The Monkey King, Stalled By A Pandemic, Edges Toward Broadway


The Monkey King edges toward Broadway, and the musical, seeded at Roosevelt Island’s Main Street Theatre and Dance Alliance, takes its roots along.

Jonathan and Kimbirdlee Fadner’s creation swung to the West Coast and is now back in New York.

In April, 2018, it’s world premiere opened in the Howe Theatre in the Roosevelt Island Cultural Center.

MSTDA commissioned the work, and its talented youngsters filled the roles. In the new workshop production, MSTDA’s Emily Zhao returns as part of the ensemble.

What’s it all about today…?

The Monkey King, Sun Wukong, was a celebrated figure in Chinese folktales since the 16th Century. First came a Ming Dynasty novel, Journey to the West, according to the press release.

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This modern musical, written by Jonathan and Kimbirdlee Fadner, offers a playful twist on the traditional story.

“What would happen if the Monkey King were born a girl?”

Monkey King Edges Toward Broadway: The Story

With its heartfelt music and inspiring storyline, The Monkey King: A Modern Musical follows the first female Monkey King. She battles against Heaven and Earth’s most treacherous foes to save her beloved tribe and achieve immortality.

About the National Asian Arts Project

NAAP is a community of artists, educators, administrators, community leaders, and professionals.

It is a not-for-profit organization, and it recognizes the need to build bridges: between artists of Asian descent and communities that their work can serve.

With this project, National Asian Artists Project keeps with its mission to provide more opportunities to both Asian playwrights and performers.

Monkey King Edges Toward Broadway: Who’s who?

The workshop is directed by NAAP Co-Founder Steven Eng and features an ensemble of talented actors from the NAAP Community:

Kimbirdlee Fadner, Grace Shih, Tomo Watanabe, Xiaoqing Zhang (Mao Mao), Shan Y Chuang, Leo Yu-Ning Chang, Alex Lawrence, Joey Ledonio, Charles Pang

Also introducing the Monkey King ensemble:

Mio Nakanishi, Martin Borromeo, Myoungjin Choi, Ave Cheung, Emily Zhao

The Band

Justin Ramos (Keyboard), Shayna Dunkelman (Drums), Peter Douskalis (Guitar)

Creative Team:

Steven Eng, Director

Justin Ramos, Music Director

Cassey Kivnick, Associate Director

Josh Shapiro, Assistant Director

Zackry Childers, Stage Manager

Monica Villa, Production Assistant

Amelia Dombrowski, Costume Designer

Irina Hage, Photographer

Jerry Fadner, Graphic Designer

Special thanks to Kristi Towey & MSTDA who originally commissioned The Monkey King in 2018.

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