Nominations for the 2020 Drama Desk Awards

Outstanding Play
The Inheritance, by Matthew Lopez
Heroes of the Fourth Turning, by Will Arbery, Playwrights Horizons
Cambodian Rock Band, by Lauren Yee, Signature Theatre
Greater Clements, by Samuel D. Hunter, Lincoln Center Theater
Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven, by Stephen Adly Guirgis, Atlantic Theater Company/LAByrinth Theater Company

Outstanding Musical
A Strange Loop, Playwrights Horizons/Page 73 Productions
Octet, Signature Theatre
The Secret Life of Bees, Atlantic Theater Company
Soft Power, The Public Theater
The Wrong Man, MCC Theater Continue reading “Nominations for the 2020 Drama Desk Awards”

Nominations for 2020 Lucille Lortel Awards

Outstanding Play
BLKS Produced by MCC Theater Written by Aziza Barnes
Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven Produced by Atlantic Theater Company and LAByrinth Theater Company Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis
Heroes of the Fourth Turning Produced by Playwrights Horizons Written by Will Arbery
Is This A Room Produced by Vineyard Theatre Conceived by Tina Satter
Mrs. Murray’s Menagerie Produced by Ars Nova Created by The Mad Ones and Phillip James Brannon, Brad Heberlee, Carmen M. Herlihy, January LaVoy
 
Outstanding Musical

A Strange Loop Produced by Playwrights Horizons in association with Page 73 Productions. Book, Music, and Lyrics by Michael R. Jackson
In The Green Produced by Lincoln Center Theater/LCT3. Book, Music, and Lyrics by Grace McLean
Octet Produced by Signature Theatre. Book, Music, and Lyrics by Dave Malloy
Soft Power Produced by The Public Theater and Center Theatre Group Play and Lyrics by David Henry Hwang, Music and Additional Lyrics by Jeanine Tesori
The Secret Life of Bees Produced by Atlantic Theater Company Book by Lynn Nottage, Music by Duncan Sheik, Lyrics by Susan Birkenhead. Based on the novel by Sue Monk Kidd

Continue reading “Nominations for 2020 Lucille Lortel Awards”

Review: Chinglish, Park

“Are you a small fish or a big pond?”

David Henry Hwang’s Yellow Face was the first play mounted in the studio at the Park Theatre when it opened in 2013, so it feels apt that the playwright’s return to the venue sees him promoted to the main house for Chinglish. Seen on Broadway in 2011, it’s a more light-hearted take on East Asian issues than we are perhaps seeing in our theatres, or in the limited range of East Asian theatre that gets put on here I should say, and proves an enjoyable treat.

Riffing on the chuckles that come from mistranslated menus and signs (I swear, it is one of my favourite things to do in touristy abroad), Chinglish follows the efforts of an American businessman trying to break into the Chinese market by providing accurately translated signage. But the divide is a big one, linguistically and culturally, and as he searches for people to help in his negotiations, he learns that he can’t always trust the words coming out of their mouths.  Continue reading “Review: Chinglish, Park”

Review: Yellow Face, Park Theatre

“Nowadays, it’s so hard to tell”

London’s newest theatre opened its doors in Finsbury Park last week but the Park Theatre also has a more intimate studio and it is the UK premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Yellow Face that christens that space. Hwang was the first Asian-American to win a Tony for Best Play and so was a predictable figurehead for the 1990 protests against the casting of Jonathan Pryce in a Eurasian role in the Broadway production of Miss Saigon and it is this that forms the starting point for his play Yellow Face which questions ideas of race and identity and whether any such thing as a multicultural society can really exist when prejudices continue to weigh in from all sides.

Hwang uses his own experiences but also weaves elements of fiction into the play – the version of himself who is the lead character is (barely) renamed DHH – to create something of a fantasia, which allows him to heighten the absurdity of many of these situations whilst simultaneously maintaining the chilling realisation that most of it is not too far from reality. It’s a heady mixture and one which frequently pays off. The trickiness of dealing with the sensitive subject of race is tackled head on and with no little humour – trite aphorisms about tolerance and looking beneath the skin are constantly rehashed and recycled, even borrowing lyrics from an En Vogue song at one point, as the difficulties of verbalising what racial identity really means and just how important it actually is are thrown under the spotlight. Continue reading “Review: Yellow Face, Park Theatre”

Nominations for the 2012 Drama Desk Awards

Outstanding Play
David Henry Hwang, Chinglish
Dan LeFranc, The Big Meal
Members of the Plastic Theatre, Unnatural Acts
Itamar Moses, Completeness
Lynn Nottage, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark
Nina Raine, Tribes
Nicky Silver, The Lyons

Outstanding Musical
Bonnie & Clyde
Death Takes a Holiday
Leap of Faith
Newsies The Musical
Nice Work If You Can Get It
Once
Queen of the Mist Continue reading “Nominations for the 2012 Drama Desk Awards”