Piser Joins the All Asian American and Pacific Islander Cast To Tell the Story of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protest; Original Work Will Also Make Its World Premiere
Quixote Productions and The Phoenix Theatre Company are proud to announce Broadway Star Zachary Noah Piser will play the lead (Peiwen) in Tiananmen: A Brave and Necessary New Musical opening at The Phoenix Theatre Company on October 4th, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. and making its World Premiere on October 6th, 2023. The original work, which promises to be one of the most important new American musicals of 2023, debuts 34 years after the tragedy in China’s Tiananmen Square.
Tickets for the five-week run are available here – https://phoenixtheatre.com/
Piser, who was the first Asian American actor to play the lead (Evan) in Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway, comes with a long resume and other notable Broadway stage credits including Wicked and KPOP.
“I am proud to bring this powerful story to life on stage,” said Piser. “Having helped develop this piece since 2015 makes originating this role that much more meaningful.”
The San Francisco Bay Area native will lead the all Asian American and Pacific Islander cast also making their Phoenix Theatre debut this fall. The cast includes Ellie Wang* (Broadway’s Allegiance), Sami Ma*, Brandon Chu* (The King and I Broadway national tour), Kennedy Kanagawa* (Into the Woods Broadway revival and national tour, Drama Desk nomination), Austin Ku* (Chinglish Broadway national tour; Soft Power at the Public Theater, Grammy nomination), Michael Ching* (Gold Mountain, Utah Shakespeare Festival), Marc Oka* (Broadway: Flower Drum Song, Bells Are Ringing, Fosse, Miss Saigon, Shogun: The Musical), Sy Chounchaisit (Summer: The Donna Summer Musical national tour), Brandon Gille (The Hunchback of Notre Dame West Coast Premiere), Kuppi Jessop, Danielle Mendoza, Emma X. O’Loughlin (A Chorus Line Japan Tour), Andrea Somera (Assassins, East West Players), Michelle Chin (Cinderella, Once, Dreamgirls, Hello Girls, Phoenix Theatre Company), Raymond Dimaano (The King and I Broadway National Tour), and Rommel Pierre O’Choa* (Broadway’s My Fair Lady).
“We are thrilled to for this world class cast to come to Phoenix,” said composer Drew Fornarola. “Together with a creative team of Broadway and Phoenix’s best, The Phoenix Theatre Company has assembled a dream team that has worked on and performed in over 40 Broadway shows. We cannot wait for them to bring this story to life for the first time.”
The show, which weaves a love story against the backdrop of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, has been in development for more than a decade, thanks to writer Scott Elmegreen and composer Drew Fornarola, who is best known as a songwriter for DreamWorks. The Princeton graduates were most recently represented in New York by their play Straight, a New York Times Critics’ Pick now in development as a major motion picture.
Tiananmen’s world premiere is directed by Darren Lee (Mr. Holland’s Opus), who will also serve as the Choreographer. Lee has directed and choreographed numerous productions around the country and internationally. He has performed in 11 Broadway shows and in addition to Tiananmen has recently developed the world premieres of Mr. Holland’s Opus, The Gifted Prince, Brain. Storm., and Disney Wishes for Disney Cruise Line. (www.darrenlee.com)
Click here to see and hear some of the show’s powerful music including “We Are Tomorrow,” “Change the World,” “Disloyal Daughter”, and “Our Generation Against the World”.
Wu’er Kaixi, who helped lead the protests in China’s Tiananmen Square in 1989 and now lives in Taiwan as an activist for democracy, is Tiananmen’s conceiver and creative consultant.
“I believed in democracy when we took to the streets in 1989, and I think it even more so today. I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing the events as a musical, and I hope it serves to ensure that the world remembers the unfinished business of this celebration of bravery,” said Wu’er Kaixi.
“It is a tremendous honor to work with Wu’er Kaixi on this story, which crystallizes some of the most important and broad conflicts that society and individuals grapple with today. At a time when democracy faces heightened challenges in America and around the world, we hope that this show will move audiences to reflect on love, freedom, and the big ideas that are worth fighting for,” said Tiananmen author Scott Elmegreen.
The Music Director is Kevin White. The Music Supervisor is Steven Cuevas (Broadway’s Kinky Boots), and the Casting Director is Chelsea Anderson. The Scenic/Projection Designer is Michael Downs, Costume Design by Lex Liang and the Associate Director and Choreographer is Kristine Bendul.
Tiananmen will debut at The Phoenix Theatre Company, the same 384 seat theatre where its Lead Producer and Quixote Productions founder Jason Rose debuted ¡Americano! and its record-setting run in early 2020. ¡Americano! was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music by Composer Carrie Rodriguez in 2022 during its Off-Broadway run last year. The show was also used by President Obama to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of his Executive Order to protect “DREAMers” living in the United States.
“Like Americano, Tiananmen is an incredibly thought provoking, socially impactful and an important new work that needs to be told,” said Lead Producer Jason Rose, an Arizona entrepreneur. “These are the stories of what happened to those in the streets of Beijing 34 years ago. It’s where world history hinged. It’s extremely powerful to hear the story of these freedom fighters and could not be more important with where the world is at and headed.”
To arrange interviews with any of the principals involved with Tiananmen please contact Media@QuixoteProductions.com.