Produced by Ma-Yi Theater Company, The First Twenty: 20 Years of Asian American Playwriting is a new 30-minute documentary film that showcases the evolution of the Asian American playwright over the last 20 years as part of ALL ARTS’ The First Twenty content initiative. Created and directed by Ma-Yi’s Producing Artistic Director Ralph B. Peña, the documentary takes a close look at the shift in how Asian American plays are broadly perceived, as well as the widening scope of subjects tackled by Asian American writers that move far beyond identity politics. The First Twenty: 20 Years of Asian American Playwriting premieres Tuesday, November 9 at 8 p.m. ET nationwide on the ALL ARTS app and AllArts.org/TheFirstTwenty, and in the New York metro area on the ALL ARTS TV channel (channel lineup).
Interview subjects include the following theater luminaries: Tony, OBIE and Grammy Award winner and Pulitzer Prize in Drama Finalist David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly, Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida, Tarzan); playwright, director and filmmaker Young Jean Lee, winner of the Guggenheim Fellowship, two OBIE Awards and a PEN Literary Award, who was the first Asian American female playwright to have a play produced on Broadway; Qui Nguyen, (Vietgone, co-writer of Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon); Lloyd Suh (Charles Francis Chan, The Wong Kids) winner of the 2020 Horton for his play The Chinese Lady; playwright Mike Lew (tiny father, Teenage Dick), a Guggenheim Fellow and Mellon Foundation Playwright in Residence at Ma-Yi; playwright Rehana Lew Mirza (A People’s Guide to History in the Time of Here and Now, Soldier X), a Mellon Foundation Playwright in Residence at Ma-Yi; playwright Lauren Yee (Cambodian Rock Band, The Great Leap); and playwright and director Chay Yew (Porcelain, A Language of Their Own).
The First Twenty is a new content initiative from ALL ARTS, curated by Artistic Director James King, uncovering the ways that the first two decades of the 21st century have impacted American art, culture, and the collective consciousness. The First Twenty: 20 Years of Asian American Playwriting is the fourth special in the series. Previous offerings include The First Twenty: Afterwards, a compelling monologue by award-winning playwright Enda Walsh (Lazarus, Sing Street) in partnership with Irish Arts Center; The First Twenty: Ma’s House, an exploration of the evolution of Native American art from photographer and member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation Jeremy Dennis; and The First Twenty: Michael Mwenso Honors George Floyd, a powerful concert homage featuring some of today’s greatest Black artists, on the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s killing.
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David Henry Hwang | Playwright
Young Jean Lee | Playwright
Mike Lew | Playwright
Rehana Lew Mirza | Playwright
Qui Nguyen | Playwright
Lloyd Suh | Playwright
Lauren Yee | Playwright
Chay Yew | Playwright, Director
Ralph B. Peña | Director
Francisco Aliwalas | Cinematographer & Editor
Douglas Bachman | Additional Camera
Fabian Obispo | Original Music
Katie Andrew | Production Coordinator
Jennifer Haining | Production Coordinator & Assistant Editor
Alisha Shreshtha | Intern, Ma-Yi Theater Company
Jakob Carter | Associate Producer, Ma-Yi Theater Company
Anna Campbell | Producer, All Arts
Jake King | Field Producer, All Arts
Mark Andersen | Camera, All Arts
Samuel Blackwell | Health Safety Officer, All Arts
Sonoko Aoyagi Leopold | Operations Manager, All Arts
Eric Krugley | Production Manager, All Arts
Kristy Geslain | Executive Producer, All Arts
Joe Harrell | Executive Producer, All Arts
James King | Artistic Director, All Arts
Diane Masciale | Executive in Charge, All Arts
Neal Shapiro | Executive in Charge