Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang Photos: Celebrating the Year of the Horse with David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu at Signature Theatre, Previews begin February 4, 2014

On Chinese New Year, I met up with playwright David Henry Hwang at The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York, where day 4 of tech rehearsal of the world premiere of his new play Kung Fu was in full swing on The Irene Diamond Stage.

Kung Fu playwright David Henry Hwang in front of the Kung Fu display at The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on January 31, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Kung Fu playwright David Henry Hwang in front of the Kung Fu display at The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on January 31, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

The Kung Fu creative team in tech in The Lucy Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on January 31, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

The Kung Fu creative team in tech at The Pershing Square Signature Center/Irene Diamond Stage in New York on January 31, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Kung Fu playwright David Henry Hwang in The Lucy Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on January 31, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Kung Fu playwright David Henry Hwang at The Pershing Square Signature Center/Irene Diamond Stage in New York on January 31, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

During a ten minute break, David and I popped in on his cultural consultants for Kung Fu – Joanna C. Lee and her husband Ken Smith -who were busy making dumplings  in the Signature Theatre Company’s kitchen for the cast, crew and Signature staff to have during their dinner break to usher in the Year of the Horse.

David Henry Hwang visits his cultural consultants, husband and wife team, Ken Smith and Joanna C. Lee in the Signature Theatre kitchen, where they were making dumplings to celebrate the Year of the Horse.  Photo by Lia Chang

David Henry Hwang visits his cultural consultants, husband and wife team Ken Smith and Joanna C. Lee, in the Signature Theatre kitchen where they were making dumplings to celebrate the Year of the Horse. Photo by Lia Chang

Good luck dumplings to celebrate the Year of the Horse. Photo by Lia Chang

Good luck dumplings to celebrate the Year of the Horse. Photo by Lia Chang

Good luck dumplings to celebrate the Year of the Horse. Photo by Lia Chang

Good luck dumplings to celebrate the Year of the Horse. Photo by Lia Chang

On the way back to the tech rehearsal, David caught up with director Liesl Tommy, Appropriate playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and dramaturg Christie Evangelisto.

Appropriate director Liesl Tommy, Kung Fu playwright David Henry Hwang, Appropriate playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, and dramaturg Christie Evangelisto. Photo by Lia Chang

Appropriate director Liesl Tommy, Kung Fu playwright David Henry Hwang, Appropriate playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, and dramaturg Christie Evangelisto. Photo by Lia Chang

Kung Fu playwright David Henry Hwang and Appropriate playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Photo by Lia Chang

Kung Fu playwright David Henry Hwang and Appropriate playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Photo by Lia Chang

Phoebe Strole and Cole Horibe as Linda and Bruce Lee in David Henry Hwang's Kung Fu. Photo by Lia Chang

Phoebe Strole and Cole Horibe as Linda and Bruce Lee in David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu. Photo by Lia Chang

The world premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu, directed by Leigh Silverman and featuring choreography by Sonya Tayeh, stars Cole Horibe (“So You Think You Can Dance”) as Bruce Lee, Phoebe Strole (Spring Awakening, “Glee”) as Lee’s wife Linda, and features Jon Rua (Hands on a Hard Body, In the Heights), Francis Jue (M. Butterfly, Thoroughly Modern Millie), Emmanuel Brown, Clifton Duncan, Bradley Fong, Peter Kim, Ari Loeb, Reed Luplau, Kristen Faith Oei and Christopher Vo.

The production begins previews on February 4, and has been extended through March 30, 2014, in The Irene Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues). Opening night is February 24, 2014. Click here to purchase tickets.

An  exhilarating portrait of international icon Bruce Lee’s journey from troubled Hong Kong youth to martial arts legend, Kung Fu blends dance, Chinese opera, martial arts and drama into a bold new theatrical form. This World Premiere production follows Lee in America as he struggles to prove himself as a fighter, a husband, a father, and a man.

