Hwang’s Broadway musicals include a new book for Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Flower Drum Song, which earned a Tony nomination, and Disney’s Tarzan, which played on Broadway and has been running for six years in Europe. Hwang also co-wrote the book for the international hit Aida, with music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice. It won four Tony Awards and ran over four years on Broadway. Currently, Hwang is writing The Forgotten Arm with singer/songwriter Aimee Mann and Paul Bryant, based on her album, for the Public Theatre.
Hwang’s screen work is just as notable. He penned the screenplay for M. Butterfly, a Warner Brothers release directed by David Cronenberg; Golden Gate, directed by John Madden; The Lost Empire, a four-hour NBC television miniseries; and co-authored Possession, starring Gwyneth Paltrow. He is currently writing a feature for DreamWorks Animation, as well as the movie adaptation of Chinglish, to be directed by Justin Lin (Fast & Furious). In 2013, his Yellow Face became the first major play to be adapted specifically for YouTube, produced by Justin Lin. Hwang is also developing an original television series, Shanghai, for Lionsgate and the Bravo Network.
A native of Los Angeles, Hwang attended Stanford University and the Yale University School of Drama. From 1994–2001, he served, by appointment of President Bill Clinton, on the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. In 2012, Hwang received the William Inge Award for Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre, the Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award, the PEN/Laura Pels Award for a Master American Dramatist, as well as the Steinberg Award for playwriting, the largest monetary prize in the American theater. Hwang succeeded Athol Fugard as the Residency One Playwright at the New York City’s Signature Theatre, which is currently producing a season of his work, including the world premiere of his newest show Kung Fu, about the iconic martial artist Bruce Lee.
Hwang lives in Brooklyn with his wife, actress Kathryn Layng, and their two children.