Information about Asian American Drama
1. About the database - a description of the contents of the database and its purpose.
2. Editorial Criteria - detailed criteria used in selecting materials.
3. Errata - Known errors in this database.
4. Software requirements - notes on which browsers are supported.
5. Technical support - whom to contact for technical support.
6. Subscription and Free Trial Information - how to get a subscription or a trial.
7. License Agreement - licensing terms and conditions.
8. Acknowledgements - charter customers and individuals who contributed.
9. How to Contribute Materials or Comments - how to contribute materials.
10. Copyright and Performance Permission Statement - copyright terms and conditions.
11. Archiving - how this material is preserved for the future.
12. Cataloging Records - what kind of MARC records will be available for this collection.

1.   About Asian American Drama

Asian American Drama brings together more than 250 plays, along with related biographical, production, and theatrical information, so providing a comprehensive overview of this growing field.  The collection begins with the works of Sadakichi Hartmann in the late nineteenth century and it is planned to include contemporary playwrights, such as Philip Kan Gotanda, Elizabeth Wong, and Jeannie Barroga.

In the late nineteenth century, when Asian American drama made its debut, the spotlight was firmly on the lives and struggles of Asians in North America, rather than on the cultures and traditions of the Asian homeland. Today, Asian American playwrights continue to challenge established theatrical conventions by calling attention to issues and experiences that might otherwise be ignored or marginalized.

Just as the lodge, the saloon, or the church did, the theatre provided a place where immigrants who often lived in cramped and dismal tenements could meet one another and enjoy being together.
                                                                                                      – Maxine Seller, Roles of Ethnic Theater

The plays have relevance well beyond the study of literature, drama, and Asian American studies. They present views of important historical events, such as the construction of the railroads in the nineteenth century, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and the Vietnam conflict. The plays also address sociological issues, such as assimilation, integration, and cultural identity in a Western context. The effect of Western religion is also examined. For example, David Henry Hwang’s Family Devotions deals with evangelism and religious identity as experienced by Chinese Americans. By reenacting experiences familiar to audiences, these plays provide opportunities for viewers to examine their own reactions to racism and other experiences of their ethnicity.


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2.   Editorial criteria

The initial list of playwrights was compiled using Asian American Playwrights: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook, edited by Miles Xian Liu (Greenwood Press, 2002).  The list of writers then was expanded through conversations with numerous scholars and with the playwrights themselves.

We have also worked closely with our editorial board which consists of:

  • Josephine D. Lee, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
  • Esther S. Kim, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • James S. Moy, University of New Mexico
  • Karen Shimakawa, University of California, Davis

The collection is comprehensive. Significant plays have been targeted for inclusion, such as M. Butterfly (Hwang), Chickencoop Chinaman (Chin), Talk-Story (Barroga), Morning Has Broken (Houston), Yankee Dawg You Die (Gotanda), Bitter Cane (Lim), Letters to a Student Revolutionary (Wong), And the Soul Shall Dance (Yamauchi), and A Language of Their Own (Yew). In addition to well-known works, the collection includes items by emerging and less familiar playwrights, including Prince Gomolvilas, Uma Parameswaran, and Bina Sharif. We are aiming to secure each author’s complete works, including the published and the unpublished plays.

Asian American Drama represents the various ethnicities within the Asian American community. Along with many works by writers of Japanese, Filipino, Vietnamese, and Chinese descent, the collection includes plays by writers of Hawaiian, Indian, Thai, Korean, Persian, and Malaysian ancestry.

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3.   Errata

There are no known errors at this time in Asian American Drama.

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4.   Software requirements

Asian American Drama is optimized to operate with Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 or higher, and Firefox 3.0. (We are aware that the "select terms" feature of our Find and Search is not performing well in Firefox 3.5.2. Upgrading to the latest version of Firefox will resolve this issue.)

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5.   Technical support

You can contact us by:

When reporting a problem please include your customer name, e-mail address, phone number, domain name or IP address and that of your web proxy server if used.

