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FLOWER DRUM SONG BROADWAY REVIEWS

Opening Night: October 17, 2002

Show NY TIMES
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Synopsis: David Henry Hwang has re-written the book for the classic Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, Flower Drum Song. Lea Salonga stars in this new production, directed and choreographed by Robert Longbottom. In this newly revised version, Mei-Li (Salonga), the daughter of a Chinese opera master, travels to San Francisco as the dying wish of her father. In Chinatown, she meets Master Wang, a colleague of her father's, and Wang's American-born son, Ta, at their struggling opera house, which over his father's objections, Ta transforms into a swinging nightclub, Club Chop Suey. As Mei-Li's own identity is in transition, she witnesses the delicate balancing act in her new community between the older generation's struggle to hold on to traditional beliefs and the younger generation's desire to assimilate. She also finds herself falling in love.

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NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW:

"IF any girl needed a makeover in the competitive, fast-changing world of big-time musicals, it was Mei-Li, the winsome little heroine of Rodgers and Hammerstein's ''Flower Drum Song.'' As embodied by Miyoshi Umeki in the original Broadway and film versions of the show some 40 years ago, this newly arrived Chinese immigrant was so quaintly modest, it was scary, with her downcast eyes and submissive stoop. What's more, she kept saying embarrassing things like ''My back is wet'' (read: ''I'm a wetback'') in a thick accent.

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