Signature Theatre Announces Supplemental Programming for THE DANCE AND THE RAILROAD
Signature Theatre has announced that their "The World of the Play" series continues with a discussion of the history and current conditions of Chinese laborers, inspired by David Henry Hwang's THE DANCE AND THE RAILROAD, now playing in The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center. The panel of experts will reflect on the history, impact, and discrimination faced by Chinese laborers in the United States, and the issues facing these laborers today, both in the United States and in China.
This will take place on Saturday, March 9 from 4-5:30pm in The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre. The event is free and open to the general public. Reservations are not required.
Background information on the moderator and panelists:
BRIAN PHILLIPS (moderator) is Co-Editor of The Journal of Human Rights Practice, published by Oxford University Press. He is an independent human rights consultant, most recently for Equitas (formerly Canadian Human Rights Foundation), Amnesty International, the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, and the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers. From 2003 until 2006, he was Chair of the Oxford Brookes University MA program in Humanitarian and Development Practice and he worked for eleven years as a campaigner and educator for Amnesty International in London. During 2001-2002, he was a Joseph Rowntree Quaker Fellow (Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, UK).
MARK BARENBERG (panelist) is a Professor of Law at Columbia University. He specializes in labor and constitutional law, with a particular focus on labor rights in the global economy. Professor Barenberg has done field research on the lives of workers in China's export factories, and on immigrant Chinese workers in the New York economy. He has been a visiting professor at Beijing University, as well as Yale University, Tokyo University, and the European University Institute. He has served as a consultant on international labor rights for the United Nations, the Obama Administration, state and local governments, labor unions, and human rights organizations.
David Henry Hwang (panelist) was awarded the 1988 Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics, and John Gassner Awards for his Broadway debut, M. Butterfly, which was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. For his play Golden Child, he received a 1998 Tony nomination and a 1997 OBIE Award. His new book for Rodgers & Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song earned him his third Tony nomination in 2003. His play Yellow Face won a 2008 OBIE Award for Playwriting and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His most recent work, Chinglish, won a 2011 Chicago Jeff Award, before moving to Broadway, where it received a 2012 Drama Desk Nomination. Other plays include FOB, The Dance and the Railroad, Family Devotions, The Sound of a Voice and Bondage. He co-authored the book for Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida, which ran almost five years on Broadway, and was the book writer of Disney's Tarzan, with songs by Phil Collins. Recently, Hwang won the 2011 PEN/Laura Pels Award for a Master American Dramatist, the 2012 Inge Award for Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre, and the 2012 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award.
STANLEY MARK (panelist) is Senior Staff Attorney at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF). He conducts and coordinates community education and free legal rights clinics for immigrant families seeking legal advice on a range of immigration and citizenship matters. He is co-founding member of the Beyond Ground Zero Network, a community based coalition that is advocating for medical treatment, health insurance coverage, and research studies for community residents living in the Lower East Side and Chinatown. His former clients also include Chinese and Korean garment and restaurant workers seeking the minimum wage, overtime pay, and the recovery of their tips.
JACK (JOHN KUO WEI) TCHEN (panelist) is a historian, dumpster diver, and cultural activist analyzing and redressing the impacts of racial exclusion in NYC and the U.S. He is founding director of the A/P/A (Asian/Pacific/American) Studies Program and Institute at New York University. In 1980, he co-founded the Museum of Chinese in America where he continues to serve as senior historian. He is author of the award-winning books New York before Chinatown: Orientalism and the Shaping of American Culture, 1776-1882 and Genthe's Photographs of San Francisco's Old Chinatown, 1895-1905. Forthcoming is 'Yellow Peril': A Critical Archive of Essays, Documents, Images (Verso). He is currently working on an exhibition, film, and book on the history and legacy of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act with the New-York Historical Society.
Just as the layout of The Pershing Square Signature Center encourages a dialogue between different plays and audiences, supplemental programs like World of the Play invite theatregoers to go deeper into the world of a play, and the world of the artists behind it.