The Pasadena Playhouse presents Jeanne Sakata’s ‘Hold These Truths’


‘Truths,’ a one-man show about courage and justice, plays through Sun., June 25

“More than anything else, you won’t regret meeting Gordon Hirabayashi,” actor Ryun Yu said with great admiration about the courageous man he portrays in Hold These Truths, presented at the Pasadena Playhouse through Sunday, June 25th.

Ryun Yu in Portland Center Stage’s production of “Hold These Truths,” from a previous run in Oregon. Yu plays over 30 characters, including civil rights hero Gordon Hirabayashi.

Hold These Truths, a play about what it means to be an American, is the acclaimed show from playwright Jeanne Sakata with a highly-praised performance by Ryun Yu, directed by Jessica Kubzansky and produced in association with East West Players.

“What makes this show so special is Gordon. He is one of the true American heroes. What he did is so staggering. He stood up for what is right. We all think we’d be the person who would do the right thing, but he did. And it’s amazing to me the way he did it,” Yu said about Hirabayashi.

“He was 23 and a college student at the University of Washington, and the entire country was moving in a direction during World War II. His community was putting pressure on everyone to show loyalty and support to the government. But Japanese Americans were being sent to internment camps, and this college kid stands up and says ‘this is not right.’ Gordon’s reasons were pure. He loved America and the Constitution. He believed what he was doing was right and in the bedrock of the Constitution. He went all the way to the Supreme Court and made his point in such a kind way. It was not just what he did, but how he did it that I admire,” continued Yu.

Don’t miss actor Ryun Yu in “Hold These Truths”
at the Pasadena Playhouse through June 25.
Photos by Patrick Wieshampel/

The one-man show is about struggle, courage and doing what’s right. But it’s also about love of country. Hirabayashi fought all the way to the Supreme Court and beyond. It took up his whole life. He was finally vindicated in 1987. When asked why he did it, he said, “To make sure it never happens again to any other group of people.” Of course, the irony is that it is so relevant now.

Yu said, “This play was written 10 years ago and there are certain things that scream out as if it were written today. The play draws people into the spirit of this guy. Gordon was part rascal and unwilling to just accept these horrible racist laws. There’s a joy and a kindness to go along with his spine of steel that makes his story so good.”

It is beautiful theatrical production with a heartwarming, entertaining and powerful story that puts the spotlight on Gordon Hirabayashi’s journey. “He represents the kind of courage we need in these times. It represents a long and difficult road we must travel to do what’s right, but we can get there together,” Yu said.

The Pasadena Playhouse’s Producing Artistic Director Danny Feldman? said, “As the State Theater of California, it is our mission to bring people together to facilitate open dialogue regardless of political affiliation and belief. It is through art that we can engage in healthy discourse with our neighbors, friends and community. We are thrilled to be able to partner with organizations throughout our community to continue the dialogue after every performance.”

Free post-show activities will be featured after every performance in partnership with Los Angeles community organizations.

An inspirational, entertaining and powerful story about a true civil rights hero, “Hold These Truths” runs through June 25th at the Pasadena Playhouse located at 39 S El Molino Ave. in Pasadena. For tickets call (626) 356-7529 or visit  

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