The Great Leap
The Great Leap
About The Show
By Lauren Yee
Directed by Vanessa Stalling
“A fluent piece of playwriting” – The Daily Beast
Born in the United States but inextricably tied to far off and forbidden China, Manford Lum finds his home on the basketball courts of San Francisco’s Chinatown. As fast-talking as he is athletically skilled, Lum wisecracks and dazzles his way onto a college team headed for a “friendly” exhibition game in Beijing. As the story bounces between 1989 and 1971, past relationships collide with present day revelations right up to the final buzzer. Smart, feisty, and hilarious, The Great Leap is about family, history, and learning that every game is a second chance.
Contains mature language and flashing lights. Recommended for ages 16+.
Artwork: Manuel Gonzalez Ruiz, Mago Atelier
In the News
- Take the Leap at Asolo Rep for Lauren Yee’s Riveting and Resonant Play (Anything Arts)
- Asolo Rep’s The Great Leap Mixes Sports, Politics and Personal Drama (Sarasota Magazine)
- In this play, the game is more than a game (Venice Gondolier)
- Asolo Rep takes a second ‘Great Leap’ with Lauren Yee basketball play (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)
Events | Offerings
Saturday, March 12 | 2pm
Wednesday, March 30
This popular program is going digital! Ticket holders will be sent a video link via email prior to their performance to get the inside scoop on the ideas that inspired the production.
March 8 | Enhance your experience with this post-show discussion following select Tuesday performances.
*All activities are subject to change or modification based on CDC recommendations.
HELEN JOO LEE, she/her
SECOND SEASON (Connie, The Great Leap) is thrilled to return to Asolo Rep after her debut as Mary Debenham in Murder on the Orient Express and to finish what was started last season with The Great Leap. Some of her favorite roles in Chicago are as a permanent replacement at the famed Second City in Fantastic Super Great Nation Numero Uno and Kentucky at The Gift Theatre. You can catch her on screen as Dr. Oh in Showtime’s Work in Progress and Val on CW’s Black Lightning, also available on Netflix. Many thanks to her agents at Stewart Talent! She has lived in Seoul, Melbourne, and Rome.
GLENN OBRERO*, he/him
SECOND SEASON (Manford, The Great Leap) is thrilled to return and get his second chance to make his Asolo Rep debut! Select theatre credits include: The Great Leap (Steppenwolf Theatre); National Tour of In to America (Griffin Theatre); Scientific Method (Rivendell Theatre); and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Lookingglass Theatre). TV credits: Chicago Fire (NBC) and NeXT (FOX). Glenn is a graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design with a BFA in Acting and is represented by Gray Talent Group. Currently based in Chicago, but grew up in Tampa, he’s very happy to work professionally in his home state. Endless love and gratitude to his family and friends. Instagram: @glennlaces
GREG WATANABE*, he/him
FIRST SEASON (Dr. Gibbs, Our Town; Wen Chang, The Great Leap) is grateful to be making his Asolo Rep debut. He made his Broadway debut in Allegiance. Other credits include off-Broadway appearances in Ballad Of Yachiyo (Public Theater) and Golden Child (Signature Theater). Regionally, he performed in Romeo and Juliet (OSF), The Summer Moon (A Contemporary Theater, South Coast Rep), Extraordinary Chambers (The Geffen Playhouse), The Happy Ones (South Coast Rep), and most recently in Hold These Truths (Virginia Stage Company). Some television credits include Madam Secretary, Criminal Minds, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Reno 911.
GREGG WEINER*, he/him
SECOND SEASON (Mr. Webb, Our Town; Saul, The Great Leap) is beyond grateful to return to the vibrant and fulfilling world of live theatre at Asolo Rep. He was last seen in Murder on the Orient Express here in 2020 and was on the brink of opening The Great Leap here as well. Regional theatre credits: The Price, 7 Deadly Sins, The Whale, Red, Speed the Plow, Every Brilliant Thing. TV/Film: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Transporter 2, War Dogs, Magic City, and his filmmaking debut ReBoot, commissioned by Gablestage during quarantine. To watch the short film and for more information go to rebootshortfilm.com. Gregg is a proud member of AEA and a New World School of the Arts Alumni.