Jon Rua, Cole Horibe and Clifton Duncan in David Henry Hwang's Kung Fu. Photo by Lia Chang

Jon Rua, Cole Horibe and Clifton Duncan in David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu. Photo by Lia Chang

The creative team also includes Dou Dou Huang (Specialty Choreography), David Zinn (Scenic Design), Anita Yavich (Costume Design), Ben Stanton (Lighting Design), Darron L West (Sound Design), Darrel Maloney (Projection Design), Du Yun (Composer), Deborah Hecht (Vocal and Dialect Coach), and Joanna C. Lee and Ken Smith (Cultural Consultants). Alan Muraoka is the Assistant Dirctor and David H. Lurie is the Production Stage Manager. Casting by Telsey + Company.

Kung Fu director Leigh Silverman and Cole Horibe. Photo by Lia Chang

Kung Fu director Leigh Silverman and Cole Horibe. Photo by Lia Chang

Kung Fu choreographer Sonya Tayeh, playwright David Henry Hwang and Leigh Silverman. Photo by Lia Chang

Kung Fu choreographer Sonya Tayeh, playwright David Henry Hwang and Leigh Silverman. Photo by Lia Chang

Kung Fu director playwright, director Leigh Silverman and assistant director Alan Muraoka. Photo by Lia Chang

Kung Fu director playwright, director Leigh Silverman and assistant director Alan Muraoka. Photo by Lia Chang

Kung Fu composer Du Yun  and playwright David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

Kung Fu composer Du Yun and playwright David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

Tickets to the initial runs of all Signature Productions at The Pershing Square Signature Center are $25, part of the groundbreaking Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access, a program that guarantees affordable and accessible tickets to every Signature production through 2031. Serving as a model for theatres and performing arts organizations across the country, the Initiative was founded in 2005 and is made possible by lead partner The Pershing Square Foundation. Additional support provided by Founding Sponsor Time Warner Inc., Margot Adams, the Ford Foundation, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Emmanuel Brown, Jon Rua, Peter Kim, Francis Jue, Phoebe Strole, Alan Muraoka and Christopher Vo. Photo by Lia Chang

Emmanuel Brown, Jon Rua, Peter Kim, Francis Jue, Phoebe Strole, Alan Muraoka and Christopher Vo. Photo by Lia Chang

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David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

David Henry Hwang is a Tony Award winner and three-time nominee, a three-time Obie Award winner and a two-time Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. 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). Hwang 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). As America’s most-produced living opera librettist, In opera, his works include four pieces 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. Mr. Hwang has been honored with the 2011 PEN/Laura Pels Award for a Master American Dramatist, the 2012 William Inge Award for Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre, the 2012 Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award, the 2012 China Institute Blue Cloud Award and the 2012 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award. From 1994-2001, Mr. Hwang served by appointment of President Clinton on the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. He currently sits on the boards of the Dramatists Guild, the American Theatre Wing, the Lark Play Development Center, and recently became President of Young Playwrights Inc.

The script for David Henry Hwang's Kung Fu. Photo by Lia Chang

The script for David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu. Photo by Lia Chang

Cole Horibe, Bradley Fong and David Henry Hwang backstage at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center in New York for the 6th Annual Steinberg

Cole Horibe, Bradley Fong and David Henry Hwang backstage at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center in New York for the 6th Annual Steinberg “Mimi” Playwright Awards on November 18, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang

Click here for David Henry Hwang’s youoffendmeyouoffendmyfamily.com blog posts, and below for EW.com‘s exclusive video footage.

