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October 29 - November 20, 2022 , Outcalt Theatre

The Great Leap

written by LAUREN YEE
directed by ESTHER JUN

Run time: 1 hour and 45 minutes, including 15 minute intermission
Advisory: Heavy profanity and sexual innuendo; racist and xenophobic comments; recommended for ages 14+

1989. An American college basketball team travels from San Francisco to Beijing for a “friendship game” against a Chinese squad. Far from friendly, the matchup quickly becomes a high-stakes battle, as the American coach fights for his reputation and his Chinese counterpart fights for his life. Caught in the middle, a young Chinese American player must prove his mettle on the court while unravelling a long-kept secret. Cultures and generations clash in this kinetic, darkly comic sports drama.

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* Has anyone ever prohibited you from pursuing your dream? What was the dream, and what lengths did you go to make that dream a reality, despite opposition?

* Do you have a friend or acquaintance who comes from a different culture or country than you? How are you similar or different? Have you had to adapt to one another - and how? Are you curious about any part of his / her / their background that remains unknown to you?

* Does your family have an unrevealed secret that you wonder about? Have you ever tried to uncover the truth?

* Do you have a favorite memory of a sporting event that was a highly-contested, nail-biter up until the final moments of play? What was the sport, when was the game, and how did it end?

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Interested in learning more about how FRIENDSHIP GAMES developed as a form of Chinese diplomacy during the Cold War? Look no further! There's a terrific article right here.

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Has The Great Leap whet your appetite to know more about Chinese culture? If so, we encourage you to take advantage of the treasure that is the AsiaTown community, which stretches from East 30th to East 40th between St. Clair and Perkins Avenues. To learn about the shops, restaurants, events, people, and community organizations in this thriving neighborhood, check out this website and then plan a day or two to visit!

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Everybody loves a good underdog story, a tale of an individual or team - expected to lose - who surprisingly overcomes obstacles, gets better at something, and rallies to victory. Manford's story in The Great Leap is just one of many of these stories in film, theatre, and literature. But these stories happen in everyday life as well!

Do you have an underdog story of your own? We'd love to hear it? Post it on your social media - and tag it with #CPHGreatLeap. Include a picture of you during this underdog season if you've got one. Or send your story and image to us at cjoseph@clevelandplayhouse.com - and we'll post it on our website for others to see!

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Have you ever wondered, like Manford, about your family origins? Where you come from? What your realtives were like? How and why they did the things they did? Some of us know lots of information about our ancestors, while others of us have barely even scratched the surface of our familialr history. Wherever you're at, Cleveland Public Library's Genealogy Services has tools and resources to help you explore and discover your roots and origins. Check out all of their exciting offerings here!

Artists

Eric  Cheung

Eric Cheung

(Manford) (he/him) is thrilled to be making his regional debut at Cleveland Play House. He recently understudied Manford and Wen Chang in The Great Leap at Asolo Repertory Theatre. more(Manford) (he/him) is thrilled to be making his regional debut at Cleveland Play House. He recently understudied Manford and Wen Chang in The Great Leap at Asolo Repertory Theatre.

Amanda Kuo

Amanda Kuo

(Connie) (she/her) is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan Theatre Performance program. Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, she has worked regionally at Flint Repertory Theatre in Michigan and the Link Theatre in Arkansas. Her work on screen has taken her from Boston to New York to Los Angeles, more(Connie) (she/her) is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan Theatre Performance program. Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, she has worked regionally at Flint Repertory Theatre in Michigan and the Link Theatre in Arkansas. Her work on screen has taken her from Boston to New York to Los Angeles, and her credits include several independent short films, Kevin Can F*ck Himself, and national commercials. She recently won Best Actress in the Golden Hour Film Festival for her role as Jesse in Spirit Hand by Jack Diehl. Amanda is an actor, writer, and director. She is currently working on an original project called Millie & Maddie which you can find on Instagram, TikTok, and Youtube.

