The Chinese Lady (Public Theater)
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The Chinese Lady (Public Theater)

The Chinese Lady (Public Theater) NYC Reviews and Tickets

(40 Reviews)
Members say
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Intelligent, Great acting, Absorbing

A poetic play inspired by the true story of the first Chinese woman to step foot in America.

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Member Reviews (40)

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635 Reviews | 237 Followers
Interesting, Overrated, Slow, Relevant, Great acting

See it if You’re really interested in plays that have a focus on Asian characters and stories.

Don't see it if You think you’re going to hear a really interesting story about a historical character. This barely touches the surface.

469 Reviews | 54 Followers
Great singing, Great staging

See it if well acted story of the 1st chinese woman in the US. get snippets of her life over the years.

Don't see it if want an original story. kind of a rip-off of Park's Venus. Essentially a one-person show though there is another character on stage.

399 Reviews | 203 Followers
Thought-provoking, Riveting, Great writing, Great acting, Brilliant

See it if Tells the sad story of the first Chinese woman brought to America and how she was put on display like an animal at the zoo.

Don't see it if If you're uninterested in the sometimes jaw-dropping cruelty in the history of this country, you might not like this.

414 Reviews | 74 Followers
Relevant, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if clever portrayal (with heartache behind humor) of historical story of the first Chinese woman brought to America as a 14 yr & put on display

Don't see it if Last 10 minutes slow and didactic. More preachy and less telling stories thru acting. Read more

381 Reviews | 72 Followers
Resonant, Profound

See it if you can get a ticket.

Don't see it if you just should. Read more

340 Reviews | 158 Followers
Thought-provoking, Clever, Great acting, Poignant, Relevant

See it if you enjoy theatrical works that unify us and reveal our similarities. This story has a powerful message and is well acted and executed

Don't see it if everyone should see this show. Entertaining and thought provoking Read more

304 Reviews | 66 Followers
Intelligent, Timely, Great staging, Great acting, Engaging

See it if This is an expertly acted, smartly humorous, beautifully staged & engaging two hander with an important and timely theme.

Don't see it if The last 15 minutes are overly didactic somewhat diminishing the impact the play had built up until that point.

272 Reviews | 80 Followers
Thought-provoking, Resonant, Relevant, Intelligent

See it if There's powerful material here, and it's well-told. A thoughtful consideration of exoticization that feels sadly relevant still.

Don't see it if The show is a bit slight. It's spare in construction, working almost more like a solo show despite the second actor. I just wanted MORE.

Critic Reviews (13)

New York Magazine / Vulture
March 9th, 2022

"The production has lost a good portion of its loveliness with these changes. It has lost its visual tartness and humor, too. Suh’s careful stitching, though, has not pulled loose over the years. He balances workplace comedy — we’ve all worked with an Atung! — and swift, excoriating bitterness with a measuring hand. And Peña again directs beautifully shaped performances from Tyo and Isaac, who have polished their roles to a deep sheen."
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The Observer
March 9th, 2022

"While Tyo carries the bulk of the play with consummate grace and charisma—growing older and wiser before our eyes—Isaac is a mysterious presence, the true sealed container...Matching Suh’s delicate blend of dry wit and poetic melancholy, director Ralph B. Peña crafts a lucid and vibrant production around the two magnetic central performances. 'The Chinese Lady' is ultimately a sincere mediation on the act of looking as a way to know something or someone, to break through ethnic clichés or blinding prejudice."
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New York Theatre Guide
March 9th, 2022

"4/5 stars...An evocative and eye-opening excavation of difference and a seductive appeal for greater understanding...Suh’s play excels when Afong and Atung spar directly, moments positioned as asides to Afong’s primary mode of storytelling. It’s easy to wish the pair would break out of their fated repetition for more behind-the-scenes, no-bullshit looks into the muck of performing one’s difference for others’ benefit, and engage with each other and the world more fully. That would also seem by design."
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March 29th, 2022

The horrors of foot binding, England’s 17th century incursions into China which led to its preoccupation with tea, and the harrowing 19th Chinese immigrant U.S. experience are among the subjects enacted in playwright Lloyd Suh's sly, moving and theatrical work, The Chinese Lady.
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Theater Pizzazz
March 30th, 2022

"Finely directed by Ralph B. Peña, the production is cleverly wrought. Beautifully and symbolically staged in one room, 'The Chinese Lady' builds to the final revelation which is both heartbreaking and hopeful...In the exquisite 'The Chinese Lady,' Suh and Peña use Afong Moy’s perceptions to disclose who we are and who we should be as a nation of immigrants. Kudos to all the creatives who brought this production to its wonderful manifestation as a must-see."
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Exeunt Magazine
March 10th, 2022

"The script shows a canny awareness of the difficulties of dramatizing this history...Suh, smartly, doubles down on this discomfort, casting the audience as exhibition attendees whom Moy directly addresses...Shannon Tyo delivers a sensitive and disciplined performance...Tyo’s counterpart, Daniel K. Isaac, is a gifted comedic performer, but his broad, winking passive aggression cuts against the emotional weight of later scenes...Ultimately, it is Tyo’s Moy who turns 'The Chinese Lady' into a rich and challenging evening of theater."
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The New York Times
March 8th, 2022

"A moving and often sharply funny riff on the story of the real Afong Moy, traversing 188 years of American ugliness and exoticization in 90 swift, heightened minutes...When she realizes she will have to do that utterly on her own — breaking out of the box where American culture wants to keep her, under its hostile gaze — she becomes a roiling force of indignation and self-determination. That happens in the play’s penultimate scene, and Tyo absolutely kills it. So it’s unfortunate that the final scene undermines her with ill-conceived design."
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March 8th, 2022

"There are aspects of 'The Chinese Lady' that feel a little too didactic. The last 15 minutes, for instance, are a bit on the nose for a play that had spent the prior hour trusting the audience enough to get the point without explaining things so granularly. But these qualms aren't enough to wreck the overall experience: excellently acted and beautifully built, 'The Chinese Lady' is an eminently worthy piece of theater that deserves as wide an audience as possible."
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