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An American Soldier

May 12—19, 2024

Composed by Huang Ruo
Libretto by David Henry Hwang
Conducted by Carolyn Kuan
Directed by Chay Yew
Co-Produced with Boston Lyric Opera and American Composers Orchestra

Sung in English, with English and Chinese surtitles

Run time: Two hours, including one intermission

The New York Premiere of a soaring new opera based on a powerful true story.

On October 3, 2011, Chinese-American Army Pvt. Danny Chen was found dead in a guard tower at his base in Afghanistan. Based on his story and the ensuing courts-martial of Chen’s fellow soldiers, this New York City Premiere opera tells the powerful true story of a young soldier from Manhattan’s Chinatown who sought to serve his country, only to find his biggest threat was the very people who swore to protect him.

Told through the multidimensional music of Huang Ruo (M. Butterfly, Book of Mountains and Seas) with libretto by Tony and Grammy winner David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly, Soft Power), and directed by Obie Award winner Chay Yew (Cambodian Rock Band, Sweatshop Overlord), An American Soldier is a powerful and unforgettable experience.

The 2024 version was co-commissioned by PAC NYC and Boston Lyric Opera.

Lead support for An American Soldier is provided by Betsy and Ed Cohen and the Arete Foundation, with additional support from Dana and Gregory Lee, Marilyn Dolan Go, and Louise K. Smith.

A 60-minute version of the opera was commissioned by Washington National Opera and premiered there in 2014 as part of WNO’s American Opera Initiative. The full-length version of An American Soldier was originally commissioned by the Opera Theatre of St. Louis for its New Works, Bold Voices, and premiered in 2018. Used by arrangement with European American Music Distributors Company, agent for Future In REverse (FIRE), publisher and copyright owner, and David Henry Hwang.

Photo: Marc J. Franklin.

Production Credits

Huang Ruo – Composer
David Henry Hwang – Librettist
Carolyn Kuan – Conductor
Chay Yew – Director

Daniel Ostling – Scenic Design
Linda Cho – Costume Design
Jeanette Yew – Lighting Design
David Bullard – Sound Design
Nicholas Hussong – Projection Design
Tom Watson – Wigs/Hair Design
Ann Yee – Choreographer
UnkleDave’s Fight-House – Fight Director
Patrice Escandón – Properties Supervisor
Diane Zola – Artist Consultant
Zach Jenkins – Production Stage Manager
Jo Fernandez, Taeuk Kang – Stage Managers
Madeleine Snow – Assistant Director
Jackie Deniz Young –Technical Designer
Elivia Bovenzi-Blitz – Associate Costume Designer
Christopher Wong – Associate Lighting Designer
Joey Moro – Associate Projection Designer
Nathaniel LaNasa – Rehearsal Pianist
Patrick Hamel, Gordon Penn – Military Consultants
Elijah Bovenzi – Military Consultant, Costumes
Wendy Evans – Wigs Crew Lead
Maryann Towne, Elaina Williams, Gregory Young – Dressers
Stephanie P. Freed – Production Electrician
Jake Roberts – Lighting Programmer/Operator
Margaret Peebles – Lighting Systems Tech
Nya Mullins, Shawn Salick – Follow Spot Operators
Kelley Prestridge – Head Audio
Cameron Asay, Harry Platt, Volmar – Audio Technicians
Dan Rao – Head Video
Choul Lee – Illustrator
Mike Gorrell – Head Carpenter
Sean Concannon – Head Rigger
Anton Graham – Lead Props
Elizabeth Polloski, Edwin Roman – Props Crew
Joñi Chao Honeywell – Production Assistant
Xiaoyan Zhu – Assistant to Mr. Hwang
Clinicians of the Diaspora – Mental Health
Harkness Center for Dance Injuries – Physical Therapy

Performers

In order of vocal appearance:

Christian Simmons – Military Judge/ Pvt. Washington/ Pvt. Manny Davis/ Ensemble
Brian Vu – Pvt. Danny Chen
Hannah Cho – Josephine Young
Ben Brady – Trial Counsel Major Rose/ Spc. Austin Haldemann/ Spc. Julian Swanson/ Pvt. Randall Pinkton/ Ensemble
Nina Yoshida Nelsen – Mother Chen
Joshua Sanders – Defense Lawyer Major Baker/ Pvt. Roderic Carter/ Spc. Cameron Rodriguez/ Ensemble
James C. Harris – Sgt. Lucas Brown/ Pvt. Roman Parker/ Sgt. Jackson Blakemore/ Pvt. Bryan Johnston/ Ensemble
Shelén Hughes – Pvt. Sonia Gonzalez/ Ensemble
Cierra Byrd – Pvt. Stanton/ Ensemble
Alex DeSocio – Sgt. Aaron Marcum

Understudies:
Misoon Ghim – Understudy for Mother Chen
Luke Harnish – Understudy for Sgt. Aaron Marcum
Angela Yam – Understudy for Josephine Young
WooYoung Yoon – Understudy for Pvt. Danny Chen

American Composers Orchestra

Violin I
Deborah Wong, Dorothy Strahl, Diane Bruce, Katherine Hannauer, Sara Fazendin, Daniel Constant
Violin II
D. Paul Woodiel, Epongue Ekille, Sander Strenger, Chala Yancy, Sunjay Jayaram
Viola
Liuh-wen Ting, Sandra Robbins, Juliet Haffner, Trevor New
Cello
Gene Moye, Sarah Carter, Maureen Hynes
Bass
Richard Sosinsky, Chris Johnson
Flute
Beomjae Kim, Diva Goodfriend Koven
Oboe
Tuck Lee, Jim Ferraiuolo
Clarinet
Todd Palmer, Patricia Billings
Bassoon
Jeff Marchaud, Nisreen NorFlor
Horn
Laura Weiner, Nicole Kuester
Trumpet
Wayne Dumaine, Gareth Flowers
Trombone
Chris Mcintyre, Timothy Robinson
Tuba
Kyle Turner
Percussion
Javier Diaz, Jonathan Haas
Librarian
Manly Romero
Personnel Manager
Jonathan Haas

Post-show Discussions: May 16 & 18

May 16
An American Soldier creative team members David Henry Hwang, Carolyn Kuan, and Huang Ruo discuss the inspiration, themes, and creative process behind this powerful new opera. Moderated by Ken Smith, recipient of the 2020 SOPA award for excellence in arts and culture reporting.

