ARTISTS AT PLAY “THE FOUR IMMIGRANTS” NOV. 20
THE INDUSTRY “SWEET LAND” JAN-MARCH, 2020
Actor and opera singer Kurt Sanchez Kanazawa will soon be seen as "Blake", an infuriated passenger, on the upcoming Facebook Watch series "Airport Security Squad", a workplace comedy created by Anwar Jibawi (5m subscribers on YouTube), appearing as a Guest Star opposite the talented Mia Serafino (NBC's "Crowded") in 2020. This handsome mixed-race Asian-American millennial, with an exciting comedic vulnerability, only made his acting debut two years ago as "Ichiro", a Japanese tattoo artist who speaks Italian with a Japanese accent, Guest Starring on the popular RAI 1 soap opera "Provaci ancora Prof!". Already a recognizable face in Italy - as a soap opera actor, model, commercial spokesman, and essentially the only fluent Italian-speaking Asian person in the world market - he decided to return home to Los Angeles in 2018, and quickly booked a gory role on ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" (speaking in native American English) as "Tad", the arrogant stockbroker with a bloody nose from drugs. Upcoming, he will star in "One Dish Dining", a 90-second comedy web-series, which he also co-wrote and co-created, about an adopted Asian-American Michelin Star Chef in Italy, who only wants to cook Italian food, but is constantly told he has to cook "authentic Asian" cuisine.
While it may seem this Los Angeles-born actor (with Hawaii roots) burst out of nowhere, international publications like the New York Times, Time Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Opera News and The Scotsman have actually been paying close attention to this burgeoning "leading man" for years, ever since he won accolades at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, portraying Hamlet in a sold-out Shakespeare musical-spoken word adaptation called "Hamlet Q Jones", which earned Top 30 Show award in The Scotsman as well as Top 10 Shakespeare Performance for Kurt, with critics reserving "special mention" for "leading man Kurt Kanazawa, whose Hamlet Q veers from rock king to literary god, declaiming one minute the lyrics of the Stone Roses, the next some of Shakespeare's most memorable lines, all with a boundless energy and exhausting ease." This vaulted Kurt into an internationally celebrated opera singing career, where he was noted for his "athletic voice and kinetic volatility" (New York Times) as well as seductive, "villainy wrapped in velvet" (Opera News) with his "smoky-toned" baritone voice that enraptured audiences from Beijing to Buenos Aires to New York City to Milan to Paris. He is also featured in Metropolitan Opera Bass Hao Jiang Tian's documentary "I SING BEIJING" directed by Allan Miller, the two-time Academy Award Winner, who followed a select group of western-style opera singers from Italy and the United States (Kurt included) residing for over three months in Beijing to prepare an orchestral program of Chinese songs broadcast live on Chinese National Television - sponsored by the Hanban Institute and the Chinese Government, with coverage by the Associated Press, PRI, and many other global outlets.
However, it has not been an easy path. Though fluent in Japanese, as well as Italian, French, and some limited German, languages that Kurt learned as an graduate opera singer at The Juilliard School, he was traumatically diagnosed in 2015 with an unusual neurological condition that abruptly ended his singing career. But as they say, when one door closes, three doors fly open, and the world of acting has now brought a new spotlight on the multi-talents of Kurt Sanchez Kanazawa.
All along, he has remained a champion of Asian-American artists, particularly of his father's Japanese-American (fourth generation) and mother's Filipino-American (third generation) diasporas, as well the Pidgin English language of the Hawaiian Islands. Notably, his grandmother, Shimeji Kanazawa, known as "The Florence Nightingale of Hawaii," served as chief liaison between the Japanese civilian internees and the US Military. Honored by the American Red Cross and appointed to the Committee on Aging by Presidents Reagan, Carter, & Clinton, respectively, Kurt dedicates his live performances to his grandmother's lasting legacy of selfless giving - most recently on the LATW live recording of Philip Kan-Gotanda's "Sisters Matsumoto" opposite an all-star Japanese-American cast of June Angela, Keiko Agena, and Suzy Nakamura, in a 2019 Earphones Award-winning recording by AudioFile Magazine. Still singing musical theater and alternative opera professionally as well, he will appear in The Industry's upcoming Los Angeles production of "Sweetland" in 2020, directed by Yuval Sharon (MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant winner). He also sits on the Ojai Playwright's Conference's reading committee, and has performed at the conference twice in plays by both Alice Tuan and Kimber Lee.
Now, based in both Los Angeles and New York City, Kurt's multi-faceted career has taken an exciting turn in the last year, and he looks forward to its continual rise.