BD Wong, Ned Eisenberg, Ali Ahn and Tony Aidan Vo Set for New York Premiere of Lauren Yee’s THE GREAT LEAP at Atlantic Theater Company, May 23 – June 17

BD Wong Photo: Lia Chang
BD Wong Photo: Lia Chang
BD Wong
Photo: Lia Chang

Atlantic Theater Company (Neil Pepe, Artistic Director; Jeffory Lawson, Managing Director) is presenting the New York premiere production of The Great Leap, written by Lauren Yee and directed by Taibi Magar.

The Great Leap will feature Ali Ahn (“The Path” on Hulu), Ned Eisenberg (Six Degrees of Separation), Tony Aidan Vo (Pan Asian Rep’s NoNo Boy), and Tony Award winner and Emmy Award nominee BD Wong (“Mr. Robot,” “Law & Order: SVU,” M. Butterfly).

The Great Leap begins previews Wednesday, May 23rd and will open Monday, June 4th for a limited engagement through Sunday, June 17th at Atlantic Theater Company’s Stage 2 (330 West 16th Street).

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 play. Yee’s play King of the Yees premiered season at The Goodman Theatre and Center Theatre Group, followed by productions at ACT Theatre and Canada’s National Arts Centre. Taibi Magar recently directed the critically acclaimed Master at the Foundry Theatre and the Obie Award-winning production of Underground Railroad Game at Ars Nova, both New York Times Critic’s Picks. Her work can currently be seen on stage in Aleshea Harris’ Is God Is at Soho Rep.

Ali Ahn recently appeared in “The Path” on Hulu and on Broadway in The Heidi Chronicles. Ned Eisenberg has been seen on NBC’s long-running “Law & Order: SVU” and was last seen on stage in the 2017 production of Six Degrees of Separation. Tony Aidan Vo is a founding member of folk band / theater collective The Lobbyists, which was nominated for a 2016 Drama Desk Award. Tony Award winner B.D. Wong can currently be seen in his Emmy nominated role on USA’s “Mr. Robot” and will also appear in the upcoming film Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

The Great Leap will feature scenic design by Takeshi Kata, costume design by Tilly Grimes, lighting design by Eric Southern, sound design and original music by Palmer Hefferan, projection design by David Bengali, movement direction by Jesse Perez, and casting by Caparelliotis Casting: David Caparelliotis, CSA; Lauren Port, CSA; and Joseph Gery.

The Great Leap was originally developed and produced by Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company, Chris Coleman, Artistic Director.

Ali Ahn
Ali Ahn

Ali Ahn (Connie). Broadway: The Heidi Chronicles. Off-Broadway: Sugar House (Ma-Yi), Twelfth Night, The Importance of Being Earnest (The Peral), 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. Film / Television: “The Path,” “Orange is the New Black,” “The Breaks,” “Billions,” Landline, “Supernatural,” Equity, Benders, “Odd Mom Out,” “Nurse Jackie,” Black Box, “Blue Bloods,” “White Collar,” “Louie,” Girl in the Book, Liberal Arts, The Dark Side, Zero Hour, “Law & Order: SVU,” and “Ugly Betty.” Training: Yale, CalArts.

Ned Eisenberg
Ned Eisenberg

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
Tony Aidan Vo

Tony Aidan Vo (Manford) is an actor and a Drama Desk-nominated musician based in New York City. NYC theater: SeaWife (Naked Angels), Frontieres sans Frontieres (The Bushwick Starr), a cautionary tail and These Seven Sicknesses (The Flea Theater), NoNo Boy (Pan Asian Rep), and Bareknuckle (Vertigo Theater). Regional theater: NY Stage & Film, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, White Heron Theater, and The Hangar Theater. Workshops / Readings: New York Theater Workshop, Lincoln Center, Ensemble Studio Theater, Ma-Yi Theater, Soho Rep., The Lark, and Prospect Theater Company. Television: “Alternatino” (Comedy Central, upcoming). Tony is a founding member of folk band / theater collective The Lobbyists. In 2016, The Lobbyists were nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music in a Musical: SeaWife. Tony received his training at Ithaca College and NTI: The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. www.tonyvo.net | www.wearethelobbyists.com

BD Wong
BD Wong

BD Wong (Wen Chang). Broadway: M. Butterfly (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics’ Circle, Clarence Derwent Awards); Face Value; You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown; Pacific Overtures. 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,” HBO’s “Oz,” “Marco Polo.” Film: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Bird Box, Jurassic World, The Space Between Us, Focus, The Normal Heart, 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. 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, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Association of Asian-Pacific American Artists, East/West Players, Second Generation. Board member: Actors’ Fund of America.

Lauren Yee
Lauren Yee

Lauren Yee (Playwright) was born and raised in San Francisco. She currently lives in New York City. She received her bachelor’s degree from Yale University, and her MFA in playwriting from UCSD, where she studied under Naomi Iizuka. Lauren Yee’s play King of the Yees is enjoying its premiere this season at The Goodman Theatre and Center Theatre Group, followed by productions at ACT Theatre and Canada’s National Arts Centre. Other plays include Ching Chong Chinaman (Pan Asian, Mu Performing Arts), The Hatmaker’s Wife (Playwrights Realm, Moxie, PlayPenn), Hookman (Encore, Company One), In a Word (SF Playhouse, Cleveland Public, Strawdog), Samsara (Victory Gardens, O’Neill Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival), and The Tiger Among Us (MAP Fund, Mu). She was a Dramatists Guild fellow, a MacDowell fellow, a MAP Fund grantee, a member of The Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group, a Time Warner Fellow at the Women’s Project Playwrights Lab, the Shank playwright-in-residence at Second Stage Theatre, a Playwrights’ Center Core Writer, and the Page One resident playwright at Playwrights Realm. She has been a finalist for the Jerome Fellowship, the PONY Fellowship, the Princess Grace Award, the Sundance Theatre Lab, and the Wasserstein Prize. Her play Samsara has been a nominee for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and the L. Arnold Weissberger Award, and her play in a word won the Francesca Primus Prize and was a finalist for the ATCA / Steinberg Award. Her play The Hatmaker’s Wife was an Outer Critics Circle nominee for the John Gassner Award for best play by a new American playwright. Her work has been published by Samuel French. Lauren is a member of the Ma-Yi Theatre Writers Lab. She is currently under commission from the Denver Center, The Geffen Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, Lincoln Center Theatre / LCT3, Mixed Blood Theatre, Portland Center Stage, South Coast Rep, and Trinity Rep.

Taibi Magar
Taibi Magar

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: 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 and recently directed Aleshea Harris’ Is God Is (Soho Rep.). Upcoming: Danai Gurira’s Familiar (The Guthrie and Seattle Repertory Theatre).

