Our Friends at LEVIATHAN present Sam Chanse’s TRIGGER

Sam Chanse

Sam Chanse

Leviathan Lab presents TRIGGER by Lab Member, Sam Chanse. Directed by Flordelino Lagundino At IATI Underground Theater, 64 E 4th Street, February 23-March 11, 2018

“When a childhood friend’s racist rant goes viral, Lee wrestles with the rage inside herself and in others. On top of that, she has to deal with a deteriorating domestic situation and a sudden xenophobic attack on a family member. What can she do? Lee seeks refuge in studies of ignorance and the science of emotions. As ancient goddesses and not-so-ancient house flies hover over her lecture notes, she comes to learn what little she really knows. In this topical and mythic dramedy, Trigger asks how we can connect people in a time of heightened fear and anger.” GET TICKETS


Sam is also recipient of the Cherry Lane Theatre Mentor Project, a program that partners an emerging author with a seasoned professional for a year of script work, rewrites, casting, rehearsals, and a full production at Cherry Lane. The fully staged production of her play, The Opportunities of Extinction will be presented February 28-April 7, 2018. Migdalia Cruz (El Grito Del Bronx) will  mentor Sam Chanse.


The Opportunities of Extinction  is described as follows: “Mel and Arjun have embarked on a last-minute camping trip to take refuge from the brewing storm of their lives. Georgia is studying the impact of climate change on the imperiled Joshua tree. Navigating a world in crisis on multiple fronts, what does it mean to survive in the face of annihilation?”

The play earned an entry in the 2017 Kilroy list and a production by BROKEN NOSE THEATER will run June 1 – 30, 2018, at The Den Theatre in Chicago

Don Nguyen says “Hello, From the Children of Planet Earth”

Ma-Yi Writers Lab Member Don Nguyen‘s play, Hello, From the Children of Planet Earth with performances beginning  Feb. 24th of 2018, at The Duke on 42nd Street, 229 W 42nd Street. 

Friends William and Betsy haven’t seen each other since high school. They’ve both followed their dreams, but something is missing: his all-consuming job at NASA doesn’t leave time for a family, and she can’t bear another unsuccessful round of IVF with her partner Shoshanna. When Betsy texts William out the blue and asks him to be her sperm donor, both friends are forced to make decisions that will shape the rest of their lives. Directed by Jade King Carroll, this new comedy explores a different sort of coming of age – when dreams give way to plans, and idealism becomes realism.

Playwrights Realm and Ma-Yi have been essential in the development of Nguyen‘s play, Hello, From the Children of Planet Earth as seen below:

Don Nguyen

Don Nguyen

Playwrights Realm Workshop March 2017 — Directed by Jade King Carroll

Ma-Yi Workshop October 2016 — Directed by Kristin McCarthy Parker

hERD Podcast Series March 2016 — Directed by Kristin McCarthy Parker

Ma-Yi Winter LabFest January 2016 —  Directed by Kristin McCarthy Parker

Read at All Systems Go: Mission 2, an evening of excerpts from the Propulsion Lab Plays — Directed by Kristin McCarthy Parker


I’m sorry I screamed in your vagina.

Yeah.  That was weird.

Hansol Jung’s “Cardboard Piano” Plays East and West in 2018

Hansol Jung

Hansol Jung

St. Paul/Minneapolis’ Park Square begins the new year on the Andy Boss Thrust Stage with the Midwest premiere of Hansol Jung‘s timely drama Cardboard Piano. Signe V. Harriday directs the powerful play about romance and redemption against the backdrop of inexplicable violence. The Courier Journal called Cardboard Piano “deeply moving” and “haunting” upon its 2016 premiere at The Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival of New Plays.

From BROADWAY WORLD:  “Of her inspiration, Hansol Jung said in an interview last year, “There was a lot of media noise in 2013 about northern Uganda kidnappings by Joseph Kony of the Lord’s Resistance Army… There also was a lot of coverage about gay marriage in the United States and Korea…There was a lot of violence associated with both issues, and many people also connected faith and God to both. That was disturbing to me. It went against the idea of faith and love and what they being so generous and beautiful, and a solution to problems.”


