In a child custody battle, Anzu was kidnapped by her tiger mom at 15 years old to Japan. Upon meeting singer Jon Anderson from the acclaimed band YES, backstage at an INXS concert, Anzu worked from being a teen model to garnering her first #1 hit on the Japanese Billboard Charts as a J-POP singer-songwriter. After a dark family secret was revealed, Anzu fled to America, alone and soon discovers her fame in Japan does not follow her here. She pursues acting and lands a leading role opposite Viggo Mortensen in the film American Yakuza. But this was a time when Asian-American roles for Asian-American actresses, were few and far between, so she sustains herself with a succession of jobs: waitress gigs, then as a personal assistant to martial arts film star Steven Seagal.
Unbeknownst to Anzu, Ono would become a source of incredible inspiration & life teachings for her. This show seamlessly weaves together belly laughs with poignant and often tearful reminders of the many transgressions in history that should never be forgotten or repeated.
TOLUCAN TIMES review from February 9th 2020 writes:
Anzu Lawson concludes her excellent one-woman show, Dear Yoko, by performing the classic Beatles song “All You Need is Love.” By the time we reach the end of her production, she has reminded us of the importance of loving ourselves and everyone else, including those who unfairly judged us, and those who withheld their love from us.
We learn that she grew up in a broken home and did not receive the acceptance that all of us need. She explains that “the spotlight was the safest spot to grow up in.” From a young age, Anzu has done quite well in entertainment – working as a model, a singer and an actress in Japan and the U.S. Yet, she reveals that her encounters with racism and exploitation, in various social and professional settings, have been tough. Eventually, Anzu found inspiration and solace in Yoko Ono, the singer/activist who was married to John Lennon of The Beatles. Yoko has always been terrific at turning suffering into personal growth, and never seeing herself as a victim.
Vibrant colorful photos on the wall bring her anecdotes to life, while she sometimes performs moving renditions of songs on the keyboard for us. Anzu describes Yoko as a giving, uplifting person who has given much to the world through her creativity and humanitarian spirit. Through her show, Anzu has done the same.
I recommend this witty, redemptive production. – BOB RICH c/o THE TOLUCAN TIMES
To this day, Yoko is still accused of being the “woman who broke up The Beatles” but in this piece, Anzu shines an unprecedented light on Yoko Ono’s side of the story and lets us in on the real reason why John Lennon started a Peace revolution with the forward-thinking underground artist turned humanitarian for the world.
Jessica Lynn Johnson directs Dear Yoko… Acclaimed both as a solo performer and as a director of solo artists, she is the founder of the company Soaring Solo. Her directing credits include Unemployed Finally, The Mermaid Who Learned How to Fly, 365 Days of Crazy, Triangles Are My Favorite Shape, Bully-mia, Not My Show, Answers Outta The Blue, and more.