U.S. Premiere of The Orphan of Zhao, Starring Tony Winner BD Wong, Will Play American Conservatory Theater

By Carey Purcell
09 Apr 2014

BD Wong
BD Wong

Tony Award winner BD Wong will star in the U.S. premiere of The Orphan of Zhao at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.

James Fenton's adaptation of the Chinese legend will begin performances June 4, prior to an official opening June 11. Performances will continue through June 29 at A.C.T.'s Geary Theater. 

Directed by Carey Perloff, the cast includes Marie France Arcilla (Stuck Elevator), Stan Egi (Golden Child), Philip Estrera (A Christmas Carol), Nick Gabriel (Napoli!), Cindy Im (Stuck Elevator, 4000 Miles), Orville Mendoza (Peter and the Starcatcher, Miss Saigon), Brian Rivera (Yellowjackets, Macbeth), Sab Shimono (Pacific Overtures, Mame), Tony Award nominee Julyana Soelistyo (Golden Child), Paolo Montalban (Pacific Overtures, The King and I) and Wong (M. Butterfly, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit").

Here's how the production is billed: "In the aftermath of a political coup, a country doctor is forced to sacrifice his own son in order to save the last heir of a noble and massacred clan. Often described as the Chinese Hamlet, this enduring tale was the first Chinese play to be translated in the West nearly 300 years ago and has inspired countless operas, plays, and movies."



"Discovering The Orphan of Zhao was incredibly eye-opening for me, an insight into a vivid moment in Chinese culture and an introduction to a major classic of suspense and sacrifice rarely seen in the Western theater," Perloff said in a statement. "The Zhao story has been told in China for a millennium, most recently in a vivid Chinese film called 'Sacrifice.' Its arrival on the Geary stage, starring BD Wong, continues our exploration of Chinese culture with a remarkable company of Asian American actors and theater artists, including Stuck Elevator composer Byron Au Yong who is composing the many songs and live musical interludes in the production. We hope our audiences will be as transported and surprised by this stunning piece of world theater as we were when we first encountered it."

The creative team for The Orphan of Zhao includes scenic designer Daniel Ostling, costume designer Linda Cho, lighting designer Lap Chi Chu, sound designer Jake Rodriguez and composer Byron Au Yong. The production will feature movement by Stephen Buescher.

Geary Theater is located at 415 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA. Tickets and more information are available by calling (415) 749-2228 or visiting act-sf.org.