David Mason

David Mason

(Saul) (he/him) is delighted to make his Cleveland Play House debut. David appeared off-Broadway in the NYC premiere of Theresa Rebeck’s Seared with Raúl Esparza and Krysta Rodriguez, directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel at MCC Theater. Other NYC credits include work with 59E59, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Civilian Studios, Primary more(Saul) (he/him) is delighted to make his Cleveland Play House debut. David appeared off-Broadway in the NYC premiere of Theresa Rebeck’s Seared with Raúl Esparza and Krysta Rodriguez, directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel at MCC Theater. Other NYC credits include work with 59E59, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Civilian Studios, Primary Stages, Present Company, NativeAliens, Red Fern Theatre and Circle East. Selected regional credits include: the world premiere of The Nest, by Theresa Rebeck at Denver Center; the world premieres of Dig, by Theresa Rebeck and Thirst, by Ronan Noone at the Dorset Theatre Festival; Chapter Two, directed by Marsha Mason at Arizona Theatre Co.; and numerous productions at Cape Playhouse, Geva Theatre Center, TheatreSquared, Portland Stage, Northern Stage, Weston Playhouse, Syracuse Stage, New Century Theatre. Television credits include: The Good Fight, The Blacklist, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Leftovers, House of Cards, Law & Order: SVU. #beanartshero #blacklivesmatter

Reuben Uy

Reuben Uy

(Wen Chang) (he/him) is honored to make his Cleveland Play House debut in The Great Leap. Reuben recently appeared in the hit musical Interstate by Melissa Li and Kit Yan at East West Players. Theater credits include: A Streetcar Named Desire, Hedda Gabler, Twelfth Night, La Cage Aux Folles, more(Wen Chang) (he/him) is honored to make his Cleveland Play House debut in The Great Leap. Reuben recently appeared in the hit musical Interstate by Melissa Li and Kit Yan at East West Players. Theater credits include: A Streetcar Named Desire, Hedda Gabler, Twelfth Night, La Cage Aux Folles, Hamlet, Pacific Overtures, Nick and Nora, Beijing Spring. TV credits: Bosch: Legacy (Amazon Prime), Trese (Netflix). Film credits: Face On, Metro Manila (Sundance Audience Award Winner), Velvet Sky (Best Film, LA Feedback Film Festival). Voice Credits: Squid Game (Netflix), High Society (Netflix). Mr. Uy would like to thank his loving wife for her enduring support and his team @shushuent.

Ming Wu

Ming Wu

(U/S Manford, U/S Wen Chang) (he/him) is excited to understudy two characters with completely opposing worldviews and to bring them to the Cleveland Play House. His recent works include films My Heavenly City, directed by Sen-Yu, and Boogie, directed by Eddie Huang. Theatre credits include Flying Tigers Flying Away more(U/S Manford, U/S Wen Chang) (he/him) is excited to understudy two characters with completely opposing worldviews and to bring them to the Cleveland Play House. His recent works include films My Heavenly City, directed by Sen-Yu, and Boogie, directed by Eddie Huang. Theatre credits include Flying Tigers Flying Away at the Saint Peter's Theater. He graduated from AMDA NY in 2018 and continues to study with The Barrow Group and his one-on-one coach Sandra Turner. Ming is represented by Stewart Talent NY (Bonnie Shumofksky Bloom) and is based in Brooklyn, New York.

Abegail Zee

Abegail Zee

(U/S Connie) (she/her) is a Filipino-American actor from the South Bay, Los Angeles area and is currently based in Cleveland. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, and a Minor in Educational Studies from the University of California, Irvine. Abegail has appeared in film, television, commercial, and more(U/S Connie) (she/her) is a Filipino-American actor from the South Bay, Los Angeles area and is currently based in Cleveland. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, and a Minor in Educational Studies from the University of California, Irvine. Abegail has appeared in film, television, commercial, and theatre productions including, but not limited to, her most recent regional theatre credits of the upcoming Aponibolinayen in the Sky at Talespinner Children’s Theatre, the Marilyn Biancchi’s Kids’ Playwriting Festival at Dobama Theatre, and Laws of Affection at Tri-C. Forthcoming film credits include Someday and Emerging. This is her first Cleveland Play House production, and she is thrilled to be part of The Great Leap. Abegail is honored, proud, and excited to be given the opportunity to bring an authentic Asian-American story to life. She would like to thank her family - without their love and support, this journey would be impossible.

