? Ah, the philosopher question. There's a great line in Wall Street about staring into the abyss and finding character. I've experienced days and weeks as a speculator hemorrhaging vast sums of money. There's something about surviving those times where you are so anxious you cannot sleep--your heart races 24/7 and you cannot breathe. Having that experience and bouncing back teaches you that nothing can stop you unless you let it. Resilience is a choice.
9. What's the best advice you've ever received? My father had this quote in his garage: "There's no limit to what you can achieve when you stop caring about who gets the credit."
10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? The ability to read minds.
11. If you could travel Around the World In 80 Days, what mode of transportation would you take? What would you want to see in that amount of time? It would have to be something innovative like a solar powered airplane. Having said that, I am blessed enough to have seen the world with pages added to my passport...I flew over 150 Thousand miles in 2003, including one Star Alliance Round-the-World fare originating and ending in Bangkok.
I would much rather offer that opportunity to someone else, which is why I'm giving away a trip around the world to a person who likes the show on Facebook. (More info at Facebook.com/atwnyc).