Elton John, Tim Rice and David Henry Hwang's AIDA to play White Plains Performing Arts Center by David Hwang


The White Plains Performing Arts Center (WPPAC) is proud to announce the cast for Elton John & Tim Rice’s AIDA, playing October 11-27, 2019. Winner of four Tony® Awards, Elton John & Tim Rice’s AIDA is an epic tale of love, loyalty and betrayal, with an exhilarating Tony and Grammy Award-winning score by Elton John & Tim Rice.

Read more at Hamlethub

“Soft Power” Brings Hillary Clinton To Life Onstage by David Hwang


Tony Award winning playwright David Henry Hwang and actor Alyse Alan Louis join Frank DiLella in studio to talk about their new “musical within a play” “Soft Power,” which features Louis playing a fictionalized version of Hillary Clinton.

Read more at NY1

How Do You Make the Reverse of The King and I? by David Hwang

The cast of  Soft Power  in rehearsal. Photo: Jenny Anderson

The cast of Soft Power in rehearsal. Photo: Jenny Anderson

An interloper arrives in a nation with some backward ideas, meets a political figure with a lot of power, and convinces them to modernize a bit and change their ways — that’s the formula for many classic tales about European expansion, from Rudyard Kipling up through Seven Years in Tibet, often with a bit of cheery music thrown in, à la The King and I. But it’s also the formula that playwright David Henry Hwang and composer Jeanine Tesori are working with in their “play with a musical” Soft Power, though with the typical power dynamics reversed.

Read more at Vulture

Jeanine Tesori and David Henry Hwang Write A New Show, With A Musical In Its Back Pocket by David Hwang

Jeanine Tesori and David Henry Hwang

Jeanine Tesori and David Henry Hwang

The Tony Award winners create a musical within a play for the Public Theater production of their Soft Power Off-Broadway.

It often happens that real-life events will steer a new work in development, in unexpected directions. In the case of Soft Power, the new musical-within-a-play co-written by Tony winners David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori, two major events are worth nothing: in late 2015, Hwang was stabbed in the neck while walking home with groceries in Brooklyn, and the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. 

The original idea behind Soft Power, directed by Leigh Silverman at the Public Theater following two hit West Coast runs, was a “parallel King and I” in which a Chinese executive becomes an advisor to President Hillary Clinton; Hwang’s impulse, from the beginning, was to subvert the white-savior trope at the heart of such stories. Following the election, however, the show became an exploration of America’s current place in the world.

Read more at Playbill

First Look at Jeanine Tesori and David Henry Hwang's Soft Power by David Hwang


The anticipated musical collaboration is onstage at the Public Theater.

Soft Power, a new musical-within-a-play featuring a book and lyrics by Tony winner David Henry Hwang and music and additional lyrics by Tony winner Jeanine Tesori, is now in performances at the Public Theater. Take a look at brand-new production photos below.

Read more at Theatermania

What’s hitting New York stages this fall by David Hwang


“Soft Power”

Previews begin Sept. 24; opens Oct. 15 at The Public Theater

Press notes call this musical “a fever dream of American politics,” replete with Hillary Clinton, the tenets of democracy, and a predominantly Asian-American cast.

Read more at NY Daily News

Marking its 52nd anniversary: Yellow Face in new season by David Hwang


Silver Spring Stage has programmed a tantalizing year of contemporary classics—among them Sweat by Lynn Nottage, Yellow Face by David Henry Hwang, and Perfect Arrangement by Topher Payne. Kicking off its season is the The Book Club Play by DC’s own comic genius Karen Zacarías, the only local on American Theatre magazine’s list of most-produced playwrights.

Read more at DC Metro

VWHS Theatre announces season: Tarzan, the Stage Musical by David Hwang


VAN WERT — Van Wert High School Theatre Department has announced its 2019-2020 season. 

The fall play production, Sherlock Holmes, will be performed at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center on Friday, Nov. 22 and Saturday, Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. Rehearsals have begun and students are looking forward to sharing the classic tales of detective Sherlock Holmes and partner Dr. Watson. This play, originally written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and adapted by Tim Kelly, is set in the 1890s and is full of suspense and mystery. General admission tickets ($6) will be available from cast and crew members, the NPAC box office, and at the door. Sherlock Holmes is produced with special arrangement by Pioneer Drama Service, Inc. in Englewood, Colorado.

