2024 01 19 Chinese New Year Celebration Banquet

The largest Chinese New Year celebration banquet of its kind in San Diego will be hosted by Chinese School of San Diego and House of China, Balboa Park, on Saturday, January 27, 2024. This is their 43rd Chinese New Year banquet and their annual signature fundraiser benefitting two of San Diego’s oldest cultural and educational nonprofit institutions, dedicated to preserving Chinese culture. This event will bid adieu to the Year of the Water Rabbit and usher in the Year of the Wood Dragon with fabulous entertainment and delicious banquet food.

The Chinese New Year banquet will be held at Jasmine Seafood Restaurant and enjoyed by a crowd of almost 400 guests, community leaders, and dignitaries. The evening includes a scrumptious traditional eight-course feast of Chinese New Year dishes with festive lucky symbolism; exciting entertainment to include festive lion dancing, live band music, and a rare and special dance by the elusive and auspicious dragon.

The evening also includes an opportunity-drawing event with fabulous prizes including one China Airlines’ round-trip ticket to Taipei and a raffle grand prize of $1,000 in cash. There will also be many more great prizes to include gift certificates, Chinese artwork, and many specially prepared gift baskets donated by community members affiliated to the Chinese School of San Diego and House of China.

Chinese School of San Diego is the oldest language school in San Diego with a history of over 100 years, accredited by Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Besides Mandarin and Chinese culture, Chinese School of San Diego is the only Chinese school in San Diego to offer classes in Cantonese as well. Each Saturday, Chinese School of San Diego is open for all levels of classes to children, teens, and adults of all ages.

House of China was founded in 1935 with a mission to preserve and promote Chinese culture and friendship. Every weekend, House of China welcomes thousands of visitors in Balboa Park. In addition, House of China annually sponsors a Chinese essay contest, co-hosts Moon Festival as well as many other cultural events in Balboa Park.

To purchase tickets or for more information, please contact the Chinese School of San Diego at (858) 565-8008 or 该Email地址已收到反垃圾邮件插件保护。要显示它您需要在浏览器中启用JavaScript。

【《We Chinese in AmericaMedia Editor Hugh Wang, January 6, 2023】This article has been published in the September 2023 issue of 《華人》Magazine.

西廂一曲憾聖地,中西合璧創新意

The Story of the Musical "Romance of the Western Chamber" on Stage in San Diego

Hugh Wang (王惠豫)

Just after New Year's Day, a shining gem graced the stage in San Diego – the English-language musical "The Romance of the Western Chamber" performed at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts, presenting a New Year's gift to the San Diego audience.

The two performances were a complete success. This culturally blended musical received tremendous praise from the audience, with many expressing that the show exceeded their expectations. Non-Chinese audience members were immersed in the essence of classical Chinese culture, touched by the love story of Mr. Chang and Cui Yingying, the young couple challenging traditional customs. Chinese audience members familiar with the story of "The Romance of the Western Chamber" were also captivated by the innovative performance style. Many friends who were unable to attend the show lamented that it was only performed twice, leaving them unable to experience "The Romance of the Western Chamber" firsthand.

The Musical "The Romance of the Western Chamber": Author and Creative Process

The musical "Romance of the Western Chamber," also known as 《西厢记》 was created by a retired American doctor named Howard Rubenstein, whose Chinese name is 贺紅岩.

2 作者 贺华德

(Author: Howard Rubenstein)

Howard Rubenstein (贺红岩), was born in Chicago in 1931. He graduated in 1953 as a pre-med student from Carleton College and received the Noyes Prize for Excellence in Ancient Greek. In 1957, he graduated from Harvard Medical School. After completing an internal medicine internship at Los Angeles County General Hospital, he returned to Harvard University to study immunology. He became a research fellow at the National Institutes of Health and later became a prominent fellow and assistant professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and Medicine. In 1966, he was appointed as a physician and director of allergy at the Harvard University Health Services in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In 1968, he married Judith Ann Selig, with whom he had four children. In 1984, he experienced hearing loss and balance issues. This led him to retire in 1989 and leave Boston to start a new career plan in San Diego.

According to Howard Rubenstein's widow, Judith Rubenstein, after retiring, he became a self-taught playwright. He wrote 10 plays, some of which were performed on local stages, and authored several books. The inspiration for his play "Romance of the Western Chamber" came from a trip to China.

