Ma-Yi to Receive $15,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts


Deepa Purohit

New YorkNational Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $80 million in grants as part of the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018. Included in this category is an Arts Work Grant of $15,000 to Ma-Yi Theater Company to support the development of Elyria,” a play with music by Ma-Yi Writers Lab member Deepa Purohit and director Stephen Brown-Fried. The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts.

“The variety and quality of these projects speaks to the wealth of creativity and diversity in our country,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Through the work of organizations such as Ma-Yi in New York City, NEA funding invests in local communities, helping people celebrate the arts wherever they are.”

Ma-Yi’s Mike Lew on his play, Teenage Dick, Shakespeare and Adaptation

Mike Lew, Ma-Yi Resident Playwright, Co-Director of Ma-yi Writers Lab and Playwright: Teenage Dick

On Adaptation and Shakespeare


In 2012 my actor friend Gregg Mozgala came at me with a crazy idea. He was starting a new company called The Apothetae – a theater that examines the disabled experience – and wanted to kick things off by commissioning me to write a new play – an adaptation of Richard III set in high school called Teenage Dick. I mean the title alone! How could I refuse?

I immediately said yes, then did no writing for a year. But I couldn’t stand the thought of that title going to somebody else so I hurried up and finished a draft. In 2013 we did the first-ever staged reading (starring Gregg and Shannon DeVido) with Ma-Yi Theater. Five years later Gregg and Shannon are now starring in the world premiere with Ma-Yi Theater at the Public.The journey had me thinking a lot about adaptation, and also about Shakespeare,

As a living playwright writing new plays, it’s hard not to envy how many “production slots” go to Shakespeare. The guy’s been dead for over 400 years but on some level we’re competing for limited resources and he is decidedly winning. This is not to throw shade at Shakespeare himself, nor at the Public (home to Shakespeare in the Park, the Shakespeare Mobile Unit, and the Public Shakespeare Initiative).
This is to say that Gregg’s proposal brought me a great deal of trepidation: why adapt Richard III as opposed to just doing another production of the original? And I think the answer to that is that if we’re to examine the disabled experience we have to both acknowledge and in some way disrupt our forebears. I’ve grown to realize Teenage Dick is part of a whole subclass of new plays that use existing works as a jumping-off point to say something entirely new, but more importantly to break up the canon and make more room for marginalized groups. I’m thinking particularly of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ An Octoroon (which re-appropriates Black stock characters from melodrama to redefine our contemporary understanding of Blackness), or David Adjmi’s 3C (which subverts the gay stereotypes from Three’s Company and the golden age of sitcoms), or Jiehae Park’s Peerless (which uses Macbeth’s Shakespearean ambition as a pointed critique of the stereotypes around Asian overachievement).
A sneak peek of rehearsals with Moritz von Stuelpnagel, Director of Teenage Dick, and playwright, Michael Lew.
Enter Code MAYIPRE for $45 Tickets to TEENAGE DICK


In these plays adaptation is a subversive act. By undermining the dominant stereotypes of a marginalized group we seek to re-center that group so that they are the tellers of their own stories.In my case Teenage Dick is meant to take the most famous disabled character of all time and challenge Shakespeare’s conception that Richard’s disability makes him inherently evil. Teenage Dick attempts to explode that old conception as well as its condescending modern-day cousin: that all disabled people are a metaphor for transcendence. (For a good year, Gregg kept sending me clip after clip of high school sports teams smugly including a disabled classmate on their team in a blatant attempt at demonstrative inclusivity.) It’s my hope that Teenage Dick takes all the drama and stakes of murderous monarchal succession and by cramming that into high school (which can also be life-or-death) we approach a contemporary resonance that a straightforward production of Richard III could never provide. But that is not the sole purpose of this adaptation. It’s also my hope that by exploding tired tropes about disability – those from Shakespeare’s time as well as our own – that this play will say something entirely new.
Ma-Yi Theater is also saying something new and radical by producing this play. By having an Asian-American theater partnering with the Public, the production itself seeks to make more room for an underserved group. And though this play isn’t thematically about Asian-American issues, in showcasing an Asian-American writer’s work alongside a strong contingent of Asian-American actors and designers, we hope to collectively challenge any preconceptions around what an Asian-American play looks like.
The world needs new narratives right now. We need new ways of seeing each other – fresh perspectives and new ways of taking each other in. So no offense to Shakespeare, but I couldn’t be more thrilled to have this particular and unique band of players making its way to the stage.
Enter Code MAYIPRE for $45 Tickets to TEENAGE DICK


 Support CAATA’s “Revolutionary Acts” and Make Jorge Smile again!


