Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang Photos: Francis Jue, Telly Leung, Jennifer Lim, Jo Mei, James Saito, Sue Jin Song, Harriet Harris and More Celebrate Opening Night of The World of Extreme Happiness

The Manhattan Theatre Club’s world premiere of The World of Extreme Happiness, the new play by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, directed by Eric Ting, opened on February 24, 2015, at MTC’s New York City Center – Stage I (131 West 55th Street). The MTC cast of The World of Extreme Happiness features Francis Jue, Telly Leung, Jennifer Lim, Jo Mei, James Saito, and Sue Jin Song. This co-production with Chicago’s Goodman Theatre began previews Tuesday, February 3, 2015, and will continue performances through Sunday, March 29, 2015.

The elegant World of Extreme Happiness cast members Telly Leung, Francis Jue, Jo Mei, Jennifer Lim, Sue Jin Song and James Saito. Photo by Lia Chang

The elegant World of Extreme Happiness cast members Telly Leung, Francis Jue, Jo Mei, Jennifer Lim, Sue Jin Song and James Saito. Photo by Lia Chang

I celebrated with the cast and creative team at the opening night party at Brasserie 8 1/2. Check out the festive photos below.


Unwanted from the moment she’s born, Sunny (Jennifer Lim) is determined to escape her life in rural China and forge a new identity in the city. As naïve as she is ambitious, Sunny views her new job in a grueling factory as a stepping stone to untold opportunities. When fate casts her as a company spokeswoman at a sham PR event, Sunny’s bright outlook starts to unravel in a series of harrowing and darkly comic events, as she begins to question a system enriching itself by destroying its own people.

Critically acclaimed in a workshop production at London’s National Theatre, The World of Extreme Happiness makes its world premiere in a co-production with Chicago’s Goodman Theatre. “Hard-hitting and bruisingly funny” (Time Out London), this epic new drama by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig is as fierce and unflinching as the world it examines.

What the critics are saying:

“An odyssey through contemporary China.”
The New York Times
“EYE-OPENING. How fortunate we are to live in a country where plays like this can exist.”
NY1
“A UNIFORMLY STRONG CAST.”
NY1
“FASCINATING and PROVOCATIVE.”
TheaterMania
“A FASCINATING LOOK INTO MODERN CHINA.”
TheaterMania
“PUNGENT and PASSIONATELY WELL-ACTED.”
The Record
“CHILLING & UNYIELDING, WITH GREAT REALISM. COWHIG captures at once the allure of freedom and its unattainability.”
Talkin’ Broadway
“Intelligent & Powerful.”
Variety
“A Sophisticated & Smart Story.”
The Chicago Tribune

Matt Bradford Sullivan, Dr. Zhivago executive producer Randy Adams, It Shoulda Been You's Harriet Harris and Francis Jue. Photo by Lia Chang

Matt Bradford Sullivan, Dr. Zhivago executive producer Randy Adams, It Shoulda Been You’s Harriet Harris and Francis Jue. Photo by Lia Chang

The creative team for The World of Extreme Happiness includes Mimi Lien (scenic design), Jenny Mannis (costume design), Tyler Micoleau (lighting design), and Mikhail Fiksel (sound design).

Opening night with The World of Extreme Happiness - actor James Saito, playwright Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, cast members Sue Jin Song, Telly Leung, Jennifer Lim, Francis Jue, and actress Jo Mei, sound designer Mikhail Fiksel, and director Eric Ting. Photo by Lia Chang

Opening night with The World of Extreme Happiness – actor James Saito, playwright Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, cast members Sue Jin Song, Telly Leung, Jennifer Lim, Francis Jue, and actress Jo Mei, sound designer Mikhail Fiksel, and director Eric Ting. Photo by Lia Chang

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Lynne Meadow and Executive Producer Barry Grove, MTC has become one of the country’s most prominent and prestigious theatre companies. Over the past four and a half decades, MTC productions have earned numerous awards including six Pulitzer Prizes and 19 Tony Awards. MTC has a Broadway home at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 West 47th Street) and two Off-Broadway theatres at New York City Center (131 West 55th Street). Renowned MTC productions include Casa ValentinaOutside MullingarThe Assembled PartiesVenus in FurMaster ClassGood PeopleThe Whipping ManTime Stands StillThe Royal FamilyRuinedCome Back, Little ShebaBlackbirdShining CityRabbit HoleDoubtProofThe Tale of the Allergist’s WifeLove! Valour! Compassion!; A Small Family BusinessSylviaPutting It TogetherFrankie and Johnny in the Clair de LuneCrimes of the Heart; and Ain’t Misbehavin.’ For more information on MTC, please visit www.ManhattanTheatreClub.com.

