New York Premiere of Chinese Classic ROMANCE OF THE WESTERN CHAMBER Opens Tonight
Bob Ost of Wildly Productive Productions and Xoregos Performing Company, have announced the complete casting for the N.Y. premiere of Romance of the Western Chamber, a musical adaptation (in English) of the fabled Chinese classic Xi Xiang Ji.
Previously produced in English for the first time in China in 2011, Romance of the Western Chamber is a musical adaptation of one of the country's most popular and beloved classics. The story of a young couple from different classes, desperate to consummate their love despite the constraints of tradition and family disapproval, and often considered the Romeo & Juliet of the East, the production features book & lyrics by Howard Rubenstein and music by Max Lee, and will be directed by Shela Xoregos.
Producer Bob Ost said today, "Given the current controversy about building walls, I am particularly passionate about offering a show that builds bridges. This work draws deeply on Chinese culture, yet our goal is to present a beloved 13th century tale through a modern filter that will make it accessible to western audiences. And how wonderful to provide an opportunity to showcase a very talented all Asian cast."
This exciting N.Y. premiere will feature an ensemble of Asian-American actors including Charles Pang and Jessica Wu (A Chorus Line) as the beleaguered lovers, Philippine-born soprano Joy Abalon-Tamayo as the disapproving mother, Mari Uchida as the classic Chinese matchmaker Hong-niang, plus Mark Andrew Garner, Albert Hsueh, Jee Heng Liao (Anything Goes Off-Broadway), Tony Romero (Tokyo Can Can Off-Broadway), Musa Hitomi (The Little Mermaid Off-Broadway), Takashi Hosoi (The King and I) and Ying Zhang (Warlovers at Theatre Row).
The production will feature music direction by Erich Rausch, scenic design by Sal Perrotta, lighting design by Joyce Liao, costume design by Jessa-Raye Court, choreography by Mandarin Wu, and stage management by Mary-Cate Mangum. Casting by Robin Carus Casting.
Romance of the Western Chamber will play a strictly limited engagement of 14 performances, beginning Thursday, September 14 at TADA! Theater (located at 15 W. 28th Street, 3rd Floor), with an opening night scheduled for tonight, September 16, 2017. Performances will take place according to the following schedule: Thursdays & Friday at 8:00pm; Saturdays at 2pm & 8pm; and Sundays at 3pm.
Tickets for the N.Y. premiere of Romance of the Western Chamber are available for purchase online at www.SmartTix.com. Tickets for preview performances on September 14 & 15 at 8:00pm start as low as $20, with all other performances offering seats as low as $25. For more information about the production, including ticket pricing and complete performance schedule, visit www.RomanceOfTheWesternChamber.com.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
JOY ABALON-TAMAYO (Lady Tsui), Philippine-born soprano, has been performing in NY since 2012. Recent roles include premiering Calf in Kento Iwasaki's Beloved Prey and Barbarina in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro with dell'Arte Opera Ensemble. She currently sings with The Salvatones under Daniel Brondel. Lady Tsui marks her debut in musical theater.
Charles Pang (Chang) is thankful to be a part of this production. He hails from Hong Kong and has appeared in Pasek and Paul's A Christmas Story (National Tour), Made in China (59E59), Anything Goes (Phoenix Theatre), The King and I (Maltz Jupiter Theatre) and other musicals. www.charlespang.com
Jessica Wu* (Ying-Ying): feels honored to help bring this beloved Chinese tale to the NY stage. Credits include: Broadway's A Chorus Line, The Radio City Spring Spectacular, Shakespeare in the Park, Lincoln Center, BAM, Signature, Paper Mill, Goodspeed, Sacramento Music Circus, TUTS, PCLO, KC Starlight, MUNY, Baltimore CenterStage, nat'l tours of Dr. Dolittle, The King and I, Miss Saigon, Wizard of Oz, and A Chorus Line.Jessica is composer/ book-writer for Brass Heart the musical. www.jessica-wu.com
Mari Uchida (Hong-Niang). A recent graduate from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, Mari is making her NYC debut! Chicago credits include: Tonya and Nancy (Kristi Yamaguchi), Side Show (Half-Man Half-Woman), etc. Represented by Meg Pantera Agency.