May 18
Moderator CeFaan Kim (Award-winning WABC-TV News reporter) welcomes Banny Chen (the Chen family’s spokesperson) and civil rights lawyer Elizabeth OuYang (member of the Committee to Keep Private Danny Chen’s Legacy Alive and the former President of OCA-NY who led the advocacy campaign for justice for Pvt. Danny Chen) for an illuminating discussion with An American Soldier librettist David Henry Hwang and composer Huang Ruo.

Invitation to the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community

To celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, for those in the AAPI community, use code PACAAPI during checkout to save 10% on tickets for the entire run of An American Soldier, except Opening Night on May 14.

Ticket Savings Programs

The following discounts are currently available by calling 212-266-3000:

Responder Discounts
US military, police officers, firefighters and nurses are invited to purchase $30 tickets, subject to availability. Identification is requested at the time of ticket pick up. Eligible identification for military includes, but is not limited to, a U.S. Uniformed Services (current or retired) Identification Card, a current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), or a Veterans’ organization card (American Legion or VFW, for example). Guests wearing a military uniform are also eligible. Eligible identification is a valid work/employment ID with photo or a work/employment ID and accompanying ID with identical name. One ID is valid for up to four tickets per event, and applicable transaction fees will be applied to each purchase.

Under 30 Discount
Under 30s are invited to purchase $30 tickets for select events, subject to availability. Proof of age for each member of the party will be required at the time of ticket pick up. Under 30s can purchase one ticket per event, and applicable transaction fees will be applied to each purchase.

The following discount is currently available by calling 212-266-3011:

Group Discount
Groups of 10 or more receive 10% off and 20 or more receive 15% off.

Content Advisory

Contains depictions and references to racism, violence and derogatory language.

Additional Resources

Powerful Opera! Taut and haunting. Rich orchestral palette and explosive vocal writing.

Wall Street Journal

A true story…told powerfully under the direction of Chay Yew. Huang Ruo’s sophisticated, rhythmic, Asian-inflected score, performed by the 38-piece American Composers Orchestra and a gloriously-voiced ten-member cast, is always forceful.

New York Theater

Creatives:

David Henry Hwang
An Asian Man with short dark hair that is styled to stick up in multiple directions stands in front of a dark grey backdrop. He has a salt and pepper five o clock shadow and is wearing a black t shirt
David Henry Hwang Librettist
Carolyn Kuan
An Asian woman with short hair wears a black blazer and smiles slightly
Carolyn Kuan Conductor
Huang Ruo
An Asian man with cropped black hair wears a blue button down shirt and is in front of a cream wall
Huang Ruo Composer
Chay Yew
An Asian man wears a dark grey blazer and a black t shirt
Chay Yew Director

Cast:

Hannah Cho
Hannah Cho Josephine Young
Alex DeSocio
Alex DeSocio Sgt. Aaron Marcum
Nina Yoshida Nelsen
Nina Yoshida Nelsen Mother Chen
Brian Vu
Brian Vu Private Danny Chen
Ben Brady
Ben Brady Trial Counsel Major Rose/ Spc. Austin Haldemann/ Spc. Julian Swanson/ Pvt. Randall Pinkton/Ensemble
Cierra Byrd
Cierra Byrd Private Stanton/Ensemble
James C Harris
James C Harris Sgt. Lucas Brown/ Pvt. Roman Parker/ Sgt. Jackson Blakemore/ Pvt. Bryan Johnston/Ensemble
Shelén Hughes
Shelén Hughes Private Sonia Gonzalez/Ensemble
Joshua Sanders
Joshua Sanders Defense Lawyer Major Baker/ Pvt. Roderic Carter/ Spc. Cameron Rodriguez/Ensemble
Christian Simmons
Christian Simmons Military Judge/ Pvt. Washington/ Pvt. Manny Davis/Ensemble
Misoon Ghim
Misoon Ghim Understudy for Mother Chen
Luke Harnish
Luke Harnish Understudy for Sgt. Aaron Marcum
Angela Yam
Angela Yam Understudy for Josephine Young
WooYoung Yoon
WooYoung Yoon Understudy for Private Danny Chen
American Composers Orchestra
American Composers Orchestra

Design and Production Team:

Daniel Ostling
Daniel Ostling Scenic Designer
Linda Cho
Linda Cho Costume Designer
Jeanette Yew
Jeanette Yew Lighting Designer
David Bullard
David Bullard Sound Designer
Nicholas Hussong
Nicholas Hussong Projection Designer
Ann Yee
Ann Yee Choreographer
UnkleDave's Fight-House
UnkleDave's Fight-House Fight Director
Patrice Escandón
Patrice Escandón Properties Supervisor
Diane Zola
Diane Zola Artist Consultant
Zach Jenkins
Zach Jenkins Production Stage Manager
Jo Fernandez
Jo Fernandez Stage Manager
Taeuk Kang
Taeuk Kang Stage Manager

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