Commemorating five years of global broadcast with Master’s infinite love and guidance, Supreme Master Television held its 5th anniversary celebration on August 27, Golden Year 8 (2011) in Pasadena, California, USA.
Greeted by our international Association members in vibrant traditional costumes, a sold-out audience of over 3,000 dignitaries, celebrities, and the public filled the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, a venue known for hosting prestigious events ranging from Broadway musicals and world-class ballet to the Prime Time Emmy Awards.
As a grand two-part event, The Real Love featured a new Broadway-style musical inspired by Supreme Master Ching Hai’s true life story of love and selfless sacrifice. Also showcased were the enduring talents of iconic American singer/songwriter Don McLean (“American Pie,” “Vincent”). Supreme Master Ching Hai, who was invited as the guest of honor, joined the event via videoconference. Viewers worldwide were also able to tune in through Supreme Master Television’s live broadcast.
The spectacular show was hosted by five charming veg actors: multi-Emmy nominees Grant Aleksander (All My Children) and Ed Begley, Jr. (Living with Ed); actresses Kristin Bauer (True Blood), Elaine Hendrix (The Parent Trap) and Hayley Marie Norman (Hancock).
“The power of the arts to move and inspire us transcends languages and borders. From the stage of a performance hall to the oil canvas, artistic expression takes countless forms. It brings us together, helping us reflect upon who we are, where we have come from, and what lies ahead... American artists have developed unique and innovative styles, both treasured within our shores and loved by a global audience. Please accept my best wishes as you take part in this rich tradition.” These beautiful words came from His Excellency US President Barack Obama. Other notable government officials also sent congratulatory messages, including guest speaker The Honorable Curren Price, Jr., State Senator of California, who presented a certificate of commendation to congratulate Supreme Master Television on its anniversary.
An Extraordinary Production and Golden Casts
All the song lyrics of The Real Love were based on Master’s profound poems, with music contributed by five esteemed US composers: Oscar and five-time-Emmy winner Bill Conti (Rocky), Oscar winner Al Kasha (The Poseidon Adventure), Emmy-nominated musician Doug Katsaros, Tony and Emmy winner Don Pippin (Oliver!), and Oscar and two-time Grammy winner David Shire (Baby).
Mr. Kasha, who had a chance to read many of Supreme Master’s poems and lectures, was inspired to tell Her life story through a musical. He stated, “It is with great admiration to Supreme Master Ching Hai that I compose music and musicalize her beautiful, moving, poignant poetry. She is by far, a true spiritual communicator to the world... with her message of peace and love that transcends time.”
With award-winning actress Joanna Ampil cast in the lead role of Thanh, The Real Love traces the steps of Supreme Master Ching Hai from Her early life in Germany as a householder through Her subsequent journey to the mystical lands of India. The musical’s 38-member cast included Tony Award winners Daisy Eagan and Cady Huffman playing Thanh’s close friends Greta and Elsa, respectively; Tony nominees Adam Pascal and Robert Torti as Thanh’s husband Rolf and his colleague, Klaus, as well as Oscar-winning Shirley Jones and actor Dick Van Patten as Thanh’s parents-in-law.
Joanna Ampil said, “I have played some amazing parts, and this would have to be at the top. It’s a real story; I’m playing a real person here. And it’s been such a wonderful journey for me BECAUSE FOR THIS PARTICULAR PART, I’VE TURNED VEGAN. So that in itself is a gift.” Actor Robert Torti said, “... I feel very blessed. Because I think that’s the only reason I got here. And I hope I can do it justice, do her words and her life justice.”
The musical began with the magnificent feature song, “The Real Love.” Based on Supreme Master Ching Hai’s verses penned in April 2011 in light of recent conflicts erupting around the world, it makes a deeply heartfelt call for peace on Earth. The music was composed by Don Pippin, with guest star performers that included Tony-winning singer Betty Buckley (Cats), Italian classical/pop star Filippa Giordano, Oscar-winning actress Shirley Jones (The Partridge Family), Tony winners Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish (both stars of Billy Elliott the Musical), Emmy-winning singer Faith Rivera, noted actor and singer Tom Schmid, and soprano Lynne Wintersteller, as well as The Real Love chorus and orchestra.
Reflecting on Thanh’s spiritual pursuit, actress Shirley Jones said, “She [Supreme Master Ching Hai] is an incredible, incredible human being. She truly gave up the love of her life for the love of other people and other animals. And I just think she’s got to be a saint really, has to be.”
