Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang set for East West Players’ CHINGLISH Talkbacks on 9/25 & 9/26

David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang returns to Little Tokyo in Downtown Los Angeles to participate in special talkbacks on Friday, September 25th and Saturday, September 26th, following the 8PM performances of his hit comedy Chinglish, produced by East West Players at the David Henry Hwang Theater, 120 Judge John Aiso St. in Los Angeles. Click here for tickets.

“The U.S. and China are at a critical moment in history—each nation is deeply interested in, but knows very little about the other. Chinglish was born from the many visits I’ve made to China over the past five or six years to witness the exciting changes there,” says Hwang.

Chinglish is about an American businessman who is desperately looking to score a lucrative contract for his family’s firm travels to China only to learn how much he doesn’t understand: his translators are unreliable, his consultant may be a fraud, and he is captivated by Xi, the beautiful, seemingly supportive government official who talks the talk – but what is she saying, anyway?

Xi Yan, Vice Minister of Culture, played by Kara Wang, explains a situation to American businessman Daniel Cavanaugh, played by Matthew Jaeger in East West Players production of David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish. Photo by Michael Lamont

Xi Yan, Vice Minister of Culture, played by Kara Wang, explains a situation to American businessman Daniel Cavanaugh, played by Matthew Jaeger in East West Players production of David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish. Photo by Michael Lamont

“As the namesake of our theater, it is only fitting that a work by David Henry Hwang, be a part of our 50th Anniversary Season. David is truly a trailblazer in expanding the spectrum of stories that explore the Asian American experience and Chinglish is his latest and the most relevant in reflecting the global world in which we live.” says Tim Dang, Producing Artistic Director. “Chinglish is a smart and comedic way of examining how lines, and cultures get crossed in international relations.”

(L-R) Jeff Locker as British ex-pat Peter Timms and Ben Wang as Minister of Culture Cai Guoliang in East West Players production of David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish. Photo by Michael Lamont

(L-R) Jeff Locker as British ex-pat Peter Timms and Ben Wang as Minister of Culture Cai Guoliang in East West Players production of David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish. Photo by Michael Lamont

The cast features Kara Wang (Chen Kaige’s Caught in the Web and Daniel Hsia’s Shanghai Calling) as Xi Yan, Matthew Jaeger as Daniel Cavanaugh, Jeff Locker as Peter Timms, Ben Wang as Cai Guolang, Leann Lei as Miss Qian and Prosecutor Li, Ewan Chung as Bing and Judge Xu Geming, and Joy Yao as Zhao. Jeff Liu directs the production, which has performances through October 11th.

(L-R) Leann Lei as Prosecutor Li, Joy Yao as translator Zhao, Ewan Chung as Judge Xu Geming, Kara Wang s Vice Minister Xi Yan, and Mattew Jaeger as Daniel Cavanaugh in East West Players production of David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish. Photo by Michael Lamont

(L-R) Leann Lei as Prosecutor Li, Joy Yao as translator Zhao, Ewan Chung as Judge Xu Geming, Kara Wang s Vice Minister Xi Yan, and Matthew Jaeger as Daniel Cavanaugh in East West Players production of David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish. Photo by Michael Lamont

Liu’s directorial credits include the two-part film entitled Yellow Face, based on the David Henry Hwang play of the same name, along with Christmas in HanoiWrinkles, and Ixnay at East West Players.

The design team includes: set design by Hana Sooyeon Kim, lighting design by Lonnie Rafael Alcaraz, costume design by Yuheng Dai, sound design by Dennis Yen, and props by Michael O’Hara. Stage manager is Sylvia Trinh.

Tony award winning playwright David Henry Hwang at NYFA Book Talk at Barnes & Noble East 86th St. in New York on July 26, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Tony award winning playwright David Henry Hwang at NYFA Book Talk at Barnes & Noble East 86th St. in New York on July 26, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

David Henry Hwang has been described by the New York Times as “a true original” and by Time magazine as “the most important dramatist of American public life since Arthur Miller.” In addition to winning the Tony Award, Hwang is a three-time nominee, a three-time Obie Award winner, a Drama Desk Award winner, an Outer Critics Circle Award winner, a John Gassner Playwriting Award winner, a two-time Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and The Deutsche Grammofone recording of his libretto for Ainadamar won two Grammy Awards.

In 2014, Hwang was named director of Columbia University’s School of the Arts’ M.F.A. program in playwriting. Hwang’s upcoming musical productions include The Forgotten Arm, with music and lyrics by Aimee Mann and Paul Bryan, for the Public Theater; and Pretty Dead Girl, with music and lyrics by Anne-Marie Milazzo. Hwang is a writer-producer for the Golden Globe-winning TV series The Affair; is developing an original television series, Shanghai, for Lionsgate and the Bravo Network; and is currently writing the film adaptation of Chinglish, to be directed by Justin Lin.  According to Opera News, Hwang is America’s most-produced living opera librettist, and his collaboration with Bright Sheng on Dream of the Red Chamber for the San Francisco Opera will be produced at the War Memorial Opera House in Fall 2016.

Hwang is a recipient of the 2011 PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award as a Grand Master of American Theater, 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, the 2012 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, the 2014 Doris Duke Artist Award, the 2015 ISPA Distinguished Artist Award and was recently named a Ford Foundation “Art of Change” Fellow. Hwang’s holds honorary degrees from Columbia College, Chicago, Dr. of Letters, 1998; American Conservatory Theatre, MFA Acting, 2000; LeHigh University, Dr. of Letters, 2011; USC, Dr. of Literature, 2013.

Click here for more articles on David Henry Hwang.

Lia Chang

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in FebOne1960.com Blog, Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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