In 1984, the Rubenstein couple received an invitation from the Chinese Medical Association to visit China for lectures and to explore traditional Chinese medicine. They were deeply impressed by China's culture, people, cuisine, and beautiful landscapes. Judith recalled the trip by saying, "We had a wonderful time. The beauty and culture of China, as well as the warmth of the Chinese people, left a profound impression on us." Howard Rubenstein was captivated by the story of the classical 13th-century Chinese play "Romance of the Western Chamber" and was determined to adapt it into an English-language musical to introduce Chinese culture to American audiences.

The musical's composer is Max Lee, a music professor who has composed nearly 100 concert works. "Romance of the Western Chamber" was his first complete musical theater piece. During the songwriting process, Rubenstein listened to a lot of Chinese music, found folk song fragments he liked, and collaborated with the composer through email to create music that would complement his lyrics. Judith Rubenstein recalled, "He picked out melodies that sounded very beautiful and that Western audiences would like, and built a song around those melodies."

"Romance of the Western Chamber" premiered globally on September 9, 2011, at the Dongpo Theatre in Hangzhou, China. It had its U.S. premiere at the TADA! Theater in New York City in 2017. Both performances were well-received by audiences and garnered praise from critics.

To Commemorate Dr. Rubenstein, the Musical "Romance of the Western Chamber" Was Brought to the Stage in San Diego

Dr. Rosa Ovshinsky (蔣廷儀), a retired scientist and a close friend of the Rubenstein couple, has been a strong supporter of bringing the musical "Romance of the Western Chamber" to the stage in San Diego, where Dr. Rubenstein lived for over 30 years. The original plan was to have the performance at the Don Powell Theatre at San Diego State University in July 2020, but it had to be postponed due to the pandemic. Unfortunately, Dr. Howard Rubenstein's health deteriorated due to cancer, and he passed away on September 20, 2020, at the age of 89.

To fulfill Dr. Rubenstein's wish, in 2022, after the pandemic situation improved, Dr. Rosa Ovshinsky collaborated with Dr. Lilly Cheng (刘丽容) , the director of the Chinese Cultural Center at San Diego State University, and Dr. Niyi Cocker, the director of the School of Theatre, Television, and Film at San Diego State University, and generously donated significant project funds. They restarted the performance plan. Mrs. Rubenstein also donated the copyright of the performance to San Diego State University, which served as the host. Thus, the project to stage the musical "Romance of the Western Chamber" in San Diego officially began.

3 刘丽容 蒋廷义 贺华德 朱迪斯

(From left: Lilly Cheng, Rosa Ovshinsky, Howard Rubenstein, Judith Rubenstein)

Executive Producers:Rosa Ovshinsky,Lilly Cheng,Niyi Coker and Judith Rubenstein.

Director:Peter James Cirino; Music Director/Vocal Coach: Lucy Lin (林秋美);Orchestral Director: Angela Yeung(杨炤婵).

4 三位执行制片人

(Three executive producers)

The Process of Assembling the Cast and the Intense Rehearsal Schedule

When the production plan was finalized in July of last year, there was only half a year left until the scheduled performance date. Recruiting actors and completing rehearsals for dozens of songs within this six-month timeframe posed the most challenging task for the music director.

Taking on the role of Music Director and Vocal Coach for "Romance of the Western Chamber" was the 82-year-old Ms. Lucy Lin. In her younger years, Ms. Lin studied vocal music and opera performance in Japan, Italy, and the UK. She participated in classical opera performances in Europe and later starred in the stage musical "The Sound of Music" in the United States. Over the past decade, she has been teaching vocal music in San Diego and established "The Bel Canto Performance Foundation," which organizes concerts and supports the growth of young musicians. Ms. Lin also serves as the Music Director and Conductor of the San Diego Chinese Choral Society (華聖合唱團), a choir with a thirty-three-year history. Despite her age, Ms. Lin took on this heavy responsibility with vigor.

Navigating the challenge of recruiting and training performers, and guiding them through the intricate musical journey of "Romance of the Western Chamber" in such a short span of time, was a testament to Lucy Lin's dedication, expertise, and passion for music and performance.

