Christine Heesun Hwang is an actress, playwright, and lyricist based between NYC and Seattle. Entering the entertainment industry in high school purely by chance, Hwang is currently working on Les Misérables and a new play (confirm me) in development with Leviathan Lab, and was commissioned by YES Theatre to pen the book and lyrics to the new musical, renewal. Between writing and performing, she found that discovering and prioritizing a work/life balance preserved her identity, allowing her to dedicate her best self to all she does. Hwang advises young artists to focus on their “why” and feed their love for their passion. Read on to learn more about Christine Heesun Hwang and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Name: Christine Heesun Hwang
Heritage: Korean American, parents immigrated!
Hometown: Waukee, Iowa.
Current City: NYC and Seattle
Current project: Les Misérables
What are some of your favorite credits/projects:
renewal, a musical I am writing the book and lyrics for alongside Adam Rothenberg commissioned by YES Theatre. confirm me, a new play in development with Leviathan Lab.
Any advice for young people getting into the arts?
Focus on your "why" – why do you want to do the arts? Constantly nourishing the love you have for any passion you pursue is so, so vital in the long run!
How did you get your start?
Listened to musical theatre when I was younger, but I got into it in high school by chance.
Do you have any favorite moments in your career that you'd like to share?
It's still too early to say! Getting "the call" for Miss Saigon my junior year of college was a big one, though.
What have you found is the biggest challenge in your career?
Recently I've decided I want to commit myself to both my writing and acting as equally as I can – though I realize there are only so many hours in a day! It takes a lot of organization and mental energy to find a way to do both well (or to keep doing both, regardless). On top of that, remembering that I am not my career. Yes, my career is a large part of my life – and incorporates my passion for theatre – but that does not mean it is the sole contributor to my identity. Turning off the work brain and focusing on the people I love and my own personal needs is both a challenge and huge priority in my life. Something I asked myself after getting the Les Mis news was whether or not I would be proud of myself had I not booked the role. That grounded me back into what's most important to me.
Did you have any interesting “odd jobs” you worked at between gigs to pay the bills?
I worked on the set of Gossip Girl as a "core background" member. It was my first time being on set, which was great, but it felt like we were human shields against COVID (as horrible as that sounds) for the principal actors. I also worked at Barry's, folding towels and cleaning bathrooms, this past year. And many, many other jobs.
Is where you are now where you thought you’d be?
If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
What do you love most about what you do?
My involvement in theatre really stems from my great love of music and writing. Said brilliantly by Jon Batiste, "Music is a spiritual practice for me". Music and theatre both have allowed me to learn openly, fail freely, and always choose to move forward in life. Being able to support my life through this practice is one of the greatest privileges I'll ever get to experience. Not a day passes by without me recognizing that!
To find out more about Christine Heesun Hwang, please visit her at:
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