*Members of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
BRYAN LEWIS, he/him
THIRD YEAR STUDENT, SECOND SEASON (Sam Craig/Ensemble, Our Town; u/s Saul, The Great Leap) is a third year FSU/Asolo Conservatory student. His credits with the Conservatory include Julius Caesar and Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, and he understudied for Asolo Rep in Murder on the Orient Express and Lifespan of a Fact. Some of his favorite roles include Ty in Sordid Lives, Daniel in Learning Russian, Vince in Tape, and Ira in Laughter on the 23rd Floor.
JAINE YE she/her
FIRST SEASON (u/s Connie, The Great Leap) is beyond thrilled to be working with Asolo Repertory Theatre for the first time, and thankful for the endurance and perseverance of the performing arts. Based in NYC, Jaine grew up around Seattle, WA, and studied acting at Western Washington University under the guidance of Rich Brown, Jim Lortz, and Maureen O’Reilly. Stage credits include: Julius Caesar (Shakespeare in the Park/NYSF, dir. Oskar Eustis), Comfort Women: A New Musical (off-Broadway, world premiere), Man of God (Strand Theater Company), Macbeth and Richard III (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company), and Avenue Q (Oregon Contemporary Theater). Much love to her family, S.O., her squad, and to all finding inspiration and solace through creativity and storytelling.
JOE BURKE, he/him
FIRST SEASON (Projection Programmer, The Great Leap) is a visual designer for live performance specializing in projection and lighting design. Joe is excited to join the projection team for The Great Leap as video programmer assisting in managing and organizing the visual assets for the Projection Designer. Select programming credits include: I Hate It Here (PD: Paul Deziel, Goodman Theatre), ROE (PD: Caite Hevner, Goodman Theatre), Space, In Perspective (PD: Sven Ortel, Hubbard Street Dance), Having Our Say (PD: Mike Tutaj, Goodman Theatre), Pamplona (PD: Adam Flemming, Goodman Theatre), King Arthur’s Camelot (PD: John Boesche, Cincinnati Ballet), Camp David (PD: Jeff Sugg, The Old Globe Theatre).
PAUL DEZIEL, he/him
FIRST SEASON (Projection Designer, The Great Leap) practices projection design out of Chicago and Washington, D.C. Selected Credits: P.Y.G. or the Mis-edumacation of Dorian Belle (Jackalope Theatre), Crystal Creek Motel (Flying V Theatre), X and Tilikum (Sideshow Theatre Company), The Color Purple (Drury Lane Theatre), Photograph 51 (Court Theatre), Beauty’s Daughter (American Blues Theater; Jeff Nomination), The Vagrant Trilogy (Mosaic Theatre Company), United Flight 232 (The House Theatre of Chicago), Mutt (Stage Left Theatre & Red Tape Theatre), Twisted Melodies (Congo Square Theatre), and Churchill (SoloChicago Theatre). Paul holds an MFA in Projection & Multimedia Design from the University of Maryland, is an artistic affiliate with American Blues Theater, and the recipient of a Joseph Jefferson Award for Projection Design. Outside of theatre, Paul runs megagames with Chicago Megagames. pauldeziel.com
GRACE DOLEZAL-NG, she/her
FIRST SEASON (Directing Fellow, The Great Leap) is a Chicago based director/actor. She has a BA in Theatre from Northwestern University. Grace recently directed an independent production of Death for Sydney Black by Leah Nanako Winkler and has worked with the Goodman Theatre, Dragon Productions, Contra Costa Civic Theatre, Lime Arts Productions, and others. She is a 2022 Director’s Inclusion Initiative Fellow with Victory Gardens Theater and a Herb Alpert Emerging Young Artist. gracedn.com
ADAM ASHRAF ELSAYIGH, he/him
FIRST SEASON (Dramaturg and Literary Manager, Our Town, Grand Horizons, The Great Leap) is an Egyptian writer and dramaturg in his first season as the Literary Manager and Resident Dramaturg of Asolo Repertory Theatre. Adam’s ethos is to tell and amplify stories from communities that have been historically under and misrepresented on American screens and stages. Adam’s plays (including Memorial, The Marginalia, and Drowning in Cairo) have been developed and seen at The Lark, The Tisch School of the Arts, The LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, and Golden Thread Productions. Adam is a Co-founder of The Criminal Queerness Festival with National Queer Theater and a fellow at Georgetown University's Laboratory for Global Performance. He holds a BA in Theater with an emphasis in Playwriting and Dramaturgy from NYU Abu Dhabi and is an MFA Candidate in Playwriting at Brooklyn College.
