Theatre Review: Flower Drum Song

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Imagine leggy chorus girls, wiggling and strutting on a nightclub stage, wearing boxy costumes that make them look like dancing cartons of Chinese takeout food. Mix in sassy music, and you’ve got “Flower Drum Song.”

(Chop Suey…)

Ancient tradition takes a back seat in this boisterous production by Community Asian Theater of the Sierra.  This is a fun-loving American musical with whacky costumes and over the top dance numbers. The setting is Chinatown, but the cast is proudly multicultural – the actors are White, Filipino, Japanese and Chinese, and it works. There’s also a snappy pit band, outfitted with gongs and a Chinese erhu, that sustains a frantic pace.


This is the revised, 2002 version of the show, with an updated story that reflects modern immigration from the Chinese mainland. But the songs remain vintage Rodgers and Hammerstein, which is to say they’re solid. This being a community theater production, with some amateurs performers involved, the singing isn’t always pitch perfect. But the show has so much energy, and looks so good, that you won’t mind.

Flower Drum Song plays through February 14th at the Nevada Theatre in Nevada City.