The Monkey King edges toward Broadway, and the musical, seeded at Roosevelt Island’s Main Street Theatre and Dance Alliance, takes its roots along.
In April, 2018, it’s world premiere opened in the Howe Theatre in the Roosevelt Island Cultural Center.
MSTDA commissioned the work, and its talented youngsters filled the roles. In the new workshop production, MSTDA’s Emily Zhao returns as part of the ensemble.
What’s it all about today…?
The Monkey King, Sun Wukong, was a celebrated figure in Chinese folktales since the 16th Century. First came a Ming Dynasty novel, Journey to the West, according to the press release.
This modern musical, written by Jonathan and Kimbirdlee Fadner, offers a playful twist on the traditional story.
“What would happen if the Monkey King were born a girl?”
Monkey King Edges Toward Broadway: The Story
With its heartfelt music and inspiring storyline, The Monkey King: A Modern Musical follows the first female Monkey King. She battles against Heaven and Earth’s most treacherous foes to save her beloved tribe and achieve immortality.
About the National Asian Arts Project
NAAP is a community of artists, educators, administrators, community leaders, and professionals.
It is a not-for-profit organization, and it recognizes the need to build bridges: between artists of Asian descent and communities that their work can serve.
With this project, National Asian Artists Project keeps with its mission to provide more opportunities to both Asian playwrights and performers.
Monkey King Edges Toward Broadway: Who’s who?
The workshop is directed by NAAP Co-Founder Steven Eng and features an ensemble of talented actors from the NAAP Community:
Kimbirdlee Fadner, Grace Shih, Tomo Watanabe, Xiaoqing Zhang (Mao Mao), Shan Y Chuang, Leo Yu-Ning Chang, Alex Lawrence, Joey Ledonio, Charles Pang
Also introducing the Monkey King ensemble:
Mio Nakanishi, Martin Borromeo, Myoungjin Choi, Ave Cheung, Emily Zhao
Justin Ramos (Keyboard), Shayna Dunkelman (Drums), Peter Douskalis (Guitar)
Steven Eng, Director
Justin Ramos, Music Director
Cassey Kivnick, Associate Director
Josh Shapiro, Assistant Director
Zackry Childers, Stage Manager
Monica Villa, Production Assistant
Amelia Dombrowski, Costume Designer
Irina Hage, Photographer
Jerry Fadner, Graphic Designer
Special thanks to Kristi Towey & MSTDA who originally commissioned The Monkey King in 2018.