Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang Photos: David Henry Hwang, John C. Whitehead, Mayor Michael Bloomberg at Asia Society Awards Dinner in New York

The Asia Society held its 2011 Asia Society Awards Dinner in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York on Wednesday, January 11, 2012.

Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang, Diana Taylor and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. (Lia Chang)

Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang, Diana Taylor and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. (Lia Chang)

Kathryn Layng and her husband Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang. (Lia Chang)

Kathryn Layng and her husband Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang. (Lia Chang)

Comedian and actor, Dan Nainan emceed the festivities, which included a special performance by members of the Silk Road Ensemble.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Ray Kelly, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department, were among the 400 who came out to honor and to celebrate the 90th birthday of former Deputy Secretary of State John C. Whitehead, who was presented with an Asia Society Award.

Tony Award-winning and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist playwright and librettist David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly), whose hilarious and sexy new comedy CHINGLISH is currently on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre (220 West 48th Street) in New York was presented with the 2011 Cultural Achievement Award.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the leading pro-democracy opposition leader in Myanmar, received the 2011 Asia Society Global Vision Award, and a videotape of her acceptance speech was played during the dinner.

Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang, journalist Kati Marton, widow of former Asia Society Chairman Richard Holbrooke, and Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John C. Whitehead. (Lia Chang)

Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang, journalist Kati Marton, widow of former Asia Society Chairman Richard Holbrooke, and Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John C. Whitehead. (Lia Chang)

Seated, from left: Cynthia Whitehead, Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John C. Whitehead. Standing, from left: Asia Society President Vishakha Desai, Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang and Former Asia Society President Bob Oxnam. (Lia Chang)

Seated, from left: Cynthia Whitehead, Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John C. Whitehead. Standing, from left: Asia Society President Vishakha Desai, Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang and Former Asia Society President Bob Oxnam. (Lia Chang)

Asia Society President Vishakha Desai and Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang. (Lia Chang)

Asia Society President Vishakha Desai and Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang. (Lia Chang)

Seated, from left: Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John C. Whitehead and Ray Kelly, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department. Standing, from left: Cynthia Whitehead, David Earls, Samantha Earls, Asia Society Co-Chair Ronnie Chan, Asia Society President Vishakha Desai and Asia Society Co-Chair Henrietta Fore. (Lia Chang)

Seated, from left: Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John C. Whitehead and Ray Kelly, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department. Standing, from left: Cynthia Whitehead, David Earls, Samantha Earls, Asia Society Co-Chair Ronnie Chan, Asia Society President Vishakha Desai and Asia Society Co-Chair Henrietta Fore. (Lia Chang)


Asia Society Trustee Lulu Wang, founder of Tupelo Capital Management, presented the 2011 Cultural Achievement Award to Chinglish playwright and librettist David Henry Hwang.
Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang and Asia Society Trustee Lulu Wang, founder of Tupelo Capital Management. (Lia Chang)

Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang and Asia Society Trustee Lulu Wang, founder of Tupelo Capital Management. (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), Bondage.
Video excerpts from David Henry Hwang's Chinglish. (Lia Chang)

Video excerpts from David Henry Hwang's Chinglish. (Lia Chang)

His latest Broadway offering Chinglish, was recently named by TIME Magazine, Bloomberg Radio, NY1 and WNYC as one of the Top 10 Broadway shows of the year. 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’sThe Fly. Hwang penned the feature films M. Butterfly, Golden Gate and Possession (co-author), and co-wrote the song “Solo” with Prince. Hwang 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. More information about Chinglish
Click here to view his speech.
Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang (center) is flanked by (L-R) his wife Kathryn Layng, Joanna C. Lee, Rachel Cooper, Director of Cultural Programs and Performing Arts, Ken Smith, and Yoshie Ito, Assistant Director, Business Programs, Asia Society. (Lia Chang)

Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang (center) is flanked by (L-R) his wife Kathryn Layng, Joanna C. Lee, Rachel Cooper, Director of Cultural Programs and Performing Arts, Ken Smith and Yoshie Ito, Assistant Director, Business Programs, Asia Society. (Lia Chang)

Hwang was joined by his wife actress Kathryn Layng; and his Chinglish crew: Museworks. Ltd.’s Joanna C. Lee and Ken Smith, his cultural advisors; his director Leigh Silverman, and his costume designer Anita Yavich.
Chinglish director Leigh Silverman, Kathryn Layng, Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang, Chinglish costume designer Anita Yavich. (Lia Chang)

Chinglish director Leigh Silverman, Kathryn Layng, Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang, Chinglish costume designer Anita Yavich. (Lia Chang)

Kathryn Layng with her husband Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang, Asia Society Trustee Harold Newman and Yoshie Ito. (Lia Chang)

Kathryn Layng with her husband Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang, Asia Society Trustee Harold Newman and Yoshie Ito, Assistant Director, Business Programs, Asia Society. (Lia Chang)

Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang (L) and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. (Lia Chang)

Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang (L) and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. (Lia Chang)


Kathryn Layng with her husband Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang, Lisina M. Hoch, Asia Society Honorary Life Trustee and Steven Hoch, Co-Founder of Highmount Capital. (Lia Chang)

Kathryn Layng with her husband Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang, Lisina M. Hoch, Asia Society Honorary Life Trustee and Steven Hoch, Co-Founder of Highmount Capital. (Lia Chang)

Kate Levin, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Asia Society Trustee Lulu Wang, founder of Tupelo Capital Management, Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang and Former Asia Society President Bob Oxnam. (Lia Chang)

Kate Levin, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Asia Society Trustee Lulu Wang, founder of Tupelo Capital Management, Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang and Former Asia Society President Bob Oxnam. (Lia Chang)


Asia Society Co-Chair Ronnie Chan and Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang. (Lia Chang)

Asia Society Co-Chair Ronnie Chan and Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang. (Lia Chang)

Chinese Opera star Qian Yi, Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang and Hafez Nazeri, Iranian composer. (Lia Chang)

Chinese Opera star Qian Yi, Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang and Hafez Nazeri, Iranian composer. (Lia Chang)

Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang (L) and Nicholas Platt, former president of the Asia Society. (Lia Chang)

Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang (L) and Nicholas Platt, former president of the Asia Society. (Lia Chang)

Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang, Ralph Samuelson, and Andrea Samuelson. (Lia Chang)

Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang, Ralph Samuelson, and Andrea Samuelson. (Lia Chang)

Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang and Ida Liu. (Lia Chang)

Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award winner David Henry Hwang and Ida Liu. (Lia Chang)


Asia Society Trustee J. Michael Evans, Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs, presented the 2011 Global Vision Award to former Deputy Secretary of State John C. Whitehead.
Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John C. Whitehead and Asia Society Trustee J. Michael Evans, Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs. (Lia Chang)

Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John C. Whitehead and Asia Society Trustee J. Michael Evans, Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs. (Lia Chang)

Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John C. Whitehead celebrates his 90th birthday this year. (Lia Chang)

Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John C. Whitehead celebrates his 90th birthday this year. (Lia Chang)


Born in Evanston, Illinois, John C. Whitehead graduated from Haverford College in 1943 and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After receiving his M.B.A. degree from Harvard in 1947 he began at Goldman, Sachs & Co., where he became Partner in 1956 and Senior Partner in 1976. In 1985 President Reagan appointed Mr. Whitehead Deputy Secretary of State, a position he held from July 1985 until January 1989. Click here to view his speech.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John C. Whitehead. (Lia Chang)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John C. Whitehead. (Lia Chang)


He is the former Chairman of such diverse organizations as the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Harvard Board of Overseers, the International Rescue Committee, the United Nations Association, Haverford College, Asia Society and the Hungarian-American Enterprise Fund. He is Chairman of the Boy Scouts of America/GNY.
Cynthia Whitehead, Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John C. Whitehead and Harold Newman. (Lia Chang)

