Zachary Noah Piser, the first Asian-American actor to star in the title role of the Broadway production of Dear Evan Hansen, will play the leading role of Peiwen in Tiananmen: A Brave and Necessary New Musical this fall at The Phoenix Theatre Company.
Directed and choreographed by Darren Lee, previews will begin in Arizona October 4 prior to an official opening October 6. The new work debuts 34 years after the tragedy in China's Tiananmen Square.
“I am proud to bring this powerful story to life on stage,” says Piser. “Having helped develop this piece since 2015 makes originating this role that much more meaningful.”
The San Francisco Bay Area native will lead an all-Asian American and Pacific Islander cast, including Ellie Wang (Allegiance), Sami Ma, Brandon Chu (The King and I national tour), Kennedy Kanagawa (Into the Woods), Austin Ku (Chinglish national tour), Michael Ching (Gold Mountain), Marc Oka (Flower Drum Song), Sy Chounchaisit (Summer: The Donna Summer Musical national tour), Brandon Gille (The Hunchback of Notre Dame), Kuppi Jessop, Danielle Mendoza, Emma X. O’Loughlin (A Chorus Line Japan tour), Andrea Somera (Assassins), Michelle Chin (Cinderella), Raymond Dimaano (The King and I national tour), and Rommel Pierre O’Choa (My Fair Lady).
Tiananmen: A Brave and Necessary New Musical, which has a book by Scott Elmegreen and music and lyrics by Drew Fornarola, weaves a love story against the backdrop of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.
Wu’er Kaixi, who helped lead the protests in 1989 and now lives in Taiwan as an activist for democracy, is Tiananmen's conceiver and creative consultant.
“I believed in democracy when we took to the streets in 1989, and I think it even more so today. I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing the events as a musical, and I hope it serves to ensure that the world remembers the unfinished business of this celebration of bravery,” says Kaixi.
“It is a tremendous honor to work with Wu’er Kaixi on this story, which crystallizes some of the most important and broad conflicts that society and individuals grapple with today. At a time when democracy faces heightened challenges in America and around the world, we hope that this show will move audiences to reflect on love, freedom, and the big ideas that are worth fighting for,” adds librettist Elmegreen.
The production will also have music direction by Kevin White, casting by Chelsea Anderson, scenic and projection design by Michael Downs, costume design by Lex Liang, and associate direction and choreography by Kristine Bendul.
Click here for ticket information.