Yangtze Repertory Theatre Of America presents Forbidden City West
Forbidden City West is a Yangtze Repertory Theatre of America production presented by Theater For The New City of a new musical, Off-off Broadway at Theater For The New City, 155 First Avenue (bet. 9 & 10 St), NYC. It is directed by Joanna Chan, Yangtze Artistic Director. Previews begin June 13 and the opening is Wednesday, June 18, at 7:30pm. The new musical (in English with Chinese subtitles) has a score by Gregory Frederick with book and lyrics by Joanna Chan. The choreographer is David ChienHui Shen. The set design is by Martin Andrew Orlowicz; with costumes by Xu HouJian; lighting by Kathleen Dobbins; vocal coach is Richard Malone and the musical arranger is Tom Berger. It stars Debbie Wong (Hong Kong/Canada) and Ji Wang (HeNan, China) as the young and elder Jadin with: Richard Anthony, DeShen Cao, Kyle Cheng, Rachel Filsoof, Ron Flores, Daneile Gonzalez, Aki Goto, Carl Hsu, Gloria Lai, Ashley Liang, Rachel Lin, Sean Lin, Satomi Makida, Ruri Saito, Annie Qian, HaoWen Wang, and Alan Lei Zhou.
Forbidden City West is an original musical on 100 years of Chinese-American Experience through the life and times of legendary entertainer Jadin Wong. In 1940, she was featured in Life Magazine as the exotic star of the night club, The Forbidden City, in San Francisco. And into her 90's, she still headed her own talent agency for Asian performing artists in upper Manhattan. Married to the Broadway producer, Eddie Dowling, in the 1960s, Wong was dubbed 'the most photographed Chinese girl in the U.S.', her black and white photos with such Hollywood luminaries as Welles, Crosby, Powell, Hope, etc. graced numerous pages. Wong helped to create and popularize the 'dragon lady' image of the Chinese female in a long, tight gown, slits thigh high, and chopsticks in her hair--an image that became a fixation in the public imagination in the West. Wong's colorful life includes: jumping off a small military plane over the Black Forest, being found and brought to safety a few hours later, then going on stage to entertain two thousand American G.I.s in Austria; running away from home at age 14 to take dancing lessons; creating the 'dragon lady' image with the aid of her English dance teacher; and trying to restart her career as a stand-up comic. The fiesty young woman proved to be a peerless survivor, outlasting three husbands and braving the male-orientated Chinese community that condemned and ignored her, continuing to dispense advice today to scores of young Asian actors who are gradually gaining visibility. The musical is intercut with the dramantic changes in China as well as some of the reflections and dreams of living here in the US.
Yangtze Repertory Theatre of America was co-founded by Joanna Chan, Artistic Director, in 1992, to produce works for and by Asian artists. It has presented 76 events and has become New York's most significant entry points for dramatic works from Chinese-speaking countries. They are a place of collaboration for artists from various parts of Asia. Yangtze have been responsible for the NYC debuts of many notable artists, including Gao XingJian, the 2000 Nobel laureate in literature. While the company is more prolific in producing dramatic works, it also presents dance series, musical concerts and art exhibitions.
Forbidden City West performs Wednesday-Sunday at 7:30 pm through 7/2, with special performances Saturday 6/14 at 2:00 pm; Sunday 6/15 at 3:00 pm and Tuesday 7/1 at 7:30 pm. There is no Sunday 6/15 7:30 pm performance. Tickets are only $20 general admission and $15 seniors / students for the weekday (Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday) performances. They are $30 general admission; $20 seniors / students for the weekend (Friday, Saturday & Sunday). There will be a special 20% discount for all tickets purchased by Saturday, May 31st. There are discounts for groups of 10 or more. Tickets can be purchased at www.theaterforthenewcity.net; reserved at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 212-254-1109; 718-263-8829 (Chinese/English.)
This event is made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency; also with a grant from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; the Carnegie Corporation of New York; and the Asian American Arts Alliance.