Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:
KING OF THE YEES, LAUREN YEE’S MADCAP CELEBRATION OF FAMILY AND CULTURAL IDENTITY,
MAKES ITS WORLD PREMIERE AT GOODMAN THEATRE, MARCH 31 – APRIL 30, DIRECTED BY JOSHUA KAHAN BRODY
***FRANCIS JUE AND STEPHENIE SOOHYUN PARK STAR AS FATHER AND DAUGHTER—“LARRY YEE” AND “LAUREN YEE”—WITH DANIEL SMITH, ANGELA LIN AND RAMMEL CHAN***
Tonight, ChiIL Mama will be ChiILin' at The Goodman Theatre, one of our favorite venues, for the press opening of King of the Yees. Check back soon for our full review. We're looking forward to the world premiere of this Goodman Theatre-commissioned work!
**Tonight Only: Retired ABC-7 anchor and Chicago’s first Asian American broadcast journalist, Linda Yu, moderates an “Artist Encounter” discussion with Yee and Brody on Sunday, April 9 at 5pm; tickets are $10 for the public and $5 for Donors, Subscribers and students.**
Explore the vivid history of America’s largest Chinatown through the eyes of a new generation in Lauren Yee’s King of the Yees, developed in the 2015 New Stages Festival. Yee’s longtime collaborator Joshua Kahan Brody directs her offbeat and electric joy ride about living in the contemporary world while honoring one’s rich ancestral heritage—and the conflict that ensues. The production will debut at A Contemporary Theatre and Canada's National Arts Centre later this year.
“We are thrilled to welcome one of our country’s most gifted young writers Lauren Yee to the Goodman with her truly original take on the age-old tale of a daughter’s quest for acceptance—at once ambitious, charming and imaginatively idiosyncratic,” said Artistic Director Robert Falls. “One of the most arresting new works I’ve experienced, King of the Yees is a meta-theatrical and infectiously rambunctious odyssey, sprinkled with wit, irreverence and surprising wisdom.”
The affable Larry Yee (Francis Jue) remains a driving force in the San Francisco Chinese American community as the head of the Yee Fung Toy family association—a seemingly obsolescent men's club dedicated to the preservation of the Yee line. His daughter Lauren (Stephenie Soohyun Park), however, is dismissive of its patriarchal culture, despite her father’s dedication. When Larry suddenly goes missing, Lauren’s desperate search drops her into a foreign but familiar world where she will have to embrace the past in order to get her father back. Actors Daniel Smith, Angela Lin and Rammel Chan round out the cast, appearing in a variety of roles throughout the two-act play. The design team includes William Boles (set), Izumi Inaba (costumes), Heather Gilbert (lighting), Mikhail Fiksel (sound) and Mike Tutaj (projections). Tanya Palmer is the dramaturg and Donald E. Claxon is the production stage manager. Visit GoodmanTheatre.org/Yees for artist bios.
“King of the Yees is only kind of true—just like the stories your father once told you as a child,” said playwright Lauren Yee of the play in which she and her father, Larry, are central characters. “Growing up, I never understood what the Yee Fung Toy—a club of Yees—was, or why people were a part of it. With this play, I’ve been able to explore not only my own self-consciousness within my community, but it’s also shed light on how that is a universal experience. With every generation, there is a feeling of being unworthy and being unprepared to take up the cultural mantle. In a way, this play is a hero’s quest that celebrates those feelings of inadequacy.”
Yee’s other plays include Cambodian Rock Band (upcoming at South Coast Repertory’s Pacific Playwrights Festival), Ching Chong China Man (Pan Asian Repertory Theatre and Mu Performing Arts), The Great Leap (Denver Center for the Performing Art's New Play Summit), The Hatmaker’s Wife (Playwrights Realm and Moxie), Hookman (Encore Theatre, Company One and an upcoming production at Steep Theatre), In a Word (San Francisco Playhouse, Cleveland Public Theatre, Strawdog Theatre Company and an upcoming production at Lesser America), Samsara (Victory Gardens Theater, Single Carrot Theatre and the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center’s National Playwright Conference) and The Tiger Among Us (MAP Fund and Mu Performing Arts). Yee is a member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab and has received commissions from the Denver Center of the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center Theater/LCT3, Mixed Blood Theatre, Portland Center Stage, South Coast Repertory and Trinity Repertory Company. She received her BA from Yale University and MFA from University of California, San Diego. She was born and raised in San Francisco and currently lives in New York.