5 林秋美

Music Director/Vocal Coach Ms. Lucy Lin)

Since the recruitment advertisement for the musical "Romance of the Western Chamber" was posted on the 《華人》 magazine (We Chinese in US) website on July 11th, there has been a steady stream of applications. Ms. Lin personally conducted interviews and ultimately selected actors to play the main roles in the production:

Actor for Mr. Chang: Jordan Fan. Jordan comes from a musical family and has enjoyed singing since high school and college. His past experiences include being a soloist for the University of California, Santa Barbara Chamber Choir and playing the role of Enjolras in the school's production of "Les Misérables."

Actor for Cui Yingying: Lia Zheng (鄭天晨). Lia, a 17-year-old high school student at CCA, fell in love with singing at a young age. Her awards include the Classical Voice Grand Prize at the Los Angeles Music Center Spotlight Competition (2022), and two second-place finishes in the Harold Leonard Vocal Competition (2021 and 2022).

Actor for Hong Niang (matchmaker): Evelyn Olson. Evelyn is a trained professional actor, dancer, and singer. Her career began as a dancer on a weekly television show on the Seventh Channel in Manila, Philippines. After moving to the United States, she started dancing in musicals and then added acting and singing to her resume. Upon moving to Los Angeles, she received training in commercial and film acting, continuing her performing career.

Actor for Mrs. Cui (YingYing’s mother): Rebecca Ung (唐惠). Born and raised in San Diego, Rebecca graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor's degree in Music Education, focusing on vocal music. Since then, she has been involved in music education throughout San Diego, teaching at several elementary schools in the San Diego Unified School District and her private studio. As early as 2010, Rebecca had the opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Howard Rubenstein to record some excerpts from "Romance of the Western Chamber."

The selection of these actors and their dedication to bringing the characters to life on stage is a testament to their talent and commitment to the production of "Romance of the Western Chamber."

6 排练场景

(From left: Mr. Chang, YingYing, YingYing (B), Mrs. Cui, Hong Niang, Ms. Lin)

Actor for Superior Monk: James Fan (范健民). James Fan is a well-known emcee and host in Southern California. He is known for his classically trained voice and elegant, dignified performance style. He is also a respected physician and professor, known nationwide by his students and colleagues.

Here's a little secret for the readers: the actor playing the Superior Monk is actually the father of the actor playing Mr. Chang, creating a true "father and son" duo on stage.

7 父子兵

After the actors were selected, Ms. Lin held rehearsals every weekend, providing guidance on each line of the song for every actor. In the final weeks leading up to the performance, there were nightly stage rehearsals. Ms. Lin not only provided on-the-spot guidance but also personally played the piano accompaniment for rehearsals, which lasted for more than three hours each time. The dedication required for an octogenarian to do this is truly remarkable!

The story of "Romance of the Western Chamber" takes place in a monastery, and the play involves many monks chanting and singing. These roles were performed by the members of Tenor and Base of the San Diego Chinese Choral Society. Ms. Lin also provided rigorous training for them, using harmonies of different voice ranges to sing the chanting melodies.

8 诵经祈祷

(Led by Superior Monk , the monks pray for the well-being of Yingying's father)

In this performance of "Romance of the Western Chamber," ethnic dance performances were incorporated to enhance the storytelling. The dance performances were presented by the San Diego Blue Ming Chinese Dance Company (《青花瓷》舞蹈团). The choreography was led by Patricia Lippert, the founder of the Blue Ming Chinese Dance Company.

9 舞蹈场景

(Dance Scenes)

The Performance Was a Complete Success, And the Audience Response Was Enthusiastic

Through the collaborative efforts of the entire production team, the musical "Romance of the Western Chamber" was performed twice at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts on January 7th and 8th, 2023. It attracted over a thousand people from California who have a passion for Chinese culture and the arts. The brilliant performances by the actors deeply moved the audience.

This musical tells the love story from the famous Chinese classical drama "Romance of the Western Chamber" in the form of English songs and dialogues. The thematic music appears throughout the production, creating an unparalleled beauty that touches the soul. The moving melodies resonate deep within, bringing immense emotions and solace. It allows people to momentarily escape the pressures of the real world and immerse themselves in a realm of sensory delight. The wonderful music helps individuals experience the power of life's essence, touching every sense and revealing a beauty that words cannot express. It's no exaggeration to say that the original music in the play is truly beautiful, touching, and profoundly moving, serving as the heart and soul of the entire production, bringing tears to the eyes of many audience members.

