“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.
TAKESHI KATA (Scenic Designer) has designed many shows at the Atlantic including, Derren Brown: Secret, Through a Glass Darkly, Port Authority, Keep Your Pantheon and Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow. Other recent NY credits include Until the Flood (Rattlestick), The Profane (Playwrights), Man from Nebraska (Second Stage), Forever (NYTW), Gloria and Outside People (Vineyard). Regionally Kata has worked with the Alley, American Players Theatre, Berkeley Rep, Goodman, Hartford Stage, Kirk Douglas, La Jolla, Long Wharf, Mark Taper Forum, Old Globe, Steppenwolf, Williamstown, Yale Rep and many others. Awards: Obie. Nomination for Drama Desk, Ovation, Connecticut Critics Circle and Barrymore Awards. Kata is an Associate Professor at University of Southern California, School of Dramatic Arts.
TILLY GRIMES (Costume Designer). Recent: Underground Railroad Game (Lortel Nomination, NYC, Tour), Small Mouth Sounds (NYC, Tour), What We’re Up Against (WP Theatre), The Government Inspector (Lortel Nomination, Red Bull). New York: Atlantic, Ars Nova, Playwrights Horizons, WP Theatre, Red Bull, Roundabout, Clubbed Thumb, Here Arts Centre, The Barrow Group, Colt Couer, New Georges & La Mama. Regional: Williamstown Theatre Festival, OSF, Wilma, Shakespeare Theatre DC, Goodspeed Opera, Two River, Trinity Repertory, Pittsburgh Public & Westport County Playhouse. Upcoming: Seared by Theresa Rebeck, dir. Moritz von Stuelpnagel (WTF), Noura by Heather Raffo, dir. Joanna Settle (Playwrights Horizons).
ERIC SOUTHERN (Lighting Designer) is an Obie award winning designer for theater, opera, and dance. Atlantic Theater: Tell Hector I Miss Him, Good Television, 10×25. New York: After the Blast, Bull in a China Shop, The Harvest, Ghost Light (LCT3); Sell/Buy/Date (MTC); Pocatello, Indian Summer (Playwrights Horizons); Rimbaud in NY (BAM, The Civilians); Steve (The New Group); Buyer and Cellar (London, CTG, New York, National Tour); Chromatic (ADI, The Kitchen, Susan Marshall and Company). His work with 600 Highwaymen has been seen throughout the US and Europe including The Fever, This Great Country, The Record, and Employee of the Year. Other Theater includes Primary Stages, Williamstown Theater Festival, The Guthrie, Kennedy Center, Baltimore Centerstage, Long Wharf, Huntington, Westport Country Playhouse, HVSF, Geffen Playhouse, Dallas Theater Center, and Kansas City Rep. Education: B.F.A. and M.F.A., NYU.
BROKEN CHORD (Sound & Original Compositions). Broadway: The Parisian Woman, Eclipsed. Off-Broadway: Atlantic Theater Company (Scarcity, The Lying Lesson); Incubator Arts Project (OZET); LCT3 (Bull in a China Shop); Manhattan Theatre Club (When We Were Young and Unafraid); Primary Stages (Informed Consent); Public Theater (The Good Negro, Party People); Signature Theatre (The Dance and the Railroad, Appropriate). Regional: Actors Theatre of Louisville (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer); Berkeley Repertory (Ruined); Cleveland Play House (Fairfield); Dallas Theater Center (Hair, The Great Society); Guthrie Theater (An Enemy of the People); Hartford Stage (A Midsummer Night’s Dream); Huntington Theatre (Top Girls, A Raisin in the Sun); Oregon Shakespeare Festival (UniSon); Yale Repertory (These Paper Bullets!). Film: Fall to Rise. www.brokenchord.us
DAVID BENGALI (Projection Designer) is a projections and lighting designer based in New York. Recent design credits: Frankenstein (Dallas Theater Center); Rockin’ Road To Dublin (National Tour); Assembled Identity (HERE); The Temple Bombing (Alliance Theatre); Uncommon Sense (Tectonic Theater Project); Van Gogh’s Ear (Ensemble for the Romantic Century); Conference of the Birds (Boston Center for the Arts); Anna Akhmatova, Jules Verne From The Earth To The Moon (BAM); Ring of Fire (Endstation Theatre); The Tempest (Classic Stage Company/The Young Company); Kill Me Like You Mean It (Stolen Chair), Two Point Oh (59E59); I Forgive You Ronald Reagan, The Sensational Josephine Baker (Theatre Row); Cav/Pag (Tri Cities Opera); The New Victory; Soho Rep; Jamal Jackson Dance. MFA: NYU.
JESSE PEREZ (Movement Director). Credits include: The Comedy Of Errors (Shakespeare & Company, directed by Taibi Magar), Much Ado About Nothing(Shakespeare On The Sound, directed by Joanna Settle), Steel Magnolias (Trinity Repertory Company, directed by Brian Mertes). Company Choreographer For The Lake Lucille Chekhov Project since 2003 where he has choreographed all of Chekhov’s major plays under the direction of Brian Mertes and Melissa Kievman. International: The Salzburg Festival, Jedermann (directed by Brian Mertes). Jesse is also a professional actor and educator in the New York City area.