Humana Festival Premieres works by Ma-Yi Labbies

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:

Ma-Yi Writers Lab Playwright

Leah Nanako Winkler

God Said This by Leah Nanako Winkler (Feb. 28-April 8, 2018), directed by Morgan Gould is about a New Yorker who returns to her hometown in Lexington, Kentucky. as her mom is undergoing chemotherapy.


Susan Soon He Stanton

Susan Soon He Stanton

we, the invisibles by Susan Soon He Stanton (March 23-April 8, 2018), directed by Dámaso Rodríguez. The play follows a playwright, working a survival job at a luxury hotel, who begins interviewing her fellow employees.



Dipika Guha

You Across From Me by Jaclyn Backhaus, Dipika Guha, Brian Otaño, and Jason Gray Platt (March 23-April 8, 2018). These series of short plays, to be performed by Actors Theatre’s training company, explore the themes of connection, confrontation, and compromise. Jessica Fisch will direct.


The Humana Festival has premiered more than 450 new plays in its 42-year history.

Lab Members play readings at PARITY PLAYS READING Nov 13-20


Rehana Lew Mirza, Leah Nananko Winkler and Catherine Yu present readings of their plays at the annual four-play reading series, Parity Plays, celebrating the work of female and trans writers and directors. Created by WP Lab alum Adrienne Campbell-Holt and Colt Coeur, and now co-curated with WP, the Parity Plays series will appear on the WP Theater stage for the very first time at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre, 2162 Broadway at 76th Street, New York, NY 10024

Tickets are FREE and going fast! Reserve yours now!

Rehana Lew Mirza

Rehana Lew Mirza


by Rehana Lew Mirza
Directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh
Cast TBA
Monday, November 13th, 4pm
A local Michigan literary professor, Layla, seeks out a famous Muslim-American novelist, Imran, to find out if he’s an Islamophobe or just a really good lay.

Ma-Yi Writers Lab Playwright

Leah Nanako Winkler

God Said This

by Leah Nanako Winkler
Directed by Morgan Gould
Featuring Jeff Biehl, Satomi Blair, Ako Dachs, Emily Kunkel, Emma Kikue Munson, and Jay Patterson
Thursday, November 16th, 3pm
James seeks redemption when his wife is diagnosed with uterine cancer. John searches for a legacy for his only son.  NYC transplant Hiro struggles to let go of her inherited demons, and Sophie confronts her faith as she comes to terms with death, her own shortcomings and broken dreams. GOD SAID THIS is about five Godless and God-loving people in Lexington, Kentucky who face mortality in very different ways

Perry Street

by Lucy Thurber
Featuring Jennifer Carpenter, Glenn Davis, Amanda Seyfried, Trudie Styler, and Michael Warner
Sunday, November 19th 7pm
Phil and Maggie live a blessed life–they’ve been happily married for years, they have a daughter, Becca, they adore, a traveling companion they enjoy, and more money than they could ever spend. That is until Becca’s new girlfriend, Annabelle, comes to visit and tears their well-curated world apart. PERRY STREET is a dark comic exploration of money, class and art.

Catherine Yu

Catherine Yu

Le Jeté

by Catherine Yu
Directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt
Featuring Molly Carden, Lauren Currie Lewis, Lynne Lipton, Eden Marryshow, Kate Cullen Roberts, Brian Wiles, and Tyler Weaks
Monday, November 20th , 7pm
Cate Yu’s unique new play with Baroque opera, Le Jeté, centers around a museum associate who longs to rediscover her love of art while trying to center herself in the chaos that is thrown at her. Through opera, performance art, and Rome she finds her way back to art and the world at large. 


Female Members of Ma-Yi Writer's Lab

Spotlight on Ma-Yi Writers Lab Members Mia Chung, Leah Nananko Winkler, Hansol Jung, Lauren Yee, Madhuri Shekar, Susan Soon He Stanton, Jiehae Park and Sam Chanse.

