She's barely remembered these days, other than by pedestrians who stumble upon her star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, but the late Anna May Wong's legacy will be spotlighted this week at a pair of readings of John Olive's new play, "How the Ghost of You Clings: The Anna May Wong Story."
Wong, who died in 1961 but would have been 113 on Jan. 3, had a career that dates back to the vaudeville and the silent movie era but the Chinese American actor's roles often didn't even have names. In fact, a quick look at the decidely floral characters she played reveals that she was limited by bigotry and stereotypes that did not hold back such contemporaries as Mae West and Greta Garbo: Lotus Blossom, Lotus Flower, Tiger Lily and A Flower of the Orient. In perhaps her best-known film, "Thief of Baghdad," Wong was simply identified as The Mongol Slave.
Sun Mee Chomet will play Wong in the readings, 7 p.m., Jan. 8 and 9 at Playwrights' Center, 2301 E. Franklin Ave. Also featured in the cast, under the direction of Rick Shiomi, are Katie Bradley, Sherwin Resurreccion and Stephanie Bertumen. The readings are free but reservations are recommended at pwcenter.org/ruth-easton-series or 612-332-7481.