Today for Throwback Thursday, Arts in Color looks back at the 1958 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Flower Drum Song. In reviews of the original 1958 production, Flower Drum Song was fairly criticized for perpetuating inaccurate stereotypes. Indeed, even the central conceit of the play, the picture bride, was wildly anachronistic for the 1950s. However, the production was also arguably groundbreaking for late 1950s Broadway. It was based on source material by a writer of Chinese origin (C.Y. Lee), it focused on a story-line about Asian American characters with no mediating white point-of-view character, and it featured actors of color in all except one principal role (that of nightclub owner and rival love interest Sammy Fong, played in yellow-face by Larry Blyden). Continue reading
On this THROWBACK THURSDAY, we are taking a look at one of renowned playwright David Henry Hwang’s greatest works: M. Butterfly. The gender-bending play inspired by Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly premiered on Broadway at the Eugene O’Neill Theater in 1988. John Lithgow starred as Rene Gallimard, a French civil servant working at the Embassy in China who falls in love with Chinese Opera singer Song Liling, played by B.D. Wong. Song, a man masquerading as a woman to serve as a spy, and Gallimard, carry on a 20 year affair with Gallimard believing Song is a woman. Gallimard is tried and sent to prison for treason, learning that his love is really a man. This play has received many awards and nominations, including the Tony for Best Play, Best Featured Actor in a Play (Wong), and Best Direction of a Play (John Dexter).
I had the wonderful opportunity to see David Henry Hwang’s latest work, Kung Fu, at Signature Theater this weekend, and I implore you to catch this evocative piece before it closes March 30th. The story of Bruce Lee is brought to the stage in this masterpiece filled with impressive choreography courtesy of Sonya Tayeh (“So You Think You Can Dance”), Hwang’s (M. Butterfly, Golden Child) writing workmanship, and direction by Leigh Silverman (Violet, Chinglish).
- Cinderella opens on Broadway today sans artists of color amongst its lead players with the exception of Ann Harada (makes ya think back to Disney’s multiracial cast in 1997 ::sigh::)- Playbill
- Quincy Tyler Bernstine will star in Public’s Neva, About Widow of Chekhov, beginning today-Playbill
- TimesTalks Will Feature a performance by Billy Porter and will Be Live-Streamed here–Playbill