SAN FRANCISCO (April 9, 2014) – American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) culminates its 2013–14 season with the U.S. premiere of James Fenton’s acclaimed adaptation of The Orphan of Zhao, a classic Chinese legend that has its roots in the fourth century BCE. Directed by Carey Perloff and starring Tony Award–winner and San Francisco’s own BD Wong (making his A.C.T. debut), The Orphan of Zhao is an epic story of self-‐sacrifice and revenge. In the aftermath of a political coup, a country doctor is forced to sacrifice his own son in order to save the last heir of a noble and massacred clan. Often described as the Chinese Hamlet, this enduring tale was the first Chinese play to be translated in the West nearly 300 years ago and has inspired countless operas, plays, and movies. The Guardian praised Fenton’s adaptation as “haunting . . . [a] drama hewn out of a myth that speaks across the centuries,” and The Times of London called it “an emotionally piercing marvel.” The Orphan of Zhao will perform at A.C.T.’s Geary Theater (415 Geary Street, San Francisco) June 4–29, 2014. Press night is Wednesday, June 11, 2014. Tickets ($20–$120) are on sale now and may be purchased online at act-‐sf.org or by calling 415.749.2228.
Says Perloff: “Discovering The Orphan of Zhao was incredibly eye-‐opening for me, an insight into a vivid moment in Chinese culture and an introduction to a major classic of suspense and sacrifice rarely seen in the Western theater. The Zhao story has been told in China for a millennium, most recently in a vivid Chinese film called Sacrifice. Its arrival on the Geary stage, starring BD Wong, continues our exploration of Chinese culture with a remarkable company of Asian American actors and theater artists, including Stuck Elevator composer Byron Au Yong who is composing the many songs and live musical interludes in the production. We hope our audiences will be as transported and surprised by this stunning piece of world theater as we were when we first encountered it.”
The cast for The Orphan of Zhao includes Marie-‐France Arcilla (Stuck Elevator at A.C.T.; Working at Prospect Theater Company), Stan Egi (Golden Child off Broadway), Philip Estrera (third-‐year A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts student; A Christmas Carol at A.C.T.), Nick Gabriel (A.C.T. Resident Artist; Napoli! at A.C.T.), Cindy Im (Stuck Elevator and 4000 Miles at A.C.T.; The Snow Queen at San Jose Repertory Theatre), Orville Mendoza (Peter and the Starcatcher on Broadway; Miss Saigon National tour), Paolo Montalban (Pacific Overtures and The King and I on Broadway), Brian Rivera (Yellowjackets at Berkeley Repertory Theatre; Macbeth at Sacramento Shakespeare Festival), Sab Shimono (Pacific Overtures on Broadway; original cast member of Mame on Broadway), Julyana Soelistyo (Tony Award–nominee for Golden Child on Broadway), Daisuke Tsuji (King Lear at Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Dralion by Cirque du Soleil), and BD Wong (M. Butterfly; Law & Order: Special Victims Unit).