Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

The Orphan of Zhao starring BD Wong, Sab Shimono, Julyana Soelistyo, Stan Egi, Orville Mendoza, Paolo Montalban and More at La Jolla Playhouse through August 3, 2014

Tony Award winner BD Wong stars as Cheng Ying in 'The Orphan of Zhao'. Photo by Kevin Berne.

Tony Award winner BD Wong stars as Cheng Ying in ‘The Orphan of Zhao’. Photo by Kevin Berne.

Tony Award winner BD Wong (M. Butterfly), last seen at La Jolla Playhouse in Herringbone, stars as “Cheng Ying” in The Orphan of Zhao, adapted by James Fenton, and directed by Carey Perloff, through August 3 in the Mandell Weiss Theatre, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive La Jolla, CA. The Orphan of Zhao is a co-production between La Jolla Playhouse and American Conservatory Theatre.

Preview performances for The Orphan of Zhao began on July 8, and the production officially opened on July 11. Tickets are available by calling Playhouse Patron Services at (858) 550-1010 or at LaJollaPlayhouse.org.

The Orphan of Zhao is a classic Chinese legend that has its roots in the fourth century BCE. It’s an epic story of self‐sacrifice and revenge. In the aftermath of a political coup, a country doctor is forced to sacrifice his own son in order to save the last heir of a noble and massacred clan. Often described as the Chinese Hamlet, this enduring tale was the first Chinese play to be translated in the West nearly 300 years ago and has inspired countless operas, plays, and movies. The London Guardian praised Fenton’s adaptation as “haunting. [A] drama hewn out of a myth that speaks across the centuries.”


Joining Wong for The Orphan of Zhao are Marie-France Arcilla as “The Princess,” Stan Egi as “Tu’an Gu,” Philip Estrera as “Chu Ni/Ghost of Cheng Ying’s Son,” Nick Gabriel as “Zhao Dun,” Cindy Im as “Princess’s Maid,” Orville Mendoza (Playhouse’s The Wiz) as “Wei Jiang,” Paolo Montalban as “The Ballad Singer/The Emperor,” Brian Rivera as “Demon Mastiff/ General Han Jue,” Sab Shimono (Playhouse’s Wonderland) as “Gongsun Chujiu,” Julyana Soelistyo as “Cheng Ying’s Wife,” and Daisuke Tsuji (Playhouse’s American Night) as “Ti Miming/ Cheng Bo.”

BD Wong received the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Theater World, Clarence Derwent, and Tony Awards for his Broadway debut in M. Butterfly-an unprecedented achievement. His television credits include “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “All-American Girl,” “Oz,” “And the Band Played On,” and “Awake”. On film, Wong can be seen in Jurassic Park, The Freshman, Father of the Bride, Seven Years in Tibet, Executive Decision, The Salton Sea, Stay, and Mulan. On Broadway, Wong has performed in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Pacific Overtures. Regional theater credits include, Herringbone (Williamstown Theatre Festival, McCarter Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse). Upcoming projects include Focus (Warner Bros.), “The Normal Heart” (HBO), and Jurassic World (Universal). He is also the author of the critically acclaimed memoir “Following Foo…” (Harper Entertainment). Wong is a San Francisco native.

Gongsun Chujiu (Sab Shimono) in'The Orphan of Zhao.' Photo by Kevin Berne.

Gongsun Chujiu (Sab Shimono) in ‘The Orphan of Zhao.’ Photo by Kevin Berne.

Carey Perloff is celebrating her 21st year as artistic director of A.C.T., and is known for championing innovative productions of classics and new writing for the theater. Perloff has directed a wide range of work at A.C.T., most recently including Elektra, Endgame and Play, Scorched, The Homecoming, Tosca Cafe (cocreated with Val Caniparoli and recently toured Canada), A.C.T.-commissioned translations/adaptations of Hecuba, The Misanthrope, and her own play The Colossus of Rhodes (Susan Smith Blackburn Award finalist). Her latest play, Higher, won the 2011 Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation Theatre Visions Fund Award and received its world premiere in 2012. Before joining A.C.T., Perloff was artistic director of Classic Stage Company in New York, which won numerous OBIE awards under her leadership. A recipient of the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the National Corporate Theatre Fund’s 2007 Artistic Achievement Award, Perloff received a B.A. Phi Beta Kappa in classics and comparative literature from Stanford University and was a Fulbright Fellow at Oxford. She will provide oversight and input throughout the project, disseminate the research findings to the theater community at large, organize the final convening, and formulate and oversee implementation for any next steps identified by the research.

