THE GREAT LEAP’s Grant Chang, WITCH’s Maura Tierney & Evan Jonigkeit Garner 2019 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards for Lead Performance; Full List of Winners

The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle announced the recipients of its 51st annual awards for distinguished achievement in theatre on April 28, 2020.

Grant Chang in Pasadena Playhouse & East West Players’ production of The Great Leap. (Photo Credit: Jenny Graham

The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle announced the recipients of its 51st annual awards for distinguished achievement in theatre on April 28, 2020.

Grant Chang has garnered a 2019 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Lead Performance as Wen Chang in Pasadena Playhouse and East West Players’ co-production of Lauren Yee’s The Great Leap, helmed by Tony Award winner BD Wong. The Great Leap is the story of an American basketball team in Beijing where the coaches find themselves in a conflict that runs deeper than the strain between the countries, and where a young player’s actions become the accidental focus of attention.

Maura Tierney and Evan Jonigkeit in Jen Silverman's Witch, directed by Marti Lyons, at the Geffen Playhouse.
Maura Tierney and Evan Jonigkeit in Jen Silverman’s Witch, directed by Marti Lyons, at the Geffen Playhouse. (© Jeff Lorch)

There were two recipients of the 2019 Production award: Jen Silverman’s Witch (Geffen Playhouse) and Paula Vogel’s Indecent (Center Theatre Group and Huntington Theatre Company). Awards in 17 other categories celebrated a wide range of Los Angeles theatre, with 18 different productions taking home honors. Geffen Playhouse’s Witch took home the most awards for a single production, with seven in the categories of Production; Lead Performance for Evan Jonigkeit and Maura Tierney;  Ensemble Performance, Writing for Jen Silverman; Direction for Marti Lyons; Costume Design for Danae Iris McQueen. Geffen Playhouse also received the most awards, with three of its productions winning a combined 10 trophies.

The company of Paula Vogel’s “Indecent.” A co-production with Huntington Theatre Company, “Indecent” at the Ahmanson Theatre. Photo by Craig Schwartz.

Center Theatre Group received a combined nine awards with three of its productions, including Deirdre O’Connell for Solo Performance in Dana H., Bill Sims Jr. for Musical Score for August Wilson’s Jitney and the aforementioned Indecent for Production, Ensemble, Writing and Direction.

The complete list of award recipients is as follows:

PRODUCTION
Indecent, produced by Center Theatre Group and Huntington Theatre Company
Witch, produced by Geffen Playhouse

MCCULLOH REVIVAL
The Caucasian Chalk Circle, produced by Antaeus Theatre Company
Two Trains Running, produced by Sophina Brown

LEAD PERFORMANCE
Grant Chang, The Great Leap, Pasadena Playhouse
Steve Hofvendahl, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Antaeus Theatre Company
Evan Jonigkeit, Witch, Geffen Playhouse
Michael Manuel, Frankenstein, A Noise Within
Rob Nagle, The Judas Kiss, Boston Court Pasadena
Maura Tierney, Witch, Geffen Playhouse

FEATURED PERFORMANCE
Nija Okoro, Two Trains Running, Matrix Theatre
Adolphus Ward, Two Trains Running, Matrix Theatre

ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE
Indecent, Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre
The Wolves, Echo Theater Company
Witch, Geffen Playhouse

SOLO PERFORMANCE
Deirdre O’Connell, Dana H., Center Theatre Group/Kirk Douglas Theatre

WRITING
Sarah DeLappe, The Wolves, Echo Theater Company
Jen Silverman, Witch, Geffen Playhouse
Paula Vogel, Indecent, Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre

WRITING ADAPTATION
Lucas Hnath, Dana H., Center Theatre Group/Kirk Douglas Theatre

MUSICAL SCORE
Mark Heard, Pat Terry, Randy VanWarmer, Tim Alderson, Salvage, Lounge Theatre
Bill Sims Jr, August Wilson’s Jitney, Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum

MUSIC DIRECTION
Anthony Lucca, Bronco Billy – The Musical, Skylight Theatre
Stephan Terry, Salvage, Lounge Theatre

CHOREOGRAPHY
Edgar Godineaux and Jared Grimes, Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole, Geffen Playhouse

DIRECTION
Marti Lyons, Witch, Geffen Playhouse
Stephanie Shroyer, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Antaeus Theatre Company
Rebecca Taichman, Indecent, Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre

SET DESIGN
John Lee Beatty, Key Largo, Geffen Playhouse

LIGHTING DESIGN
Peter Kaczorowski, Key Largo, Geffen Playhouse
Jared A. Sayeg, Ragtime, Pasadena Playhouse

COSTUME DESIGN
Jenny Foldenauer, Argonautika, A Noise Within
Danae Iris McQueen, Witch, Geffen Playhouse

SOUND DESIGN
Mikhail Fiksel, Dana H., Center Theatre Group/Kirk Douglas Theatre

CGI/PROJECTION
Yee Eun Nam, The Mother of Henry, Latino Theater Company
Aaron Rhyne, Anastasia, Pantages Theatre

SPECIALTY
Steve Cuiffo, Illusions and Lip Sync, Dana H., Center Theatre Group/Kirk Douglas Theatre

The following special award winners were previously announced:
The GORDON DAVIDSON Award for distinguished contribution to the Los Angeles theatrical community: Ojai Playwrights Conference.
The MARGARET HARFORD Award for sustained excellence in theatre:The Fountain Theatre.
The POLLY WARFIELD Award for an excellent season in a small to mid-size theatre: A Noise Within.
The JOEL HIRSCHHORN Award for distinguished achievement in musical theatre: Celebration Theatre.
The TED SCHMITT Award for the world premiere of an outstanding new play: The Mother of Henry, written by Evelina Fernández, produced by the Latino Theater Company.
The MILTON KATSELAS Award for distinguished achievement in direction: Michael Michetti.
The KINETIC LIGHTING Award for distinguished achievement in theatrical design: Hana S. Kim, Projection and Set Designer.

