Long Story Short features the struggle of one Asian American family’s multi-generational attempt to break into mainstream show business. Narrated by long-time character actor Jodi Long (the mother on the ill-fated Margaret Cho sitcom All American Girl), Long Story Short delves into the past successes and failures of Jodi’s parents in order to understand her own experiences in the entertainment business.
Throughout the 1940s and ’50s Jodi’s parents, Larry and Trudie Long, performed the Chinatown and nightclub circuit as “The Leungs” (which sounded “more Chinese”), a variety act that at times both evoked and broke stereotypes of Asians. After the Longs appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, Larry was considered for a lead in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Flower Drum Song, the first all-Asian American musical on Broadway, but ultimately, Larry did not perform on Broadway, contributing to his disenchantment with show business and the eventual dissolution of the Long family.
Jodi Long takes up the family business and traces her own career trajectory. When David Henry Hwang’s updated revival of Flower Drum Song is being cast, Jodi has the opportunity to fulfill her father’s Broadway aspirations more than 40 years later. In the process Jodi sees a chance to reconcile her parents’ disappointment and resentment towards each other and the business. Through personal anecdotes, performances, archival photos, and a rediscovered Ed Sullivan Show tape, Long Story Short presents the challenges of an American showbiz family that resonate with our own multi-generational experiences of setbacks and big breaks.
–Aram Siu Wai Collier