A Request from former Executive Director of Ma-Yi and Current Board Member and Senior Advisor, Jorge Z. Ortoll:

Dear Ma-Yi Family, Friends and Patrons:


Jorge Z. Ortoll is a co-founder of The Consortium of Asian American Theaters & Artists (CAATA), an organization that supports the vibrant, growing and changing field of Asian American theater.

I’m reaching out to ask for your generous support for The Consortium of Asian American Theaters & Artists (CAATA), an organization that has increased visibility of Asian American theater in the United States. In the world of the arts there is a great distortion between the demographic realities and cultural representation in the USA today, and by joining the CAATA crowd-funding campaign  you’re helping in decreasing this divide.

Since 2004, CAATA has led the “revolution” towards a stronger and more sustainable Asian American theater presence that is an integral part of national culture. Through our network of organizations and artists we collaborate to inspire learning and sharing of knowledge and resources to promote a healthy, sustainable artistic ecology.

I am proud to be one of the seven founders of CAATA working in the steering committee of the First National Asian American Theater Conference in Los Angeles in June 2006 and as one of three members of the executive committee that organized the First National Asian American Theater Festival (CONFEST) held in New York City from June 11 to 24, 2007.

This August CONFEST is scheduled with six days of performances, including Ma-Yi Writer’s Lab Member, Kyoung Park‘s play, PILLOWTALK, along with panel discussions breakout sessions, new play readings, parties, networking and more. We need your help to continue.
ConFest 2018 | Chicago presents Kyoung’s Pacific Beat’s PILLOWTALK: Queers the intersections of race, gender, and class—Written and directed by Ma-Yi Labbie Kyoung H. Park, Performed by JP Moraga and Basit Shittu, Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N Lincoln Ave,  Chicago
I hope you’ll make me smile by being a part of this important movement by attending CONFEST 2018 or by making a contribution. And Please spread the word.

Yours, Jorge


Labbie Clarence Coo’s “Chapters of a Floating Life” Free Reading May 7, 2018

“Chapters of a Floating Life”

In search of Chinese identity and lonliness in 1940s New York, May 7, 2018 at China Institute, Written by Clarence Coo, Directed by Kareem Fahmy


Labbie Clarence Coo’s “Chapters of a Floating Life” Free Reading May 7, 2018



Fault Line Theatre reads Chapters of a Floating Life by Playwright and 2017 Whiting Award Recipient Clarence Cooz
Monday, May 7, 5:30 – 8:30PM (Doors Open at 5:00 PMEvent Fee: FREE
Location: 40 Rector Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10006

It’s the Second World War and two couples from China are trying to make ends meet in New York City. One husband and wife live uptown, obsessed with a past of poetry, painting, and gardens. The other two face the day-to-day reality of keeping a Chinatown restaurant in business. Their worlds, once separated by class and education, converge when the two women find each other in Central Park and fall under the spell of the Chinese language. Performed By, Cleo Gray, Kenneth Lee, KK Moggie, David Shih, Stefani Kuo (stage directions)

Clarence Coo, a member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, is a recipient of a 2017 Whiting Award, and a whopping $50,000 cash prize. The Whiting Awards annually identify “exceptional new writers who have yet to make their mark in the literary culture” and aim to provide them with funds to afford “a first opportunity to devote themselves fully to writing.”


Coo received the 2012 Yale Drama Series Prize. His plays include The Birds of Empathy, Beautiful Province (Belle Province), People Sitting in Darkness, and The God of Wine. His work has been developed at the Atlantic Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, New York Theatre Workshop, and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival. He has received fellowships from the Dramatists Guild, the Rita Goldberg Playwrights Workshop at the Lark, NYFA, and the Playwrights Realm. He received his MFA in Playwriting at Columbia University. Currently, he is a resident playwright at New Dramatists and the manager of academic administration of Columbia’s MFA Writing Program.