Is our capacity for love greater than violence? In Northern Uganda, the daughter of an American missionary and a local teenage girl steal into a candlelit church to exchange vows in a secret wedding ceremony. But when an escalating civil war encroaches on their fragile union, they cannot escape its reach. Confron

Diversionary Theater will premiere Cardboard Piano  as part of the University Heights company’s recently announced 2017-18 season in San Diego, Jan. 25 to Feb. 25, 2018. Later in the year International City Theatre will present Cardboard Piano (May 4-20, 2018) at the Long Beach, CA, Performing Arts Center, where ICT is the resident professional theater company in its announced 2018 season. Actor’s Express in Atlanta celebrated it’s 30th Anniversary season with Cardboard Piano, November 11 through December 3, 2017.


You’ll remember Hansol Jung as playwright of Ma-Yi’s main stage production of last season’s Among The Dead.

Other plays by Hansol Jung produced in 2017


Also her play, Wild Goose Dreams premiered at La Jolla Playhouse Directed by Leigh Silverman and  as well as at The Public in April of 2017.

Jung’s Wolf Play was staged at Victory Gardens Theater  earlier this year at the IGNITION Festival of New Plays and was developed in a commission at  At the Table in 2017/2018

Her play, No More Sad Things  was produced by Forward Flux Productions  September 19 – October 7 in Seattle, WA.

Lloyd Suh’s “Franklinland” Premieres Chicago in Feb 2018

Lloyd Suh Headshot

Lloyd Suh

FRANKLINLAND World Premiere at Jackalope Theatre Company

Jackalope Theatre Company will celebrate its 10th birthday with three world premieres, including  Franklinland, written by Ma-yi Writers Lab Member and co-founder, Lloyd Suh, directed by Chika Ike. Franklinland runs January 8 – February 24th, 2018 at Broadway Armory Park, 5917 N Broadway in Chicago. Tickets are $5 (Previews) – $30, and are on sale now at jackalopetheatre.org.

“Growing up as the only son of Benjamin Franklin – the greatest scientific mind in the world; inventor of the lightning rod, the odometer, the glass harmonica, bifocal glasses, and, in his spare time, The United States of America – is not all it’s cracked up to be. In the world premiere of this moving new play, Franklinland asks what it’s like to make your way in life knowing your father’s greatest invention wasn’t you.”

The cast for the Jackelope production of Franklinland features Tom Hickey (Ben), Kai Ealy (William), and Nik Kmiecik (Temple).

Lloyd Suh, one of the producers of Asian-American Mixfest, recently shared a reading of  his play Franklinland in a presentation on August 15 that was directed by Ma-yi’s Producing Artistic Director, Ralph B. Peña.


Suh’s Charles Francis Chan Jr.’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery recently played at Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. According to Chris Hewitt at Pioneer Press “Suh is able to sneak up on us with scenes that cut right to the heart of its critique of soul-damaging stereotypes: When an actor is asked to list the ways white and Asian people are different, for instance, the result is not pretty. And the poignancy of a scene where the detective, in Seifert’s nuanced performance, morphs into Frank’s dad is both earned and wholly unexpected. “

Recently Ensemble Studio Theatre’s 36th Marathon of One-Act Plays: Series B featured Suh’s DISNEY & FUJIKAWA,  a one-act that involves  a meeting of two very different cartoonists, Gyo Fujikawa and Walt Disney, in 1942. An uncomfortable conversation on power, personal responsibility, and the art of animation at a time of great uncertainty and national crisis ensues.

What are you working on next? (Broadway World Q&A)

“A new play for young audiences with Children’s Theatre Company, a couple of plays examining key moments in Asian American history, and one of those Oregon Shakespeare Festival Play On! Shakespeare “translations” of Henry V.”

