Palo Alto Players Presents FLOWER DRUM SONG

Palo Alto Players Presents FLOWER DRUM SONG

Palo Alto Players continues its 2018-19 season with FLOWER DRUM SONG, Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang's new adaptation of the 1958 Rodgers and Hammerstein classic musical. Based on the 1957 novel "The Flower Drum Song" by Chinese-American author C. Y. Lee, FLOWER DRUM SONG, set in San Francisco's Chinatown, features a completely new book by Hwang, while retaining the much beloved score with familiar songs like "A Hundred Million Miracles" and "I Enjoy Being a Girl." FLOWER DRUM SONG is directed by Lily Tung Crystal (Palo Alto Players' Chinglish), with choreography by Alex Hsu and music direction by Amanda Ku, featuring a cast of 20 local Bay Area actors. FLOWER DRUM SONG runs April 26 through May 12 at the Lucie Stern Theater, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. For information or tickets, visit or call 650.329.0891.

'To create something new, we must first love what is old,' claims Mei-Li in Asian-American playwright David Henry Hwang's 2002 revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein jewel, FLOWER DRUM SONG. The sentiment is obviously shared by the playwright himself, as Hwang has created something dazzlingly new while honoring the original material. Mei-Li flees Mao's communist China after the murder of her father and finds herself in San Francisco's Chinatown. The naïve young refugee is befriended by Wang, who is struggling to keep the Chinese opera tradition alive despite his son's determination to turn the old opera house into a swingin' Western-style nightclub. A unique blending of American razz-ma-tazz and stylized Chinese opera tradition creates a beautifully theatrical tapestry, with a wonderful score that retains all of its luster in this lovely new version of an American classic. Mei-Li's gradual assimilation is informed by her realization that the old and new can coexist when there is respect for both.

"Growing up as a first generation American-born Chinese girl who wanted to become a theatre artist, I didn't have many role models in the industry. I didn't come across the film FLOWER DRUM SONG until I was in high school, but once I saw it, it changed my belief in what was possible as an Asian-American performer." says Director Lily Tung Crystal. "Playwright David Henry Hwang has also called the original musical his 'guilty pleasure,' and I was excited when he decided to rewrite the book to speak to a more contemporary Asian- American experience. People who remember the 1958 musical or movie will still hear their favorite songs and enjoy their favorite dances, yet Hwang has modernized the characters and story to better represent the Chinese American experience. This FLOWER DRUM SONG grapples with issues of identity, immigration, and representation."

Tickets for FLOWER DRUM SONG can be purchased online at, by phone at 650.329.0891, or by visiting the Box Office (Tuesday through Friday, 11am - 4pm) at the Lucie Stern Theater, located at 1305 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto. Performances at the Lucie Stern Theater begin on April 27 and continue through May 12, with a paid preview performance on April 26. Performance times are Thursdays at 7:30pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm. Ticket prices range from $25 to $55. Discounts for seniors, educators, patrons under 30 (including children/students), and military are available for all performances except preview night. Special discounts for groups of 10 or more are also available.

In cooperation with The City of Palo Alto, FLOWER DRUM SONG and the shows of the 88th Season of Palo Alto Players are produced at the Lucie Stern Theater, located at 1305 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto, California. Use of this facility is made possible through support from The City of Palo Alto, Community Services Department, Division of Arts and Sciences, and from our patrons.

With community at our core, Palo Alto Players is the home for creating exceptional theatre experiences that inspire, entertain, and enrich the lives of our local artists and audiences. Founded in 1931, Palo Alto Players is the San Francisco Peninsula's first theatre company. Based at the Lucie Stern Theater since 1933, Palo Alto Playersproduces a season of comedies, dramas, classics, and musicals from September to June. Audiences and artists come from all over the Bay Area to be a part of Palo Alto Players' productions. Palo Alto Players is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established for public benefit.

For more information about Palo Alto Players and upcoming shows, please visit

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From This Author Sarah Hookey