Mark Andrew Garner (Flying Tiger), a graduate of @bdcnyc #ProSemNation, was most recently Neleus in Mary Poppins at Alabama Shakespeare Festival and Swing/Young Max u/s in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas at the Grand Ole Opry. Faves: Seymour in Little Shop of Horror; Angel in Rent, Ching Ho in Thoroughly Modern Millie, N.A.A.P.'s Oliver! with Baayork Lee. www.markandrewgarner.com
ALBERT HSUEH (Hui, Cheng-Heng) is thrilled to be a part of the production. Originally from Taiwan, Albert (Ting-Chou Hsueh) has been working for several years as a professional actor both in Taiwan and abroad. He was cast in numerous musicals and worked with theater companies throughout Asia. His most recent credit was Anything Goes at the Mac Haydn Theatre.
JEE HENG LIAO (General Du) is delighted to join this production. Off-Broadway: Anything Goes at Musicals Tonight. NY Theater: When You've Got a Gift (June Havoc Theater), Immortal (New York Theater Festival), Foreign Exchange (The Poet's Den Theater). International Theaters: Anything Goes (with Asian pop star Evonne Hsu), Daylight (Taiwan National Theater). @jeeliao
Tony Romero* (Superior) Off-Broadway: Tokyo Can Can, Triplets starring Ruth Brown and Babes in Toyland at Lincoln Center. Regional credits: Mame starring Christine Ebersole, Paper Mill Playhouse; Anything Goes, St. Louis Rep; My Fair Lady, Cleveland Playhouse; The Wizard of Oz, Actors Theatre of Louisville; Scrooge starring Gary Beach, Theatre Under the Stars; The King & I starring Lou Diamond Phillips, Kansas City Starlight Theatre and The Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Proud AEA member.
Musa Hitomi (Ensemble) is an actor, singer, dancer and choreographer based in NYC, originally from Tokyo Japan. Her favorite credits includes, Off Broadway: The Little Mermaid, The Jackie Mason Musical, Siren's Den: A New Rock Musical. Regional: Avenue Q (Christmas Eve), Spring Awakening (Martha), West Side Story, Miss Saigon, White Christmas and Mamma Mia. National tour: Alvin and the Chipmunks The Musicaland more. www.musahitomi.com
TAKASHI HOSOI (Ensemble) is a dancer, singer and actor based in New York. Originally from Japan. Since he moved to New York he has performed The King and I, Jesus Christ Superstar and several dance performance in Jazz Roots Dance Company and Japanese Performing Arts.
YING ZHANG (Ensemble) is a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. Her recent NYC Theatre includes: Warlovers (Theatre Row), Hireath (13th Street Repertory Theatre), I'con (Hudson Guild Theatre), No Exit (American Theatre of Actors), Broadway Memorial For Sir Peter Shaffer (American Airlines Theater). Film: The Mail Box, Overcast, Antiteater of Ten, Red Plastic Bag. Concert: Pride Concert, An Evening of Jerry Herman with NAAP.
Howard Rubenstein (Book & Lyrics) is a physician, writer, and photographer. In 1953 he received a B.A. from Carleton College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi and won the Noyes Prize for excellence in ancient Greek studies. Rubenstein has published translations, adaptations and rethinkings of classic works, including Aeschylus' Agamemnon (with reconstructed stage directions), Euripides' The Trojan Women (winner of most San Diego Playbill awards in 2001) and Racine's Britannicus. Other works include Brothers All (based on The Brothers Karamazov), The Golem, Man of Earth, Tony and Cleo (a modern take on Antony and Cleopatra), Shiloh (an original narrative play based on Confederate and Union soldiers' letters and diaries) and The Defiant Soul (based freely and poetically on the classic Yiddish play The Dybbuk). Romance of the Western Chamber--a Musical was the winner of the Asian Heritage Award in Performing Arts. In 1957, Rubenstein received an M.D. from Harvard Medical School. In 1967, he was appointed Physician and Chief of Allergy at the Harvard University Health Services. In 1989, he was appointed a Medical Consultant to the Department of Social Services, state of California. He is married to Judith Selig Rubenstein; the Rubensteins live in San Diego, have four children and four grandchildren. Rubenstein is listed in "Who's Who in America" and in "Who's Who in the World."
