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Press Release: "Tiger Style!"

South Coast Repertory Takes a Hilarious Look at 'Tiger Parenting' with Tiger Style! by Mike Lew

Insightful Glimpse Into Family, Expectations and Stereotypes Runs May 15-June 5

COSTA MESA, Calif. (April 21, 2022)—South Coast Repertory (David Ivers, Artistic Director and Paula Tomei, Managing Director) presents Mike Lew’s critically acclaimed look at “tiger parenting,” Tiger Style! directed by Ralph B. Peña, May 15-June 5 on the Julianne Argyros Stage.

Written as a witty response to Amy Chua’s 2011 New York Times best-selling memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,Tiger Style! answers the question: What happens when “tiger parenting” goes wrong?” Meet Albert and Jennifer Chen—brother and sister, once brilliant students and musicians, now epic failures leading unfulfilling lives. The problem? Their parents set unrealistic standards. The solution? Escape from Irvine and go on an “Asian Freedom Tour” to Shenzhen, China—a hilarious, eye-opening journey filled with colorful characters, intrigue and surprise.

Lew explores the siblings’ quest for self-worth and inner fulfillment, showing tiger parenting’s effects on children and subsequently, as adults. On their journeys, the Chens battle cultural stereotypes, assumptions about millennials and learn that you can go home again.

Tiger Style! explores some of the cultural connections to being Asian, both here in the U.S. and in China. Its story about community and family resonates across generations and reminds us of the power, humor pathos and intimacy of family in its vast and varied forms,” Ivers said. “And one of the many things that I love about our production of this dynamic play is that we’ve been able to bring together two powerhouse artists with roots in Southern California to tell a story that begins here – in Irvine.”

An award-winning playwright, Lew loosely based some of Tiger Style’s! foundation on his own upbringing in La Jolla. Lew earned a BA in Theatre (directing) and English (writing) from Yale and an artist diploma in playwriting from Juilliard. Along with Tiger Style! Lew’s other plays include Teenage Dick, recently produced by the Pasadena Playhouse, Bike America microcrisis, Moustache Guys and the book to the musical Bhangin’ It. which earned Lew the Richard Rodgers Award. Lew’s other honors include the Kleban, PEN Emerging Playwright, Lanford Wilson, Helen Merrill, Heideman and Kendeda awards.

SCR’s production reunites Lew with Peña, who previous directed Lew’s microcrisis for the Ma-Yi Theater Company in New York.

Founding member and current artistic director of Ma-Yi Theater Company, Peña helped build Ma-Yi into one of the country’s most prominent Asian American theatres. He received an Obie Award and Drama Desk Award for his work on The Romance of Magna Rubio by Lonnie Carter with Loy Arcenas, based on a short story by Carlos Bulosan. Peña is also a produced playwright, the author of Flipzoids, Project: Balangiga, This End Up and Loose Leaf Bindings. Peña, who grew up in Tustin, Lake Forest and Laguna Beach, makes his SCR directorial debut.

Tiger Style! features Jon Norman Schneider (Albert Chen), Amy Kim Waschke</strong (Jennifer Chen), Derek Manson (Russ The Bus/Reggie/Customs Guy), Ryun Yu (Tzi Chuan/Melvin/Dad/General Tso) and Emily Kuroda (Therapist/Mom/Cousin Chen/Matchmaker).

Waschke last appeared at SCR in the 2022 Pacific Playwrights Festival reading of A Million Tiny Pieces. Manson returns to SCR after playing Snoopy in Outside SCR’s production of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown. He also appeared in SCR’s Theatre for Young Audiences and Families productions of Jane of the Jungle and James and the Giant Peach. Yu previously appeared in SCR’s 2015 production of tokyo fish story. Kuroda returns to SCR for the first time since 2013’s Fast Company. She also appeared in the 1996 production of Ballad of Yachiyo and as Mrs. Webb in SCR’s 1998 production of Our Town.

The creative team includes Se Oh, set designer; Hyun Sook Kim, costume designer; Tom Ontiveros, lighting designer; Fabian Obispo, sound designer; Hana Kim, video/projection designer; Joanne DeNaut, CSA, casting; and Sophia Sanchez, production stage manager.

Tiger Style!received generous support from Honorary Producers Geoff and Valerie Fearns and Timothy and Marianne Kay/Argyros Family Foundation. KPCC-89.3 FM is the media partner.

Tickets are now on sale and range in price from $26-$93, with additional discounts available for educators, seniors and theatregoers ages 25 and under. Tickets may be purchased online or by phone at (714) 708-5555. More information is available

Related Information for Our Town

Performance Dates, Times

  • Previews run Sunday, May 15 at 2 p.m. and Tuesday, May. 17-Thursday, May 19 at 7:45 p.m.

  • Regular performances
    Note: Friday,May 20 is an invitation-only performance.
    • Evening Performances:
      • Wednesdays and Thursdays, at 7:45 p.m.: May 25-26, June 1-2
      • Fridays, Saturdays, at 7:45 p.m.: May 21, May 28, June 4
    • Matinees:
      • Saturdays at 2 p.m.: May 21, May 28, June 4
      • Sundays at 2 p.m.: May 22, May 29, June 5
  • ASL-interpreted: Saturday, June 4, at 2 p.m.

Special Events

  • Post-Show Discussions: Tuesday, May 17 (Director/Designer Conversation with Director Ralph B. Peña and members of the design team); Wednesday, May 25 (Actor Conversation with cast members); Wednesday, June 1 (Deep Dive, where audience members share their thoughts about the play in a respectful discussion hosted by SCR’s artistic staff); Thursday, June 2 (Performance Perspective discussing the theme of Tiger Style!); Friday, June 3 (Playwright/Dramaturg Conversation). All discussions take place after the play on the Segerstrom Stage.
  • Inside the Season: Saturday, May 28 from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Led by members of SCR’s literary staff, this lively two-hour session includes in-depth interviews with cast members and artists from the production staff, revealing secrets and offering insights into SCR’s production ofTiger Style!Segerstrom Stage. Tickets are $12 and may be purchased in advance or at the door.

Location: South Coast Repertory is located at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa, at the Bristol Street/Avenue of the Arts exit off the San Diego (405) Freeway in the David Emmes/Martin Benson Theatre Center, part of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Parking is available on Park Center Drive, off Anton Boulevard.

Upcoming Productions: Mozart & Salieri (a collaboration with the Pacific Symphony), May 19-21. Million Dollar Quartet (Outside SCR at Mission San Juan Capistrano) July 30-Aug. 21.

Complete information is available at

ABOUT SOUTH COAST REPERTORY:  Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, founded in 1964, is led by Artistic Director David Ivers and Managing Director Paula Tomei. SCR is widely recognized as one of the leading professional theatres in the United States. While its productions represent a balance of classic and modern plays and musicals, SCR is renowned for its extensive new-play development program—The Lab@SCR—which includes one of the nation’s largest commissioning programs for emerging, mid-career and established writers. Of SCR’s more than 500 productions, one-quarter have been world premieres. SCR-developed works have garnered two Pulitzer Prizes and eight Pulitzer nominations, several Obie Awards and scores of major new-play awards. Located in Costa Mesa, Calif., SCR is home to the 507-seat Segerstrom Stage, the 336-seat Julianne Argyros Stage and the 94-seat Nicholas Studio.

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