“An exhilarating, deeply satisfying piece of work, powered by gutsy performances and full of bright, inquisitive, humorous life.”
— Sara Holdren, New York Magazine
“BD Wong’s Wen Chang conveys a radiant invisibility throughout this four-character comic drama! Take this chance to see how artfully he still commands a stage.”
— Ben Brantley, The New York Times
“Such a fluent piece of playwriting! In Yee’s own graceful leap, one of history’s faceless is given a face, and a justly realized story.”
— Tim Teeman, Daily Beast
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New York Premiere Play
THE GREAT LEAP
Written by LAUREN YEE
Directed by TAIBI MAGAR
Atlantic Stage 2, 330 West 16th Street
Run time: Approximately 100 minutes with a brief intermission.
Please be advised, this production contains strobe-like effects.
San Francisco, spring 1989. Manford Lum, locally renowned on the sidewalk basketball courts of Chinatown, talks his way onto a college team, just before they travel to Beijing for a “friendship” game. When they arrive, China is in the throes of the post-Cultural Revolution era, and Manford must juggle international politics and his own personal history. Inspired by events from her father’s life and (short-lived) basketball career, playwright Lauren Yee (The Hatmaker’s Wife) makes her Atlantic debut with this tender and fearless new play.
“Yee’s honesty, her ability to poke fun at herself and those for whom she cares, her frankness, the freshness of her voice about a world that so often does not get a place at the theatrical table…It’s indicative of how important a voice Yee will surely be.”
– Chicago Tribune
Video: Crystal Arnette/Adventure We Can
Photos by Ahron R. Foster | Pictured: Ali Ahn, Ned Eisenberg, Tony Aidan Vo and BD Wong
“The Great Leap has Wong and Eisenberg playing at the peak of their game. Wong is a superstar for a reason. Even as he stands stock-still, he shows us poetry in motion.”
— Helen Shaw, Time Out New York
“A voice that now demands our future attention”
— Brian Scott Lipton
“By turns funny and intense, The Great Leap is an intimate story played out on a world stage. Wonderfully written, well structured and very moving!”
— Sarah Downs, New York Theatre Guide
“A story about chasing impossible dreams in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, The Great Leap is as unexpected as it is tantalizing.”
— David Hurst, Talkin’ Broadway
Production photos by Ahron R. Foster.
ALI AHN (Connie). Broadway: The Heidi Chronicles. Off-Broadway: Sugar House (Ma-Yi), Twelfth Night (The Pearl), The Importance of Being Earnest (The Pearl), and House of Bernarda Alba (NAATCO). Regional: Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare on the Sound) and Strike-Slip (Actors Theater of Louisville: Humana Festival). International: Singapore Arts Festival, Naples Theater Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Television: “The Path,” “Orange is the New Black,” “The Breaks,” “Billions,” “Supernatural,” “Odd Mom Out,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Blue Bloods,” “Benders,” “Black Box,” “White Collar,” “Zero Hour,” “Louie,” “Law & Order: SVU,” and “Ugly Betty.” Film: Landline, Girl in the Book, Liberal Arts, and The Dark Side. Training: Yale, CalArts.
NED EISENBERG (Saul). Broadway: Six Degrees of Separation, Rocky, Golden Boy, Awake and Sing, The Green Bird. National Tour: Lost in Yonkers. Off-Broadway: Othello (Iago, Lortel nominee), Oliver Twist (Fagin), King John (title role) at Theater for a New Audience, Rocket to the Moon (Ben Stark) at Theater at St. Clements, and Finks at Ensemble Studio Theater. Regional: Merchant Of Venice (Shylock) at Compagna di Colombari, Camp David (Menachem Begin) at Old Globe, and Guys and Dolls (Nathan Detroit) at Long Wharf. Film: Asher, Experimenter, Won’t Back Down, Limitless, Flags Of Our Fathers, World Trade Center, and Million Dollar Baby. Television: “The Night Of,” “Bull,” “Person of Interest,” “The Good Wife,” “The Mysteries Of Laura,” “Madam Secretary,” “White Collar,” “Blue Bloods,” and “Law & Order: SVU” and “Criminal Intent.” Fox Fellowship recipient, Ensemble Studio Theater and Naked Angels member, O’Neill playwright ’87 and ’90.