A Kung Fu reunion: Big Love's Emmanuel Manny Brown, Francis Jue, Clifton Duncan, The King and I's Christopher Vo and Kristen Faith Oei. (not pictured: Cole Horibe and Bradley Fong) Photo by Lia Chang

A Kung Fu reunion: Big Love’s Emmanuel Manny Brown, Francis Jue, Clifton Duncan, The King and I’s Christopher Vo and Kristen Faith Oei. (not pictured: Cole Horibe and Bradley Fong) Photo by Lia Chang

Signature’s Production of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu, starring Cole Horibe, Phoebe Strole and Francis Jue, extends through April 6, 2014 
Photos: Backstage and Opening Night of Signature’s World Premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu 

TICKETING INFORMATION

Tickets for The World of Extreme Happiness are available by calling CityTix at 212-581-1212, online by visiting www.nycitycenter.org, or by visiting New York City Center box office (131 West 55th Street). All tickets are $85.

Subscriptions for MTC’s 2014-2015 season are available by calling (212) 399-3050 (Monday through Friday NOON – 9 PM, Saturday 10 AM – 3 PM) or online at www.ManhattanTheatreClub.com.

Extreme Happiness Photo vs Asian Family Photo: The World of Extreme Happiness cast members Jo Mei, Telly Leung, Francis Jue, director Eric Ting, production stage manager Winnie Lok, playwright Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, cast members Sue Jin Song and James Saito. Photo by Lia Chang

Extreme Happiness Photo vs Asian Family Photo: The World of Extreme Happiness cast members Jo Mei, Telly Leung, Francis Jue, director Eric Ting, production stage manager Winnie Lok, playwright Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, cast members Sue Jin Song and James Saito. Photo by Lia Chang

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE

  • MONDAY, FEBRUARY 23 – SUNDAY, MARCH 1 (WEEK OF OPENING):Wednesday and Sunday at 7 PM; Thursday through Saturday at 8 PM. Matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2 PM. The curtain time for opening night on Tuesday, February 24 will be announced shortly.
  • MONDAY, MARCH 2 – SUNDAY, MARCH 8:Tuesday at 7 PM; Wednesday through Saturday at 8 PM. Matinees on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2 PM.
  • MONDAY, MARCH 9 – SUNDAY, MARCH 15:Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 PM; Thursday through Saturday at 8 PM. Matinees on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2 PM.
  • MONDAY, MARCH 16 – SUNDAY, MARCH 22:Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 PM; Thursday through Saturday at 8 PM. Matinees on Saturday, and Sunday at 2 PM. There are only 7 performances on sale to the public this week.
  • MONDAY, MARCH 23 – SUNDAY, MARCH 29:Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 PM; Thursday through Saturday at 8 PM. Matinees on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2 PM.
Francis Ya-Chu Cowhig. Photo by Lia Chang

Francis Ya-Chu Cowhig. Photo by Lia Chang

FRANCES YA-CHU COWHIG (Playwright). Cowhig’s plays have been produced at the National Theatre, Trafalgar Studios 2, and the Goodman Theatre. Her plays have been awarded the Wasserstein Prize, the Yale Drama Series Award, and the Keene Prize for Literature. She is currently under commission from Manhattan Theatre Club, the Goodman Theatre, and the National Theatre. Cowhig received an MFA in Writing from the Michener Center for Writers, a BA from Brown University, and a certificate in Ensemble-Based Physical Theatre from Dell’Arte International. Her plays have been published by Yale University Press and Methuen Drama. She is a finalist for the 2014-2015 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and is currently a Tow Foundation Playwright-in-Residence at Manhattan Theatre Club.
Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s THE WORLD OF EXTREME HAPPINESS Named Among 12 Finalists for the 2014-2015 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize

ERIC TING (Director) is an Obie Award-winning director whose recent credits include Sam Hunter’s A Great Wilderness (Williamstown), Jackie Sibblies Drury’s We Are Proud To Present A Presentation… (Soho Rep / Victory Gardens), Rising Son by Dick Lee (Singapore Rep) and The World Of Extreme Happiness (Goodman). Long Wharf Theatre Associate Artistic Director since 2007, Ting is a founding member of the artists’ collective INTELLIGENT BEASTS and a recipient of a 2012 MAP Fund Award with Meiyin Wang. Upcoming: Kimber Lee’s Brownsville Song(Long Wharf / Philadelphia Theatre Co) and Appropriate by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (CTG). www.ericting.com

www.ManhattanTheatreClub.com

Follow MTC on Twitter: @MTC_NYC or on Facebook.

