Ahmanson skeds revised ‘Drum Song’

'58 tuner about Chinese emigrants, Asian-Americans makes 2000-01 season

NEW YORK — Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Flower Drum Song,” with a radically reworked book by David Henry Hwang, will be part of the Ahmanson Theater’s 2000-2001 season. Prior to its opening at L.A.’s Music Center theater, the musical will receive a workshop production in September in New York or Los Angeles.

The 1958 tuner about Chinese emigrants and Asian-Americans living in 1950s San Francisco had received a reading last October in New York at 890 Broadway. At the time, Hwang said of his book, “My approach has been to write a new work which has a relationship to the old. It seemed to be a great opportunity to investigate a Chinese-American subject.”

The writer, who also penned “M. Butterfly” and “Golden Child,” had approached the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization with the idea of revamping “Flower Drum Song,” which contains such songs as “I Enjoy Being a Girl” and “Chop Suey.”

In collaboration with Linda Woolverton and Robert Falls, the playwright is also author of the book for the Elton John-Tim Rice musical “Aida.”

Hammerstein shared the book credit on “Flower Drum Song” with Joseph Fields. They had adapted it from the novel by C.Y. Lee. According to Hwang, his book for the musical is closer in tone and subject matter to the original source material.

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