The Great Leap The Great Leap

The Great Leap  | 

November 6 — December 1
Urgent, sharp-witted and fast-paced, The Great Leap is an unforgettable night of theater. As two men from different cultures reunite and find themselves at a crossroads – one man struggling to keep his career alive and an old friend flourishing in a career he never wanted – a young Chinese-American gets lost in the Tiananmen Square Protest and finds himself at the accidental center of international attention.  All three men must face their past and struggle to find their own personal victories in this compelling drama directed by Tony Award winner BD Wong.

“Deeply moving and emotionally impactful.”

-StageScene LA

by Lauren Yee

directed by BD Wong

a Co-Production with East West Players

2 hours including one 15-minute intermission

Members: FREE

Tickets: $25+

Urgent, sharp-witted and fast-paced, The Great Leap is an unforgettable night of theater. As two men from different cultures reunite and find themselves at a crossroads – one man struggling to keep his career alive and an old friend flourishing in a career he never wanted – a young Chinese-American gets lost in the Tiananmen Square Protest and finds himself at the accidental center of international attention.  All three men must face their past and struggle to find their own personal victories in this compelling drama directed by Tony Award winner BD Wong.

“Deeply moving and emotionally impactful.”

-StageScene LA
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Cast

Grant Chang

Grant Chang

Wen Chang

Grant Chang

Chang is thrilled to make his West Coast debut at the Pasadena Playhouse. A native New Yorker, Chang minored in educational theater at New York University and studied acting at HB Studios. He’s most recently known for his recurring guest star role as “Grant” in Mr. Robot. Theater: Marian Jean (NYTW), The Nanjing Race (Abingdon Theatre Company), A Shot Away (Red Fern Theatre), Mame with Sandy Duncan (Barrington Stage Co). Television: Mr. Robot, Deception, The Knick, House of Cards, Daredevil, Law and Order, Law and Order Criminal Intent. Film: Off Jackson Avenue, The Cut Runs Deep, Finding You, Dark Horse, Feel. Much love to my family and friends for their constant belief and support. Represented by Vanguard Management Group.

Justin Chien

Justin Chien

Manford

Justin Chien

Chien is originally from Taiwan and has a BFA in Acting from USC. He recently appeared in Valley of the Heart at the Mark Taper Forum. Chien is a co-founder of Rogue Shore Pictures where he has written, directed, and acted in various award-winning short films including Tiger of the White Sun, Reverallium, and Continuum, which won Outstanding Short Film at the 2019 Chinese American Film Festival. Shoutout to Mom, Dad, Darren, Fred, and Christen. I love you guys… but not as much as I love uni… and ramen… and McConnell’s ice cream. Mamba Mentality. Ball is Life. | justin-chien.com

James Eckhouse

James Eckhouse

Saul

James Eckhouse

Most recently Eckhouse starred on Broadway opposite Bryan Cranston in the Tony Award-winning drama All the Way and as “Don Knotts” in the HBO series High and Mighty. This fall he appears opposite Rita Wilson in Simple Wedding and in Pencil Town. Eckhouse directed last season’s highly acclaimed comedy, American Hero, a co-production with IAMA Theatre in the Carrie Hamilton. Other theater credits include: Red Line (IAMA), The Escort (Geffen Playhouse), The Goat (Mark Taper), Mother Courage (La Jolla), Six Degrees of Separation (Old Globe), and The Downside (Pasadena Playhouse). Eckhouse has appeared in dozens of TV shows and films; he is perhaps most well-known to TV audiences playing ‘Jim Walsh’ on the original Beverly Hills 90210. He has a BFA in drama from the Juilliard School.

Christine Lin

Christine Lin

Connie

Christine Lin

Lin is honored to make her Pasadena Playhouse debut with this beautiful production and especially grateful to BD for coaching our team. A Chicago suburbs native, Lin originated the role of “Miss Zhao” in David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish on Broadway and at the Goodman Theatre. She has also worked with CalArts CNP at the Huntington Library, Cincinnati Playhouse, Nashville Rep, Firefly Theater & Films, InFusion Theatre, Halcyon Theatre and Stir-Friday Night! Television: The Blacklist, Limitless, Gossip Girl, The Following, Alpha House, Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn. Film: Big Words, Blowtorch, Listen Up Philip. Education: Steppenwolf West, Second City Chicago Conservatory, UCB NYC/LA , BSE degree in electrical and biomedical engineering, Duke University.

