THE GREAT LEAP by Lauren Yee to Open at Lyric Stage Company of Boston in February

This play tells the story of one promising basketball player’s incredible journey to China to play the game he loves but winds up destined for something far greater.

By: Jan. 24, 2023
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THE GREAT LEAP by Lauren Yee to Open at Lyric Stage Company of Boston in February

The Great Leap by Lauren Yee and directed by Michael Hisamoto brings compelling storytelling, humor, and the power of second chances together to tell the story of one promising basketball player's incredible journey to China to play the game he loves but winds up destined for something far greater.

It's 1989 San Francisco and Manford Lum, a gifted, fast-talking teenager, dominates the high school basketball courts. Facing an uncertain future, he convinces Saul, a cynical and crusty coach, to let him travel to Beijing for a "friendship" game in China. Waiting there is a Chinese national coach with unfinished business, both with Saul and with Manford. On the eve of historic demonstrations, all three men are challenged to define their pasts and their futures.

Performances begin Friday, February 24 and run through Sunday, March 19.

Director Michael Hisamoto says, "I can't wait to share Lauren's story with you. The Great Leap is, on its surface, a play about basketball. But underneath that, it's a play about taking chances, raising your voice, and fighting for what you want. It's about aiming for the seemingly impossible, taking a shot, and risking it all.

Featuring Barlow Adamson*, Jihan Haddad*, Gary Thomas Ng*, and Tyler Simahk*.

Scenic Design is by Baron Pugh**, Costume Design by Seth Bodie, Lighting Design by Michael Clark Wonson, and Sound Design by Elizabeth Cahill.

Barlow Adamson*

(Saul) - Lyric Stage Company: Fabulation..., Be Here Now, The Thanksgiving Play, Chinglish, Time Stands Still, Private Lives, Red Herring, Noises Off, Arms and the Man. Merrimack Repertory Theatre: The Villains' Supper Club. Huntington Theatre: The Maiden's Prayer, A Month in the Country. SpeakEasy Stage Company: Small Mouth Sounds (Elliot Norton Award, Outstanding Ensemble), Kurt Vonnegut's Make Up Your Mind, Reckless, Almost Maine, Fuddy Meers. Greater Boston Stage Company: Incident at Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Nora Theatre Company: Photograph 51, Marjorie Prime, Operation Epsilon, On The Verge. Underground Railway Theater: Paradise, Yesterday Happened: Remembering H.M. Boston Playwrights' Theatre: Elemenopea (Elliot Norton Award, Outstanding Actor), The Honey Trap. Bridge Repertory Theater: Sixty Miles to Silver Lake. Gloucester Stage Company: The Norman Conquests, Dinner With Friends.

Jihan Haddad*

(Actor, Connie) - Trinity Repertory: A Christmas Carol, Sueño, Fade, Pride and Prejudice. Brown/Trinity Repertory: The Late Wedding, The Tempest, Summer & Smoke, Golf Girl, The Executrix. American Shakespeare Center: Twelfth Night, Thrive. The Hanover Theatre: Julius Caesar. National Black Theatre: from. Willamette University: Helen, Trojan Women, Conference of the Birds. Film: "Salvation". Jihan holds an MFA in Acting from Brown/Trinity. Instagram: @jihanleehaddad, Website:

Gary Thomas Ng*

(Wen Chang)- Lyric Stage: Pacific Overtures, Hold These Truths (Kurogo) and Sideshow (Fakir/Ensemble). Select favorite credits include: Greater Boston Stage Company: All Is Calm (Elliot Norton Award winner - Outstanding Musical Production) and Miracle on 34th Street (Alfred). SpeakEasy Stage Company: Allegiance (Sam Kimura/Ojii-Chan) for which Gary received an IRNE nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical. Wheelock Family Theatre: The Wizard of Oz (Uncle Henry/Guard), Beauty and the Beast (Lefou), Billy Elliot (Mr. Braithwaite) and Seussical the Musical (Mr. Mayor). North Shore Music Theater: Children of Eden (Ensemble). Worcester Foothills Theatre: Miss Saigon (Ensemble/The Engineer understudy). Ogunquit Playhouse: Grease! (Eugene), Footloose and Miss Saigon. Gary also toured the Far East in Cole Porter's Aladdin.

Tyler Simahk*

(Manford)-Lyric Stage: Fast Company (Francis), Company (Paul), Peter and the Starcatcher (Prentiss). SpeakEasy Stage Company: Allegiance (Frankie), Fun Home (Roy/Pete/Mark/Bobby Jeremy). Ogunquit Playhouse/Gateway Playhouse: Sister Act (Pablo). New York: Pip's Island (Puppeteer). International Tours: Sister Act-Asia (Swing/Pablo cover) Reagle Music Theatre: La Cage Aux Folles (Ensemble) Peterborough Players: Scapino! (Sylvestro) Tyler graduated from Emerson College in 2015 with a BFA in musical theater.

* Member of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States

**Represented by United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829 of the IATSE

"Lyric for All" Affordable Price Options

In an effort to integrate live theater into the lives of all residents of Greater Boston, Lyric Stage offers multiple options including $30 Under 35, advanced Student Tickets, Senior Tickets, and partnerships with MassWIC and EBT Cardholders that allow audiences to visit as often as they like. More information at:

Five Dollar Fridays

On Friday, February 24, Lyric Stage offers Five Dollar Friday which makes tickets affordable for all for $5 each. There will be a limited number of $5 tickets available for sale with code LEAP5.

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History of the Lyric Stage Company of Boston

Founded in 1974 and in residence at 140 Clarendon Street since 1991, the Lyric Stage Company is Boston's longest-serving resident theater company. Its mission is to produce and present live theater in Greater Boston with an intimate approach that promotes inclusivity and connection. The Lyric Stage leads an effort to integrate live theater and theater education into the lives of all residents of greater Boston.

Recently, Lyric Stage and the owners of the building, Beacon Communities, LLC have agreed that 140 Clarendon will be Lyric Stage's "forever" home, ensuring that the theater will remain a vital and essential part of the cultural fabric of the city.

In partnership with Beacon Communities, LLC, Lyric Stage will continue its commitment to improving the lives of Bostonians alongside a partner who shares those same values. With the partnership of Pine Street Inn, 111 of the units in the building will become supportive housing for people exiting homelessness. The combined energy of Beacon's supportive services alongside one of the city's cultural gems makes 140 Clarendon a paragon of two institutions coming together to make the city a better place for its residents.