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Lia Chang Photos: David Henry Hwang’s The Dance and The Railroad Opening Night at Signature Theatre

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.

Ruy Iskandar, David Henry Hwang and Yuekun Wu. Photo by Lia Chang

Ruy Iskandar, David Henry Hwang and Yuekun Wu. Photo by Lia Chang

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.

Ruy Iskandar, David Henry Hwang and Yuekun Wu. Photo by Lia Chang

Ruy Iskandar, David Henry Hwang and Yuekun Wu. Photo by Lia Chang

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.

May Adrales and David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

May Adrales and David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

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.

Eva Hwang, David Henry Hwang and Kathryn Layng. Photo by Lia Chang

Eva Hwang, David Henry Hwang and Kathryn Layng. Photo by Lia Chang

Eva Hwang, David Henry Hwang and Kathryn Layng. Photo by Lia Chang

Eva Hwang, David Henry Hwang and Kathryn Layng. Photo by Lia Chang

Lucia Hwong-Gordon, David Henry Hwang and Kathryn Layng. Photo by Lia Chang

Lucia Hwong-Gordon, David Henry Hwang and Kathryn Layng. Photo by Lia Chang

Siblings Grace Hwang and David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

Siblings Grace Hwang and David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

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.

Edward Albee and David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

Edward Albee and David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

John Guare, David Henry Hwang and Bruce Norris. Photo by Lia Chang

John Guare, David Henry Hwang and Bruce Norris. Photo by Lia Chang

John Guare, David Henry Hwang and Bruce Norris. Photo by Lia Chang

Coleman Domingo, James A. Williams and John Earl Jelks. Photo by Lia Chang

David Henry Hwang, James A. Williams, John Earl Jelks  and Leigh Silverman. Photo by Lia Chang

David Henry Hwang, James A. Williams, John Earl Jelks and Leigh Silverman. Photo by Lia Chang

Jim Houghton and David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

Jim Houghton and David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

Lucia Hwong-Gordon, David Henry Hwang and Rachel Cooper. Photo by Lia Chang

Lucia Hwong-Gordon, David Henry Hwang and Rachel Cooper. Photo by Lia Chang

John Earl Jelks, Will Cantler and Ruy Iskandar. Photo by Lia Chang

John Earl Jelks, Will Cantler and Ruy Iskandar. Photo by Lia Chang

Will Rogers and Leigh Silverman. Photo by Lia Chang

Will Rogers and Leigh Silverman. Photo by Lia Chang

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.

David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

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).

David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

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.

Jim Houghton, Lia Chang and David Henry Hwang.

Jim Houghton, Lia Chang and David Henry Hwang.

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.

Yuekun Wu and Ruy Iskandar. Photo by Lia Chang

Yuekun Wu and Ruy Iskandar. Photo by Lia Chang

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
Click here for other articles on David Henry Hwang.

John Earl Jelks and Lia Chang. Photo by Gregory Costanzo

John Earl Jelks and Lia Chang. Photo by Gregory Costanzo

Other articles by Lia Chang:
Kenny Endo and Kaoru Watanabe Celebrate New CD, Convergence with Concerts in Washington D.C. on February 27 and in New York on March 5, 2013
AALDEF Honors Congressman John Lewis, Jose Antonio Vargas, and Simone Wu with 2013 Justice in Action Awards
Hold These Truths Opening Night at Honolulu Theatre for Youth’s Tenney Theatre with Daniel Dae Kim, Joel de la Fuente and Jeanne Sakata
Ron Domingo, Francis Jue and Jon Norman Schneider Join the Cast of the World Premiere of Paper Dolls at the Tricycle Theatre, February 28 – April 13, 2013
Kumu Kahua Theatre Presents World Premiere of Daniel Akiyama’s A Cage of Fireflies, January 24-February 24, 2013
Harlem Nights with Lorey Hayes, Actress, Director and Award-Winning Playwright of Power Play and Massinissa
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
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
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lucia Hwong-Gordon, David   Henry Hwang and Lia Chang. Photo by Vic Huey

Lucia Hwong-Gordon, David Henry Hwang and Lia Chang. Photo by Vic Huey

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 liachangpr@gmail.com

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