The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle was founded in 1969. It is dedicated to excellence in theatrical criticism, and to the encouragement and improvement of theatre in Greater Los Angeles. The 2019 membership consisted of:

Frances Baum Nicholson, Southern California News Group, Stage Struck Review
Katie Buenneke, Stage Raw, Theater Diges
Erin Conley, On Stage & Screen
Ellen Dostal, BroadwayWorld, Musicals in LA
Lovell Estell III, Stage Raw, ArtsInLA.com
Margaret Gray, Los Angeles Times
Hoyt Hilsman, Huffington Post
Deborah Klugman, Stage Raw
Harker Jones, BroadwayWorld, ArtsInLA.com
Jenny Lower Beckman, Stage Raw
Dany Margolies, ArtsInLA.com, Southern California News Group
Myron Meisel, Stage Raw
Terry Morgan, Stage Raw, TalkinBroadway.com
Steven Leigh Morris, Stage Raw
Melinda Schupmann, Showmag.com, ArtsInLA.com
Jonas Schwartz-Owen, Theatermania.com, BroadwayWorld, ArtsInLA.com
Don Shirley, LA Observed
Les Spindle, EDGE LA
Rob Stevens, haineshisway.com

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 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.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 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

East West Players and Pasadena Playhouse Co-production of Lauren Yee’s THE GREAT LEAP nominated for Two Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards Including Lead Performance for Grant Chang and Best Production; Full List of Nominees

Congratulations to the Pasadena Playhouse and East West Players’ co-production of Lauren Yee’s The Great Leap, helmed by Tony Award winner BD Wong, which has received two Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award nominations in the categories of Best Lead Performance for Grant Chang and Best Production.

James Eckhouse and Grant Chang in Pasadena Playhouse & East West Players’s production of The Great Leap. (Photo Credit: Jenny Graham)

The Great Leap is the story of an American basketball team in Beijing where the coaches find themselves in a conflict that runs deeper than the strain between the countries, and where a young player’s actions become the accidental focus of attention.

Tabitha Lee, Grant Chang (THE GREAT LEAP), Lauren Yee, BD Wong (THE GREAT LEAP) and Richert Schnorr. Photo by Lia Chang

Below is the full list of nominees for theatrical excellence for the year 2019. This year they are forgoing their annual event ceremony and will instead post the award recipients online in the upcoming weeks.

Production:
Gem of the Ocean, A Noise Within
How We’re Different From Animals, ÉLAN Ensemble
Indecent, Center Theatre Group and Huntington Theatre Company
The Great Leap, East West Players and Pasadena Playhouse
The Mother of Henry, Latino Theater Company
Witch, Geffen Playhouse

McCulloh Award for Revival
The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Antaeus Theatre Company
The Glass Menagerie, A Noise Within
The Skin of Our Teeth, Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum
Two Trains Running, Sophina Brown

Lead Performance
Grant Chang, The Great Leap, Pasadena Playhouse
Willow Geer, The Skin of Our Teeth, Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum
Rafael Goldstein, The Glass Menagerie, A Noise Within
Steve Hofvendahl, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Antaeus Theatre Company
Kate Huffman, Friends With Guns, The Road Theatre Company
Evan Jonigkeit, Witch, Geffen Playhouse
Michael Manuel, Frankenstein, A Noise Within
Rob Nagle, The Judas Kiss, Boston Court Pasadena
George Salazar, Little Shop of Horrors, Pasadena Playhouse
Liza Seneca, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Antaeus Theatre Company
Maura Tierney, Witch, Geffen Playhouse
Dianne Wiest, Happy Days, Center Theatre Group, Mark Taper Forum

Featured Performance
Eden Espinosa, Falsettos, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre
Tyrin Niles, Scraps, The Matrix Theatre Company
Nija Okoro, Two Trains Running, Matrix Theatre
Arianna Ortiz, Friends With Guns, The Road Theatre Company
Adolphus Ward, Two Trains Running, Matrix Theatre
Denise Yolén, Scraps, The Matrix Theatre Company

Ensemble Performance
Indecent, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre
Scraps, The Matrix Theatre Company
The Wolves, Echo Theater Company
Two Trains Running, Matrix Theatre
Uncle Vanya, The New American Theatre
Witch, Geffen Playhouse

Solo Performance
Deirdre O’Connell, Dana H., Center Theatre Group, Kirk Douglas Theatre

Writing
Sarah DeLappe, The Wolves, Echo Theater Company
Jen Silverman, Witch, Geffen Playhouse
Paula Vogel, Indecent, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

Writing, Adaptation
Lucas Hnath, Dana H., Center Theatre Group, Kirk Douglas Theatre
Mary Zimmerman, Argonautika, A Noise Within

Musical Score
Mark Heard, Pat Terry, Randy VanWarmer, Tim Alderson, Salvage, Lounge Theatre
Bill Sims Jr, August Wilson’s Jitney, Center Theatre Group, Mark Taper Forum

Music Direction
Anthony Lucca, Bronco Billy – The Musical, Skylight Theatre
David O, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, South Coast Repertory
Stephan Terry, Salvage, Lounge Theatre

Choreography
Edgar Godineaux & Jared Grimes, Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole, Geffen Playhouse
Janet Roston, Bronco Billy – The Musical, Skylight Theatre
Stephanie Shroyer, Argonautika, A Noise Within

Direction
Marti Lyons, Witch, Geffen Playhouse
Stephanie Shroyer, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Antaeus Theatre Company
Jack Stehlin, Uncle Vanya, The New American Theatre
Rebecca Taichman, Indecent, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre
Stevie Walker-Webb, Scraps, The Matrix Theatre Company

