Theater: “King of Yees” Is a Joyride Through San Francisco Chinatown’s Disappearing Past

Published on May 26, 2022

“King of the Yees,” a semi-autobiographical play that offers a rollercoaster journey through Chinatown in San Francisco, and Chinese culture in America, continues at Sierra Madre Playhouse on Friday, May 27, starting at 8 p.m.

The play opened Saturday and runs through June 12.

The play focuses on Lauren Yee, a dramatized version of the playwright, screenwriter, and TV writer, who’s trying to get her new play rehearsed and up and running. Her father, Larry, appears and disrupts rehearsals, unaware that he is the main focus of the play. For nearly 20 years, Larry Yee has been a driving force in the Yee Fung Toy Family Association, a male-only club dedicated to preserving the Yee line and cultural history. Until he goes missing. Amid a backdrop of crumbling Chinatowns and all-too-lifelike museums, Lauren Yee races through history, space, and the fourth wall to find her father in this joyride through San Francisco’s disappearing past.

Lauren Yee, born and raised in San Francisco, currently lives in New York City. Like “King of the Yees,” her other play, “The Great Leap,” draws directly from her Chinese American history. Her great-grandparents migrated to America from China when the Chinese Exclusion Act was in effect. They had to migrate through Mexico across the southern border to America and up to San Francisco.

Tim Dang, Artistic Director Emeritus of East West Players, returns to Sierra Madre Playhouse to direct “King of the Yees.” His other credits include “Nothing is the Same” (2018) and “The Joy Luck Club” (2019).

Tickets for “King of the Yees” are $25 to $45.

To purchase tickets, visit You can also check the full schedule on the site.

Proof of vaccinations against COVID-19 and the wearing of face masks are required at this event. All county COVID-19 protocols in effect at the time of opening will be followed.

The show is two hours long, with one 15-minute intermission.

For more information, call (626) 355-4318.

Sierra Madre Playhouse is at 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd. in Sierra Madre.

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