Ma-Yi’s mission is anchored by supporting the works of Asian American playwrights. We are also committed to a diverse and inclusive culture that makes room for women, the differently abled, LGBT and non-binary artists and people of color. Last year,  Theatre Communications Group reported that women playwrights authored only 22 percent of a sampling of 2,508 produced plays. TCG also reported that of the Top 10 produced plays of the 2014/15 season, only two were penned by women. This NY Times article about theater jobs leaning towards white and male confirms the inequity.

We’re out to break these barriers. We’re proud of the many accomplishments made in this direction by the women playwrights of The Writers Lab. Here’s a sampling of what some of them have been up to:

Madhuri Shekar

Ma-Yi Writers Lab Member

Madhuri Shekar

Madhuri Shekar’s “Queen” (with a world premiere at Victory Gardens ) garnered a Chicago Jeff Award nomination to be presented in November. Chaw Yew, Chicago’s Victory Garden’s  Artistic Director who presented Madhuri’s Queen this year, spoke in this article addressing parity for women playwrights, “More than half of the people on the planet are women,” Yew said, “I don’t understand how you run a theater and not represent half the people in the world.”

Madhuri' Shekars's Queen at Victory Gardens

Madhuri’ Shekars’s Queen at Victory Gardens

 Hansol Jung

Hansol Jung

Hansol Jung

Hansol Jung (Among The Dead, Ma-Yi mainstage)  was at Artist Repertory’s At the Table in 2017/2018 to develop Wolf Play, “a messy funny disturbing theatrical experience grappling with a wolf, a puppet, and a very prickly problem of “what is a family, and what do we need from them, today? Is it very different from the things humans have needed from families before? ” At the Table offers commissions for playwrights to start a new play, to finish one already begun or to revisit one that hasn’t yet been fully realized, 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. Eugene O’Neill Theater Center recommended Wolf Play as a finalist for the 2017 National Playwrights Conference. out of more than 1,300 submissions, citing the deeply moving dissection of the meaning of family, as well as the innovative theatricality of both the structure and character of the play.

Seattle’s Forward Flux recently presented Hansol’s “No More Sad Things”  which features Lance Valdez and Kiki Abba and is set in Hawaii, “about love, family, forgiveness and grief. It also tackles the complex relationship of tourists and natives.” (Photo by J Reese for Forward Flux productions.)


Wild Goose Dreams by Hansol Jung

Jung’s Wild Goose Dreams recently finished a run at LaJolla Playhouse.

International City Theatre‘s 2018 season, is featuring featuring Hansol Jung’s Cardboard Piano in May of 2018, about the daughter of an American missionary and an Ugandan teenage girl who find love against the backdrop of Uganda’s civil war. The play was recently done at International City Theater in Long Beach.


Mia Chung

Lab Member, Mia Chung is the dramaturg for the production of Soomi Kim’s MY LITTLE CHINA GIRL to play Dixon Place this fall. Mia recently received a Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellowship and the 2016 Stavis Playwright Award. Her play, YOU FOR ME FOR YOU had its UK premiere at The Royal Court Theatre in London (December 2015) and its world premiere at Woolly Mammoth Theatre (in association with Ma-Yi, supported by NEA; 2012), and most recently at Crowded Fire TheaterYOU FOR ME FOR YOU was hailed by The Washingtonian as “…(a) magical universe…a dizzying, sometimes surreal tale…endlessly creative…”


Sam Chanse

Sam Chanse

In the summer, Jen Poulin of Broken Nose Theatre will direct Lab Member, Sam Chanse’s “The Opportunities of Extinction” (June 2-30). The drama, which will feature Echaka Agba and Aria Szalai-Raymond, and follows connections made in the Mojave Desert following a social media firestorm. Performances will take place at The Den Theatre in Chicago.



