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Playwright David Henry Hwang and Citizen University CEO Eric Liu kick off our premiere digital duet with a direct conversation centering on the challenges facing Asian Americans, the importance of bringing activism into art, and our duty to hold our leaders accountable.
David Henry Hwang
David Henry Hwang’s stage works include the plays M. Butterfly, Chinglish, Yellow Face, Kung Fu, Golden Child, The Dance and the Railroad, and FOB, as well as the Broadway musicals Elton John & Tim Rice’s Aida (co-author), Flower Drum Song(2002 revival) and Disney’s Tarzan. Hwang is a Tony Award winner and three-time nominee, a three-time OBIE Award winner, and a two-time Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He is also the most-produced living American opera librettist, whose works have been honored with two Grammy Awards, co-wrote the Gold Record Solo with the late pop icon Prince, and has worked since 2015 as a Writer/Consulting Producer for the Golden Globe-winning television series The Affair. Hwang serves as Head of Playwriting at Columbia University School of the Arts, and as Chair of the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards. Soft Power, a collaboration with composer Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home), premiered in May 2018 at Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theatre (six Ovation Awards, including Best Production) and San Francisco’s Curran Theatre; it opened at The Public Theater in 2019.
Eric Liu is the co-founder and CEO of Citizen University, which works to build a culture of powerful and responsible citizenship in the United States. He also directs the Aspen Institute’s Citizenship & American Identity Program. He is the author of several acclaimed books, including The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker; The Gardens of Democracy (co-authored with Nick Hanauer); You’re More Powerful Than You Think: A Citizen’s Guide to Making Change Happen; and his most recent, Become America: Civic Sermons on Love, Responsibility, and Democracy, a New York Times New & Notable Book. He is featured on the PBS documentary American Creed and is a frequent contributor to TheAtlantic.com. Liu served as a White House speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and later as the President's deputy domestic policy adviser. He was later appointed by President Obama to serve on the board of the Corporation for National and Community Service. He and his family live in Seattle.