Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Berkeley Rep Takes First Show to Asia- David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish starring Michelle Krusiec and Alex Moggridge, set for Hong Kong Arts Festival, March 1-6, 2013

Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s upcoming production of David Henry Hwang’s critically-acclaimed Chinglish, directed by Leigh Silverman, is headed for Hong Kong. While the Tony Award-winning nonprofit has a long history of presenting work by Asian and Asian-American artists, this will be the first time that one of its shows is seen on the other side of the Pacific. After presenting the West Coast premiere of Chinglish this August in Berkeley, and reprising it in Costa Mesa in January, Berkeley Rep and South Coast Repertory bring their co-production of David Henry Hwang’s bilingual comedy to the Hong Kong Arts Festival in 2013. It plays from March 1 through March 6 in the 1,200-seat Lyric Theatre at the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts. Click here for tickets.

David Henry Hwang Photo by Lia Chang

David Henry Hwang Photo by Lia Chang

Chinglish is an East-West comedy for today, and Hong Kong is the East-West city of today,” Hwang remarks. “So it feels completely right that my play will enjoy its Asian premiere at the Hong Kong Arts Festival, in Leigh Silverman’s stunning Broadway production with several members of the original company. It has been my dream for this show, the first bilingual English-Chinese play in Broadway history, to be seen in Greater China, and I have long wanted to bring a show to the HKAF, one of the world’s major festivals. So I am deeply grateful to all who have made possible this co-production with Berkeley Repertory Theatre and South Coast Repertory, sending an international play on a truly international tour.”

Chinglish received its Broadway premiere in Fall 2011, was named “Best American Play of 2011” by TIME magazine, and as one of the Top 10 Broadway shows of the year by Bloomberg Radio, NY1 and WNYC.

“Although Berkeley Rep has collaborated with numerous Asian and Asian-American artists over the years, this is the first time that one of our productions will travel to Asia,” says Tony Taccone, artistic director of Berkeley Rep. “Naturally we are quite thrilled. Chinglish is the perfect calling card, as David’s smart comedy zeroes in on the perils of cross-cultural miscommunication in our global age. Along with our partners at South Coast Rep and a terrific team of artists, we are proud to be a part of the 2013 Hong Kong Arts Festival.”

“If the arts offer a mirror in which we see ourselves reflected, then the 41st Hong Kong Arts Festival offers many mirrors reflecting many perspectives – and David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish offers possibly the most acute confrontation of perspectives,” adds Tisa Ho, the festival’s executive director. “Two people, two cultures, and two completely different sets of social conditions come face to face. We get to watch how they see each other, or fail to do so, and perhaps wonder about the acuity of our own perceptions. The Hong Kong Arts Festival is delighted to welcome this production from Berkeley Rep and South Coast Repertory to Hong Kong, a city in which east and west have met and mingled for over a century.”

Launched in 1973, the Hong Kong Arts Festival is the region’s premier cultural event. Featuring local and international artists in an eclectic array of music, theatre, dance, and popular entertainment, the Festival takes place in more than a dozen venues in February and March. It presents performances at the highest standards to enrich cultural life in Hong Kong, serving an annual audience of over 150,000. It presents a diverse range of artistic fare, from classical music to modern dance, showcasing the best of Asian and local talents alongside top artists from around the world.

David Henry Hwang won three Obies and the Tony Award for Best Play with popular scripts like M. Butterfly and FOB. Now he’s back with a canny comedy of cross-cultural errors. In Chinglish, an American businessman heads to Asia to score a lucrative contract for his family’s firm – but the deal isn’t the only thing getting lost in translation as he collides with a Communist minister, a bumbling consultant, and a suspiciously sexy bureaucrat. Two-time Obie-winner Leigh Silverman returns to stage the twists in a terrific play she took to Broadway. Love is on the line, and laughter fills the ledger in Chinglish.

The original Broadway creative team continues to collaborate on this production: David Korins (scenic design), Anita Yavich (costume design), Brian MacDevitt (lighting design), Darron L West (sound design), and Jeff Sugg and Shawn Duan (projection design). The assistant director is Oanh Nguyen. The entire ensemble from Berkeley Rep is expected to travel to Hong Kong as well: Vivian Chiu, Celeste Den, Michelle Krusiec, Austin Ku, Alex Moggridge, Brian Nishii, and Larry Lei Zhang.

