To save opera, we have to let it die by David Hwang

Plácido Domingo performs in the San Francisco Opera's production of "Herodiade" in 1994. (Dwayne Newton/AP)

Plácido Domingo performs in the San Francisco Opera's production of "Herodiade" in 1994. (Dwayne Newton/AP)

Perhaps it’s time to decentralize the star system that currently fuels opera. There are plenty of composers, performers and directors who manage to reflect on the canon even as they create works that speak to audiences today.

Many work on the fringes, but some are coming to main stages. Next year, the Santa Fe Opera will give the premiere of Huang Ruo’s “M. Butterfly,” an adaptation of David Henry Hwang’s play of the same name, which rethinks Puccini’s opera via the lens of a real-lifeencounter between a French diplomat and a Chinese spy. The Tuscan-born Puccini’s themes of exoticism and orientalization will be repurposed by a composer born in the Chinese province of Hainan.

Read more at Washington Post

Do You Know These 7 Straight Plays With Opera Ties? by David Hwang

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The world of opera has plenty of connections to Broadway, but it's usually within the world of musical theatre. These seven straight plays break that mold, bringing bel canto, high notes, and that unmistakable theatricality to the theatre stage.

M. Butterfly by David Henry Hwang
The story of a Frenchman who falls in love with a male Peking opera singer disguised as a woman and becomes ensnared in an espionage plot sounds made up. But this Madama Butterfly-adjacent play is actually based on a true scandal that emerged in the ‘80s when authorities discovered evidence implicating the pair.

Read more at Playbill

This day in history by David Hwang

Happy Birthday David!!

Happy Birthday David!!

Playwright David Henry Hwang is 62. Actress Arlene Dahl is 94. Songwriter-producer Kenny Gamble is 76. Rock musician Jim Kale (Guess Who) is 76. Magazine columnist Marilyn Vos Savant is 73. Country singer John Conlee is 73. Singer Eric Carmen is 70. Computer scientist and Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak is 69. Wrestler-actor Hulk Hogan is 66. Singer Joe Jackson is 65. Actor Miguel A. Nunez Jr. is 60. Actress Viola Davis is 54. Actor Duane Martin is 54. Actor-host Joe Rogan is 52. Actress Anna Gunn is 51. Actress Ashley Jensen is 51. Actress Sophie Okonedo is 51. Rock guitarist Charlie Sexton is 51. Hip-hop artist Ali Shaheed Muhammad is 49. Actress Merritt Wever is 39. Actor Chris Hemsworth is 36. Rock musician Heath Fogg (Alabama Shakes) is 35. Singer J-Boog is 34. Actress Alyson Stoner is 26.

Read more at Boston Globe

6 Operas That Were Transformed Into Musicals by David Hwang

Heather Headley in  Aida  Joan Marcus

Heather Headley in Aida Joan Marcus

What 2017 Tony-nominated revival is based on a 1904 opera? Which musical adaptation earned Anika Noni Rose a 2019 Lucille Lortel Award?

When words fail in theatre, characters have no choice but to sing. For these six operatic masterpieces, the words had to be sung twice. From a gripping story of love and loss from Verdi to Puccini’s story of betrayal and tragedy, here are half a dozen operas that received a musical theatre makeover.

Aida into Aida
Giuseppe Verdi’s 1870 opera of forbidden love sees the Ethiopian princess, Aida, captured and held hostage by Egyptian officers who are unaware of her true identity. During her imprisonment, she and Radamès, an Egyptian soldier, fall in love, and are forced to choose between their hearts and their homes. In 1998, Elton John, Tim Rice, and book writers Linda Woolverton, Robert Falls, and David Henry Hwang adapted the tragic love story.

Read more at Playbill

Close the Curtain on ‘Miss Saigon’ by David Hwang


Why is a musical that perpetuates a Western fantasy of Asians as small, weak and effeminate people still so popular?

“Miss Saigon” is revived and on tour again, playing in a theater near me. This is exciting news for some fans of Broadway musicals, and for Asian and Asian-American actors with the chance for important roles. For others, to whom “Miss Saigon” perpetuates deeply held notions of Asian inferiority, this is bad news.

The playwright David Henry Hwang saw the absurdity of this story. His still-relevant play “M. Butterfly” precedes “Miss Saigon" but might as well be satirizing it, too.

Read more at The New York Times

Photo Coverage: First Look at Worthington Community Theatre's TARZAN by David Hwang


Based on Disney's epic animated musical adventure and Edgar Rice Burrough's Tarzan of the Apes, Tarzan features heart-pumping music by rock legend, Phil Collins, and a book by Tony Award-winning playwright, David Henry Hwang. High-flying excitement and hits, like the Academy Award winning "You'll Be in My Heart," as well as "Son of Man" and "Two Worlds," make Tarzan an unforgettable theatrical experience.

