Anthony Suh '09 Directs and Produces Asian Allure
What started as an Asian fashion show 13 years ago, has evolved into a popular two-night variety show filled with cultural acts that span the globe from Arabic to Korean including singing, dancing, comedy, and traditional cultural performances. Named Asian Allure, the event is sponsored by the Asian American Association (AAA), one of the largest student cultural organizations in the tri-campus Notre Dame community. The club hosts cultural exchange nights that can feature movies, dinners, discussions and/or speakers. However, Asian Allure is by far the biggest event on the AAA cultural calendar. Filling Washington Hall to capacity for two nights in November with students, faculty, parents, and locals who come looking for an evening of extraordinary entertainment, Asian Allure may be the biggest cultural event in Notre Dame, Indiana.
For the first time this year, the executive producer/director of the show was NOT a University of Notre Dame student, but a talented Holy Cross College fifth year senior, Anthony Suh '09.
"I went through several interviews to apply for the job," said Anthony, "and since I had been involved with the show as a performer for the past four years, the faculty sponsors and past producers evidently had confidence in my ability to put the show together," he continued. While Anthony was named the head honcho, two other Holy Cross students also performed-Amanda Miller and Aditi Giasotta.
As executive producer and director, Anthony was in charge of everything from creative direction to sound and lighting to ticket sales and marketing. There were over 200 students from the tri-campus community involved in the show which included both performers and back-stage workers. Students wrote scripts, produced music, operated the sound and lighting, created costumes and props, sold tickets and promoted the show which featured 17 performances and guest emcees.
Anthony was not only responsible for creating an exciting show, he was also in charge of filling the seats. "We developed some creative marketing ideas to promote the show," Anthony explained, "including unique posters, table tents in cafeterias around the three campuses, and specially made fortune cookies that held messages promoting the Asian Allure show."
"Because it is a variety show," he said, "we needed a theme to tie it together. I came up with the idea of having Saturday Night Live skits with an Asian twist between the performances. We called it ‘Asian Allure Live.'"
"Past shows had theme's that were focused on Asian-American identity and what it means to be an Asian-American. I wanted to choose a theme that would help the entire audience connect with the show," he explained.
The "Asian Allure Live" skits were the glue that held the disparate acts together. These were variations on classic gags such as "Cowbells" originally performed on the TV show with Blue Oyster Cult, Christopher Walken and Will Ferrell. Reprised on the Asian Allure stage as "Coconuts," the laughs had a South Pacific flavor.
"Asian Allure had never done comedy before, But with the recession, many of my peers are stressed about finding a job or internship, freshmen are adjusting to college life, and sophomores are stuck in limbo. I wanted to help everyone, for one night, forget all about that, have fun, and have a good laugh," Anthony continued.
The acts also included Modern Tinikling, a Filipino dance where performers dance in and out of long bamboo sticks being hit on the ground and against each other to the beat of the music. It is a traditional dance, but in Asian Allure, popular Hip Hop music supplied the beat. Other crowd pleasers included the Vietnamese Lion Dance performed to an American urban beat including, "Soulja Boy" and "Cupid Shuffle." There was traditional belly dancing performed by the Arabic Cultural Association, and some Indian students brought a taste of Bollywood to the stage with a performance of "Jai Ho" from the movie Slum Dog Millionaire.
Anthony said that he had performed in the show in years past, but this time he stayed mostly behind the scenes. However, when he did appear on stage he wore a Holy Cross t-shirt. "I wanted to paint a little maroon on the Golden Dome," he joked.
Tom Burzycki, head of the Holy Cross College Business Major, attended the Saturday night performance with his wife and they were both very impressed with the show, "I have lived in New York and Chicago and have seen hundreds of professional performances and this show really impressed me. It was very polished, not at all like a student production. It made me proud to have been one of Anthony's professors," he said.
The two performances were met not only with audience acclaim, but were a financial success as well. Ticket sales generated over $6,000 in revenue for AAA.
Currently interested in seeking a career in business consulting, Anthony was quick to point out, "My creative problem solving, management, negotiation, multi-tasking and profit-generating skills were definitely put to the test." And by all accounts, it was a test he passed with flying colors (literally).