As the story of The Real Love continued to magically unfold, Supreme Master Ching Hai’s poetry formed the lyrics of each musical number to highlight the deep sentiments in every scene. The stirring tale’s conclusion was met with a standing ovation and many audience members were moved to tears. One guest, composer Stormy Sacks shared, “It’s an amazing story for someone to fall in love like she did and then to have to leave that to follow a greater path. What a lesson.”
Special Guest of Honor – Supreme Master Ching Hai
Following the musical, the guest of honor, Supreme Master Ching Hai spoke via videoconference and conveyed Her heartfelt thanks to all involved in the production. She said, “I can never thank all of you enough for your incredible loving dedication and support to art and love. This is the real love, your love.” In Her speech, Supreme Master Ching Hai described conditions that could lead to human annihilation as She urged everyone to expand their love—toward the animals by being vegan, and toward the Earth by going green—to ensure our safety within the universe.
Master said, “Every kind of love will emit some beautiful positive energy to protect us, and to protect loved ones and something around us. So if each one of us gives more love into the surroundings, extending it more, a little bit further than family, with enough of that love, we will make up for the 100% love power needed to dissolve the greatest threat to our survival. I already saved 99%, but the 1% is absolutely important. It’s from you, your 1%. Please, give more love. … Be vegan, make peace. That’s all we have to do, and love.”
Deeply moved by Master’s words, casting director Beverly Pomerantz stated, “I really didn’t know much about Supreme Master Ching Hai, and it was unbelievable. When I was listening to her, it brought tears to my eyes because she was so heartfelt and emotional.”
Film producer Steve Lee Jones shared, “I certainly think the highlight is hearing an enlightened Master speak, and seeing her live on the video feed, and observing someone who is an enlightened Master, who is in a full meditative state while speaking in the material world—incredible.”
Similarly touched, voice actress Teresa Ganzel (WALL-E, Monsters, Inc.) said, “I was so relieved when she continued on. Remember when she said, ‘Is my time up?’ If we hadn’t heard the rest of what she said, I mean that’s where really the gold came. When she was speaking about us turning into hybrid creatures by putting animals into us, and that we’re not really human when we do that, I’d never heard it expressed that way. And that really stuck with me.”
Supreme Master Ching Hai further expressed Her loving care through offering generous contributions of US$35,000 to each of the six charitable organizations: ChildHelp, EarthSave, Environmental Media Association (EMA), Greenpeace, United Way of Greater Los Angeles, and United Way Worldwide. The checks were given by VIP audience guests including two-time Oscar-nominated actress Carol Connors and The Honorable Mayor Howard Fishman of Hermosa Beach, California, USA.
Accepting for EarthSave was the organization’s founder and bestselling vegan author John Robbins, (Diet for a New America) who said, “Thank you very much, Supreme Master Ching Hai… This gift will enable us to continue to grow our Meals for Health program and reach more and more people who need it. And I want to thank all of you who are here… for your commitment to living in a way that expresses your compassion.” ChildHelp founder and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Sara O’Meara also stated, “It’s wonderful. It is the real love.”
The five celebrity hosts then shared their inspiring personal experiences on how they became vegetarians and vegans. Finally, guest star and acclaimed musician Don McLean performed some of his most well-loved songs, including “American Pie” and “Castles in the Air.” Before beginning the all-time classic “Vincent (Starry Starry Night),” he said, “Master Ching Hai loves this song, so I’m doing this for her.” Master graciously stayed and sang along with the American musical legend, and at the end bid a loving farewell to the audience.
After the show, celebrities and the public alike enjoyed a sumptuous vegan banquet catered by Loving Hut and One Veg World restaurants. They were also treated to a marvelous art exhibition titled “Blossoms of the Light,” featuring the uplifting, versatile and creative works of Supreme Master Ching Hai from the past two decades. On display were paintings, fans, Longevity Lamps, Celestial Fashion Clothing and Celestial Jewelry, including Master’s most recently designed collection, “Planet Cool.” Life-sized paper-mâché likenesses of Supreme Master Ching Hai’s adopted canine companions as well as the swans featured in Her #1 best-selling book, The Noble Wilds, greeted the guests. Master’s spiritual teachings and messages regarding the vegan solution for saving the planet were also available to visitors through impressive multi-media displays.