Labbie Clarence Coo’s “Chapters of a Floating Life” Free Reading 5:30, May 7, 2018



Writers Lab Seeks New Members, Apply by June 1, 2018

The Ma-Yi Writers Lab is now reviewing applications for new members for the 2018-2020 Seasons. We accept new members on a biennial basis; to be considered please submit all application materials to by June 1st, 2018. We will accept email submissions only.
A Photo of Our Writers

The Ma-Yi Writers Lab is the largest resident company of Asian-American playwrights ever assembled. Founded in 2004 by Sung Rno in connection with the NEA/TCG Playwright’s Residency program and currently led by Mike Lew and A. Rey Pamatmat, the Lab has fast become home to some of the country’s most exciting emerging writers. We are a professional peer-based workshop in permanent residence with the Drama Desk and OBIE Award-winning Ma-Yi Theater Company, designed to nurture and showcase Asian-American playwrights in New York City. The Lab is a community resource, brain trust and place of artistic growth for its members.

Plays that were born in the Lab have gone on to workshops and productions within Ma-Yi as well as with the Atlantic, the Public, LCT3, Second Stage, EST, the Humana Festival, the Huntington, the Magic, South Coast Rep, The Taper, Victory Gardens, Woolly Mammoth, Yale Rep, Sundance, the O’Neill, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Berkeley Rep Ground Floor, and many more. Recent Labbie achievements include two Mellon NPRP fellowships, a Van Lier fellowship, three Hodder fellowships, two Lark Venturous fellowships, two Whiting Awards, a Glickman Award, three Audible commissions, and seven New Dramatists residencies.

If accepted for Lab membership, we ask you to:

To apply to the Lab, please submit:

Finalists will be asked to interview in late July 2018. New members will begin meeting in September of 2018. For more about the Lab, please visit

Leah Nanako Winkler Is Awarded the 2018 Yale Drama Series Prize and More


Writer’s Lab Member, Leah Nanako Winkler  has been awarded this year’s Yale Drama Series Prize for her new play “God Said This.” She will receive $10,000, her play will have a private staged reading at Lincoln Center’s Claire Tow Theater on Oct. 30, and it will be published by the Yale University Press.

God_placeholder-663x1024“God Said This” is an ensemble piece that tells the story of a mixed-race family reunited by its matriarch’s cancer treatment. Two sisters, Hiro, who lives in New York, and Sophie, a born-again Christian, along with their father, a recovering alcoholic, attempt to reconcile when Hiro returns to Kentucky after years of being away. A fifth character, John, a classmate of Hiro’s, is also confronting the issue of mortality and he is anxious about the legacy he will leave behind.” It will premiere Off-Broadway at Primary Stages in 2019 and recently received the 2018 Yale Drama Series Prize.  

Ayad Akhtarhis year’s judge and a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, chose Ms. Nanako Winkler’s play from over 1,600 submissions.“God Said This” is recently played the Humana Festival in Louisville and previews in January 2019 Off Broadway at Primary Stages in New York.


Satomi Blair, left, and Curran Connor in “Kentucky,” another play by Ms. Nanako Winkler, at Ensemble Studio Theater in 2016 Credit Jody Christopherson

Theater Mu Performing Arts’  and MIXED BLOOD 2017-18 season Kicked off with Leah Nanako Winkler’s “Two Mile Hollow,” a parody containing a dysfunctional family.-An NYC workshop production of Two Mile Hollow April 26th- 28th as part of WP Theater’s Pipeline Festival. Details and tickets here! 

“Two Mile Hollow” received a simultaneous world premiere in the 2016-2017 season with Artists At Play LA, Theater Mu/Mixed Blood in Minneapolis, First Floor Theater in Chicago and Ferocious Lotus in San Francisco. WP Theater (formerly known as Women’s Project Theater) is the nation’s oldest and largest theater company dedicated to developing, producing and promoting the work of female-identified and trans theater artists at every stage in their careers.

Ma-Yi Writer’s Lab Member Damon Chua‘s “The Princess Nightingale” follows in April 2018, a new adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Nightingale” set in eighteenth century China.


