Denise Iketani is an actor, teaching artist, and writer. She is a core member of the comedy troupe Cold Tofu Improv and has worked extensively with the premier Asian American theatre company, East West Players. She has sung, danced, and acted her way through shows such as Follies, Cabaret, Into The Woods, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, And the Soul Shall Dance, Merrily We Roll Along and Pacific Overtures. She received a Theater LA Ovation Nomination for her portrayal of Tamate in Pacific Overtures. Selected TV appearances include Frasier, General Hospital, Sunset Beach and The Division. With Cold Tofu, she was also featured in NBC’s Sketch Comedy Showdown. As a writer, Denise’s play "The Nisei Widows Club" and its two sequels were produced at East West Players under the pseudonym Betty Tokudani - a combination of the co-writers surnames (Tim Dang, Marilyn Tokuda and Denise Iketani)
As a dedicated arts educator and advocate, she has written and taught curriculum for The Geffen Theatre, We Tell Stories, Americorps’ Tell Me a Story program, the Los Angeles County Migrant Education Fine Arts Academy and Cyber Camps, East West Players PEAC Partnership, and The Cerritos Performing Arts Center. Denise has been a master teaching artist with The Music Center for over 20 years. She was the lead artist and curriculum writer for The Music Center’s partnership with Paramount USD that combined Open Court Literature series with theatre. Denise and her team designed and delivered artist residencies that paired a theatre artist with every K-5 teacher in the district over a 5-year period. She also served as a lead artist for The Music Center’s 2014 Institute for Educators.
Denise Iketani’s student workshops utilize interactive theatre games and familiar stories to build life skills that translate across the curriculum. Through fun, improvisational theatre exercises, students build self-confidence, cooperative work habits, develop their imagination, and increase their ability to concentrate while learning first-hand that creative play often leads to innovative ways of solving problems. Workshops include large group, small group, and individual exercises.
To schedule an Arts Integration Partnership and/or Professional Development at your school, please call (213) 972-4330 or EMAIL US›