“Lady Mu and the Yang Family Generals” will premier at Kennedy Theatre on February 20

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Department of Theatre and Dance presents the English-language world premiere of Lady Mu and the Yang Family Generals as part of its 50th anniversary season. Performances will take place February 20, 21, 22, 27, 28 and March 1 at 8 p,m,, and February 23 and March 2 at 2 p.m.

Lady Mu is a fitting production to mark Kennedy Theatre’s 50th anniversary as this year also marks the 50th anniversary of Jingju (Beijing “opera”) performances at the University of Hawaiʻi. This is also the 30th year that Madame Shen Xiaomei and UH Mānoa Theatre Professor Elizabeth Wichmann-Walczak have collaborated to produce long-term, intensive training residencies taught by major Jingju artists from China and culminating in lavishly-staged English-language productions. There is no other university outside of China that is able to produce Jingju as regularly or as often or on this scale of spectacle and authenticity as UH Mānoa.

For this production, student actors have spent more than six months under the tutelage of Lu Genzhang and Zhang Ling, both National Actors of the First Range and emeritus lead actors with the Jiangsu Province Jingju Company. Training includes physical technique and carriage, combat and acrobatics, as well as vocal training in both da sangzi (“large” voice) and xiao sangzi (“small” voice of falsetto). Training begins with Chinese text, before moving to an English-language translation of the play developed by Wichmann-Walczak and Hui-Mei Chang, a Punahou School faculty member and UH Mānoa alumna. This production will mark the translation’s world premier.

Lady Mu and the Yang Family Generals celebrates the achievements of the Song dynasty’s Yang family. The adventures of this warrior clan have been recounted for centuries in novels and popular media such as folk songs, theatre, film and television, and figure prominently in the Jingju repertory.

Ticket information

Tickets are available at the Kennedy Theatre box office, open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, with extended hours on performance dates. Tickets also may be purchased online.

Prices are $25 general admission; $22 seniors/military/UH faculty and staff; $16 UHAA members, $13 students; and $5 UH Mānoa students with validated spring 2014 UH Mānoa photo ID.

A UH Mānoa news release

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