“I’m so grateful to Lauren for bringing me on this incredible journey that is King of the Yees, which we’ve worked to fine-tune over the past three years,” said Director Joshua Kahan Brody, a longtime collaborator and friend of Yee, whom he met 14 years ago as Yale University undergrads (they later attended graduate school together at UC-San Diego). “It’s an extraordinary gift to return to the Goodman after developing this play in the 2015 New Stages festival; the support, the enthusiasm and joy of premiering it here in Chicago is a dream come true.”
Brody’s directing credits include The Last Tiger in Haiti at La Jolla Playhouse and Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Fourteen Flights at the New York International Fringe Festival (Award for Excellence in Directing). He has developed work all over the country including at Atlantic Theater Company, New York Theater Workshop, Ojai Playwrights Conference, Playwrights Horizons and South Coast Repertory. He is a Princess Grace Award winner and received his MFA from University of California, San Diego and his BA from Yale University.
The Goodman is grateful for the generosity of its sponsors: ITW is the Corporate Sponsor Partner and Winston & Strawn LLP is the Contributing Sponsor.
TICKETS, DISCOUNTS AND SPECIAL EVENTS
Tickets ($10-$40) – GoodmanTheatre.org/Yees; 312.443.3800; Fax: 312.443.3825; TTY/TDD: 312.443.3829
Box Office Hours – 12noon - 5pm; on performance days, the box office remains open until 30 minutes past curtain
MezzTix – Half-price day-of-performance mezzanine tickets available at 10am online (promo code MEZZTIX)
$10Tix – Student $10 advance tickets; limit four, with valid student ID (promo code 10TIX)
Group Sales are available for parties 10+; 312.443.3820 (restrictions apply)
Gift Certificates – Available in any amount; GoodmanTheatre.org/GiftCertificates
ARTIST ENCOUNTER – April 9 at 5pm| The Alice Center for Engagement and Education at Goodman Theatre
Tickets are $10 for public; $5 for Donors, Subscribers and students. Join Yee and Brody for an in-depth conversation about the play with ABC-7’s Linda Yu. GoodmanTheatre.org/ArtistEncounter
ACCESSIBILITY AT GOODMAN THEATRE
Touch-Tour, April 23 at 12:30pm – A presentation detailing the set, costume and character elements
Audio-Described Performance, April 23 at 2pm – The action/text is audibly enhanced for patrons via headset
ASL-Interpreted Performance, April 29 at 2pm – Professional ASL interpreter signs the action/text as played
Open-Captioned Performance, April 30 at 2pm – An LED sign presents dialogue in sync with the performance
Visit Goodman Theatre.org/Access for more information about Goodman Theatre’s accessibility efforts.
About Goodman Theatre
America’s “Best Regional Theatre” (Time magazine) and “Chicago’s flagship resident stage” (Chicago Tribune), Goodman Theatre is a not-for-profit organization distinguished by the quality and scope of its artistic programming and civic engagement. Founded in 1925, the Goodman is led by Robert Falls—“Chicago’s most essential director” (Chicago Tribune), who marks 30 years as Artistic Director this season—and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, who is celebrated for his vision and leadership over nearly four decades.
Dedicated to new plays, reimagined classics and large-scale musical theater works, Goodman Theatre artists and productions have earned hundreds of awards for artistic excellence, including: two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards, nearly 160 Jeff Awards and more. Over the past three decades, audiences have experienced more than 150 world or American premieres, 30 major musical productions, as well as nationally and internationally celebrated productions of classic works (including Falls’ productions of Death of a Salesman, Long Day’s Journey into Night, King Lear and The Iceman Cometh, many in collaboration with actor Brian Dennehy). In addition, the Goodman is the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle.” For nearly four decades, the annual holiday tradition of A Christmas Carol has created a new generation of theatergoers.
The 2016 opening of the Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement (“the Alice”) launched the next phase in the Goodman’s decades-long commitment as an arts and community organization dedicated to educating Chicago youth and promoting lifelong learning. Programs are offered year-round and free of charge. Eighty-five percent of the Goodman’s youth program participants come from underserved communities.
Goodman Theatre was founded by William O. Goodman and his family in honor of their son Kenneth, an important figure in Chicago’s cultural renaissance in the early 1900s. The Goodman family’s legacy lives on through the continued work and dedication of Kenneth’s family, including Albert Ivar Goodman, who with his late mother, Edith-Marie Appleton, contributed the necessary funds for the creation of the new Goodman center in 2000.
Today, Goodman Theatre leadership includes the distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Brian Dennehy, Rebecca Gilman, Henry Godinez, Dael Orlandersmith, Steve Scott, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor, Henry Wishcamper and Mary Zimmerman. Joan E. Clifford is Chair of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Cynthia K. Scholl is Women’s Board President and Justin A. Kulovsek is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.