Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre will present the revised version of Flower Drum Song Oct. 7-26 with an official opening scheduled for Oct. 9 at 8 PM. Jose Llana reprises his Broadway role of Ta for the four-city tour, which also includes Yuka Takara (Lea Salonga's understudy) as Mei-Li and Emily Hsu (Sandra Allen's understudy) as Linda Low. Tom Kosis directs and choreographs.
5th Avenue Theatre's managing director, Marilynn Sheldon, said in a statement, "If one were to commission a theatre specifically to accentuate the dazzling beauty of one musical, they could not do any better than the 5th Avenue Theatre — with breathtaking decor inspired by the Imperial Palace in China — for Flower Drum Song. We are thrilled to be one of only four cities to host this spectacular new version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic."
This production, which is currently playing in Dallas, will also be seen in Sacramento and Houston. Tickets to the Seattle run are already available by calling (206) 292-2787 or by visiting www.ticketmaster.com. The 5th Avenue box office is located in Seattle, Washington, at 1308 5th Avenue. Tickets range from $18-$67.
After an acclaimed tryout at Los Angeles' Mark Taper Forum and nearly a month of previews on Broadway, the reworking of Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic musical Flower Drum Song officially opened at the Virginia Theatre Oct. 17, 2002. Featuring direction and choreography by Robert Longbottom, the musical played 26 previews and 168 performances before closing March 16, 2003. The March 15 performance of Flower Drum Song was videotaped for the permanent archives at the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts. Flower Drum Song starred Lea Salonga as Mei-Li, a Chinese immigrant who arrives in San Francisco, having been shipped in a crate from her homeland in China. The remainder of the cast included Jose Llana (Ta), Randall Duk Kim (Master Wang), Jodi Long (Madame Liang), Emily Hsu (Linda Low), Alvin Ing (Chin), Allen Liu (Harvard), Hoon Lee (Chao) and Ma-Anne Dionisio (Little Girl). The ensemble comprised 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.
Flower Drum Song originally opened at Broadway's St. James Theatre on Dec. 1, 1958. Directed by Gene Kelly and choreographed by Carol Haney, the cast featured Larry Blyden as Sammy Fong, Pat Suzuki as Linda Low, Miyoshi Umeki as Mei-Li, Juanita Hall as Madam Lian, Arabella Hong as Helen Chao and Ed Kenney as Wang Ta. It ran 600 performances. The classic score features such tunes as "A Hundred Million Miracles," "I Enjoy Being a Girl," "I Am Going to Like It Here," "Chop Suey," "Grant Avenue" and "Love, Look Away."