Capital Stage Presents Virtual Run of Lauren Yee’s THE GREAT LEAP Featuring Dan Hiatt, Edward Chen, Matthew Hanjoong, and Rinabeth Apostol, Oct. 19 – 25

Capital Stage offers its first foray into digital theatre productions with The Great Leap  – A Virtual Performance. Originally scheduled for Capital Stage’s 2019/20 Season, The Great Leap  – A Virtual Performance will be available on demand, for FREE, from Oct. 19 – 25, 2020. Jeffrey Lo, who was originally slated to direct the 15th Anniversary Season production, directs the virtual production featuring Dan Hiatt, Edward Chen, Matthew Hanjoong, and Rinabeth Apostol. This award-winning play by Lauren Yee is inspired by events from the playwright’s father’s life and (short-lived) basketball career.

Tickets for this Virtual Performance are FREE and currently available on our website at Access links will be emailed to those who register. The performance will be available to watch on demand starting Oct. 19. Access to view the performance will not be available after Oct. 25.

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When an American college basketball team travels to Beijing for a “friendship” game in the post-Cultural Revolution 1980s, both countries try to tease out the politics behind this newly popular sport. Cultures clash as the Chinese coach tries to pick up moves from the Americans and Chinese-American player Manford spies on his opponents. Inspired by events in her own father’s life, Yee “applies a devilishly keen satiric eye to…her generation (and its parents).”

Lauren Yee. Photo by Lia Chang

Lauren Yee is a playwright, screenwriter, and TV writer born and raised in San Francisco. She currently lives in New York City.

Her CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND, with music by Dengue Fever and others, premiered at South Coast Rep, with subsequent productions at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, Victory Gardens, City Theatre, Merrimack Rep, Signature Theatre, Portland Center Stage, and Jungle Theatre. Her play THE GREAT LEAP has been produced at Denver Center, Seattle Rep, Atlantic Theatre, Guthrie Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, Arts Club, InterAct Theatre, Steppenwolf, with future productions at Long Wharf, Cygnet Theatre, and Asolo Rep/Miami New Drama. Lauren Yee’s play KING OF THE YEES premiered at The Goodman Theatre and Center Theatre Group, followed by productions at ACT Theatre, Canada’s National Arts Centre, and Baltimore Center Stage. Other plays include CHING CHONG CHINAMAN (Pan Asian Rep, Mu Performing Arts), THE HATMAKER’S WIFE (Playwrights Realm, Moxie, PlayPenn), HOOKMAN (Encore, Company One), IN A WORD (Young Vic, SF Playhouse, Cleveland Public, Strawdog), SAMSARA (Victory Gardens), THE SONG OF SUMMER (Trinity Rep, Mixed Blood), and THE TIGER AMONG US (Mu).

She is the winner of the Doris Duke Artist Award, the Steinberg Playwright Award, the Horton Foote Prize, the Kesselring Prize, the ATCA/Steinberg Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters literature award, and the Francesca Primus Prize. She has been a finalist for the Edward M. Kennedy Prize and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Her plays were the #1 and #2 plays on the 2017 Kilroys List.

Lauren is a Residency 5 playwright at Signature Theatre, New Dramatists member (class of 2025), Ma-Yi Writers’ Lab member, former Princeton University Hodder fellow, and Playwrights Realm alumni playwright. TV: PACHINKO (Apple), SOUNDTRACK (Netflix). Current commissions include Geffen Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, Second Stage, South Coast Rep. BA: Yale. MFA: UCSD.

Jeffrey Lo

Jeffrey Lo is a Filipino-American playwright and director based in the Bay Area. He is the recipient of the Leigh Weimers Emerging Arist Award, the Emerging Artist Laureate by Arts Council Silicon Valley and Theatre Bay Area Director’s TITAN Award. Selected directing credits include THE LANGUAGE ARCHIVE and THE SANTALAND DIARIES at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, VIETGONE at Capital Stage, A DOLL’S HOUSE, PART 2 and EURYDICE at Palo Alto Players (TBA Awards finalist for Best Direction), PETER AND THE STARCATCHER and NOISES OFF at Hillbarn Theatre, THE GRAPES OF WRATH, THE CRUCIBLE and YELLOW FACE at Los Altos Stage Company and UNCLE VANYA at the Pear Theatre (BATCC award for Best Production). As a playwright, his plays have been produced and workshopped at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, The BindleStiff Studio, City Lights Theatre Company and Custom Made Theatre Company. His play WRITING FRAGMENTS HOME was a finalist for the Bay Area Playwright’s Conference and a semi-finalist for the O’Neill Playwright’s Conference. Jeffrey has also worked with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Asian American International Film Festival, San Jose Repertory and is a company member of Ferocious Lotus Theatre Company and SF Playground. In addition to his work in theatre he works as an educator and advocate for issues of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and has served as a grant panelist for the Zellerbach Family Foundation, Silicon Valley Creates and Theatre Bay Area. He is the Director Community Partnerships and Casting Director at the Tony Award Winning TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, a graduate of the Multicultural Arts Leadership Institute and a proud alumnus of the UC Irvine Drama Department. Jeffrey is also a founding member of OUR DIGITAL STORIES, for more info

