‘Soft Power’ is an innovative original new musical at the Ahmanson Theatre in DTLA that weaves politics, US/China relations and a Broadway musical all into one show.
soft pow·er (noun)
a persuasive approach to international relations, typically involving the use of cultural influence.
I recently saw Soft Power at the Ahmanson Theatre in DTLA and found it to be one of the most unique pieces of theater that I have seen in a long time. Soft Power is the first collaboration between two of America’s great theatre artists: Tony Award® winners David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly, Flower Drum Song) and Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home – one of my personal favs!) Since I am a fan of both of these much praised Broadway musicals, I was really excited to see what type of inspired creation would emerge with this unlikely pairing of talented creatives.
The plot of Soft Power centers around our recent political history (specifically US and China relations) and portrays it through a Chinese lens in a novel East-meets-West style musical. The unexpected story line focuses on a Chinese executive, who while visiting America finds himself falling in love with US political leader Hillary Clinton. The story takes place right after the 2016 US election, where as we know Clinton loses, and the power balance between the US and China dramatically changes.
Soft Power is an original piece of work that merges politics, international relations, cultural tension, romance and comedy and tells the story via a Broadway musical. As I am writing this, I’ll admit that this theatrical combination sounds odd and at times it is, but this show is also colorful, filled with memorable musical numbers, incredibly clever, innovative and most importantly thought-provoking. And although this show is certainly not the best musical that I have ever seen, it continues to have me thinking about US/China relations weeks later! And that lingering, questioning, thought-provoking impact is exactly what I think these brilliant creators were aiming for.
Soft Power is playing at the Ahmanson Theatre in DTLA now through June 10, 2018. You can get your tickets HERE