Read more at Times Bulletin

David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s Soft Power Begins Off-Broadway September 24 by David Hwang


The musical-within-a-play starts previews at The Public Theater with a cast including Conrad Ricamora and Francis Jue.

The Off-Broadway premiere of Soft Power, a new musical-within-a-play co-written by Tony winners David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly) and Jeanine Tesori (Caroline, or Change), begins performances at The Public Theater September 24 ahead of an October 15 opening.

Soft Power rewinds recent political history and plays it back, a century later, through the Chinese lens of a future East-meets-West musical. The recently extended show, scheduled through November 10, is helmed by Tony-nominated director Leigh Silverman (Violet) with choreography by Tony nominee Sam Pinkleton (Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812).

Read more at Playbill

Photo Coverage: See the Stars Come Out to Celebrate Jonathan Larson's Legacy at the American Theatre Wing 2019 Gala by David Hwang

David Henry Hwang on the red carpet.

David Henry Hwang on the red carpet.

Last night was the American Theatre Wing's 2019 Gala, celebrating Jonathan Larson!

The evening's entertainment featured the work of composers and lyricists who have been the recipients of the Jonathan Larson Grants, including Obie Award winner Kirsten Childs, Tony Award nominee Joe Iconis, Michael R. Jackson, Academy Award, Grammy Award, Golden Globe Award, and Tony Award winners Benj Pasek & Justin Paul, Shaina Taub, and, of course, Pulitzer Prize and three-time Tony Award winner Jonathan Larson. Many of the artists made appearances to speak about their role in the Larson Legacy.

Read more at Broadway World

14 Plays and Musicals to Go to in N.Y.C. This Weekend by David Hwang


‘SOFT POWER’ at the Public Theater (previews start on Sept. 24; opens on Oct. 15). A metatheatrical exploration of politics and culture and a riff on “The King and I” as seen through a trick mirror, David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s musical of a sort arrives at the Public. It conjures a world in which a Chinese businessman meets Hillary Clinton at a campaign fund-raiser, an experience that inspires a hallucinatory blockbuster show. Leigh Silverman directs.
212-967-7555, publictheater.org

Read more at New York Times

American Theater Wing Celebrates 102nd Anniversary with Say “Yes to the Artist Gala” by David Hwang

David Henry Hwang on the Red Carpet at the American Theater Wing Gala- Say Yes to the Artist Photo By Brian Hester

David Henry Hwang on the Red Carpet at the American Theater Wing Gala- Say Yes to the Artist Photo By Brian Hester

The American Theater Wing celebrated its 102 years of service to the American Theater by remembering and honoring the legacy of Jonathan Larson and the Larson family with an event dubber “Say Yes to the Artist Gala” at Cipriani W 42nd Street. The event, featuring larger than life musical performances from some of Broadways biggest starts matched perfectly with the larger than life venue. Enjoy some photos from tonight’s Red Carpet.

Read more at Times Square Chonicles

Arthur Dong Tackles 'Hollywood Chinese: The Chinese in American Feature Films' by David Hwang


Oscar-nominated and triple Sundance award-winning filmmaker, author and curator Arthur Dong will discuss his book, “Hollywood Chinese: The Chinese in American Feature Films,” and sign copies on Thursday, October 24, at Vroman’s Bookstore, located at 695 E. Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena.

Dong’s narrative is enhanced by extensive interviews with Hollywood actors, directors, and producers, including Ang Lee, Nancy Kwan, Justin Lin, James Hong, Joan Chen, Wayne Wang, and David Henry Hwang, and writer Amy Tan. The book is published by Angel City Press.

Read more at Pasadena Now

7 Performances You Missed at The American Theatre Wing’s 2019 Gala Honoring Jonathan Larson and Family by David Hwang

Jonathan Larson

Jonathan Larson

Jonathan Larson kept all of his rejection letters “as fuel,” according to his sister, Julie. Yet the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation finds its fuel in its power to “Say ‘Yes’ To Artists”—the theme of the September 16 American Theatre Wing Gala.
The night honored Larson's legacy and family and all of the vital “yeses” they have given through the Jonathan Larson Grants since 1997. The Grants have been administered by The Wing since 2008, and are only one piece of the Wing’s 102-year record of supporting artists in the American theatre.

