"Who is that delightful young man playing seven parts?" I wondered, idly looking at my Slow Boat program in an intimate little space above Hollywood Boulevard. "And where has he been hiding?" Answer: Broadway.
"Flower Drum Song, the world premiere at the Mark Taper Forum, was my first job," says Allen C. Liu. "It was a huge stroke of fortune." The icing came when, after the producers auditioned others for his part in the New York production, he got the call. "I literally could not have sat down and constructed a more perfect show to [bring me] into this profession," Liu remembers. He later joined the touring production, keeping him involved with the show for the better part of three years. "After it closed I was hungry, starving to do something else. And I didn't care if it was big theatre, small theatre; if it paid me, if it didn't pay me. I really wanted just to breathe again."
Realizing that New York is no place to be unemployed, Liu returned to L.A. and soon performed in a Sacred Fools production, Venus in Furs. "[It was] a piece about sadomasochism—very interesting," says Liu. A successful audition for Slow Boat now gives him the chance to adroitly portray the entire staff of a Chinese hotel that caters to a body-switching cult. "These experiences have been mainly artistic," Liu explains. "But I want people in town to know that I'm here. I want people to know that I'm back. And I want people to know the kind of work that I do."
"Slow Boat" continues at the Los Angeles Repertory Theatre, 6560 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m. July 9-Aug. 14. $15. (310) 470-9899.