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.
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.
On the way back to the tech rehearsal, David caught up with director Liesl Tommy, Appropriate playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and dramaturg Christie Evangelisto.
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.
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.
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.
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.
EW.com: Kung Fu dancers get a kick in rehearsal from ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ choreographer Sonya Tayeh — VIDEO
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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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org