September 11, 2006

But do they breathe fire if they sing off-key?

Filed under: Favorite Show Titles,Listings,Press Releases — offoffbway @ 9:58 pm

This is one of those titles that doesn’t really roll off the tongue. Then again, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was a surprise hit, so maybe this one will do the same. At Here, the venue where The Vagina Monologues started, about a hundred years ago.






The OBIE award-winning HERE Arts Center will proudly present the premiere of Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven, written and directed by Young Jean Lee. This production is part of HERE’s 2006-2007 season featuring six new multi-disciplinary productions, three festivals and the completion of its renovations, scheduled for winter 2007. Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven will run Thursday, September 21 – Saturday, October 14 at HERE Arts Center (145 Sixth Avenue). The official opening is set for Monday, September 25 @ 8:30 PM.

Writer/director Young Jean Lee’s worst nightmare was to create a predictable, confessional, Korean-American identity play with a flowery Asian-sounding title—so she did just that. In the spirit of Andy Kaufman, Monty Python and South Park, Lee’s Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven takes a warped, humorous look at her cultural heritage. Far from a predictable finger-wagging play, this irreverent new work follows a Korean-American’s journey as she explores her romanticized, half-informed understanding of the world. This brutally honest work provokes uneasy, exhilarating and perhaps comical questions about race and culture… just don’t expect any answers.

Young Jean Lee has been hailed by The Village Voice as one of “New York’s finest emerging playwrights” and by Time Out New York as one of “New York’s Hot 25” as a Provocateur Playwright and was recognized in 2004 by Paper Magazine’s annual “Hot List.” She has directed her plays at P.S. 122 (Pullman, WA), Soho Rep (The Appeal), and the Ontological-Hysteric Theater (Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals) and has worked with Radiohole (None of It) and performed with the National Theater of the United States of America (What’s That On My Head!?!). Lee is a member of New Dramatists and 13P, a resident artist at HERE Arts Center and Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX) and holds an MFA from Mac Wellman’s playwriting program at Brooklyn College. Her work has been published in New Downtown Now (U. of Minnesota Press, 2006), an anthology edited by Mac Wellman and herself and in Three Plays by Young Jean Lee (Samuel French, 2006). She is the 2006 recipient of grants from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Rockefeller MAP Foundation and Greenwall Foundation. Her play Pullman, WA will be presented at Glej Teater, Slovenia in December 2007 and she’s slated to soon direct new plays at BAX (March 2007, workshop) and P.S. 122 (April 2007, world premiere).

Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven features performances by Brian Bickerstaff, Juliana Francis, Haerry Kim, Jennifer Lim and Becky Yamamoto with scenic design by Eric Dyer, costume design by Colleen Werthmann, sound design by Jamie McElhinney and choreography & video by Dean Moss. Following its NY premiere, Songs… will tour to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and other locations around the country.

Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven has been developed through the HERE Artist Residency Program (HARP) which provides development, commissions and full production support. Since 1993, the OBIE-winning HERE Arts Center has been a premier arts organization in NYC and a leader in the field of new, hybrid performance work. Under the executive and artistic leadership of Kristin Marting, HERE has served 11,000 emerging to mid-career artists developing work that does not fit a conventional programming agenda. Work presented at HERE has garnered 10 OBIE awards, an OBIE grant for artistic achievement, three Drama Desk nominations, two Berrilla Kerr Awards, two NY Innovative Theatre Awards, an Edwin Booth Award and a Pulitzer Prize nomination. HERE was recently awarded a $500,000 federal grant by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and Co-Founder Kristin Marting was honored with a 2005 BAX10 Award for Arts Managers. HERE is proud to support artists at all stages in their careers through full productions, artist residency programs, festivals and subsidized performance and rehearsal space. Work at HERE is curated based on the strength and uniqueness of the artist’s vision. In 2005, with the support of FJC, a foundation of donor advised funds, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the City of New York, HERE purchased its long-time home as part of a five-year “Secure HERE’s Future” campaign.

Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven will play September 21–October 14 at HERE Arts Center (145 Sixth Avenue, one block below Spring Street) as follows: Thursday through Sunday @ 8:30 PM. PLEASE NOTE there will be an additional performance Monday, September 25 at 8:30 PM. All tickets are $18.00. Purchases can be made online at or at the HERE Box Office (4 PM until curtain on performance days). For more info, visit

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