Set Design
John Lee Beatty, Key Largo, Geffen Playhouse
John Iacovelli, Two Trains Running, Matrix Theatre
Izmir Ickbal, Happy Days, Center Theatre Group, Mark Taper Forum
Frederica Nascimento, Argonautika, A Noise Within

Lighting Design
Ken Booth, Argonautika, A Noise Within
Elizabeth Harper, Mysterious Circumstances, Geffen Playhouse
Peter Kaczorowski, Key Largo, Geffen Playhouse
Jared A. Sayeg, Ragtime, Pasadena Playhouse

Costume Design
Linda Cho, Anastasia, Pantages Theatre
Jenny Foldenauer, Argonautika, A Noise Within
Danae Iris McQueen, Witch, Geffen Playhouse
Katherine O’Neill, Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole, Geffen Playhouse

Sound Design
Mikhail Fiksel, Dana H., Center Theatre Group, Kirk Douglas Theatre
Jeff Gardner, Scraps, The Matrix Theatre Company
Jeff Gardner, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Antaeus Theatre Company
Robert Oriol, Argonautika, A Noise Within

CGI/Video
Jared Mezzocchi, Poor Yella Rednecks, South Coast Repertory
Yee Eun Nam, The Mother of Henry, Latino Theater Company
Aaron Rhyne, Anastasia, Pantages Theatre

Specialty
Steve Cuiffo , Illusions & Lip Sync, Dana H., Center Theatre Group, Kirk Douglas Theatre
Dillon Nelson, Puppet Design, Argonautika, A Noise Within

SPECIAL AWARDS
The Margaret Harford Award for sustained excellence in theatre will be awarded to The Fountain Theatre.

The Polly Warfield Award for an excellent season in a small to mid-size theatre will be awarded to A Noise Within.

The Ted Schmitt Award for the world premiere of an outstanding new play goes to The Mother of Henry, written by Evelina Fernández, produced by the Latino Theater Company.

The Kinetic Lighting Award for distinguished achievement in theatrical design goes to projection and set designer Hana S. Kim.

The Joel Hirschhorn Award for distinguished achievement in musical theatre goes to Celebration Theatre.

The Milton Katselas Award for distinguished achievement in direction goes to Michael Michetti.

The Gordon Davidson Award for distinguished contribution to the Los Angeles theatrical community will be presented to the Ojai Playwrights Conference.

Every effort has been made to ascertain proper credits for our nominees. We regret any errors or omissions. Any that come to our attention will be corrected on our LADCC website and (when applicable) on a recipient’s award certificate.

The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle was founded in 1969. It is dedicated to excellence in theatrical criticism, and to the encouragement and improvement of theatre in Greater Los Angeles.

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 has appeared in the filmsWolf, 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 profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 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

Justin Chien, Christine Lin, Grant Chang and James Eckhouse Set for BD Wong Helmed THE GREAT LEAP by Lauren Yee at Pasadena Playhouse, November 6 – December 1

BD Wong. Photo by Lia Chang

Pasadena Playhouse, the State Theater of California, presents a co-production with East West Players, the Los Angeles premiere of Lauren Yee’s The Great Leap, directed by Tony Award winner BD Wong. From the author of Cambodian Rock Band and King of the Yees, comes the story of an American basketball team in Beijing where the coaches find themselves in a conflict that runs deeper than the strain between the countries, and where a young player’s actions become the accidental focus of attention.

The Great Leap stars Justin Chien as “Manford;” Christine Lin as “Connie;” Grant Chang as “Wen Chang;” and James Eckhouse as “Saul.”

The production will play from Tuesday, November 6 through Sunday December 1; the press opening is November 10 at 5:00pm.

BD Wong. Photo by Lia Chang
BD Wong. Photo by Lia Chang

BD Wong, who starred in the New York off-Broadway Atlantic Theater and San Francisco American Conservatory Theatre productions of this play, now directs. He is most familiar to audiences from his roles in the Jurassic Park films and on NBC’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” and most recently, on USA Network’s “Mr. Robot” (Emmy and Critic’s Choice nominations). Wong is the only actor ever to have received all five major New York Theater awards for a single role – in M. Butterfly — his Broadway debut: the Drama Desk Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, the Theater World Award, the Clarence Derwent Award, and the Tony Award.

Lauren Yee. Photo by Lia Chang
Lauren Yee. Photo by Lia Chang

Lauren Yee is a playwright 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, and 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. www.laurenyee.com

For The Great Leap, Sara Holdren of New York Magazine said “An exhilarating, deeply satisfying piece of work, full of bright, inquisitive, humorous life…Yee has crafted a moving fiction around pieces of real history – her own and that of China in the years after the Cultural Revolution, leading up to the protests in Tiananmen Square that turned deadly.”

Director BD Wong says, “As an Asian American director I am always looking for a brand of representation that transcends our difficult history in the media. This play is important as it presents Asian American characters in a contemporary American play that are not trading on racial tropes of past plays and are written in an authentically three-dimensional way.

The collaboration between East West Players and Pasadena Playhouse is also vitally important to me, and on a personal level there is a deep coincidence for me of these two theatres coming together. I came to L.A. in 1984 and in 1986 was in the East West Players production of A Chorus Line. I then auditioned for Mail at Pasadena Playhouse and was hired to do this wildly popular musical, which transferred to Broadway. While I was in Mail, I auditioned for M. Butterfly, and was replaced in Mail by Alan Maroka, who had been in A Chorus Line with me at East West Players. So, it means so much for me to come full circle and be working with these two theatres again for two generations of audiences who are still so invested as we move forward.”

