Wesley Du stars in Hong Kong Mississippi a world premiere play about a Chinese boy on a hero's journey to find his own voice in a world filled with abuse and racism. While navigating the complexities of identity, culture and tradition, he encounters Cannonball, a brilliant black guitar player. Inspired by blues music, the boy asks Cannonball to teach him the guitar, but Cannonball hates Asians after "they" killed his son in Vietnam. Undeterred, the boy sets out to make Cannonball not only his teacher but also the father he never had. Directed by Craig Belknap, Mr. Du portrays 16 characters. Recommended for theater-goers 18+ for mature content and language.
"I was inspired to write Hong Kong Mississippi following the death of my mentor, friend, and teacher, Marvin Sims," said playwright Wesley Du. "The genesis of the play was formed in 2007, and it has become a goodbye letter and farewell song that I was never able to give to Marvin myself. Funny and sad, poignant and moving, the piece is filled with wonderful blues music that speaks to today's America."
Tickets are $30. $25 for students and seniors. Visit LaMaMa.org.
The runtime is approximately 75 minutes with no intermission.
Twelve performances will be staged at The Downstairs Theatre at La MaMa, 66 East 4th Street in New York City, Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 4:00 p.m. from April 27-May 14, 2023.
Assistant Director: Robert Bennett; Lighting Designer: Eric Norbury; Scenic Designer: Michael C. Smith; Costume Designer: Mimi Maxmen; Sound Designer: Bill Froggatt; Dramaturg: Laura Campbell; Production Stage Manager: Molly Foy; Production Assistant: Anne DeAcetis. Press Representative: Paul Siebold/Off Off PR.
Wesley Du (playwright/performer) has had a very unique path in life. He was put on academic probation twice while studying Acting at Cal Arts. He eventually finished his degree at Virginia Commonwealth University. Wesley was then accepted into the graduate playwriting program at UCLA only to be expelled. While working a meaningless job at a bowling alley, wondering what has become of his life, he enrolled in graduate school to become a mental health therapist. Now, he works in a thriving private practice. Wesley is also a documentary photographer and was accepted into the prestigious Eddie Adams Workshop in 2018. His previous short film, "Dumpling" was screened at Independent Filmmakers Film Festival (Best Dramatic Short Film), HollyShorts Film Festival, New Filmmakers Film Festival, Asians On Film Festival (Best Dramatic Short Film, Best Director, Best Actor), VC Film Festival, Boston Asian American Film Festival, and Busan West Film Festival. His screenplay of Hong Kong Mississippi placed in the top 3 in Final Draft's Big Break Competition. Wesley is an avid traveler/scuba diver that has been to more than 20 countries, which has been one of the biggest influences in his life and in his work.
Craig Belknap (director) is a professional theatre, film, and television director with over 50 years of experience. He was the founder and artistic director of Direct Theatre in New York which began the careers of such renowned artists as Sigourney Weaver, Christopher Durang, Alan Menken, Albert Innaurato, and Dennis McIntyre. He has directed such notable actors as Al Pacino, Kathy Bates, Calista Flockhart, Condola Rashad, and Dana Delaney and spent 20 years teaching acting and directing at the California Institute of the Arts. He directed Neil Patrick Harris in "Doogie Howser M.D." for Steven Bochco, and his film "Traveler's Rest" was screened at over 40 film festivals worldwide, receiving 5 gold medals and 8 honorable mentions. He was nominated for a cable Ace Award for Showtime Television's 30 Minute Movie and has been conducting workshops in acting and writing in Los Angeles for the past 25 years.
All events and times are subject to change.