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David Henry Hwang image

Tony Award-winning Playwright & Screenwriter


David Henry Hwang is best known as the author of  M. Butterfly, which won the 1988 Tony, Drama Desk, John Gassner, and Outer Critics Circle Awards, and was a Finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize.  It ran on London’s West End and has been produced in over three dozen countries.  A revival, directed by Julie Taymor, starring Clive Owen and Jin Ha, ran on Broadway in 2017. Golden Child premiered Off-Broadway at New York’s Public Theater, received a 1997 OBIE Award for playwriting and moved to Broadway, where it received three 1998 Tony Nominations, including Best New Play.  Yellow Face, which premiered at Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum and the Public Theater, received a 2008 OBIE Award for playwriting and was a Finalist for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize; its London premiere at the Park Theatre transferred to the National Theatre in 2014. The New York Times named Yellow Face one of the best American plays of the past 25 years. Chinglish premiered at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre before moving to Broadway, where it was named Best New American Play of 2011 by Time Magazine.

Other plays include FOB (1981 OBIE Award), The Dance & The Railroad (1982 Drama Desk Nomination), Family Devotions (1982 Drama Desk Nomination), The House of Sleeping Beauties (1983), The Sound of a Voice (1983), Bondage (1992), and Kung Fu (2014).

Mr. Hwang has written books for three Broadway musicals.  His revision of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song earned him his third Tony nomination.  He co-wrote Disney’s international hit Aida, with music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice, which won four 2000 Tony Awards, as well as Disney’s Tarzan, with songs by Phil Collins, whose European production ran for twelve years. Aida and Tarzan are both slated for upcoming revivals.

Named America’s most-produced living opera librettist by Opera News, he has written five works with composer Philip Glass: 1000 Airplanes on the Roof (1988), The Voyage, which premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 1992, The Sound Of A Voice (2003), Icarus at the Edge of Time (2010), and Circus Days and Nights (2021). He is a 2006 Grammy Award winner for Ainadamar, with music by Osvaldo Golijov. Other operas include The Silver River (1997), with music by Bright Sheng; Alice In Wonderland, with music by Unsuk Chin; and The Fly (2008), with music by Howard Shore. With composer Bright Sheng, he wrote The Silver River (Spoleto Festival, 2000) and The Dream of The Red Chamber (San Francisco Opera, 2016). With composer Huang Ruo, he has written An American Soldier (Opera Theatre of St. Louis, 2018), The Rift (Washington National Opera, 2022), and the upcoming M. Butterfly (Santa Fe Opera, 2022).

Mr. Hwang penned the screenplays for M. Butterfly (1993), Golden Gate (1994), and Possession (co-writer, 2002). He is currently penning the live-action feature adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame for Disney Studios and an Anna May Wong biopic for Working Title, to star Gemma Chan. Justin Lin’s YOMYOMF Network adapted Yellow Face into a full-length video for YouTube in 2013. In television, Hwang was a writer and Consulting Producer for the Golden Globe-winning TV show The Affair from 2015-19, and is now creating two TV series: Billion Dollar Whale for Westward Productions/SK Global and another for Netflix. With the late pop icon Prince, he co-wrote the song "Solo," released on Prince’s 1994 gold album Come.

Mr. Hwang attended Stanford University and the Yale School of Drama and holds honorary degrees from Columbia College, the American Conservatory Theatre, Lehigh University, the University of Southern California, SUNY Purchase, Williams College and California State University (2022). He is a Trustee of American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards, where he served as Chair from 2016-2021. In 2022, he was elected to the Council of the Dramatists Guild, a position he previously held from 1989-2014. Hwang is a Tony, Oscar, and Emmy Award voter. From 1994-2001, he served by appointment of President Clinton on the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Since 2014, he has been a professor Columbia University School of the Arts.

Mr. Hwang is a Tony Award winner and three-time nominee, a Grammy Award winner who has been twice nominated, a three-time OBIE Award winner, and a three-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. Recent honors include his 2022 induction onto the Lucille Lortel Playwrights Sidewalk, his 2021 election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, his 2018 induction into the Theater Hall of Fame, and the 2012 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright “Mimi” Award.

David Henry Hwang’s most recent musical, Soft Power, a collaboration with composer Jeanine Tesori, opened in 2019 at the Public Theater, where it received four Outer Critics Honors, a Grammy Nomination, and was a Finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Drama.


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