10 击退强盗

(Defeat Gang)

11 毁婚约场景

(Scene of Breaking the Engagement)

Here are some excerpts from audience feedback received after the performance:


Ma Ping (馬平, Founder of 華人 Magazine): The English musical "Romance of the Western Chamber," which lasted for three hours, was performed twice on the evening of January 7th and the afternoon of January 8th, with a full house of spectators, mostly Americans. Due to its Broadway-style musical elements, it was a rare classic Chinese romantic comedy that triggered laughter and continuous applause, making it a resounding success. First, the English adaptation was quite interesting. A classic Chinese love story, after careful adaptation by American physician Howard Rubenstein (Chinese name 贺红岩), became a comedy style that Westerners enjoy, while retaining the original plot. Second, there were many Chinese elements, including several ethnic dances introduced in the play, making the whole production more smooth and elegant. Third, the actors in the play performed very well. The performance of the English musical "Romance of the Western Chamber" fulfilled the dream of the playwright Howard Rubenstein, who passed away in 2020 due to cancer. Unfortunately, he did not live to see his masterpiece performed on the stage in San Diego. Fortunately, his wife Judith, with the concerted efforts of renowned figures such as Professor Lilly Cheng, director of the State University of California, Chinese Culture Center, and Dr. Rosa Ovshinsky, finally brought Dr. Rubenstein 's posthumous work to the stage in San Diego after ten years of hard work, allowing many Western audiences to fully appreciate the charm of Chinese literary classics from more than 700 years ago.

12 幽会 2

(Secret Rendezvous)

Yang Sheng (揚聲, Conductor of the San Diego Chinese Youth Symphony): The musical "Romance of the Western Chamber" premiered successfully in San Diego, and it was an exceptionally high-quality performance! It was full of vigor and grandeur, on par with Hollywood blockbusters like "Mulan." Watching our own people perform a Chinese classical drama in English in the United States felt very appealing, and it added even more charm to Chinese theater. There was a significant number of local American audiences, and their cheers, responses, and praises filled the entire theater. It truly bridged the East and West and opened the eyes of the Americans. I strongly recommend and suggest the production team to tour major cities across the United States commercially; the impact is comparable to Liu Xiaoqing's worldwide tour "Unforgettable Charm."

13 拷红场景

(Scene of Questioning Hong Niang)

Linda Clark (American audience): “Romance of the Western Chamber” was an entertaining performance for the ears, eyes, and heart! A dramatic, comedic story of young love gradually unfolded with engaging actors, captivating music and vocals, and creative, exciting dance performances! The colorful lighting, rolling fog, and minimalistic sets were ideal. Just as the matchmaker successfully united the young couple, the Producers are matchmakers in bringing this beloved, traditional Chinese story to a wider audience. I could see it again. It's too bad it only played two times. They should find a place to continue show it!

14 大结局 2

(The Grand Finale)

We look forward to this excellent production returning to the stage in San Diego in the near future, allowing more audiences to enjoy its artistic charm.

(Thanks to Lilly Cheng and Hu Zhiwei (胡治緯) for their contributions to some of the content in this article)

西廂一曲憾聖地,中西合璧創新意:

"The romantic songs of the Western Chamber have captivated the San Diego stage, creating a perfect blend of Eastern and Western cultures."

DINING WITH ASIAN FOOD AND WINE

Part 2 of 8 “TASTE OF ASIA” series

Ronald G. Jan, M.D.

At the TASTE OF ASIA on November 12, 2022, another dish presented was a whole Roast Pig from Vinh Phat Market.   A whole roast pig is part of many cultures from “Lichon” of the Philippines to “Pua’a Kalua” in Hawaii to “Lon Quay” in Vietnam.  When serving, the pig was cut into pieces and reassembled to look like a whole pig.

01 01 2023 Small Whole Roast Pig

[Whole roasted pig from Vinh Phat Market in Sacramento. Photo courtesy:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1BOsosu_quDcT0OvVyfa9wGoFV5DqNTZ-/view?usp=sharing_eip_m&ts=637af17a]

With its crispy skin, savory fat and rich meat, the pieces of roast pig from Vinh Phat Market in Sacramento paired well with Lusso della Terra’s Barbera Pet-Nat (short for Petillant-Naturel) with acid which cut through the fat while bringing freshness with red berry flavors added to the pieces of roast pig.

01 01 2023 Small Lusso Della Terra

[Lusso Della Terra’s Barbera Petillant (aka “Pet-Nat”).Photo Courtesy of Ronald Jan, M.D.]