Lauren Yee

(Playwright) is a playwright, screenwriter, and TV writer born and raised in San Francisco. She currently lives in New York City. Her Cambodian Rock Band, with music by Dengue Fever and others, premiered at South Coast Rep, with subsequent productions at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, Victory Gardens, more(Playwright) is a playwright, screenwriter, and TV writer born and raised in San Francisco. She currently lives in New York City. Her Cambodian Rock Band, with music by Dengue Fever and others, premiered at South Coast Rep, with subsequent productions at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, Victory Gardens, City Theatre, Merrimack Rep, and Signature Theatre. Her play The Great Leap has been produced at Denver Center, Seattle Rep, Atlantic Theatre, Guthrie Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, Arts Club, InterAct Theatre, Steppenwolf, Pasadena Playhouse/East West Players, and Cygnet Theatre. 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 Theatre, 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. Current commissions include Arena Stage, Geffen Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, Second Stage, South Coast Rep. BA: Yale. MFA: UCSD. www.laurenyee.com

Esther Jun

(Director) is a Toronto based director who has worked with companies across Canada such as fu-Gen, Cahoots, Nightwood, Soulpepper, and Talk is Free. She is a founding member and Co-Artistic Director of Directors Lab North, the first international offshoot of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, of which she was more(Director) is a Toronto based director who has worked with companies across Canada such as fu-Gen, Cahoots, Nightwood, Soulpepper, and Talk is Free. She is a founding member and Co-Artistic Director of Directors Lab North, the first international offshoot of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, of which she was a 2010 member. In 2015 Esther was a Neil Munro Intern Director at the Shaw Festival and in 2016 was part of the Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction at the Stratford Festival. New Play Development, however, kept pulling her back in and she was the Assistant Artistic Director at Tarragon Theatre from 2016-2018, where she directed the Canadian premiere of Evan Placey’s Girls Like That and also premiered Theory, by Norman Yeung. In 2017, Esther’s co-production of Kate Henning’s The Last Wife with The Befrey and GCTC was nominated for 7 Prix Rideau Awards, including Best Production and Best Director. She won the Capital Critics award for Best Director. She returned to Stratford in 2020 to assist Antoni Cimolino on his Richard III, but the pandemic had other plans. The Festival during that time began to embark on a culture shift and Esther was asked to join the Festival’s Anti-Racism Committee and become an Artistic Associate in Planning. She also took over the directorship of The Langham Directors Workshop. Most recently Esther has directed I Am William by Rébecca Déraspe and a new adaptation of Little Women by Jordi Mand at the Festival. www.theestherjun.com

Yu Shibagaki

(Scenic Designer) (she/her) is a NYC based set designer, originally from Nagoya, Japan. Recent designs include 1919 (Steppenwolf for Young Adults); Heroes of the Fourth Turning (Studio Theatre); Dishwasher Dreams (Hartford Stage); Her Honor Jane Byrne (Lookingglass Theatre); America v.2.1 (Definition Theater); School Girls; Or, the African Mean more(Scenic Designer) (she/her) is a NYC based set designer, originally from Nagoya, Japan. Recent designs include 1919 (Steppenwolf for Young Adults); Heroes of the Fourth Turning (Studio Theatre); Dishwasher Dreams (Hartford Stage); Her Honor Jane Byrne (Lookingglass Theatre); America v.2.1 (Definition Theater); School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play (Goodman Theatre); I, Banquo, I, Cinna (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); and more. Upcoming designs include Villette, Lucy & Charlie’s Honeymoon (Lookingglass Theatre); Madama Butterfly (Boston Lyric Opera) http://www.yushibagaki.com/

Samantha C. Jones

(Costume Designer) is excited to be making her Cleveland Play House debut with this deeply touching piece of theatre. She is a Los Angeles based costume designer and educator. Previous design credits include the Geffen Playhouse, Center Theatre Group, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Goodman Theatre, Court Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, more(Costume Designer) is excited to be making her Cleveland Play House debut with this deeply touching piece of theatre. She is a Los Angeles based costume designer and educator. Previous design credits include the Geffen Playhouse, Center Theatre Group, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Goodman Theatre, Court Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre, Paramount Theatre (Aurora), Northlight Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, Writers Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre Company, Chicago Children's Theatre, TimeLine Theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre, Jackalope Theatre, Kansas City Rep, Alley Theatre, Seattle Children's Theatre, First Stage, Skylight Music Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Peninsula Players Theatre and others. Her work can currently be seen in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Huntington Theatre Company). Upcoming productions include the world premiere of What-A-Christmas at Alley Theatre. Her work can be viewed at samanthacjones.com.