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6.   Subscription and free trial information

is available for one-time purchase of perpetual access, or as an annual subscription. Please contact us at if you wish to begin a subscription or to request a free 30-day trial

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7.   License Agreement

Terms of Use

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8.   Acknowledgements

Asian American Drama  was made possible through the hard work of the following individuals:

Bruce Allardice, Managing Director, Ping Chong & Company
Benny Sato Ambush, Producing Artistic Director, TheatreVirginia
Thomas P. Denton, University of Texas at Austin
Melissa Hardy, Bret Adams, Ltd.
Miles X. Liu, PhD, Holyoke Community College
Neeti Madan, Sterling Lord Literistic
Matt Muranaka, Hamilton Library, University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Louis J. Parascandola, Long Island University
David Ranghelli, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University
Laura Rawson, Theatre Mu, Minneapolis, MN
Carol-Anne G. Ritter,  University of Delaware
Cathy Schlund-Vials, University of Massachusets
Roger W. Tang,  Asian American Theatre Revue
Amherst Roberta Uno, PhD, Ford Foundation
Sarah Walsh, Stirling Lord Literistic
Caleb Wertenbaker, Market Theater, Cambridge, MA
Jeremy Caleb Johnson Editor: Selection, rights negotiation, commissioning, indexing
Will Whalen Rights mnegotiation, commissioning
Pat Lawry Production Editor, Alexander Street Press
Graham Dimmock Software Development, Alexander Street Press
John Cicero Software Development, Alexander Street Press
Ning Zhu Software Development, Alexander Street Press
Michael Kangel Sourcing, Images, Alexander Street Press
Dave Althen Sourcing, Alexander Street Press
Cynthia Owens Proofing, Mark-up, Images, Alexander Street Press
Janice Cronin Finance, Alexander Street Press
Eileen awrence Research, Alexander Street Press
...and, most of all, the authors and their families Editorial advice, historical information, script identification, contact information, and everything else.

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9.   How to contribute materials or comments

Our goal is to create a unique archive of Asian American Drama according to the editorial criteria expressed above. We welcome contributions from organizations and individuals, especially if you have materials that are unpublished or of unique interest. Submitting materials to our editors is easy and without obligation on your part. If you have collections of substantial value, we may be able to pay you a royalty in return for the rights to use them.

  • To submit materials for inclusion in Asian American Drama, please email the Editor at or mail them to Alexander Street Press, 3212 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
  • If you are a commercial publisher who would like to discuss licensing materials for inclusion in the database, please contact the Editor at or 1-800-889-5937 or 1-703-212-8522.
  • To report factual errors or to suggest improvements, please email us at Please include the author, the document, and the page number. Please also include your email address, so that we can let you know the status of your correction.

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10.   Copyright and Performance Rights

Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that plays and materials in this database are fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America, and all other countries covered by the International Copyright Union (including the British Commonwealth and Canada), and of all countries covered by the Pan-American Copyright Convention, and the Universal Copyright Convention, and of all countries with which the United States has reciprocal copyright relations.  All rights, including but not limited to professional, amateur, motion pictures, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, video or sound taping, all other forms of mechanical or electronic reproduction, including information storage and retrieval systems and photocopying, and the rights of translation into foreign languages, are strictly reserved.

Plays from this collection may not be performed without securing permission from the appropriate copyright holders, as listed in the bibliographic display for each play..  Particular emphasis is laid upon the question of readings, permission for which must be secured in writing.  All production rights reserved.  Under no circumstances may any electronic form (CD-ROM, online, or other local storage medium) be used to create production copies of the play. 

Specific performance rights information for each play can be found in the bibliographic detail display for that play.  Alexander Street Press makes no guarantee that this information is correct.  For plays where no performance rights information is listed Alexander Street Press does not warrant that no performance rights exist. 

We are eager to hear from any rights owners who are not properly identified so that appropriate information may be provided in the future. Please e-mail the editor at the address below.

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11.   Archiving

Texts produced for Asian American Drama are considered research materials and receive the same level of stewardship as books, paper documents, and photographs. Once complete, copies of the database will be given to all purchasing institutions, so ensuring that the materials are available to subsequent generations.

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12.   Cataloging records

MARC records are available for this collection.

Each play has its own MARC record to allow linking from the OPAC to the individual item.
This will enable patrons to link directly from a publish access catalog to all documents pertaining to that author.
To retrieve these records, please see our site at and select the records for Asian American Drama.


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