New York City
Mekong Joe is an all-ages, dramatic and emotional live theater presentation of the 100% true story of Joseph Tran Thanh Hai Wandell… performed by Joe himself. Joe, 6, and his brother, 9, are put up for adoption by their mother to escape Vietnam during the fall of Saigon because she feared for the safety of her children… each fathered by two different American GI’s. Adopted by an American couple in Baltimore, a conflicted Joe leaves that house at 18 to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. In Hollywood his Amer-Asian appearance causes him to be cast as a Latino “gang banger” in feature films and TV. 30 years after the war, in a miracle that brought NBC Dateline with them, both men are tearfully reunited with their birth mother in Vietnam… at the very airport where they dodged sniper fire as children literally running for their lives. That Joe himself tells his own amazing life story makes for compelling drama relating the human side of the Vietnam War. That Joe Wandell the actor is funny and likeable while presenting that story makes “Mekong Joe” more than living history; it’s an evening of theater that speaks to our shared humanity.