Forty-four years of Broadway history will be spanned backstage at the Virginia Theatre Oct. 8, when cast members from the original staging of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song meet the performers featured in the new Broadway reworking of the musical.
Among the performers expected to take in the Tuesday night show and then pay a call backstage are Pat Suzuki, who was Linda Low in 1958; Cely Carrillo (Mei-Li); Susan Lynn Kikuchi (Child); ensemble members Jose Ahumada, Fumi Akimoto, Paula Chin and Betty Kawamura; and Maureen Tiongco, who played Mei-Li for over 2,000 performances nationally and internationally. Tiongo also met her husband, Harry Theyard, while doing the show. Theyard will also be present, as will Luther Henderson, Jr., who did the original dance arrangements.
Flower Drum Song — featuring an all-new book by David Henry Hwang — began previews at the Virginia Theatre Sept. 23. The official opening is scheduled for Oct. 17.
Lea Salonga, the Tony-winning star of Miss Saigon, heads the cast of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical as Mei-Li, a Chinese immigrant who arrives in San Francisco. The remainder of the cast includes Randall Duk Kim (Master Wang), Jose Llana (Ta), Jodi Long (Madame Liang), Sandra Allen (Linda Low), Alvin Ing (Chin), Allen Liu (Harvard) and Hoon Lee (Chao). The ensemble comprises Susan Ancheta, Raul Aranas, Rich Ceraulo, Eric Chan, Marcus Choi, Ma-Anne Dionisio, Emily Hsu, Telly Leung, J. Elaine Marcos, Daniel May, Marc Oka, Lainie Sakakura, Yuka Takara, Robert Tatad, Kim Varhola and Ericka Yang. Robert Longbottom, who helmed Broadway's Side Show, directs and choreographs, with music adaptation and music direction by David Chase.
The creative team also includes Robin Wagner (sets), Gregg Barnes (costumes), Natasha Katz (lighting), ACME Sound Partners (sound), Don Sebesky (orchestrations), Seymour Red Press (musical coordinator), David Brian Brown (hair), Perry Cline (production stage manager), Tom Kosis (associate director), Darlene Wilson (associate choreographer) and Jamie H. J. Guan (Chinese Opera consultant).