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Young Jean Lee's 'Straight White Men' Opens Off-Broadway Tonight

By Jon Sobel j.sobel@classicalite.com on Nov 17, 2014 05:32 PM EST

Obie Award-winning Korean-American playwright Young Jean Lee's new play Straight White Men opens Off-Broadway at the Public Theater tonight featuring Tony Award nominee Austin Pendleton.

Known for her plays tackling racial and cultural divisions from multiple points of view, Lee, who also directs, previously staged her own Church and her musical We're Gonna Die at the Public.

Lee's The Shipment delved into cultural images of black America. Untitled Feminist Show brought together theater, dance, cabaret and burlesque artists to explore feminine identity, mostly through movement. Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven took on Asian ethnic stereotypes.

Now with Straight White Men, Lee, whom The New York Times has called "the most adventurous downtown playwright of her generation," presents a father and three grown sons confronting "a problem that even being a happy family can't solve: when identity matters, and privilege is problematic, what is the value of being a straight white man?" How, Lee wondered, do straight white men deal with their privileged status if they don't want to take advantage of it?

Straight White Men is a co-production with the playwright's own Young Jean Lee's Theater Company. It runs through December 7 at the Public Theater. Joining Pendleton in the cast are Pete Simpson, James Stanley, and Gary Wilmes (Chinglish, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty).

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TagsYoung Jean Lee, Straight White Men, Off-Broadway, race, Public Theater