The Great Leap 

by LAUREN YEE
directed by DESDEMONA CHIANG 
McGuire Proscenium Stage

A sharp-witted new drama

When an American basketball team travels to Beijing for an exhibition game in 1989, the drama goes deeper than the strain between countries. For two men with a past and one teen with a future, the game is a chance to claim personal victories on and off the court. Tensions rise right up to the final buzzer as a pivotal moment in history collides with the action in the arena. Driven by rapid-fire dialogue, this perceptive new play explores the cultural and political risks of raising your voice and standing your ground.

Three things to know 

  • Lauren Yee is one of the most produced playwrights in the country and has collaborated with director Desdemona Chiang for more than a decade.
  • The title refers to the game of basketball and the Communist Party of China’s Great Leap Forward campaign in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
  • You don’t have to be a history or basketball buff to engage with the story.

 

Play guide

Did you know The Great Leap is loosely based on the life of playwright Lauren Yee's father? Download the play guide

In the news

Review

“Full of banter you'll want to hear again and characters you want to root for”

Read the full Minnesota Monthly review. 

Feature

Learn how playwright Lauren Yee's father inspired The Great Leap and how the game of basketball bridges east and west.

Read the full MPR story.   

Video

Watch the trailer

Basketball provides the framework for this new play that blends history, politics and identity. 

Photos

Lee Sellars (Saul) and Lawrence Kao (Manford) in The Great Leap. Photo by Dan Norman. 

Leah Anderson (Connie) and Lawrence Kao (Manford) in The Great Leap. Photo by Dan Norman. 

Lee Sellars (Saul) and Kurt Kwan (Wen Chang) in The Great Leap. Photo by Dan Norman. 

Lee Sellars (Saul) and Kurt Kwan (Wen Chang) in The Great Leap. Photo by Dan Norman. 

Lawrence Kao (Manford) and Lee Sellars (Saul) in The Great Leap. Photo by Dan Norman. 

Kurt Kwan (Wen Chang) in The Great Leap. Photo of Dan Norman. 

Kurt Kwan (Wen Chang) and Lawrence Kao (Manford) in The Great Leap. Photo by Dan Norman. 

Artists

Cast

Leah Anderson

Connie

Lawrence Kao

Manford

Kurt Kwan

Wen Chang

Lee Sellars

Saul

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Creative

Lauren Yee

Playwright

Desdemona Chiang

Director

Sara Ryung Clement

Scenic Designer

Helen Huang

Costume Designer

Paul P. Whitaker

Lighting Designer

Sarah Pickett

Sound Designer

Tom Mays

Projection Designer

Jo Holcomb

Dramaturg

Keely J. Wolter

Voice and Dialect Coach

Jason Clusman

Stage Manager

Tierra K. Anderson

Assistant Stage Manager

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