The Orphan of Zhao

Theater Music
for voices, xun, kubing, violin, cello, cymbals, drum, gongs, water

“... a complex and evocative score.” ~Leo Stutzin, Huffington Post

Journalist and poet James Fenton created an English adaptation of The Orphan of Zhao (趙氏孤兒), a classic Chinese play about revenge and sacrifice. Music for the U.S. production included three ensemble numbers + six solos, as well as numerous musical transitions for the 25 scenes.

American Conservatory Theatre (Geary Theater) in San Francisco · June 2014 (Program)
La Jolla Playhouse (Mandell Weiss Theatre) in San Diego · July/August 2014


Press Quotes
“... quite enjoyable, most notably the original score by Byron Au Yong and played by an onstage cellist and violinist augmented by cast members on percussion and unusual instruments (like water bowls).” Chad Jones,  San Francisco Chronicle

“... nonstop instrumental effects, ‘Zhao’ calls for and receives heightened stylistic attack from its players.” David C. Nichols, Los Angeles Times

“... a haunting mix of strings, gongs, percussion and even tones summoned from bowls of water.” James Hebert, The San Diego Union-Tribune

“Au Yong’s original music goes in surprising directions and tonalities.” Jeff Smith, San Diego Reader

More articles about The Orphan of Zhao

Creative Team
Carey Perloff, director
Byron Au Yong, composer and music director
Stephen Buescher, movement director
Daniel Ostling, scenic designer
Lap Chi Chu, lighting designer
Jake Rodriguez, sound designer
Linda Cho, costume designer
Jonathan Rider, fight director
Michael Paller, dramaturg
Janet Foster, CSA, casting
Dolore Duran-Cefalu, vocal coach

Marie-France Arcilla
Stan Egi
Philip Estrera
Nick Gabriel
Cindy Im
Orville Mendoza
Paolo Montalban
Brian Rivera
Sab Shimono
Julyana Soelistyo
Daisuke Tsuji
BD Wong

Philip Estrera, violin
Jessica Ivry, cello
+ members of the cast

photo credit Kevin Berne

Words on Plays
A.C.T.’s in-depth performance guide includes Michael Paller’s “Where the Sound Comes From: An Interview with Composer Byron Au Yong” (PDF)

Stage and Cinema
historical details about A.C.T.’s production of The Orphan of Zhao, by Tony Frankel

photo credit Kevin Berne