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Young Jean Lee on Bringing 'Straight White Men' to L.A.


Playwright/director Young Jean Lee in rehearsal for "Straight White Men" at the Kirk Douglas Theatre.

Photo by Craig Schwartz.

Straight White Men playwright and director Young Jean Lee talks with Center Theatre Group Associate Artistic Director Diane Rodriguez and UCLA Center for the Art of Performance Executive and Artistic Director Kristy Edmunds about how their theatres came to co-present her show at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. “You guys were sort of lying in wait [to get me to L.A.]," said Lee. Lee also discusses her artistic process. She explains how the play has evolved since its world premiere production in Ohio in 2014, in which it felt like a “Tyler Perry comedy for white people,” into a more challenging, even uncomfortable experience for audiences. And while her previous shows have been much more experimental in form, she discovered that traditional naturalistic storytelling wasn’t as great a departure as it might have seemed.  

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