Golden Child (play)

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Golden Child
Written by David Henry Hwang
Characters Eng Siu-Yong
Andrew Kwong
Eng Tieng-Bin
Elizabeth Kwong
Eng Eling
Reverend Anthony Baines
Eng Luan
Eng Ahn and others
Date premiered November 19, 1996
Place premiered Public Theater
New York City, New York
Original language English
Subject Religion/Family
Genre Drama
Setting Manhattan and Eng Tieng-Bin's home village near Amoy, in Southeast China. The Present, Winter 1918 and Spring 1919.

Golden Child is a play by American playwright David Henry Hwang. Hwang's second Broadway play, it depicts an early twentieth-century Chinese family being faced with Westernization.


Golden Child is a co-production with the South Coast Repertory, (Costa Mesa, California) and the Public Theater. The play premiered Off-Broadway on November 19, 1996 at the Joseph Papp Public Theater, closing on December 8, 1996. It was directed by James Lapine, with Tsai Chin and Jodi Long.[1] The production won the 1996-1997 Obie Awards: Performance, Tsai Chin and Playwriting, David Henry Hwang.

The play was revised for the production at the South Coast Repertory, where it ran in January 1997, again directed by Lapine. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, "Hwang has improved it--if not miraculously, than at least discernibly. He has added cogency to the short framing scenes that begin and end the story, and several other key scenes are clearer and stronger. As a result, "Golden Child" is more riveting and more moving, though it continues to suffer in part from over-explanation."[2] The play next had engagements at the Singapore Repertory Theatre in January 1998 and the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco in February 1998 to March 15, 1998.[3]

The play premiered on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre on April 2, 1998 and closed on May 31, 1998.[4] This production was also directed by Lapine, with Randall Duk Kim and Ming-Na Wen in addition to Long. It was nominated for the 1998 Tony Award for Best Play, as well as Costume Design (Play or Musical) (Martin Pakledinaz) and Featured Actress in a Play (Julyana Soelistyo).[5]

An Off-Broadway revival opened on November 13, 2012 as part of a season of Hwang's works at the Signature Theatre.[6] This production was directed by Leigh Silverman and featured Jennifer Lim, Julyana Soelistyo, and Greg Watanabe.

It is published by Theatre Communications Group and also in an acting edition published by Dramatists Play Service.


In 1918, Chinese businessman Eng Tieng-Bin has spent time in the West and desires a modern life. He has returned to his home in rural China, where he has three wives and a daughter. He wishes to convert to Christianity, but that puts him at odds against his family and traditions. Eng Tieng-Bin's grandson Andrew and his wife expect their first child. Andrew is trying to accept his family history and his grandfather's religious conversion. The daughter, Ahn "the Golden child" agrees with her father, and urges him to unbind her feet.

Critical reception[edit]

The reviewer of the 2012 Off-Broadway production wrote: " 'Golden Child' is loosely based on the story of Hwang’s Chinese great-grandfather’s conversion to Christianity in the early years of the 20th century. Written with insight, compassion, and a sharp eye for the unintended consequences of clashing cultures, 'Golden Child' is one of Hwang’s best works, as entertaining as it is thought-provoking... Under Leigh Silverman’s perceptive direction, the cast does superb ensemble work.[7]


  1. ^ "Golden Child 1996", accessed October 11, 2015
  2. ^ Winer, Laurie. "After Some Smart Revisions, Hwang's 'Golden Child' Gains Luster" Los Angeles Times, January 13, 1997
  3. ^ Lefkowitz, David and Glaser, Blair. "Hwang's 'Golden Child ' Opens Pre-B'way Engagement in Singapore Jan. 13" Playbill, January 12, 1998
  4. ^ "Golden Child Broadway", accessed October 11, 2015
  5. ^ " Golden Child Broadway Production", accessed October 11, 2015
  6. ^ Golden Child
  7. ^ Haagensen, Erik. "'Golden Child' Gets First-Rate Revival at Signature Theatre", November 13, 2012

External links[edit]