David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish is Broadway Bound this Fall; Goodman Theatre Photo Feature

Posted by Lia Chang

Xu Yan (Jennifer Lim) meets with Daniel (James Waterston) to further discuss his business proposal. credit: Eric Y. Exit

Xu Yan (Jennifer Lim) meets with Daniel (James Waterston) to further discuss his business proposal. credit: Eric Y. Exit

Chinglish, the critically acclaimed new comedy by Tony Award-winning and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly), will make its Broadway premiere in the Fall of 2011 at a Shubert Theatre to be announced, following its world premiere production at Goodman Theatre in Chicago this summer. Casting for the Broadway show will be announced soon.

“This is a very funny, very timely play,” said producer Jerry Frankel. “Jeffrey Richards and I are thrilled to bring David Henry Hwang back to Broadway.”


“This is a very funny, very timely play,” said producer Jerry Frankel. “Jeffrey Richards and I are thrilled to bring David Henry Hwang back to Broadway.”

 Peter (Stephen Pucci) offers himself as a business consultant to help Daniel (James Waterston) pitch his signage company in China. credit: Eric Y. Exit

Peter (Stephen Pucci) offers himself as a business consultant to help Daniel (James Waterston) pitch his signage company in China. credit: Eric Y. Exit

Chinglish is about the unpredictable complications that ensue when an American businessman, despite his self-possessed cultural ignorance, seeks to expand his market by forging a relationship with government officials in a major Chinese city. Although he has hired an Australian entrepreneur who has lived in China to assist him, he soon finds that the complexities of such a venture far outstrip the expected differences in language, customs and manners – and calls into questions even the most basic assumptions of human conduct.

Zhao (Christine Lin) translates between (l to r) Judge Xu Geming (Johnny Wu), Prosecutor Li (Angela Lin), Daniel (James Waterston) and Xu Yan (Jennifer Lim). credit: Eric Y. Exit

Zhao (Christine Lin) translates between (l to r) Judge Xu Geming (Johnny Wu), Prosecutor Li (Angela Lin), Daniel (James Waterston) and Xu Yan (Jennifer Lim). credit: Eric Y. Exit


“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,” said playwright David Henry Hwang. “Chinglishwas born from the many visits I’ve made to China over the past five or six years to witness the exciting changes there. During one visit, I toured a new arts center where everything was first-rate—except for the ridiculously translated English signs. It was at that moment that I thought of writing this play.”

Leigh Silverman, who directed Lisa Kron’s Well on Broadway and who just won a 2011 OBIE Award for directing both Go Back To Where You Are and In The Wake, will return to direct the Broadway production.

 Peter (Stephen Pucci) confronts Xu Yan (Jennifer Lim) and Daniel (James Waterston). credit: Eric Y. Exit

Peter (Stephen Pucci) confronts Xu Yan (Jennifer Lim) and Daniel (James Waterston). credit: Eric Y. Exit

Chinglish is currently running at Goodman Theatre where it began performances on June 18th, officially opened on June 27th and will run through July 24th. The cast includes James Waterston as Daniel, a Midwestern American businessman desperately looking to score a lucrative contact for his family’s sign-making firm who travels to the provincial capital of Guiyang, only to learn how much he doesn’t understand; Stephen Pucci as Peter, his Australian-born consultant who may be a fraud, Jennifer Lim as Xu Yan, the beautiful, seemingly supportive government official who talks the talk, Larry Zhang as Cai Guoliang, the Minister of Culture in Guiyang; Angela Lin as Miss Qian, a translator, and Prosecutor Li, a government official that Daniel is trying to convince to give him the contracts to make the translated signs for Guiyang, a city in China; Christine Lin as the Minister’s translator, Mrs. Zhao; and Johnny Wu as Judge Xu Geming and Bing.

The design team for Chinglish includes Set Designer David Korins (Broadway: Lombardi, Passing Strange), Costume Designer Anita Yavich (Broadway: Anna in the Tropics), Lighting Designer Brian MacDevitt (Goodman: Long Day’s Journey into Night).

The Broadway production will be produced by Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Roy Gottlieb, Barry & Carole Kaye and David and Barbara Stoller in association with Goodman Theatre.

Chinglish has been developed in association with The Public Theater.

