The Chinese Lady
The Chinese Lady

The Chinese Lady NYC Reviews and Tickets

(24 Ratings)
Members say
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great acting, Clever, Quirky

About the Show

Inspired by the true story of the first Chinese female to step foot in America, Ma-Yi's production is a tale of dark poetic whimsy and a unique portrait of the United States as seen through the eyes of a young Chinese woman.

Read more Show less

Show-Score Member Reviews (24)

Sort by:
  • Default
  • Standing in our community
  • Highest first
  • Lowest first
  • Newest first
  • Oldest first
  • Only positive
  • Only negative
  • Only mixed
93 Reviews | 21 Followers
Exquisite, Hilarious, Resonant

See it if You like entering worlds different from yours.

Don't see it if If you want you don’t want to think. Read more

71 Reviews | 7 Followers
Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Great acting

See it if you enjoy some light history

Don't see it if you prefer musicals

110 Reviews | 15 Followers
Layered, ambitious, thoughtful, eloquent

See it if You appreciate elegant and successful effort to pack a whole lot of important forgotten illustrative history into 90 minutes

Don't see it if You want a dramatic story of evolving human relationships Read more

658 Reviews | 103 Followers
Great writing, Relevant, Funny

See it if 'Dear white people, I was the hopeful caged bird and I don't want to sing anymore.' Cutting humor laid with cruel treatment of immigrants.

Don't see it if Don't like hearing how the US / white people have treated people poorly. Read more

73 Reviews | 21 Followers
Great acting, Great writing, Resonant, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if meta-theatrical historical plays are you jam. Be ready for an uncompromising look at the history of anti-immigrant discrimination in America

Don't see it if You need naturalism in your plays. Uncomfortable facing America's racist past. Read more

524 Reviews | 133 Followers
Asian immigration in a charming historical tale

See it if Touching experience of Chinese girl brought to NY in 1834 as a freak show. Shannon Tyo portrays her as educated and dignified. Heartbreaking

Don't see it if Daniel K. Isaac is clever as her passive-aggressive translator/assistant. Isaac also has one of the most resonant voices on the NY stage. Read more

79 Reviews | 10 Followers
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Great staging

See it if you are curious about the history of the U.S. and its attitude towards non-white immigrants over the years.

Don't see it if you have no interest in stories about non-white immigrants/need to see something jolly. There are moments of humor, but...

105 Reviews | 26 Followers
Ambitious, Great acting, Great staging, Intense, Quirky

See it if Great acting, colorful staging, a misunderstood culture, immigration, and complex issues about expectations. Good production values.

Don't see it if The the work was still in progress when I saw it, re-writes currently being addressed.

Critic Reviews (19)

The New York Times
November 15th, 2018

"This quiet play steadily deepens in complexity as we trail the idealistic Afong and the more knowing Atung through the decades...Ms. Tyo and Mr. Isaac have gorgeous chemistry, and with their rapport they cast a spell that Fabian Obispo’s music and Oliver Wason’s lighting unobtrusively fortify...It is both practical and kind that Mr. Suh has softened his script with humor...By the end of Mr. Suh’s extraordinary play, we look at Afong and see whole centuries of American history."
Read more

Time Out New York
November 15th, 2018

"Suh’s version of Afong Moy is wonderful...Tyo is a performer of pure charisma, and she and Isaac enjoy a hilarious, spiky byplay...Suh keeps slipping a knife in. Afong Moy holds one belief absolutely sacred: that her audiences are making an empathic leap when they watch her...Provocatively, Suh has built a critique of 'looking' itself into the play’s bones. All those people watched her for all those decades, and now here we are, watching some more. What an uneasy thought."
Read more

Lighting & Sound America
November 13th, 2018

"Tyo invests Afong with a natural authority that keeps one interested in her fate...But there's little that she can do to enliven the longueurs of the script...For all the considerable fascination of its central character, ‘The Chinese Lady’ ultimately disappoints: Having established Afong's daily routine, it basically repeats itself, substituting commentary -- which is, admittedly, frequently pointed and witty -- for meaningful conflict.”
Read more

November 10th, 2018

"This engaging unusual in construction and subject matter...Ralph B. Pena's direction, reminiscent of a stylized Chinese opera, creates a subtle tension through dramatic minimalistic movements...It intensifies the inner emotions of the actors and adds texture and nuanced meaning to their dialogue and actions...Suh and his cast and production colleagues have reconstructed a riveting and poetic 90-minute world premiere of historic interest and pointed political observations."
Read more

Theater Pizzazz
November 13th, 2018

“Pena, directs this even, thoughtful production...As ‘The Chinese Lady’ explains her life story, and the acting style varies from presentational to dramatic to naturalistic...The acting loses a bit of its punch, when it is so every day...It is incredibly moving to see her progress in age...From a woman who bound her feet to a determined, poised, clear storyteller, she traveled through time and space, not just to put herself on display, as much explain her world.”
Read more

Front Row Center
November 12th, 2018

“While ‘The Chinese Lady’ deals with the tragic aftermath of Chinese Exclusion Act, it is also humorous, clever and entertaining, which is the victory of the play...I was so invested in Atong and Afong Moy’s journey that I was left wanting to hear more about their lives...Both Tyo and Isaac are amazing...They steal your heart with their innocence and portrayal of two extraordinary human beings...The writing is engaging. Peña’s direction is superb."
Read more

Exeunt Magazine
November 12th, 2018

“A fascinating historical look at Asians in America through the eyes of the first Chinese woman to come here...We see her from age 14 to 82...She becomes less Afong Moy and more a voice for the Chinese in America...While the historical context is interesting, the intersection with Moy does not deliver as much of an emotional payoff...While the play can feel in moments didactic, it churns up deeply felt issues of immigration and cultural identity which go far beyond one 'Chinese Lady.'"
Read more

New York Theater
November 10th, 2018

"An often amusing but pointed and instructive play that is as deceptively simple as calligraphy. Its bold strokes are masterfully etched by actors Shannon Tyo as Afong and Daniel K. Isaac as Atung, her interpreter...Under the direction of Ralph B. Peña, 'The Chinese Lady' manages to achieve something of a balance, delivering the harsh facts in a production that maintains its lyricism, thanks largely to the terrific design team."
Read more