THERESA HAM, she/her
SECOND SEASON (Costume Designer, The Great Leap) is a Chicago-based costume designer, and she is thrilled to return to Asolo Repertory Theatre. Recent Chicago credits include: Million Dollar Quartet and Something Rotten! (Marriott Theatre); Peter Pan and Wizard of Oz (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); Once, Little Mermaid (Jeff Award); Wizard of Oz (Paramount Theatre). Off Broadway: Ride the Cyclone (MCC). Regional credits include Alliance Theatre, ACT Theatre, Ogunquit Playhouse, Alabama Shakespeare Theatre, Delaware Theatre Company, and Fingerlakes Opera. Theresa is an adjunct faculty member at Wilbur Wright College. She is the recipient of the two Joseph Jefferson Awards for Outstanding Costume Design, a Barrymore Award for Outstanding Costume Design, and three Broadway World Awards.
MICHELLE HART, she/her
NINETEENTH SEASON (Resident Hair/Wig & Make-up Designer, Our Town, Grand Horizons, The Great Leap) Hart designs for Asolo Repertory Theatre and FSU/Asolo Conservatory. Other credits: Sarasota Ballet, Palm Beach Drama Works, Free Fall Theatre, Urbanite Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, West Coast Black Theatre Troupe, Banyan Theatre, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Venice Theatre, Dorset Theatre, Barrington Stage, and Open Stage Theatre. She has also done hair and/or make-up for Joan Rivers, Doris Roberts, Martin Short, Jane Russell, Arlene Dahl, Soledad Villamil, Jane Pauley, Richard Dreyfuss, Castille Langdon, Christopher Higgins, Mary Mara, Heather Robb, Lauren Sweetser, Justin Long, Paul Downs, Douglas Sills, and Nia Hills. Music videos: “Second Chance” by Shinedown, “Reverse Cowgirl” by T-Pain. Film and television: Paradise, FL and The Real Stephen Blatt.
JEFFREY LEVIN, he/him
FIRST SEASON (Sound Design and Original Music, The Great Leap) is a composer, sound designer, and musician based in Chicago IL. Jeffrey has contributed original music and sound designs for over 150 productions for various theaters in and outside of Chicago. He has collaborated with The Goodman, Steppenwolf, Court Theatre, Northlight, Victory Gardens, Timeline, Steep, A Red Orchid, Theatre Wit, Collaboraction, Albany Park Theatre Project, The House Theatre, TUTA, DePaul University, Columbia College, University of Austin, and more. Regionally he has worked with The Gulfshore Playhouse, Hope Summer Repertory Theatre, Denver Center for Performing Arts, and Children’s Theatre Madison (Madison, WI). Awards and recognitions: several Joseph Jefferson Award wins and nominations for Sound Design and Original Music, and the Edes Award for Emerging Artists.
KEITH PARHAM, he/him
FIRST SEASON (Lighting Designer, The Great Leap) Broadway: Therese Raquin (Roundabout Theatre Company). Off-Broadway: Man from Nebraska (Second Stage Theatre); The Purple Lights of Joppa Illinois, Between Riverside and Crazy (Atlantic Theater Company); Tribes, Red Light Winter (Barrow Street Theatre); Stop the Virgens (Karen O at St. Ann's Warehouse/Sydney Opera House); Ivanov, Three Sisters (CSC); A Minister's Wife (Lincoln Center Theatre); Adding Machine: A Musical (Minetta Lane). Regional: Roe, Father Comes Home From the Wars, The Wolves, Uncle Vanya (Goodman Theatre); Othello, Oedipus Rex, Photograph 51, All My Sons, Man in the Ring (Court Theatre); The Way the Mountain Moved (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Wild Goose Dreams (La Jolla Playhouse); Carousel (Arena Stage); TUTA Company Member: Hedda Gabler, Radio Culture, The Edge of Our Bodies, Gentle. Awards: Obie, Lortel.