Washed up on the shores of West Africa, an infant boy is taken in and raised by gorillas who name him Tarzan. Apart from striving for acceptance from his ape father, Tarzan's life is mostly monkey business until a human expedition treks into his tribe's territory, and he encounters creatures like himself for the first time. Tarzan struggles to navigate a jungle, thick with emotion, as he discovers his animal upbringing clashing with his human instincts.

Read more at Broadway World

Stars on the Moon: 9 Shows to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Lunar Landing by David Hwang


From Spaceman Off-Broadway in 2019 to the Andy Warhol-produced Man on the Moon in the ‘60s, these cosmos-set shows are out of this world.

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 touched down on the moon and Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on it. To celebrate the anniversary, Playbill has gathered a list of space–related shows ranging from operas set on the moon to an Olivier Award–winning musical.

Read more about David Henry Hwang’s opera The Voyage at Playbill

Appleseed Community Theatre presents 'Tarzan' by David Hwang


Join the cast of Appleseed Community Theatre’s “Tarzan” for a jungle journey full of humor, heart and adventure, beginning July 19 at the Fine Arts Center, 1301 Lancer Boulevard in La Crescent.

Based on the epic Disney animated film and Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “Tarzan of the Apes,” the stage musical features the familiar music of Phil Collins and a book by Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang.

Read more at the La Crosse Tribune

American Theatre Wing Appoints Jane Chu, Clint Ramos and More to Board and Advisory Committee by David Hwang


The American Theatre Wing has announced new appointments to its Board of Trustees and Advisory Committee.

The American Theatre Wing Advisory Committee provides support and guidance to the Board and staff of the Wing as they implement the Organization's goals and objectives.

"I am thrilled that these remarkable individuals care so passionately about the American Theatre that they are joining the Wing's ranks, devoting their time, energy, and resources to help ensure excellence in our field," remarked David Henry Hwang, Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Read more at Broadway World

Music Critics Association of North America Best New Opera Award by David Hwang


Music Critics Association of North America (MCANA) announces that its 3rd Annual Award for Best New Opera has been given to composer and sound artist Ellen Reid and librettist Roxie Perkins for p r i s m.

p r i s m received its premiere as part of Los AngelesOpera's Off Grand series on November 29, 2018, commissioned and co-produced by Beth Morrison Projects. The opera, which addresses the psychological effects of surviving sexual assault, is a haunting, kaleidoscopic work of opera-theatre that traverses the elasticity of memory after trauma. Ellen Reid's music uses choral and orchestral manipulation to deliver an eerily distinct sonic world. This past April, Reid won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Music for prism.

Read more at Broadway World

Top 10 Upcoming Live-Action Disney Movies After Lion King by David Hwang

You may have noticed that Disney, might not be content with the success of its Pixar releases, Marvel movies, or Star Wars series, has started remaking its classic animated films in live-action form. Now with a winning formula, Disney has a ton of other live-action modifications in the works.

Read about Hunchback of Notre Dame and more at College Candy

16 Broadway Shows That Closed Before Opening by David Hwang

1993_03 Face Value 01.jpg

From ailing stars to jailed producers, the stories behind some of Broadway’s shortest runs are the stuff of legend.

We all know the Broadway shows that run for years and years, like The Phantom of the Opera or Chicago, but sometimes Broadway shows are more short-lived—sometimes they don’t even make it to opening night. As any theatre super-fan can tell you, some of Broadway’s shortest runs remain fans’ favorite shows, and catching a legendary production during a brief run can lead to major bragging rights in theatre circles.

Face Value
Began previews March 9, 1993
Closed March 14, after eight previews
David Henry Hwang’s first Broadway play, M. Butterfly, was quite a success when it opened on Broadway in 1988, winning the Tony Award for Best Play in 1989. Hwang reunited with Butterfly’s star, B.D. Wong, for Face Value in 1993, with Jane Krakowski and Mark Linn-Baker also among the cast. Loosely based on the controversy surrounding the casting of Miss Saigon on Broadway in 1991, Face Value was intended to be a farce about multi-racial casting, but critics in Boston didn’t find it very humorous. It ultimately lasted only eight performances on Broadway. The experience became the inspiration behind Hwang’s Yellow Face, which premiered in Los Angeles in 2007 before playing Off-Broadway at the Public Theater, where it won the Obie Award for Playwriting.

Read more at Playbill

Tarzan swings into Candlelight by David Hwang

Jane (Katie Jackson) and Tarzan (Barret Harper) touch hands in a scene from Candlelight Dinner Playhouse’s “Tarzan.” (Courtesy of Candlelight Dinner Playhouse)

Jane (Katie Jackson) and Tarzan (Barret Harper) touch hands in a scene from Candlelight Dinner Playhouse’s “Tarzan.” (Courtesy of Candlelight Dinner Playhouse)

“Tarzan” is one of the most famous stories in our history,” Arpan said. “It’s been translated into so many languages and globally it’s a very popular story.”