Atlantic Theater Company (Neil Pepe, Artistic Director; Jeffory Lawson, Managing Director) is an award-winning Off-Broadway theater dedicated to producing great plays simply and truthfully while utilizing an artistic ensemble. At Atlantic, we believe that the story of a play and the intent of its playwright are at the core of the creative process. The plays in our repertory, from both new and established playwrights, are boldly interpreted by today’s finest theater artists and resonate with contemporary audiences. Alongside being an award-winning producing organization, we’ve also been teaching theater since our inception. The internationally-acclaimed Atlantic Acting School has the only conservatory program in the world that offers in-depth training in co-Founders David Mamet and William H. Macy’s unique and influential approach to acting: Practical Aesthetics, the Atlantic Technique. Our school’s mission is to ensure that each graduate masters the essential analytical and physical disciplines of acting and to empower every student with skills necessary for success in the profession. We also bring theater into the classroom through robust arts education initiatives that serve a record 4,200 public school students each year. Since its inception, Atlantic has produced more than 150 plays including Tony Award-winning productions of Spring Awakening (Steven Sater, Duncan Sheik) and The Beauty Queen of Leenane (Martin McDonagh); Pulitzer Prize recipient Between Riverside and Crazy (Stephen Adly Guirgis); New York Drama Critics’ Circle winner for Best New Play The Night Alive (Conor McPherson); the New York Premiere of Hangmen (Martin McDonagh); and Lucille Lortel, Obie, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award-winning The Band’s Visit (David Yazbek, Itamar Moses), now playing on Broadway; among many others! Atlantic has garnered 12 Tony Awards, 24 Obie Awards, 21 Lucille Lortel Awards, 10 Drama Desk Awards, 8 Outer Critics Circle Awards, 4 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards, 3 Drama League Awards, 3 Theater World Awards, and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Schedule:

Tuesday-Saturday at 7:30pm, Saturday and Sunday at 2:30pm
Sunday 7:30pm performances on 5/ 27, 6/10, 6/17
Monday 7:30pm performance on 6/11
No Tuesday performances on 6/5, 6/12

Tickets for The Great Leap are now on sale. Regular tickets begin at $50. Order online at atlantictheater.org, by calling OvationTix at 866-811-4111, or in person at the Linda Gross Theater box office (336 West 20th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues)

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Production Photos: Brooke Ishibashi, Abraham Kim, Raymond Lee, Jane Lui, Joe Ngo and Daisuke Tsuji in World Premiere of Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band at South Coast Repertory

Brooke Ishibashi, Joe Ngo, Jane Lui, Raymond Lee and Abraham Kim in South Coast Repertory's world premiere production of Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee. Photo by Tania Thompson/SCR.

Part comedy, part mystery and part rock concert, playwright Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band explores an overlooked chapter of history-1970s Cambodia with its vibrant surf-rock music scene and then under the Khmer Rouge regime. The play features songs by the Long Beach-based band Dengue Fever. The world premiere of this South Coast Repertory commission is directed by Chay Yew on the Julianne Argyros Stage, March 4-25. Tickets are available at www.scr.org.

Joe Ngo and Raymond Lee in South Coast Repertory's world premiere production of Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee. Photo by Tania Thompson/SCR.
Joe Ngo and Raymond Lee in South Coast Repertory’s world premiere production of Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee. Photo by Tania Thompson/SCR.

The cast features Brooke Ishibashi, Abraham Kim, Raymond Lee, Jane Lui, Joe Ngo and Daisuke Tsuji.

 Brooke Ishibashi, Joe Ngo, Jane Lui, Raymond Lee and Abraham Kim in South Coast Repertory's world premiere production of Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee. Photo by Tania Thompson/SCR.
Brooke Ishibashi, Joe Ngo, Jane Lui, Raymond Lee and Abraham Kim in South Coast Repertory’s world premiere production of Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee. Photo by Tania Thompson/SCR.

“Since I first heard Dengue Fever’s music, I’ve been obsessed with the history of Cambodia’s surf-rock scene and the country’s dark Khmer Rouge years, when so many people, including those in the arts, perished,” Yee said. “I never knew quite how to write about it in a way that celebrated the individuals behind the music. Until now.”

 Daisuke Tsuji and Joe Ngo in South Coast Repertory's world premiere production of Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee. Photo by Tania Thompson/SCR.

Daisuke Tsuji and Joe Ngo in South Coast Repertory’s world premiere production of Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee. Photo by Tania Thompson/SCR.

Cambodian Rock Band is set in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and moves back and forth in time. It’s the story of a young Cambodian American who has found evidence that could finally put away one of the Khmer Rouge’s chief henchman, a man who oversaw the country’s most notorious prison. But her work is far from done. Her Dad shows up unannounced-his first time back in Cambodia since fleeing 30 years ago- and it’s clear that this isn’t just a pleasure trip for him.

From the first rehearsal: actors Brooke Ishibashi, Jane Lui, Abraham Kim, Joseph Ngo, Daisuke Tsuji and Raymond Lee with playwright Lauren Yee (center). Courtesy of Facebook
From the first rehearsal: actors Brooke Ishibashi, Jane Lui, Abraham Kim, Joseph Ngo, Daisuke Tsuji and Raymond Lee with playwright Lauren Yee (center). Courtesy of Facebook

Yee is a finalist for the 2018 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for her play The Great Leap (world premiere through March 11, Denver Center for the Performing Arts). Her other plays include King of the Yees (Goodman Theatre, Center Theatre Group), Ching Chong Chinaman, The Hatmaker’s Wife, Hookman, In a Word, Samsara and The Tiger Among Us. She was a Dramatists Guild Fellow, a MacDowell Fellow, a MAP Fund grantee, a member of The Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group, a Time Warner Fellow at the Women’s Project Playwrights Lab, the Shank Playwright-in-Residence at Second StageTheatre, a Playwrights’ Center Core Writer and held the Page One Residency at Playwrights Realm. In a Word won the Francesca Primus Prize and was a finalist for the American Theatre Critics Association/Harold and Mimi Steinberg Award. The Hatmaker’s Wife was an Outer Critics Circle nominee for the John Gassner Award for best play by a new American playwright. She earned a BA from Yale University and an MFA from the University of California, San Diego.

Lauren Yee
Lauren Yee

Yee wrote Cambodian Rock Band on commission through SCR’s CrossRoads program, which develops plays that explore the cultural diversity of Orange County through artist residencies. For Cambodian Rock Band, Yee’s residency cast a wider net, including Long Beach. CrossRoads is supported by a grant from the Time Warner Foundation.