XINGYING PENG, she/her
FIRST SEASON (Cultural Competency Coordinator, The Great Leap) is a Chinese literary translator and dramaturg, originally from Shenzhen, China. Her full-length theatrical translations include Dim Sum Warriors (Theatre Above, Shanghai) and Madame Ho (Exit Theatre, San Francisco). She has been a language/culture consultant for plays such as Golden Shield by Anchuli Felicia King and Mother of Exiles by Jessica Huang. In addition, she is a translator for Jettone Films, Macau Literary Festival, and Words Without Borders. Her recent dramaturgy credits include Salesman之死 (LPAC, New York) and Fulfillment (Pan Asian Rep, New York).
CELINE ROSENTHAL, she/they
SIXTH SEASON (Associate Artistic Director; Director, Grand Horizons; Resident Casting Director, The Great Leap) is a Tony®-nominated producer and "Key" member of The Ring Of Keys. Celine has developed new work with Musical Theatre Factory, NYMF, Kidoons, Tamasha, and National Queer Theatre, as well as creating Asolo Rep’s premiere new work series, Asolo Rep: Ground Floor. At Asolo Rep Celine directed Camelot, We Need A Little Christmas, The Lifespan of a Fact, Midsummer Night's Dream, and The Tempest. Other Recent Projects: Trayf (New Rep), Drowning in Cairo (N.Q.T), A Doll’s House (Studio Theatre), Motherf***er with the Hat (FSU/Asolo Conservatory), the Award Winning Indie short film Wildflower. Celine is a New Georges affiliated artist, member of the 2018/19 MTC Directing Fellowship class, and was awarded an SDC Observership and Asolo Rep Directing Fellowship. Alumnus of CTI, BMI Lehman Engel Workshop, NYU Tisch (BFA), and The New School for Drama (MFA). celinerosenthal.nyc
ARNEL SANCIANCO, he/him
FIRST SEASON (Scenic Designer, The Great Leap) is an award-winning set designer and currently is a professor of scenic design at Arizona State University. He has designed all around the United States. Credits include Acoustic Rooster's Barnyard Boogie (Kennedy Center); Photograph 51, The Belle of Amherst (Court); The Lifespan of a Fact (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis); A Doll’s House (Writer’s Theatre); The Color Purple (Drury Lane Theatre); Twelfth Night (American Players Theatre); Put Your House in Order (La Jolla Playhouse); Lottery Day (Goodman Theatre); Landladies, Into the Breeches (Northlight Theatre); The Nerd, The All Night Strut (Milwaukee Rep); Master Class, Boy (Timeline); I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, We Are Proud to Present, The Crucible (Steppenwolf).
NIA SCIARRETTA*, she/her
TENTH SEASON (Production Stage Manager; Assistant Stage Manager, Our Town, Grand Horizons; Stage Manager, The Great Leap) Favorite Asolo Rep credits include stage manager for last year’s Terrace Stage season as well as for The Sound of Music, Into the Breeches, The Music Man, Sweeney Todd, Sweat, Shakespeare in Love, Roe, and assistant stage manager for Rhinoceros, Guys & Dolls, All the Way, South Pacific, and Hero: The Musical. Previous off-Broadway credits include work on Jesus Hopped the A Train, In the Blood, and The Wayside Motor Inn at the Signature Theatre. Nia has also worked with Creede Repertory Theatre, the Hangar Theatre, the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, the Flea Theatre, and Penguin Rep.
