When Mei-Li’s father is murdered, she flees communist China on the boat to San Francisco. Alone and uncertain in a Western world, she seeks out an old friend of her father, Wang Chi-Yang. Wang is trying to keep the Chinese opera tradition alive in San Francisco’s Chinatown but he is struggling to get audiences through the doors. However, his son Wang Ta is determined to transform the opera house into a swinging nightclub. The conflict between first-generation immigrants and their descendants rages as they endeavor to find a balance between assimilating into American culture and revering traditions inherited from old. Can old and new coexist if there is respect for both? Meanwhile, romance struggles to find its way when a love triangle forms between Mei-Li, Ta, and Linda, the nightclub’s star performer. With a luscious blend of American showmanship and stylized Chinese opera tradition, David Henry Hwang transforms a classic Golden Age musical for the twenty-first century.
Flower Drum Song guide sections