Mike Lew is co-director of Ma-Yi Writers’ Lab and is currently on a 3-year fellowship at Ma-Yi through the Mellon Foundation (which he shares with his wife Rehana Lew Mirza, whom he met in the Lab). His plays include Teenage Dick (Ma-Yi at the Public, Artists Rep, and Perseverance productions; Public Studio, O’Neill, OSF workshops), Tiger Style! (Olney, Huntington, La Jolla Playhouse, and Alliance productions; O’Neill and CTG workshops), Bike America (Ma-Yi and Alliance productions), microcrisis (Ma-Yi, InterAct, and Next Act productions), Moustache Guys, and the book to the musical Bhangin’ It. He is a Tony voter and Dramatists Guild Council member. Honors include La Jolla Playhouse Artist-in-Residence (with Rehana Lew Mirza); Lark Venturous and NYFA fellowships; and the PEN Emerging Playwright, Lanford Wilson, Helen Merrill, Heideman, and Kendeda awards. Education: Juilliard, Yale. Website: mikelew.com.
Agency for the Performing Arts
Full-length Musical, 8M 9W
Book by Mike Lew and Rehana Lew Mirza, Music and Lyrics by Samuel Willmott
BHANGIN’ IT draws inspiration from the high-stakes world of intercollegiate competitive bhangra – a traditional Indian folk dance morphed into a good ole American dance-off. The story follows a biracial student, Mary, who gets kicked off her bhangra team for not being “Indian enough”. When she forms a team of her own, cultural authenticity and cultural pluralism are set on a collision course in this brash, intoxicating and gripping new musical.
Production/Development History: Jerome Robbins Foundation Project Springboard residency (June 2018). Rhinebeck Writers Retreat “Triple R” residency (May 2017). Additional writing residencies with Goodspeed, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, and Orchard Project.
Full-length Comedy, 3M 3W (inc. one actor with CP and one wheelchair user)
A brilliantly hilarious take on Richard III, Shakespeare’s classic tale of power 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? (A commission from The Apothetae.)
Production/Development History: World premiere with Ma-Yi Theater at the Public, NYC (June 2018). Public Studio workshop (Mar 2016). O’Neill workshop (June 2016). Additional readings at OSF, St. Louis Rep, Florida Studio Theater, and Playwrights Foundation
Full-length Comedy, 3M 2W
Albert and Jennifer Chen were at the pinnacle of academic achievement. But now they suck at adult life. Albert’s just been passed up for promotion and Jennifer’s just been dumped by her loser boyfriend. So they do what any reasonable egghead brother and sister would do and go on an Asian Freedom Tour! From California to Shenzen, TIGER STYLE! examines the successes and failures of tiger parenting from the point of view of a playwright who’s actually been through it.
Production/Development History: World premiere with the Alliance Theater, Atlanta (Oct 2015). Huntington Theater, Boston (Oct 2016). La Jolla Playhouse, San Diego (Sept 2016). Additional workshops at Center Theater Group and the O’Neill, Vineyard reading.
Full-length Comedy, 4M 3W
Penny is damaged. She doesn’t know who she is or her place in the world. So she drops everything – especially her boyfriend – to go on a cross-country bike trip from Boston to Santa Barbara. It’s a distance relationship, getting more distant each day. Along the way, Penny is joined by Ryan, a crunchy granola biking instructor; Rorie and Annabel, a lesbian couple who’ve decided to get a marriage license in every state they hit on the trip; and the mysterious Man with the Van who transports their stuff. Staged on stationary bikes and set in iconic towns across the country from the deep North down to the deep South (and the highways between them), Bike America captures the national temperature and the restlessness of a millennial generation that will go to any length to find a place that always seems just out of reach.
Production/Development History: Winner of the Kendeda Grad Playwriting Competition (2012). World premiere at the Alliance Theater, Atlanta, GA. (Feb 2013). Workshop at the Kennedy Center MFA Playwrights Week, DC (July 2012). Workshop production at Juilliard, NYC (Sept 2012), Playwrights Foundation “Rough Reading” series, San Francisco (2012).
Full-length Comedy, 3M 3W
Set in the present, fast on the heels of the Great Recession, microcrisis jumps seamlessly between the U.S., Ghana, and Monaco to depict the world’s next financial crisis. The play hinges on the Nobel Peace Prize-winning concept of microcredit, the small loans to budding entrepreneurs meant to alleviate Third World poverty. microcrisis is a hilarious comedy about what happens when a banker named Bennett exploits microcredit loans, lumps them into complex financial instruments, and crashes the global economy yet again.
Production/Development History: World premiere with Ma-Yi Theatre, NYC (Oct 2010), InterAct, Philadelphia (Jan 2012), Next Act, Milwaukee (Sept 2012).
“The savagery of microcrisis is impressive indeed.” – David Rooney, NY Times
“an initial public offering worth investing in.” -Miriam Felton-Dansky, Village Voice
Backstage Critic’s Pick. nytheatre.com Pick of the Week.
“Deceptively smart in its construction.” -Howard Shapiro, Philly Inquirer
Full-length Comedy, 1M 3W
Meet Fitz, EB, and Marie: three of the most fun, least motivated girls you’ll ever see. They live in Stockton, California: former home of the art world darling Kara Walker, birthplace of the graffiti legend Neck Face, and otherwise an all-around shithole. Watch Fitz getting haunted by Kara Walker’s maniacal talking silhouette. Watch EB trying to reform the Stockton school system. Watch Marie follow Neck Face down a trail of graffiti that ends in wet paint.
Production/Development History: Ensemble Studio Theater/Youngblood workshop, NYC
Full-length Drama, 2M 2W
It’s 1969 at UC Berkeley. A wave of student radicalism is tearing apart the university, and it may be spreading to campuses nationwide. Meanwhile, Florence Wu and her boyfriend Benedict Chen are up in their room studying organic chemistry. People’s Park tracks the violence and the activism of the 1960s through the eyes of people at the fringe of the Movement. Personal dreams collide with political conscience, testing the limits of mentorship, friendship, and love.
Production/Development History: Victory Gardens Ignition Festival workshop, Chicago, Ensemble Studio Theater/Youngblood workshop, NYC
One-Act Comedy, 1M 1F 7-13M/F
The International Order of the Moustache Guys is a secret society of shady men with even shadier facial hair. Believing her husband is their latest member, Ali dons a fake moustache and goes undercover to infiltrate enemy lines. Dealing with characters from Evil Twin Brother and Teen Father to Tom Selleck and Kentucky Prosecutor, there seems to be no end in sight for Ali when it comes to wacky, ridiculous moustachioed creatures in this rapid, laugh-out-loud comedy. Rights/script available from Playscripts.
Production/Development History: World premiere with Second Generation, NYC (Mar 2008)
“It’s hilarious, so much so that you might be tempted to come see the show again.” – Neil Genzlinger.
“I’m embarrassed by how amused I was by that.” – Neil Genzlinger’s daughter. (NY Times 3/11/08)