David Henry Hwang Photo by Lia Chang

David Henry Hwang Photo by Lia Chang

DAVID HENRY HWANG’S plays include M. Butterfly (1988 Tony Award, 1989 Pulitzer Prize Finalist), Golden Child (1998 Tony Award nomination, 1997 OBIE Award), Yellow Face (2008 OBIE Award, 2008 Pulitzer Prize Finalist), FOB (1981 OBIE Award), The Dance and the Railroad (1982 Drama Desk Award nomination), Family Devotions (1982 Drama Desk Award nomination) and Bondage. He wrote the libretti for the Broadway musicals Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida (co-author), Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Flower Drum Song (revival, 2002 Tony Award nomination) and Disney’s Tarzan. In opera, his libretti include four works with composer Philip Glass: The Voyage (Metropolitan Opera), 1000 Airplanes on the Roof, Sound and Beauty (seen in Chicago at the Court Theatre), and Icarus at the Edge of Time; as well as Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar (two 2007 Grammy Awards), Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland (Opernwelt 2007 “World Premiere of the Year”) and Howard Shore’s The Fly. Hwang penned the feature films “M. Butterfly,” “Golden Gate” and “Possession” (co-author), and co-wrote the song “Solo” with Prince. He sits on the Council of the Dramatists Guild, and served by appointment of President Clinton on the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

Chinglish director Leigh Silverman © Lia Chang

Chinglish director Leigh Silverman © Lia Chang

LEIGH SILVERMAN Previous Broadway: Lisa Kron’s Well. Recent world premieres: In The Wake (Center Theatre Group/Berkeley Repertory Theatre and The Public Theatre; OBIE Award, Lortel Nomination); Go Back To Where You Are (Playwrights Horizons:
OBIE Award); From Up Here (MTC; Drama Desk Nomination); Coraline (MCC/True Love); Beebo Brinker Chronicles (Hourglass Group/ 37 Arts); Creature (New Georges/P73); Hunting and Gathering (Primary Stages); Well (The Public Theater, The Huntington Theatre and ACT); The Retributionists (Playwrights Horizons); Blue Door (Playwrights Horizons and Seattle Repertory Theatre); Oedipus At Palm Springs (NYTW); Jump/Cut (Woolly Mammoth Theatre/Theater J and Women’s Project); also Danny and the Deep Blue Sea (Second Stage Theatre). West End: Wit (Vaudeville Theatre). This marks Leigh’s second premiere production of a work by David Henry Hwang having previously directed Yellow Face at the Center Theater Group and The Public Theater.

Chinglish
Goodman Theatre
170 North Dearborn
Tickets are tickets are $25 – $73 (prices are subject to change) and can be purchased at GoodmanTheatre.org, at the box office (170 N. Dearborn) or by phone: 312.443.3800.

David Henry Hwang Articles:
Photos: Playwright David Henry Hwang in rehearsal at the Goodman Theatre for World Premiere of Chinglish
Judges for 2010-2011 Village Voice Obie Awards include Feingold, Soloski, Als, Hwang, Yionoulis and Propst; Ceremony on 5/16
Yellow Face Reading & Book Signing w/ David Henry Hwang, Kathryn Layng, Francis Jue, w/ guest Edward Albee David Henry Hwang, Francis Jue, Kathryn Layng and Edward Albee: YELLOW FACE Reading Book Signing at The Drama Book Shop on 12/10
Multimedia: George Takei, Nancy Kwan, Lisa Lu and Tsai Chin attend Hollywood Chinese: The Arthur Dong Collection Exhibition Opening Night
The Chinese American Museum partners with Academy award nominated filmmaker Arthur Dong on a groundbreaking exhibition about Hollywood’s forgotten past
David Henry Hwang’s YELLOW FACE Starring Francis Jue, Pub Bandu and Thomas Azar at Theatreworks through 9/20
In Arthur Dong’s Hollywood Chinese, Chinese Tinseltown Tales told by Asian Silver Screen Icons
David Henry Hwang, Kathryn Layng and BD Wong at the Asian American Writers Workshop Literary Awards
Nothing is Sacred in David Henry Hwang’s Comedy of Mistaken Racial Identity
Francis Jue, At Home on the Stage
Flower Drum Song: An American Story