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The Emperor's Nightingale

From 4 critic and 4 member reviews
Members say: Enchanting, Clever, Funny, Great acting, Delightful

About the show

Pan Asian Repertory Theatre presents an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s story “The Nightingale,” set in 18th-century China. More…

"The Emperor's Nightingale" brings to light the youthful exploits of the future Emperor Qianlong who befriends a magical bird who helps him learn what he must do to be King. The play employs traditional Chinese lion dance, puppetry, and a pair of tigers and pandas to tell the tale. A show for the whole family.


"Although Chua is less interested in beauty for beauty's sake than Andersen, the look and sound of 'The Emperor's Nightingale is still stunning, drawing on a wealth of traditional Chinese art forms to both enliven and culturally ground the story. Leading the way are Wolfslau's period-inspired score and You-Shin Chen's eye-popping set, which pays lovely tribute to the art of Chinese paper cutting. Smith's lighting design nicely highlights all of the wonderful colors in Chen's set." Full Review

Eyes on World Cultures

"This delightful production employs traditional Chinese lion dance, puppetry and a pair of tigers and pandas to tell this thrilling tale." Full Review

Front Row Center

“Anderson’s original tale of a sweetly singing nightingale that captures a Chinese Emperor’s fancy, is changed to a morality play about leadership. In keeping with Pan Asian Repertory’s mission to highlight Asian theatrical traditions and use Asian performers, Chua has loaded his production with all things Chinese. From the music, to the costumes, to the Lion Dance...’The Emperor’s Nightingale’ in this iteration is a fine choice if you have a child in tow.” Full Review

The New York Times

“Inventive staging and stellar design...Combines Andersen’s ‘The Nightingale’ with 18th-century Chinese politic...Chua presents a power struggle between teenage half brothers...whose father challenges them to prove who’s more worthy to succeed him...Many comic elements are played so broadly that little seems at stake. Briskly directed by Fan the show is fun, but watching it feels more like cheering pro wrestling than like witnessing a struggle for the soul of an empire.” Full Review

Funny, Enchanting, Clever

See it if you would like a delightful play for your children that is under an hour. Nicely staged and nice ideas for children to absorb.

Don't see it if you want a deep drama for adults. Grown ups can enjoy this show, but I would recommend mainly for children. The tigers are very funny.

Ambitious, Great acting, Enchanting, Clever

See it if you enjoy seeing a fable come to life. Great for a family audience. The piece translates well with today's audiences.

Don't see it if you don't have or want to experience the imagination of a child. Also if you don't like a play with a moral lesson attached to it.

Enchanting, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if you want to share in a wonderful story for all ages. Enchanting. Fun. Thoughtful.

Don't see it if you don't like exploring stories for the kid in all of us.

Funny, Good acting, Family friendly

See it if you like to see new spins on old fairy tales

Don't see it if you don't like shows that are related to fairy tales or where people play talking animals

Cast & Creatives (13)