Shanghai Moon

by  Charles Busch

Full Length Play, Comedy  /  3m, 3f, 9m or f

Shanghai, 1931. Lady Sylvia Allington is the beautiful, young American-born wife of an aged British diplomat. She and her husband travel to Shanghai to persuade a notorious Chinese warlord, General Gong Fei, to donate a priceless antique jade bust to the British Museum.

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Shanghai Moon

by  Charles Busch

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    3m, 3f, 9m or f
  • Duration

    Duration

    90 minutes
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Adventure, Period, Parody / Spoof
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    Not Applicable
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

Shanghai, 1931. Lady Sylvia Allington is the beautiful, young American-born wife of an aged British diplomat. She and her husband travel to Shanghai to persuade a notorious Chinese warlord, General Gong Fei, to donate a priceless antique jade bust to the British Museum. Lady Sylvia, a former carnival cooch dancer from Chicago, falls headlong into a fatal love affair with the mysterious Gong Fei, getting hooked on opium and antagonizing the general’s chief adviser, the elderly Doctor Wu, and his enigmatic mistress, Mah Li. A scandal involving a local bordello madame, Mrs. Carroll, and a cockney drug runner named Pug Talbot leads to tragedy. Gong Fei blames Sylvia for his troubles, and in a mad fit, brands her on the buttocks. She shoots him and finds herself on trial for his murder. She is acquitted but still imprisoned in her loveless marriage, so she knowingly sniffs a poisoned chrysanthemum and dies. Shanghai Moon is an homage to movie and stage melodramas.
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Reviews

REVIEWS

"Happy, cockeyed new melodrama [...] [that] distills the essence of every bona fide broad who roamed the silver screen [...] Evokes the racy, gritty sensibility of Hollywood movies [...] before censorship clamped down on the studios [...] Packs more twists in ninety minutes than a year's worth of All My Children." - The New York Times

"An engaging, often hilarious spoof [...] Highly entertaining." - New York Daily News

Videos

  • Shanghai Moon
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Keywords

Asian issues

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Cautions

  • Caution Drugs Drugs
  • Artboard 3 Gun Shots
  • Caution Strong Language Strong Language
  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: 1930s
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Setting: Shanghai, 1931
  • Additional Features: No intermission, Physical Comedy
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Music

  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)

Casting

3m, 3f, 9m or f
DR. WU
MAH LI
GENERAL GONG FEI
LORD ALLINGTON
LADY SYLVIA ALLINGTON
MRS. PAULA CARROLL
PUG TALBOT
SIR LIONEL
SIR GEOFFREY
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Cast Attributes

  • Cross gender casting
  • Drag performance
  • Multicultural casting
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)

Casting Notes

The role of Lady Sylvia was created by the author Charles Busch. It is not necessary for this role to be played by a man in drag. Three roles were double-cast.

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Authors

Charles Busch

Charles Busch is the author and star of such plays as The Divine Sister, The Lady in Question, Red Scare on Sunset and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, which ran five years and is one of the longest running plays in Off-Broadway history. His play The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife ran for 777 performances on Broadway and won M ...

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Shanghai Moon opened on January 20, 1999 at Theater For The New City in New York City.

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