Sam’s play, The Other Instinct is one of  six plays chosen through the Open Access Program for the Lark Theater 24th Annual Playwrights’ Week from a pool of nearly 1,000 submissions.


Susan Soon He Stanton

Susan Soon He Stanton


Susan Soon He Stanton‘s play Today is my Birthday will debut locally at the New Ohio Theatre in November. Told through a playful mixture of phone calls, voicemails, and live radio spots, the play is a comedy about loneliness in the age of connection. Susan received the Lark Theater Venturous Playwright Fellowship for the play.

Susan is set to have another world premiere Off-Broadway this fall with Solstice Party!a drama that explores themes of groupthink and betrayal. “The new play sees a group of friends gather in upstate New York for the summer solstice and is eerily billed as “a Jonestown parable for the Trump era.”  The play is presented by Live Source Theatre Group with direction by former Ma-Yi  staff member, Tyler Mercer. Performances will run November 2–19 at the A.R.T./New York Theatres. Susan is a staff writer for the London TV series Succession, on HBO.


Ma-Yi Writers Lab Playwright

Leah Nanako Winkler

First Floor Theater‘s production of Leah Nanako Winkler‘s “Two Mile Hollow” is premiering now in Chicago.  A satirical takedown coupled with moments of disorienting sincerity, the play explores the age old genre of plays about affluent white families retreating to their waterfront homes to battle it out with brutality, awe and compassion.The beauty part of Winkler’s play is that all the characters are played by actors of color, sporting platinum-blonde wigs and silver-spoon cluelessness.


Jose Nateras, left, Deanna Myers, Kai Ealy and Jazmin Corona in  Leah Nanako Winkler’s “Two Mile Hollow.” (Juli Del Prete photo)




Jiehae Park

Labbie, Jiehae Park’s world premiere of Hannah and the Dread Gazebo” is playing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Thomas Theatre in Ashland, Oregon, until October 28, 2017. Directed by Chay Yew. the play begins when Hannah receives a strange package from her grandmother, who may—or may not—have just ended her life in a most flamboyant fashion. The mystery leads Hannah and her family on a surreal, funny, heartbreaking adventure back to their roots in South and North Korea and the forbidden Demilitarized Zone that divides them. This play focuses on the immigrant experience, family, love, pain and overcoming the pain, and about mystery. Watch this interview video andthis great production trailer of the production.

“You don’t normally see a production that features the creation myth of Korea, which tells the tale of a tiger and a bear, the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea, a smooth white rock that could potentially contain a magical wish, and the ghost of Kim Jong-il wandering the DMZ, all weaved into the story of a family dealing with the apparent death of a relative.” —Bill Choy /


Hannah and the Dread Gazebo by Jiehae Park

In May, Jiehae Park’s peerless, the tale of a pair of high school siblings determined to get into their dream university, was staged at the Boston Public Library. This year, Jiehae was one of eight writers inducted into New Dramatists resident playwright company, a developmental laboratory for professional playwrights. She served as a judge in the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival, along with Lab Member, Lauren Yee, in August.



lauren-headshot-3 - small

Lauren Yee

Winner of the 2016 Francesca Primus prize, Lauren Yee  is a busy and highly produced playwright this year. Her King of the Yees premiered this past season at The Goodman Theatre and Center Theatre Group and at ACT Theatre and Canada’s National Arts Centre. Still to come is her play, Cambodian Rock Band at South Coast RepertoryThe play uses the music of real-life rock band Dengue Fever, to tell the story of the fallout from the Khmer Rouge.

Yee’s The Great Leap will play at Denver Center, Seattle Rep, and Atlantic Theatre Company. about an American college basketball team in Beijing for a “friendship” game in the post-Cultural Revolution 1980s inspired by events in Yee’s father’s life.

Her play, in a word, about a couple whose adopted son is missing, just finished a run at Chance Theater, where she is a onetime playwright-in-residence which gives this work its Southern California premiere. The play is a finalist for the ATCA/Steinberg Award. Yee is the recipient of The Kesselring award, prestigious prize, which includes a $25,000 award and the opportunity for the playwright to develop her work with the club.

