Hit Show MR. YUNIOSHI returns to Sierra Madre Playhouse

J. Elijah Cho is back with his hit show, "Mr. Yunioshi" at Sierra Madre Playhouse for four performances only

PHOTO: Rob Slaven | South Pasadenan News | J. Elijah Cho stars in "Mr. Yunioshi" at Sierra Madre Playhouse.
PHOTO: Rob Slaven | South Pasadenan News | J. Elijah Cho stars in "Mr. Yunioshi" at Sierra Madre Playhouse.

The breakout hit of the Sierra Madre Playhouse winter season, Mr. Yunioshi, returns for a limited engagement of six performances, August  4 – 13, 2023. Check out our interview with writter and performer of this one man show, J. Elijah Cho, here.

The title Mr. Yunioshi refers to the name of the character portrayed by Mickey Rooney in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, directed by Blake Edwards (Rooney’s former roommate). Rooney portrays Audrey Hepburn’s neighbor. It is a cringe-inducing characterization, in which Rooney dons yellowface and wears appliances to “play Asian.”

Mr. Yunioshi reverses the real-life event by casting Asian American actor J. Elijah Cho to play Mickey Rooney.

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Rooney is depicted here as something of a narcissist, at first believing he is being cast as the romantic lead opposite Ms. Hepburn. When it becomes apparent that he is being tapped to play the role of Mr. Yunioshi, Rooney has to deal with the question: Should he play the Asian character? We know from the cinematic record what he ultimately did, but Cho’s play shows how he arrived there.

Mickey Rooney acted in his first film in 1926 and his last in 2014. With over 100 film roles, his acting career is the longest in cinematic history. He received Oscars ® in 1939 and 1983. Unlike his frequent comedic movie personae, in real life he was a romantic leading man: The first of his eight wives was screen star Ava Gardner, and he had affairs with Norma Shearer, Betty Grable, Elizabeth Taylor, Lana Turner and others.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s won Oscars for composers Henry Mancini, Johnny Mercer and their song Moon River.

PHOTO: Rob Slaven | South Pasadenan News | J. Elijah Cho sings his song "Sexy Asian Men" as a part of his solo show "Mr. Yunioshi".
PHOTO: Rob Slaven | South Pasadenan News | J. Elijah Cho sings his song “Sexy Asian Men” as a part of his solo show “Mr. Yunioshi”.

J. Elijah Cho is the writer, director and star of Mr. Yunioshi. National audiences recognize him for the character of Wonderboy, which he played for two seasons on AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire. A graduate of the University of South Florida, he performed with Tampa area theatre companies Tampa Rep, Jobsite, Hat Trick and Stageworks.

Mr. Yunioshi debuted at New York Fringe Festival in 2016. It won the award for Best Solo Show at the Hollywood Fringe in 2019. It has been performed in cities across the United States and in Sydney, Australia.

Each performance will be followed by a question and answer session.

Original choreography: Jasmine Ejan. Associate producer: Genah Redding.

Mr. Yunioshi is written, directed and performed by J. Elijah Cho. Produced by Ari Stidham and David Stidham. Presented by Sierra Madre Playhouse, located at 87 W. Sierra Madre Boulevard, Sierra Madre, CA 91024. There is free parking available in lots behind the Playhouse and across the street, as well as street parking. There are several dining establishments just steps from the Playhouse. Mr. Yunioshi will run August 4 – 13, 2023,  Fri. & Sat. at 8pm, Sun. at 2pm. $45. Seniors (65+) $40. Youth (21 and under) $25.

Teen tickets (age 13-19) are available at $5 through the TeenTix Pass program. Visit Sierra Madre Playhouse website to learn more. Call the box office at (626) 355-4318.

For full information about upcoming events at Sierra Madre Playhouse, visit http://sierramadreplayhouse.org

Covid-19 safety protocols are being observed. Masks are recommended inside the auditorium.