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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 1989 Pulitzer Prize. It ran on London’s West End for a year 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 and an operatic adaptation, with music by Huang Ruo, premiered at Santa Fe Opera in 2022.

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. The New York Times has named Yellow Face one of the best American plays of the past 25 years. Golden Child also premiered at the Public, received a 1997 OBIE Award, and moved to Broadway, where it received three 1998 Tony Nominations, including Best New Play. 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 and the Railroad (1982 Drama Desk Nomination), and Family Devotions (1982 Drama Desk Nomination). From 2012-14 Hwang was a Residency One Playwright at New York’s Signature Theatre, which premiered his play Kung Fu.

Hwang has written books for three Broadway musicals. His 2002 revision of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song earned him his third Tony nomination, for Best Book. 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. The revival of Aida, delayed by the pandemic, will open in Holland in spring 2023. In Fall 2023, a Tarzan revival will also premiere in Germany.

Called America’s most-produced living opera librettist by Opera News, he has written thirteen libretti, including five works with composer Philip Glass, most recently Circus Days and Nights in 2021. He is a 2006 Grammy Award winner for Ainadamar, with music by Osvaldo Golijov, and has also written Alice In Wonderland with Unsuk Chin; The Fly with Howard Shore; two works with Bright Sheng (The Silver River and Dream of the Red Chamber); and three operas with Huang Ruo (An American Soldier, The Rift, and M. Butterfly).

Hwang’s screenplays include M. Butterfly. He is currently penning the live-action feature musical remake of Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame as well as an Anna May Wong biopic to star actress Gemma Chan. In television, he was a Writer/Consulting Producer for the Golden Globe-winning television series The Affair from 2015-2019 and is the showrunner of Billion Dollar Whale for Westward/SKG, which will begin production in 2023. He also co-wrote the Gold Record “Solo” with the late pop music icon Prince.

Hwang is a Trustee of the American Theatre Wing, where he served as Chair from 2016-21. He also sits on the Council of the Dramatists Guild and is a Professor of Theatre at 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. Hwang’s most recent musical, Soft Power, written with composer Jeanine Tesori, received four Lucille Lortel Nominations, four Outer Critics Honors, a Grammy nomination for Best Musical Theatre Album, and was a Finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize.



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