We will continue to bring you great news and productions of our Writers Lab Member plays and appreciate your support of our cause.


“in a word” at Chance Theater

Ma-Yi Updates Casting Database, Seeking Your Input!




We want to get you work!

We are updating our casting and technical/design database and would love to include you. This database will:

1.) Ensure that our casting and hiring processes have a wide, diverse reach that includes ALL ethnic backgrounds, gender and physical ability classifications. This will NOT BE USED TO EXCLUDE people, but rather help us better adhere to the principle of Equal Opportunity.

2.) Make sure we have to most current info for those of you we already know, and to open Ma-Yi’s doors to performers, designers, and technicians we have yet to work with.

3.) Be shared with other theater organizations on a cooperative basis.

Feel free to forward this info anyone you think would be interested in signing up!

Below are links to 2 separate forms: Please choose the form that best describes your skill set. Each form takes no more than 5 minutes.



Peer Gynt_selection-21

Ma-Yi’s PEER GYNT AND THE NORWEGIAN HAPA BAND Written by Michi Barall / Music by Paul Lieber and Matt Park / Orchestration by Chad Raines / Musical Direction by Harrison Beck / Directed and originally conceived by Jack Tamburri

Ma-Yi Fall 2017 Labfest Features Readings Oct 27-30


October 27 @ 7pmLet There Be Love by Mrinalini Kamath
October 28@ 3pmBritish Raj: Just the Fun Parts by Mike Lew
October 29 @ 5pmColonialism is Terrible, But Pho is Delicious by Dustin Chinn
October 30 @ 1:30pmUntitled by Jiehae Park (CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC)
October 30 @ 7pmBlood in Your Blood by A. Rey Pamatmat


During October 27 through October 30, Ma-Yi Theater Company’s WRITERS LAB will be conducting staged readings of their new plays and works in progress. The public is invited via reservations and the productions are free. The Ma-Yi Writers Lab consists of over 30 Asian American Playwrights who offer their works through our main stage productions and bi-annual LABFESTS like this one.

For more information on Ma-Yi Theater Company and The Ma-Yi Writers Lab call 212-971-4862. Thank you for your support and patronage.


Ma-Yi Welcomes Stanford Intern, Connor Asercion!


Ma-Yi Intern, Connor Asercion

Ma-Yi Theater is pleased to bring Connor Asercion on board with the company for a fall internship. We are excited to be associated with this Stanford University student, who comes from a background of technical theater, with experience in stage management, scenic construction, and lighting design. They have also served as the Technical Director for the Nitery Experimental Studio and the Asian American Theater Project, student groups committed to pushing the boundaries of theatre on campus. They are majoring in Theater and Performance Studies with a minor in Communication.

“As an advocate for diverse theatre and representation onstage and off, I am thrilled to be working with Ma-Yi” Connor said. In their time with us this fall they look forward to working closely with the literary side of Ma-Yi on our upcoming Writers Labfest, and to getting a greater sense of the administrative processes and functions that bring a New York nonprofit to life.

Your can reach out to Connor at

WORLD PREMIERE OF KPOP, Book by Lab Member, Jason Kim, Begins!


A High-Octane Immersive Event with a Cast of 18 that Gives You an All-Access, Backstage Pass to a K-Pop Music Factory


$45 general, $75 premium, $25, $35 on select dates, details below

New York, NY, July 12, 2017—Ars Nova “one of NYC’s most adventurous Off Broadway companies” (New York Times), in association with “the foremost incubator of new Asian American theater in the country” (Obie award) Ma-Yi Theater and Woodshed Collective, “the exceptional theater company” that turns “spaces into intimate vortexes of wonder” (Gothamist) presents the world premiere of KPOP, a high-octane immersive event that gives you a backstage pass to a K-pop music factory.