TONY AIDAN VO (Manford). Atlantic Debut. Off-Broadway: SeaWife (Naked Angels, Drama Desk Nomination), NoNo Boy (Pan Asian Rep). Other NY Credits: Frontieres sans Frontieres (The Bushwick Starr), Bareknuckle (Vertigo Theater), a cautionary tail and These Seven Sicknesses (The Flea Theater). Regional Theater: NY Stage & Film, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, White Heron Theater, and The Hangar Theater. Workshops/Readings: NYTW, The Lincoln Center, Ensemble Studio Theater, Ma-Yi, Soho Rep, The Lark, and New Dramatists. Television: “Queen Sugar” (Ava DuVernay, Oprah Winfrey, OWN), “Alternatino” (Comedy Central). Tony is a founding member of the folk band/theater collective The Lobbyists. In 2016, The Lobbyists were nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music in a Musical: SeaWife. www.tonyaidanvo.com | www.wearethelobbyists.com
BD WONG (Wen Chang). Broadway: M. Butterfly (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics’ Circle, Clarence Derwent, Theatre World Awards); Face Value; You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown; Pacific Overtures. Off-Broadway: The Tempest (Roundabout); A Language of Their Own (Public); As Thousands Cheer, Shanghai Moon (both Drama Dept.). Regional: The Orphan of Zhao (La Jolla Playhouse, A.C.T.), Herringbone (La Jolla, Williamstown, McCarter Theater). Television: “Mr. Robot,” “Gotham,” “Madam Secretary,” “NCIS: New Orleans,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Awake,” “Law & Order: SVU,” and HBO’s “Oz,” “The Normal Heart,” and “And The Band Played On.” Host of HLN TV’s “Something’s Killing Me.” Film: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Bird Box, Jurassic World, The Space Between Us, Focus, White Frog, The Freshman, Father of the Bride (1 and 2), Jurassic Park, Seven Years in Tibet, Mulan (1 and 2), The Salton Sea, Stay. Directed Alice Chan (La Jolla Playhouse POP Tour, also co-authored); Speak Up Connie (All For One Festival); The Yellow Wood (NYMF). Author of the critically acclaimed memoir, Following Foo (The Electronic Adventures of the Chestnut Man), published by Harper Collins. Community service recognitions from the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Asian AIDS Project, GLAAD, New York Anti-Violence Project, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Association of Asian-Pacific American Artists, Museum Of Chinese In America. Board member: Rosie’s Theater Kids, Actors’ Fund of America.
LAUREN YEE (Playwright) premiered Cambodian Rock Band (music by Dengue Fever) at South Coast Rep and The Great Leap at Denver Center and Seattle Rep this season. Upcoming: Cambodian Rock Band at Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Victory Gardens; The Great Leap at the Guthrie, American Conservatory Theatre, Arts Club, InterAct Theatre; King of the Yees at Baltimore Center Stage, SF Playhouse; and The Song of Summer at Trinity Rep. Awards: Kesselring Prize, Francesca Primus Prize. Ma-Yi Writers’ Lab member, Playwrights Realm alumni playwright. Commissions: Geffen, La Jolla, Lincoln Center/LCT3, Portland Center Stage. BA: Yale. MFA: UCSD. www.laurenyee.com
TAIBI MAGAR (Director) is an Egyptian-American director based in New York, and a graduate of the Brown / Trinity MFA program. Most recently she directed the critically acclaimed Master at the Foundry Theatre (NYT Critic’s Pick). Other recent projects: Aleshea Harris’ Is God Is (Soho Rep.), Danai Gurira’s Familiar (The Guthrie and Seattle Repertory Theatre), Underground Railroad Game (Ars Nova, NYT Critic’s Pick, Obie Award for Best New American Work), Dry Powder (The Alley), We Are Proud to Present (The Guthrie). In New York, Taibi has directed and developed work for The Foundry, New York Theater Workshop, Ars Nova, TFANA, the Women’s Project Theatre, Rising Phoenix Rep and INTAR Theatre. She is the recipient of a Stephen Sondheim Fellowship, an Oregon Shakespeare Festival Fellowship, a Public Theater Shakespeare Fellowship, the TFANA Actors and Director Project Fellowship, a Usual Suspect at New York Theater Workshop, and is an alumna of Lincoln Center Directors Lab. Most recently, she received the Kaplan Fellowship for young artists. Taibi has directed and taught at many academic institutions, including Juilliard, Fordham University, Brown University and New York University. She is currently developing Patrick and Daniel Lazour’s We Live in Cairo (2016 Richard Rodgers Award) with New York Theatre Workshop.