Recently, Leah was awarded the first-ever Mark O’Donnell Prize from The Actors Fund and Playwrights Horizons.  She is also currently one of the inaugural recipients of a commission from Audible’s Emerging Playwrights Fund and was named the 2017-2019 Jerome New York Fellow at the Lark. The New York Times calls her a “distinctive new voice.”

Ma-Yi and The Public present “TEENAGE DICK”!

From the Offices of Sam Rudy Media Relations:
Drama Desk and Obie Award-winning Ma-Yi Theater Company In Association with The Public Theater 
Ralph B. Peña, Producing Artistic Director, Ma-Yi Theater

photo by Carol Rosegg

A World Premiere play by Mike Lew 

Directed by two-time Tony Award nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel

Previews June 12th, Opening June 20th, 2018, Benefit Night Performance, June 26th

Off-Broadway at The Public Theater

Hot off the success of the critically acclaimed KPOP last fall, Drama Desk and Obie Award-winning Ma-Yi Theater Company and The Public Theater announce TEENAGE DICK, a new play by Mike Lew (Tiger Style!), being given its world premiere Off-Broadway, June 12 – July 15, 2018, at The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St.

Directed by two-time Tony Award-nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel (Hand to God and Present Laughter), and choreographed by Jennifer Weber (KPOP), TEENAGE DICK is presented as a new fully realized production, having been developed by The Public Theater as part of its 2016 Public Studio Series.

TEENAGE DICK is a brilliantly hilarious take on Richard III, Shakespeare’s classic tale of power and lust. TEENAGE DICK reimagines the most famous disabled character of all time as a 16-year-old outsider in the deepest winter of his discontent: his junior year at Roseland High. Picked on because of his cerebral palsy (as well as his sometimes creepy Shakespearean way of speaking), Richard is determined to have his revenge and make his name by becoming president of the senior class. But as he manipulates and crushes the obstacles to his electoral success, Richard finds himself faced with a decision he never expected would be his to make: is it better to be loved or feared?


The cast features Gregg Mozgala (Cost of Living), Shannon DeVido (The Healing, Difficult People), Nick Dillenburg (Orange Is the New Black), Sasha Diamond (Significant Other), and Marinda Anderson (Bella: An American Tall Tale).

Additional design and creative credits for TEENAGE DICK are: Set Design – Wilson Chin, Costume Design – Junghyun Georgia Lee, Lighting Design – Miriam Crowe, Sound Design – Fabian Obispo, and Movement Coordination – Robert Westley. Alyssa K. Howard is Production Stage Manager.

TEENAGE DICK was commissioned and developed by The Apothetae (Gregg Mozgala, Artistic Director), a company dedicated to plays that explore and illuminate the “Disabled Experience.” It was further developed during a residency at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference in 2016 (Executive Director, Preston Whiteway and Wendy C. Goldberg, Artistic Director).  This current production by Ma-Yi Theater Company is part of The Lark’s Venturous Playwright Fellowship Program, funded by Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation.

Scheduled through July 15, 2018, TEENAGE DICK will begin performances June 12 and perform Tuesdays through Sundays at 7:30PM, with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 1:30PM.  Please note there is no performance on Saturday, June 16 at 1:30 or Thursday, June 21 or Wednesday, July 4 at 7:30PM; additionally, performances have been added on Monday, June 18 and July 2 at 7:30PM. Public Theater Partners and Members can access tickets on Thursday, March 22. Single tickets can be accessed on Thursday, March 29. For tickets and information: visit, or call 212.967.7555

Mobility limited seating and reduced ticket prices for the disabled community and designated companion are available.

Information is also available at


Ma-Yi Theater Company recently enjoyed great critical and wild success with its double-billed KPOP last fall by Jason Kim, in addition to Carlos Celdran’s LIVIN’ LA VIDA IMELDA, Hansol Jung’s AMONG THE DEAD, A. Rey Pamatmat’s HOUSE RULES, Nandita Shenoy’s WASHER/DRYER, Michi Barall’s PEER GYNT AND THE NORWEGIAN HAPA BAND, Han Ong’s CHAIRS AND A LONG TABLE, and Rehana Lew Mirza’s SOLDIER X. The company won the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for its critically acclaimed production of Lloyd Suh’s THE WONG KIDS IN THE SECRET OF THE SPACE CHUPACABRA GO!

