David Henry Hwang
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About David Henry Hwang
David Henry Hwang is a playwright, screenwriter and librettist for musicals and operas. He is a Tony Award winner and three-time nominee, a three-time Obie Award winner, and a two-time Nominated Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. His plays include M. BUTTERFLY, CHINGLISH, GOLDEN CHILD, YELLOW FACE, THE DANCE AND THE RAILROAD and FOB. He wrote the script (or "book") for the Broadway musicals Elton John and Tim Rice's AIDA (co-author), which ran almost five years on Broadway, the revised FLOWER DRUM SONG, and DISNEY's TARZAN, with songs by Phil Collins. As America's most-produced living opera librettist, his works include four pieces with composer Philip Glass, as well as AINADAMAR (Osvaldo Golijov - winner of two 2007 Grammy Awards), THE SILVER RIVER (Bright Sheng) and ALICE IN WONDERLAND (Unsuk Chin). His first play, FOB, premiered in his lounge of his dormitory at Stanford University. Hwang penned the feature films M. BUTTERFLY, GOLDEN GATE, and POSSESSION (co-writer), and co-wrote the song "Solo" with composer/performer Prince. Recently, he won the 2011 PEN/Laura Pels Award for a Master American Dramatist, the 2012 Inge Award for Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre, and the 2012 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award. He is currently the Residency One Playwright at New York’s Signature Theatre, which is producing a season of his plays in 2012-13, including the premiere of his newest work, KUNG FU, inspired by the life of Bruce Lee. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, actress Kathryn Layng, and their children.
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Books By David Henry Hwang
"A brilliant play of ideas… a visionary work that bridges the history and culture of two worlds."—Frank Rich, New York Times
Based on a true story that stunned the world, and inspired by Giacomo Puccini's opera Madama Butterfly, M. Butterfly was an immediate sensation when it premiered in 1988. It opens in the cramped prison cell where diplomat Rene Gallimard is being held captive by the French government—and by his own illusions. He recalls a time when Song Liling, the beautiful Chinese diva, touched him with a love as vivid, as seductive—and as elusive—as a butterfly.
How could he have known that his true love was, in fact, a spy for the Chinese government—and a man disguised as a woman? The diplomat relives the twenty-year affair from the temptation to the seduction, from its consummation to the scandal that ultimately consumed them both.
M. Butterfly is one of the most compelling, explosive, and slyly humorous dramas ever to light the Broadway stage, a work of unrivaled brilliance, illuminating the conflict between men and women, the differences between East and West, racial stereotypes—and the shadows we cast around our most cherished illusions.
The original cast included John Lithgow as Gallimard and BD Wong as Song Liling. During the show's 777-performance run, David Dukes, Anthony Hopkins, Tony Randall, and John Rubinstein were also cast as Gallimard. Hwang adapted the play for a 1993 film directed by David Cronenberg, starring Jeremy Irons and John Lone.
TEXT OF THE ORIGINAL BROADWAY PRODUCTION
An exhilarating portrait of international icon Bruce Lee’s journey from troubled Hong Kong youth to martial arts legend, Kung Fu follows Lee as he struggles to prove himself as a fighter, a husband, a father, and a man. David Henry Hwang’s play fluidly blends dance, Chinese opera, martial arts, and drama into a bold new theatrical form.
"Marvelous . . . the conceit is elegantly of a piece, yet Hwang is able to keep turning it in on itself to reveal new ambiguities, absurdities, subversions and paradoxes."—Chicago Reader
"Hwang's plays collectively chart the evolving definition of what it is to be an 'American.' . . . His art has illuminated and anticipated our ongoing national story with a sensibility unlike any other in the American theater."—Frank Rich
Springing from the author's personal experiences in China over the past five years, Chinglish follows a Midwestern American businessman desperately seeking to score a lucrative contact for his family's firm as he travels to China only to discover how much he doesn't understand. Named for the unique and often comical third language that evolves from attempts to translate Chinese signs into English, Chinglish explores the challenges of doing business in a culture whose language—and ways of communicating—are worlds apart from our own. David Henry Hwang's "best new work since M. Butterfly, this shrewd, timely and razor-sharp comedy" (Chicago Tribune) received its Broadway premiere in fall 2011.
David Henry Hwang is the author of the Tony Award–winning M. Butterfly, the Pulitzer Prize–finalist Yellow Face, Golden Child, FOB, Family Devotions, and the books for musicals Aida (as co-author), Flower Drum Song (2002 Broadway revival), and Tarzan, among other works.
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“A thesis of a play, unafraid of complexities and contradictions, pepped up with a light dramatic fizz. It asks whether race is skin-deep, actable or even fakeable, and it does so with huge wit and brio.” -TimeOut London
“A pungent play of ideas with a big heart. Yellow Face brings to the national discussion about race a sense of humor a mile wide, an even-handed treatment and a hopeful, healing vision of a world that could be” –Variety
“It’s about our country, about public image, about face,” says David Henry Hwang about his latest work, a mock documentary that puts Hwang himself center stage. An exploration of Asian identity and the ever-changing definition of what it is to be an American, Yellow Face “is by turns acidly funny, insightful and provocative” (Washington Post).
The play begins with the 1990s controversy over color-blind casting for Miss Saigon before it spins into a comic fantasy, in which the character DHH pens a play in protest and then unwittingly casts a white actor as the Asian lead. Yellow Face also explores the real-life investigation of Hwang’s father, the first Asian American to own a federally chartered bank, and the espionage charges against physicist Wen Ho Lee. Adroitly combining the light touch of comedy with weighty political and emotional issues, Hwang creates a "lively and provocative cultural self-portrait [that] lets nobody off the hook” (The New York Times).
Throughout his career, David Henry Hwang has explored the complexities of forging Eastern and Western cultures in a contemporary America. Over the past twenty years, his extraordinary body of work has been marked by a deep desire to reaffirm the common humanity in all of us. This volume collects a generous selection of Mr. Hwang’s plays, including FOB, The Dance and the Railroad, Family Devotions, The Sound of a Voice, The House of Sleeping Beauties, The Voyage, Bondage, and Trying to Find Chinatown.
“A vivid, moving play in perfect command of its eternal theme of family and change.” –Wall Street Journal
“Written with insight, compassion, and a sharp eye for the unintended consequences of clashing cultures, Golden Child is one of Hwang’s best works, as entertaining as it is thought-provoking.” –Backstage
David Henry Hwang draws on the true stories told to him by his grandmother of his great-grandfather’s break with Confucian tradition by his conversion to Christianity, and the eventual unbinding of his daughter’s feet. A “skillfully-told story that engages the emotions as well as the brain,” Golden Child explores the impact of these decisions on each of his great-grandfather’s three wives, and succeeding generations (Entertainment Focus).
David Henry Hwang is the author of the Tony Award-winning M. Butterfly, Yellow Face (OBIE Award, 2008 Pulitzer Prize finalist), Golden Child (1997 OBIE Award), FOB (1981 OBIE Award), Family Devotions (Drama Desk nomination), and the books for musicals Aida ( co-author), Flower Drum Song (2002 Broadway revival), and Tarzan, among other works. David Henry Hwang graduated from Stanford University, attended the Yale School of Drama, and holds honorary degrees from Columbia College in Chicago and The American Conservatory Theatre. He lives in New York City with his wife, actress Kathryn Layng, and their children, Noah David and Eva Veanne.