The Orphan of Zhao

In 2015, Ma-Yi Theater Company partnered with Fordham University Theater to present The Orphan of Zhao, a new English adaptation of Ji Junxiang’s 13th century play about loyalty and revenge. The Orphan of Zhao is the first Chinese play translated for the West.

General Tu’an Gu has his eyes on Duke Ling’s throne. To get there, he must eliminate his arch-rival Zhao Dun and all 300 members of his family. After the massacre, Tu’an Gu discovers that Zhao Dun’s  daughter-in-law has recently given birth, but the child has been smuggled out of his reach.  Tu’an Gu threatens to kill every child in the state of Jin unless the Orphan of Zhao is turned over to him. To prevent this, Cheng Ying, a lowly country doctor swaps his own child for the Orphan and convinces Tu’an Gu that it is the child he seeks . Tu’an Gu kills the child, and, to reward the good doctor, he offers to adopt Cheng Ying’s boy as his own and raise him to become a great warrior. Unbeknownst to Tu’an Gu, he has adopted The Orphan of Zhao.

Come and see this all-student cast take on this epic tale, given a new spin by Ma-Yi Theater’s Artistic Director, Ralph B. Peña.


Pope Auditorium Fordham University at Lincoln Center 113 West 60th St. New York NY 10023

About the Director

Ralph B. Peña | Director

Recent Off-Broadway: The Chinese Lady, Among The Dead, House/Rules, and Wong Kids in The Secret of the Space Chupacabra, Go! Ralph has been Ma-Yi Theater’s Artistic Director since 1996, and has been instrumental in establishing Ma-Yi Theater Company as the country’s leading incubator of new works by Asian American playwrights, reaping numerous Obie and Drama Desk Awards, a Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical (KPOP), and most recently, the 2018 Ross Wetzsteon Obie Award. Apart from Ma-Yi Theater, his work has been seen on the stages of Ensemble Studio Theater, the Public Theater, Long Wharf Theater, Victory Gardens, Laguna Playhouse, Children’s Theater Company, and La Mama ETC, to name a few. This is for Damien, always and forever.

Design Team

  • Junghyun Georgia Lee | Scenic Design
  • Becky Bodurtha | Costume Design
  • Bonnie McHeffey | Assistant Costume Design
  • Yi Zhao | Lighting Design
  • Asa Lipton | Assistant Lighting Design
  • Fabian Obispo | Sound Design
  • Mikaela Peyton Berry | Assistant Sound Design
  • David Valentine | Puppet Design
  • Tim Zay | Fight Choreography
  • Lydia Lai | Dramaturgy
  • Kristina Lew | Production Stage Manager
  • Hannah Brooks | Stage Manager
  • Mary Sanders | Assistant Stage Manager

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