Cheng Bo (Daisuke Tsuji) and the Palace Guards in 'The Orphan of Zhao.' Photo by Kevin Berne.


Cheng Bo (Daisuke Tsuji) and the Palace Guards in ‘The Orphan of Zhao.’ Photo by Kevin Berne.

The creative team for The Orphan of Zhao includes Daniel Ostling, Scenic Designer; Linda Cho (Playhouse’s Chaplin), Costume Designer; Lap Chi Chu (Playhouse’s Ruined), Lighting Designer; Jake Rodriguez, Sound Designer; Byron Au Yong, Original Music; Stephen Buescher, Movement Director; Jonathan Rider, Fight Director and Michael Paller, Dramaturg.

General Wei Jiang (Orville Mendoza), Gongsun Chujiu (Sab Shimono) and Zhao Dun (Nick Gabriel) in The Orphan of Zhao. Photo by Kevin Berne.

General Wei Jiang (Orville Mendoza), Gongsun Chujiu (Sab Shimono) and Zhao Dun (Nick Gabriel) in The Orphan of Zhao. Photo by Kevin Berne.

Cheng Ying’s wife (Julyana Soelistyo) and the cast of American Conservatory Theater's production of 'The Orphan of Zhao' at The Geary Theater. Photo by Kevin Berne.

Cheng Ying’s wife (Julyana Soelistyo) and the cast of American Conservatory Theater’s production of ‘The Orphan of Zhao’ at The Geary Theater. Photo by Kevin Berne.

The nationally-acclaimed, Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse is known for its tradition of creating some of the most exciting and adventurous new work in regional theatre. The Playhouse was founded in 1947 by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer, and is considered one of the most well-respected not-for-profit theatres in the country. Twenty-five Playhouse productions have moved to Broadway, earning 35 Tony Awards, including the currently-running hit Jersey Boys, as well as Big River, The Who’s Tommy, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, A Walk in the Woods, Billy Crystal’s 700 Sundays, the Pulitzer Prize-winning I Am My Own Wife, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Farnsworth Invention, 33 Variations, Memphis, Bonnie & Clyde, Chaplin, Peter and the Starcatcher and Hands on a Hardbody. Located on the UC San Diego campus, La Jolla Playhouse is made up of three primary performance spaces: the Mandell Weiss Theatre, the Mandell Weiss Forum Theatre and the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Center for La Jolla Playhouse, a state-of-the-art theatre complex which features the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre. La Jolla Playhouse is led by Artistic Director Christopher Ashley and Managing Director Michael S. Rosenberg.