Pasadena Playhouse Producing Artistic Director Danny Feldman says, “I am absolutely thrilled over the outstanding cast and incredible creative team we have assembled for the Los Angeles premiere of The Great Leap. Lauren Yee is one of our most important new playwrights, and it is an honor to have Tony winner BD Wong, who starred in The Great Leap off-Broadway, direct our production. I am also grateful to be presenting The Great Leap in partnership with East West Players, which is vital to our mission at the Playhouse.”

East West Players Producing Artistic Director Snehal Desai says “Our 54th season at East West Players is one of laughter and change, often in the face of loss. We started with the question: To whom do we the look to in these troubling times? And our response is a season where we discover that we are the ones we are waiting for. With The Great Leap we are able to illustrate this -both through this incredible play and company led by BD as well as this historic partnership with Pasadena Playhouse.”

The creative team for The Great Leap features set and costume design by Lex Liang; assistant set and costume design by Rodrigo Hernandez; lighting design by Rebecca Bonebrake; sound design by Leon Rothenberg; projection design by Hana Sooyeon Kim; and stage management by Brandon Cheng.

Tickets for The Great Leap start at $25 and are available at pasadenaplayhouse.org, by phone at 626-356-7529, and at the box office at 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101.

The Pasadena Playhouse is a place where people have gathered for 100 years to experience bold and important theater. It is one of the most prolific theaters in American history with a legacy of profound theatrical impact and courageous new work. In 1937, the Playhouse was officially recognized as the State Theater of California for its contribution and commitment to the dramatic arts. Today it continues that tradition of excellence under the helm of producing artistic director Danny Feldman. Dedicated to enriching lives through theater, community programs and learning initiatives, Pasadena Playhouse is a living force in the community.

Established in 1965, East West Players is the nation’s leading Asian American theatre company for our award-winning productions that blend Eastern and Western movements and culture. In over 50 years of history, East West Players has since premiered more than 228 plays and musicals, along with over 1,000 diverse readings and workshops for actors, writers, and directors. By building bridges between East and West, we have cultivated a loyal audience of over 70% people of color. Our company continues to build platforms for artists of color while advocating for multi-faceted representations of the Asian Pacific American experience in the performing arts.

Lauren Yee and Jackie Sibblies Drury To Receive Steinberg Playwright Awards on January 13, 2020

Lauren Yee. Photo by Lia Chang

The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust today announced that Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury and Horton Foote Prize-winning playwright Lauren Yee are the recipients of 2019 Steinberg Playwright Awards. The acclaimed writers will be honored at the 12th Annual “Mimi” Awards, presented on Monday, January 13, 2020, at Lincoln Center Theater. The “Mimi” Awards are presented annually to honor the outstanding artistry and accomplishments of some of the most gifted American Playwrights.

Lauren Yee. Photo by Lia Chang
Lauren Yee. Photo by Lia Chang

“Playwrights create the blueprints for worlds shaded in and populated by a village of collaborators. That village includes supporters like Steinberg. The Trust has had a huge impact on my work and career, both through this award and through its support of America’s regional theaters. This prize deepens that relationship and focuses me on the work that I might do in the future,” said Lauren Yee.

“I am so honored by this prize; it’s an awe inspiring list of playwrights to be among! I’m so grateful to the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust for strengthening our theatrical ecosystem by supporting a diverse variety of artists and theaters, and thankful to the committee for their consideration,” said Jackie Sibblies Drury.

The Steinberg Playwright Awards are presented biennially to playwrights in early and middle stages of their careers, who have distinctive and compelling voices, and whose current bodies of work exhibit exceptional talent and artistic excellence. The awards celebrate the accomplishments of some of the most gifted up-and-coming American Playwrights and honor the promise they hold for the future of American theatre. Each recipient will receive a cash award of $50,000.

“The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust is deeply honored to recognize the remarkable careers of Jackie and Lauren to date. Their work has made an indelible impact in a remarkably short amount of time, and we look forward to watching their powerful ideas continue to influence the lives of all who have the privilege of experiencing them onstage,” said Trustee, Jim Steinberg.

“With humor, imagination, and insight, Lauren Yee writes plays that explore family stories, history and culture, often through the lives of Asian American immigrants and their descendants. Her most recent works, Cambodian Rock Band and The Great Leap, combine deeply personal stories and politically charged events across international borders. Lauren Yee has become a major new voice in American Theatre,” stated Advisory Committee Member, Kent Thompson.

“Jackie Sibblies Drury is a preternaturally disruptive architect of theatrical event. Her plays consider not only what is being dramatized but also who is watching, and what does that mean? How is an audience involved in this? She creates dynamic encounters that demand something more than passive spectatorship. Her formalism is not academic, nor merely an aesthetic pleasure, but rather, an expression of her interest in the inextricable intertwine of content and structure. She is, in a word, indispensable — and deeply deserving of celebration,” said Advisory Committee Member, Sarah Lunnie.

“The future of the American Theater is in fantastically talented hands. Jackie Sibblies Drury and Lauren Yee are both breathtakingly brilliant, formally innovative playwrights who broaden our world with integrity and originality. We are lucky to have them, and proud to have them,” said Advisory Committee Member, Oskar Eustis.

Along with a monetary award, playwrights receive “The Mimi,” a statuette designed by David Rockwell, Tony Award-nominated scenic designer and architect.

Lauren Yee is a playwright 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, and 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. www.laurenyee.com

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits. Photo by 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 and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2019 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

BD Wong to Helm East West Players and Pasadena Playhouse’s Co-production of Lauren Yee’s THE GREAT LEAP, November 6 – December 1

BD Wong. Photo by Lia Chang

East West Players (EWP), the nation’s longest-running professional theatre of color in the country and the largest producing organization of Asian American artistic work, is pleased to announce its 54th Season, We Are the Ones We Are Waiting For. After a highly successful 53rd Anniversary Season, EWP’s upcoming 2019/2020 season takes place from Summer 2019 through Spring 2020 and consists of four productions, including a Los Angeles Premiere, a West Coast Premiere, and co-productions with The Fountain Theatre and Pasadena Playhouse.

