Acclaimed playwright David Henry Hwang (“M. Butterfly”) is back on Broadway with another East-meets-West tale. This time, his work takes a comedic turn in “Chinglish,” which opened October 27 at Longacre Theatre.
Hwang’s two-act play centers on Daniel Cavanaugh, who arrives in China to proctor a deal on behalf of his small, Ohio-based sign business. However, when Cavanaugh falls for the gorgeous Xi Yan, a Chinese counterpart in the negotiations, he learns that more than his deal could be lost in translation.
Gary Wilmes takes the lead as Daniel, and Jennifer Lim co-stars as Xi. Also appearing are Stephen Pucci as Daniel’s expatriate translator, Peter Timms, and Larry Lei Zhang as Xi’s boss, Minister Cai Guoliang.
The play arrives on Broadway after an acclaimed preview run in Chicago this past summer. Director Leigh Silverman again takes the helm for this Main Stem staging, which includes extensive use of Mandarin (with supertitled English translations projected on-stage).
“Chinglish” entered previews October 11 at the 1,077-seat Longacre Theatre. Over the following two weeks, the play saw attendance averaging 73 percent of house capacity, and a cumulative gross of $627,912. Regular ticket prices range from $30 to $125, before fees. Premium seats are priced between $175 and $275, also before fees.
The play is booked into an open-ended schedule. Evening performances are 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Matinees are held at 2 p.m. on Wednesday and Saturday, and at 3 p.m. on Sunday.
Longacre Theatre is located at 220 West 48th Street in New York, NY. The play’s run-time is two hours, including a 15-minute intermission. Additional production details can be found on the official “Chinglish” Web site.
Opening Night: “Chinglish”
|Variety||Marilyn Stasio||“Behind its cheerful facade, this well-made comedy takes a poignant view of the profound isolation and terrible vulnerability of people who are lost without their native language.”|
|New York Times||Ben Brantley||“It’s so conscientious in leading us through the maze of cultural confusion at its center…that we’re never allowed to feel lost ourselves.”|
|Hollywood Reporter||David Rooney||“The problem is that not everything in David Henry Hwang’s mildly entertaining comedy is as fluid or dynamic as the scene changes.”|
|The Wall Street Journal||Terry Teachout||“Mr. Hwang wrings the most out of his one joke, and the results, if slight, are thoroughly satisfying.”|
|New York Daily News||Joe Dziemianowicz||“Hwang…has tangier and grittier observations about cultural divides that keep ‘Chinglish’ from being just an extended one-joke affair.”|
|Chicago Tribune||Chris Jones||“…the remarkable Jennifer Lim delivers another compelling performance…”|