Rodgers and Hammerstein's 'lost' musical Flower Drum Song is back - but will it be a hit? Edward Karam in New York for The Guardian finds out.
For theatre lovers, finding a lost Shakespeare play would be like finding the Holy Grail. But for fans of musicals? How about a "lost" Rodgers and Hammerstein show? The King and I, Carousel and Oklahoma! are cornerstones of the repertory, but the reappearance of Flower Drum Song on Broadway is a surprise. The 1958 musical about Chinese immigrants in San Francisco was, according to Hammerstein, "a lucky hit", but it has lain on the shelf for decades, a victim of its simple-minded ethnic stereotypes.
In 1996, however, the Asian-American playwright David Henry Hwang, author of M Butterfly, was given permission to rewrite the book. His version is still the story of Mei-Li, a girl who arrives in San Francisco after fleeing Maoist China, but here she is taken under the wing of a theatre owner called Master Wang, who performs Beijing Opera classics to scant houses just to keep the art form alive. click for more