“For our 54th season, I reflected on the these interesting times we live in where there has both been a democratization of storytelling and a rise in authoritarian minded leaders. It all begs the question of what do we do, who do we turn to times where we as individuals are caught against a larger backdrop of political turmoil and uncertainty. And that unpredictable as these times seem to be, we need to to not diminish, shy away from, or be afraid of joy. That by being able to laugh our ourselves we open ourselves to new ideas, perspectives and experiences. And through collective laughter we eliminate fear of those things that are unknown or different. Our 54th season is one of laughter and change often in the face of loss. A season of works all by Asian American women playwrights. We started with the questions: Where do we the look in these troubling times? To whom? And our response is a season where we discover that we are the ones we are waiting for, and should accept nothing less.” says EWP Producing Artistic Director Snehal Desai.

EWP’s 54th season, all works by Asian American Playwrights, commences with the Los Angeles premiere of Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, written by Jiehae Park, directed by Jennifer Chang, in association with The Fountain Theatre. Hannah and her family travel back to South and North Korea to recover their grandmother’s body in the DMZ after her flamboyant suicide. Division and duality play into the mythology that drives this amusingly surreal play forward. Performances run from August – September 29th, 2019 at The Fountain Theatre.

Up next is a co-production with Pasadena Playhouse The Great Leap, written by award-winning playwright Lauren Yee and directed by Emmy-nominated BD Wong. An American basketball team travels to Beijing for an exhibition game, finding themselves in a conflict running deeper than the strain between two countries. Performances run from November 6 – December 1, 2019 at The Pasadena Playhouse.

For some holiday fun, EWP will present Sandra Tsing Loh’s Sugar Plum Fairy, which follows the dreams of a 12-year-old girl and her ambition to dance the lead in The Nutcracker. Exploring a holiday classic through an offbeat comedic lens, audiences of all ages can enjoy this absurd and relatable coming of age story. Performances run from December 5 – December 22, 2019 at the David Henry Hwang Theater.

EWP’s 54th season closes with another Los Angeles Premiere of The Korean Drama Addict’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity, written by May Lee-Yang. A Hmong personality coach addicted to Korean Dramas awaits her fate with her 30th birthday swiftly approaching. Performances run from March 19 – April 5, 2020at the David Henry Hwang Theater.

Throughout the year, East West Players will continue its Counter Culture Series, presenting a series of community conversations and readings of new works that are free and open to the public.

Single ticket sales will be announced in early Summer 2019. For forthcoming information about the 54th season, please visit www.eastwestplayers.org or call (213) 625-7000 x 0. Dates, details, and ticket prices are subject to change.

As the nation’s premier Asian American theatre organization, East West Players produces artistic work and educational programs that foster dialogue exploring Asian Pacific Islander (API) experiences. Founded in 1965, at a time when APIs faced limited or no opportunities to see their experiences reflected outside of stereotypical and demeaning caricatures in the American landscape, EWP not only ensures that API stories are told, but works to increase access, inclusion, and representation in the economy.

2019 Drama League Award Winners: HADESTOWN, THE FERRYMAN, THE WAVERLY GALLERY, KISS, ME KATE, Bryan Cranston, Kelli O’Hara, Taylor Mac and Alex Timbers

André De Shields, Beth Leavel and John Lithgow. Photo by Lia Chang

The 85th Annual Drama League Awards were held at the Marriott Marquis Times Square on Friday, May 17.

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

First awarded in 1922 and formalized in 1935, The Drama League Awards are the oldest theatrical honors in America. They are the only major theater awards chosen by a cross-section of the theatre community – specifically, by the industry professionals, producers, artists, audiences, and critics who are Drama League members nationwide.

Kay Trinidad, Rachel Chavkin, Jordan Roth, a guest, Michael Krass, Anais Mitchell and Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer. Photo by Lia Chang

2019 Drama League awards were presented to Hadestown for Outstanding Production of a Musical, Kiss Me, Kate for Outstanding Revival of a Musical, The Ferryman for Outstanding Production of a Play and The Waverly Gallery for Outstanding Revival of a Play.

Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus stars Julie White and Kristine Nielsen co-hosted the festivities.

Bryan Cranston, who is Tony-nominated for his role as Howard Beale in Network,  took home the Distinguished Performance Award. Cranston received a Drama League nomination in 2014 for his Broadway debut in All the Way, and won the Tony Award for his performance as Lyndon B. Johnson.

Special Recognition Awards were presented to Tony® Award winner Kelli O’Hara (Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater Award),  director Alex Timbers (The Founders Award for Excellence in Directing) and Taylor Mac (Unique Contribution to the Theater Award).

Alex Timbers and the creative team of MOULIN ROUGE! Photo by Lia Chang
AIN’T TOO PROUD: Sergio Trujillo, Derrick Baskin, Dominique Morisseau, Jeremy Pope, Jawan M. Jackson. Photo by Lia Chang
The cast and creative team of OAKLAHOMA. Photo by Lia Chang
BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK: Lynn Nottage, Jessica Frances Dukes, Kamilah Forbes. Photo by Lia Chang
Jessica Frances Dukes, Kamilah Forbes. Photo by Lia Chang
The cast and creative team of BE MORE CHILL. Photo by Lia Chang
The 2019 Drama League fellows. Photo by Lia Chang
The 2019 Drama League Awards. Photo by Lia Chang
The 2019 Drama League Awards. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields, Eva Noblezada, Amber Gray, Patrick Page and More Among 14 Tony Nominations for HADESTOWN including Best Musical; Full List of Nominees

HADESTOWN Star André De Shields to receive the 2019 Richard Seff Award from the Actors’ Equity Foundation on June 11 

Lia Chang
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 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: © 2000-2019 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

BD Wong, Arye Gross, Tim Liu and Ruibo Qian in A.C.T.’s THE GREAT LEAP through March 31

Tim Liu, Ruibo Qian, BD Wong. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne

American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) is presenting award-winning Bay Area playwright Lauren Yee’s The Great Leap at A.C.T.’s Geary Theater (415 Geary St., San Francisco) through March 31, 2019.