Abraham Kim, Daisuke Tsuji, Joe Ngo, Brooke Ishibashi, Raymond Lee and Jane Lui in South Coast Repertory's world premiere production of Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee. Photo by Danielle Bliss/SCR.
Abraham Kim, Daisuke Tsuji, Joe Ngo, Brooke Ishibashi, Raymond Lee and Jane Lui in South Coast Repertory’s world premiere production of Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee. Photo by Danielle Bliss/SCR.
Chay Yew. Photo by Lia Chang
Chay Yew. Photo by Lia Chang

The design and creative team includes Takeshi Kata and Se Oh, scenic design; Sara Ryung Clement, costume design; David Weiner, lighting design; Mikhail Fiksel, sound design; Matthew MacNelly, music director; and Joanne DeNaut, CSA, casting. The production manager is Joshua Marchesi and the stage manager is Bryan Sommer. Andy Knight is the dramaturg.

Cambodian Rock Band has generous support from Honorary Producers Carolyn and Bill Klein and Samuel and Tammy Tang. The media partners are KCRW, Orange Coast Magazine and the Orange County Business Journal. This play is a recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award.

Tickets start at $23. Discounts are available for full-time students, patrons 25 years of age and under, fulltime educators, seniors and groups of 10 or more. For complete information, visit: www.scr.org.

Tickets: May be purchased online at www.scr.org, by phone at (714) 708-5555 or by visiting the Box Office at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. Performances run March 4-25. Ticket prices start at $23. Low-priced previews run March 4-8. SCR’s performances run Tuesdays-Sundays; there are no performances on Mondays.

Lauren Yee’s THE GREAT LEAP, is among 10 Finalists Selected for the 2017-2018 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Lori Tan Chinn
Lia Chang. Photo by Lori Tan Chinn

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 is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. 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 and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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Brooke Ishibashi, Abraham Kim, Raymond Lee, Jane Lui, Joe Ngo and Daisuke Tsuji set for World Premiere of Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band at South Coast Repertory, March 4-25

Abraham Kim, Daisuke Tsuji, Joe Ngo, Brooke Ishibashi, Raymond Lee and Jane Lui in South Coast Repertory's world premiere production of Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee. Photo by Danielle Bliss/SCR.
Lauren Yee
Lauren Yee
Chay Yew. Photo by Lia Chang
Chay Yew. Photo by Lia Chang

Part comedy, part mystery and part rock concert, playwright Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band explores an overlooked chapter of history-1970s Cambodia with its vibrant surf-rock music scene and then under the Khmer Rouge regime. The play features songs by the Long Beach-based band Dengue Fever. The world premiere of this South Coast Repertory commission is directed by Chay Yew on the Julianne Argyros Stage, March 4-25. Tickets are available at www.scr.org.

“Since I first heard Dengue Fever’s music, I’ve been obsessed with the history of Cambodia’s surf-rock scene and the country’s dark Khmer Rouge years, when so many people, including those in the arts, perished,” Yee said. “I never knew quite how to write about it in a way that celebrated the individuals behind the music. Until now.”

From the first rehearsal: actors Brooke Ishibashi, Jane Lui, Abraham Kim, Joseph Ngo, Daisuke Tsuji and Raymond Lee with playwright Lauren Yee (center). Courtesy of Facebook
From the first rehearsal: actors Brooke Ishibashi, Jane Lui, Abraham Kim, Joseph Ngo, Daisuke Tsuji and Raymond Lee with playwright Lauren Yee (center). Courtesy of Facebook

Cambodian Rock Band is set in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and moves back and forth in time. It’s the story of a young Cambodian American who has found evidence that could finally put away one of the Khmer Rouge’s chief henchman, a man who oversaw the country’s most notorious prison. But her work is far from done. Her Dad shows up unannounced-his first time back in Cambodia since fleeing 30 years ago- and it’s clear that this isn’t just a pleasure trip for him.

Yee is a finalist for the 2018 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for her play The Great Leap (world premiere through March 11, Denver Center for the Performing Arts). Her other plays include King of the Yees (Goodman Theatre, Center Theatre Group), Ching Chong Chinaman, The Hatmaker’s Wife, Hookman, In a Word, Samsara and The Tiger Among Us. She was a Dramatists Guild Fellow, a MacDowell Fellow, a MAP Fund grantee, a member of The Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group, a Time Warner Fellow at the Women’s Project Playwrights Lab, the Shank Playwright-in-Residence at Second StageTheatre, a Playwrights’ Center Core Writer and held the Page One Residency at Playwrights Realm. In a Word won the Francesca Primus Prize and was a finalist for the American Theatre Critics Association/Harold and Mimi Steinberg Award. The Hatmaker’s Wife was an Outer Critics Circle nominee for the John Gassner Award for best play by a new American playwright. She earned a BA from Yale University and an MFA from the University of California, San Diego.

Yee wrote Cambodian Rock Band on commission through SCR’s CrossRoads program, which develops plays that explore the cultural diversity of Orange County through artist residencies. For Cambodian Rock Band, Yee’s residency cast a wider net, including Long Beach. CrossRoads is supported by a grant from the Time Warner Foundation.

Abraham Kim, Daisuke Tsuji, Brooke Ishibashi, Raymond Lee and Jane Lui in South Coast Repertory's world premiere production of Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee. Photo by Danielle Bliss/SCR.
Abraham Kim, Daisuke Tsuji, Brooke Ishibashi, Raymond Lee and Jane Lui in South Coast Repertory’s world premiere production of Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee. Photo by Danielle Bliss/SCR.

The cast includes Brooke Ishibashi, Abraham Kim, Raymond Lee, Jane Lui, Joe Ngo and Daisuke Tsuji.

The design and creative team includes Takeshi Kata and Se Oh, scenic design; Sara Ryung Clement, costume design; David Weiner, lighting design; Mikhail Fiksel, sound design; Matthew MacNelly, music director; and Joanne DeNaut, CSA, casting. The production manager is Joshua Marchesi and the stage manager is Bryan Sommer. Andy Knight is the dramaturg.

Cambodian Rock Band has generous support from Honorary Producers Carolyn and Bill Klein and Samuel and Tammy Tang. The media partners are KCRW, Orange Coast Magazine and the Orange County Business Journal. This play is a recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award.

Tickets start at $23. Discounts are available for full-time students, patrons 25 years of age and under, fulltime educators, seniors and groups of 10 or more. For complete information, visit: www.scr.org.

Tickets: May be purchased online at www.scr.org, by phone at (714) 708-5555 or by visiting the Box Office at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. Performances run March 4-25. Ticket prices start at $23. Low-priced previews run March 4-8. SCR’s performances run Tuesdays-Sundays; there are no performances on Mondays.