Founded in 1989 and now celebrating its 27th season, MA-YI is a Drama Desk and Obie Award-winning, Off-Broadway not-for-profit organization whose primary mission is to develop and produce new and innovative plays by Asian American writers.

Since its founding, Ma-Yi has distinguished itself as one of the country’s leading incubators of new work shaping the national discourse about what it means to be Asian American today. Its numerous acclaimed productions include Mike Lew’s BIKE AMERICA and MICROCRISIS, Qui Nguyen’s THE INEXPLICABLE REDEMPTION OF AGENT G and SOUL SAMURAI (with Vampire Cowboys), Mike Lew’s MICROCRISIS and the revival of Ralph B. Peña’s FLIPZOIDS. Other productions include: RESCUE ME by Michi Barall, Lloyd Suh’s AMERICAN HWANGAP and THE CHILDREN OF VONDERLY and THE ROMANCE OF MAGNO RUBIO by Lonnie Carter. Through successful programs such as the Writers Lab, Ma-Yi emboldens a new generation of Asian American artists to voice their experiences, while developing a steady stream of quality new works by Asian American playwrights for its own performing repertory. New works developed at the Writers Lab have gone on to successful productions around the country, at such theaters as Victory Gardens, Laguna Playhouse, Long Wharf Theater, Woolly Mammoth, and the Actors Theater of Louisville, to name a few. Ma-Yi Theater Company productions have earned 10 Obie Awards, numerous Henry Hewes Award nominations, a Drama Desk nomination for Best Play and the Special Drama Desk Award for “more than two decades of excellence and for nurturing Asian-American voices in stylistically varied and engaging theater.”

Ma-Yi Theater is under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Ralph B. Peña.


photo by Carol Rosegg


THE PUBLIC, under the leadership of Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Patrick Willingham, is theater of, by, and for the people. Artist-driven, radically inclusive, and fundamentally democratic, The Public continues the work of its visionary founder Joe Papp as a civic institution engaging, both on-stage and off, with some of the most important ideas and social issues of today. Conceived over 60 years ago as one of the nation’s first nonprofit theaters, The Public has long operated on the principles that theater is an essential cultural force and that art and culture belong to everyone. The Public’s wide breadth of programming includes an annual season of new work at its landmark home at Astor Place, Free Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, The Mobile Unit touring throughout New York City’s five boroughs, Public Forum, Under the Radar, Public Studio, Public Works, Public Shakespeare Initiative, and Joe’s Pub.  Since premiering HAIR in 1967, The Public continues to create the canon of American Theater and is currently represented on Broadway by the Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda.  Their programs and productions can also be seen regionally across the country and around the world. The Public has received 59 Tony Awards, 169 Obie Awards, 53 Drama Desk Awards, 54 Lortel Awards, 32 Outer Critic Circle Awards, 13 New York Drama Desk Awards, and 6 Pulitzer Prizes.




# # #



Cherry Lane Theatre’s Mentor Project 2018 presents
By Lab Member, Sam Chanse March 28-April 7th.


Directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, the cast of THE OPPORTUNITIES OF EXTINCTION featuresJennifer Lim (Broadway: Chinglish (Theater World Award, IASNY Trophy for Excellence & Drama Desk Nom), Dominic Rains (TV: “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “General Hospital”) and Andrea Negrete (NYC: Hissifit). The company is made up of Jennifer Lim, Dominic Rains, and Andrea Negrete. The creative team includes Raul Abrego (scenic design), Loren Shaw (costume design), Seth Reiser (lighting design), and Lee Kinney (sound design).

2B33E906C-EDF6-5B8B-C077D0890C3F8FD5(© David Gordon)

Ma-Yi Joins Korean Cultural Center to present Jason Kim’s “Clarity”


In this special presentation with Ma-Yi Theatre Company, Korean Cultural Center New York hosts an evening with renowned playwright Jason Kim, featuring a reading his most recent work, CLARITY with a post-play discussion offering attendees the opportunity to speak with Jason and the cast and directors.