Tim Liu, Arye Gross. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne
Tim Liu, Arye Gross. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne

When a college basketball team from San Francisco is invited to China for an exhibition game in 1989, a smack-talking American coach prepares to take on his protégé-now grown and bent on crushing the Westerners. But after a public high school star from Chinatown joins the American team, his actions in Beijing become the accidental focus of attention, escalating the fractured history between the coaches. Funny, urgent, and contemporary, this slam dunk of a sports drama from Yee-developed at A.C.T.’s New Strands Festival in 2017-explores cultural identity, global politics, and the collision of cultures and generations. Under the direction of two-time Obie Award winner Lisa Peterson, The Great Leap soars through time and leaps across continents from the hardball courts of San Francisco’s Chinatown to a Beijing on the brink of a revolution, building tension right up to the buzzer. Press night for The Great Leap will be held on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. Single tickets (ranging from $15-$110) are available at the A.C.T. Box Office at 415.749.2228 or online at www.act-sf.org. Ticket prices are subject to change without notice.

Arye Gross. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne
Arye Gross. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne

Following rave reviews and audience acclaim in The Great Leap at off-Broadway’s Atlantic Theater Company this past spring, Tony Award winner and San Francisco native BD Wong (The Orphan of Zhao at A.C.T.; “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”) will reprise his role as “Wen Chang.” Joining him are (in alphabetical order) Arye Gross (ABC’s “Castle”; Wild Oats at South Coast Repertory Theatre) as “Saul,” Tim Liu (A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey; Incident at Hidden Temple at Pan Asian Repertory Theatre) as “Manford,” and Ruibo Qian (Bull in a China Shop at Lincoln Center Theater; Water by the Spoonful at The Old Globe) as “Connie.”

BD Wong, Arye Gross. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne
BD Wong, Arye Gross. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne

The creative team for The Great Leap includes Robert Brill (Scenic Designer), Meg Neville (Costume Designer), Yi Zhao (Lighting Designer), Jake Rodriguez (Sound Designer), and Hana Sooyeon Kim (Video Designer).

Tim Liu. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne
Tim Liu. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne

In connection with The Great Leap, A.C.T. will offer numerous InterACT events-many of which are presented free of charge-that will give patrons opportunities to get closer to the action while having an entire night out at the theater. Visit act-sf.org/interact to learn more about subscribing to these events throughout the season: Bike to the Theater Night:

Prologue:
Tuesday, March 12, 5:30 p.m.
Before the curtain goes up, get a sneak peek at the artistic process at this fascinating preshow discussion with the director and artistic staff.

Audience Exchanges:
Tuesday, March 19, 7 p.m. | Sunday, March 24, 2 p.m. | Wednesday, March 27, 2 p.m.
After the show, stick around for a lively Q&A session with the actors and artists who create the work onstage.

OUT with A.C.T.:
Wednesday, March 20, following the 8 p.m. performance
The best LGBT night in town! Mingle with the cast and enjoy free drinks and treats at this popular after-party.

Wente Vineyards Wine Series:
Tuesday, March 26, 7 p.m.
Before the show, raise a glass at this wine-tasting event featuring the Bay Area’s hottest local winery.

PlayTime:
Saturday, March 30, 12:45 p.m.
Before this matinee performance, get hands-on with the artists who make it happen at this interactive theater workshop. A.C.T.’s production of The Great Leap is made possible by executive producers The Milledge and Patti Hart Family; Jo S. Hurley; and Fred M. Levin and Nancy Livingston, The Shenson Foundation; and producers Lloyd and Janet Cluff; and David and Carla Riemer.

A.C.T.’s production of The Great Leap is made possible by executive producers Kevin and Celeste Ford; The Milledge and Patti Hart Family; Jo S. Hurley; and Fred M. Levin and Nancy Livingston, The Shenson Foundation; and producers Lloyd and Janet Cluff; and David and Carla Riemer.

Tim Liu, Ruibo Qian. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne
Tim Liu, Ruibo Qian. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne
Tim Liu, Arye Gross. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne
Tim Liu, Arye Gross. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne
Tim Liu, Ruibo Qian. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne
Tim Liu, Ruibo Qian. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne
Arye Gross. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne
Arye Gross. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne
Arye Gross, BD Wong. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne
Arye Gross, BD Wong. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne
Tim Liu, BD Wong. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne
Tim Liu, BD Wong. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne
BD Wong. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne
BD Wong. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne
Tim Liu, Ruibo Qian. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne
Tim Liu, Ruibo Qian. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne
Tim Liu, BD Wong, Arye Gross, Ruibo Qian. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne
Tim Liu, BD Wong, Arye Gross, Ruibo Qian. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne
Tim Liu, Ruibo Qian, BD Wong. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne
Tim Liu, Ruibo Qian, BD Wong. Photo Credit: Kevin Berne
Lia Chang
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 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: © 2000-2019 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

Tony Award winner and San Francisco Native BD Wong, Arye Gross, Tim Liu and Ruibo Qian Set for Lauren Yee’s THE GREAT LEAP at A.C.T.’s Geary Theater, March 6-31

BD Wong. Photo by Lia Chang

American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) Artistic Director Pam MacKinnon announced the full cast and creative team for award-winning Bay Area playwright Lauren Yee’s The Great Leap, performing at A.C.T.’s Geary Theater (415 Geary St., San Francisco) March 6-31, 2019.