KPOP is here and America will never be the same. Claim your exclusive, all-access pass and immerse yourself in the Korean Pop music factory where stars are made… or broken.

KPOP was conceived by Woodshed Collective and  Ma-Yi Writers Lab Member, Jason Kim (The Model American, HBO’s “Girls”) and features a book by Kim, music & lyrics by Helen Park and Max Vernon (The View UpStairs), an immersive design by Woodshed Collective, choreography by Bessie-nominee Jennifer Weber (The Hip Hop Nutcracker, TruTV’s “Face Off”) and is directed by Teddy Bergman (Empire Travel Agency).

The predominantly Asian and Asian American cast of 18 includes Julia Abueva, Cathy Ang, Katie Lee Hill (Nerds), Joomin Hwang, Jinwoo Jung, Jiho Kang, Deborah Kim, Susannah Kim, Ashley Park (Sunday in the Park with George, The King and I), Sun Hye Park, James Saito, James Seol (A Naked Girl on the Appian Way,

Previews: Sept 5, 6, 11–13, 18–20 at 7pm; Sept 7–9, 14–16, 21 at 8pm; Sept 16 and 21 at 3pm

Opening: Friday, Sept 22 at 8pm


Ma-Yi Lab Member Diana Oh Writes, Co-Stars and Co-Directs Rattlestick Production of {my lingerie play}


“What drives an artist to stand in her black corset in Times Square on a soapbox? It began at 17 with her first shoplifted f*ck me bra. Over the course of this unfiltered and soul-baring event, Diana Oh‘s personal collection of unmentionables comes on and off as she and her band ignite the audience to create a saner, safer, more courageous world for us all.”

Our friends at Rattlestick Theater Company are presenting Ma-Yi Lab Member, Diana Oh‘s {my lingerie play} 2017: THE CONCERT AND CALL TO ARMS!!!!!!!!! The Final Installation beginning on September 28. The event is being produced in association with Rosalind Productions, Inc. (Abigail Rose Solomon, Executive Producer). With Diana in the starring role, the concert will be featuring Ryan McCurdy (Musical Direction/Drums), and Ma-Yi’s Peer Gynt and The Norwegian Hapa Band stars, Matt Park (Guitar) and Rocky Vega (Bass).



Diana Oh

On a related note, Congratulations to Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and Diana Oh, one of seven recipients of the 2017-2018 Tow Playwrights-in-Residence companies awarded a $75,000 grant. Rattlestick Artistic director, Daniella Topol, says “The residency is a game changer…This meaningful level of support allows Diana and Rattlestick the artistic freedom and resources to fully realize the ambitious vision for mylingerieplay … and her next two Rattlestick projects” more


Rattlestick recently announced its complete 2017/18 which after Diana Oh‘s {my lingerie play} will continue in January 2018 with Dael Orlandersmith‘s UNTIL THE FLOOD and Lab Member Mashuq Mushtaq Deen‘s DRAW THE CIRCLE will be presented in repertory.

Mashuk Mushtaq Deen

Mashuk Mushtaq Deen

DRAW THE CIRCLE, Deen’s play will also be produced by Mosaic Theater Company of DC In rep with The Real Americans. Directed by Chay Yew, At the Atlas Performing Arts Center, Lab II, December 1-24, 2017. “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.”

“Truly a tour de force…universal in its observation of love within the family structure.” (Triangle Arts & Entertainment)

Writers Lab Members invited to New York Madness at Kraine Theater

Ma-Yi Writers Lab MemberNandita Shenoy

New York Madness has announced the schedule for its 2017-18 season, their second in residence with FRIGID New York @ Horse Trade at The Kraine Theater (85 East 4th Street between 2nd Avenue and Bowery). Performances will be on the last Sunday of (almost) every month at 8pm. Tickets ($10) may be purchased in advance at Lab Members Nandita Shenoy and Madhuri Shekar have been invited into the company for the 2017-2018 Season.

