On Monday, February 25, 2013, Tony award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly) celebrated the opening night performance of Signature Theatre’s revival of The Dance and The Railroad starring Ruy Iskandar as Ma and Yuekun Wu as Lone, and directed by May Adrales, in The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center, 480 West 42nd Street in New York.
The Dance and The Railroad premiered as part of a commission by the New Federal Theatre in 1981, and had its professional debut on July 16, 1981 Off-Broadway at the Joseph Papp Public Theater. It was directed by John Lone, with Lone and Tzi Ma in the cast. The Dance and The Railroad is set on a California mountaintop in 1867 near the Transcontinental Railroad where two Chinese workers struggle through poverty and hunger to reconnect with the traditions of their homeland. The play was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was nominated for a 1982 Drama Desk Award. The Dance and The Railroad follows the twice-extended Golden Child as the second production in the Residency One: David Henry Hwang Series.
The design team includes Mimi Lien (Scenic Design), Jennifer Moeller (Costume Design), Jiyoun Chang (Lighting Design), Broken Chord Collective (Sound Design), Huang Ruo (Music), Qian Yi (Chinese Opera Consultant), Leah Loukas (Wig Design) and Grace Zandarski (Vocal Coach). Casting by TELSEY + COMPANY, William Cantler CSA. Cole P. Bonenberger is Production Stage Manager.
Hwang was joined by his wife Kathryn Layng, his daughter Eva Hwang, his sister Grace Hwang, and composer Lucia Hwong-Gordon, who created the score for the 1981 production of The Dance and The Railroad.
Among the guests to congratulate Hwang at the opening night party were playwrights Edward Albee, John Guare, Bruce Norris; actors Coleman Domingo, John Earl Jelks, James A. Williams and Will Rogers; director Leigh Silverman; casting director Will Cantler; Rachel Cooper, Director Global Performing Arts Cultural Initiatives; and Signature Theatre’s founding artistic director Jim Houghton.
Signature Theatre’s revival of The Dance and The Railroad, originally scheduled to run through through March 17, 2013, has been extended until March 24, 2013. All tickets for the initial run of the production are $25 as part of the Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access. Purchase Tickets All tickets for the extension are $50.
Chinese American playwright David Henry Hwang has been described by the New York Times as “a true original” and by TIME magazine as “the first important dramatist of American public life since Arthur Miller.” Hwang’s plays include Bondage, Chinglish (2012 Drama Desk Award nomination), 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).
According to Opera News, Hwang is America’s most-produced living opera librettist. He 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. His current projects include writing The Forgotten Arm with singer/songwriter Aimee Mann and Paul Bryant, based on her album, for the Public Theatre, Bob’s Gang for Dreamworks Animation, as well as the movie adaptation of Chinglish, to be directed by Justin Lin (Fast and Furious). 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. In 2012, Hwang received the William Inge Award for Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre, the Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award, as well as the Steinberg Award for playwriting, the largest monetary prize in the American theater.
Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. She is a Signature Theatre alumni who was in the cast of Sam Shepard’s Chicago, during his Signature 1996-1997 Playwright-in-Residence Season.
David Henry Hwang Articles:
Signature Theatre extends David Henry Hwang’s The Dance and The Railroad starring Ruy Iskandar and Yuekun Wu through March 24, 2013
Ruy Iskandar and Yuekun Wu Set for Signature Theatre’s Production of David Henry Hwang’s The Dance and The Railroad, February 5 – March 17, 2013
Michelle Krusiec and Alex Moggridge Star in David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish at South Coast Repertory, January 25 – February 24, 2013
Photos: Partying with the Cast of David Henry Hwang’s Golden Child; Extended Run Ends December 16, 2012
Signature Theatre’s Production of Golden Child by David Henry Hwang has been extended through December 16, 2012
Greg Watanabe, Julyana Soelistyo and Jennifer Lim Lead the Cast of Signature Theatre’s Production of David Henry Hwang’s Golden Child, October 23-December 2, 2012
David Henry Hwang to Receive the 2012 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award at the 5th Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards on October 29, 2012
Berkeley Rep’s Production Photos of David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish, Starring Michelle Krusiec and Alex Moggridge, Extends through October 21, 2012
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
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Signature Theatre’s World Premiere of Sam Shepard’s Heartless Starring Lois Smith, Gary Cole, Jenny Bacon, Betty Gilpin, and Julianne Nicholson Extends through September 30, 2012
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
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