Esther K. Chae
Esther K. Chae
Esther K. Chae
|Residence||Santa Monica, CA|
|Education||Korea University (BA)
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (MA)
Yale University (MFA)
|Revised Romanization||Chae Gyeong-ju|
Esther Chae (Hangul: 채경주; RR: Chae Gyeong-ju) is an award-winning Korean-American actor, published playwright, speaker and consultant for Korean entertainment and Hollywood. Chae has appeared in numerous television shows such as NCIS, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, The West Wing, The Shield, and ER. She has also performed on theater stages including Yale Repertory Theater, La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, Mark Taper Forum/ Kirk Douglas Theater, East West Players, P.S. 122, and Harvard/American Repertory Theater. Chae was among the inaugural class of TED fellows in 2009. She wrote and performed in So The Arrow Flies, an 80-minute one-woman performance about a North Korean spy and the FBI agent that hunts her down. It touches on post-9/11 themes of terrorism, political ideology, national identity and mother-daughter relationships.
Early life and education
She graduated from Korea University with a B.A. in French Literature. Upon graduation, she returned to the United States. Chae earned her M.A. in Theater Studies at the University of Michigan and her M.F.A in Acting at the Yale School of Drama.
Esther’s television roles include NCIS, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, The West Wing, 24, The Shield and numerous national commercials; her theatre credits include Yale Repertory Theater, La Mama, Mark Taper Forum / Kirk Douglas Theater and Harvard/A.R.T. She currently teaches Advanced Acting for TV and Film at Emerson College (LA).
As a consultant, she has worked extensively in the entertainment business for the past two decades on major hits such as World of Dance (NBC), Black Panther (Marvel), Lost (ABC) and other high-profile projects.
Esther is an inaugural TED Fellow and has presented her talks at TED, TEDx, Arts Council of Korea and numerous other conferences.
Her unique experience as a speaker, actor and teacher allows her to help others hone their public storytelling and presentation skills. As a speaker coach, she teaches students how to craft effective presentations for business at Yonsei University (Seoul), and has worked with companies such as Sephora, XPrize, Overseas Koreans Foundation and other prominent private clients.
Notable awards and recognition
In 2015, Chae was invited to speak at TEDxPHX where she presented “WIBLDD: What If Bruce Lee Didn’t Die.” This unique talk, combined with performance, highlights Asian American representation (and lack of) in the media and arts through an enlightening conversation with a 75-year-old Master Bruce Lee.
In 2014, Chae was nominated for the “Extraordinary Chambers” (Play), ‘Outstanding Dramatic Production,’ and ‘Outstanding Ensemble’ by San Diego Theater Critic Circle.
In 2010, Chae received the 2010 APA Heritage Trailblazer Award by New York governor David Paterson. That year, she also received the 2010 University of Michigan Emerging Artist Alumni Award & King/Chavez/Parks Visiting Professorship and Emerging Artist Award.
In 2008, Chae was invited to the University of Southern California‘s Network of Korean-American Leaders (NetKAL) Fellowship Program which promotes community leadership among successful second-generation Korean-Americans.
So The Arrow Flies
SO THE ARROW FLIES, written and performed by Esther Chae, is a political thriller about an alleged North Korean spy and the FBI agent who interrogates her. In his introduction, David Henry Hwang calls the play a “dazzlingly ambitious play, which explores nothing less than the identity of our world today.” Written by award-winning actor Esther K. Chae, the solo performance play explores complex political and social issues including America’s national security apparatus, global identity and gender roles through modern heroines.
The performance debuted at New York’s Estrogenius Festival in 2007. Since then, it has been featured at TED conference, Ars Nova Theater (New York City), Cherry Lane Theater (New York City), World Women’s Forum (Seoul, Korea), Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Scotland), October Nights Theater Festival (Imola, Italy), and educational institutions such as New York University, Wellesley College and City University of New York’s Martin Segal Theater Center.
So the Arrow Flies (Book) Archived in Yale Library, Drama Collection in University of Washington’s East Asian Library (2016)
Archived in Korea’s National Assembly Library (2015)
Published by Dong-in Press, Korea (2015)
Published by No Passport Press (in English and Korean) (2014)
So the Arrow Flies (Stage Play) Library of Congress, Archive Collection (2012)
Filmography and TV
|2000||Come On||Screenwriter and Lead Actor||Hampton’s International Film Festival|
|2000||Becoming an Actress in New York City||Lead||Nominated – Asian American Ammy Award|
|2003||The West Wing||McKenzie|
|2004||ABC Micro Mini Series||Amy||AFTRA Best American Scene Award|
|2005||Esther Chae in Hollywood||Herself||Documentary nationally televised in South Korea|
|2005||Cinema AZN||Herself||Vision Award by The National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications|
|2006||NCIS||Yoon Dawson||Episode “Light Sleeper“|
|2007||Law and Order: Criminal Intent||Ms. Kim|
|2008||The Young and the Restless||Dr. Che|
|2011||Untitled Brenda Hampton Project (pilot)||Sarah|
|2014||Almost Human||Korean Newscaster|
|2017||Guidance||Esther Park Jensen|
|1999||Measure for Measure||Yale Repertory Theater||Juliet|
|2001||Piano||Harvard/American Repertory Theater||Han|
|2001||Pojagi: The Korea Project||La MaMa (New York)/Millenium Festival (South Korea)||Lead||Nominated – New York Obie Award Best Production|
|2005||Distant Shore||Kirk Douglas Theater/Mark Taper||Mina|
|2007||Yellowface||Mark Taper Forum||Various (u/s)|
|2006–2010||So The Arrow Flies||Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Scotland), Ars Nova Theater (New York), World Women’s Forum (South Korea)||Creator and Lead|
Voice Over and miscellaneous
|2004||Team America: World Police||Voice/ADR|
|2005||Memoirs of a Geisha||Voice/ADR|
|2009||Fast & Furious||Voice/ADR|
|2013||Battle of the Year||Voice/ADR|
|2015||Avengers: Age of Ultron||Voice/ADR|
|2017||Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders||Voice/ADR|
Chae is fluent in English and Korean, and knows some French and written Chinese. Chae is certified stage combatant, and is trained in Korean Drum and Mask dance. She summited Kilimanjaro (Tanzania, 5,895m) and trekked the Himalayan Mountains (India, 1400m) and Machu Picchu (Peru, 7,972m).
Awards and recognition
- 2014 “Extraordinary Chambers” (Play) Nominated for ‘Outstanding Dramatic Production’ & ‘Outstanding Ensemble’ by San Diego Theater Critic Circle
- 2010 Asian American Trailblazer Award
- 2010 University of Michigan Emerging Artist Alumni Award
- 2009 TED Fellow
- 2009 Tanee Artist Recognition Award
- 2009 Durfee ARC Grant
- 2009 Asian Women’s Giving Circle Grant
- 2009 Santa Fe Art Institute Screenwriting Fellow
- 2008 University of Southern California, Center for Asia Pacific Leadership
- 2008 NetKAL Fellowship
- 2007 Korean Wave Asian Star Award at the Asia Model Festival Awards
- 2006 Vision Award by The National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (“Cinema AZN”/International Channel)
- 2005 Producer’s Guild of America Film Development Workshop Fellow
- 2005 AFTRA Best American Scene Award (“Micro Miniseries”/ABC)
- 2005 Golden Reel Award, Best Radio Play (“Hiroshima” with Tyne Daly and Ruby Dee)
- 2001 Ammy Award for Asian Americans, Best Documentary Nominee (“Becoming an Actress in NYC”)
- 2000 Obie Theater Award Nominee (“Pojagi”/Ping Chong and Co.)