Michael Boll

(Lighting Designer) is a Cleveland-based Lighting Designer. His Cleveland Play House designs include Where Did We Sit on the Bus?, Pipeline, Native Gardens, An Iliad, The Invisible Hand, The Good Peaches, The Little Foxes, Venus in Fur, Every Good Boy Deserves Favor, In the Next Room or the more(Lighting Designer) is a Cleveland-based Lighting Designer. His Cleveland Play House designs include Where Did We Sit on the Bus?, Pipeline, Native Gardens, An Iliad, The Invisible Hand, The Good Peaches, The Little Foxes, Venus in Fur, Every Good Boy Deserves Favor, In the Next Room or the vibrator play, and Stew and the Negro Problem. Productions with the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program include Macbeth, Metamorphoses, The Winter's Tale, An Orchard, and Angels in America: Millennium Approaches. Other Cleveland lighting design work includes Cleveland Public Theatre, Karamu House, Cain Park, Cleveland Museum of Art, Dobama Theatre and Beck Center for the Arts. Off-Broadway credits include The Moliere Cycle (Classic Stage Company), Songs for a New World (George Street Playhouse), Dog Sees God (SoHo Playhouse) and The Moonlight Room (Associate Lighting Designer, Beckett Theatre). His work has also been seen at the N.Y. Fringe Festival, La MaMa E.T.C., HERE Arts Center, and Yale Cabaret.

Melanie Chen Cole

(Sound Designer) (she/her) is a San Diego-based sound designer, and is thrilled to be making her design debut at Cleveland Play House with this production of The Great Leap. Regional work includes designs at Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Alley Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Clubbed Thumb, Dallas more(Sound Designer) (she/her) is a San Diego-based sound designer, and is thrilled to be making her design debut at Cleveland Play House with this production of The Great Leap. Regional work includes designs at Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Alley Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Clubbed Thumb, Dallas Theater Center, Geffen Playhouse, Goodman Theatre, The Huntington, Indiana Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, Milwaukee Rep, The Old Globe, PlayMakers Rep, South Coast Rep, and the Utah Shakespeare Festival. She holds a M.F.A. in Theatre and Dance from UC San Diego.

T. Paul Lowry

(Projection Designer) (he/him) is a Cleveland-based projection, scenic and lighting designer. Recent designs include The Great Leap and Egress at Cleveland Play House; Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Irregulars, Ella Enchanted, The Nether, Airness, and Kill Move Paradise at Dobama Theatre; Black Nativity, Greenwood, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom more(Projection Designer) (he/him) is a Cleveland-based projection, scenic and lighting designer. Recent designs include The Great Leap and Egress at Cleveland Play House; Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Irregulars, Ella Enchanted, The Nether, Airness, and Kill Move Paradise at Dobama Theatre; Black Nativity, Greenwood, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at Karamu House; The 39 Steps, Via Brooklyn, and Jane Eyre for Cleveland Musical Theatre. Recent music and dance design include projects with International Festival of Arts & Ideas, ChamberFest Cleveland and GroundWorks Dance Theater.