 

Again, here is famed food and wine writer, Mike Dunne’s comments…

Roast pig with hoisin sauce: The Lusso Della Terra Winery & Vineyard Pet Nat Barbera is a rare but fitting wine to start a celebratory dinner. For one, it is a sparkling wine, though its effervescence is gentler than commonly found in wines with bubbles. Aside from its leisurely effervescence, the wine’s deep cranberry color, pronounced berry aroma, fruity delivery and substantial structure make it an amiable companion for the richness and meatiness of roast pig. As to its name, “Pet Nat” is wine-geek shorthand for “petillant naturel,” which translates as “naturally bubbling.” Unlike Champagne and California sparkling wines generally, pet-nat bubblies do not undergo a secondary fermentation with added sugar and yeast. Rather, pet-nat wines are regular wines that are bottled before their fermentation is finished, which explains both their softer froth and their closure - a metal crown rather than cork. Lusso Della Terra is a relatively new player at Fiddletown in Amador County, where the black Italian grape Barbera is rising in popularity, potential and esteem.

The Petillant Naturel Method is also called, “Ancestral Method” because it was the very first way sparkling wines were discovered (by accident) and later made by design.  The sparkling wine at that time (16th Century) was called, “Vin du Diable (Wine of the Devil)” because the bottles would explode under the pressure with glass being so thin.  Also, Pet-Nat wines can be quite inconsistent in quality.  Lusso della Terra’s Ed Chokarian has found a way to make his finished product consistently good with fruit and acidity, a hallmark of the Barbera grape.  And don’t worry—the glass bottles are thicker now and the sparkling only mildly effervescent. 

This Roast Pig with the sparkling Barbera started the evening’s dining event with brightness, freshness, and a very festive mood.  By the way, Chinese New Year is right around the corner on January 22, 2023.  Why not include Roast Pig and a Barbera Pet-Nat in your New Year Eve’s dinner celebrating the Year of the Rabbit ?  Let’s party!

BON APPETITE!!!

About the author: Dr. Ronald G. Jan who specializes in Vascular Surgery is a Clinical Professor of Surgery at the University of California at Davis School of Medicine. He has been serving as the Director of Paul Hom’s Asian (Free) Clinic since 2005. As a hobby, he holds WSET level 3 certification in wines and has been writing and publishing wine commentaries attracting lots of readers.

This website has a free subscription function, please enter your email address and name (any nickname) in the upper right corner of the page. After subscribing, you can receive timely updates of the website. I hope that new and old readers will actively subscribe, so that we have the opportunity to provide you with better services

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DINING WITH ASIAN FOOD AND WINE

A TASTE OF ASIA, A WINE AND ASIAN FOOD PAIRING

Part 3 of 8 “TASTE OF ASIA” series

Ronald G. Jan, M. D.

Having just eaten a wonderful deep fried pork belly (from THAI) paired with a well-balanced  Cabernet Sauvignon [described on last month’s “Dining with Asian Food and Wine”], I was wondering, “What other Asian food can interact with a red wine?”  The next course was beef bulgogi from Blue House Korean BBQ—sweet and savory with the right amount of spice with a side dish (banchan) of kimchi.

02 01 Small Korean BBBQ

[Beef Bulgogi from Blue House Korean BBQ. Photo Courtesy of Ronald Jan, M.D.]

To this was served a Petit Verdot from Jeff Runquist Winery in Amador County. 

02 01 Small Runquist Petit

[Petit Verdot by Jeff Runquist Wines.Photo Courtesy of Ronald Jan, M.D. ]

Nicely balanced with aromas and flavors of dark fruit—blackberry, black cherry, and oak with enough tannin to balance the strong flavors of the beef bulgogi and at the same time not too harsh of tannins that the tannins were softened by the texture and fat of the beef. 

Noted restaurant food and wine critic, Mike Dunne, commented…

            With its richness and its spicy overtones, the beef bulgogi has a lot going on, calling for a wine of comparable heft and layering.  That would be the Jeff Runquist Wines San Joaquin County Petit Verdot.  Through its lavish berry fruit, thread of mocha, flanking smoke, backing tannins and ample oak, the Runquist Petit Verdot meets stride for stride the sweet and juicy abundance of the beef bulgogi.

Petit Verdot noted for its dark color and tannin has been a grape traditionally considered as a blending grape in Bordeaux, France.   But here in the hands of Jeff Runquist the Petit Verdot stands up for itself well with good fruit and balance with enough acid and a pleasant long finish. 

