David Henry Hwang’s “Golden Child” at Signature, Michael John LaChiusa’s “Giant” at The Public, and Des McAnuff’s “Yoshimi and the Pink Robots” at La Jolla Playhouse have Performances through December 16, 2012

by manu narayan

I’ve seen a lot of theatre during my travels in the last month in New York, California, and Seoul, Korea.

Golden Child playwright David Henry Hwang and director Leigh Silverman with Manu Narayan at The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on November 11, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Golden Child playwright David Henry Hwang and director Leigh Silverman with Manu Narayan at The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on November 11, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

The Signature Theatre Company is presenting a season devoted to Tony award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang’s work, and my Carnegie Mellon pal Leigh Silverman is at the helm of Hwang’s revival of Golden Child. I originally saw Golden Child on Broadway with the great actor Randall Duk Kim, and it has always been one of my favorite shows. Randall is an amazing classical actor who you’ve seen as the watch maker in The Matrix films. I remember being so moved by the play and his performance in particular. I cannot wait to see the revival of Golden Child featuring Greg Watanabe, Julyana Soelistyo, Jennifer Lim, Lesley Hu, Annie Q, Matthew Maher and Tina Chilip, at the final performance this Sunday at 2:00pm, in the Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre in the new Pershing Square Signature Center on 42nd Street in New York.

The cast of Signature's revival of David Henry Hwang's Golden Child on opening night in The Alice Griffin Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on November 13, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

The cast of Signature’s revival of David Henry Hwang’s Golden Child on opening night in The Alice Griffin Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on November 13, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

One of the things that is rarely discussed is the great fraternity of the theater world. Throughout your career, you have the opportunity to see your colleagues and friends with whom you have shared the stage, and to experience their work. I worked with Leigh (a workshop of Coraline) and David (in the Cindy Lauper/Garth Hudson workshop of David’s Largo). On Thanksgiving Eve, I saw The Public Theater‘s production of the Michael John LaChiusa musical Giant, directed by Michael Grief, with whom I worked with, also at The Public, in Suzan-Lori Parks’ Fucking A.

Manu Narayan and Matthew Stocke at The Public Theatre in New York on November 21, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Manu Narayan and Matthew Stocke at The Public Theatre in New York on November 21, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Giant was fun for me because the score is gorgeous, and onstage singing it and acting so beautifully are so many “comrades” as the director David Schweizer lovingly calls colleagues and friends. Broadway regular Matthew Stocke, my old college roommate who is also a classmate of Leigh’s, was in the show.

Raul Aranas, Natalie Cortez, Manu Narayan and P.J. Griffith at The Public Theatre in New York on November 21, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Raul Aranas, Natalie Cortez, Manu Narayan and P.J. Griffith at The Public Theatre in New York on November 21, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

My friends Raul Aranas (we did Saturnalia together), Natalie Cortez (SIDD The Musical), and the always incredible Brian d’Arcy James (my first Actors’ Equity show PCLO’s Fame:The Musical) were all wonderful. The chance to hear the beautiful Kate Baldwin singing Michael John’s music is like hearing the best angel sing, and is worth any price of admission.

Manu Narayan and Kate Baldwin at The Public Theatre in New York on November 21, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Manu Narayan and Kate Baldwin at The Public Theatre in New York on November 21, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

This past week, I saw the Des McAnuff directed musical of The Flaming Lips popular indie album Yoshimi and the Pink Robots at La Jolla Playhouse. When I was in La Jolla in September playing Ricky Roma in Glengarry Glen Ross, I had a chance to see the final rehearsal in the room without the technical aspects. Experiencing the full production values with amazing special effects and flying robots made the story even more enjoyable.

Kimiko Glenn as “Yoshimi” with the cast of La Jolla Playhouse’s world-premiere production of YOSHIMI BATTLES THE PINK ROBOTS, story by Wayne Coyne and Des McAnuff, music and lyrics by The Flaming Lips, directed by Des McAnuff, playing in the Mandell Weiss Theatre November 6 - December 16; photo by Kevin Berne.

Kimiko Glenn as “Yoshimi” with the cast of La Jolla Playhouse’s world-premiere production of YOSHIMI BATTLES THE PINK ROBOTS, story by Wayne Coyne and Des McAnuff, music and lyrics by The Flaming Lips, directed by Des McAnuff, playing in the Mandell Weiss Theatre November 6 – December 16; photo by Kevin Berne.

Kimiko Glenn, who whom I performed with in Yeast Nation at the New York International Fringe Festival in 2011, is incredible as Yoshimi the young Japanese girl dying of cancer. Along with Paul Nolan (Broadway’s most recent Jesus), Broadway star Tom Hewitt, Nik Walker, and my friends Pearl Sun (One The Musical) and John Haggerty, the entire cast killed it.

(L-R) Nik Walker as “Booker,” Kimiko Glenn as “Yoshimi” and Tom Hewitt as “Dr. Petersen” in La Jolla Playhouse’s world-premiere production of YOSHIMI BATTLES THE PINK ROBOTS, story by Wayne Coyne and Des McAnuff, music and lyrics by The Flaming Lips, directed by Des McAnuff, playing in the Mandell Weiss Theatre November 6 - December 16; photo by Kevin Berne

(L-R) Nik Walker as “Booker,” Kimiko Glenn as “Yoshimi” and Tom Hewitt as “Dr. Petersen” in La Jolla Playhouse’s world-premiere production of YOSHIMI BATTLES THE PINK ROBOTS, story by Wayne Coyne and Des McAnuff, music and lyrics by The Flaming Lips, directed by Des McAnuff, playing in the Mandell Weiss Theatre November 6 – December 16; photo by Kevin Berne

If you can check out Golden Child, Giant or Yoshimi… before they close December 16th, I guarantee that you will not be disappointed. The only problem will be getting a ticket.

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