MAX LEE (Music) has been performed in the U.S. and China. Along with playwright Howard Rubenstein and the Confucius Institute at San Diego State University, he is a co-winner of a 2011 Asian Heritage Award, honoring work in the performing arts that celebrates Asian culture. To create the music for The Romance of the Western Chamber, Mr. Lee arranged and adapted some of China's most well-known and beloved folk tunes, as well as composing original material. Max Lee is a pseudonym. Under his real name (which shall remain anonymous), he is the composer of nearly 100 concert works, which have received more than 1,000 performances in 20 countries and on six continents. The Romance of the Western Chamber is Max Lee's first full-length musical theater work.
SHELA XOREGOS (Director) is a freelance director as well as the Artistic Director of the Xoregos Performing Company. She has discovered and premiered one acts by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Oscar Wilde, Sarah Bernhardt and many works by Harlem Renaissance playwrights. She directs for regional theaters as well as for New York companies. Her productions have played at museums including the Smithsonian Institution, SF MoMA, the Bronx Museum of the Arts and the Brooklyn Children's Museum. Performances have been seen in many festivals, both indoor and al fresco. In the near future: a play by Racine and a program of short commissioned plays Psychic Fare--comedies about fraudulent fortune-tellers and humbugs.
ERICH RAUSCH (Music Director) is a recipient of the Rising Star Award from Paper Mill Playhouse for music direction of Once on This Island. He has worked on over 500 productions as a composer, arranger, music director, director, stage manager and actor. He most recently music directed a production of Spring Awakening at Johns Hopkins University, and composed songs for the new musical Mad Mel Saves the World at the Midtown International Theater Festival. He was the music director for the NY premieres of Brecht's The Roundheads and the Pointheads, and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, and received excellent notices in Newsday, The Village Voice, and The New York Times for productions of A Chorus Line, My Fair Lady, and original music for Beaumarchais's The Barber of Seville. Revues include the Everly Brothers' Dream!Dream!Dream! at the Claridge in Atlantic City, the Carpenters' Close to You, and a Lorenz Hart show. He has played leading roles in over 50 award-winning shorts on the festival circuit, including Remember Us, Everything's OK, and Dinner and a Movie at Cannes in 2016. www.ErichRausch.com
WILDLY PRODUCTIVE PRODUCTIONS/Bob Ost (Producer). Bob Ost is the founder and executive director of Theater Resources Unlimited, an arts organization dedicated to nurturing and educating producers at all levels of experience. An award winning playwright, composer and lyricist, he originally created Wildly Productive Productions to self-produce his work, including cabaret shows Love and Laughter and the MAC-nominated Not Quite What You Expected. He branched out and produced the work of others, including the development and initial production of Civil War Voices by James Harris, which won 8 Best of Festival Awards at the Midtown International Theatre Festival, and went on to a record-breaking production at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon Virginia, as well as a tour. The show was published and is licensed by Dramatic Publishing. He also produced the musical Rip by Dan Furman, also in the Midtown Festival, and his own musical Angel in My Heart which was named Best Musical in the 2014 Fresh Fruit Festival. Bob has produced three commercial CD's: A Special Place: Songs from the Heart featuring Broadway stars Alice Ripley, KT Sullivan, LiLlias White, Rebecca Luker (Original Cast Records), an all-star recording of his off-Broadway revue Everybody's Getting' into the Act (Fynsworth Alley) with Bob Cuccioli, Nancy Opel, Mark Kudisch, Rebecca Luker and other Broadway stars, and Keyes to Heaven: The Songs of Eben Keyes starring a stellar lineup of cabaret favorites including Julie Reyburn and Heather MacRae.
THE CONFUCIUS INSTITUTE AT SAN DIEGO STATE UNIVERSITY (Producer) was established in collaboration with the Office of Chinese Language International Council (Hanban). Hanban is committed to making Chinese language and cultural teaching resources and services available to the public and to the promotion of cultural diversity and harmony. Through academic partnership with Xiamen University, the CI at SDSU aims to strengthen educational and culturAl Cooperation between China and the United States. This partnership will serve to promote the development of Chinese language education in the greater San Diego region and Baja California as a whole, while continuing to foster historical understanding and cultural collaboration on both sides of the Pacific. The CI at SDSU focuses especially on teacher training. By offering both on-site and online classes, while also utilizing the most advanced language teaching pedagogy and technology, the CI at SDSU aims to establish a public face and a central environment for Chinese teachers training in Southern California and Baja California and the greater San Diego region as a whole.