This May, in celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Village Theatre has curated information on AAPI theatre artists who have contributed to the repertoire and advancement of American-theatre throughout history. We hope you enjoy reading about these artists as much as we enjoyed writing about them!
David Henry Hwang
David Henry Hwang has been described by the New York Times as “a true original,” and by Time Magazine as “the most important dramatist of American public life since Arthur Miller.” He is a Tony Award winner (for M. Butterfly) and nominee (for Flower Drum Song and Golden Child) , and a three-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize (for M. Butterfly, Yellow Face, and Soft Power). He is also the most produced living American opera librettist. David was born in Los Angeles in 1957, the only son and oldest of three siblings to parents of Chinese heritage. While a student at Stanford University, he produced his first play, “FOB” (Fresh Off the Boat) in 1979, which won an Obie Award for best new American play. After graduating from Stanford, David enrolled in the Yale School of Drama for a year. During that year, he wrote two short plays, The Dance and the Railroad and The House of Sleeping Beauties. David is probably best known as the author of M. Butterfly, inspired by the opera Madame Butterfly and based on a true story about a French diplomat and a Chinese spy. M. Butterfly garnered him a Tony Award in 1988 as well as a Drama Desk Award, a John Gassner Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award and it was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. M. Butterfly has gone on to be staged in over four dozen countries, was made into a movie, and revived on Broadway in 2017 with Julie Taymor as director. In 2011, his play Chinglish, written in English and Mandarin, premiered on Broadway and was named Best New American Play by Time Magazine. David also co-wrote the book for Aida, wrote the book for the original musical-comedy version of Tarzan and, more recently, a writer and consulting producer for the Golden Globe-winning TV series The Affair.