EW.com: Kung Fu dancers get a kick in rehearsal from ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ choreographer Sonya Tayeh — VIDEO

Francis Jue, Lia Chang and Alan Muraoka. Photo by Sonya Tayeh

Francis Jue, Lia Chang and Alan Muraoka. Photo by Sonya Tayeh

Other articles by Lia Chang:
Feb. 5: Labyrinth Theater Company hosts Community Prayer and Candlelight Vigil to honor Philip Seymour Hoffman at Bank Street Theater
March 21 – May 4: Arena Stage Presents World Premiere of Lawrence Wright’s Camp David Starring Tony Award winner Ron Rifkin and Emmy Award winner Richard Thomas
Feb. 7-22: Maggie Alexander and Ciarán Sheehan Star in Michael Weller’s Fifty Words at The Gene Frankel Theatre
Where to Celebrate the Lunar New Year -Year of the Horse in New York
Photos: A Suckling Pig and a Lion Dance to Usher in the Year of the Horse at Asia Roma
Asian CineVision Auction Items Feature Producer Janet Yang, Kung Fu Playwright David Henry Hwang or a 4 Hour Photography Session with Lia Chang
Jan. 31: Spend an Evening with Pauletta Pearson Washington at Joe’s Pub
2014 is the Year of the Horse, Dragons and Lions in The Chinese New Year Parade
Q & A with Meet Me in St. Louis: A Live Radio Play’s Garth Kravits
Jan. 22-31: Photos: Tracey Conyer Lee, Lelund Durond Thompson, Matthew Murumba, and Carmen LoBue set for Camile Darby’s Lords Resistance Featured in The Fire This Time Festival at The Kraine Theater
Jan. 9 – Feb. 9: Thom Sesma and Michele Ragusa to Star in CRAVING FOR TRAVEL at Peter J. Sharp Theater
Jan. 9 – Feb. 9: Jarlath Conroy, Rebecca Brooksher, Eric Martin Brown, Ryan Garbayo, Rocco Sisto, Nick Westrate Set for Red Bull’s Off-Broadway Revival of Loot
Peter Scolari, C.J. Wilson, Francois Battiste, Chris Henry Coffey and More in Eric Simonson’s The Bronx Bombers at Circle in the Square Theatre
Photos: André De Shields, Michael Shannon, Rajiv Joseph, Christine Sherrill, Doug Peck, Alexis J. Rogers, Karen Ziemba and More Celebrate 2013 Jeff Equity Awards
Photos: Cheryl Lynn Bruce, André De Shields, Sandra Marquez, Dennis Zacek and More Celebrate Opening Night of Appropriate by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins at Victory Gardens
Photos: Christine Toy Johnson, Baayork Lee, Jose Llana, Ann Harada, Dodie Pettit and More at Charles Randolph-Wright’s “Three Voices” concert series at Stage 72
Photos: Denise Burse, Michael Genet, Doug Eskew, Tracie Thoms, Sakina Ansari-Wilson and More Celebrate Marcus Gardley’s dance of the holy ghosts Opening Night at Center Stage
Photos: Backstage with Michi Barall and the cast of Regina Taylor’s stop.reset. at Signature Theatre Febone1960.net Review: Power Play Powerful & Suspenseful
Signature Theatre’s 2013-14 Season Features New Works by Albee, Hwang, Enos, Taylor, Wilson, Clarke and Jacobs-Jenkins
Photos: The 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards and After Party
Meet the authors of the Pocket Chinese Almanac, Joanna C. Lee and Ken Smith, Museworks, Ltd.
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

David Henry Hwang Articles:
Feb. 4 – Mar. 16: Phoebe Strole, Jon Rua, Join Cole Horibe and More for Signature’s World Premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu
Feb. 4 – Mar. 16: Cole Horibe, Francis Jue, Peter Kim and More Set for Signature’s World Premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu
Photos: David Henry Hwang, Annie Baker and Rajiv Joseph honored at Sixth Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards Signature Theatre’s World Premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu Stars SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE’s Cole Horibe as Bruce Lee
David Henry Hwang to Receive the 2012 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award at the 5th Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards on October 29, 2012
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 Photos: Partying with the Cast of David Henry Hwang’s Golden Child; Extended Run Ends December 16, 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
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 David Henry Hwang to Receive 2012 William Inge Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre Award
Broadwayworld.com Photo Flash: Library of Congress’ IN REHEARSAL Exhibit
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.

Lia Chang and Kung Fu playwright David Henry Hwang.

Lia Chang and Kung Fu playwright David Henry Hwang.

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2014 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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