International Flower Drum Song Tour Canceled

News   International Flower Drum Song Tour Canceled
The international tour of Flower Drum Song — featuring the revised book by 2003 Tony Award nominee David Henry Hwang — has been canceled.

The tour, which was scheduled to play the Ahmanson Theatre — in a Center Theatre Group production — Sept. 17-28, has been terminated. In a statement Center Theatre Group Managing Director Charles Dillingham said, "The original Broadway producers of Flower Drum Song had planned a lengthy first-class national tour in the U.S., as well as an international tour in Asia. Unfortunately, the impact of SARS in Asia necessitated the cancellation of the international tour. In addition, reduced interest from U.S. markets due to cost-cutting measures implemented by the majority of touring venues resulted in a very limited national tour, and it became clear that the economics of a first-class production could not be sustained. The rights to Flower Drum Song will now be released to local producers."

Flower Drum Song, which was to have played the Orange County Performing Arts Center Sept. 29-Oct. 5, has been replaced there by the national tour of Kander and Ebb's Chicago. Dallas Summer Musicals, however, plans to mount its own Flower Drum Song beginning Sept. 2.

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."

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