In the realm of musical theater, where collaborative efforts often take center stage, “The Dragon King’s Daughter” emerges as a beacon of uniqueness and creativity, courtesy of the multi-talented Marcus Yi. Serving as the mastermind behind the story, lyrics, and music, Yi not only embraces this formidable triple role but excels in crafting a narrative that resonates with the hearts of both young and old. The result is a theatrical masterpiece that not only captivates but also leaves the audience clapping and dancing in delight.
From the first note to the final bow, Director Chongren Fan orchestrates a seamless spectacle, ensuring that the pacing never falters for a second. The choreography by the brilliant Billy Bustamante elevates the show, infusing it with energy and grace that propels the narrative forward with captivating fluidity.
The narrative unfolds as twelve-year-old Kenny Li, portrayed by the wonderful Jonny Lee Jr., stumbles upon a magical iPad that transports him to the enchanting Jade Kingdom. There, he joins forces with Xing, a shapeshifting dragon princess brilliantly portrayed by Michelle Cabinian. Together, they must navigate a world filled with drought demons, angry pandas, and fox spirits to save not only Kenny’s world but the entire realm from impending doom.
At the heart of “The Dragon King’s Daughter” is a tale that tugs at the heartstrings of every viewer. The titular character, portrayed with sheer brilliance by Michelle Cabinian, embarks on a fantastical journey where the magic of dance intertwines with themes of resilience and friendship. Cabinian shines, embodying Xing with a magnetic charisma that draws the audience into his world.
Jonny Lee Jr. dazzles as the energetic and awe-inspiring Kenny, portraying the character with a perfect blend of innocence and determination. Eymard Cabling commands the stage as the regal and humorous Dragon King, while Sally Imbriano, Quynh-My Luu, and Leo Yu-Ning Chang deliver a tour de force performance, seamlessly shifting between multiple characters with brilliance and precision.
Yi’s music proves to be the heartbeat of the production, with catchy tunes that linger long after the final curtain call. The story, an exquisite blend of fantasy and reality, tackles themes of bullying, resilience, and the transformative power of friendship with a sincerity that is both heartwarming and thought-provoking.
A special nod goes to the costume designer, Yuanyuan Liang, whose mesmerizing creations bring an extra layer of vibrancy and authenticity to the production. The visual feast of colors and textures adds a magical dimension to the storytelling, immersing the audience in the fantastical world of the Jade Kingdom.
“The Dragon King’s Daughter” is not just a musical; it’s a celebration of imagination, resilience, and the universal language of dance. Marcus Yi, along with the outstanding cast and crew, has created a theatrical gem that transcends age barriers and invites everyone on a magical journey of joy and inspiration. This is a show that will undoubtedly leave audiences clapping, dancing, and believing in the magic that resides within us all.
“The Dragon King’s Daughter Musical” runs through December 17, 2023 at the Kennedy Center’s Family Theater, 2700 F Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20566. Performances are Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30 and 5 pm. Tickets are $20-$25 and available in-person at the Box Office, by calling 202-467-4600, and online.