Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang Photos: Backstage and Opening Night of Signature’s World Premiere of David Henry Hwang’s ‘Kung Fu’

The cast of David Henry Hwang's Kung Fu at their opening night curtain call on the Irene Diamond Stage at Signature Theatre Company's Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on February 24, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

The cast of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu at their opening night curtain call on the Irene Diamond Stage at Signature Theatre Company’s Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on February 24, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

The world premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu, directed by Leigh Silverman and featuring choreography by Sonya Tayeh, opened on The Irene Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues). The production began previews on February 4, and has been extended through March 30, 2014. I had an all-access pass to the opening night festivities.


Kung Fu‘s opening night began backstage at 5:15pm, where cultural consultants Joanna C. Lee and her husband, Ken Smith, had arranged a roast suckling pig, duck, chicken, clementines and incense for good luck.


The Kung Fu company was honored to meet Bruce Lee’s widow, Linda Lee Cadwell,their daughter Shannon Lee and their granddaughter, Wren Lee.


Oskar Eustis, Sutton Foster, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Michi Barall and her husband playwright Charles Mee, Ismael Cruz Cordova, Regina Taylor, Sheldon Best, Matthew Rauch, Matthew Maher, May Adrales, Patricia McGregor, January LaVoy were among the opening night guests.

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Cole Horibe (“So You Think You Can Dance”) makes his New York stage debut as Bruce Lee in David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu, opposite Phoebe Strole (Spring Awakening, “Glee”) as Lee’s wife Linda, and Francis Jue (M. ButterflyThoroughly Modern Millie) as his father, Lee Hoi-Chuen, a Hong Kong Cantonese opera singer and film actor.


The cast also features Jon Rua (Hands on a Hard Body, In the Heights), Emmanuel Brown (Spiderman Turn Off the Dark), Clifton Duncan (Good Person of Szechwan), Bradley Fong (Deadly She-Wolf Assassin at Armageddon), Peter Kim (Thoroughly Modern Millie), Ari Loeb (Spiderman Turn Off the Dark), Reed Luplau, Kristen Faith Oei (Spiderman Turn Off the Dark) and Christopher Vo.

The cast and creative team of David Henry Hwang's KUNG FU celebrate at their opening night party at Signature Theatre Company's Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on February 24, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

The cast and creative team of David Henry Hwang’s KUNG FU celebrate at their opening night party at Signature Theatre Company’s Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on February 24, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

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 Jaime Guan (Chinese Opera Movement Specialist), 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 Director and David H. Lurie is the Production Stage Manager. Casting by Telsey + Company.


Click here to purchase tickets. 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.

The Signature Theatre Company Bookstore is currently stocking Bruce Lee themed merchandise including Bruce Lee DVD sets, Bruce Lee Dolls and Bruce Lee/Kung Fu themed T-shirts. Photo by Lia Chang

The Signature Theatre Company Bookstore is currently stocking Bruce Lee themed merchandise including Bruce Lee DVD sets, Bruce Lee Dolls and Bruce Lee/Kung Fu themed T-shirts. 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

Other articles by Lia Chang:
Mar. 1: Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz Presents “LADY” Featuring Lia Chang, Monica Garrido, Carolyn Holmes, Noel Simon’ Wippler, Linda Hudson, Adi Meyerson and Kathleen Doran
Photos: Harriet Harris, John Tartaglia, Christine Toy Johnson, Alan Muraoka, James Saito and More celebrate Ann Harada’s Debut at Lincoln Center in the American Songbook Series
Photos: Steve Rosen, David Rossmer, Hannah Elless, Vadim Feichtner, Cathryn Salamone, Ken Triwush and Kate Wetherhead Celebrate The Other Josh Cohen Opening Night
Bryan Cranston Makes Broadway Debut in Robert Schenkkan’s All the Way at The Neil Simon Theatre, Opens March 6, 2014
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
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
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:
Signature’s Production Photos of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu, Opens February 24, 2014
Celebrating the Year of the Horse with David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu at Signature Theatre; Previews begin February 4, 2014
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. Photo by Charles Richard Barboza

Lia Chang. Photo by Charles Richard Barboza

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia will make her jazz vocalist debut on March 1, 2014, in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York.

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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