David Henry Hwang’s plays include Bondage, The Dance and the Railroad (1982 Drama Desk Award nomination), Family Devotions (1982 Drama Desk Award nomination), FOB (1981 Obie Award), Golden Child (1997 Obie Award, 1998 Tony Award nomination), M. Butterfly (1988 Tony Award, 1989 Pulitzer Prize finalist), and Yellow Face (2008 Obie Award, 2008 Pulitzer Prize finalist). He also wrote the libretti for three Broadway musicals: Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida (co-author), Disney’s Tarzan, and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Flower Drum Song (revival, 2002 Tony Award nomination). In opera, his libretti include four works with composer Philip Glass – 1000 Airplanes on the Roof, Icarus at the Edge of Time, Sound and Beauty, and The Voyage – as well as Howard Shore’s The Fly, Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar (two 2007 Grammy Awards), and Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland (Opernwelt 2007 World Premiere of the Year). Hwang penned the feature films Golden Gate, M. Butterfly, and Possession (co-author), and co-wrote the song “Solo” with Prince. He sits on the Council of the Dramatists Guild, and served on the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities by appointment of President Clinton. Hwang is Signature Theatre’s Residency One Playwright for the 2012-2013 Season. David Henry Hwang Set as Signature Theatre’s Residency One Playwright for the 2012-2013 Season

Chinglish director Leigh Silverman © Lia Chang

Chinglish director Leigh Silverman © Lia Chang

Leigh Silverman directed the world-premiere production of Lisa Kron’s In the Wake at Berkeley Rep in a co-production with Center Theatre Group. The play went on to The Public Theater, where she received an Obie Award and Lucille Lortel nomination for outstanding direction. Chinglish marks the second time she has premiered a play by David Henry Hwang, having previously directed Yellow Face at CTG and The Public. Silverman also directed the world premieres of Beebo Brinker Chronicles at Hourglass Group/37 Arts, Blue Door at Playwrights Horizons and Seattle Repertory Theatre, Coraline at MCC/True Love, Creature at New Georges/P73, From Up Here at Manhattan Theatre Club (Drama Desk nomination), Go Back To Where You Are at Playwrights Horizons (Obie Award), Hunting and Gathering at Primary Stages, Jump/Cut at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company/Theater J and Women’s Project, Oedipus at Palm Springs at New York Theatre Workshop, The Retributionists at Playwrights Horizons, and Well at The Public, the Huntington Theatre Company, and American Conservatory Theater. She also staged Wit in the West End and Danny and the Deep Blue Sea at Second Stage Theatre.

Chinglish starts previews in Berkeley Rep’s Roda Theatre on August 24, opens August 29, and runs through October 7, 2012. It plays on South Coast Rep’s Segerstrom Stage from January 25 through February 24, 2013, and then appears at the Hong Kong Arts Festival from March 1 through March 6, 2013. For more information, visit or

Berkeley Repertory Theatre has grown from a storefront stage to an international leader in innovative theatre. Known for its core values of imagination and excellence, as well as its educated and adventurous audience, the nonprofit has provided a welcoming home for emerging and established artists since 1968. In four decades, four million people have enjoyed more than 300 shows at Berkeley Rep. These shows have gone on to win five Tony Awards, seven Obie Awards, nine Drama Desk Awards, one Grammy Award, and many other honors. In recognition of its place on the national stage, Berkeley Rep received the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre in 1997. Its bustling facilities – the 600-seat Roda Theatre, the 400-seat Thrust Stage, the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre, the Osher Studio, and a spacious new campus in West Berkeley – are helping revitalize a renowned city.

Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, founded in 1964 by David Emmes and Martin Benson and now under the leadership of Artistic Director Marc Masterson and Managing Director Paula Tomei, is widely recognized as one of the leading professional theatres in the United States. SCR is committed to theatre that illuminates the compelling personal and social issues of our time, on its stages and through its education and outreach programs. Its productions are marked by a balance of classic and modern theatre and SCR is renowned for its extensive new-play development program, which includes the nation’s largest commissioning program for emerging and established writers and composers. Each year, it showcases some of the country’s best new plays in the Pacific Playwrights Festival. One-quarter of its more than 460 productions have been world premieres, whose subsequent stagings achieved enormous success around the world. Two SCR-developed works have won Pulitzer Prizes, and another eight were named Pulitzer finalists. In addition, SCR works have won several Obie Awards and scores of major new-play awards. More information is available at

