The Wedding Banquet Musical to World Premiere in August

News   The Wedding Banquet Musical to World Premiere in August Welly Yang, who starred as Thuy in the Broadway production of Miss Saigon, has written a musical version of the hit independent film "The Wedding Banquet."

Yang will also star in The Wedding Banquet, when it premieres in Taiwan Aug. 8. Banquet marks the second major project for Second Generation Productions, the theatre company that Yang founded in 1997; its first offering was Making Tracks, a rock musical about the Asian American experience written by Yang, Brian Yorkey, Matt Eddy and Woody Pak. In an interview for Newsweek, writer-actor Yang spoke about his newest project. "I have always been interested in works that have social importance," said Yang. "'The Wedding Banquet' was one of the most successful independent films. Actually in that year, it was more profitable than 'Jurassic Park.' It’s about the conflict between East and West, between two generations, and the hero who is caught between two worlds and has to negotiate his American life against the weight of traditions. We’ve seen stories about our cultures and society from the Western point of view, and for me it was about bringing a new point of view, a new window in seeing the way our world is in our eyes. And it’s been interesting to translate the film into a musical."

Yang also discussed his desire to launch the musical in Taiwan: "I wanted it to be in Taiwan first. The story is about a Taiwanese-American in New York. Ang Lee is Taiwanese. Although I was born in this country, my parents are from Taiwan. Taiwan has always been the underdog in the world. They were occupied by Portuguese, Japanese, Dutch. China won’t let them become a member of the United Nations. There are missile threats every other day. I guess I wanted to raise Taiwan’s status. Something in my American side makes me root for the underdog."

Written and directed by Ang Lee, the film "The Wedding Banquet" concerns gay Taiwanese-American Wai-Tung — whose parents are pressuring him to marry a woman — and his boyfriend Simon. At Simon's suggestion, Wai-Tung arranges a marriage of convenience with a young woman named Wei-Wei who needs a green card. Wai-Tung's parents arrive for the wedding and a mix of hysterical and touching complications ensue.