Baayork Lee to direct 'Flower Drum Song' in Chicago next summer
According to a notice posted by the Center for Asian Arts and Media at Columbia College, plans are afoot for the noted Broadway director/choreographer Baayork Lee to helm a major new production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "Flower Drum Song" at the Merle Reskin
The Columbia annoucement said that the project would kick off with a concert in Washington, D.C., play for a month in Chicago, and then move directly to Shanghai. The production would use a professional cast, including Equity performers, and would audition in both New York and Chicago. The Merle Reskin, a former road-house once known as the Blackstone Theatre, is owned by DePaul University.
"Flower Drum Song," which opened on Broadway in 1958 and is set in San Francisco's Chinatown, is regarded as a pivotal breakthrough for Asian-American performers.
Playwright David Henry Hwang created a new book for the show in 2002, when a revival, directed by Robert Longbottom and starring Lea Salonga, opened on Broadway, and lasted for 169 performances. It got mixed reviews.
According to the Columbia group, Hwang has signed on as a creative advisor for this new production, which is using $70,000 in funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.