Lauren Yee’s THE GREAT LEAP, is among 10 Finalists Selected for the 2017-2018 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Lori Tan Chinn
Lia Chang. Photo by Lori Tan Chinn

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 is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. 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 and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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Lauren Yee’s THE GREAT LEAP, is among 10 Finalists Selected for the 2017-2018 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize

Lauren Yee

Lauren Yee’s (U.S.) The Great Leap, submitted by  Denver Center Theatre Company, has been chosen from 150 submissions to make the top ten list of  finalists for the 2017-2018 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Award. The prestigious playwriting award is the oldest and largest prize awarded to women playwrights writing in the English language.

Lauren Yee
Lauren Yee

The Great Leap is slated for productions this year at Denver Center, Seattle Rep, and Atlantic Theatre Company. Lauren Yee’s play King of the Yees premiered this past season at The Goodman Theatre and Center Theatre Group, followed by productions at ACT Theatre and Canada’s National Arts Centre. Other upcoming productions: Cambodian Rock Band at South Coast Rep; King of the Yees at SF Playhouse and Baltimore Center Stage; and The Song of Summer at Trinity Rep. Other plays include Ching Chong Chinaman (Pan Asian, Mu Performing Arts), The Hatmaker’s Wife (Playwrights Realm, Moxie, PlayPenn), Hookman (Encore, Company One), In A Word (SF Playhouse, Cleveland Public, Strawdog), and Samsara (Victory Gardens, Chance). Her work is published by Samuel French. Recent honors: Kesselring Prize, Francesca Primus Prize, an upcoming Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University, and the #1 and #2 plays on the 2017 Kilroys List (Cambodian Rock Band and The Great Leap). Finalist for the ATCA/Steinberg Award and Edward M. Kennedy Prize. Member of the Ma-Yi Writers’ Lab and alumni playwright of Playwrights Realm. Current commissions: Geffen Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, Lincoln Center/LCT3, Mixed Blood, Portland Center Stage, and Trinity Rep. BA: Yale. MFA: UCSD.

Bob Ari, Keiko Green, Linden Tailor and Joseph Steven Yang Set for DCPA/Seattle Rep’s World Premiere of Lauren Yee’s THE GREAT LEAP

Plays by Lauren Yee, Kirsten Childs, Dominique Morisseau, Ayad Akhtar and Lisa Loomer are Finalists for the 2018 Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama

David Henry Hwang Presents 2017 Kesselring Prize to Lauren Yee at National Arts Club 

The other nine finalists are:

Alice Birch (U.K.) – Anatomy of a Suicide

Elinor Cook (U.K.) – Out of Love

Fiona Doyle (Ireland) –The Strange Death of John Doe

Aleshea Harris (U.S.) – Is God Is

Colleen Murphy (Canada)- The Breathing Hole

Antoinette Nwandu (U.S.) – Pass Over

Nina Raine (U.K.) – Consent

Anusree Roy (Canada) – Trident Moon

Tori Sampson (U.S.) – If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must be a Muhfucka

The Winner of the 2017-2018 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize will be named in early March. The Winner will be awarded a cash prize of $25,000, and will also receive a signed print by renowned artist Willem De Kooning, created especially for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Each of the additional Finalists will receive an award of $5,000.

The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, co-founded by Emilie S. Kilgore and William Blackburn, honors outstanding new English-language plays by women. Many of the Winners have gone on to receive other honors, including Olivier, Lilly, Evening Standard and Tony Awards for Best Play. Ten Blackburn Finalist plays have subsequently won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

The Houston-based Susan Smith Blackburn Prize reflects the values and interests of Susan Smith Blackburn, noted American actress and writer who grew up in Houston and lived in London during the last 15 years of her life. She died in 1977 at the age of 42. Over 350 plays have been honored as Finalists since the Prize was instituted in 1977. Last year’s Winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize,Dance Nation by Clare Barron, will premiere in April at Playwrights Horizons. It also won the 2015 Relentless Award from the American Playwriting Foundation. The 2016 Winner of the Blackburn Prize,Sweat by Lynn Nottage, played on Broadway in 2017 and won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Subsequent to winning the 2012-2013 Prize for The Flick, Annie Baker was honored with the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, a Steinberg Playwright Award, a MacArthur Fellowship and a Horton Foote Legacy Project award.

Other recipients of the Prize include Caryl Churchill’s Serious Money, Katori Hall’s Hurt Village, Paula Vogel’s How I Learned to Drive, Chloe Moss’s This Wide Night, Judith Thompson’s Palace of the End,Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti’s Behzti (Dishonour), Sarah Ruhl’s The Clean House, Rona Munro’s Bold Girls, Dael Orlandersmith’s Yellowman, Julia Cho’s The Language Archive, Gina Gionfriddo’s U.S. Drag, Bridget Carpenter’s Fall, Charlotte Jones’ Humble Boy, Naomi Wallace’s One Flea Spare, and Moira Buffini’s Silence.

The international panel of Judges for the 2017-18 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize are: Annie Baker (U.S.), Carrie Cracknell (U.K.), Denise Gough (U.K.), Rajiv Joseph (U.S.), Justine Mitchell (U.K.) and Phylicia Rashad (U.S.).

Former judges of The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize over the past forty years are a Who’s Who of the English-speaking theatre and include Edward Albee, Eileen Atkins, Blair Brown, Zoe Caldwell, Jill Clayburgh, Glenn Close, Harold Clurman, Colleen Dewhurst, Edie Falco, Ralph Fiennes, Greta Gerwig, Sam Gold, John Guare, A.R. Gurney, Mel Gussow, David Hare, Judith Ivey, Brandon Jacob-Jenkins, Tony Kushner, Phyllida Lloyd, Francis McDormand, Cynthia Nixon, Janet McTeer, Marsha Norman, Jim Parsons, Joan Plowright, Diana Rigg, Marian Seldes, Fiona Shaw, Tom Stoppard, Meryl Streep, Jessica Tandy, Liesl Tommy, Paula Vogel, Sigourney Weaver, Wendy Wasserstein, August Wilson and George C. Wolfe among more than 200 artists in the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland.

“The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize has done more than any other single force to get plays by women collected and celebrated, but more importantly, produced.”

– Marsha Norman, 1983 Winner for ‘night Mother

ABOUT THE FINALISTS

Alice Birch (U.K.)- Anatomy of a Suicide

Submitted by the Royal Court

Anatomy of a Suicide premiered at the Royal Court in 2017. Alice Birch is the winner of the Arts Foundation Award for Playwriting 2014, the co-winner of the George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright 2014 and was shortlisted for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award in 2012 and 2015.

