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March 24, 2021

Great Roles for Asian Female Actors


A pair of ruthlessly ambitious teenage twins. An applied mathematician with an explosive secret. A young woman on the autism spectrum. A wayward daughter discovering the secrets of her father’s past. These are just some of the compelling roles you’ll find in this collection of Concord Theatricals plays and musicals that put Asian women in the spotlight.

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.

Ching Chong Chinaman by Lauren Yee (US)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 3f, 3m)
The Wongs are American as apple pie. Desdemona dreams of Princeton but could use some help with her calculus. Her brother Upton wants to be a World of Warcraft champion but needs more free time to train. Upton solves both their problems by bringing an indentured servant home one day, but they soon discover that “Ching Chong” has American dreams of his own. An irreverent comedy skewering every cliché about Asian American identity.

Coconut by Guleraana Mir (UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 1f, 2m)
Rumi is a British Pakistani woman who’s referred to as a “Coconut” (brown on the outside, white on the inside). Born and brought up as a Muslim, Rumi spends more time enjoying fine wine and bacon than being at the mosque. When she meets Simon, a white guy, she hopes that his decision to convert to Islam will be enough to keep everyone happy. However, as Simon begins to explore his faith, Rumi’s world spins off its axis in ways she could never have predicted.

Edith Can Shoot Things And Hit Them by A. Rey Pamatmat (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 1f, 2m)
Three kids – Kenny, his sister Edith, and their friend Benji – are all but abandoned on a farm in remotest Middle America. With little adult supervision, they feed and care for each other, making up the rules as they go. But when Kenny’s and Benji’s relationship becomes more than friendship, and Edith shoots something she really shouldn’t shoot, the formerly indifferent outside world comes barging in, whether they want it to or not.

Film Chinois by Damon Chua (US)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 2f, 3m)
The place: Peking, China. The year: 1947, an uneasy time between WWII and the Communist takeover two years later. Randolph, a fresh-faced American operative, has been sent to the Raymond Chandler-esque Imperial City with an important mission. He makes progress, but soon chances into a staunch Maoist named Chinadoll, his would-be adversary and lover. A cat-and-mouse game ensues. As Randolph plunges deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness of what was once the most beautiful city in the world, he soon finds his life imperiled, even as he begins to unravel the mystery of a piece of old homemade film, and the whereabouts of a beautiful woman who seems to have vanished into thin air.

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)
“To create something new, we must first love what is old,” says Mei-Li in Tony Award-winner David Henry Hwang’s adaptation of this Rodgers & Hammerstein jewel. Mei-Li flees Mao’s communist China after the murder of her father and finds herself in San Francisco’s Chinatown. This naive young refugee is befriended by Wang, who is struggling to keep the Chinese opera tradition alive despite his son’s determination to turn the old opera house into a swingin’ Western-style nightclub. Mei-Li realizes that the old and new can coexist when there is respect for both. In that spirit, Concord Theatricals makes available both the original (US/UK) and new versions of Flower Drum Song.

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.

Made in India by Satinder Kaur Chohan (UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 3f)
In a surrogacy clinic in Gujarat, three women meet. It’s Londoner Eva’s last chance for motherhood. For village girl Aditi, surrogacy is a lifeline out of poverty. For clinic owner and businesswoman Dr Gupta, it’s all just another transaction.

Orange by Aditi Brennan Kapil (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 2f, 1m)
An adventure through Orange County told from the point of view of a young woman on the autism spectrum. A unique and sympathetic view of neurodiversity.

Peerless by Jiehae Park (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dark Comedy / 3f, 2m)
Asian-American twins M and L have given up everything to get into The College. So when D, a one-sixteenth Native American classmate, gets “their” spot instead, they figure they’ve got only one option: kill him. A darkly comedic take on Shakespeare’s Macbeth about the very ambitious and the cutthroat world of high school during college admissions.

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?

Spun by Rabiah Hussain (UK)
(Full Length Play, Drama / 2f)
Safa and Aisha have been best friends for years. They used to bunk off school, revise for exams together and even went to the same university. But now they’re forging different paths for the first time: Safa to work in the City, and Aisha to teach in Newham. When London is attacked one day in July, Safa and Aisha feel the whole world spinning. As extremes from all sides take hold of the city, can their friendship survive the upheaval?

Taisetsu Na Hito by Leah Nanako Winkler (US/UK)
(10-Minute Play, Dark Comedy / 2f, 1m)
Bethany and Charles, a wholesome American couple, become owners of Android Minami, a Japanese robo-maid. As Minami becomes integrated into their mundane lives, repressed emotions arise and the line between servitude and fetishism begins to blur.

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.

White Pearl by Anchuli Felicia King (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dark Comedy / 5f, 1m)
This scathing dark comedy was writer Anchuli Felicia King’s international playwriting debut. In Singapore, Clearday™ has developed from a small startup company to a leading international cosmetic brand in less than a year. But when a draft of the company’s latest skin cream advert is leaked, the video goes viral globally for all the wrong reasons. As YouTube views increase and anger builds on social media, journalists begin to cover the story. Facing an international PR nightmare, the Clearday™ staff – desperate not to be seen as racist – scramble to take it all down before America wakes up.

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: 2019 Royal Court Theatre production of White Pearl (Tristram Kenton)