Chinese American playwright who fuses comedy and social commentary
OCTOBER 17, 2007
Elizabeth Wong, Chinese American playwright who fuses comedy with social
commentary, will discuss her work on Wednesday, October 17, 2007 at
4:15 p.m. in the Standish Room, Science Library on the UAlbany uptown
campus. The event is sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute
and UAlbany Theatre Department in association with UAlbany’s “China
Semester,” and is free and open to the public.
Elizabeth Wong, award-winning Chinese-American
playwright, fuses comedy and social commentary in plays that explore
Asian American themes. Her breakthrough work was “Letters to a
Student Revolutionary” (1991), a drama based on her personal correspondence
with a Chinese woman during the years before the Tianenman Square Massacre.
The play depicts a cautious friendship, fraught with comical misunderstandings,
between two young women from radically different cultural backgrounds.
The “Seattle Times”called it, “engrossing... an animated
exchange of soul-searching dispatches.” The play was the only U.
S. invitee to the 1992 Singapore Arts Festival.
NOTE: “Letters to a Student Revolutionary” is being performed
by the UAlbany Theatre Department on October 19 – 27 in conjunction
with UAlbany’s “China Semester.” For ticket information
Wong’s new musical for young audiences,“The Magical Bird” (2007),
is inspired by a Filipino folktale. The play had its world premiere this
summer at the Honolulu Theatre for Youth, which commissioned the play
in association with a centennial celebration of Filipino immigration
Other notable plays include “The Amazing Adventures of the Marvelous
Monkey King” (2007), winner of the Mississippi Theatre Festival; “The
Lovelife of a Eunuch” (2004), a lusty tale of Imperial China; “China
Doll” (1995), about silent film star Anna May Wong, winner of the
David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award; and “Kimchee & Chitlins” (1990),
about the African American boycott of Korean-owned grocery stores in
Brooklyn. In 2003, Wong received a commission from the Kennedy Center
to write an opera libretto for her children’s theater adaptation
of Oscar Wilde’s “The Happy Prince.”
A former news reporter for the “San Diego Tribune” and “Hartford
Courant,” Wong worked as a comedy writer for the ABC sitcom, “All-American
Girl,” starring Margaret Cho, the first network series to feature
an Asian-American woman as its central character.
This year, she received the Tanne Foundation Award for “artists
and organizations who persevere in creating and presenting art of any
type, in any media, and to encourage those endeavors through unrestricted
The event is being held in association with UAlbany’s University-wide “China
For additional information, contact the Writers Institute
at 518-442-5620 or online at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.