Other theatre includes: [Blank] (NT Connections / Clean Break), Revolt. She said. Revolt again. (RSC / Soho Rep NYC), Ophelias Zimmer (Royal Court / Schaubuhne Theater Berlin), We Want You to Watch (National Theatre / RashDash), Little Light (Orange Tree), Little on the inside (Almeida / Clean Break) and Many Moons (Theatre 503). Film includes Lady Macbeth (BBC / BFI / Creative England) which was the winner of the International Critic’s Prize (FIPRESCI Prize) at San Sebastian Film Festival 2016, the Best First Feature at Zurich Film Festival 2016, Best Screenplay at Turin Film Festival 2016 and the BIFA Award for Best Screenplay 2017. Current commissions include the Royal Court, the National, the Almeida and Soho Rep. Film and TV commissions include projects for Film Four, Symbolic Exchange, House Productions and HBO.

Elinor Cook (U.K.)- Out of Love

Submitted by Paines Plough, The Orange Tree and Theatre Clwyd

Elinor Cook is the winner of the George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright 2013. Her plays include Out of Love (Paines Plough / Theatr Clwyd / Orange Tree Theatre), The Lady From The Sea (Donmar Warehouse), Pilgrims (HighTide / The Yard), The Rehearsal (LAMDA), Ten Weeks (Paines Plough / RWCMD), The Boy Preference (NT Connections), Image of an Unknown Young Woman (The Gate) and The Girl’s Guide to Saving The World (HighTide). She also wrote an episode of “The Secrets” for BBC One, directed by Dominic Savage.

Fiona Doyle (Ireland)-The Strange Death of John Doe

Submitted by Hampstead Theatre

Fiona Doyle’s work in theatre includes Coolatully (winner of the 2014 Papatango New Writing Prize) at the Finborough Theatre in London and for Mead Theatre Lab in Washington DC; Deluge (winner of the 2014 Eamon Keane Full-Length Play Award) at Hampstead Theatre Downstairs; and Ms Y (short) as part of the Young Vic’s Five Plays. Fiona has been the recipient of the Irish Theatre Institute’s Phelim Donlon Playwright’s Bursary and Residency Award in association with the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, a Cill Rialaig Artist residency, a Peggy Ramsay Foundation grant, and has recently been awarded a Fellowship from the MacDowell Colony for their 2018 Winter/Spring season. She completed the John Burgess Playwriting Course in 2012. She has been on attachment at the National Theatre Studio and is currently under commission to Hampstead Theatre and NT Connections 2018. Her plays are published by Nick Hern Books.

Aleshea Harris (U.S.)- Is God Is

Submitted by Soho Rep

Is God Is was published by 3 Hole Press in the spring of 2017 and will premiere Off-Broadway at Soho Rep. in February, 2018. Aleshea Harris is a playwright and performer who received an MFA in Writing for Performance from California Institute of the Arts. Her work has been presented a number of places including the Costume Shop at American Conservatory Theater, Playfest at Orlando Shakespeare Theater, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, La Comédie de Saint-Étienne, the Skirball Center, and REDCAT. Harris has enjoyed residencies at MacDowell Colony, Hedgebrook, Djerassi and SPACE on Ryder Farm. She is the winner of the 2016 Relentless Award from the American Playwriting Foundation for Is God Is.

Colleen Murphy (Canada)- The Breathing Hole

Submitted by The Stratford Festival/English Theatre, National Arts Centre

The Breathing Hole premiered at the Stratford Festival in the fall of 2017. Colleen Murphy is a two-time Governor General Literary Award Winner for Drama. In 2016 she won for her play Pig Girl, and in 2007 she won for The December Man (L’homme de décembre). Twice she has won the Carol Bolt Award for Best Play. Other world premieres in Canada in 2017 include Oksana G. at Tapestry Opera in Toronto (composer, Aaron Gervais), and The Society For The Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius at Rumble Theatre in Vancouver. Other plays include I Hope My Heart Burns First, Armstrong’s War, The Goodnight Bird, Beating Heart Cadaver and The Piper. Libretti include My Mouth On Your Heart (composer, August Murphy-King). She is also an award-winning filmmaker. Colleen has been Playwright-in-Residence at Finborough Theatre in London, U.K., Necessary Angel Theatre and Factory Theatre in Toronto. She has been Writer in Residence at the University of Regina, McMaster University, the University of Guelph, Wilfrid Laurier University, the Lee Playwright in Residence at the University of Alberta, and is currently Writer in Residence at the University of New Brunswick.

Antoinette Nwandu (U.S.)- Pass Over

Submitted by Steppenwolf Theatre

Antoinette Nwandu is a New York-based playwright. Her play Breach: a manifesto on race in america through the eyes of a black girl recovering from self-hate will have its World Premiere at Victory Gardens in February 2018.

And her play Pass Over will have its New York debut at LCT3 in June 2018. A filmed version of the Jeff-award winning, Steppenwolf production of Pass Over-directed by Spike Lee-will have its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and will stream on Amazon Prime beginning in April 2018. Antoinette’s work has been supported by the Sundance Theater Lab, Space on Ryder Farm, Ignition Fest, the Cherry Lane Mentor Project, the Kennedy Center, Page73, PlayPenn, Southern Rep, The Flea, Naked Angels, Fire This Time, and The Movement Theater Company. Honors include the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, the Negro Ensemble Company’s Douglas Turner Ward Prize, a Literary Fellowship at the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference, and spots on the 2016 and 2017 Kilroys lists. Antoinette is a MacDowell Fellow, a Dramatists Guild Fellow, and an Ars Nova Play Group alum. She is currently under commission from Echo Theater Company, Colt Coeur, Audible, and Ars Nova.

Nina Raine (U.K.)- Consent

Submitted by Out of Joint

Consent premiered in April, 2017 at the National Theatre in a co-production with Out of Joint. Nina Raine began her career as a trainee director at the Royal Court under the Regional Young Theatre Director Scheme. Other theatre writing credits include: Tribes (Drama Desk Award, Olivier Award Best New Play nomination), Tiger Country, The Drunks (Adaptation) and Rabbit (Evening Standard and Critic’s Circle Awards for most promising playwright).

Theatre directing credits include: Donkey Heart (Old Red Lion/Trafalgar Studios) Longing (Hampstead Theatre); Jumpy (Royal Court/Duke of York’s Theatre); Tiger Country (Hampstead Theatre); Shades (Royal Court Theatre Upstairs – Critic’s Circle and Evening Standard Awards for Most Promising Newcomer); Rabbit (Old Red Lion/Trafalgar Studios/Brits Off Broadway Festival); Unprotected (Liverpool Everyman/Traverse Theatre – Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award and TMA Best Director Award); Vermillion Dream (Salisbury Playhouse); Eskimo Sisters (Southwark Playhouse).Television credits include: “Mistresses” (The Finale). Radio Credits include: Alan Howard Reads

Anusree Roy (Canada)- Trident Moon

Submitted by Finborough Theatre

Roy is a Governor General’s Award nominated writer and actor whose work has toured nationally. Other plays include: Little Pretty and the Exceptional, Sultans of the Street, Brothel # 9, Roshni,Letters to my Grandma and Pyaasa. She holds a Master’s from the University of Toronto and has been published by the Playwright’s Canada Press. Her plays and performances have won her four Dora Mavor Moore Awards along with multiple nominations. She is the recipient of the K.M.Hunter Award, RBC Emerging Artist Award, The Carol Bolt Award and The Siminovitch Protégé Prize. ‘s playwright-in-residence include: Nightwood Theatre, Factory Theatre, The Blyth Festival,Theatre, Passe Muraille and Canadian Stage Company.

