For the first time ever, Park Square and Mu Performing Arts will join forces to co-produce the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Flower Drum Song.” Based on the 2002 book adaptation by Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang (“M. Butterfly,” “Yellowface,” “Chinglish”), the production will be directed by Mu Artistic Director Randy Reyes. Previously produced by Mu in 2009, this will be a fully reimagined production featuring new and familiar faces. “Flower Drum Song” takes audiences to the vibrant world of San Francisco’s Chinatown in the 1950s to Club Chop Suey, a nightclub owned by a Chinese-American family. Old World tradition clashes with New World trends as two generations, father and son, struggle to honor and protect their cultural traditions while adapting to the changing times.
Featuring beloved songs such as “I Enjoy Being A Girl,” “I Am Going To Like It Here,” “Don’t Marry Me” and “Chop Suey,” “Flower Drum Song” is a funny, charming and moving story that explores what it means to be an American. It touches the history of every person whose forbearers once arrived as strangers to these shores of the United States. The play’s exploration of the immigrant journey in the United States remains extremely timely considering our current political state.
“I’m thrilled to partner with Richard Cook and the talented team at Park Square Theatre to present this important work in the Asian-American musical theater canon,” said Randy Reyes. “The ability to partner with an organization like Park Square allows us to create a lively, large-scale production that audiences are going to love. I’m deeply interested in the story of “Flower Drum Song” and how it echoes the story of Mu Performing Arts. As an Asian American company we wrestle with holding onto the traditions of our culture while assimilating to American audiences in order to survive.”
Park Square’s Artistic Director Richard Cook added, “This co-production builds on a rich history of Mu-Park Square collaboration and mutual support that was auspiciously launched in 2004 with a much-lauded production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Pacific Overtures.” Since then, both Mu and Park Square have emerged as sophisticated producers of American musicals. This production merges Mu’s unique Asian-American voice with Park Square’s celebration of embracing big-hearted musicals like “Ragtime” and “The Color Purple.” It’s a mutual high bar that’s doubly exciting!”
“Flower Drum Song” features Stephanie Bertumen (Mei Li) and Sherwin Resurreccion (Wang) both veterans of Mu’s 2009 production and returning in new roles. The production also includes Wes Mouri (Ta), Eric “Pogi” Sumangil (Chin), Meghan Kreidler (Linda), Daniel Sakamoto-Wengel (Harvard) and Katie Bradley (M. Liang).
“Flower Drum Song” features a ten-actor ensemble including Brianna Belland, Kylee Birkman, Ashley Kershaw, Alice McGlave, Nikko Raymo, Nicole Reibe, Sarah M. Schweitzer, Jake Sullivan, Joseph Vang and Meng Xiong.
The production team includes Andrew Fleser (musical director), Penelope Freeh (choreographer) Mina Kinukawa (set designer), Michael P. Kittel (lighting designer), Andrea M. Gross (costume designer), Jacob M. Davis (sound designer), Abbee Warmboe (props designer), Jamie J. Kranz (stage manager) and Lyndsey Harter* (assistant stage manager).
Opening night is January 27 and runs through February 19 on the Proscenium Stage in Saint Paul’s historic Hamm Building, 20 W. 7th Place. Ticket details are available at parksquaretheatre.org or by phone, 651.291.7005.