Janel Moore

(Wig Designer) is a Cleveland-based wig and costume designer. Recent Cleveland Play House Credits include Wig Designer for A Christmas Story and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Other local credits include Wig Designer at Cain Park for Ragtime. Janel is a graduate of Cleveland State more(Wig Designer) is a Cleveland-based wig and costume designer. Recent Cleveland Play House Credits include Wig Designer for A Christmas Story and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Other local credits include Wig Designer at Cain Park for Ragtime. Janel is a graduate of Cleveland State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance. She also works as a costumer in the local film union here in Cleveland. Follow on Instagram @moore_janel

Judy Bowman

(Casting Director) has CPH credits that include The Three Musketeers, Antigone, Light It Up!, and The Invisible Hand. REGIONAL THEATRE: A Christmas Carol (McCarter), Madeline Sayet's Where We Belong (tour), Incendiary (Woolly Mammoth), Justice and Nina Simone: Four Women(Arizona Theatre Co), …Chad Deity(Profile Theatre Co), Wait Until Dark more(Casting Director) has CPH credits that include The Three Musketeers, Antigone, Light It Up!, and The Invisible Hand. REGIONAL THEATRE: A Christmas Carol (McCarter), Madeline Sayet's Where We Belong (tour), Incendiary (Woolly Mammoth), Justice and Nina Simone: Four Women(Arizona Theatre Co), …Chad Deity(Profile Theatre Co), Wait Until Dark and Thirst(Dorset Theatre Fest). NYC: Metra(Flux Ensemble), Vatican Falls(The Tank), etc. FILM/TV: Hurricane Bianca, Separation, One Moment, Dead Sound, No Alternative, Gold Star, Copenhagen, Lost Cat Corona, Big Dogs, & Hallmark’s Redemption in Cherry Springs. Artios Award nominee Best Webseries Casting, PT Barnum Award recipient. judybowmancasting.com

Yining Lin

(Production Dramaturg) (she/hers) is the Manager of Partnerships in Cleveland Play House's Education Department. As a freelance dramaturg, she has worked in Cleveland, Florida, Hawai'i, San Francisco, and Milwaukee. Yining holds a PhD in Asian/Western Comparative Theatre from the University of Hawai'i at M?noa. Yining has published book reviews more(Production Dramaturg) (she/hers) is the Manager of Partnerships in Cleveland Play House's Education Department. As a freelance dramaturg, she has worked in Cleveland, Florida, Hawai'i, San Francisco, and Milwaukee. Yining holds a PhD in Asian/Western Comparative Theatre from the University of Hawai'i at M?noa. Yining has published book reviews in the Asian Theatre Journal and has recently co-authored an article on the teaching of Chinese Movement in the United States for the Journal of Dance Education.

Kyra Button

(Stage Manager) is excited to be returning to Cleveland Play House for her sixth season. At CPH, she has worked on Antigone, Where Did We Sit On The Bus?, Tiny Houses, Into The Breeches, and Pipeline, to name a few. Her previous credits also include ABCD (Barrington Stage Company), more(Stage Manager) is excited to be returning to Cleveland Play House for her sixth season. At CPH, she has worked on Antigone, Where Did We Sit On The Bus?, Tiny Houses, Into The Breeches, and Pipeline, to name a few. Her previous credits also include ABCD (Barrington Stage Company), Dreamgirls (Virginia Stage Company), Hurricane Diane (Dobama Theatre), Baby Camp (Leviathan Labs), Resistance (Semicolon Theatre), The Heart’s Impatience (Shufflefoot Theatre Company), A Streetcar Named Desire (St. Ann’s Warehouse), Medea and Dreamgirls (Red House Arts Center), This Day Forward (The Vineyard Theatre), and The Intergenerational Project (Rose Bruford, London). Kyra is proud to hold a BFA in Stage Management from Syracuse University’s Department of Drama and is overjoyed to be working on this production.

Kitty Wen

(Assistant Stage Manager) is grateful to be involved with Cleveland Play House for the first time, having stage managed the family theatre tour of Teddy Bear Mountain. She recently completed her Disney College Program and Dobama Theatre Stage Management internship. Previous stage management credits include Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Karamu more(Assistant Stage Manager) is grateful to be involved with Cleveland Play House for the first time, having stage managed the family theatre tour of Teddy Bear Mountain. She recently completed her Disney College Program and Dobama Theatre Stage Management internship. Previous stage management credits include Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Karamu House, Cleveland Public Theatre, Ohio City Theatre Project, Baldwin Wallace, Independence Theatre, and Cassidy Theatre, among others. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Baldwin Wallace.

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