Casting is complete for Arena Stage's world premiere of Kenneth Lin's Exclusion, which will play the Washington, D.C. venue May 5-June 25. Opening night is May 18.
Drama Desk nominee Trip Cullman (The Rose Tattoo, Choir Boy, Lobby Hero) will direct the Hollywood-set comedy from TV and theatre writer Lin (Kleptocracy, Warrior Class, Netflix’s House of Cards).
Exclusion follows an award-winning historian whose book about the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 is optioned for a mini-series. Her euphoria turns to disillusionment, however, as she finds herself defending its authenticity in the struggle between what’s true and what sells.
The cast will feature Tony Nam (Arena Stage's Akeelah and the Bee), Karoline (Lincoln Center Theater's The Hard Problem), Josh Stamberg (Fleishman Is in Trouble), Michelle Vergara Moore (La Brea), Karen Li (Contemporary American Theater Festival’s Babel), Jonathan Feuer (Shakespeare Theatre’s As You Like It), and Ryan Dalusung (Everyman Theatre’s The Lion in Winter).
“Audiences should come to see Exclusion because it’s funny,” says Lin in a statement. “The great thinker Henri Bergsom wrote in his work Laughter that we laugh at ‘something mechanical encrusted on the living.’ In that vein, Exclusion is my primal scream as an Asian American deep in Hollywood’s trenches, thrown into the mouth of a ventriloquist’s dummy. It is also a fulfillment of my duty as an artist to respond to the moment, and in this particular American moment, we really, really need funny.”
Exclusion is the 10th addition to Arena’s Power Play series, a 10-year initiative commissioning original works on politics and power, reflecting American diversity and challenges through five cycles and voices—presidential, African American, insider, musical theatre, and women’s voices.
The upcoming production will also have set design by Arnulfo Maldonado, costume design by Sarah Cubbage, lighting design by Adam Honoré, sound design by Sunny Kil, original music by composer Hsin-Lei Chen, wig design by Anne Nesmith, fight direction by Sordelet Inc., dramaturgy by Jocelyn Clarke and Zoë Elizabeth Lillis, casting by Joseph Pinzon, and New York casting by Kelly Gillespie.
The stage manager is Christi B. Spann, and the assistant stage manager is Emily Ann Mellon.