Shows & Events

The Chinese Lady


Oct 12 – Oct 31, 2021

The Chinese Lady

About the Show

The Chinese Lady tells the story of fourteen-year-old Afong Moy as she’s brought to the United States from Guangzhou Province in 1834. Allegedly the first Chinese woman to set foot on US soil, she has been put on display for the American public as “The Chinese Lady.” For the next half-century, she performs for curious white people, showing them how she eats, what she wears, and the highlight of the event: how she walks with bound feet. As the decades wear on, her celebrated sideshow comes to define and challenge her very sense of identity. Inspired by the true story of Afong Moy’s life, The Chinese Lady is a dark, poetic, yet whimsical portrait of America through the eyes of a young Chinese woman.

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What The Chinese Lady Can Tell Us About Asian America, Then and Now (Diep Tran, American Theatre)

The Chinese Lady a Layered Intimate Psychological Drama at the Long Wharf (Christopher Arnott, Hartford Courant)

The Chinese Lady Brings Long Wharf Back to Life (Lucy Gellman, Arts Paper)

What The Chinese Lady Can Teach Us About Asian America, Then And Now (Diep Tran, American Theatre)

On Display (Kathy Leonard Czepiel, Daily Nutmeg)

Long Wharf tells story of ‘sideshow attraction’ in Chinese Lady (Bonnie Goldberg, The Middletown Press)

The Chinese Lady (James V. Ruocco, From the Desk of Jim R, Take 2)

Long Wharf Returns With Chinese Lady (Donald Brown, New Haven Independent)

The Chinese Lady (One Man’s Opinion)


“By the end of Mr. Suh’s extraordinary play, we look at Afong and see whole centuries of American history. She’s no longer the Chinese lady. She is us.”

The New York Times

Shannon Tyo as “Afong Moy” in The Chinese Lady (2021). Photo credit: T. Charles Erickson.

Shannon Tyo as “Afong Moy” in The Chinese Lady (2021). Photo credit: T. Charles Erickson.

Jon Norman Schneider as “Atung” in The Chinese Lady (2021). Photo credit: T. Charles Erickson.

Shannon Tyo as “Afong Moy” in The Chinese Lady (2021). Photo credit: T. Charles Erickson.

Show Credits

Lloyd Suh is the author of The Chinese Lady, Charles Francis Chan Jr.’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery, American HwangapThe Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go!, Jesus in India, and others, produced with Ma-Yi Theater Company, Magic Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, National Asian American Theatre Company (NAATCO), The Play Company, Denver Center Theatre Company, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, ArtsEmerson, Children’s Theatre Company, and more, including internationally at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and with PCPA in Seoul, Korea. Lloyd has received support from the NEA Arena Stage New Play Development program, Mellon Foundation, New York Film Academy, New York State Council on the Arts, Jerome Foundation, Theatre Communications Group, Dramatists Guild, and residencies including NYS&F and Ojai Foundation. Lloyd is an alum of Youngblood and the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, and was a recipient of a 2016 Helen Merrill Award and the 2019 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts. From 2005-2010 he served as Artistic Director of Second Generation and Co-Director of Ma-Yi Writers Lab, and has served since 2011 as the Director of Artistic Programs at The Lark, and since 2015 as a member of the Dramatists Guild Council.

Ralph B. Peña is a founding member and the current Producing Artistic Director of Ma-Yi Theatre Company, a leading professional Off-Broadway theater based in New York City focused on developing and producing new works by Asian American playwrights. Recent directing credits include: the world premieres of Lloyd Suh’s The Chinese Lady, Hansol Jung’s Among the Dead, and A. Rey Pamatmat’s House Rules for Ma-Yi; a new translation of The Orphan of Zhao for Fordham Theater; Nicolas Pichay’s Macho Dancer: A Musical for The Virgin Labfest 11; Lloyd Suh’s The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go! (Off Broadway Alliance Award),  Joshua Conkel’s Curmudgeons in Love (EST Marathon), and Mike Lew’s microcrisis (Youngblood, Ma-Yi). Ralph is the recipient of an Obie Award for his work on The Romance of Magno Rubio, and is a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST) and Ma-Yi Writers Lab.

Shannon Tyo is an accomplished stage and screen talent whose credits include, Off-Broadway: The Chinese LadyKentucky, and Bikeman. Select regional: The Good Book (Berkeley Repertory Theatre), Fun Home (Baltimore Center Stage), Broadway Bounty Hunter (Barrington Stage Company), Smart People (Geva Theatre Center), The White Snake (The Old Globe), and Miss Saigon (Pioneer Theatre Company, Music Theatre Wichita). Select radio plays: The MS Phoenix Rising (Playwrights Horizons), antarctica (Two River Theater), Half the Sky (5th Avenue). TV: 30 Rock (NBC), The Last O.G. (TBS), and Rediscovering Christmas (Lifetime). Tyo earned her BFA from Syracuse University. (Sincere thanks to the entire Long Wharf Theatre team for all their hard work and generosity of spirit, from February 2020 to the present.)