James Saito, Lia Chang and Francis Jue. Photo by Dave Shih

James Saito, Lia Chang and Francis Jue. Photo by Dave Shih

Jo Mei and Lia Chang. Photo by GK

Jo Mei and 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 starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, and made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York. She is profiled in Jade Magazine.

Related Articles:
Photos: MTC Run of World Premiere of The World of Extreme Happiness by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, starring Jennifer Lim, Francis Jue, Telly Leung, Jo Mei, James Saito and Sue Jin Song; opens Feb. 24
MTC Run of World Premiere of The World of Extreme Happiness by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, starring Jennifer Lim, Francis Jue, Telly Leung, Jo Mei, James Saito and Sue Jin Song
Rehearsal Photos: Jennifer Lim, Francis Jue, Telly Leung, Jo Mei, James Saito and Sue Jin Song in MTC Run of World Premiere of The World of Extreme Happiness by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, February 3 – March 29
Jennifer Lim, Francis Jue, Telly Leung, Jo Mei, James Saito and Sue Jin Song Set for MTC Run of World Premiere of The World of Extreme Happiness by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, February 3 – March 29 
Jennifer Lim, Ruy Iskandar, Francis Jue, Jodi Long, Jo Mei and Donald Li Set for Goodman Theatre’s World Premiere Co-production with Manhattan Theatre Club of The World of Extreme Happiness by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, Opens September 22
J.P. Chan’s A Picture of You, starring Jo Mei, Andy Pang, Jodi Long, Teyonah Parris and Lucas Dixon, opens on September 12 in Pasadena and Honolulu
Francis Jue, Bryan Cranston, Olympia Dukakis, Paul Daigneault, All The Way, The Jungle Book, The Flick, Tribes, Hairspray Among 32nd Annual Elliot Norton Award Winners
10 minutes with Sullivan & Son’s Jodi Long, Award Winning Actor and Filmmaker

