CENTER THEATRE GROUP PARTNERS WITH EAST WEST PLAYERS ON
THE WORLD PREMIERE OF “SOFT POWER”
BY DAVID HENRY HWANG AND JEANINE TESORI
AT THE AHMANSON THEATRE
The Two Organizations Will Hold Four Community Conversations
Exploring Themes of this Center Theatre Group Commission
Center Theatre Group’s “Soft Power” Begins
May 3, 2018 and Runs Through June 10, 2018
Center Theatre Group will partner with East West Players on the upcoming world premiere of “Soft Power” at the Ahmanson Theatre May 3 through June 10, 2018, announced Artistic Director Michael Ritchie. Through the partnership, East West Players will add this new work created by Tony Award-winning artists David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori as part of its 2017-2018 Season and will also collaborate with Center Theatre Group on four Community Conversations leading up to the play’s premiere as part of the Ahmanson Theatre’s 2017-2018 Season.
“When we started talking with our colleagues at East West Players about ways to collaborate, we quickly realized that ‘Soft Power’ was the perfect opportunity for us to continue a tradition of artistic partnership by bringing our audiences together once again for a unique new work from David Henry Hwang,” said Ritchie. “The last time we partnered was on ‘Yellow Face’ at the Mark Taper Forum, so it’ll be great to have East West Players’ subscribers join us in another fascinating journey into David’s imagination, this time at the Ahmanson.”
“It is an honor to partner with Center Theatre Group on the world premiere of David Henry Hwang’s ‘Soft Power,’” said Snehal Desai, East West Players’ Producing Artistic Director. “As the playwright that is the namesake of our theatre and whose work East West Players has produced more than any other, David’s prescience and ability to turn a mirror not only to our world as it is, but also where we are heading never ceases to astonish. With this production, our relationship with Center Theatre Group will continue to deepen as we initiate a series of joint Community Conversations on Asian American representation and storytelling. East West Players’ 52nd season is dedicated to community and partnerships, and we are proud to include Center Theatre Group as part of ‘The Company We Keep.’”
The four joint Community Conversations are scheduled to take place on October 26, 2017, January 18, 2018, March 15, 2018 and June 5, 2018. Locations, topics and panelists will be announced at a later date. Center Theatre Group’s Community Conversations are a series of panel discussions free and open to the public that feature local thought leaders in dialogue about the context, issues and ideas finding voice on our stages.
“The Community Conversations are that moment when we ask people in our community to help us make relevant the themes and ideas that are alive on our stage,” said Leslie K. Johnson, Center Theatre Group’s Director of Social Strategy, Innovation and Impact. “Asking thought leaders to come and spark that conversation is exciting. By inviting them into the room, we are able to hear someone who lives these topics every day discuss them in the context of the show.”
“Soft Power” begins as a contemporary play before jumping 100 years into the future and exploding into a Chinese musical about present-day America. This seductive new work has book and lyrics by Hwang and music by Tesori. A beloved East-meets-West musical, China’s 21st-century rise and a Presidential candidate’s fundraiser collide to make mayhem—and some beautiful music. This show is inspired by the West’s often ridiculously inauthentic portrayals of Asia, and China’s quest for world cultural influence, also known as “Soft Power.”
“Soft Power,” directed by Leigh Silverman with choreography by Sam Pinkleton, is a Center Theatre Group commission and marks the first collaboration between Hwang and Tesori.