21 Jul OOB Final 30 Countdown – Timothy Huang
For the thirteenth day of our Final 30 countdown we present to you Timothy Huang!
Timothy Huang: Composer. Lyricist. Asian dude. Recent works include: Peter and the Wall (DG Fellowship, Rhinebeck Retreat) Costs of Living (Winner: 2016 Richard Rodgers Award, B-Side New American Musical Award, ASCAP MT Workshop, BMI Master Class with Steven Sondheim, 2015 NAMT Festival) A Relative Relationship (2013 Sound Bites Festival Winner: Best Musical), Timothy Huang: Chinese or Crazy?(NYTB), Crossing Over (NAAP) Other works include: LINES: A Song Cycle (NYMF), The View from Here (Cast albums available online) Death and Lucky (MacDowell Fellowship). Timothy is the recipient of a 2013 Jerry Harrington Award, a Jonathan Larson Grant and Fred Ebb Award finalist and a Dramatist Guild Fellow.
1.When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?
I finished my undergraduate work in the late 90s as an actor of musical theater. At the time the landscape was a little different and guys who looked like me could either work on Broadway in one of two shows, or work Off-Broadway doing new work. Much of the new work was good, but more of it was not. At the time there were a lot of stories that infantilzed Asian women, emasculated Asian men and treated the “Far East” like a set decoration. Maybe we still have that issue, but at least now we’re aware it is an issue. Back then the only solution I had to this was to write.
2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?
I tend to write differently in the short form than in the long. While most of my full lengths deal with their fair share of political and social issues, the short pieces tend to be more about inciting incidents. Missing Karma was created at Prospect Theater during one of their Musical Theater Lab workshops that was centered around the theme Rites of Passage. I drew “funeral.” Having just exited a years-long relationship, (amicably) and examining the nature of it, I was fascinated by how well two people can know each other and still have so much more to learn from one another.
3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?
Relentless, Whedonesque, Morally Questionable Asian.
4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?
Aaron Sorkin, Tom Stoppard, Lynn Nottage, the Davids Henry Hwang and Lindsay-Abaire.. musical influences include the Stephens Schwartz, Sondheim and Flaherty, the Williamses John and Dar, Ms Tesori, Mister Joel, Mr. Jason Robert Brown and lately Ben Thornewill of Jukebox the Ghost fame. That dude is mad talented and I wish I could think like he does.
5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?
I own every DVD boxset of every iteration of Transformers that was ever on TV.
6. What are some of your favorite plays?
Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia is probably one of my favorite plays to read. It has a balance of heart and intellect that strikes a chord with me every time. The most recent play I saw, which killed me was Danai Gurira’s Familiar at Playwrights Horizion’s though. I’m not super familiar with her work, and have never read it on the page, but that production tore me in half in the best possible way.
7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?
Presently, Costs of Living (which just won the Richard Rodgers Award) will be participating in the Village Theater’s new works series in Issaquah this summer. And my new full length Peter and the Wall will hopefully be in workshop mode this fall. For full updates you might have to follow my facebook, since that’s usually how information gets disseminated.
His play Missing Karma will be performed on August 10th at 6:30pm. It follows Ted and Honey who return to their favorite park at sundown to bury their dearly departed dog, Karma. As the sun sets, and the darkness encroaches, they discover they have conflicting ideas on which path leads them home. What starts out as a simple difference of opinion escalates, and before long the two lovers find themselves on opposite sides of a very important issue.