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Jose Llana Set for Lincoln Center’s American Songbook Debut on March 12
Stephen Adly Guirgis’s BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY Starring Stephen McKinley Henderson, Victor Almanzar, Elizabeth Canavan, Rosal Colón, Liza Colón-Zayas, Michael Rispoli and Ron Cephas Jones, has performances through March 22 at Second Stage Theatre
Photos: “Swimming Awkward Moment,” the newest works by painter Arlan Huang at Trestle Gallery through March 27
Photos: Michael Mayer Helmed BROOKLYNITE Featuring Ann Harada, Matt Doyle, Nicolette Robinson, Andrew Call, Nick Cordero and More, Extends through March 29
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s AN OCTOROON, Starring Maechi Aharanwa, Pascale Armand, Danielle Davenport, Amber Gray, Ian Lassiter, Austin Smith, Haynes Thigpen, and Mary Wiseman, Extends Again Off-Broadway Through March 29
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley presents Rajiv Joseph’s THE LAKE EFFECT Starring Adam Poss, Nilanjana Bose, Jason Bowen through March 29
Photos: Wendell Pierce, Kevin Mambo, Toccarra Cash, Thaddeus Daniels, Wendell Franklin and Megan Robinson Set for The Billie Holiday Theatre Production of Jackie Alexander’s Brothers from the Bottom through March 29 
Jeanne Sakata, Jeremy Guskin, Angela Sauer, Andrew Ross Wynn, Elyse Mirto and More Set for A Noise Within’s FIGARO, March 1-May 10 
Stan Egi, Ellen Crawford, Paige Lindsey White, Bruce Turk, Greg Watanabe and More Set for Jessica Kubzansky helmed PYGMALION at The Pasadena Playhouse, March 17- April 12, 2015
Jaime Castañeda to Helm Rajiv Joseph’s GUARDS AT THE TAJ at La Jolla Playhouse, February 2-28, 2016
Brandon J. Dirden, Merritt Janson, Roslyn Ruff, Andrew Hovelson, Roger Robinson Set for World Premiere of YOUR BLUES AIN’T SWEET LIKE MINE, written and directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson at Two River Theater, April 11-May 3
World Premiere Musical HAMILTON Transfers to Broadway; Previews begin July 13
Photos: John W. Kuo, Jessica Hagedorn, and Neal Katyal Receive AALDEF 2015 Justice in Action Awards
Photos: National Black Theatre Festival 2013; NBTF runs August 3-8, 2015 and will include Act III – A Celebration of Life Reception saluting the late theatre icon Garland Lee Thompson, Sr.
Video: President Obama Sends Warm Wishes for the Lunar New Year
Lunar New Year -Year of the Ram in New York Chinatown, China Institute, Sesame Street’s Alan Muraoka at Met, MoCA
Mar. 8- 29: Pursuit of the Perfect Plate: tokyo fish story Premieres at South Coast Repertory starring Lawrence Kao, Jully Lee, Eddie Mui, Sab Shimono and Ryun Yu
THE GET DOWN, Baz Luhrmann’s New Drama Series Set in 1970s NYC That Gave Birth to Hip-Hop, Punk and Disco, to Premiere on Netflix in 2016
The American Playwriting Foundation Creates The Relentless Award to Honor the late Philip Seymour Hoffman
Variety.com: Ken Jeong to Star in ABC Medical Comedy Pilot ‘Dr. Ken’
Photos: Hudson Yang, Randall Park, Eddie Huang, Richard Lui, Lori Tan Chinn and More at #FreshOffTheBoat Viewing Party at The Circle NYC
Video and Photos: BD Wong and Russell Wong Guest Star on ‘NCIS: NEW ORLEANS’, Episode 1.13 – The Walking Dead
The Drama Book Shop Video: Playwright Ayad Akhtar, Josh Radnor and Aasif Mandvi Talk DISGRACED
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Advantageous, Oh Lucy!, Meru, Umrika, The Chinese Mayor, The Stanford Prison Experiment Among 2015 Sundance Film Festival Award Winners
Unsuk Chin’s Opera Alice in Wonderland, Featuring Libretto Co-Written with David Henry Hwang, Set for UK Premiere at the Barbican Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Novels on March 8, 2015
Lincoln Center Theater’s The King and I, Starring Ken Watanabe, Kelli O’Hara, Ruthie Ann Miles, Conrad Ricamora, Jon Viktor Corpuz, Paul Nakauchi and More Kick off Rehearsals; Previews Begin March 12
Broadway Bound Doctor Zhivago Featuring Tam Mutu, Kelli Barrett, Tom Hewitt, Paul Nolan, Lora Lee Gayer, Melody Butiu and More Kicks Off Rehearsal; Previews Begin March 27
The Old Globe Presents World Premiere of Christopher Gattelli Helmed IN YOUR ARMS Featuring Vignettes written by David Henry Hwang, Rajiv Joseph, Douglas Carter Beane, Nilo Cruz, Christopher Durang, Carrie Fisher, Terrence McNally, Marsha Norman, Lynn Nottage, and Alfred Uhry, September 16 – October 25
Rajiv Joseph Wins Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award for New Play Guards at the Taj; Set for World Premiere at Atlantic Theater Company in May
Photos: Tony Award Winning Playwright David Henry Hwang, NEFA, Graham Sheffield CBE and Susan Stockton Receive 2015 ISPA Awards
Photos: Late Night at HERE LIES LOVE with Jaygee Macapugay, David Byrne, Jose Llana, Conrad Ricamora, Melody Butiu and More
THE WIZ Turns 40- Photos from Original Broadway Production and BC/EFA Gypsy of The Year Celebration Featuring André De Shields, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ken Page, Charl Brown, Carly Hughes, Christina Sajous, Alton Fitzgerald White, Lillias White and More
Photos: Fashion Designer Josie Natori at New Boutique in Nolita; Honored by Asian Cultural Council
Photos: Ellen Burstyn, Baz Luhrmann, John Leguizamo, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Stephen McKinley Henderson, John Patrick Shanley, David Henry Hwang, Liza Colón-Zayas, Kenneth Lonergan and More Celebrate Stephen Adly Guirgis at The Mimi Awards
Photos: Tommy Tune, Bob Avian, Lee Roy Reams, Christine Toy Johnson, Orville Mendoza, Lori Tan Chinn, Raul Aranas, Virginia Wing and More Celebrate 2014 Paul Robeson Citation Award Recipient Baayork LeeCrafting a Career
Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s