Creative Team

East West Players

Established in 1965, East West Players is the nation’s leading Asian American theater company and the nation’s longest running theater of color for our award-winning productions that blend Eastern and Western customs and traditions. 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. 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 (Playwright)

Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band, with music by Dengue Fever, premiered at South Coast Rep, subsequent productions at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, City Theatre, Merrimack Rep, Signature Theatre, Portland Center Stage and Jungle Theatre. Her play The Great Leap has been produced at the Denver Center, Seattle Repertory, Atlantic Theatre, the Guthrie Theatre, Arts Club, InterAct Theatre, and Steppenwolf with future productions at Long Wharf and Asolo Rep. Honors include the Doris Duke Artists Award, Whiting Award, Steinberg/ATCA Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters literature award, Horton Foote Prize, Kesselring Prize, Primus Prize, a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton and the #1 and #2 plays on the 2017 Kilroys List. She’s a Residency 5 playwright at Signature Theatre, New Dramatists members, Ma-Yi Writers’ Lab member and Playwrights Realm Alumni playwright. TV credits include Pachinko (Apple); Soundtrack (Netflix). Current commissions include Geffen Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, Second Stage, and South Coast Rep. BA: Yale. MFA: UCSD. | laurenyee.com

BD Wong (Director)

Broadway: M. Butterfly (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Clarence Derwent, Theater World Awards), You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and Pacific Overtures. Authored the critically-acclaimed memoir Following Foo (Harper Entertainment). Directed and co-wrote Alice Chan (La Jolla Playhouse POP Tour, co-written with Robert Lee), The Yellow Wood (NYMF) and Speak Up Connie (All For One Festival). Off-Broadway: As Thousands Cheer, Shanghai Moon, A Language of Their Own. Television: Mr. Robot (Emmy and Critics Choice nominations), Something’s Killing Me, Gotham, American Horror Story: Apocalypse, Law & Order: SVU (eleven seasons), Oz, All-American Girl, Awkwafina is Nora From Queens (January 2020). Film: Bird Box, Focus, The Salton Sea, Mulan, Seven Years in Tibet, Father of the Bride. Principal photography for Jurassic World 3 (his fourth of the “Jurassic” franchise) begins in 2020. Currently directing the ongoing workshop of Mr. Holland’s Opus, the musical adaptation that he co-wrote with composer Wayne Barker, at the Wilson Center of Performing Arts in Wilmington, NC. He sits on the Boards of Trustees of Rosie’s Theater Kids and the Actor’s Fund of America.

Fran de Leon (Assistant Director)

LA Native Fran de Leon is Co-Artistic Director of Will & Company, an ensemble member of Critical Mass Performance Group, and a guest director at the Garry Marshall Theater. Her one person show, Faces of America, has been performed in 49 states, including performances for the United Nations Associations, California and New York. Fran has worked with Center Theater Group, South Coast Rep, Playmakers’ Rep, Cornerstone Theater, East West Players, Artists at Play, and Playwrights’ Arena. Writer/Director credits include commissioned work for Segerstrom Center’s Arts Teach, TreePeople, and Twelfth Night Rep. Latest TV credits include Criminal Minds, Speechless, and a recurring role in For The People. Recently, Fran performed in an immersive, devised theater piece in a co-production for Cornerstone Theater and CMPG. Currently, she is in development for a new play about Filipino-American WWII veterans to be presented by Center Theater Group’s Community Readings next year.

Lex Liang (Scenic & Costume Designer)

NYC/Off-Broadway: 50+ productions – recent work includes Antigone, Nine Circles, and The Bacchae. Regional: Alliance Theatre, Asolo Repertory, Cleveland Playhouse, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Dallas Theater Center, Denver Center, Florida Studio Theatre, Geva Theatre, The Guthrie, La Jolla Playhouse, Long Wharf Theatre, Miami New Drama, Paper Mill Playhouse, Portland Stage, Portland Center Stage, Syracuse Stage, Tantrum Theater, Woolly Mammoth, and others. Liang is the principal/ founder of LDC Design Associates, an experiential event and bespoke interiors design and production company in NYC. Recent projects include Ubuntu Pathways: Fight For Good, Operation Smile’s 35th Anniversary Gala, The Tony Awards Gala and BCBG’s 30 Year Retrospective, NYFW 2019. Member, United Scenic Artists-829. | LexLiang.com

Rebecca Bonebrake (Lighting Designer)

Bonebrake is excited to be making her Pasadena Playhouse debut. A Los Angeles based Lighting Designer, Bonebrake’s recent credits include Hannah and the Dread Gazebo (The Fountain Theatre in association with East West Players), Man of God (East West Players), and Death and Cockroaches (Chalk Repertory Theatre). Bonebrake is a member of the Artistic Circle at Chalk Rep and holds an MFA in Lighting Design from UC San Diego. Beyond her theater work Bonebrake is an architectural lighting designer, primarily working on themed entertainment projects. | rebeccabonebrake.com

