Race in musical theater;Musical theater;Asian American actors;Dancers;Women dancers
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2017.032.003 Oral History Interview with Wonci Lui, June 7, 2003

Wonci Lui was a part of the dance ensemble in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s original production of Flower Drum Song from 1958 to 1960. Lui, born in 1930, is a Chinese American actress and dancer known for her performance in Kismet as an Arabian dancer. In this interview, Wonci Lui talks about her experience as a dancer in the original production of “Flower Drum Song,” the opening night, and her recollection of director Gene Kelly. Lui discusses how she was cast in "Flower Drum Song," Asian stereotypes in the show, and the development of the musical leading up to opening night. This interview is one of a series of 18 interviews that author David Lewis Hammarstrom conducted in 2003 as part of research for his book, Flower Drum Songs: The Story of Two Musicals (2006). Please note that this interview was conducted by phone and the audio quality is extremely poor throughout.