Seattle's Village Theatre will mount a production of Banquet beginning Sept. 18 at the Issaquah Theatre. Conceived and developed by Yang, the musical features book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey and music by Woody Pak. According to the theatre's official website, the musical will boast direction by John Tillinger, who received a 1986 Tony Award nomination for his direction of Loot.
Yang will also star in The Wedding Banquet, which marks the second major project for Second Generation Productions, the theatre company that the actor-writer founded in 1997; its first offering was Making Tracks, a rock musical about the Asian-American experience written by Yang, Yorkey, Pak and Matt Eddy.
In a recent interview for Newsweek, 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."
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.
The Wedding Banquet will play the Issaquah through Oct. 26 before moving on to the Village Theatre's Everett Theatre, Oct. 31-Nov. 16. For more information about the theatre company, visit www.villagetheatre.org.