Adventure Theatre MTC Celebrates API Heritage Month with Masterclass in Playwriting with Artistic Director Chil Kong and Tony Award & OBIE Award Winning Playwright David Henry Hwang on May 17

Adventure Theatre MTC is presenting a celebration of API Heritage with a full lineup of API Heritage Month storytimes, interviews, and digital presentations. These online events honor the creativity, tradition, and innovation of the Asian Pacific Islander population and focus upon the impact they continue to make daily through their art. All presentations are free and available streaming live on Facebook. Check out the Masterclass in Playwriting with Artistic Director Chil Kong and Tony Award & OBIE Award Winning Playwright David Henry Hwang on May 17 at 2pm.

On Sunday, May 31st, Adventure Theatre MTC will feature a digital presentation of David Henry Hwang’s The Dance and the Railroad.

This lineup brings out the rich cultural history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders as well as bringing to light the contemporary artists who are adding to our history as a society.

Says Artistic Director, Chil Kong, of the series, “The contribution of these authors and playwrights is immense for the next generation of artists, and it’s my honor and privilege to spend time learning and sharing their wisdom.”

To tune in throughout May or follow the events online, visit their Facebook Event Page.

Adventure Theatre MTC to Celebrate API Heritage Month with Tony Award Winner David Henry Hwang, Helena Ku Rhee, Diana Lee Inosanto, Vicky Fang, Jennifer Knight and Ginger Park 

David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

DAVID HENRY HWANG is best known as the author of M. BUTTERFLY, which won the 1988 Tony, Drama Desk, John Gassner, and Outer Critics Circle Awards, and was a Finalist for the 1989 Pulitzer Prize. It ran on London’s West End and has been produced in over three dozen countries. A revival, directed by Julie Taymor, starring Clive Owen and Jin Ha, ran on Broadway in 2017. Most recently, SOFT POWER, written with composer Jeanine Tesori, premiered at Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theatre, where it won six Ovation Awards, including Best New Production. Its subsequent run at the Public Theatre in NYC received four Outer Critics Honors, eleven Drama Desk Nominations, and was a Finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Drama.

His other major works include YELLOW FACE, which premiered at Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum and New York’s Public Theater, received a 2008 OBIE Award for playwriting and was a Finalist for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize; its London premiere at the Park Theatre in 2013 transferred to the National Theatre. In 2018, the NY Times named YELLOW FACE among the best American plays of the past 25 years. CHINGLISH premiered at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre and won a 2011 Jeff Award for Best New Work, before moving to Broadway, where it was named Best New American Play by Time Magazine. GOLDEN CHILD premiered Off-Broadway at the Public Theater, received a 1997 OBIE Award for playwriting and moved to Broadway, where it received three 1998 Tony Nominations, including Best New Play.

Other plays include FOB (1981 OBIE Award), THE DANCE & THE RAILROAD (1982 Drama Desk Nomination), FAMILY DEVOTIONS (1982 Drama Desk Nomination), THE HOUSE OF SLEEPING BEAUTIES (1983), THE SOUND OF A VOICE (1983), BONDAGE (1992), and KUNG FU (2014).

His Broadway musicals include a revision of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s FLOWER DRUM SONG, which earned him his third Tony nomination in 2003. Hwang co-wrote Disney’s international hit AIDA, with songs by Elton John and Tim Rice, which won four 2000 Tony Awards, as well as DISNEY’S TARZAN, with songs by Phil Collins, whose European production ran for twelve years. He is rewriting the book for a revival of AIDA, which will premiere in 2021.

Named America’s most-produced living opera librettist by Opera News, he has written five works with composer Philip Glass: 1000 AIRPLANES ON THE ROOF (1988), THE VOYAGE, which premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 1992, THE SOUND OF A VOICE (2003), and ICARUS AT THE EDGE OF TIME (2010); their latest collaboration, CIRCUS DAYS AND NIGHTS will premiere in 2021 in Sweden. AINADAMAR, with music by Osvaldo Golijov, won two 2007 Grammy Awards. Other operas include THE SILVER RIVER (1997), with music by Bright Sheng; ALICE IN WONDERLAND, with music by Unsuk Chin (2007 Opernwelt “World Premiere of the Year”); THE FLY (2008), with music by Howard Shore; DREAM OF THE RED CHAMBER (2017), with Sheng; and AN AMERICAN SOLDIER, with music by Huang Ruo, which was included in the NY Times’ Best of Classical Music of 2018.

Mr. Hwang penned the screenplays for M. BUTTERFLY (1993), GOLDEN GATE (1994), and POSSESSION (co-writer, 2002). With the late pop icon Prince, he co-wrote the song “Solo,” released on Prince’s 1994 gold album COME. Justin Lin’s YOMYOMF Network adapted YELLOW FACE into a full-length video for YouTube in 2013. From 2015-2019, Hwang worked as a writer and Consulting Producer for the Golden Globe-winning Best Television Drama THE AFFAIR. He is currently penning the live-action musical feature adaptation of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME for Disney Studios and a feature film to star actress Gemma Chan.

Mr. Hwang attended Stanford University and the Yale School of Drama, and holds honorary degrees from Columbia College, the American Conservatory Theatre, Lehigh University, the University of Southern California, SUNY Purchase, and Williams College. He serves on the board of the Lark Play Development Center and as Chair of the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards. Hwang is a Tony, Oscar, and Emmy Award voter. From 1994-2001, he sat by appointment of President Clinton on the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. In 1993, the nation’s oldest Asian American theatre, East-West Players in Los Angeles, christened its new mainstage the David Henry Hwang Theatre. The David Henry Hwang Society, devoted to the scholarly examination of his plays, was founded in 2016. Since 2014, he has been Associate Professor and Head of Playwriting at Columbia University School of the Arts.

Recent honors include his 2018 induction into the Theatre Hall of Fame, a Ford Foundation “Art of Change” Award in 2015, the 2015 ISPA Distinguished Artist Award, a 2014 Doris Duke Artist Award, the 2012 Steinberg “Mimi” Award, and the 2011 PEN/Laura Pels Award for a Master American Dramatist. He was the Residency One Playwright at New York’s Signature Theatre, which produced a season of his plays from 2012-14.

David Henry Hwang lives in Brooklyn with his wife, actress Kathryn Layng. They are the proud parents of two young adults, Noah David and Eva Veanne.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

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