Chinglish (play)


Original Broadway poster
Written by David Henry Hwang
Date premiered 2011
Place premiered Longacre Theatre, New York, NY
Original language English, Mandarin
Genre Comedy
Official site
IBDB profile

Chinglish is a new American play by Tony Award winner David Henry Hwang. It is a comedy about an American businessman desperate to launch a new enterprise in China, which opened on Broadway October 27, 2011 with direction by Leigh Silverman.


Production History

Chinglish began at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, IL, where it ran from June 18, 2011, until July 24, 2011. It was Hwang's second collaboration with OBIE Award-winning director Leigh Silverman, following Yellow Face at the Center Theater Group and The Public Theater.[1]

Few plays in recent years have delighted me as much as Chinglish. With a career spanning more than three decades and a canon that incorporates an array of genres, David is one of the luminaries of contemporary American theater. I have admired his work since long before our collaboration on the Broadway musical Aida, and it is a thrill to welcome him to the Goodman for the first time.

-Robert Falls, Goodman Theatre Artistic Director

It was announced in Summer 2011 that the play would come to the Longacre Theatre on Broadway[2] with the following cast: Gary Wilmes, Jennifer Lim, Angela Lin, Christine Lin, Stephen Pucci, Johnny Wu and Larry Lei Zhang.

Critical Reception


FOUR STARS! In Hwang's hilarious Chinglish, the Chinese tiger roars, American business trembles. Laughs and sexual pleasure in translation. A shrewd, timely and razor sharp comedy! David Henry Hwang's best work since M. Butterfly. -Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune[3]

One of the funniest plays in memory...Chinglish has characters not clichés - the Chinese aren't worker bees, the American isn't an arrogant idiot. -Neil Steinberg, Chicago Sun-Times[4]

New York

“Fresh, energetic and unlike anything else on Broadway. Chinglish is a thoughtful, funny and poignant piece in which, miraculously, nothing gets lost in translation.” -Mark Kennedy, Associated Press [5]

“A lethal comedy about business, sex and the failure to communicate that bristles with intelligence.” -Bloomberg [6]


Chinglish was nominated for five Joseph Jefferson Awards,[7] including:

  • Best Production - "Chinglish"
  • Director - Leigh Silverman
  • Actress in a Principal Role - Jennifer Lim
  • New Work - David Henry Hwang - (WON)
  • Scenic Design - David Korins - (WON)


Chinglish on Broadway
Jennifer Lim and Gary Wilmes

An American businessman arrives in a bustling Chinese province looking to score a lucrative contact for his family’s sign-making firm. He soon finds that the complexities of such a venture far outstrip the expected differences in language, customs and manners – and calls into questions even the most basic assumptions of human conduct.[8]

The U.S. and China are at a critical moment in history—each nation is deeply interested in, but knows very little about the other. Chinglish was born from the many visits I’ve made to China over the past five or six years to witness the exciting changes there. During one visit, I toured a new arts center where everything was first-rate—except for the ridiculously translated English signs. It was at that moment I thought of writing this play.”

-David Henry Hwang, Playwright

Characters and Broadway Cast

  • Daniel Cavanaugh - Gary Wilmes
  • Xi Yan - Jennifer Lim
  • Miss Qian / Prosecutor Li - Angela Lin
  • Miss Zhao - Christine Lin
  • Peter Timms - Stephen Pucci
  • Bing / Judge Xu Geming - Johnny Wu
  • Minister Cai Guoliang - Larry Lei Zhang

Production Credits

  • David Henry Hwang (Playwright)
  • Leigh Silverman (Direction)
  • David Korins (Set Design)
  • Anita Yavich(Costume Design)
  • Brian MacDevitt (Lighting Design)
  • Darron L. West (Sound Design)
  • Jeff Sugg & Shawn Duan (Projection Design)


  1. ^ "World premiere of David Henry Hwang's Sexy New Comedy, CHINGLISH (June 18 - July 24), Completes Goodman Theatre's 'Decade on Dearborn' Celebratory Season.". Broadway's Best Shows. May 31, 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-06. 
  2. ^ "By Way of Chicago, David Henry Hwang Comedy ‘Chinglish’ Will Come to Broadway". The New York Times. June 28, 2011. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  3. ^ "In Hwang's hilarious 'Chinglish,' the Chinese tiger roars, American business trembles". Chicago Tribune. June 27, 2011. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  4. ^ "Blagojevich tragedy not as alien as we might like". Chicago Sun-Times. June 28, 2011. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  5. ^ "'Chinglish' jumps into Sino-American culture gap". Associated Press. October 27, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-10. 
  6. ^ "Chinese Call Shots in Business, Sex Comedy ‘Chinglish’: Review". Bloomberg. October 29, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-10. 
  7. ^ "Jeff 2011 Equity Awards Announced". Jeff Awards. August 31, 2011. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  8. ^ "Chinglish on Broadway". Broadway's Best Shows. September 19, 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-19. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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