Tech upgrades will transform the East Room into a performance-quality venue for live music, acting, singing and dance


The famous East Room replica at the Nixon Library –the only replica in the world of the largest room in the White House– is undergoing a complete renovation to enable top performance-quality shows, presentations, and musical concerts. Orange County philanthropists Charlie and Ling Zang funded the $500k upgrade of the iconic room that was built in 2004.

The new East Room West will boast first-class audiovisual capabilities, a performance-worthy lighting system, new staging capabilities, a custom-made presidential podium, restored wooden floors, shined draperies and new portraits replicating those in the White House.

The premiere performance in the East Room West is January 9, 2019, at 6:00 p.m., marking the anniversary of President Nixon’s birthday. The most recent White House Curator William G. Allman, who served the families of Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump, will deliver keynote remarks on the history of the East Room. Following the remarks, there will be a spectacular concert by students from OC Music and Dance.

Charlie Zhang is an Orange County-based entrepreneur and philanthropist who founded the renowned fast-casual restaurant chain Pick Up Stix in 1989, which he grew to more than 100 locations. Together with his wife and business partner, Ling, he founded OC Music and Dance in 2017, a nonprofit arts school that offers musical training to children regardless of their skill level and ability to pay. Today, he is the CEO of Zion Enterprises, a real estate development company in Laguna Niguel, and serves on the board of directors of the Pacific Symphony and Pacific Chorale.

Zhang credits President Nixon’s historic opening of China in 1972 with creating new opportunities for him in the United States. He emigrated to America at age 23, with only a clarinet and $20 in his pocket. “No Nixon, No Charlie!” is a phrase that those in Zhang’s life have heard again and again.