So when Arpan was brought on to direct a musical production of “Tarzan” at Johnstown’s Candlelight Dinner Playhouse, she decided to use it as an opportunity to determine what went wrong with the Broadway show—and how it could be corrected.

Read more at Times-Call

2019 Tony Nominating Committee additions by David Hwang


The Tony Awards Administration Committee has announced the nominating committee for the 2019-20 Broadway season. The Tony Awards are presented by the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.

The nominating committee attends all productions during the Broadway season and meets on the date designated by the administration committee to determine, by vote, the Tony Award nominees for that season. The 2019-20 committee of Tony mominators will include 54 members. Members of the committee serve a three-year term.

The nominating committee attends all productions during the Broadway season.

Read more at Theatremania

Asian American Arts Alliance Career Roundtable Event by David Hwang


The Asian American Arts Alliance announces the launch of a new initiative to support Asian Americans pursuing careers in the arts. Table Dish, A4's new professional development series, will bring experts in specific disciplines together with aspiring professionals in a roundtable setting to answer questions, provide advice, and create networking and mentoring opportunities.

Read more at Broadway World

Soft Power, The Visitor, and More Part of The Public's 2019–2020 Season by David Hwang


The Public Theater has unveiled its 2019–2020 season, which will launch this fall with the New York premiere of David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori's new musical-within-a-play, Soft Power. 

Kicking of the new season in September will be Soft Power, directed by Leigh Silverman with choreography by Sam Pinkleton. The show rewinds recent political history and plays it back, a century later, through the Chinese lens of a future, East-meets-West musical. The new collaboration from Tony-winning playwright Hwang (M. Butterfly) and Tony-winning composer Tesori (Fun Home) arrives Off-Broadway following a world premiere in Los Angeles and subsequent San Francisco production.

Read more at Playbill

Bid to Have Your Script or Play Reviewed by David Henry Hwang by David Hwang


Meet with and have your script or play reviewed by Tony Award winner, playwright/screenwriter David Henry Hwang.

David Henry Hwang's stage works include the plays M. Butterfly, Chinglish, Yellow Face, Kung Fu, Golden Child, The Dance and the Railroad, and FOB, as well as the Broadway musicals Aida(co-author), Flower Drum Song (2002 revival) and Disney's Tarzan.

Read more at Broadway World

Photo Flash: Ali Ewoldt, Ann Harada, David Henry Hwang And More Celebrate Jason Ma's GOLD MOUNTAIN In Salt Lake City by David Hwang


Zions Bank in partnership with Spike150, CRWDA and Ogden Musical Theatre presented Gold Mountain, written by 2017 ASCAP Foundation's Cole Porter Award recipient Jason Ma as a series of semi-staged concert performances at the Regent Street Black Box at The Eccles Theater in Salt Lake City and in partnership with Ogden Musical Theatre, at the historic Peery's Egyptian Theater in Ogden, May 8 - May 11.

See more at Broadway World

A paper son’s journey to Gold Mountain by David Hwang


The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once wrote, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

My journey to Promontory Summit in Utah to attend the Golden Spike’s 150th Anniversary began with a flight from Sea-Tac airport to Salt Lake City. The Golden Spike’s 150th events celebrate the contributions of the nearly 20,000 immigrant workers from different continents and cultures who helped to complete the first Transcontinental Railroad, nearly 150 years ago. Among them, historians estimate over 15,000 Chinese worked on the railroad during construction. The conference celebrating the Golden Spike’s 150th Anniversary was organized by the president of the Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association, Hon. Michael Kwan.

The week-long conference consisted of lectures, field trips, plays, and concerts that tell the story of the Chinese railroad workers. We attended “The Dance and the Railroad,” a play written by David Henry Hwang; “Gold Mountain,” a play written by Jason Ma; and “Salute to the American Dream: 150th Anniversary of the Golden Spike,” with the Tabernacle Choir and Utah Symphony at Temple Square, conducted by Mack Wilberg and featuring Brian Stokes Mitchell and Megan Hilty.

Read more at Northwest Asian Weekly

My CinemAsianAmerica by David Hwang

My CinemAsianAmerica.png

For a years, I’ve had the idea to publish a photo book with stills from my films. Finally, after making my 7th feature The Unbidden, I’ve decided to take the plunge. Because I wanted to have complete control of my publication and distribution, I decided to try to publish it on Blurb.

The majority of the creative work came in selecting the images and making them look good. I had a really fun and nostalgic time in digging out photos from my films with my first experimental feature Flow having made in 1995. The evolution of my feature films not only reminds me of my growth as a filmmaker but it reflects the technological evolution of filmmaking from analog to digital. I feel lucky to have gone through this 2-decade of artistic journey.

David Henry Hwang

Tony-winning author of M. Butterfly

“Director Quentin Lee has created cutting-edge artistic works that have been before their time, and Cinemasianamerica is a testament of his vision over the years. These images hold up in 2019 and document the expressive power of some of best-loved actors and writers in the Asian Pacific American community.”

Read more at Chopso