JACQUELINE SINGLETON*, she/her
THIRD SEASON (Stage Manager, Our Town; Assistant Stage Manager, The Great Leap) At Asolo - ASM: Terrace Stage Season 2020, The Crucible; SM: Noises Off, A Doll's House, Part 2. She is a member of the Core Production staff at American Players Theatre (Spring Green, WI) for 20 seasons. Other stage management work includes Animal Farm at Milwaukee Repertory and Baltimore Center Stage; Outside Mullingar at the Clarence Brown Theater (Knoxville, TN); three seasons at Forward Theater (Madison, WI); seven seasons at Madison Repertory Theatre; and numerous theaters and shows in Chicago, including the Goodman Theatre, Writers' Theatre, and Next Theatre.
VANESSA STALLING, she/her
SECOND SEASON (Director, The Great Leap) is the Area Head of Directing and Associate Professor at UC San Diego’s Department of Theatre and Dance. She is also the director and adaptor of the Jeff Award winning play United Flight 232. She was the Associate Artistic Director of Redmoon Theater in Chicago, a Michael Maggio Fellow at The Goodman Theatre, has been recognized as one of The Fifty People Who Really Perform for Chicago, and was an honored finalist of the Women in the Arts & Media Coalition Collaboration Award. Recent productions include Titanic (Scenes from the British Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry, 1912), at The Court Theatre, and Roe, at The Goodman Theatre.
(Playwright, The Great Leap) was the second most produced playwright in America for the 2019/20 theatrical season (as per American Theatre Magazine). Her plays include Cambodian Rock Band (South Coast Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, City Theatre, Merrimack Rep) and The Great Leap (Denver Center, Seattle Repertory, Atlantic Theatre, Guthrie Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, Arts Club, InterAct Theatre, Steppenwolf). Honors: Doris Duke Artists Award, Steinberg Playwright Award, Whiting Award, Steinberg/ATCA Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters literature award, Horton Foote Prize, Kesselring Prize, Primus Prize, Hodder Fellowship, #1 and #2 plays on 2017 Kilroys List. New Dramatists, Ma-Yi Writers’ Lab, Playwrights Realm alum. TV: Pachinko (Apple), Soundtrack (Netflix). BA: Yale. MFA: UCSD. laurenyee.com
MICHAEL CASSARA, CSA
(New York Casting, The Great Leap) and his team have cast over 500 theatre and film projects since the founding of Michael Cassara Casting in 2003. Recent credits: Mr. Holland’s Opus (BD Wong/Wayne Barker – upcoming), Punk Rock Girl! (Joe Iconis/Rob Rokicki – upcoming world premiere) An American In Paris (international tour, dir. Christopher Wheeldon), Spamilton: An American Parody (off-Broadway/Chicago/Pittsburgh CLO/cast album/current tour), Forbidden Broadway (most recent three editions/cast albums), Enter Laughing (York Theatre), Gigantic (Vineyard Theatre, dir. Scott Schwartz), The 12 (Denver Center/world premiere), and regional productions at Gulfshore Playhouse (13 seasons), Ogunquit Playhouse, The Old Globe, Asolo Rep, Hangar Theatre, Argyle Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Denver Center, and dozens of other companies. From 2007 to 2019, Michael served as the resident casting director for the New York Musical Festival (NYMF), and he has proudly served in that position for the National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) since 2013. Native Clevelander, BFA graduate of Otterbein University. Member, Casting Society of America and two-time Artios Award nominee. michaelcassara.net / @michaelcassara
(Chicago Casting, Our Town; The Great Leap) Regional credits include working with the Clarence Brown Theatre, Cleveland Play House, Guthrie Theatre, Indiana Rep, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Lyric Opera in Chicago, New Theatre, Kansas City Rep, Madison Rep, Milwaukee Rep, Paramount Theatre, Syracuse Stage, and Writers’ Theatre. Chicago theater credits: Broadway in Chicago’s Working; critically acclaimed The Doyle & Debbie Show; the Tony Award-winning Million Dollar Quartet; Show Boat, Carousel, and The King and I for the Lyric Opera; Old Jews Telling Jokes. TV: Empire, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Sense 8, Crisis, Betrayal, Detroit 1-8-7, Boss, Mob Doctor, Chicago Code. Recent film credits: Divergent, Contagion, Jupiter Ascending, Unexpected. Won the Artios Award for casting season one of Fox’s Prison Break.
*Members of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
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