David Henry Hwang Articles:
West Coast Premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish at Berkeley Rep stars Michelle Krusiec and Alex Moggridge, August 24-October 7, 2012
New York Foundation for the Arts presents ‘An Evening with David Henry Hwang’ at Barnes & Noble on July 26, 2012
Performing Arts Images from the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection on Display at the Library of Congress to Celebrate APA Heritage Month
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
WNYC’s The Greene Space presents “An Evening with David Henry Hwang” featuring Oskar Eustis, Brian d’Arcy James, BD Wong, Jennifer Lim, Francis Jue
Filmmaker Justin Lin Acquires Film Rights to David Henry Hwang’s Critically Acclaimed Broadway Comedy Chinglish
David Henry Hwang Set as Signature Theatre’s Residency One Playwright for the 2012-2013 Season
The SFIAAFF30 Kicks Off with World Premiere of White Frog Featuring Booboo Stewart, Harry Shum, Jr., Joan Chen, Kelly Hu and BD Wong, at the Castro Theater on March 8
David Henry Hwang to Receive 2012 William Inge Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre Award
Photos & Video: Celebrate Chinese New Year with David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish Photo Flash: Library of Congress’ IN REHEARSAL Exhibit
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
The Making of the Flower Drum Song Cast Album
Flower Drum Song, An American Story
The Literary Legacy of C.Y. Lee
Click here for more articles on David Henry Hwang.

Other Articles by Lia Chang
$UPERCAPITALIST starring Derek Ting, Linus Roache, Kenneth Tsang, Richard Ng and Kathy Uyen is the AAIFF’12 Centerpiece Presentation on July 28, 2012; opens in U.S.Theaters in August
35th Asian American International Film Festival Line-up in New York
Daniel Hsia’s Shanghai Calling, Simon Yin’s Supercapitalist & Michael Kang’s Knots to Screen at 35th annual Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF) in New York, which runs July 25 – August 5, 2012
NYMF: Prison Dancer starring Jose Llana, Jeigh Madjus, Marc delaCruz, Catherine Ricafort, Moses Villarama, Cosmo Clemens, Enrico Rodriguez, Albert Guerzon, Andrew Eisenman and Nathan Ramos at Theatre at St. Clement’s, July 20-28, 2012
Three Year Swim Club, Encounter, TEA, Christmas in Hanoi and Chess set for East West Players 47th Anniversary Season
Photos: All-Access Pass to Disney’s Aladdin at The Muny with Thom Sesma, Francis Jue, Robin De Jesus, John Tartaglia, Jason Graae, Curtis Holbrook, Eddie Korbich, Samantha Massell and Ken Page
Rick Shiomi helms Mu Performing Arts’ Asian American Cast of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods at Park Square Theatre in St. Paul, July 17-August 5, 2012
Dian Kobayashi, Emily Kuroda and Jeanne Sakata set for Daniel Akiyama’s A Cage of Fireflies at 2012 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab
Epic Theatre Presents Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths, starring Joel de la Fuente, May 20-21, 2012
Performing Arts Images from the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection on Display at the Library of Congress to Celebrate APA Heritage Month
Photos: Yellow Fever Playwright Rick Shiomi Explores New Territory with An All-Female Cast
Tony Award – winning Playwright Terrence McNally to be Honored at Westport Country Playhouse Annual Gala, September 24, 2012
Richard Thomas and Boyd Gaines to star in An Enemy of the People at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre during Manhattan Theatre Club’s 2012-2013 Season
Multimedia: Exclusive photos and video of Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas -In the Makeup Chair with Thom Sesma
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: Highlights of Shinsai: Theaters for Japan (3pm) with Andre Bishop, Mary Beth Hurt, Jennifer Lim, Angela Lin, Philip Kan Gotanda, Thom Sesma, Sab Shimono, Richard Thomas, Jay O. Sanders, and more
Photos: Highlights of Shinsai: Theaters for Japan (8pm) with Oskar Eustis, Patti LuPone, Lisa Emery, Ann Harada, Paolo Montalban, Thom Sesma, Sab Shimono, Henry Stram, Richard Thomas, John Weidman and more
Photos: In Rehearsal with Director Bartlett Sher and the cast of Shinsai: Theaters for Japan
Photos: In Rehearsal with BD Wong at Dixon Place for Live Concert Recording of Herringbone
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, 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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