Choose from Three Lab Member Readings Today at 3PM!

Coincidence or popularity? Three members of The Ma-Yi Writers Labs’ plays are being read today,
all on this Thursday, Dec 14, 2017 at 3PM.


Sam Chanse
Sam Chanse: Sam Chanse’s TRIGGER is presented by New Dramatists directed by Flordelino Lagundino at 424 West 44th Street (between 9th and 10th Avenues) TICKETS:

Look out for a full production by Leviathan Lab in February 2018.


Nandita Shenoy: Nandita Shenoy’s REUNION is presented by The Bluestone Project, a company on a five-year mission to bring more empathy to a divided nation! ” Directed by Nelson Eusebio at ART/NY Bruce Mitchell Room To reserve your seat, RSVP to TheBluestoneProject@gmail.com


“A People’s Guide to History in the Time of Here and Now”

Rehana Lew Mirza
Rehana Lew Mirza: Rehana Lew Mirza’s play “A People’s Guide to History in the Time of Here and Now” directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt is at Primary Stages 







Lauren Yee’s THE GREAT LEAP World Premier 2018


Writer’s Lab Member, Lauren Yee has had a busy year of productions of her plays and several major honors and awards including  winner of the prestigious Kesselring Prize; the 2016 Francesca Primus Prize. Her works include “King of the Yees”, “In a Word” and “The Hatmaker’s Wife,” which had a production at San Diego’s Moxie Theatre before landing off-Broadway.

Her latest play, THE GREAP LEAP is about an American college basketball team that travels to Beijing for an exhibition game in 1989. The drama on the court goes deeper than the strain between their countries. “For two men with a past and one teen with a future, it’s a chance to stake their moment in history and claim personal victories off the scoreboard. American coach Saul grapples with his relevance to the sport, Chinese coach Wen Chang must decide his role in his rapidly-changing country and Chinese American player Manford seeks a lost connection. Tensions rise right up to the final buzzer as history collides with the action in the stadium. Yee’s unexpected and touching story is inspired by events in her own father’s life.”

The world premiere of THE GREAT LEAP takes place at Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company  Colorado New Play Summit, supporting playwrights and developing new work, and is produced in association with Seattle Repertory Theatre.

THE GREAP LEAP is featured at Old Globe’s annual Powers new-play festival The director is Delicia Turner Sonnenberg, founder and former artistic director of Moxie.

Atlantic Theater Company continues its 2017-2018 Off-Broadway season with Lauren Yee’s THE GREAP LEAP later in 2018.

The play was developed in San Franciscos ACT American Conservatory Theater inaugural New Strands Residency program where three playwrights/plays from New York City’s acclaimed Ma-Yi Theater Company participated, including The Man from Saigon by Labbie Don Nguyen, and Snowflakes, or Rare White People byLabbie Dustin Chinn.

Zhu Yi’s “A Deal World Premier at Urban Stages



The World Premiere of Writers Lab Member Zhu Yi’s A DEAL, directed by John Giampietro. This limited engagement at Urban Stages (259 West 30th Street), begins performances on November 15, opens on Monday, November 20 and will run through December 10, 2017.

“Like many new upper-middle-class Chinese families, Mr. and Mrs. Li are proud to give their only daughter a life they could only dream of (an Ivy League degree in art and an apartment in Manhattan), until they realize she’s turning into a dangerous stranger. 

A DEAL is a dark comedy that features a Chinese family’s home buying journey in New York in winter 2015, a time of increased real estate property ownership by overseas Chinese and a sharp decline in the value of the Chinese yuan against the US dollar. It reveals the ideological conflicts between the East and the West in contemporary society by tracking a little stream of the global cash flow. “
Zhu Yi's Headshot1
This is the first Off-Broadway production for international known playwright Zhu Yi and A DEAL will simultaneously tour China in Mandarin.