THE CAST (In Order of Appearance)

Dan Hiatt

Dan Hiatt (SAUL) Dan most recently appeared as Harvey Cobb in THEY PROMISED HER THE MOON at TheatreWorks in Palo Alto. Other Bay Area credits include: VANITY FAIR, FATHER COMES HOME FROM THE WARS, and THE BIRTHDAY PARTY at A.C.T.; NICHOLAS NICKLEBY, at Cal Shakes, WITTENBERG at The Aurora; JOE TURNER’S COME AND GONE, and DINNER WITH FRIENDS at Berkeley Rep; and ANNE BOLEYN at Marin Theatre Company. Regional theatre credits include work at: Yale Rep, Shakespeare Theatre Company D.C., Theatre Calgary, Seattle Rep, Arizona Theatre Company, Pasadena Playhouse, Huntington Theatre, and Ford’s Theatre in Washington D.C.

Edward Chen

Edward Chen (WEN CHANG) SF Bay Area born actor, Edward Chen, received a collegiate baseball scholarship and attended Cornell University where he discovered a passion for the performing arts. In addition to many roles in TV and film, Edward’s received critical acclaim for lead roles at top theatres (Boston Court, East West Players, South Coast Rep, Cygnet) wrote, “Holding fast to his every character, Chen takes not one false step onstage.” Acting conservatory trained in voice, movement, Alexander technique and more, Edward’s first love is theatre for its tight community, close collaboration with artists, and live intimacy with audience. In a society struggling to communicate honestly, the theatre allows character’s to finally speak the truth.

Matthew Hanjoong

Matthew Hanjoong (MANFORD) Matthew Hanjoong is a former Capital Stage Apprentice and a graduate from Sacramento State University. Most recently, he was seen in GOLD HILL SAMURAI at the Wakamatsu Festival; a staged reading of THE END OF THE WORLD at Capital Stage; COMPLEAT FEMALE STAGE BEAUTY at Sacramento State; and in THE THREE MUSKETEERS at American River College. Matthew has also studied at UCLA with Academy Award Winner Tim Robbins and The Actor’s Gang.

Rinabeth Apostol

Rinabeth Apostol (CONNIE) Rinabeth is happy to return via interweb to Cap Stage after appearing in VIETGONE last season. 2018-2019 productions include GROUNDHOG DAY THE MUSICAL (SF Playhouse), THE CHINESE LADY (Magic Theater), KING OF THE YEES (SFBATCC Featured Actress, SF Playhouse), A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS (Seattle Rep/ACT), and the world premieres of HOUSE OF JOY (CalShakes), TWO MILE HOLLOW (Ferocious Lotus) and WE, THE INVISIBLES (Actors Theatre of Louisville/Humana). 2020 virtual productions include this one and the world premiere of DISBELIEF (PlayGround), so thank you for your support! Proud member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA and Ferocious Lotus

(ZHANG LI) An ageless, female, Chinese, an athletic, imposing 6’2″ woman of almost mythical abilities. The tallest person in this play. Bill Russell, 11-time NBA champion, would be the closest equivalent. (She does not appear in this play, but her absence is felt throughout.)

The crew includes Production Manager Katie Cannon, Sound Editor/Designer Ed Lee, Video Editor Misty McDowell, Graphic Designers Dan Lydersen and Misty McDowell and Capital Stage Producing Artistic Director Michael Stevenson. 

The Great Leap is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.

The Great Leap was originally developed and produced by Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company, Chris Coleman, Artistic Director. New York Premiere Presented by Atlantic Theater Company New York City, 2018

The Great Leap was developed with the support of The Playwrights’ Center

Developed in the New Strands Residency, a program of the American Conservatory Theater, Carey Perloff, Artistic Director – Peter Pastreich, Executive Director

A workshop production of The Great Leap was presented by New York Stage and Film & Vassar at the Powerhouse Theater, Summer 2017.

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

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