Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish is Broadway Bound this Fall; Goodman Theatre Photo Feature

Xu Yan (Jennifer Lim) meets with Daniel (James Waterston) to further discuss his business proposal. credit: Eric Y. Exit

Xu Yan (Jennifer Lim) meets with Daniel (James Waterston) to further discuss his business proposal. credit: Eric Y. Exit

Chinglish, the critically acclaimed new comedy by Tony Award-winning and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly), will make its Broadway premiere in the Fall of 2011 at a Shubert Theatre to be announced, following its world premiere production at Goodman Theatre in Chicago this summer. Casting for the Broadway show will be announced soon.

“This is a very funny, very timely play,” said producer Jerry Frankel. “Jeffrey Richards and I are thrilled to bring David Henry Hwang back to Broadway.”

 Peter (Stephen Pucci) offers himself as a business consultant to help Daniel (James Waterston) pitch his signage company in China. credit: Eric Y. Exit

Peter (Stephen Pucci) offers himself as a business consultant to help Daniel (James Waterston) pitch his signage company in China. credit: Eric Y. Exit

Chinglish is about the unpredictable complications that ensue when an American businessman, despite his self-possessed cultural ignorance, seeks to expand his market by forging a relationship with government officials in a major Chinese city. Although he has hired an Australian entrepreneur who has lived in China to assist him, he soon finds that the complexities of such a venture far outstrip the expected differences in language, customs and manners – and calls into questions even the most basic assumptions of human conduct.
Zhao (Christine Lin) translates between (l to r) Judge Xu Geming (Johnny Wu), Prosecutor Li (Angela Lin), Daniel (James Waterston) and Xu Yan (Jennifer Lim). credit: Eric Y. Exit

Zhao (Christine Lin) translates between (l to r) Judge Xu Geming (Johnny Wu), Prosecutor Li (Angela Lin), Daniel (James Waterston) and Xu Yan (Jennifer Lim). credit: Eric Y. Exit

“The U.S. and China are at a critical moment in history—each nation is deeply interested in, but knows very little about, the other,” said playwright David Henry Hwang. “Chinglish was born from the many visits I’ve made to China over the past five or six years to witness the exciting changes there. During one visit, I toured a new arts center where everything was first-rate—except for the ridiculously translated English signs. It was at that moment that I thought of writing this play.”

Leigh Silverman, who directed Lisa Kron’s Well on Broadway and who just won a 2011 OBIE Award for directing both Go Back To Where You Are and In The Wake, will return to direct the Broadway production.

 Peter (Stephen Pucci) confronts Xu Yan (Jennifer Lim) and Daniel (James Waterston). credit: Eric Y. Exit

Peter (Stephen Pucci) confronts Xu Yan (Jennifer Lim) and Daniel (James Waterston). credit: Eric Y. Exit

Chinglish is currently running at Goodman Theatre where it began performances on June 18th, officially opened on June 27th and will run through July 24th. The cast includes James Waterston as Daniel, a Midwestern American businessman desperately looking to score a lucrative contact for his family’s sign-making firm who travels to the provincial capital of Guiyang, only to learn how much he doesn’t understand; Stephen Pucci as Peter, his Australian-born consultant who may be a fraud, Jennifer Lim as Xu Yan, the beautiful, seemingly supportive government official who talks the talk, Larry Zhang as Cai Guoliang, the Minister of Culture in Guiyang; Angela Lin as Miss Qian, a translator, and Prosecutor Li, a government official that Daniel is trying to convince to give him the contracts to make the translated signs for Guiyang, a city in China; Christine Lin as the Minister’s translator, Mrs. Zhao; and Johnny Wu as Judge Xu Geming and Bing.

The design team for Chinglish includes Set Designer David Korins (Broadway: Lombardi, Passing Strange), Costume Designer Anita Yavich (Broadway: Anna in the Tropics), Lighting Designer Brian MacDevitt (Goodman: Long Day’s Journey into Night).

The Broadway production will be produced by Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Roy Gottlieb, Barry & Carole Kaye and David and Barbara Stoller in association with Goodman Theatre.

Chinglish has been developed in association with The Public Theater.

David Henry Hwang Photo by Lia Chang

David Henry Hwang Photo by Lia Chang

DAVID HENRY HWANG’S plays include M. Butterfly (1988 Tony Award, 1989 Pulitzer Prize Finalist), Golden Child (1998 Tony Award nomination, 1997 OBIE Award), Yellow Face (2008 OBIE Award, 2008 Pulitzer Prize Finalist), FOB (1981 OBIE Award), The Dance and the Railroad (1982 Drama Desk Award nomination), Family Devotions (1982 Drama Desk Award nomination) and Bondage. He wrote the libretti for the Broadway musicals Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida (co-author), Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Flower Drum Song (revival, 2002 Tony Award nomination) and Disney’s Tarzan. In opera, his libretti include four works with composer Philip Glass: The Voyage (Metropolitan Opera), 1000 Airplanes on the Roof, Sound and Beauty (seen in Chicago at the Court Theatre), and Icarus at the Edge of Time; as well as Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar (two 2007 Grammy Awards), Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland (Opernwelt 2007 “World Premiere of the Year”) and Howard Shore’s The Fly. Hwang penned the feature films “M. Butterfly,” “Golden Gate” and “Possession” (co-author), and co-wrote the song “Solo” with Prince. He sits on the Council of the Dramatists Guild, and served by appointment of President Clinton on the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.
Chinglish director Leigh Silverman © Lia Chang