Cynthia Whitehead, Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John C. Whitehead and Harold Newman. (Lia Chang)


In late 2001 Mr. Whitehead was appointed as Chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp, the organization responsible for the rebuilding and revitalization of Lower Manhattan, and served in that position until May 2006. He is also the Founding Chairman of the National September 11th Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center.
Paul B. Kazarian, Chairman & CEO of Japonica Partners, John C. Whitehead and Asia Society Chairman Emeritus Maurice R. Greenberg. Asia Society Co-Chair Ronnie Chan. (Lia Chang)

Paul B. Kazarian, Chairman & CEO of Japonica Partners, John C. Whitehead and Asia Society Chairman Emeritus Maurice R. Greenberg. Asia Society Co-Chair Ronnie Chan. (Lia Chang)


Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
Global Vision Award

Burmese democracy icon Aung Sang Suu Kyi accepts her Asia Society Global Vision Award. (Lia Chang)

Burmese democracy icon Aung Sang Suu Kyi accepts her Asia Society Global Vision Award. (Lia Chang)


Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is the leading pro-democracy opposition leader in Myanmar and the daughter of Aung San, a martyred national hero, and Khin Kyi, a late Burmese diplomat. She has spent most of the past two decades under detention after her party, the National League for Democracy, won a victory in the 1990 elections but was denied power by the ruling military junta. In the midst of her struggle, she has endured the loss of her husband, Michael Aris, and continued separation from her two sons. She was eventually released from house arrest on November 13, 2010 following the election of a new government, and a year later announced she would rejoin the political system.
Silk Road Ensemble members Sandeep Das (L) and Shane Shanahan. (Lia Chang)

Silk Road Ensemble members Sandeep Das (L) and Shane Shanahan. (Lia Chang)


Aung San Suu Kyi’s reemergence into politics has ushered in a new state of dialogue between Myanmar and the international community, highlighted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit in early December 2011, the first visit from a foreign secretary to the country in over 50 years. She formally registered her National League for Democracy as a political party in December 2011. The government of Myanmar approved the National League for Democracy’s registration on January 5, 2012, and the party is ready to begin campaigning for the by-elections to be held on April 1 of this year.
Silk Road Ensemble members Sandeep Das (L) and Shane Shanahan. (Lia Chang)

Silk Road Ensemble members Sandeep Das (L) and Shane Shanahan. (Lia Chang)


In 1991, Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Price for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights.
Click here to view her videotaped message.
Click here for highlights of the dinner.
Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. (Lia Chang)

Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. (Lia Chang)


Asia Society is the leading educational organization dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among peoples, leaders and institutions of Asia and the United States in a global context. Across the fields of arts, business, culture, education and policy, the Society provides insight , generates ideas, and promotes collaboration to address present challenges and create a shared future.

Founded in 1956, Asia Society is a nonpartisan, nonprofit education institution headquartered in New York with offices in Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Mumbai, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, and Washington D.C.

Related Articles:
Asia Society Honors Chinglish Playwright David Henry Hwang and Former Deputy Secretary of State John C. Whitehead at the Waldorf Astoria on January 11, 2012
CHINGLISH Celebrates 100th Performance on 1/5/12 – Meet David Henry Hwang & the Cast After Post-Show Talkback
Photos: Maya Lin, BD Wong, David Henry Hwang, Yeohlee, Oscar L. Tang and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at MOCA Legacy Awards Gala
Click here for more articles on David Henry Hwang.
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

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Lia Chang and David Henry Hwang.  (Rachel Cooper)

Lia Chang and David Henry Hwang. (Rachel Cooper)


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

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All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2011 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com.

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This entry was posted on January 13, 2012 by in Art, Asian American Artists, Asian American Issues, Asian American Pioneers, Awards, Business, China, Chinese American History, Culture, Entertainment, Museum, New York, Performance Photography, Theater and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .
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