Veronique, one of the event attendees, shared her thoughts about the impressive art exhibit: “As soon as I got here, I felt this amazing love in the air. Honestly, I had no idea Master Ching Hai was so talented and she could do so many things. I knew she was artistic, I didn’t know the extent of her arts and on seeing so many pieces of paintings or photographs… the jewelry, the clothing, and the lamps, the books. What a tremendously talented person she is, not just a beautiful teacher, but her arts. Wow! I mean everybody has got to see her arts. It’s filled with light, love, it’s beautiful and you can tell where her heart is in her art. Because her art is really, it’s the image of the soul.”
We are forever grateful for Master’s ever-present love, guidance and inspiration and pray that Heaven blesses Her abundantly as She continues Her compassionate mission of elevating our planet and bringing joy and peace to all beings. We also thank all the talented and pure-hearted artists for sharing the life story of an enlightened Being through their excellent performances and expressions. With Heaven’s grace, may they continue to bring uplifting and noble messages to humankind.
To watch a special review titled “The Real Love Musical: Inspiration, Devotion, Celebration” on Supreme Master Television, please visit: http://www.suprememastertv.com/mp/?wr_id=207&page=1#v
Widespread Media Coverage
Prior to and after the exciting 5th Anniversary celebration of Supreme Master Television through The Real Love, US and international media interest in the form of announcements, reports, and interviews were reaching the public via print, radio, Internet, and television. These included USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, ABC Channel 7, NBC Channel 4, Cable News Network (CNN), American Movie Classics (AMC), Turner Network Television (TNT), Hollywood Bowl Magazine, K-Earth 101.1 FM radio station, Laemmle Theaters, LA Weekly, The Washington Post, and many more.
The event was also featured in international publications, from the Philippines to Australia to Formosa. Here are a few highlights:
Sold out tribute...world premiere of the musical “The Real Love.”
BWW News Desk
Supreme Master TV has made an impact on the Hollywood scene.
IIt’s a phenomenal, creative company.
An art exhibition of the creative works of Supreme Master Ching Hai is open to event attendees free of charge, before and after the show… Her refreshing artistic style is famous for rekindling sparks of joy and tender love inside viewers’ hearts.
This amazing musical, concert and art exhibit is a must-see for everyone. In addition to the stars performing, many stars will be attending this event.
We’re lucky to have it [“The Real Love”] coming here to Pasadena.
Ed Begley is going to be the MC. Music is by Oscar winners Al Kasha, Bill Conti, Grammy winner David Shire, Emmy winner Don Pippin, Emmy nominee Doug Katsaros. … Vegan banquet! See, people don’t realize how good vegan food can be.
That sounds like a lot of work just for one performance. But you know that’s… I always seek out those things that have very, very short runs. It’s the only opportunity you’ll get to see them. Because the energy is such that they’re putting everything into it. It’s like opening night and closing night on the same evening. TheRealLoveMusic.com. Well that’s something to see, and unique in itself, as just described. And one time only, so you’ve got to be there for that. Absolutely..
Paul Stroili and Michael Sterling
Over 3,000 people gave a rousing standing ovation for the world premiere of “The Real Love,” a new musical which brought together some of the biggest names of Hollywood and Broadway onstage at the Pasadena Civic.
As a reporter, naturally I am curious and wondered: How did these prestigious Oscar, Tony, and Grammy-winning composers come to set her poetry to music?… By the end of the evening, I knew the true answer: love – to “glorify love” as Supreme Master Ching Hai said in her speech. The love that Supreme Master Ching Hai has for humanity and the animals is unparalleled. Her unconditional heart draws those with a special affinity and like-minded artistic natures to her worthy cause and uplifting story.
Having returned to Australia, I have a sense of renewed pride in being an Aulacese (Vietnamese) living in this world stage, knowing of a fellow countrywoman who is so respectfully lauded and loved by those of all nationalities and backgrounds. I also have hope for the future of our planet, knowing that there are people like Supreme Master Ching Hai who are wholly committed to preserving it, and for that, we are all grateful.
Artists and Guests Share Impressions of The Real Love
Many artists, celebrity guests, and public attendees shared with Supreme Master TV their thoughts, insights, and impressions of the event and Master’s message about love. The following is a selection:
Shirley Jones (Oscar-winning actress): “To do
such an incredible musical, it was a short time. Usually it’s
a lot longer, Broadway is months and months. But I have to tell you
that the people that were involved, all of these incredible writers
and lyricists and musicians—and they’re all top-notch—we
had the best possible people.”
