Bruce Lee on Broadway is Not Your Asian Sidekick

I just got out of the Signature Theatre on 42nd and 10th in New York City where I got to see a performance of Kung Fu — the new play about the life of Asian America’s original superhero Bruce Lee — by renowned playwright David Henry Hwang. And I have to say, I was blown away.

Full disclosure: I’ve been a fan of star Cole Horibe since his turn on Season Nine of FOX’s hit reality competition show So You Think You Can Dance (btw, Kung Fu reunites Horibe with SYTYCD choreographer Sonya Tayeh). In addition to seeing how the play combined martial arts and dance — which was essentially Horibe’s specialty on SYTYCD — I was also interested to see how he would embody the icon. Spoiler Alert: dude is amazing.

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I Blame My Friend Chris

Me with Hot Wheels circa 1971
Me with Hot Wheels circa 1971

I can pinpoint the place and time from my childhood that has steered my life – the origin of becoming a nerd. Prior to that moment on September 1974, I was your average mild-mannered kid growing up in the early-70’s, wearing wide collared button-up shirts, playing with Hot Wheels on a wicker chair race track. Little did I know my life was going to change forever.

It was the first week of second grade at a new school. Our class consisted of children from a variety of neighborhoods in San Francisco, many bused in, as an experiment to group so-called “gifted” children together, to form this new class (sort of like X-Men but without any mutant powers for us children). Since I knew only one other classmate, a girl, and I was too shy to actually talk in her presence, new friendships needed to be forged and quickly. Recess break came around and I walked out of the classroom to the school yard. Two of my fellow classmates, Chris and Jeff, had taken out a black Hot Wheel car from a pocket and began to play on the ground over in a corner of the yard, secretively trying to put something into the car. Immediately I was drawn to the fact that they were playing with a Hot Wheel so I approached and asked about the car. Chris replied that it was the Green Hornet’s car and they were trying to put a dead bee they had found into the car so they could go and fight crime. I had no idea who the Green Hornet was and why a bee would be in a car to fight crime but I was intrigued at that very moment and had to find out more.

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