Other articles by Lia Chang:
Joe Mantegna, Delta Burke, Gerald McRaney, President Bill Clinton and More Remember Meshach Taylor
Photos: Meshach Taylor Celebrates 67th Birthday with Arlene and Joe Mantegna, Delta Burke, Gerald McRaney, Jean Smart, Dennis Franz, Ernie Hudson, John Heard, Keith Szarabajka, Stuart Gordon, Shadoe Stevens and More
Maxine Hong Kingston, Billie Tsien, Bill T. Jones, Linda Ronstadt, John Kander, Jeffrey Katzenberg Among 12 to Receive 2013 National Medal of Arts
Dinner with André De Shields at Chez Josephine
June 22 – July 27: Blair Underwood, Richard Thomas and Kristen Connolly Lead the Cast of The Old Globe’s Othello, helmed by Barry Edelstein 
Late Night Singing with Garth Kravits at 54 Below with The Skivvies, at Jim Caruso’s Cast Party at Birdland and Michael Raye’s Soul Gathering
Photos and Video: Ben Vereen Performs at Carnegie Hall in The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream
Photos and Video: Obba Babatunde and cast members from the original cast of Dreamgirls perform at Carnegie Hall in The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream
Photos & Video: The Wiz’s André De Shields Sang “So You Wanted to Meet the Wizard” in The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream at Carnegie Hall
June 23: André De Shields, Billy Porter, Chuck Cooper, Brandon Victor Dixon, Clifton Davis, Norm Lewis, Chapman Roberts and More Set for The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream at Carnegie Hall
Remembering Frank Trenholm Lyman III, 1968-2014; Fund Established for The Lyman Children
Remembering Civil Rights Activist Yuri Kochiyama, 1921-2014
Ruby Dee, Actress and Activist, 1922 – 2014
Fred Korematsu, American Hero and Civil Rights Activist, Dies at 86
July 31-Aug. 3: Drama Desk Nominee Joel de la Fuente stars in Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths at ACT, Helmed by Lisa Rothe
Bryan Cranston, Audra McDonald, Neil Patrick Harris, Jessie Mueller, Lena Hall, Sophie Okonedo, Kenny Leon, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, All The Way, A Raisin in the Sun, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and More Take Home 2014 Tony Awards
Lucille Lortel Awards for Here Lies Love, Fun Home, The Open House, Good Person of Szechwan
Branden Jacob-Jenkins’ Appropriate, Lisa Kron’s Fun Home, Sonya Tayeh, Emmanuel Brown, Mia Katigbak, K. Todd Freeman, John Earl Jelks Among 2014 OBIE Award Winners
Photos: André Braugher, Ami Brabson, Christine Toy Johnson, Antoinette LaVecchia, Richard Topol, Victor Williams, Nikkole Salter, Elizabeth Van Dyke at Oni Faida Lampley’s Tough Titty at the Paradise Factory
Photos: Backstage and Opening Night of 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 Photos: The 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards and After Party
Celebrating my mom – AN ACTIVE VISION: BEVERLY UMEHARA…LABOR ACTIVIST…1945-1999
Crafting a Career
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Other articles on BD Wong:
A.C.T.’s Production Photos of The Orphan of Zhao starring BD Wong, Sab Shimono, Julyana Soelistyo, Stan Egi, Orville Mendoza, Paolo Montalban and More through June 29
Jun. 4-29: Tony Award–winner BD Wong Leads Cast of A.C.T.’s U.S. Premiere of Orphan of Zhao, a co-production with La Jolla Playhouse
May 19: The Orphan of Zhao’s BD Wong and A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff in Conversation at A.C.T.’s Geary Theater
In Rehearsal with BD Wong at Dixon Place for Live Concert Recording of Herringbone
BD Wong Creates Kickstarter Campaign for his Live Concert Recording of HERRINGBONE, to be performed May 21-22 as a Benefit for Dixon Place
BD Wong to Star in Live Concert Recording of HERRINGBONE for Two Nights Only as a Benefit for Dixon Place, May 21-22
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
Photos: BD Wong, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Brandon Victor Dixon, Tom Viola at “Passing It On: An Evening of Mentorship to Benefit Rosie’s Theater Kids”
Photos: BD Wong in Rehearsal for “Passing It On: An Evening of Mentorship to Benefit Rosie’s Theater Kids”
The SFIAAFF30 Kicks Off with World Premiere of White Frog Featuring Booboo Stewart, Harry Shum, Jr., Joan Chen, Kelly Hu and BD Wong, at the Castro Theater on March 8
Tony award-winning actor BD Wong stars in NBC’s Awake; video preview and interview
Cindy Cheung Debuts SPEAK UP CONNIE…Her Solo Show, directed by BD Wong at Stage Left Studio, January 17-25, 2012
Extended through 8/23- “In Rehearsal” Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at Library of Congress Featuring Robert Lee and Leon Ko’s Heading East Starring BD Wong, Thom Sesma as Scar in The Lion King Las Vegas
OCA Awards Gala Photos: David Henry Hwang, Tamlyn Tomita, BD Wong, Dr. Bobby Fong & Tammy Duckworth
Dr. Bobby Fong, BD Wong and Tammy Duckworth to Receive Awards at National OCA Convention in NY on 8/6
Photo Preview of BD Wong and the Cast of Heading East at the Asia Society, 5/24-26
Broadwayworld.com Photo Flash: Library of Congress’ IN REHEARSAL Exhibit
Multimedia: BD Wong, Anastasia Barzee, Clarke Thorell, Cindy Cheung and Orville Mendoza at Rattlestick Playwrights Theaters’ Musical Mix ‘n’ Mingle
BD Wong, Anastasia Barzee, Cindy Cheung and Orville Mendoza in Rattlestick’s Musical Mix ‘n’ Mingle
BD Wong Stars in the La Jolla Playhouse Production of Herringbone, August 1-30
David Henry Hwang, Kathryn Layng and BD Wong at the Asian American Writers Workshop Literary Awards

Lia Chang Photo by GK

Lia Chang Photo by GK

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia made her jazz vocalist debut 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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