David Henry Hwang's 'Yellow Face' to be Adapted for Audible

Anastasia Ellis
February 21, 2023

Professor David Henry Hwang’s Yellow Face will be adapted for the audio storytelling platform, Audible, as the first venture of a multi-project development deal with actor, director, and producer Daniel Dae Kim. The adaptation will be produced by Audible Studios in collaboration with Kim’s 3AD production company. The official release date has not yet been set. 

Yellow Face, which premiered in 2007, is a semi-autobiographical play that addresses the interaction between media and politics as it relates to race. The story begins with the character David Henry Hwang (DHH) learning of the casting of a white man in an Asian role in the 1990 production of Miss Saigon. The play then spins into a comic, fantastical tale, in which DHH pens a play—based on his real 1993 play, Face Value—in protest to the casting controversy, only to unintentionally cast a white actor as the Asian lead.

Kim will star as DHH and the project will be directed by former Adjunct Assistant Professor Leigh Silverman. Kim expressed his excitement over the project in a statement, explaining that Yellow Face “has always been a special play, and now to be able to bring it new life in an audio format represents an opportunity that’s both unique and innovative.”

David Henry Hwang is a Tony Award winner and three-time nominee, a three-time OBIE Award winner, and a three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist. He is a playwright, screenwriter, television writer, and librettist, whose stage works includes the plays M. Butterfly (for which Hwang was the first Asian-American playwright to win a Tony Award), Yellow Face, Chinglish, Golden Child, The Dance and the Railroad, and FOB. He has written or co-written the books for the musicals Aida (2023 revival upcoming), Flower Drum Song and Disney’s Tarzan. His newest musical, Soft Power, written with composer Jeanine Tesori, opened in 2019 and was a finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize. Other awards and recognitions include: his 2022 induction onto the Lucille Lortel Playwrights Sidewalk, an Honorary Doctorate (his seventh) from California State University in 2022, his 2021 election to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and his 2018 induction into the Theatre Hall of Fame. Hwang sits on the Board of the Dramatists Guild and is a Trustee of the American Theatre Wing, where he served as Chair from 2016-2021.