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Kitchen Theatre Company Launches Play Development Workshop in Association with Ma-Yi Theatre Company

Stefani Kuo’s China Dreams or The Conservation of Parity will be led by Chicago and New York director Jess McLeod.

Kitchen Theatre Company Launches Play Development 
Workshop in Association with Ma-Yi Theatre Company

The Kitchen Theatre Company will collaborate with Ma-Yi Theater, the nation's premiere incubator of Asian-American new plays, on the first of two new play development workshops in its 2020-2021 season. Stefani Kuo's China Dreams or The Conservation of Parity will be led by Chicago and New York director Jess McLeod; cast by KTC veteran Judy Bowman; and will star Ruibo Qian (Black Mirror, Mozart in the Jungle) along with Michael Liu, Fang Du, Will Dao, Ya Han Chang and Wai Ching Ho.

"I am thrilled that even amidst the pandemic, the Kitchen Theatre remains committed to the development of new work for the American stage," said Interim Producing Artistic Director David Winitsky. "Stefani is an exciting new writer, and supporting her in these critical development phases extends the Kitchen's long history of making space for artists."

The play tells the story of Wu Chien-Shiung, a Nobel Prize laureate who was the only woman and the only foreign-born scientist on the Manhattan Project. It chronicles her first decades in America on her journey to becoming a physicist, battling personal challenges being separated from her home in China. While Wu's two worlds are physically far apart, emotionally, they reach out to each other to connect. Interlaced with English, Madarin and Cantonese dialogue, we not only see the human behind the groundbreaking science, but the strenuous choices that underscore her success.

The play will be workshopped in association with Manhattan's Ma-Yi Theatre, the professional, award-winning not-for-profit organization whose primary mission is to develop and produce new and innovative plays by Asian American writers. Ralph B. Peña, Producing Artistic Director at Ma- Yi Theatre says "When David first approached me with the idea of working on Stefani Kuo's "China Dreams," it took but half a second to say yes. We're thrilled to be part of developing an exciting new play by a young writer, who tells stories with a daring and singular voice. We're equally happy to be working with the Kitchen Theatre to help bring these kinds of plays to audiences in Ithaca."

China Dreams or The Conservation of Parity is also generously supported by Cornell University, Travis Hyde Properties and PPM Homes.

The all-virtual workshop will take place from March 8th-19th, 2021, and will feature three opportunities for audiences to engage through the Kitchen Theatre Company website subscriber portal.

Subscriber offerings will begin on March 11th, with a video Context Conversation with special guests, Professor Donald Spector (Psychics, Hobart & William Smith Colleges) and Professor Zuoyue Wang (History, California State Polytechnic). These experts will discuss the play with the playwright, cast and director, and special KTC guests. On March 16th, patrons will be given access to a prerecorded Design Presentation, in which Scenic and Lighting Designer Joshua Benghiat and Costume Designer Orli Nativ will describe the visual world of the play.

KTC subscribers will then have the opportunity to join a live Zoom on March 19th at 7PM for a fascinating 90-minute presentation that includes scenes from the play, design inspiration, expert ideas and a Q&A with playwright Stefani Kuo.

"Born and raised in Hong Kong, I came to the United States to study and resisted American assimilation in many ways, but I have now lived in America almost as long as I have in Asia, and what does that mean for who I am? I am extremely excited to work on this play with the Kitchen Theatre, with Jess McLeod and the team we have put together to explore these very questions - what does it mean to become an American, when it is perhaps unwanted?"

The production is available to patrons through the purchase of one of two subscription models offered by the theatre this season. Most notably, the Pay What You Want subscription, an extension of what would normally be the theatre's preview night offerings in the pre and post-pandemic world, gives patrons a chance to engage in the remaining season offerings, including China Dreams or The Conservation of Parity, at a cost of their choosing. Visit for more information.

The creative team for China Dreams or The Conservation of Parity is rounded out with Technical Direction by Brendan Komala and Interactive Design by Noah Elman. Production Stage Manager is Jennifer Schilansky and Assistant Stage Managers are Anna Cunningham and Deletris Bryant.

The Kitchen Theatre Company 2020-2021 season is generously supported by co-producers, Tompkins Trust Company, CSP Management, New York State Council on the Arts, The Shubert Foundation, Tompkins County Tourism Program, National Endowment for the Arts, Streaming Series Underwriters Barry Chester & Elissa Cogan, Script Club Sponsors Don Spector & Stacia Zabusky, Workshop Series Underwriters Cornell University & Travis Hyde Properties, Workshop Series Sponsors PPM Homes and Media Sponsor The Lansing Star Online.




Available to all KTC Subscribers. There are two kinds of subscriptions to access:

  • Journey Subscribers get the remaining of all season events plus one live production.
  • Our new Pay What You Want Subscription offers the remainder of the virtual events in the season to all the theatre lovers in our community..

Subscriptions can be purchased online at, by phone at (607) 272-0570 or in person Monday-Friday, 10:00 AM-6:00 PM at the Kitchen Theatre (417 W. State St.)

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