A light. A ball. An organ. When his sister resurfaces after a decade of silence, Danny must decide if he should put his faith in God or risk his life for family. A play about faith in contemporary life, Clarity examines what it means to deal with a higher power.

Korean Cultural Center New York and Ma-Yi Theatre Company present


By Jason Kim/Directed by Danny Sharron

FRIDAY, MARCH 23rd, 2018, at 7 pm

Location: Korean Cultural Center New York (460 Park Ave., 6th Fl., New York, NY)




Awards, Honors & Residencies: 2017-2018 A Banner Season for The Labbies

Ma-Yi Writers Lab Members are getting recognition and praise for their playwriting achievements and originality on a daily basis across the US. Here are a review of their top honors and acknowledgements over the past year or so:


File Jun 05, 2 34 55 PM

Mike Lew and Rehana Lew Mirza are the Mellow Resident Playwrights at Ma-Yi Theater Company. Shown in photo with their child in an article from Howlround about their career in playwrighting while parenting.

Goodspeed Johnny Mercer Writers Colony 2018 writing teams, included Ma-Yi Writers Lab Members, Rehana Lew Mirza and Mike Lew (Mellon Resident Playwrights of Ma-Yi Theater). A total of 38 established and emerging composers, lyricists, and librettists  converged on the Goodspeed campus from mid-January through mid-February 2018 to participate in the Johnny Mercer Foundation Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals.

Mike and Rehana’s play, BHANGIN’ IT was selected for Rhinebeck Writers Retreat’s Triple R program, which gives musical theatre writers 2 readings and a residency to do extensive development in a compressed time frame, culminating in a staged reading. The program was fully funded by Rhinebeck Writers Retreat and made possible through a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts

In February 2018, Mike was awarded the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award for an Emerging American Playwright, a playwright with great talent and potential for lasting impact, “for his original voice, playful sense of provocation, and his body of works including Stockton, microcrisis, and Tiger Style!”

Summer of 2017, Mike was selected for the Creative Residency program at SPACE on Ryder Farm to develop new work on its 221-year-old working farm.

Rehana Lew Mirza was one of 11 writers selected, out of 3,600 submissions, to participate in the 2017 HBOAccess Writing Fellowship, which ran from July through February with a series of master classes after which each writer or team was paired with an executive mentor.


Ma-Yi Writers Lab PlaywrightMa-Yi Writers Lab Member

Audible announced its first round of commissions for playwrights, — 15 emerging theater writers including writers Lab Members Leah Nanako Winkler and Madhuri Shekar, were awarded grants to pen one- and two-person audio plays. The grants come from a $5 million fund set up by Audible. Playwrights have been given full creative control, and they’re encouraged to stay involved when the plays are cast and recorded. Women and people of color account for 73% of the inaugural class.

In August 2017, Madhuri Shekar’s play, Queen, at Victory Gardens Theater, received the JEFF Awards for best new play in the Chicago. area.

Leah Winkler was awarded The Actor’s Fund and Playwrights Horizons annual Mark O’Donnell Prize which recognizes an emerging theatre artist, and comes with $25,000 and developmental support that includes one week to prepare a reading of a new work. The Lark awarded Leah The Jerome Fellowship for the years 2017-2019 for the purpose of providing assistance to her in the development of a new play and Leah is also a Time Warner Fellow at the Women’s Project Theater.


Hansol Jung

Labbie, Hansol Jung and her Wolf Play particpated in  2017/2018 At the Table- Artist Rep commissions for playwrights to start a new play, to finish one already begun or to revisit one that hasn’t yet been fully realized, for writers who have a truly distinctive voice and offer fresh perspectives on the human condition, and are committed to offering women, non-binary and transgender writers,  writers of color, and writers of work for young audiences a place at the table.


Cherry Lane Theatre chose Labbie Sam Chance as one of this year’s playwrights  for the 20th season of its 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. Sam’s The Opportunities of Extinction, will be running from March 28-April 7. Chanse will be mentored by NEA Fellow Migdalia Cruz.

