The complete cast of the revised revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song, opening Oct. 17 at Broadway's Virginia Theatre, was announced July 31.
Joining the previously-confirmed Lea Salonga (as Mei-Li), Randall Duk Kim (as Master Wang) and Jose Llana (as Ta) are Jodi Long (Madame Liang), Sandra Allen (Linda Low), Alvin Ing (Chin), Allen Liu (Harvard), Hoon Lee (Chao) and Ma Anne Dionisio (Little Girl). Salonga triumphed in Miss Saigon in London and New York, winning a Tony Award. Llana played Lun Tha in The King and I on Broadway in 1996. Ing appeared in the original touring company of Flower Drum Song in 1960. He created the role of the Shogun's mother in Pacific Overtures, singing "Chrysanthemum Tea."
The ensemble features Susan Ancheta, Raul Aranas, Rich Ceraulo, Eric Chan, Marcus Choi, Emily Hsu, Telly Leung, J. Elaine Marcos, Daniel May, Marc Oka, Lainie Sakakura, Yuka Takara, Robert Tatad, Kim Varhola, and Ericka Yang.
This reconditioned, reimagined version of the 1958 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical (with a score by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II) has a new book by David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly) and direction and choreography by Robert Longbottom (Side Show). This new vision of the work was sold out in its 2001 test run at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.
Hwang based his script on the original by Oscar Hammerstein II and Joseph Fields, which was based on the novel by C.Y. Lee. Previews for the show, which boasts a score that includes "A Hundred Million Miracles," "Love, Look Away," "Grant Avenue" and more, begin Sept. 23. According to the announcement, "David Henry Hwang's new book, while retaining characters and plot elements from the original Broadway show, returns to the themes of C.Y. Lee's original novel — cultural assimilation, the relationship between generations and the struggle to become authentically American without abandoning traditions."
In the new version, "Mei-Li (Lea Salonga) flees to America in the late 1950s when her father, a Chinese opera master, falls under persecution from the Communist government. Arriving in San Francisco, she finds work in a run-down Chinese opera house where the patriarch, Master Wang (Randall Duk Kim), struggles to keep old traditions alive, while his American-born son, Ta (Jose Llana), dreams of converting the space into a Western-style nightclub. With the help of a leggy showgirl, Linda Low (Sandra Allen), and her fast-talking agent, Madame Liang (Jodi Long), Ta's wish comes true; they discover success, American-style, by turning the old theatre into a popular new nightspot, Club Chop Suey. In the whirlwind that follows, Mei li finds herself falling in love, as characters grapple with the joys and the challenges of life in the new world, through a funny and moving story which explores what it means to be an American, and touches the history of every person whose forebears once arrived as a stranger to these shores."
Designers are Robin Wagner (set), Gregg Barnes (costume), Natasha Katz (lighting), ACME Sound Partners (sound). Musical supervision and arrangements are by David Chase, orchestrations are by Don Sebesky.
The original Broadway production opened Dec. 1, 1958 at the St. James Theatre and played for 600 performances. A film version was released in 1961.
Producers are Benjamin Mordecai, Michael Jenkins, Waxman Williams Entertainment and Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum/Gordon Davidson/Charles Dillingham, in association with Robert G. Bartner, Ernest Escaler and Stephanie McClelland.
The Virginia is at 245 W. 52nd Street, between Broadway and Eighth Avenue.Tickets range $65-$95. Call (212) 239-6200.