Don Pippin (Tony and Emmy-winning composer): “I would love to share these words with Supreme Master Ching Hai. Bless you, Lady, for writing a property like this and sharing it with the world, and allowing us to compose music to your poems … If I were in her presence, I certainly would express to her my great appreciation for her caring about performers and the importance of recognizing what we do. Bless Supreme Master Ching Hai for having that attitude toward artists. We need it. It helps us to be better.”
Al Kasha (Oscar-winning composer): “I realized that her [Supreme Master Ching Hai’s] life was a musical. The three great musicals of Rodgers and Hammerstein dealt with two separate worlds coming together. So those are the ingredients that Supreme Master Ching Hai had, a separate calling in her life than her husband Rolf. [It] gave her the strength of a heroine, and that’s why she’s a hero in my eyes. And I believe it was fated that I met her. I’m very, very blessed. It was miraculous that you did this show as quickly as you did. Somehow God’s grace made it work. You made me a big believer that it [could] be done in three months and come out as beautifully as it did. God did it.”
David Shire (Oscar and two-time Grammy-winning composer): “It’s a wonderful story for a musical, actually. It’s like none other that I’ve ever seen. And that’s what you want for a show, something that’s surprising. So I’m looking forward to the next one. I want to congratulate the Supreme Master for another wonderful anniversary celebration for a wonderful television station, Supreme Master Television.”
Faith Rivera (Emmy-winning singer): “Dear Supreme Master Ching Hai, just thank you, thank you for existing. Thank you for coming so boldly into the world with your mission of love and peace that is touching so many. It has meant a lot to me to be a part of your project, to be in your energy.”
Filippa Giordano (Italian classical/pop singer): “It’s very nice because the lyrics that Supreme Master wrote are very special and so true.” ”
Dick Van Patten (Veteran actor, Eight Is Enough): “I just respect her [Supreme Master Ching Hai] so much for her whole thought and the wonderful things she does for animals. I think she’s giving of herself and that’s so nice to see. It’s so generous, and I appreciate her very much.”
Elaine Hendrix (Actress, The Parent Trap; vegetarian): “This is an extremely elaborate event. It wasn’t just a musical, it was a musical and a presentation and a concert and a coming together of like-minded people for a very noble purpose, to share love and compassion.”
Carol Connors (2-time Oscar-nominated songwriter/singer): “This was one of the most beautiful, inspiring moments.”
Florence Larue (Grammy-winning singer): “Usually I am on stage. So I am absolutely thrilled to get to be in the audience and hear this wonderful music.”
Cary Brown (3-time Emmy-winning filmmaker; 41st California State Assembly District Delegate; vegan): “The production value is incredible. This was a modern interpretation of her songs, her poems, and it captured the mood and the romance of the story. The last number (“The Peace Seeker”) was beautiful, and I was in tears.”
Don Wuebbles, PhD (Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois; Nobel Peace Prize laureate): “As an expert in our human effects on climate, I just want to share with her [Supreme Master Ching Hai] that I really appreciate her leadership in trying to bring that message to the world. The science is all too real. To have someone like her that is trying to give the right message to people is really, really outstanding.”
Michael Lerner (Oscar-nominated actor): “Supreme Master Ching Hai is a remarkable lady. I mean, she is very holy but not in any formal religious way. I was very impressed by that. And I thought all the performances were amazing. I thought Master Ching Hai’s speech was wonderful, and very illustrative of the musical, her passion for love.”
Warmhearted Letters Exchanged about The Real Love
In admiration for Supreme Master Ching Hai’s message of peace and Her life of service, composer Al Kasha proposed that Her story be told through a musical, with Master’s lyrical poetry forming the basis of the songs. The following are excerpts of cordial letters exchanged between Mr. Kasha and Supreme Master Ching Hai.
On August 17, 2011, Mr. Kasha respectfully sent Her a letter of invitation to attend the musical:
In Her letter of reply, Master wrote:
After the event, Mr. Kasha wrote another letter to Supreme Master Ching Hai to express his heartfelt thoughts. The following is an excerpt:
This was accompanied by a letter to Supreme Master Ching Hai by his wife, Ceil Kasha:
In response to Mr. and Mrs. Kasha’s sincerity, Supreme Master Ching Hai wrote:
Supreme Master Ching Hai also received a heartfelt letter from award-winning actress Ms. Joanna Ampil, who played the role of Thanh in the musical. The following is an excerpt:
In Her letter of reply, Supreme Master Ching Hai wrote: