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David Henry Hwang

Things have changed in the 19 years since a Stanford undergraduate named David Henry Hwang wrote his first play, "FOB," about "fresh off the boat" Chinese immigrants. For one thing, Hwang became a star at 30 with his provocative "M. Butterfly," a Broadway smash that skewered stereotypes of Asians. His most recent play, "Golden Child," inspired by his great-grandfather's life in China, just completed a successful run at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa.
February 9, 2013 | By David Ng, Los Angeles Times
David Henry Hwang knows firsthand about the difficulties Westerners can face while doing business in China. His latest play, "Chinglish," a comedy that opened on Broadway in 2011 and is now having its local premiere at South Coast Repertory through Feb. 24, tells the story of an inexperienced American businessman who owns a sign company and his attempts to navigate the country's mix of free-for-all capitalism and Communist Party politics. FOR THE RECORD: David Henry Hwang: An article about playwright David Henry Hwang in the Feb. 9 Calendar section said that his latest play, "Chinglish," tells the story of an inexperienced American businessman who owns a sign company and his attempts to navigate China's mix of free-for-all capitalism and Community Party politics.
May 22, 1988 | EDMUND NEWTON, Times Staff Writer
David Henry Hwang is a playwright whose work is consumed by the spooky misconceptions that people have of each other. Racial stereotypes, sexist distortions, colossal international misuderstandings--all of these show up in Hwang's sharply chiseled works, which have made him one of the most praised playwrights in America. Here, then, is a young man whose ideas were shaped in the harsh crucible of the Big City, right? Wrong. The 30-year-old dramatist--whose current Broadway production, "M.
February 4, 2013 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
Words aren't the only thing that gets lost in translation in "Chinglish," David Henry Hwang's tangy cross-cultural comedy of ideas set in the Chinese city of Guiyang. Manners and mores are equally susceptible to misinterpretation when an American businessman with a checkered past tries to redeem himself and his family's sign-making business by dog paddling into the "greatest pool of untapped consumers history has ever known. " The play, which had a modest run on Broadway last season and is now at South Coast Repertory in a tiptop co-production with Berkeley Repertory Theatre, was underappreciated in New York.
September 16, 2001 | MICHAEL PHILLIPS, Times Staff Writer
Back when "Chinatown" was making L.A. look heinous in a glamorous sort of way, and "Billy, Don't Be a Hero" oozed from every radio, a San Gabriel High School junior named David Henry Hwang was tearing it up on the debate team. Hwang's debating skills got him recruited as a senior by Harvard School (now Harvard-Westlake), the Coldwater Canyon preparatory institution known for SAT scores that do a parent proud. He graduated in 1975. And he has honed his debating skills ever since.
When "M. Butterfly" completes its run Sunday at the San Diego Civic Theatre, thereby ending the show's second national tour, the rights for this three-time Tony winner will become available. Francis Jue, who plays the Chinese man who fooled a Western male diplomat into thinking he was a woman for nearly two decades, will become available, too.
No new play gets onstage without undergoing a form of group surgery known as "play development." This is the cutting and pasting, the fierce debating, the arduous rewriting, the cosmetic buffing and polishing demanded of the playwright by a theater company's arbiters before finally being presented to an audience as the finished product of a single mind. It's often a hellish experience for the playwright. But when David Henry Hwang's "Golden Child" opens Jan.
October 11, 1992 | MARGALIT FOX, Margalit Fox is a free-lance writer. and
When the curtain rises on the world premiere of Philip Glass' "The Voyage" at the Metropolitan Opera House Monday night, three men will sight land after a long artistic journey. Commissioned to mark the Columbus quincentennial, the opera is the fruit of a collaboration among Glass, librettist David Henry Hwang and stage director David Pountney that began six years ago.
June 30, 1991 | PATRICK PACHECO, Patrick Pacheco is a free-lance writer based in New York
David Henry Hwang's sleek penthouse duplex on Manhattan's Upper Westside betrays little about the playwright of "M. Butterfly." With its contemporary leather deco furniture and dizzying views, it well might be the dream habitat of any of the ambitious Asian-Americans who populate some of his earlier plays. One gathers that the posh pad is a reward of the international success of "M. Butterfly" and the numerous film and opera commissions that have come in its wake.
It's about a week before preview performances will begin, but David Henry Hwang is sitting in the dark in downtown's Mark Taper Forum, scribbling yet another new line of dialogue on a yellow legal pad at a technical rehearsal for "Flower Drum Song"--the playwright's radically new take on the 1958 Rodgers & Hammerstein musical that opens tonight at the Taper.
August 23, 2012 | By Jamie Wetherbe
David Henry Hwang has received the $200,000 Steinberg Award for playwriting, the largest monetary prize in American theater. The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust cited Hwang's 32-year career writing satires and dramas that brought Asian and Asian American characters to Broadway and other stages, including his breakout hit, "M. Butterfly. " Hwang, 55, told the New York Times that the award affords him the luxury to focus on stage work rather than pursuing (perhaps more lucrative)
October 23, 2011 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
David Henry Hwang's new Broadway comedy, "Chinglish," makes bright, mischievous sport of the language barrier that separates an American businessman from the Chinese authorities who hold the keys to a vast new market. The idea for the play was inspired by Hwang's own visits to China, where he was forced to rely on translators. A few Mandarin courses in college along with some work with private tutors weren't enough to exempt the playwright, a first-generation Chinese American, from the farcical limbo of being lost in translation.
May 22, 2007 | Charles McNulty, Times Staff Writer
A writer pursues truth by any means necessary. Spinning real life into fiction -- in essence, lying with artistic intent -- is one of the oldest methods for accessing the complicated hidden meanings beneath reality's often misleading veneer.
IT SOUNDED LIKE a desperate groan, or maybe it was a guttural, exasperated "Oh, please." But near the finale of a preview performance of David Henry Hwang's new play, "Yellow Face," which opened Sunday night at the Mark Taper Forum, an unidentified female audience member -- was she Anglo? Asian? -- made known her displeasure with one of the protagonist's closing lines. The offending words? They were relatively straightforward, if not utopian.
May 13, 2007 | By David Henry Hwang, Special to The Times
WE live in a time when reality has evidently trumped fiction. The novel loses readers, as narrative nonfiction and memoirs gain in popularity. Reality television, once derided as a fad, is apparently here to stay. Young people abandon the so-called old media to post anecdotes from their lives and videos of their activities online. In theater, docudramas, in which quotes from real people are dramatized, have become more present on our stages. Today, truth is not only stranger than fiction, it also seems to be more popular.
November 20, 2006 | Josef Woodard, Special to The Times
It has taken a few years, but the Philip Glass opera "The Sound of a Voice" has made its logical westward migration to the Pacific Rim. Premiered in 2003 at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass., this operatic double-header is based on two one-act plays from the early '80s -- "Sound of a Voice" and "Hotel of Dreams" -- by Los Angeles-born playwright David Henry Hwang, inspired by Japanese cinema and dealing with old and new Japan, though in decidedly poetic terms.
January 7, 1990 | SYLVIE DRAKE
David Henry Hwang has been writing plays since the late '70s, but he made his biggest splash in 1988 with "M. Butterfly." It made Broadway swoon and won him a Tony. Hwang went on to write the libretto for the Philip Glass opera, "One Thousand Airplanes on the Roof," which toured several American cities in '88 and some abroad. He's been in demand, in all fields, ever since. He's finishing an as-yet untitled play, "sort of a multicultural farce," that fulfills a commission from Costa Mesa's South Coast Repertory.
When David Henry Hwang was growing up in America, his parents, who had immigrated to the United States from the Far East in the late '40s, "were interested in assimilating into society," according to the award-winning playwright. It wasn't important to speak Chinese in the Hwang household, because his parents, Henry and Dorothy, thought their three children's English would be hampered by learning two languages. Being Chinese was a "minor detail . . .
October 11, 2005 | Elaine Woo, Times Staff Writer
Henry Y. Hwang, a Shanghai immigrant who founded the first federally chartered Chinese American bank, died Saturday at his San Marino home. He was 77. The cause was colon cancer, said his son, playwright David Henry Hwang. Hwang launched Far East National Bank in Chinatown in 1974 with $1.5 million in capital.
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