Chinglish director Leigh Silverman © Lia Chang

LEIGH SILVERMAN Previous Broadway: Lisa Kron’s Well. Recent world premieres: In The Wake (Center Theatre Group/Berkeley Repertory Theatre and The Public Theatre; OBIE Award, Lortel Nomination); Go Back To Where You Are (Playwrights Horizons:
OBIE Award); From Up Here (MTC; Drama Desk Nomination); Coraline (MCC/True Love); Beebo Brinker Chronicles (Hourglass Group/ 37 Arts); Creature (New Georges/P73); Hunting and Gathering (Primary Stages); Well (The Public Theater, The Huntington Theatre and ACT); The Retributionists (Playwrights Horizons); Blue Door (Playwrights Horizons and Seattle Repertory Theatre); Oedipus At Palm Springs (NYTW); Jump/Cut (Woolly Mammoth Theatre/Theater J and Women’s Project); also Danny and the Deep Blue Sea (Second Stage Theatre). West End: Wit (Vaudeville Theatre). This marks Leigh’s second premiere production of a work by David Henry Hwang having previously directed Yellow Face at the Center Theater Group and The Public Theater.

Goodman Theatre
170 North Dearborn
Tickets are tickets are $25 – $73 (prices are subject to change) and can be purchased at, at the box office (170 N. Dearborn) or by phone: 312.443.3800.

David Henry Hwang Articles:
Photos: Playwright David Henry Hwang in rehearsal at the Goodman Theatre for World Premiere of Chinglish
Judges for 2010-2011 Village Voice Obie Awards include Feingold, Soloski, Als, Hwang, Yionoulis and Propst; Ceremony on 5/16
Yellow Face Reading & Book Signing w/ David Henry Hwang, Kathryn Layng, Francis Jue, w/ guest Edward Albee David Henry Hwang, Francis Jue, Kathryn Layng and Edward Albee: YELLOW FACE Reading Book Signing at The Drama Book Shop on 12/10
Multimedia: George Takei, Nancy Kwan, Lisa Lu and Tsai Chin attend Hollywood Chinese: The Arthur Dong Collection Exhibition Opening Night
The Chinese American Museum partners with Academy award nominated filmmaker Arthur Dong on a groundbreaking exhibition about Hollywood’s forgotten past
David Henry Hwang’s YELLOW FACE Starring Francis Jue, Pub Bandu and Thomas Azar at Theatreworks through 9/20
In Arthur Dong’s Hollywood Chinese, Chinese Tinseltown Tales told by Asian Silver Screen Icons
David Henry Hwang, Kathryn Layng and BD Wong at the Asian American Writers Workshop Literary Awards
Nothing is Sacred in David Henry Hwang’s Comedy of Mistaken Racial Identity
Francis Jue, At Home on the Stage
Flower Drum Song: An American Story

Other articles by Lia Chang
Photos: “How To Succeed” stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rose Hemingway & John Larroquette at Lord & Taylor Fifth Ave
My portrait of “New York actor Thom Sesma’s Makeup Transformation into Scar in The Lion King” on view in HHC’s New York City: IN FOCUS, Vol. 2- 7/14
Photos: Christmas in June w/ Samrat Chakrabarti and Sanjiv Jhaveri’s “Bakwas Bumbug” at The Wild Project in NY
Photos: Phylicia Rashad, Michael McElroy, Marva Hicks in Broadway Inspirational Voices “Wondrous Grace” Concert in NY
Photos:Alexander McQueen:Savage Beauty Extends at Met through 8/7, Met Mondays w/ McQueen begin 6/6
Photos: Willie Reale, Frances McDormand, Lewis Black, Bela Fleck, Renee Goldsberry, Duncan Sheik, Lisa Benavides, Abigail Washburn, Tim Blake Nelson at The 52nd Street Project Benefit
Meshach Taylor talks Wigger on Wendy Williams Show
Photos of AEA’s Asian Heritage Celebration, featuring the Leviathan Lab Asian American Women Writers Workshop
Photos: Samrat Chakrabarti, Soham Mehta and Shiva Shankar Bajpai at the New York Indian Film Festival
Photos: David Duchovny, John Earl Jelks, Amanda Peet, Tracee Chimo opening night of Neil LaBute’s The Break of Noon
Multimedia: Exclusive photos and video of Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas -In the Makeup Chair with Thom Sesma
Multimedia: Promises, Promises’ Stars Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes at Lord & Taylor Fifth Ave
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang is an actor, performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

As a photographer and videographer, Lia collaborates with artists, organizations and companies in establishing their documentary photo archive and social media presence. She has been documenting her colleagues and contemporaries in the arts, fashion and journalism since making her stage debut as Liat in the National Tour of South Pacific, with Robert Goulet and Barbara Eden. Lia currently plays Nurse Lia on “One Life to Live”. She has appeared in Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and “New York Undercover”.

Selections of Lia’s archive of Asian Pacific Americans in the arts, fashion, journalism, politics and space are in the newly created LIA CHANG THEATER PHOTOGRAPHY PORTFOLIO in the ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN PERFORMING ARTS COLLECTION housed in the Library of Congress Asian Division’s Asian American Pacific Islander Collection.

Lia’s portraits and performance photos have appeared in Vanity Fair, Gourmet, German Elle, Women’s Wear Daily, The Paris Review, TV Guide, Daily Variety, Interior Design, American Theatre,, Life & Style, OUT, New York Magazine, InStyle,,,,,, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, USA Today, The Boston Globe, New York Times and Washington Post. A former syndicated arts and entertainment columnist for KYODO News, Lia is the New York Bureau Chief for She writes about culture, style and Asian American issues for a variety of publications and this Backstage Pass with Lia Chang blog.


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