Tori Sampson (U.S.)- If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must be a Muhfucka

Submitted by Yale Repertory Theatre

Tori is a Boston playwright living in Minneapolis. Her plays include If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must be a Muhfucka, This Land Was Made (Vineyard Theater 2018) Cadillac Crew and Where Butterflies go in the Winter. Her plays have been developed at Great Plains National Theater Conference, Berkeley Repertory Theater’s The Ground Floor residency program, Victory Garden’s IGNITION festival and UBUNTU theater. Tori is a 2017-18 Playwright’s Center Jerome Fellow. Two of her plays appeared on the 2017 Kilroys List and she holds an Honorable Mention from the 2016 Relentless Award. She is the Kennedy Center’s 2016 Paula Vogel Playwright and second-place Lorraine Hansberry recipient. She is a 2017 finalist for the Alliance Theater’s Kendeda Prize. Tori is currently working on commissions from Berkeley Repertory Theater Yale Repertory Theater and Atlantic Theater Company. She holds a B.S. in sociology from Ball State University and an MFA in playwriting from Yale School of Drama.

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Lori Tan Chinn
Lia Chang. Photo by Lori Tan Chinn

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 is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. 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 and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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Plays by Lauren Yee, Kirsten Childs, Dominique Morisseau, Ayad Akhtar and Lisa Loomer are Finalists for the 2018 Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama

Francis Jue (Larry) and Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) in the world premiere of King of the Yees, written by Lauren Yee and directed by Joshua Kahan Brody. Photo by Liz Lauren

January 25, 2018: NEW YORK, NY: Columbia University Libraries, on behalf of the board of the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History, has announced the five finalist works for the 2018 award:

Junk by Ayad Akhtar, produced by La Jolla Playhouse

Bella: An American Tall Tale by Kirsten Childs, produced by Playwright Horizons

The company of BELLA: AN AMERICAN TALL TALE. Photo by Joan Marcus
The company of BELLA: AN AMERICAN TALL TALE. Photo by Joan Marcus

Roe by Lisa Loomer, produced by Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Berkeley Rep, and Arena Stage

Skeleton Crew by Dominique Morisseau, produced by Atlantic Theater Company

Jason Dirden and Nikiya Mathis in Atlantic Theater Company’s Skeleton Crew. Photo by Ahron R. Foster
Jason Dirden and Nikiya Mathis in Atlantic Theater Company’s Skeleton Crew. Photo by Ahron R. Foster

King of the Yees by Lauren Yee, produced by Goodman Theatre

Francis Jue (Larry) and Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) in the world premiere of King of the Yees, written by Lauren Yee and directed by Joshua Kahan Brody. Photo by Liz Lauren
Francis Jue (Larry) and Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) in the world premiere of King of the Yees, written by Lauren Yee and directed by Joshua Kahan Brody. Photo by Liz Lauren

The Edward M. Kennedy Prize is given annually through Columbia University to a new musical or play that, in the words of the Prize’s mission statement, “…enlists theater’s power to explore the past of the United States, to participate meaningfully in the great issues of our day through the public conversation, grounded in historical understanding, that is essential to the functioning of a democracy.”

Previous winners of the Prize include: A 24-Decade History of Popular Music by Taylor Mac (2017); Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda (2016); Father Comes Home from the Wars, Parts 1, 2, & 3 by Suzan-Lori Parks (2015); Detroit ’67 by Dominique Morisseau (2014); and All the Way by Robert Schenkkan and The Body of an American by Dan O’Brien (2013). The size of the award places the Kennedy Prize among the most generous given for dramatic writing, and indeed for writing in America, while the commitment to developing publicly accessible educational content makes the prize unique among dramatic and literary awards.

The Prize Board of Governors includes Mandy Hackett, Associate Director, The Public Theater, New York, N.Y.; Jean Howard, George Delacorte Professor in the Humanities and Chair, Department of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University; Alice Kessler-Harris, R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History in Honor of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Columbia University; Tony Kushner, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright; Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient; and Amanda Smith, author.

Ambassador Kennedy Smith created the prize to commemorate the life and legacy of her late brother, Senator Ted Kennedy. Finalists were selected through nominations from a group of theater professionals from across the country. The jury will meet at Columbia in February 2018. The winning work will be announced on or after February 22, 2018, the anniversary of Senator Kennedy’s birth. The selected play will receive an award of $100,000 and will be honored in a ceremony at Columbia later this spring.

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Francis Jue, Ned Eisenberg, Jennifer Lim, Daniel K. Isaac, Jeena Yi, Joe Ngo and Tobias C. Wong Set for Readings at Lauren Yee’s Kesselring Prize Ceremony on November 5

Francis Jue (Larry) in the world premiere of KING OF THE YEES. Photo by Liz Lauren
Francis Jue (Larry) in the world premiere of KING OF THE YEES. Photo by Liz Lauren
Francis Jue (Larry) in the world premiere of KING OF THE YEES. Photo by Liz Lauren

Actors Francis Jue, Ned Eisenberg, Jennifer Lim, Daniel K. Isaac, Jeena Yi, Joe Ngo and Tobias C. Wong are set for a reading of plays by Lauren Yee when the rising young playwright receives the 2017 Kesselring Prize on Sunday, Nov. 5 at 4 pm at the National Arts Club (15 Gramercy Park South). Ms. Yee earned the Kesselring for her play THE GREAT LEAP, to be produced this season by Denver Center, Seattle Rep and Atlantic Theater Company. The Prize includes a $25,000 award and the opportunity for Ms. Yee to reside for two weeks in the historic clubhouse of the National Arts Club in order to develop her work.

David Henry Hwang - Photo by Lia Chang, and Lauren Yee
David Henry Hwang – Photo by Lia Chang, and Lauren Yee

Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang will present Ms. Yee with the prize at an awards ceremony at the National Arts Club on Sunday, November 5 at 4 p.m. The evening will include readings of select scenes from Ms. Yee’s plays. A gala reception in the NAC parlors and dining room follows the awards presentation. For further information and to reserve seat for the awards ceremony and readings, visit Kesselring@thenationalartsclub.org.

