Ma-Yi Theater Company and The Public Theater are presenting THE CHINESE LADY, written by Lloyd Suh and directed by Obie Award-winning Ralph B. Peña. THE CHINESE LADY will begin performances in The Public’s Shiva Theater with a Joe Papp Free Preview Performance on Wednesday, February 23 and will run through Sunday, March 27. The official press opening is on Tuesday, March 8.
The full cast includes Daniel K. Isaac (Atung) and Shannon Tyo (Afong Moy). Both are reprising their roles from the 2018 Ma-Yi Theater Company production at Beckett Theater (Theater Row). During select performances, Cindy Im will play Afong Moy and Jon Norman Schneider will play Atung. Visit publictheater.org for the performance calendar and more details.
Inspired by the true story of the first Chinese woman to step foot in America, Lloyd Suh’s critically-acclaimed play, THE CHINESE LADY, is a tale of dark poetic whimsy and a unique portrait of the United States as seen through the eyes of a young Chinese girl. In 1834, 16-year-old Afong Moy sailed into New York Harbor and was immediately put on display for a paying public who were mesmerized by her exotic ways and horrified by her tiny bound feet. As audiences follow Moy’s travels through America as a living exhibit for decades, THE CHINESE LADY shares her impressions of a young country struggling with how to define itself.
THE CHINESE LADY will feature scenic design by Junghyun Georgia Lee, costume design by Linda Cho, lighting design by Jiyoun Chang and Elizabeth Mak, sound design and original music by Fabian Obispo, and projection design by Shawn Duan. Maggie Manzano will serve as the production stage manager and Brody Thrash as the stage manager.
This production marks the second collaborative production between Ma-Yi Theater Company and The Public Theater following a successful run of Teenage Dick by Mike Lew in 2018. The Public is proud to be presenting this important story onstage and continues to honor and celebrate Ma-Yi’s important mission of providing a home for Asian American artists, while producing theater that breaks boundaries.
Playwright Lloyd Suh is the author of Charles Francis Chan, Jr...; American Hwangap; The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go!; Jesus in India and others; produced with Ma-Yi, The Play Company, Ensemble Studio Theare, Magic Theatre, Denver Center and more, including internationally at the Cultural Center of The Philippines in Manila, and with PCPA in Seoul, Korea. He has received support from the NEA, Mellon Foundation, NYFA, NYSCA, Jerome, TCG, The Roe Green Award from Cleveland Play House and NYCT’s Helen Merill Award. He is an alum of EST’s Youngblood and the Soho Rep Writer Director Lab, and from 2005-2010 served as Artistic Director of Second Generation and Co-Director of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab. He has served since 2011 as Director of Artistic Programs at The Lark, and since 2016 as a member of the Dramatists Guild Council.
Director Ralph B. Peña: Recent Off-Broadway: The Chinese Lady, Among The Dead, House/Rules, and Wong Kids in The Secret of the Space Chupacabra, Go! Ralph has been Ma-Yi Theater’s Artistic Director since 1996, and has been instrumental in establishing Ma-Yi Theater Company as the country’s leading incubator of new works by Asian American playwrights, reaping numerous Obie and Drama Desk Awards, a Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical (KPOP), and most recently, the 2018 Ross Wetzsteon Obie Award. Apart from Ma-Yi Theater, his work has been seen on the stages of Ensemble Studio Theater, the Public Theater, Long Wharf Theater, Victory Gardens, Laguna Playhouse, Children’s Theater Company, and La Mama ETC, to name a few. This is for Damien, always and forever.
