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It's OK to be Wrong and/or It's OK to be Hwang
Presentations of idiosyncratic history pageants with a sense of humor and musicality
A Creative Soul, Successful Playwright, Screenwriter and Librettist with All the Work He can Handle


In a L.A. Times article, you've stated that reporters always ask "Was it an Asian role? How do you feel about interracial casting?' - and it's something that I'm very ready to talk about, because I'll be living that the rest of my career" - I would like to extend an open invitation to share your thoughts for your audiences, the entertainment industry and the many aspiring Asian/Asian Pacific American artists who regard you as an important role model that inspires them and to pattern their upcoming careers.

US ASIANS: For aspiring Asian/Asian Pacific American actors, do you feel that past pioneers such as Anna May Wong, Philip Ahn, Sessue Hayakawa and Bruce Lee are important to know and to learn from?



Mercury News' Marian Liu reports that "For Asian-Americans, the move toward entertainment careers has been a recent one, stretching the past 40 years, starting with such stereotypical films as the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "Flower Drum Song." For more information, click HERE.

(Note: This "stereotypical film" was based on the first Chinese American novel to be published by an established publishing house, the first Chinese American novel to be on the best-seller list, the first Broadway/major movie studio production to feature, star and about Asian Americans, the female stars of the Broadway show -- Pat Suzuki and Miyoshi Umeki -- became the first Asian Americans to be on the cover of Time and Newsweek and the film that launched the careers of Miyoshi Umeki, Jack Soo, James Shigeta, and Nancy Kwan.)

  Anna May Wong    Philip Ahn   Keye Luke in his earlier days   Sessue Hayakawa Picture

EDITOR'S NOTE: Sadly, it seems that the above-listed writer (along with many within the Asian/Asian Pacific American communities) have forgotten the achievements and victories of past entertainment pioneers in the 1920's (some of the pioneers are listed on the "left") and the various non-stereotypical milestones seen in the movie "Flower Drum Song."


US ASIANS: Recognizing that on April 8, 1990, Lea Salonga became the first Asian actor to win a Laurence Olivier Award for "Best Actress in a Musical Performance" - why do think that it took so long and do you feel that you are a role model for other Asian/Asian Pacific American actors?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: Many things in the stars have to align correctly to produce a breakthrough performance that is recognized as such by critics and the public. Yes, there were very few opportunities for Asian actors to take a leading role in a musical prior to "Saigon," and certainly not in a show that ended up becoming such a major hit.

US ASIANS: Regarding your views that there shouldn't be "minority roles" - wouldn't it be wonderful to have theatrical productions based on the many stories from the broad spectrum of ethnic communities (that include the many Asian Pacific American communities) that reside within the United States?

Working Asian American Artists in Hollywood
Read about their struggles by clicking HERE

US ASIANS: Recognizing that "To create something new, you must first love what is old" - whom with the Asian/Asian Pacific American theatrical scene do you feel will be creating something new and exciting that will represents the entire multi-ethnic communities?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: I'm not sure who specifically will achieve this, but I do believe that Chay Yew has his finger more on the pulse of current APA theatre than probably anyone else in the country.

US ASIANS: What are your criteria of the event and/or organization that would be major factors in your decision of which organizations to support or participate such as East West Players, etc.?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: Most all of these organizations are worthwhile, it's merely an issue of my time and resource limitations.

US ASIANS: As an extension of your commitment to the recognition of the best that are artists of Asian descent in the entertainment industry, which people have provided you with the greatest joy as the result of their success?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: Ang Lee, especially "Crouching Tiger" and "Brokeback;" "Better Luck Tomorrow;" Joan Chen, especially "Xiu Xiu;" John Woo, especially the HK movies; Chow Yun-Fat; Jin; and (a guilty pleasure) "Mulan."

US ASIANS: What are your thoughts on the success of fast-rising and prominent Asian/Asian Pacific American executives such as

  • Darlene Chan (producer of the Playboy Jazz Festival, Verizon Music Festival, Sammy Davis Show, Mercedes-Benz Music Festival,
  • Ken Mok (producer of UPN's successful television program "Top Model" - along with having been ABC's Director of Comedy Development and Vice-President of MTV Television Productions and
  • Andee Kuroda/Jay Karas (producer of Osbourne Family Christmas Special/MTV, Exposed/Bravo, Young Hollywood Awards/AMC, 51st Annual Emmy Awards/FOX, Dixie Chicks' 2004 Top of the World Tour and Paul McCartney's 2004 World Tour).

DAVID HENRY HWANG: It's certainly fantastic that so many APA executives are moving up. Let's not forget, though, that Chris Lee was once President of Production at Tri-Star, and other pioneers such as Bonni Lee and Teddy Zee.

US ASIANS: From East West Players, Golden Ring Awards, Concert of Excellence, CAPE, FAAIM, AAA Celebrations ("Hollywood's Celebration of Asian American Artistry") and other organizations (list of additional resources can be found at US Asians' "Resource Page") that advocate the integration of Asian/Asian Pacific American talents in the entertainment industry - what does each organization provide to the communities?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: While all of these organizations are important, I think the community is still evolving and that only recently has the APA presence in entertainment achieved sufficient momentum to really support a range of awards. Eventually, I think the number of award ceremonies will cull down, and that maybe two or three will remain and establish themselves as the dominant events for recognizing achievement in our community.

US ASIANS: Which award was the most rewarding - career-wise and/or brought wide-spread recognition within the general public?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: I don't think any of these awards at this point bring wide-spread recognition within the general public, although one has recently generated controversy by being derided on a radio talk show, which I suppose is one way of achieving visibility! Eventually, however, some award will be generally recognized, as are the GLAAD Awards.

US ASIANS: What new directions do you hope that Asian Pacific American theatre organizations such as 2nd Generation, East West Players, Lodestone Theater Group, etc. would pursue in the near future?

DAVID HENRY HWANG: I think there's a vast untapped yet accomplished body of South Asian work from Britain which should be produced in the US, and might even attract an audience.

Read David's final thoughts on diversity by clicking HERE.

Discover David's Viewpoints on the Wide Spectrum of Subjects by Clicking on the Below-Listed Links

Authenticity vs. Stereotypes
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1000 Airplanes on the Roof
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