The readings will feature selections from Yee’s plays KING OF THE YEES, THE GREAT LEAP and CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND.

Also present at the awards presentation as a guest speaker on Sunday: actress Regina Taylor.

Established in 1980 by Charlotte Kesselring – widow of playwright Joseph Kesselring – to honor and support young writers who are not as yet nationally recognized, and provide them with an honorarium and indirect support towards development of their work. Past recipients include Lucas Hnath (now on Broadway with A DOLL’S HOUSE PART 2), Tony Kushner, Anna Deavere Smith, Nicky Silver and last year’s honoree, Lindsey Ferrentino, whose play UGLY LIES THE BONE was produced this year at the National Theatre in London.

Each year, the National Arts Club invites theaters across the country to nominate an emerging playwright for the Kesselring Prize who is poised for a higher national profile through his or her growing body-of-work. Atlantic Theater Company nominated Ms. Yee.

Her previous works include IN A WORD, a finalist for the ATCA/Steinberg Award; THE HATMAKER’S WIFE, which was an Outer Critics Circle nominee for its John Gassner Award for best play by a new American playwright; and KING OF THE YEES, which premiered last season at The Goodman Theatre.

The 2017 Kesselring Prize Jury that selected Ms. Yee consisted of: famed playwright John Guare; Dramaturg of Lincoln Center Theater, Anne Cattaneo; and two-time Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Lynn Nottage. The Kesselring Prize Artistic Director is Michael Parva.

www.nationalartsclub.org

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits

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 is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. 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 and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2017 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

David Henry Hwang to present Lauren Yee with 2017 Kesselring Prize for Playwriting at National Arts Club on Nov. 5

David Henry Hwang - Photo by Lia Chang, and Lauren Yee

Tony Award winning playwright David Henry Hwang, whose acclaimed play M. Butterfly is currently in previews at the Cort Theatre, shall present the National Arts Club’s 2017 Kesselring Prize to Lauren Yee at the award ceremony and readings on Sunday November 5, 2017, at 4:00pm in the Grand Gallery of the National Arts Club, located at 15 Gramercy Park South. A gala reception in the NAC parlors and dining room shall follow the awards ceremony.  Golden Globe winning actress Regina Taylor is also set as a guest speaker for the evening.

Lauren Yee, the rising young playwright whose newest work, THE GREAT LEAP will be produced this season by Denver Center, Seattle Rep and Atlantic Theatre Company, will receive $25,000 award and provides the opportunity for  Ms. Yee to reside for two weeks in the historic clubhouse of the National Arts Club in order to develop her work.

For further information and to reserve seats for the awards ceremony and readings, please contact: Kesselring@thenationalartsclub.org.

Established in 1980 by Charlotte Kesselring – widow of playwright Joseph Kesselring – to honor and support young writers who are not as yet nationally recognized, and provide them with an honorarium and indirect support towards development of their work. Past recipients include Lucas Hnath, Tony Kushner, Anna Deavere Smith, Nicky Silver and last year’s honoree, Lindsey Ferrentino, whose play UGLY LIES THE BONE was produced this year at the National Theatre in London.

Each year, the National Arts Club invites theaters across the country to nominate an emerging playwright for the Kesselring Prize who is poised for a higher national profile through his or her growing body-of-work. Atlantic Theatre Company nominated Ms. Yee.

Francis Jue (Larry) and Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) in the world premiere of King of the Yees, written by Lauren Yee and directed by Joshua Kahan Brody. Photo by Liz Lauren
Francis Jue (Larry) and Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) in the world premiere of King of the Yees, written by Lauren Yee and directed by Joshua Kahan Brody. Photo by Liz Lauren

Her previous works include IN A WORD, a finalist for the ATCA/Steinberg Award; THE HATMAKER’S WIFE, which was an Outer Critics Circle nominee for its John Gassner Award for best play by a new American playwright; and KING OF THE YEES, which premiered last season at The Goodman Theatre.

The 2017 Kesselring Prize Jury that selected Ms. Yee consisted of: famed playwright John Guare; Dramaturg of Lincoln Center Theater, Anne Cattaneo; and two-time Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Lynn Nottage. The Kesselring Prize Artistic Director is Michael Parva.

www.nationalartsclub.org

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits

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 is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. 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 and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2017 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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KING OF THE YEES at the Douglas Featuring Chicago Castmembers Francis Jue, Stephenie Soohyun Park, Daniel Smith, Angela Lin and Rammel Chan, Opens July 16

Francis Jue (Larry) and Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) in the world premiere of King of the Yees, written by Lauren Yee and directed by Joshua Kahan Brody. Photo by Liz Lauren

Center Theatre Group is presenting the world premiere production of “King of the Yees” by Lauren Yee. Directed by Joshua Kahan Brody and produced in association with Goodman Theatre, “King of the Yees” began previews July 9, opens July 16 and continues through August 6, 2017, at the Kirk Douglas Theatre.

Francis Jue (Larry) in the world premiere of KING OF THE YEES. Photo by Liz Lauren
Francis Jue (Larry) in the world premiere of KING OF THE YEES. Photo by Liz Lauren

The cast includes, in alphabetical order, Rammel Chan, Francis Jue, Angela Lin, Stephenie Soohyun Park and Daniel Smith.

Francis Jue (Larry) and Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) in the world premiere of King of the Yees, written by Lauren Yee and directed by Joshua Kahan Brody. Photo by Liz Lauren
Francis Jue (Larry) and Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) in the world premiere of King of the Yees, written by Lauren Yee and directed by Joshua Kahan Brody. Photo by Liz Lauren

The creative team includes set design by William Boles, costume design by Izumi Inaba, lighting design by Heather Gilbert, sound design by Mikhail Fiksel, projections by Mike Tutaj, casting by Adam Belcuore, CSA and Erica Sartini-Combs, and dramaturgy by Tanya Palmer. David S. Franklin is the production stage manager.

For nearly 20 years, playwright Lauren Yee’s father Larry has been a driving force in the Yee Family Association, a seemingly obsolescent Chinese American men’s club formed 150 years ago in the wake of the Gold Rush. But when her father goes missing, Lauren plunges into the rabbit hole of San Francisco’s Chinatown to confront a world both foreign and familiar. “King of the Yees” is a joyride across cultural, national and familial borders that explores what it means to truly be a Yee.

