Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

BD Wong Creates Kickstarter Campaign for his Live Concert Recording of HERRINGBONE, to be performed May 21-22 as a Benefit for Dixon Place

For 30 years, BD Wong has been obsessed with the one-man musical Herringbone, which features a book by Tom Cone, music by Skip Kennon and lyrics by Ellen Fitzhugh, and was first produced in New York at Playwright’s Horizons in a memorable 1982 production starring David Rounds.

BD Wong (photo by Lia Chang)

BD Wong (photo by Lia Chang)

Wong has headlined four critically-acclaimed productions of the ambitious musical – in which he enacts, sings and dances at least 11 characters – at the Williamstown Theatre Festival (2007), McCarter Theatre (2008), and La Jolla Playhouse (2010), all directed by Tony Award-winner Roger Rees (Nicholas Nickleby, Peter And The Starcatcher). Wong also starred in another earlier production at the American Musical Theatre Festival in 1994.

Dixon Place is presenting BD Wong’s tour-de-force performance in this difficult-to-perform musical, which is rarely revived.

BD Wong in Herringbone. Photo by Lia Chang

BD Wong in Herringbone. Photo by Lia Chang

Wong, best known for his Tony Award winning performance in M. Butterfly and his role in the long running hit series “Law & Order: SVU,” will appear in Herringbone to benefit Dixon Place for two performances only: Monday May 21, and Tuesday May 22, at 7:00pm. The production, which will be recorded live for a future CD release, will be Wong’s first appearance in New York of the material, timed with the 30th anniversary of the original New York production. Dixon Place is at 161A Chrystie St. (between Rivington and Delancey). Tickets and more information are available at and at 212 219-0736.

Wong has also created a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the live recording of the CD. His goal for funding is $35.000, and to date he has received over $11,000 in pledges. This project will only be funded if at least $35,000 is pledged by Tuesday, May 22, 7:00 pm EDT. Click below to see BD Wong’s very personal message.
I documented Wong’s astonishing performance in 2008 at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ. Do consider donating to this historical project, you’ll be glad you did.

BD Wong stars in Herringbone at Dixon Place in New York on May 21 and May 22. Photo by Lia Chang

Herringbone is written as a traditional two-act musical with a score of more than 14 songs and 11 characters. The conceit of a single performer enacting all of the characters underlines its theme of the human struggle to negotiate the light and dark sides within.

In the musical, set in Alabama during the Great Depression, 8-year-old George Nookin is possessed by the vengeful spirit of Lou, a jaded hoofer who was murdered by Lou’s partner in a Vaudeville act, Chicken Mosely. George’s parents, Arthur and Louise, are torn asunder by George’s astonishing new ability to sing and dance, shlepping across the country as Lou seduces them into believing that exploiting George’s newfound talent is the family’s ticket on the train out of hard times. Wong plays George, Lou, Mosely, Arthur, Louise, as well as George’s Grandmother, a floozie hotel clerk, and a host of other supporting characters.

Reprising their work on this project from the Williamstown Theatre Festival, McCarter Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse productions are Darren Lee (choreography), Dan Lipton (music direction), Scott Lehrer and Leon Rothenberg (sound design), and William Ivey Long (costumes).

BD Wong stars in Herringbone at Dixon Place in New York on May 21 and May 22. Photo by Lia Chang

BD Wong won the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Clarence Derwent, Theater World and Tony Awards for his performance in M. BUTTERFLY. He has appeared in more than 20 films and on television in six seasons of HBO’s “OZ,” eleven seasons of “LAW & ORDER: SVU,” and the inaugural season of the critically-acclaimed NBC drama “AWAKE” (currently airing).

Dixon Place is a non-profit organization founded in 1986 to provide a space for literary and performing artists to create and develop new works in front of a live audience. While other venues of its kind have since died off, or now only present established artists, Dixon Place remains at the heart of the New York experimental performance scene. Taking risks is crucial to the life of Dixon Place, its artists and audiences. Dixon Place’s primary commitments are to bring artists and audiences together through live performance in
order to expand the understanding of the creative process and its final product, and to provide a supportive environment for emerging artists to present new work. Over the last twenty-five years, Dixon Place has successfully maintained its intimate atmosphere and unique environment while increasing its programming to fulfill the need for performance opportunities for the New York community of performing and literary artists.

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Performing Arts Images from the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection on Display at the Library of Congress to Celebrate APA Heritage Month
BD Wong to Star in Live Concert Recording of HERRINGBONE for Two Nights Only as a Benefit for Dixon Place, May 21-22
Photos: David Henry Hwang, Oskar Eustis, BD Wong, Brian d’Arcy James, Francis Jue, Jennifer Lim and Leigh Silverman at WNYC’s The Greene Space

Photos: BD Wong, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Brandon Victor Dixon, Tom Viola at “Passing It On: An Evening of Mentorship to Benefit Rosie’s Theater Kids”
Photos: BD Wong in Rehearsal for “Passing It On: An Evening of Mentorship to Benefit Rosie’s Theater Kids”
Tony award-winning actor BD Wong stars in NBC’s Awake; video preview and interview
Herringbone is BD Wong’s Tour de Force
Click here for more BD Wong articles.

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2012 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

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