New York Madness is a raw and unpredictable show of short plays by an ensemble of playwrights presented fully staged with scripts in hand. They write a short play and cast it, rehearse it, and bring it in on its feet. The collected works create a kaleidoscope of cultural moments reflecting this moment in time, framed by a theme that is chosen by the Featured Guest Playwright. The primary goal of Madness is the exploration of modern American Playwriting through the use of theatrical storytelling. Visit




Writers Lab Members Winkler and Chua have plays being premiered by Randy Reyes (a new Board Member of TCG).

ST. PAUL, Minnesota —Director-actor Randy Reyes, a Filipino American theater director has been named to the board of directors of a big organization that promotes the development of professional, community and university theaters. Stage director and actor Randy Reyes will be a board member of the Theatre Communications Group (TCG).

Ma-Yi Writers Lab Playwright

Leah Nanako Winkler

Meanwhile, Reyes is busy preparing for Mu Performing Arts’ 2017-18 season. The line up will kick off with Leah Nanako Winkler’s “Two Mile Hollow,” a parody containing a dysfunctional family. Damon Chua’s “The Princess Nightingale” a new adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Nightingale” set in eighteenth century China follows at Mu Performing Arts.  more:

Damon Chua

Damon Chua

Don Nguyen Revives Three to Beam Up at Shelterbelt Theater next year.

Don Nguyen

Don Nguyen

“It’s the 23rd century. Capt. John Wisher of the USS Valkyries finds his ship stuck in the middle of a nexus that has suddenly appeared in the gamma quadrant. Capt. Wisher hears an alien voice that compels him to follow it, risking the safety of all.  Meanwhile in the present day, Sam and Jules Wisher look for their father, John Wisher, who is missing…again. Three to Beam Up is about a man who believes he is the captain of a Federation starship and the children that fight to keep their father’s feet firmly planted on Earth.” more

The Playwrights Realm has announced its 2017-18 season and the launch of a new residency series. Next season, it will present world premieres by Michael Yates Crowley and Don Nguyen.  The second world premiere of the season will be Hello, From the Children of Planet Earth by Nguyen (February-March 2018). The show is “a comedy about conception and deep-space travel.” Jade King Carroll will direct.

Gingold Theatrical Group Announces 2017-18 SPEAKERS’ CORNER Writers Group including New Writers Lab Member:

For the 2017-’18 season, writers Julissa ContrerasEmily Daly, Xavier Galva, Nick Gandiello, Hank H. Kim, James Presson, Ren Dara Santiago, and David Zheng will develop works in response to Shaw’s Man and Superman. Named after the corner of London’s Hyde Park where George Bernard Shaw and other political speakers have delivered speeches since 1855, GTG’s SPEAKERS CORNER 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.

Ma-Yi Lab Member

David Zheng

A relative newcomer to Ma-Yi Writers Lab, Zheng is an actor, playwright, and photographer. He is a founding member of The Middle Voice Theater Company. His plays have been workshopped and presented by LAByrinth Theater Company (Kingsbridge) and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (Ghetto Baptism).

Labbie, Kimber Lee’s brownsville song (b-side for tray)

Kimber Lee’s play was first premiered in 2014 at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville, Kentucky, the same year as the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by Cleveland police. Cleveland’s Playwrights Local recently told that tale in the original play “Objectively/Reasonable” and did so through a dramatization of documented reactions by anonymous neighbors, friends and community leaders. This made the senseless shooting particularly personal, political and parochial.”


Kimber Lee

Today, the play continues through Sept. 24 at Dobama Theatre  in Cleveland Heights:

“brownsville song (b-side for tray)” takes place in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, where a young black life with infinite potential on the verge of endless possibilities is tragically cut short in a street shooting. That is where this story, which seamlessly time-shifts between the past and the present, both begins and ends.” more from Cleveland Jewish News



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