Leon Rothenberg (Sound Designer)

Pasadena Playhouse: Our Town. Recent Broadway: Hillary and Clinton, The Waverly Gallery, Mike Birbiglia’s The New One, The Boys in the Band. Regional: Huntington Theatre, La Mirada Performing Arts Center, Two River Theater, A.C.T., City Theatre Pittsburgh, Arena Stage, Old Globe, Geffen Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, Seattle Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, Williamstown Theatre Festival, NY Stage and Film. Recent New York/Off-Broadway: NYCC, Primary Stages, Second Stage, Manhattan Theatre Club. International: Cirque du Soleil, National Theatre of Cyprus, and Dijon International Festival. Tony Award for Sound Design: The Nance. Online: klaxson.net

Hana S. Kim (Projection Designer)

Regional/Off-Broadway: American Conservatory Theater: Sweat (dir. Loretta Greco); Public Theater: Eve’s Song (dir. Jo Bonney); Baltimore Center Stage: Fun Home, The Christians (dir. Hana Sharif); South Coast Rep: Little Black Shadows (dir. May Adrales). LA Opera: Wonderful Town (dir. David Lee); New York City Opera and Long Beach Opera: Fallujah (dir. Andreas Mitisek). Video Art Installation: Oxy Arts: Rustle and Cry; Annenberg Space of Photography: Pearls of the Planet; Baryshnikov Arts Center in NY: Emille. Awards: Richard E. Sherwood Awards, Princess Grace Award in Theater Design, Helen Hayes Award, Theater Bay Area Critics Circle Award, StageScene LA Award, Stage Raw Award. Online: hananow.com | @hana.s.kim

Brandon Hong Cheng (Stage Manager)

Cheng is a San Francisco native and a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, with a B.A. in Technical Theater. He is excited to help bring The Great Leap to its Los Angeles premiere. Other premiere credits include Man of God with East West Players, and The Chinese Lady with Artists at Play. Selected credits include Mamma Mia! (East West Players), Allegiance (Japanese American Cultural & Community Center/EWP), Vampire Lesbians of Sodom (Door Ajar Theatre), 2012 – The Musical (San Francisco Mime Troupe), and Conf(USED) (Youth for Asian Theater). Cheng wants to thank his family and friends for all of their love and support. Enjoy the show!

Lydia Runge (Assistant Stage Manager)

Runge is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse with a B.S. in Stage Management and is excited to be working with Pasadena Playhouse for the first time. She most recently worked as a stage manager with the educational theater program at Kaiser Permanente. Past credits include: Mamma Mia!, Man of God, As We Babble On, Allegiance: LA Premiere (EWP); Two Mile Hollow (Artists at Play); Company, and One Man, Two Guvnors (UWL). Member of Actors’ Equity Association.

About East West Players

About East West Players
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.

Talkbacks

TALKBACK WITH THE CAST HOSTED BY CAPE | TUESDAY, Nov 19

Join us for a talkback with the cast of The Great Leap and get an inside-look at the casts’ process preparing for this production and take a deep-dive in discussing representation of Asian American Pacific Islander artists in Arts and Entertainment. Hosted by CAPE (Coalition for Asian Pacifics in Entertainment).

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From the great leap to tiananmen square | TUESDAY, Nov 26

Join us for a talkback with professor Sean Metzger on a deep-dive into the events surrounding the play, The Great Leap. This talkback will cover the events of China’s Great Leap to the unrest at Tiananmen Square and the cultural significance.

Sean Metzger is Professor in the UCLA School of Theatre, Film, and Television and the president of Performance Studies international. He has published Chinese Looks: Fashion, Performance Race (2014) and The Chinese Atlantic: Seascapes and the Theatricality of Globalization (forthcoming in May, 2020), he is also the coeditor of Theatre Journal. He has coedited 5 collections of essays and a volume of plays and authored more than 50 articles and reviews.

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Open Captioning

The Open Captioned performance of The Great Leap will be on Sunday, Nov 24 at 2:00 PM.

Support for Open Captioning is provided in part by TDF. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Ticket Options

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Bring a group of 10 or more for discounts up to 35%. Book for a preview performance and pay in full to get our best discount. Call 626-356-PLAY or email boxoffice@pasadenaplayhouse.org

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Advisory

Pasadena Playhouse does not offer advisories about the subject matter for this production, as sensitivities vary from patron to patron. If you have any inquiries regarding content, age-appropriateness or stage effects (such as strobe lights or theatrical fog) that may affect patron comfort, please contact Patron Services during Box Office hours at 626-356-PLAY.

Children under age 5 are not permitted in any performance at Pasadena Playhouse.

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