Larson knew the importance of these grants, as he applied for many during his lifetime. In fact, in a highlight of the evening, Wing Chairman David Henry Hwang read from Larson’s application for the Kleban Prize:

My goal as a lyricist-composer is to take the best aspects of traditional American Musicals and combine them with current themes, aesthetics, and music. I believe theatre should (and could) again be a source of Pop Music, which would attract a new audience.

Read more at Playbill

The Opera Is Having a Woke Renaissance by David Hwang

M Butterfly opens at the Santa Fe Opera, August 2020.  Learn more here

M Butterfly opens at the Santa Fe Opera, August 2020. Learn more here

From a modern Madama Butterfly to new commissions by female composers, the future of opera—and what might be the art form’s saving grace—is political, relevant, and multidimensional.

When the virtuosic Arturo Toscanini presided over Milan’s La Scala at the end of the 19th century, the majority of the company’s repertoire comprised music written during the prolific past two decades, from Verdi’s Otello to Puccini’s La Boheme. “It was a living, breathing thing,” says Michael Capasso, general manager of the recently revived New York City Opera.

Read more at Vanity Fair

David Henry Hwang to Discuss Soft Power at Public Theater's Fall Forum by David Hwang


Off-Broadway's Public Theater has selected a lineup of acclaimed theater veterans to take part in its 2019 Fall Public Forum. The series of events will launch on October 21 at 7:00pm with Public Forum: World Stage, a conversation with playwright David Henry Hwang, book writer and lyricist of the Public's upcoming Soft Power.

Read more at Broadway.com

The Public Announces Fall Public Forum and Public Shakespeare Initiative Line-Up by David Hwang


The Public Theater announced today the Public Forum and Public Shakespeare Initiative fall line-up that will explore the intersection of art, ideas, and action and illuminate the study and performance of Shakespeare's works. Highlights of the upcoming season include a conversation with playwright David Henry Hwang, political scientist Joseph S. Nye, Jr., and former United States Ambassador to the Netherlands Cynthia Schneider; a closer look at acting in Shakespeare's plays with actress Lily Rabe; a gathering inspired by Ntozake Shange's groundbreaking choreopoem for colored girls... featuring Ifa Bayeza, Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi, Erika Dickerson-Despenza, Camille A. Brown, and Dianne McIntyre; an in-depth discussion of Shakespeare's stories of disruptive female desire and resistance withprofessor Jenny C. Mann and actors Lily Santiago and Aneesh Sheth; the continuation of monthly Civic Salon gatherings; and more.

Read more at Broadway World

The 14 Shows You Must Catch This Fall by David Hwang


As if there weren’t enough theater to keep up with all summer, here comes the fall. Students head back to school, people reevaluate their cool-weather wardrobes, and theaters across the city get a ton of new shows ready for the public. For Broadway producers and companies on a traditional theater calendar, fall marks the boom time of the first half of the season. It often brings thoughtful dramas, some transferring from London, but a lot of them homegrown. In our autumn short list, below, we’ve aimed for a mix of new American plays, new musicals (drawn from song catalogs by Tina Turner, David Byrne, and Alanis Morissette), and a sprinkling of foreign work.

Soft Power

Veteran playwright David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly) and brilliant composer Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home) collaborate on a musical satire that weaves together the 2016 national election, Eastern and Western cultural values, and details from Hwang’s own life—including a random stabbing that he survived near his home in Brooklyn.

Read more at What We Should Do



China meets America and a play meets a musical in David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s SOFT POWER, which examines American ideology and dramatizes how art can advance political agenda. The co-commission between The Public Theater and Center Theatre Group makes its New York premiere at The Public this fall. Theater arts writer Yan Chen speaks with playwright and lyricist David Henry Hwang.

Read more at The Public Theatre

Exeunt NYC Recommends: September 2019 by David Hwang


As the fall theater season begins in earnest, an onslaught of new productions have our critics humming. From British imports on Broadway to experimental art downtown, Exeunt NYC recommends it all and more this September.

Soft Power (Public Theater) (September 24-November 3): I follow the works of playwright David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly and Yellow Face) due to their fascinating interrogation of Asian identity. For a fraught Trumpian era, his new musical Soft Power questions the love of American democracy with an interesting exploration of East-West relations. Jeanine Tesori’s (Fun Home and Caroline, or Change) musical involvement also amplifies my interest. (Caroline Cao).

Read more at Exeunt New York City