The critically-acclaimed Off-Broadway premiere of Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord by NYTW Usual Suspect Kristina Wong, helmed by Obie Award winner and NYTW Usual Suspect Chay Yew (Oedipus El Rey) has been racking up awards this season, including being named a finalist for the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
“A humorous and moving performance piece detailing how the author became the founder of a homemade face mask operation in the early months of the COVID epidemic, reflecting on the significance of women of color performing an historically gendered and racialized form of labor at a time of rising anti-Asian bigotry.”
The production will run Sept. 20 through Oct. 16 at La Jolla Playhouse.
KRISTINA WONG, SWEATSHOP OVERLORD garnered a 2022 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Solo Show, a 2022 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Solo Performance.
Wong also received a 2022 EWP’s Vision Award, alongside Michelle Yeoh and Randy Tamura.
Additional nominations include a 2022 Off Broadway Alliance Award Nomination for Best Solo Performance, a 2022 Drama Desk Awards Nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance and a 2022 Drama Desk Awards Nomination for Outstanding Scenic Design for a Play for Junghyun Georgia Lee.
On Day 3 of the COVID-19 pandemic, NYTW Usual Suspect Kristina Wong began sewing masks out of old bedsheets and bra straps on her Hello Kitty sewing machine. Before long, she was leading the Auntie Sewing Squad, a work-from-home sweatshop of hundreds of volunteers-including children and her own mother-to fix the U.S. public health care system while in quarantine. It was a feminist care utopia forming in the midst of crisis. Or was it a mutual aid doomsday cult?
Kristina Wong is a performance artist, comedian, writer and elected representative who has been presented internationally across North America, the UK, Hong Kong and Africa. Her work has been awarded with grants from Creative Capital, The MAP Fund, Center for Cultural Innovation, National Performance Network, a COLA Master Artist Fellowship from the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, as well as nine Los Angeles Artist-in-Residence awards. Center Theatre Group honored her as the 2019 Sherwood Award. Her rap career in post-conflict Northern Uganda was the subject of The Wong Street Journal which toured the US, Canada and Lagos, Nigeria (presented by the US Consulate). Her long running show Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest looked at the high rates of depression and suicide among Asian American women and is now a concert film. Kristina currently serves as the elected representative of Wilshire Center Koreatown Sub-district 5 Neighborhood Council, the subject of her show Kristina Wong for Public Office. In the pandemic, the national tour of that show pivoted to streaming performances from her home and a professional recording for Center Theater Group’s Digital Stage where she is a member of the Creative Collective. As Overlord of the national mutual aid collective Auntie Sewing Squad, Kristina has deepened her practice as a performance artist neck-deep in doing the work of FEMA.
As the demand for masks abates and we begin to return safely to space, Kristina is beginning to put her life together post-pandemic cult leadership. With hilarity and boundless generosity, she invites the audience in on her work building community in isolation, while reflecting on what we’ve been through and imagining what we want to become.
Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord features scenic design by Junghyun Georgia Lee (The Chinese Lady), costume design by Linda Cho (The Great Society), lighting design by Amith Chandrashaker (The Lucky Ones), and sound design by Mikhail Fiksel (Dana H.), Projection Design by Caite Hevner, with Stage Management by Katie Ailinger (The Thanksgiving Play) and Joanne Pan.