BD Wong. Photo by Lia Chang
BD Wong. Photo by Lia Chang

When a college basketball team from San Francisco is invited to China for an exhibition game in 1989, a smack-talking American coach prepares to take on his protégé-now grown and bent on crushing the Westerners. But after a public high school star from Chinatown joins the American team, his actions in Beijing become the accidental focus of attention, escalating the fractured history between the coaches. Funny, urgent, and contemporary, this slam dunk of a sports drama from Yee-developed at A.C.T.’s New Strands Festival in 2017-explores cultural identity, global politics, and the collision of cultures and generations. Under the direction of two-time Obie Award winner Lisa Peterson, The Great Leap soars through time and leaps across continents from the hardball courts of San Francisco’s Chinatown to a Beijing on the brink of a revolution, building tension right up to the buzzer. Press night for The Great Leap will be held on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. Single tickets (ranging from $15-$110) are available at the A.C.T. Box Office at 415.749.2228 or online at www.act-sf.org. Ticket prices are subject to change without notice.

Following rave reviews and audience acclaim in The Great Leap at off-Broadway’s Atlantic Theater Company this past spring, Tony Award winner and San Francisco native BD Wong (The Orphan of Zhao at A.C.T.; “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”) will reprise his role as “Wen Chang.” Joining him are (in alphabetical order) Arye Gross (ABC’s “Castle”; Wild Oats at South Coast Repertory Theatre) as “Saul,” Tim Liu (A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey; Incident at Hidden Temple at Pan Asian Repertory Theatre) as “Manford,” and Ruibo Qian (Bull in a China Shop at Lincoln Center Theater; Water by the Spoonful at The Old Globe) as “Connie.”

Says A.C.T. Artistic Director Pam MacKinnon: “I am delighted to have this San Francisco story-written by one of theater’s most exciting new voices and developed at A.C.T.’s New Strands Festival-play The Geary Theater. Yee’s basketball play puts a surprising search for self and belonging center court.”

The creative team for The Great Leap includes Robert Brill (Scenic Designer), Meg Neville (Costume Designer), Yi Zhao (Lighting Designer), Jake Rodriguez (Sound Designer), and Hana Sooyeon Kim (Video Designer).

In connection with The Great Leap, A.C.T. will offer numerous InterACT events-many of which are presented free of charge-that will give patrons opportunities to get closer to the action while having an entire night out at the theater. Visit act-sf.org/interact to learn more about subscribing to these events throughout the season: Bike to the Theater Night:

Wednesday, March 6, 7 p.m.
Providing a greener alternative to theater transportation, A.C.T. and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition offer free valet bike parking, as well as a special discount on tickets, for these select performances.

Prologue:
Tuesday, March 12, 5:30 p.m.
Before the curtain goes up, get a sneak peek at the artistic process at this fascinating preshow discussion with the director and artistic staff.

Audience Exchanges:
Tuesday, March 19, 7 p.m. | Sunday, March 24, 2 p.m. | Wednesday, March 27, 2 p.m.
After the show, stick around for a lively Q&A session with the actors and artists who create the work onstage.

OUT with A.C.T.:
Wednesday, March 20, following the 8 p.m. performance
The best LGBT night in town! Mingle with the cast and enjoy free drinks and treats at this popular after-party.

Wente Vineyards Wine Series:
Tuesday, March 26, 7 p.m.
Before the show, raise a glass at this wine-tasting event featuring the Bay Area’s hottest local winery.

PlayTime:
Saturday, March 30, 12:45 p.m.
Before this matinee performance, get hands-on with the artists who make it happen at this interactive theater workshop. A.C.T.’s production of The Great Leap is made possible by executive producers The Milledge and Patti Hart Family; Jo S. Hurley; and Fred M. Levin and Nancy Livingston, The Shenson Foundation; and producers Lloyd and Janet Cluff; and David and Carla Riemer.

A.C.T.’s production of The Great Leap is made possible by executive producers Kevin and Celeste Ford; The Milledge and Patti Hart Family; Jo S. Hurley; and Fred M. Levin and Nancy Livingston, The Shenson Foundation; and producers Lloyd and Janet Cluff; and David and Carla Riemer.

Lia Chang
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 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: © 2000-2019 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

BD Wong to Revisit Lauren Yee’s THE GREAT LEAP at A.C.T.’s Geary Theater, March 6 – March 31

BD Wong. Photo by Lia Chang
BD Wong. Photo by Lia Chang
BD Wong. Photo by Lia Chang

Following rave reviews and audience acclaim at off-Broadway’s Atlantic Theater Company this past spring, American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) Artistic Director Pam MacKinnon announced that Tony Award winner and San Francisco native BD Wong will reprise his role as ‘Wen Chang’ in award-winning Bay Area playwright Lauren Yee’s The Great Leap, performing at A.C.T.’s Geary Theater (415 Geary St., San Francisco) from Wednesday, March 6, through Sunday, March 31, 2019. Additional casting will be announced at a later date.

Says Wong: “I’m always looking for the rare work that’s as moving as it is funny, that has characters who are people you’ve never met before but whom you somehow immediately feel familiar with. This play, kind of miraculously, gives me all of it. I love Lauren Yee’s insightful vantage point that looks over family relationships and the unsettled scores such relationships keep, all wrapped up in a fresh athletic metaphor. It’s a play that is so specifically Chinese American, yet somehow all-embracing-and that isn’t an easy feat for a playwright. It is a gift of an opportunity to perform Lauren’s play on one of the great regional stages in the country.”

