Ma-Yi Theater Company Unveils Fall 2023 Season Featuring World Premiere of Lisa Sanaye Dring's SUMO & More

This fall, Ma-Yi Theater Company will also support the development of two new plays, 49 Days by Haruna Lee and Drawing Lessons by Michi Barall.

By: Sep. 20, 2023
Ma-Yi Theater Company Unveils Fall 2023 Season Featuring World Premiere of Lisa Sanaye Dring's SUMO & More

Ma-Yi Theater Company has revealed programming for the fall 2023 season including the world premiere of SUMO, by Lisa Sanaye Dring, directed by Ralph B. Peña, in a co-production with La Jolla Playhouse. Developed during the Playhouse’s 2021 DNA New Work Series, the show will run in the Mandell Weiss Forum September 26 – October 22, 2023, with a press opening of October 1. For tickets and information, please visit Click Here.
Entrenched in an elite sumo training facility in Tokyo, six men practice, eat, love, play and ultimately fight. Akio arrives as an angry, ambitious 18-year-old with a lot to learn. Expecting validation, dominance, and fame, and desperate to move up the ranks, he slams headlong into his fellow wrestlers, especially Mitsuo, the highest-ranked fighter. With sponsorship money at stake, their bodies on the line, and their futures at risk, the wrestlers struggle to carve themselves – and one another – into the men they dream of being.

The cast for SUMO features Kris Bona, Michael Hisamoto, Earl T. Kim, Ryan Nebreja, David Shih, Miller Tai, Scott Keiji Takeda, Adam Tran, Viet Vo, and Shih-wei Wu. 

The creative team includes Wilson Chin (scenic designer); Mariko Ohigashi (costume designer); Paul Whitaker (lighting designer); Fabian Obispo (sound designer); Hana Kim (projection designer); Albert “Albee” Alvarado (wig designer); Shih-wei Wu (composer); Chelsea Pace (intimacy staging and fight director); James Yaegashi (cultural and martial arts consultant); Alice Tuan (dramaturg); tbd casting co., Stephanie Yankwitt, CSA/Jacole Kitchen (casting); Marie Jahelka (stage manager); and Kira Vine (assistant stage manager).

Ma-Yi Theater Company has also announced that Lloyd Suh and Diana Oh are the recipients of the second annual Generation Now commission from Ma-Yi Theater Company and The Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis for their new musical, The Science Fair Project. Funded by the Mellon Foundation, Generation Now brings together five cohort theaters to commission and develop new works for multigenerational audiences over a five-year period. Other cohorts include The Latino Theatre Company, Penumbra, and Native Voices at The Autry.
This fall, Ma-Yi Theater Company will also support the development of two new plays, 49 Days by Haruna Lee and Drawing Lessons by Michi Barall, who is the inaugural recipient of a Generation Now commission.

Since its founding in 1989, Ma-Yi Theater Company has distinguished itself as one of the country’s leading incubators of new work shaping the national discourse about what it means to be Asian American today. Please visit for more information.
About the Artists

Lisa Sanaye Dring

was honored as a recipient of the 2020/21 PLAY LA Stage Raw/Humanitas Prize. The Wicked One was a finalist for the Relentless Award, a finalist for the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, a finalist for the Seven Devils Playwrights Conference and a semi-finalist for the O'Neill Playwrights Conference. Kaidan Project: Walls Grow Thin, a play she co-wrote with Chelsea Sutton, was nominated for eight Ovation Awards including Best Production. She is writing Kaidan Project: Alone, an augmented reality experience, with the same team, which will be coming this fall. Lisa’s work has been developed/produced by The New Group, Actors Theatre of Louisville, East West Players, Circle X, Playwrights’ Arena, Rogue Artists Ensemble, The Motor Company, Theatre of NOTE and with the DCA's Reimagine Public Art Series. She recently served as the head writer on Welcome to the Blumhouse Live, an interactive film event for Blumhouse/Amazon Prime by Little Cinema. Lisa was a member of East West Players’ Playwrights Group and is a MacDowell and Yaddo Fellow. 

Ralph B. Peña

is an Obie Award-winning theater-maker based in New York City. Recent directing credits include Lloyd Suh’s The Chinese Lady at The Public Theater, Indiana Rep, Long Wharf Theater, Barrington Stage, (Drama Desk, Lortel, NY Outer Critics, CT Critics Circle Nominations), Michael Lew’s Tiger Style! at South Coast Repertory, and Daniel K. Isaac’s ONCE UPON A (korean) TIME for Ma-Yi Theater Company, where he is currently Producing Artistic Director. For Ma-Yi he has directed the world premieres of Hansol Jung’s Among the Dead (NYT Critic’s Pick), Michael Lew’s microcrisis, Lloyd Suh’s The Wong Kids (Off Broadway Alliance Best Children’s Play) and Children of Vonderly (both NYT Critic’s Picks). He wrote and directed the short film Vancouver (Cannes World Film Festival, L.A. Indie Festival, NY International Film Award for Best Short and Best Director, 2023 UNIMA Citation of Excellence), and the documentary Twenty Years of Asian American Playwriting for PBS/ALL ARTS.

About La Jolla Playhouse

La Jolla Playhouse is a place where artists and audiences come together to create what’s new and next in the American theatre, from Tony Award-winning productions, to imaginative programs for young audiences, to interactive experiences outside our theatre walls. Founded in 1947 by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer, the Playhouse is currently led by Tony Award winner Christopher Ashley, the Rich Family Artistic Director of La Jolla Playhouse, and Managing Director Debby Buchholz. The Playhouse is internationally renowned for the development of new works, including mounting 110 world premieres, commissioning 70 new works, and sending 34 productions to Broadway, garnering a total of 38 Tony Awards, as well as the 1993 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre.

About Ma-Yi Theater Company

Founded in 1989, Ma-Yi Theater Company is a Drama Desk, Lortel, and Obie Award-winning, Off-Broadway not-for-profit organization whose primary mission is to develop and produce new and innovative plays by Asian American writers. 

Its numerous acclaimed productions include Mike Lew’s Teenage Dick and Bike America, Qui Nguyen's The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G and Soul Samurai (with Vampire Cowboys), and Hansol Jung’s Among The Dead. Other productions include: Rescue Me by Michi Barall, Lloyd Suh's The Chinese Lady, and Lonnie Carter’s The Romance of Magno Rubio.

The Ma-Yi Writers Lab, a signature program founded in 2004, is the largest resident company of Asian-American Playwrights ever assembled. The Lab emboldens a new generation of Asian American artists to voice their experiences, while developing a steady stream of quality new works by Asian American Playwrights for Ma-Yi’s own performing repertory. New works developed at the Writers Lab have gone on to successful productions around the country, at such theaters as Victory Gardens, Laguna Playhouse, Long Wharf Theater, Woolly Mammoth and the Actors Theater of Louisville, to name a few.

Ma-Yi’s productions have earned 10 Obie Awards, 5 Henry Hewes Award nominations, a Drama Desk nomination for Best Play and the Special Drama Desk Award for “more than two decades of excellence and for nurturing Asian-American voices in stylistically varied and engaging theater.”

Ma-Yi Theater is under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Ralph B. Peña.

Photo credit: Rich Soublet Photography


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