Rammel Chan (Actor 3) and Angela Lin (Actor 2) in Lauren Yee’s KING OF THE YEES. Photo by Liz Lauren
Rammel Chan (Actor 3) and Angela Lin (Actor 2) in Lauren Yee’s KING OF THE YEES at the Goodman. Photo by Liz Lauren

Lauren Yee’s plays include “Cambodian Rock Band” (South Coast Repertory’s Pacific Playwrights Festival), “Ching Chong China Man” (Pan Asian Repertory Theatre and Mu Performing Arts), “The Great Leap” (Denver Center for the Performing Art’s New Play Summit), “The Hatmaker’s Wife” (Playwrights Realm and Moxie), “Hookman” (Encore Theatre, Company One and Steep Theatre), “in a word” (San Francisco Playhouse, Cleveland Public Theatre, Strawdog Theatre Company and Lesser America), “Samsara” (Victory Gardens Theater, Single Carrot Theatre and the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwright Conference) and “The Tiger Among Us” (MAP Fund and Mu Performing Arts). Yee is a member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab and has received commissions from the Denver Center of the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center Theater/LCT3, Mixed Blood Theatre, Portland Center Stage, South Coast Repertory and Trinity Repertory Company. She received her B.A. from Yale University and MFA from UCSD.

Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) and Daniel Smith (Actor 1) in Lauren Yee’s KING OF THE YEES. Photo by Liz Lauren
Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) and Daniel Smith (Actor 1) in Lauren Yee’s KING OF THE YEES at the Goodman. Photo by Liz Lauren

Center Theatre Group, one of the nation’s preeminent arts and cultural organizations, is Los Angeles’ leading nonprofit theatre company, programming seasons at the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum and 1600 to 2000-seat Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. In addition to presenting and producing the broadest range of theatrical entertainment in the country, Center Theatre Group is one of the nation’s leading producers of ambitious new works through commissions and world premiere productions and a leader in interactive community engagement and education programs that reach across generations, demographics and circumstance to serve Los Angeles.

Daniel Smith (Actor 1), Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) and Francis Jue (Larry) in Lauren Yee’s KING OF THE YEES. Photo by Liz Lauren
Daniel Smith (Actor 1), Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) and Francis Jue (Larry) in Lauren Yee’s KING OF THE YEES at the Goodman. Photo by Liz Lauren

Tickets for “King of the Yees” are available by calling (213) 628-2772, online at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org, at the Center Theatre Group Box Office at the Ahmanson Theatre or at the Kirk Douglas Theatre Box Office two hours prior to performance. Tickets range from $25 – $70 (ticket prices are subject to change). The Kirk Douglas Theatre is located at 9820 Washington Blvd. in Culver City, CA 90232. Ample free parking and restaurants are adjacent.

Rammel Chan (Actor 3) and Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) in in Lauren Yee’s KING OF THE YEES. Photo by Liz Lauren
Rammel Chan (Actor 3) and Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) in in Lauren Yee’s KING OF THE YEES at the Goodman. Photo by Liz Lauren
Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) and Francis Jue (Larry) in Lauren Yee’s KING OF THE YEES. Photo by Liz Lauren
Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) and Francis Jue (Larry) in Lauren Yee’s KING OF THE YEES at The Goodman. Photo by Liz Lauren

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits

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 is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. 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 and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com

Francis Jue, Stephenie Soohyun Park, Daniel Smith, Angela Lin and Rammel Chan in World Premiere of KING OF THE YEES by Lauren Yee at Goodman Theatre, Opens April 12

Francis Jue (Larry) and Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) in the world premiere of King of the Yees, written by Lauren Yee and directed by Joshua Kahan Brody. Photo by Liz Lauren

Explore the vivid history of America’s largest Chinatown through the eyes of a new generation in Lauren Yee’s King of the Yees – a Goodman Theatre-commissioned world premiere that was developed in the 2015 New Stages Festival. Yee’s longtime collaborator Joshua Kahan Brody directs her offbeat and electric joy ride about living in the contemporary world while honoring one’s rich ancestral heritage-and the conflict that ensues. The production will debut at A Contemporary Theatre and Canada’s National Arts Centre later this year.

Francis Jue (Larry) in the world premiere of KING OF THE YEES. Photo by Liz Lauren
Francis Jue (Larry) in the world premiere of KING OF THE YEES. Photo by Liz Lauren
Francis Jue (Larry) and Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) in the world premiere of King of the Yees, written by Lauren Yee and directed by Joshua Kahan Brody. Photo by Liz Lauren
Francis Jue (Larry) and Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) in the world premiere of King of the Yees, written by Lauren Yee and directed by Joshua Kahan Brody. Photo by Liz Lauren

The affable Larry Yee (Francis Jue) remains a driving force in the San Francisco Chinese American community as the head of the Yee Fung Toy family association-a seemingly obsolescent men’s club dedicated to the preservation of the Yee line. His daughter Lauren (Stephenie Soohyun Park), however, is dismissive of its patriarchal culture, despite her father’s dedication. When Larry suddenly goes missing, Lauren’s desperate search drops her into a foreign but familiar world where she will have to embrace the past in order to get her father back. Daniel Smith, Angela Lin and Rammel Chan round out the cast, appearing in a variety of roles throughout the two-act play.

The design team includes William Boles (set), Izumi Inaba (costumes), Heather Gilbert (lighting), Mikhail Fiksel (sound) and Mike Tutaj (projections). Tanya Palmer is the dramaturg and Donald E. Claxon is the production stage manager.

Rammel Chan (Actor 3) and Angela Lin (Actor 2) in Lauren Yee’s KING OF THE YEES. Photo by Liz Lauren
Rammel Chan (Actor 3) and Angela Lin (Actor 2) in Lauren Yee’s KING OF THE YEES. Photo by Liz Lauren

King of the Yees, produced in association with Center Theatre Group is currently in previews (press night is April 9 and opening night is April 12) in the Owen Theatre. Performances are scheduled through April 30. Tickets ($10-$40; subject to change) are available at GoodmanTheatre.org/Yees, the box office (170 N. Dearborn) or by phone at 312.443.3800.

Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) and Daniel Smith (Actor 1) in Lauren Yee’s KING OF THE YEES. Photo by Liz Lauren
Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) and Daniel Smith (Actor 1) in Lauren Yee’s KING OF THE YEES. Photo by Liz Lauren
Daniel Smith (Actor 1), Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) and Francis Jue (Larry) in Lauren Yee’s KING OF THE YEES. Photo by Liz Lauren
Daniel Smith (Actor 1), Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) and Francis Jue (Larry) in Lauren Yee’s KING OF THE YEES. Photo by Liz Lauren
Rammel Chan (Actor 3) and Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) in in Lauren Yee’s KING OF THE YEES. Photo by Liz Lauren
Rammel Chan (Actor 3) and Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) in in Lauren Yee’s KING OF THE YEES. Photo by Liz Lauren
Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) and Francis Jue (Larry) in Lauren Yee’s KING OF THE YEES. Photo by Liz Lauren
Stephenie Soohyun Park (Lauren) and Francis Jue (Larry) in Lauren Yee’s KING OF THE YEES. Photo by Liz Lauren

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Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits

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 is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. 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 and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.