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Posts Tagged Meng Xiong

Flower Drum Song: Highlights from Opening Night

Being an introvert, I don’t often relish attending highly social events, but this Friday’s opening night for Flower Drum Song was an exception to the rule. If you have been following the blog posts related to the musical, you can’t have missed how personally meaningful this production has been for its Asian American participants.  Here were some of my personal favorite highlights of the evening:

David Henry Hwang joined us for the opening night of Flower Drum Song (Photo by Connie Shaver)

David Henry Hwang joined us for the opening night of Flower Drum Song
(Photo by Connie Shaver)

1. Playwright David Henry Hwang not only attended the opening night performance of Flower Drum Song but also spoke during the pre-show reception as well as mingled during the post-show festivities.

Briana Belland and Meng Xiong were two of the Ensemble members in the cast (Photo by Connie Shaver)

Brianna Belland and Meng Xiong were two of the Ensemble members in the cast
(Photo by Connie Shaver)

2. The members of the Ensemble were amazing, playing multiple roles and singing and dancing their hearts out in such humorous numbers as “Fan Tan Fannie” and “Chop Suey” and, of course, the very emotional signature song “A Hundred Million Miracles.” Flower Drum Song could not have succeeded without them. The full Ensemble included Alice McGlave, Nicole Riebe, Ashley Kershaw, Kylee Brinkman, Brianna Belland, Michelle de Joya, Nikko Paul Raymo, Joseph Vang and Meng Xiong.

Katie Bradley played Madame Liang

Katie Bradley played Madame Rita Liang

 3. The biggest laugh resulted from a line delivered by Katie Bradley as Madame Rita Liang, a Chinese American talent agent, as she gave advice about how to handle the press to showgirl Linda Low: “They’re reporters. We don’t tell them the truth.”

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4. The ending when each cast member stepped forward to do that incredibly moving thing that you’ll want to see for yourself.

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5. The fact that the opening night performance preceded the beginning of the Lunar New Year, making the next day that much more special. The Proscenium Stage lobby was decorated with Chinese zodiac scarves that could also be displayed as wall hangings. They were created by artist and Park Square Theatre patron Jane Goodspeed, who had designed them as gifts to donors who donate $99 to sponsor nine students attending a matinee performance of Flower Drum Song.

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Flower Drum Song continues until February 19. As Mu’s Artistic Director Randy Reyes aptly puts it, “This story is for anyone whose family came to this country from somewhere else.” Don’t miss your opportunity to see this rich and moving musical.

Flower Drum Song: Featuring Meng Xiong

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In Flower Drum Song, Meng Xiong is part of the Ensemble, playing various roles.

Meng provided the following answer when asked: “What is most meaningful for you about the role that you play in Flower Drum Song–whether it be your particular character role, your overall role of being part of the production, or both?”

What’s most meaningful to me in the role that I play in Flower Drum Song is the traditional culture that’s behind him. The traditional values that my character(s) hold are most meaningful to me because they have a strong truthful place in my life; they are what even I, myself, have. I have traditional values as an Asian American that I feel strongly about, and I think it’s extremely important for me to be able to tell, not only the character’s story, but my own story as well. The character’s traditional values and my own values could have not been anymore perfect.

And this was Meng’s reply to the question, ” What about your role is most challenging?”

What’s most challenging about my role is being able to not let too many emotions overwhelm me.

Rehearsing a dance number Photo by Connie Shaver

Rehearsing a dance number
Photo by Connie Shaver

 

Meng’s Background:

Park Square Debut Representative Theatre Locally Grown Theatre: Aphrodite & The Legendary Letter Film Worth Training Guthrie Classes; Rich Remedios: Meisner Technique; Bill Cooper: Scene Studies; HUGE Theatre: Improv

 

Flower Drum Song – Co-Produced with Mu Performing Arts

Park Square Theatre’s Proscenium Stage – January 20-February 19
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