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April 28, 2021

Great Roles for Asian Male Actors


A rock ‘n’ roll musician fleeing political persecution. The CFO of a trendy sports apparel company. A Chinese American basketball player competing in Beijing. An awkward 16-year-old D&D nerd in Long Beach, California. A bunch of “regular guys” playing poker. These are just some of the varied and compelling roles you’ll find in this collection of Concord Theatricals plays and musicals featuring Asian men.

American Hwangap by Lloyd Suh (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 2f, 3m)

American Hwangap tells the story of Min Suk Chun, who some 15 years earlier left his family in a West Texas suburb to return to his native Korea. On the occasion of his 60th birthday (hwangap), a milestone signifying the completion of the Eastern Zodiac and a type of rebirth, he returns to his ex-wife and now adult children as they struggle to reconcile their broken past with the mercurial, verbose and often exasperating patriarch now back at the head of the table.

Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 1f, 3m, 2m or f)

A story filled with horror, humor, pathos and songs by the best unknown rock band in Cambodia. In 1978, Chum fled Cambodia and narrowly escaped the murderous Khmer Rouge regime. Thirty years later, he returns in search of his wayward daughter, Neary. As the play jumps back and forth in time, thrilling mystery meets rock concert until both father and daughter are forced to face the music of the past.

Flower Drum Song Music by Richard Rodgers, Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, Book by David Henry Hwang (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 3f, 5m)

Wang, the successful owner of a restaurant/club in San Francisco’s Chinatown, struggles to keep the Chinese opera tradition alive, despite his son Tan’s determination to turn the old opera house into a swingin’ Western-style nightclub. When a young woman named Mei-Li arrives from China, Tan questions his infatuation with entertainer Linda Low and begins to develop an appreciation for tradition, custom… and Mei-Li.

The Great Leap by Lauren Yee (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 1f, 3m)

When an American college basketball team travels to Beijing for a “friendship” game in the post-Cultural Revolution 1980s, both countries try to tease out the politics behind this newly popular sport. Cultures clash as the Chinese coach tries to pick up moves from the Americans and Chinese American player Manford spies on his opponents. Inspired by events in her own father’s life, Yee “applies a devilishly keen satiric eye to… her generation (and its parents).”

House Rules by A. Rey Pamatmat (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 3f, 4m)

Rod thinks the game is fixed. Momo’s still learning the rules. Twee doesn’t think winning is enough. JJ hates his hand. And why the hell is Henry still playing? Two families (and some guy named Henry) panic with hilarious and heartbreaking results when they realize their parents won’t be around forever. Can anybody prepare for the inevitable moment when they’re the ones left holding all the cards?

Huck and Holden by Rajiv Joseph (US)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 2f, 3m)

Huck & Holden is a romantic comedy that wrestles with cultural stereotypes, racism, The Kama Sutra, The Catcher in the Rye, and how losing our innocence doesn’t always make us wiser. Navin is an Indian college student who’s fresh off the boat and trying to remain focused on his studies while the temptations of America and college life beat down his door. When Navin falls for Michelle, a young African American woman, his perceptions of the world begin to expand— and crumble.

King of The Yees by Lauren Yee (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 2f, 3m)

For nearly 20 years, playwright Lauren Yee’s father, Larry, has been a driving force in the Yee Family Association, a seemingly obsolescent Chinese American men’s club formed 150 years ago in the wake of the Gold Rush and the building of the transcontinental railroad. But when her father goes missing, Lauren must plunge into the rabbit hole of San Francisco Chinatown and confront a world both foreign and familiar. At once bitingly hilarious and heartbreakingly honest, King of the Yees is an epic joyride across cultural, national and familial borders that explores what it means to truly be a Yee.

The Oldest Boy: A Play in Three Ceremonies by Sarah Ruhl (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 1f, 4m)

In this moving exploration of parenthood, an American mother and a Tibetan father have a three-year-old son believed to be the reincarnation of a Buddhist lama. When a Tibetan lama and a monk come to their home unexpectedly, asking to take their child away for a life of spiritual training in India, the parents must make a life-altering choice that will test their strength, their marriage, and their hearts.

Queen by Madhuri Shekar (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 2f, 2m)

Sanam Shah, a mathematician, and Ariel Spiegel, a biologist, are Ph.D. candidates and best friends working together to discover the cause of colony collapse disorder – the urgent, ecological crisis where bees are disappearing around the world in alarming numbers. Just as they are about to publish a career-defining new paper on the subject, calling for a ban on commercial pesticides,
Sanam realizes that the numbers don’t add up to support their conclusion. Should she look the other way for the sake of environmental action, or should she stand by her scientific principles, even if it means ceding ground to an ecological disaster, jeopardizing her career and losing her best friend?

Song of Extinction by E. M. Lewis (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 1f, 5m)

Max, a musically gifted high school student, is falling off the edge of the world — and his biology teacher is the only one who’s noticed. A play about the science of life and loss, the relationships between fathers and sons, Cambodian fields, Bolivian rainforests and redemption.

Vietgone by Qui Nguyen (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 2f, 3m)

An all-American love story about two very new Americans. It’s 1975. Saigon has fallen. He lost his wife. She lost her fiancé. But now, in a new land, they just might find each other. Using the uniquely infectious style The New York Times calls “culturally savvy comedy” – and skipping back and forth from the dramatic evacuation of Saigon to the here and now – playwright Qui Nguyen gets up close and personal to tell the story that led to the creation of… Qui Nguyen.

Wild Goose Dreams by Hansol Jung (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 4f, 4m)

Nanhee, the daughter of a North Korean miner, has defected to South Korea, leaving her family behind. Minsung is a South Korean “goose father” who works in South Korea to support his wife and children in the United States. Nanhee and Minsung find each other on the internet. A story about modern aspirations and their betrayals, Wild Goose Dreams explores the miracle of quiet intimacy among the noise of the contemporary world.

Year Zero by Michael Golamco (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 1f, 3m)

Vuthy Vichea is 16 years old, Cambodian American. He loves hip hop and Dungeons and Dragons. He has thick-ass glasses. He is a weird kid in a place where weirdness can be fatal: Long Beach, California. Since his best friend moved and his mother died, the only person he can talk to is a human skull he keeps hidden in a cookie jar. Year Zero is a comedic drama about young Cambodian Americans — about reincarnation, reinvention and, ultimately, redemption.

Yoga Play by Dipika Guha (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 2f, 3m)

Joan has been hired to stabilize Jojomon, a yoga apparel giant, after its CEO is brought down by a fat-shaming scandal. But just as she finds her stride, more trouble surfaces and sales plummet. Joan comes up with a plan so risky that it could make or break the company and her career—and what it requires from her CFO, Raj, is far beyond the call of duty. This sharp comedy asks what it takes to find your own authenticity in a world determined to sell enlightenment.

Find more shows featuring great roles for Asian actors on the Concord Theatricals website. In the US/North America, click here. In the UK/Europe, click here.

Header Image: 2018 Public Theatre production of Wild Goose Dreams (Joan Marcus)