David Henry Hwang

Stage and Studio
Air date: 
Tue, 01/07/2014 - 11:00am - 11:30am
Short Description: 
David Henry Hwang, Tony Award-winning Playwright

Dmae Roberts features playwright David Henry Hwang, Tony award-winning author of M. Butterfly, Dance and the Railroad and Chinglish which soon opens on Jan. 11-Feb. 9 at Portland Center Stage.  For the last 30 years, Hwang's career has spawned opera projects with Phillip Glass and musical theatre adaptions like Disney’s Aida with Elton John and Tarzan with Phil Collins, but he generally gravitates to “the same patch of soil”—as he calls it—of Asian and Asian American themes.

David Henry Hwang remains the most well-known and successful Asian American theatre artist in the country. He doesn’t take that distinction lightly. Throughout his career he’s been an outspoken theatre activist starting in the 90s when he protested the casting Jonathan Pryce as an Asian in the Broadway production of Miss Saigon. Hwang later included some of that experience in his play Yellow Face.  Based on a true story of a French diplomat who had a 20-year relationship with a Chinese Opera star he believed to be female, Hwang deconstructed Puccini’s opera Madama Butterfly. Winner of the Obie award for FOB, Hwang was also a finalist for the Pulitzer for M. Butterfly and for Dance and the Railroad. 

Hwang's newest play is Kung Fun about the life of Bruce Lee featuring martial arts with original music. The play opens Feb. 11-March 23 at Signature Theatre in NYC. 
The last Hwang play produced in Portland was M. Butterfly at Oregon Shakespeare Festival – Portland in 1992. With Chinglish, Hwang delves deeply into language and cultural barriers.  The plays is bi-lingual and centers on the story of a white American businessman who travels to China hoping he can convince local officials to hire his company to create signage in English for visitors in China. The play not only deals with language problems but also cultural misinterpretations. The plot surrounds the complications of business deal while mixing a love story between the businessman, Daniel Cavanaugh, and the female lead Xi Yan, the Vice Minister of Culture. Through Chinglish Hwang deftly depicts cultural assumptions people make that lead to frustrations and miscommunication.

Chinglish opens soon at Portland Center Stage (Jan. 11-Feb. 9). Chinglish also signals the return of a David Henry Hwang play since OSF-Portland produced M. Butterfly back in 1992. Dmae Roberts talked with Hwang  to ask him about his career and what Chinglish means to him. 

Ticket and Performance Information | Chinglish
When: January 11 – February 9, 2014
Preview Performances: January 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 7:30 p.m. Opening Night: Friday, January 17, 7:30 p.m.
Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 2 p.m. matinees and 7:30 p.m. evenings on select Sundays and Saturdays; matinees at noon on select Thursdays. Complete schedule: http://www.pcs.org/chinglish/
Where: On the Main Stage at The Gerding Theater at the Armory
Preview tickets start at $29. Regular tickets start at $33. Discounts for students, those under 25 and groups.
Online: www.pcs.org
By Phone: 503.445.3700, 126 p.m.
In Person: PCS’s box office is at 128 NW Eleventh Avenue
12 p.m. curtain on performance days
126 p.m. on non-performance days
Rush Tickets: $20
Groups: Discounts for groups of 10 or more.
Group tickets can purchased at 503.445.3794.
Please Note: Recommended for ages 16+; mature content, language and sexuality.

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