Daniel K. Isaac (Atung) he/him. Isaac’s Public Theater credits include La Divina Caricatura (Under the Radar Festival 2013). He has performed Off-Broadway in You Never Touched the Dirt (Clubbed Thumb), The Chinese Lady (Ma-Yi), The Gentleman Caller (Abingdon), Sagittarius Ponderosa (NAATCO), Underland (59E59), La Divina Caricatura (La MaMa & St. Ann’s), and Anna Nicole the Opera (BAM). Isaac’s regional credits include The Chinese Lady (Barrington Stage), The Ballad of Little Jo (Two River), and Miss Electricity (La Jolla Playhouse). His film/TV credits are six seasons as Ben Kim on “Billions” (Showtime); The Drummer (opposite Danny Glover); “The Expecting” (Quibi); “The Deuce;” “Crashing;” Too Big To Fail (HBO); Money Monster (dir. Jodie Foster); “The Jim Gaffigan Show” (TV LAND); “Person of Interest” (CBS); and Jeremy on “The Other Two” (Comedy Central). He is a graduate of USCD and BADA. DanielKIsaac.com
Shannon Tyo (Afong Moy) she/her. Tyo’s Off-Broadway credits include The Chinese Lady (Ma-Yi), Kentucky (EST), and Bikeman (Tribeca PAC). Select regional credits include The Good Book (Berkeley Rep), Fun Home (Baltimore Center Stage), Broadway Bounty Hunter (Barrington Stage), Smart People (Geva Theatre), Bright Half Life (Kitchen Theatre), The White Snake (The Old Globe), Miss Saigon (Pioneer Theatre, Music Theatre Wichita), and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Northern Stage). Tyo has appeared on “30 Rock” (NBC), “The Last O.G.” (TBS), and “Rediscovering Christmas” (Lifetime). Her audio credits include The MS Phoenix Rising (Playwrights Horizons), antarctica (Two River Theater), Half the Sky (5th Avenue Theater), The Girl from the Sea (2021 SOVAS Award, Audiobook Narration), and Vancouver (Ma-Yi). shannon-tyo.com
Jon Norman Schneider (Atung Alternate) he/him. Schneider has previously performed at The Public Theater in Awake & Sing! (with NAATCO) and Durango. Other New York credits include the title role in Henry VI Parts 1-3 (NAATCO), Lunch Bunch (Clubbed Thumb), The Oldest Boy (LCT), Queens Boulevard (the musical) (Signature), A Map of Virtue (13P), among others. Regionally, Schneider has performed at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Alley, Alliance, Barrington Stage Company, Dorset Theatre Festival, the Goodman, the Huntington, Kennedy Center, Long Wharf Theatre, Magic, McCarter, Milwaukee Rep, Mosaic, Northern Stage, and The Old Globe. His film credits include Bitter Melon, Manila Is Full of Men Named Boy, The Normals, and HBO’s Angel Rodriguez. Selected TV credits are “The Endgame,” “Succession,” “Jessica Jones,” “Veep,” “30 Rock,” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.”
Cindy Im (Afong Moy Alternate) she/her. Im’s international theater credits include 11 Septembre 2001 (Theatre Dijon Bourgogne/REDCAT Center for New Performance). She has performed Off-Broadway in The World of Extreme Happiness (Manhattan Theatre Club). Im’s regional credits include Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, Julius Caesar, Great Expectations, The Winter’s Tale (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Vietgone, The Orphan of Zhao, Stuck Elevator, 4000 Miles (American Conservatory Theater); The Orphan of Zhao (La Jolla Playhouse); Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley (Marin Theatre Company); Twelfth Night (California Shakespeare Theater); The Snow Queen (San Jose Repertory Theatre); The World of Extreme Happiness (Goodman Theatre); and Measure for Measure (Seattle Shakespeare Company). She has appeared on television on “Manifest” (NBC) and in the film Tigertail (Netflix).
Effective January 21, 2022, until further notice, The Public will require proof of a complete COVID-19 vaccination AND proof of a booster dose (for those eligible in accordance with CDC guidelines) by the date of attendance for access to the facility, theaters, and restaurant. Approved face masks will be required at all times, including while watching a performance, with exceptions for attendees in Joe’s Pub and The Library at The Public, who are actively eating and drinking. For complete health and safety protocols, visit Safe At The Public.
The Library at The Public will reopen on January 22, serving food and drink Tuesday through Sunday beginning at 5:00 p.m. and closing at midnight. The Library will be closed on Mondays. For more information, visit publictheater.org.
Lia Chang loves to tell stories – as an actor, a multi-media content producer, a performing arts photographer and an award-winning filmmaker. A co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, Lia makes films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, and The Last Dragon. She stars in and is the Executive Producer for the indie films Hide and Seek (AA Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Best Actress Nomination), Rom-Com Gone Wrong, and When the World Was Young (2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative). Lia made her stage debut as Liat in a national tour of South Pacific with Barbara Eden and Robert Goulet, and was featured as Joy in Signature Theatre’s revival of Sam Shepard’s Chicago, and has worked extensively Off-Broadway. Photo archives: Lia Chang Theater Portfolio collection,1989-2011, housed in the AAPI collection in the Library of Congress’ Asian Reading Room; Lia Chang Photography Collection in The Billy Rose Theatre Division of the New York Public Library. Awards: 2000 OCA Chinese American Journalist Award, the 2001 AAJA National Award for New Media. Lia is an AAJA Executive Leadership Graduate (2000), a Western Knight Fellow at USC’s Annenberg College of Communications for Specialized Journalism on Entertainment Journalism in the Digital Age (2000), a National Press Photographers Association Visual Edge/Visual Journalism Fellow at the Poynter Institute for New Media (2001), a Scripps Howard New Media Fellow at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism (2002), and a National Tropical Garden Environmental Journalism Fellow (2003). BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. www.liachang.com, www.liachangphotography.com
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