The YOMYOMF Network premieres its YouTube adaptation of Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang’s award-winning comedy Yellow Face in two parts on June 8 (Act One) and June 9 (Act Two), starring Ryun Yu as DHH (The Language Archive, Hold These Truths, Only the Brave, The Brothers Solomon), Christopher Gorham as Marcus (Covert Affairs), Linda Park (“Star Trek: Enterprise”), Sab Shimono as HYH (original Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures), Emily Kuroda (“Gilmore Girls”), Ki Hong Lee (“The Nine Lives of Chloe King”) and popular YouTube personality Justin James Hughes.
Yellow Face is directed by Jeff Liu, a theater veteran and Literary Manager at East West Players (the nation’s oldest and most respected Asian American theater), and executive produced by film director Justin Lin (The Fast & Furious franchise) who founded the YouTube network with partners including top internet stars Ryan Higa, KevJumba and Chester See. The YOMYOMF Network now has over 500,000 subscribers making it one of the most successful of the YouTube funded channels.
Yellow Face is based on Hwang’s play, which premiered at Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum and the Public Theater in New York, and follows the misadventures of an Asian American playwright named DHH who leads the protest against the yellow face casting (the practice of casting Caucasian actors in Asian roles) in the Broadway production of Miss Saigon, only to mistakenly cast a Caucasian actor in an Asian role in his own play.
Yellow Face gave DHH his third Obie Award in Playwriting and made him a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Hwang was awarded the 2012 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award which comes with a $200,000 prize. 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). 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.
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The production will include a mix of styles that incorporates theater, film and new media into a hybrid form unlike anything previously attempted on YouTube. A work-in-progress version of the film recently won the Narrative Audience Award at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.
“New technology gives birth to new artistic forms. I couldn’t be more thrilled that the YOMYOMF Network chose Yellow Face to become, so far as I know, the first stage play adapted specifically for YouTube, “ Hwang said. “Combining elements of theatre, film, and web series, YOMYOMF’s Yellow Face brings together the oldest and most recent methods of storytelling, to create a visionary new form.”
“I was inspired by works like Lars Von Trier’s Dogville, Louis Malle’s Vanya on 42nd St. and Peter Brook’s Mahabharata,” said director Jeff Liu. “Those are examples of filmmakers who brought a unique and completely original form of theatricality to their respective films and I wanted to attempt the same thing but for YouTube. YouTube and theater share many similarities including the forced intimacy with the audience and the immediate feedback you receive. I was excited about the opportunity to explore these two worlds together and hopefully we’ve created something interesting in the process.”
Ryun Yu portrays playwright David Henry Hwang (DHH) in the screen adaption of Hwang’s award winning play Yellow Face, filmed for the You Offend Me You Offend My Family network, directed by Jeff Liu. His other film credits include ONLY THE BRAVE and THE BROTHERS SOLOMON. His numerous television credits include “BONES,” “GOOD LUCK CHARLIE,” and “NUMBERS.” The film he directed this past summer, THE LAST TOUR, is currently in post-production. He played George in the Los Angeles premiere of Julia Cho’s THE LANGUAGE ARCHIVE, David in the world premiere of AMERICAN HWANGAP in San Francisco. In other Los Angeles theater, he has played Gene in SEA CHANGE at the Gay and Lesbian Center (Maddy award, Ovation award nomination) and all of the characters in Jeanne Sakata’s critically acclaimed play, HOLD THESE TRUTHS (FORMERLY DAWN’S LIGHT: THE JOURNEY OF GORDON HIRABAYASHI) at East West Players. He has also played the leading roles in critically acclaimed runs of THE GOLDEN HOUR and ONE NATION, UNDER GOD for the Lodestone Theatre Ensemble and WHAT I HEARD ABOUT IRAQ for the Fountain Theatre. He also performed in the west coast premiere of Richard Greenburg’s Tony-award winning TAKE ME OUT at the Geffen Playhouse. He has performed internationally with renowned theater companies such as THE SEATTLE REPERTORY THEATER, THE HUNTINGTON THEATER (Boston), EAST WEST PLAYERS (LA), and THE SINGAPORE REPERTORY THEATER, and has played leading roles in plays like ANGELS IN AMERICA, HAMLET and SISTERS MATSUMOTO. Yu is the first Korean-American to train at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. He also has the first theater degree ever awarded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Yellow Face premieres on the YOMYOMF Network (http://www.youtube.com/yomyomf) on June 8 and 9 following its world premiere screening at the 2013 Theatre Communications Group (TCG) National Conference on June 7.
A part of YouTube’s original channels venture, the YOMYOMF Network (youtube.com/YOMYOMF) provides a mix of high-quality scripted and unscripted content across all genres. Inspired by the Asian American entertainment blog YouOffendMeYouOffendMyFamily, the network is home to top talent from both Hollywood and the digital world. The network was founded by Justin Lin, Ryan Higa, Kevin Wu, Chester See, Abdul Khan, Philip W. Chung, Salvador Gatdula, Cash Warren and Baron Davis.
David Henry Hwang Articles:
Signature Theatre’s Revival of David Henry Hwang’s The Dance and The Railroad Set for Wuzhen Theatre Festival in Wuzhen, China, May 9-12, 2013
Photos: David Henry Hwang’s The Dance and The Railroad Opening Night at Signature Theatre
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
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.
Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. This summer, Lia will appear as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, Lorey Hayes, Marcus Naylor and Penwah, July 30-August 1, 2013.
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