The Lark  Line Up of Six Plays for 24th Annual Playwrights’ Week Open Access Program (selected from a pool of nearly 1,000 submissions) chose The Other Instinct by Sam Chanse. Other recent works developed in Playwrights’ Week include No More Sad Things by Hansol Jung presented  in October 2017 at Forward Flux Productions.

SPACE on Ryder Farm awarded Sam Chanse the opportuity to develop new work on its 221-year-old working farm this past summer in the Creative Residency program.



Labbie, Lauren Yee won the Kesselring Prize for Playwriting from the National Arts Club  has been named the winner of the $25,000 grant. Tony-winning M. Butterfly playwright David Henry Hwang presented at a ceremony at the historic clubhouse in New York City November 5, 2017.

Lauren is also named as a finalist  for her play, The Great Leap for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, an award considered the oldest and largest prize given exclusively to women playwrights.

Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton announced the Hodder Fellows for 2018-2019, including Lauren Yee. The fellowship was created to provide artists and humanists in the early stages of their careers an opportunity to undertake significant new work. Her play King of the Yees won the Women’s 2016 Invitational at the Ashland New Play Festival, and is being produced by four regional theaters this season alone.

Lauren is also the The American Theatre Critics Association  ATCA/Francesca Primus Prize winner (for in a word) and received a $10,000 award check and was officially congratulated at the ATCA conference, and was a ATCA/Steinberg Award finalist (for in a word).

Leah Nanako Winkler, Susan Soon He Stanton, and Dipika Guha

Ma-Yi Writers Lab Playwrightsusanstanton-1Dipika-Guha1

Actors Theatre of Louisville presents The 42nd Humana Festival of New American Plays, Feb. 28-April 8, 2018, and will include three works by Ma-Yi Writers Lab Members. The Festival premieres works by Leah Nanako Winkler, Susan Soon He Stanton, and Dipika Guha. Ma-Yi offers congratulations and kudos to these ground-breaking playwrights as this event has proven itself to launch the careers of it’s participants. Hansol Jung’s CARDBOARD PIANO, was a standout at the festival the year before. Also, Kimber Lee‘s brownsville song (b-side for tray) premiered in 2014 at the Humana Festival.

This year Dipika Guha was also chosen as a National Residency and Commission Recipient of Playwrights’ Center’s 2017-18 McKnight Fellowship New Core Writers group.


Ma-Yi Lab Member

Our newest Ma-Yi Writers Lab member David Zheng, is a recipient of the 2018 Van Lier New Voices Fellowship. This year long residency is designed to support extraordinary playwrights of color under the age of 30, in order to help address the lack of inclusion of early career playwrights of color in the theater field and includes a cash award of $15,000, plus up to $3,000 in health insurance reimbursement, as well as access to a wide range of The Lark resources, including artistic program participation, office and rehearsal space, and staff support.

David Zheng is named as part of the 2018-19 Emerging Writers Group at the Public Theater along with seven others, out of 485 applicants including Labbie, Diana Oh!

David was awareded membership in  GTG’s SPEAKERS CORNER Named after the corner of London’s Hyde Park where George Bernard Shaw and other political speakers have delivered speeches since 1855. The organization brings together six to ten writers each year who will spend the year exploring a specific Shaw play and writing new work in response to that text.

David Zhang is also awarded a Playwriting Mentorship Residency with Space on Ryder Farms .



Labbie Mia Chung was chosen as one of The Playwrights’ Center 2017-18 Fellows (Jerome Fellows, Many Voices Fellow) receiving an $18,000 award, $2,000 for development of a play.

Nandita Shenoy and Mrinalini Kamath

Nandita Shenoymrinalinikamath

Nandita Shenoy and Mrinalini Kamath  participated in 1-week teaching residencies, 2-week developmental residencies, and/or month-long writing residencies at the Mellon Funded  the Ma-Yi Writers Lab/ Creative Fellowships Initiative, an interdisciplinary pilot project at the University of Washington exploring the nature of creative research. In 2017, UW hosted Labbies Kyoung Park and Deepa Purohit for teaching residencies and Dustin Chinn for a one-month writing  and research residency.


lauren-headshot-3Don NguyenDustin Chinn

American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) inaugural New Strands Residency program began this year with three playwrights/plays from Ma-Yi Theater Company including  The Great Leap by Lauren Yee, The Man from Saigon by Don Nguyen, and Snowflakes, or Rare White People by Dustin Chinn giving emerging and established American playwrights the opportunity to create and develop new works in residence at A.C.T.’s state-of-the-art Strand Theater in San Francisco.

