Venue Details

39 Star Starred
Woodminster Amphitheater
Sanborn Dr. and Joaquin Miller Rd. Oakland, CA 94602
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Quotes & Highlights

Features beloved songs like “A Hundred Million Miracles” and “I Enjoy Being a Girl.”


Less than two years after it opened on Broadway, the much talked-about “new” version of Flower Drum Song will see its Bay Area premiere at the Woodminster Summer Musicals in the Oakland hills. Based on a 1957 novel by C. Y. Lee, which became the first bestseller by an Asian-American author, the all-Asian Broadway cast and story was groundbreaking when it opened in 1958. As our mainstream society and arts world have become more multicultural, however, the musical and its 1961 film version have come to be thought of as patronizing and stereotyped, and the show has become one of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s least produced in recent years.

Confessing a guilty pleasure in the music, Tony-award-winning Asian-American playwright David Henry Hwang approached the Rodgers & Hammerstein Music Library with the idea of writing an entirely new book, and the result is a revitalized script with a more modern view, integrated with the original music. The new version honors the original material, but has returned to the themes of C.Y. Lee’s original novel: Cultural assimilation, the relationship between generations, and the struggle to become authentically American without abandoning traditions. This musical play about a young woman who flees Communist China in the late 1950’s and her new life in San Francisco’s Chinatown is full of interesting characters and familiar songs like “A Hundred Million Miracles” and “I Enjoy Being A Girl.”

Says David Henry Hwang, “Flower Drum Song was in some ways very daring for its time…But the original musical feels a little bit a like a tourist’s-eye view of Chinatown, as opposed to something viewed from the inside looking out. I tried to write the book that Oscar Hammerstein would have written if he were Asian-American.”

David Henry Hwang was awarded the 1988 Tony®, Drama Desk, Outer Critics and John Gassner Awards for his Broadway debut, “M. Butterfly,” which was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. For his play “Golden Child,” he received a 1998 Tony® nomination and a 1997 Obie Award. His new book for the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical “Flower Drum Song” earned him his third Tony® nomination in 2003. Other plays include “FOB” (1981 Obie Award), “The Dance and the Railroad,” “Family Devotions,” “The Sound of a Voice” and “Bondage”. His opera libretti include three works for composer Philip Glass, “1000 Airplanes on the Roof,” “The Voyage” and “The Sound of a Voice,” as well as “The Silver River” with music by Bright Sheng. Hwang penned the feature films “M. Butterfly,” “Golden Gate” and “Possession” (co-writer), and co-wrote the song “Solo” with composer/performer Prince. He serves on the Dramatists Guild Council.