Details of David Henry Hwang’s Artist-in-Residence at the Signature Theater have surfaced. There will be three plays, including the world premier of Kung Fu, inspired by the life of Bruce Lee, about a young martial artist who comes to America from Hong Kong in the 1960s dreaming to be a movie star.
Hwang had been writing the book for a musical about Lee, but a spokesman for Signature said that Kung Fu was not the same project and that Hwang was no longer involved in that musical. (Hwang has yet to decide if the main character in Kung Fu will be named Bruce Lee.)
Leigh Silverman, who staged Chinglish on Broadway last fall, will direct Kung Fu as well as a revival of Golden Child, which ran on Broadway in 1998. In February 2013 the director May Adrales will mount his 1981 play The Dance and the Railroad.
So, no revival of M Butterfly. Does it mean he’s saving it for the long rumored Broadway revival?
It has been reported that Justin Lin will direct the film version of David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish, the recent Broadway comedy about an Ohio businessman navigating misunderstandings of language and etiquette in a second-tier Chinese city.
This is interesting. Lin is one of the few Asian American directors who have successfully broken into the Hollywood system. He is a friend of David Henry Hwang, who is a contributing writer of Lin’s blog www.YouOffendMeYouOffendMyFamily.com. But since his breakout Better Luck Tomorrow in 2002, Lin has mostly directed the Fast & Furious series, which, despite their ridiculous storylines, are not comedies. So how will Lin handle a story where most actions happen inside characters’ minds? How will Lin handle the story where intrigues and conflicts are resolved with words, not engines and horsepower?
To add to the intrigue is the similarities between the Chinglish plot and the current political scandal in China. Will Hwang milk this point in the screenplay he will adapt himself? If they were to film it in China, will China allow it?
David Henry Hwang, whose latest play Chinglish has just been nominated for five Joseph Jefferson Awards, will give a talk tomorrow at Columbia University. The talk is organized by the Columbia University Chinese Students and Scholars Association.
Most people agree that the Chinglish run on Broadway was too short. Some people think this is an Off-Broadway show that should not have gone to the Broadway. But would it have the kind of mainstream publicity if it were not a Broadway production? Would the average theater goers ever even notice this show if it were not on Broadway? My guess is that the number of audience who saw it during its less-than-spectacular Broadway run is still larger than what that number would be even if it had a very successful Off-Broadway run. Well, we can now hear what David Henry Hwang thinks.
Someone just sent me this email alert. AAPAC in the email refers to Asian American Performers Action Coalition. AAPAC released a report last month that showed Asian-Americans received only 3 percent of all available roles in the non-profit sector, and only 1.5 percent of all available roles on Broadway in the past five years. The result is hardly surprising to anyone who goes to Broadway shows regularly. The Broadway is quite “White” on stage as well as off. The 80 percent white actors on stage is about the same percentage of audience down stage, according to surveys by The Broadway League. So which is the chicken and which is the egg?
My name is Cleo Gray and I am a Korean American actor (Bat at the Flea Theater) working in New York. I attended AAPAC’s town halls and helped produce the promotional video for the February roundtable with fellow Bat and Asian-American actor Bobby Foley. We were incredibly inspired by the passionate artists in our community and wanted to do our part toward promoting Asian representation in theater. Bobby and I have started a project called Asian and… which is dedicated to millennial Asian-American theater artists creating, producing and promoting new works that tell our stories and show our faces.
We are currently putting together an evening of scenes and readings that would take place late April or early May. The purpose of the evening would be to raise money and awareness for our project Asian and… We are working to potentially commission new plays and mount full productions because we realize that Millennial Asian American stories are not being written and produced as often as they could be, and we’re trying to do something small to help.
We are looking for playwrights that would like to contribute either original short pieces or excerpts from full lengths. We are interested in all kinds of stories. It does not need to be specifically Asian (whatever that means). Our overall goal is to promote representation of Asian Americans, but not in an exclusionary way. We want our stages to truthfully represent the world we actually live in, so scripts with entirely Asian casts/content are not necessary. Diversity is welcome! We of course will need to cast these pieces and are also looking for actors and directors.
If you or someone you know would be interested in being involved please have them e-mail us at projectAsianAnd@gmail.com. We would really appreciate it!
Thanks so much for your time!
Cleo Gray and Bobby Foley
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Pan Asian Repertory celebrated its 35th anniversary with a Gala last night. The theme was “Legacy and Homecoming”. The “Homecoming Kings” and “Queens” included David Henry Hwang, Tina Chang and Daniel Dae Kim. Who knows the star of Hawaii Five-O and Lost was a Pan Asian alumnus? Well, he is! He performed in the company’s production of A Doll’s House in 1993. And look where that has lead him to!
Pan Asian is one of those scrappy off-Broadway companies that manage to put on shows season after season. I have fond memories of some of their productions. They have been performing in a theater that was converted from an old church. There is no flying capability. Lighting is usually limited. The stage is about the size of many Broadway theaters’ restrooms (which are never big!) But actors are always enthusiastic. Salute toTisa and all the actor, writers, musicians and staff connected to Pan Asian. Because of you, I am able to see stories that reflected my Asian experience enacted on stage!
If you are a Glee fan, you should recognize Telly Leung 梁厚泰. He plays “Wes” in that show. But he is also starring in the Broadway Godspell as “Telly”. He sings and dances and plays the piano in Godspell. What a talent! This is his Wiki entry: Glee Telly Leung (born January 3, 1980) is a Chinese-American actor, singer and songwriter. He is known for his many musical theatre roles on Broadway and his role as Dalton Academy Warbler ‘Wes’ on Glee. In November 2011, he began starring on Broadway in the Godspell revival at the Circle in the Square Theatre in New York City, New York. This is his Website.