The Playwrights Realm awarded Labbie Don Nguyen a place in its 2017-18 new residency series, and will present his world premiere of his play Hello, From The Children of Planet Earth this February.

Dustin Chinn received a summer residency with The Ground Floor: Berkeley Rep’s Center for the Creation and Development of New Work, Over an intense four-week period, residents share ideas, break bread, and create new plays.



The Lark and Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation awarded plays and playwrights selected for the pilot round of the Lark Venturous Playwright Fellowship program, including (Teenage Dick) Ma-Yi Resident Playwright and Writers Lab Co-director, Mike Lew; and (Today is My Birthday)  Susan Soon He Stanton providing concurrent residencies and advocating for their production by partner theaters and an award of $50,000 over two years, as well as a production subsidy grant of up to $50,000 to support a production of the play at a theater of the playwright’s choosing.

Susan Soon He Stanton was also one of five New York-based playwrights have been chosen as this year’s Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop Fellows by the Lark Theater Company. In addition, Susan was the 2017 winner of the eighth annual prize from Leah Ryan’s Fund for Emerging Women Writers for her play WE, THE INVISIBLES .

Diana Oh and Mashuq Mushtaq Deen

diana-oh-headshotMashuk Mushtaq Deen

In August 2017, Writer’s Lab Members Diana Oh and Mashuq Mushtaq Deen, via Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, were awarded The Tow Foundation 2017-2018 Tow Playwrights-in-Residence award which included a $75,000 grant to support the playwrights. The residency program includes a full-time salary for each playwright and funds to support their integration into the theater’s day-to-day operations, as well as a guaranteed full production of their play.

Diana’s {my lingerie play} 2017: 10 underground performance installations in lingerie was supported by the Venturous Theater Fund of Tides Foundation for 2017 and was “staged in an effort to provide a saner, safer, more courageous world for women, trans, queer, and non-binary humans to live in”

Deen also received a PAGE 73 Summer residency in 2017, and used his residency to collaborate on The Betterment Society with director Jessi Hill and composer Nell Shaw Cohen. Labbie, Mia Chung also was awarded a residency, used  hers to collaborate with director Ken Rus Schmoll on Catch As Catch Can.

Diana Oh is part of the 2018-19 Emerging Writers Group at the Public Theater along with seven others, out of 485 applicants!



Labbie Clarence Coo is one of ten recipients of the 2017 Whiting Awards and a whopping $50,000 cash prize. The Whiting Awards annually identify “exceptional new writers who have yet to make their mark in the literary culture” and aim to provide them with funds to afford “a first opportunity to devote themselves fully to writing.


Lab Member, Qui Nguyen and  American Conservatory Theater(A.C.T.) are recipients of NEA’s Art Works grant of $50,000 to  support the upcoming Bay Area premiere of Vietgone, playing at Strand Theater ( February 21-April 22, 2018.


Nine Ma-Yi Writer’s Lab Member’s new plays received a record 11 Kilroys this year. Each year, The Kilroys compiles a list of the most recommended un- and underproduced new plays by female and trans authors of color:

Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee

The Great Leap by Lauren Yee

Yoga Play by Dipika Guha

Unreliable by Dipika Guha

We, the Invisibles by Susan Soon He Stanton

Queen by Madhuri Shekar

The Opportunities of Extinction by Sam Chans

Two Mile Hollow by Leah Nanako Winkler

To the Yellow House by Kimber Lee

Hatefuck by Rehana Lew Mirza

Nomad Motel by Carla Ching

KILROYS – Honorable Mentions:

The Other Instinct by Sam Chanse

The Shaking Earth by Mashuq Mushtag Deen

A People’s Guide to History In the Time of Here and Now by Rehana Lew Mirza

A Valentine by Deepa Purohit

Thirty-Six by Leah Nanako Winkler

A Deal by Zhu Yi


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