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Ma-Yi Theater's BIKE AMERICA Begins Tonight Off-Broadway

The Obie and Drama Desk Award-winning Ma-Yi Theater Company -- one of the nation's leading theaters dedicated to developing and producing new and innovative plays by Asian American writers -- will celebrate its 25th anniversary season in 2013-14, beginning with the New York premiere of Bike America by Mike Lew, with previews tonight, September 24 prior to an official opening night on October 1 Off-Broadway at The Theater at St. Clement's (423 W. 46 St.) in Manhattan.

BIKE AMERICA is directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, who directed the world-premiere of Bike America at ALLIANCE THEATRE earlier this year along with the Off-Broadway hit HAND TO GOD at Ensemble Studio Theatre.

Written by Mike Lew -- author of the play "microcrisis," presented Off-Broadway by Ma-Yi Theater Company in 2010 -- Bike America has a cast featuring Nick Choksi, Jessica Digiovanni, Melanie Nicholls-King, David Shih, Marilyn Torres, Tom White and Landon G. Woodson.

BIKE AMERICA is a wildly picturesque road trip that crams the 48 contiguous states onto one stage: the play unfolds during a cross-country bike trip from Boston to Santa Barbara -- with stops in big cities and small towns-- as the feckless Penny, looking to add meaning to her life, drops her clingy boyfriend and takes off for the Pacific. Along the way, she befriends a colorful array of bikers in this multi-state, multi-generational, Blue and Red mash-up.

BIKE AMERICA has set design by Andrew Boyce, costume design by Melissa Schlachtmeyer, lighting design by Matthew Richards and sound design by Jill BC DuBoff. David S. Cohen is production stage manager.

Mike Lew is co-director of Ma-Yi Writers Lab. His plays include microcrisis (Ma-Yi, NYC; InterAct, Philly; Next Act, Milwaukee); STOCKTON (AracaWorks and EST workshops); and PEOPLE'S PARK (Victory Gardens Ignition Festival). His shorts include IN PARIS YOU WILL FIND MANY BAGUETTES (Humana Festival, KY; InspiraTO Festival winner, Toronto), ROANOKE (Humana), and MOUSTACHE GUYS (Second Generation, NYC).

Moritz von Stuelpnagel is the Artistic Director of Studio 42. His recent NYC credits: TREVOR (Lesser America); HAND TO GOD (Ensemble Studio Theatre), named one of the best productions of the year by New York Magazine, Time Out New York, and the Huffington Post; TURNABOUT (EST); MEL & EL: SHOW & TELL (Ars Nova); BEST SEX EVER (Rising Phoenix Rep); SPACEBAR and MY BASE AND SCURVY HEART (Studio 42). Regional: Alliance, Williamstown, Kennedy Center, Allentown Shakespeare, Boston Playwrights, and others.

Nick Choksi's recent credits include NATASHA, PIERRE AND THE GREAT COMET OF 1812 and INVASION! Jessica Digiovanni appeared in Bike America at Alliance and CLOSE UP SPACE at MTC. Melanie Williams has appeared in "The Wire" and Rookie Blue." Both Marilyn Torres and Tom White were the cast of Bike America at Alliance. David Shih appeared in HONOR at Prospect Theatre.

Scheduled through October 20, Bike America will perform Tuesdays at 7 pm, Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 3 pm. Tickets are $30-$35 and can be reserved by calling Theatermania at 212 352 3101 or online at Tickets go on sale starting August 13.

BIKE AMERICA was developed through a series of workshops and readings at Ma-Yi, EST, Juilliard, and The Lark. It was given its world premiere by the Alliance Theater in Atlanta in February 2013 through the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwrighting Award.

Ma-Yi Theater Company, founded in 1989 and now celebrating its 25th anniversary season, is a Drama Desk 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. It is currently led by Ralph B. Peña (Artistic Director), and Jorge Z. Ortoll (Executive Director). Since its founding, Ma-Yi 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. Its numerous acclaimed productions include last season's JESUS IN INDIA, Qui Nguyen's THE INEXPLICABLE REDEMPTION OF AGENT G (with Vampire Cowboys) and SOUL SAMURAI, Mike Lew's microcrisis and the revival of Ralph B. Peña's FLIPZOIDS. Other productions include: RESCUE ME by Michi Barall, Lloyd Suh's AMERICAN HWANGAP and THE CHILDREN OF VONDERLY and THE ROMANCE OF MAGNO RUBIO. Through successful programs such as the Writers Lab, Ma-Yi 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 its 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 Theater Company productions have earned 10 OBIE Awards, numerous 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."

BIKE AMERICA is being presented through a promotional partnership with The Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST). The partnership builds on a longstanding relationship between Ma-Yi Theater Company, EST, and its writers group Youngblood. "For two companies who are dedicated to the long-term support of artists as well as to developing and producing new work this is a very welcome and necessary next step," said William Carden (EST artistic director). "We share so many artists in common and they have always created a wonderful energy as their work has moved back and forth between Ma-Yi and EST. We are recognizing the value of working together for the artists we believe in. It means we will be able to give more sustained support to our mutual community and share their work with a greater, more diverse audience. That's going to make it an exciting adventure for everyone." Ma-Yi's artistic director Ralph B. Peña (microcrisis, CHILDREN OF VONDERLY) expressed, "For me, the most attractive element of this partnership is how our companies merge to support artists we love. When that's the starting point, it's going to be a fun ride."

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