Lauren Yee, BD Wong, Lisa Peterson, Pam MacKinnon. Photo by Lia Chang
Lauren Yee, BD Wong, Lisa Peterson, Pam MacKinnon. Photo by Lia Chang

Adds MacKinnon: “The Great Leap was already going to be a celebration of San Francisco-a story set here, by a playwright from here, about a sport vital to here. We now add to that a homecoming for San Francisco’s own BD Wong. I cannot wait!”

When a college basketball team from San Francisco is invited to China for an exhibition game in 1989, a smack-talking American coach prepares to take on his protégé-now grown and bent on crushing the Westerners. But after a public high school star from Chinatown joins the American team, his actions in Beijing become the accidental focus of attention, escalating the fractured history between the coaches. Funny, urgent, and contemporary, this slam dunk of a sports drama from Yee-developed at A.C.T.’s New Strands Festival in 2017-explores cultural identity, global politics, and the collision of cultures and generations. Under the direction of two-time Obie Award winner Lisa Peterson, The Great Leap soars through time and leaps across continents from the hardball courts of San Francisco’s Chinatown to a Beijing on the brink of a revolution, building tension right up to the buzzer.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Wong is the only actor ever to have received all five major New York Theater awards for a single role-namely his performance in M. Butterfly (his Broadway debut): the Drama Desk Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, the Theater World Award, the Clarence Derwent Award, and the Tony Award.

Wong gained notice on HBO’s critically acclaimed series “Oz” as the resilient prison priest (Father Ray) for the show’s six-season run. Then, for 11 seasons on the top-rated NBC series “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” he played George Huang, an FBI forensic psychiatrist and expert on the criminal mind. Other television credits include NBC’s “Awake,” ABC’s “All-American Girl,” HBO’s telefilms And the Band Played On and The Normal Heart, as well as guest-starring roles on “Sesame Street,” “The X-Files,” “Madam Secretary,” “Nurse Jackie,” and “NCIS: New Orleans.” He most recently has been seen in two drastically different television roles simultaneously: as the nefarious Hugo Strange on “Gotham” and as the mysterious trans-female hacker Whiterose on “Mr. Robot.” For his work on the latter, he received an Emmy, Gold Derby, and a Critic’s Choice Award nominations.

Wong has appeared in more than 20 feature films, including Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Jurassic World, Focus, The Space Between Us, Stay, The Salton Sea, Executive Decision, Seven Years in Tibet, Jurassic Park, Father of the Bride (1 & 2), and The Freshman. He can also be heard as the voice of Shang in the Disney animated films Mulan and Mulan II. He will next be seen in Birdbox.

Wong’s additional New York theater credits include The Great Leap at The Atlantic Theater Company, The Tempest, A Language of Their Own, As Thousands Cheer, Shanghai Moon, and the Broadway revivals of the musicals You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures (the latter for which he received a Drama League nomination for distinguished performance). He recently starred regionally in The Orphan of Zhao at La Jolla Playhouse and San Francisco’s A.C.T. In addition, he has starred in five productions of the one-man musical Herringbone, a project dear to his heart.

Wong holds an honorary M.F.A. from American Conservatory Theater.

Three-, four-, and five-play subscriptions are available and offer incredible savings, unparalleled access, exclusive benefits, and personalized customer service. Subscribers save as much as 50% off single-ticket prices. Students and educators are eligible to save up to half price on subscriptions, and senior discounts are available for certain series. A.C.T.’s competitive subscriber benefits include free ticket exchanges up to the day of your scheduled performance, guaranteed best seating, ticket insurance, access to convenient prepaid parking one block away from the theater, discounts for neighborhood restaurants, and the opportunity to subscribe to Words on Plays, A.C.T.’s in-depth theater guide for each show.

BD Wong, Ned Eisenberg, Ali Ahn and Tony Aidan Vo Celebrate Opening Night of Lauren Yee’s THE GREAT LEAP 

The Rise of Playwright Lauren Yee

Lauren Yee, Ali Ahn, Ned Eisenberg, Tony Aidan Vo and BD Wong at The GREAT LEAP

Ned Eisenberg, Playwright Lauren Yee, BD Wong Director Taibi Magar, Ali Ahn, Tony Adian Vo. Photo by Lia Chang
Lauren Yee. Photo by Lia Chang
Lauren Yee. Photo by Lia Chang

Atlantic Theater Company’s New York premiere production of The Great Leap, written by Lauren Yee and directed by Taibi Magar, will end the extended run on  Sunday, June 24th at Atlantic Theater Company’s Stage 2 (330 West 16th Street). Click here for tickets.

Ned Eisenberg, Playwright Lauren Yee, BD Wong Director Taibi Magar, Ali Ahn, Tony Adian Vo. Photo by Lia Chang
Ned Eisenberg, Playwright Lauren Yee, BD Wong, Director Taibi Magar, Ali Ahn, Tony Aidan Vo. Photo by Lia Chang

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

Lauren Yee, BD Wong, Lisa Peterson, Pam MacKinnon. Photo by Lia Chang
Lauren Yee, BD Wong, Lisa Peterson, Pam MacKinnon. Photo by Lia Chang

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.

Lauren Yee, BD Wong, Ali Ahn, Tony Aidan Vo, Taibi Magar and members of the Yee Association. Photo by Lia Chang
Lauren Yee, BD Wong, Ali Ahn, Tony Aidan Vo, Taibi Magar and members of the Yee Association. Photo by Lia Chang

The Great Leap features scenic design by Takeshi Kata, costume design by Tilly Grimes, lighting design by Eric Southern, sound design and original music by Broken Chord, 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 Rise of Playwright Lauren Yee 

BD Wong, Ned Eisenberg, Ali Ahn and Tony Aidan Vo Celebrate Opening Night of Lauren Yee’s THE GREAT LEAP

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

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

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

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

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 

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

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 

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: © 2000-2018 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

Photos: Lia Chang

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