REVIEW HERE Theater Pizzazz

Susan Stanton’s TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY premieres NYC


Writers Lab Member, Susan Soon He Stanton’s Today Is My Birthday will  debut off-Broadway through December 28th. Page 73 is presenting the world premiere, directed by Kip Fagan, at the New Ohio Theater.

Tickets for the play are available here.

“Today Is My Birthday is a comedy following Emily, a would-be writer, who retreats home to O’ahu after Manhattan finally gets the best of her. When she stumbles into a gig as an actor on a shock-jock radio dating show, she finds herself strangely determined to turn fantasy into reality. The story is told through phone calls, voicemails, and live radio spots.”

Cast Includes:


Today is My Birthday was just at the TYPHOON Festival in London a few days ago. Earlier this year, The Lark and the Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation selected Susan as a recipient of the inaugural Venturous Playwrights Fellowship. including a two-year residence at the Lark, and an award of $50,000 over the two-year fellowship, in addition to a production subsidy grant of up to $50,000 to support a production of this play. The play is also on this year’s Kilroys List.


This great interview of Susan by THE BROOKLYN RAIL delves into her philosophy and details the creation of Today is My Birthday.

Susans NYC production of Solstice Party just closed in November.  She is the winner of the eighth annual prize from Leah Ryan’s Fund for Emerging Women Writers for her play we, the invisibles about a playwright, working a survival job at a luxury hotel, who begins interviewing her fellow employees, which premieres at Actors Theatre of Louisville‘s 42nd Humana Festival of New American Plays (Feb. 28-April 8, 2018).

Mashuq Mushtaq Deen’s “Draw The Circle” opens in D.C. and NYC

We are proud to announce that Ma-Yi Lab Member, Mashuq Deen’s  DRAW THE CIRCLE starts December 1-24, 2017, in Washington D.C. Produced by Mosaic Theater Company, The production is written and starring Deen and directed by longtime friend of Ma-Yi, Chay Yew, and opens at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, Lab II.

The play premiered at PlayMakers Repertory Theatre in  Chapel Hill, NC in  August 2016, and is slated for InterAct Theatre in Philadelphia in June 2018 and New York’s Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre in January/February 2018.

SYNOPSIS: “Gender transition can be a test for any household-but when Mashuq Deen comes out to his conservative Muslim family, traditional values and Western ideals collide in an hilarious and moving immigration journey unlike any other. Told entirely from the point of view of family and friends, yet performed by Deen himself, Draw the Circle is a moving story about survival, transition, and unconditional love.”

Deen, who is transgender, said title for the play is taken from a poem heard when visiting a Unitarian Universalist church:

He drew a circle that shut me out–
Heretic, rebel, thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle and took him in!
Edwin Markham


Ma-Yi specifically promotes the works of Asian American writers, but supports and strives towards diversity and equality in everything we do, which is why we’re proud to be affiliated with Deen. Deen’s Draw the Circle is told entirely from the point of view of family and friends, yet performed by Deen himself, this unique show compassionately brings to life the often ignored struggle that a family goes through when their child transitions from one gender to another.



The story’s framework is simple yet striking, and more than a novelty: it’s an apt, big-hearted way to puzzle together many pieces of Deen’s journey. “Draw the Circle” does not sugarcoat his despair or incidents of violence, yet it rather amazingly reaches back to retrieve people who easily could have been cut out for life.


DRAW THE CIRCLE is a singular theatrical experience. It concludes overwhelmingly, rendering transgender issues unignorable in today’s divisive political climate. It’s also uplifting – in a different way than the usual holiday-season play, but on a much deeper, more meaningful level.


If you believe theater can teach us something important about who we are as gendered beings—or even if you just have a hunch that America cannot be great if driven by hate—Draw the Circle is an epochal inquiry into identity…and some of the most pressing questions of our time.


On Stage
The Labbies
Ma-Yi Theater Company 520 Eighth Avenue, Suite 309 New York, NY 10018 212.971.4862 info [at] ma-yitheatre.org