Jon Norman Schneider is thrilled to be back at Long Wharf Theatre after last appearing here in Julia Cho’s Durango in 2006. Select credits include, New York: the title role in Henry VI, parts 1-3 (NAATCO), Awake and Sing! (NAATCO/The Public Theater), Lunch Bunch (Clubbed Thumb), The Oldest Boy (Lincoln Center), Queens Boulevard (the musical) (Signature Theatre Company), Durango (The Public Theater), A Map of Virtue (13P), among others. London: Paper Dolls (Tricycle). Regional: Actors Theatre of Louisville, Alley Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Barrington Stage Company, Dorset Theatre Festival, Goodman Theatre, Huntington Theatre Company, Kennedy Center, Magic Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Mosaic Theater Company, Northern Stage, and The Old Globe. Film: Bitter MelonManila Is Full of Men Named BoyThe Normals, and HBO’s Angel Rodriguez. TV: SuccessionJessica JonesVeep, 30 Rock, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Jiyoun Chang is a lighting designer and recipient of the Obie Awards special citation in Lighting Design for The World is Round (Ripe Time). Chang’s credits include: Slave Play (Golden Theatre, NYTW); For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf (The Public Theater); Anatomy of SuicideEddie and Dave (Atlantic Theatre Company), SojournersHer Portmanteau (NYTW), Marys SeacolePlot Points in Our Sexual Developmentbrownsville song (LCT3), Something CleanToo Heavy For Your PocketUgly Lies the Bone (Roundabout Theatre Company), in addition to other credits at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), MCC Theater, Signature Theatre Company, The Guggenheim, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, California Shakespeare Theatre, Guthrie Theater, The Old Globe, Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF), and Studio Theatre. Chang has also received a Tony nomination (Slave Play), Drama Desk nomination (Slave Play), and Henry Hewes Design Awards nomination (Slave PlayMarys Seacole). Chang earned her MFA from the Yale School of Drama.

Linda Cho is an award-winning costume designer whose credits include, Broadway: Take Me Out (upcoming), The Great SocietyLifespan of a FactAnastasia (Tony nomination), A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love & Murder (Tony Award); The Velocity of Autumn. Cho has over 200 regional and international design credits in theatre, dance, and opera. She is the recipient of the Craig Noel Award, Connecticut Critic Circle Award, Irene Sharaff Young Master Award, and Ruth Morely Design Award—in addition to nominations from Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Henry Hewes, Elliot Norton, Bay Area, Robby, IRNE, and Jeff awards. Cho is an Advisory Committee Member of the American Theater Wing. Cho earned her MFA from the Yale School of Drama. 

Fabian Obispo returns to Long Wharf Theatre where his credits include DurangoThe Romance of Magno RubioGoing NativeInfinite Ache, Third ArmySyncopation and Abstract Expressions. Recent Off-Broadway credits include, Ma-Yi Theater Company’s Felix StarroTeenage Dick, The Public Theater’s Sea Wall/A Life and Oedipus el Rey. Obispo has designed and composed extensively for regional theatres including Hartford Stage, Westport Country Playhouse, TheaterWorks, Arena Stage, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Kennedy Center, Goodman Theatre, Guthrie Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Huntington Theatre Company, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, and Seattle Repertory Theatre, among others. He recently wrote the score for two short movies Vancouver and Sophocles in Staten Island, and a PBS documentary 20 Years of Asian American Playwriting. Fabian is a recipient of the Barrymore Award and the Berkshire Theatre Critics Award.

Junghyun Georgia Lee is a Korean born and NYC-based designer. She has designed for Ma-Yi Theater Company, The Public Theater, Soho Repertory Theatre, The Play Company, Alley Theatre, Hartford Stage, Guthrie Theater, Huntington Theatre Company, Indiana Repertory Theater, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Alliance Theatre, and The Children’s Theatre Company. Lee is a member of New Neighborhood. She earned her MFA from the Yale School of Drama.

Maggie Manzano is an NYC-based stage manager originally from San Francisco. Maggie is honored that their first in person show back is here at Long Wharf Theatre with this incredible team! Manzano’s favorite productions include: Avalon (Opera House Arts), Rhinoceros (American Conservatory Theater), Men on Boats (American Conservatory Theater), and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Shotgun Players). All Art Should Be Free.

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