By Albert Leung, Staff Writer
 
Mu Performing Arts conquers the Guthrie Theatre stage with its latest production Yellow Face, which debuts for the first time in the Midwest. The semi-autobiographical play written by Tony-award-winning David Henry Hwang is a clever farce that addresses the topics surrounding what race means in the media and general public, and issues over type- and racial-casting in the entertainment industry. By Albert Leung, Staff Writer
 
Mu Performing Arts conquers the Guthrie Theatre stage with its latest production Yellow Face, which debuts for the first time in the Midwest. The semi-autobiographical play written by Tony-award-winning David Henry Hwang is a clever farce that addresses the topics surrounding what race means in the media and general public, and issues over type- and racial-casting in the entertainment industry.
 
In Hwang’s play Yellow Face, we follow the character DHH (Randy Reyes), which is playful mock of the award winning playwright himself, after his Broadway success of M. Butterfly. The character is drawn into the bitter protests by the Asian American community when in 1991, Welsh actor Jonathan Pryce was chosen to continue his role as the mixed Asian-Caucasian lead character in the play Miss Saigon when it debuted in the United States on Broadway. The decision was protested by the Asian American community as an example of “yellow face” casting but the media widely scrutinized the Asian Americans’ stance on the issue.
 
Stemming from the controversial casting, DHH’s life and career seemed to tumble into a downward spiral after finding himself in a similar casting controversy for a failed Broadway project called Face Value, which was a real failed production Hwang suffered after his M. Butterfly success.
 
With a strong cast led by local actors Randy Reyes and Matt Rein, Yellow Face delivers a witty and enlightening show that will surely captivate the audiences with its charismatic humor. The play also features a strong ensemble of supporting actors who are called upon to portray multiple characters throughout the show. Mu Performing Arts’ Artist Director Rick Shiomi took on director duties for Yellow Face through the month of February in the Dowling Studio of the Guthrie Theater.
 
Yellow Face first premiered in 2007 in Los Angeles, Calif., in the Mark Taper Forum. The play earned Hwang his third Obie Award in playwriting and made him a third-finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

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