Red wines with Asian foods?---YES….considering flavors:  matching pronounced flavors of the foods with the flavors, and the structure of the wines.  Certainly, delicate flavors with delicate sauces in many Asian foods will balance well with many white wines such as Riesling, Gewurztraminer, or rose’s like rose’s from Tavel, France.  But, if your Asian dish has pronounced flavors with significant texture a red wine can make a wonderful match.

What a wonderful adventure—try something new!

About the author: Dr. Ronald G. Jan who specializes in Vascular Surgery is a Clinical Professor of Surgery at the University of California at Davis School of Medicine. He has been serving as the Director of Paul Hom’s Asian (Free) Clinic since 2005. As a hobby, he holds WSET level 3 certification in wines and has been writing and publishing wine commentaries attracting lots of readers.

This website has a free subscription function, please enter your email address and name (any nickname) in the upper right corner of the page. After subscribing, you can receive timely updates of the website. I hope that new and old readers will actively subscribe, so that we have the opportunity to provide you with better services

Please click: Home (wechineseus.com) for more news and content on this website

Follow The Chinese Media's Twitter account: https://twitter.com/wechineseinus

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【《We Chinese in AmericaMedia Editor Hugh Wang, January 6, 2023】 Following article from San Diego Union Tribune, January 4, 2023.

Judith and Howard Rubenstein’s travels in China in 1984 had a big impact on them.

The trip inspired Howard Rubenstein to create “Romance of the Western Chamber - the Musical.” The family friendly show can be seen at 7 p.m. Jan. 7 and 2 p.m. Jan. 8 in the Poway Center for the Performing Arts.

“We had a wonderful time, were impressed by the beauty and culture of China and the warmth of its people,” Judith Rubenstein recalled about the trip.

It also made her late husband realize that while the La Jolla couple knew plays written in French, Italian, Spanish, German, ancient Greek and Russian, they were not familiar with any Chinese plays, she said.

“He asked, ‘How come we do not know Chinese plays? It is a great culture,’” she recalled.

2023 01 06 RWB 1

After 40 years as a physician, in his retirement Howard became a self-taught playwright. He wrote 10 plays, with several presented on local stages, and many books. After their trip to China he decided to find a Chinese play, write an adaptation for the Western stage and turn it into a musical even though he did not speak Chinese or know how to compose music, his widow said.

The result: “Romance of the Western Chamber - a Musical,” based on “Xi Xiang Ji,” a 13th century Chinese romantic comedy that is very well known in China, Rubenstein said. The original play was inspired by a ninth century Chinese poem.

Rubenstein said her husband of 52 years — who died of cancer at age 89 in September 2020 — did extensive research into Chinese plays. He found many with English translations, but they were long and scholarly, making them not suitable for the stage.

However “Xi Xiang Ji” was different. She called it “the equivalent to our Cinderella. ... It is a very old play but in a very modern context ... and it’s charming.”

Chang (played by Jordan Fan) is a poor scholar who falls in love with Ying-ying (Lia Zheng), daughter of the late prime minister. Her attendant, Hong-niang (Evelyn Olson), takes on the role of their matchmaker. However, Ying-ying’s mother, Lady Tsui (Becca Tang), wants her daughter to marry a nobleman due to a promise made by her late husband.

According to Rubenstein, the story is so well known in China that the name Hong-niang has become synonymous with matchmaker.

To write the songs her husband listened to a lot of Chinese music, found segments of folk songs he liked, then worked via email with a composer and arranger to create music that would work with his lyrics. Max Lee, a pseudonym, has composed nearly 100 concert works. This is his first full-length musical theater work.

According to Rubenstein, her husband said the music had to be Chinese, but “sound good to the Western ear” because some here do not appreciate the tonal scale in Chinese music.

“He identified phrases that sounded very pretty and that Westerners would like, then used those phrases to build a song around it,” she explained.

The musical has only been presented twice. The first time was in 2011 in China, presented in English with Mandarin supertitles. The second was in 2017 in New York City.

Tickets to the Poway shows are $20-$40 for standard seats; $10-$30 for seniors, military and students; and $10-$20 for children. Purchase powaycenter.com or at the PCPA box office from 1 to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The PCPA is at 15498 Espola Road. For questions, call 858-748-0505.

 

(From San Diego Union Tribune,   by Elizabeth Marie Himchak  )

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