Already closed | 1h 40m | Chelsea

The Great Leap

From 50 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Great writing, Absorbing, Entertaining, Clever

About the show

Inspired by events from her father’s life and (short-lived) basketball career, playwright Lauren Yee ('The Hatmaker’s Wife') makes her Atlantic debut with this new cross-cultural drama. More…

San Francisco, spring 1989. Manford Lum, locally renowned on the sidewalk basketball courts of Chinatown, talks his way onto a college team, just before they travel to Beijing for a “friendship” game. When they arrive, China is in the throes of the post-Cultural Revolution era, and Manford must juggle international politics and his own personal history.

1h 40m | Already closed | Atlantic Theater Stage Two (Chelsea)

Member Reviews (50)


Great acting, Great writing, Absorbing, Entertaining, Clever

Enchanting, Intense, Funny, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if Fascinating contrast of Chinese vs American values in sports, family, and politics. Excellent characters, funny moments, and plot twists.

Don't see it if You would not enjoy a non-linear basketball themed show with Chinese chatacters, history and themes.

Cliched, Relevant, Intense, Intelligent, Slow

See it if Yee's homage to her father is really a tale of two countries (includes a Dicken's reference) Well acted w/ solid dramaturgy yet lacks punch

Don't see it if Using game strategy (basketball) as metaphor for life; drama only ignites around Tiananmen Square events B D Wong's efforts help greatly

Highly entertaining, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Great staging, Riveting

See it if you enjoy plays dealing with both basketball & an important historical event in China. BD Wong is giving an extraordinary performance.

Don't see it if you don't like plays dealing with historical events or other cultures.

Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Profound

See it if You want to see an incredibly well balanced cast of amazing actors.

Don't see it if You are not interested in a play that deals with basketball and more importantly the crazy history of a communist country

Also I have been excited to see this play for a long time and I was not dis... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Intelligent

See it if Family and team bonds amid international diplomacy, set in Communist China 1971 & 1989. BD Wong as a basketball coach v USA.

Don't see it if You expect an elaborate set, action-packed sports, and perfect endings. No one has a reason to miss the messages in this play.

Also This play follows the story of a young Chinese-American player trying ... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Absorbing, Cliched, Smart direction

See it if you have a soft spot for sports/underdog stories; different takes on the American Dream; history that's not widely taught anywhere.

Don't see it if you expect analysis of current events. Chinese nationalists will have bones to pick here. Would be a mistake to think this tells all sides.

Also I was really touched in the end. The actors are fun to watch, BD Wong ... Read more Read less

Chinese basketball twisty yarn

See it if Interesting drama of political history of US recognition of China to Tiananmen Sq -- overlain with sports diplomacy and family relations.

Don't see it if Tony Aidan Vo is the new BD Wong. You get to see both of these charismatic Chinese-American actors in the same play

Intelligent, Energetic, Uneven, Great staging, Rather endearing

See it if Political events affect basketball & individual lives, cast during 1989 Chinese upheavals. Muliple stories mashed into the play create a

Don't see it if frenetic first act, disjointed from second; too many coincidences make entirety Implausible, but able performances & clever staging win out.

Absorbing, Great writing, Great acting

See it if BD Wong's tear-jerking act of a man surviving in Communist China decides to take a stand. Explores the love of a sport vs loved ones/family.

Don't see it if Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 / Communist China in the 70s/80 are triggering. Can't stand profanity.

Also Ticket from TodayTix app for $54. Last row, but view was fine in the s... Read more Read less

Great writing, Entertaining, Enchanting, Clever, Ambitious

See it if you are a huge fan of actor B. D. Wong. He is brilliant in this production.

Don't see it if small intimate plays about larger life issues doesn't ring true to you.

Also small production with a HUGE HEART! My friend saw a production of the ... Read more Read less

Energetic, Absorbing, Great acting, Talky, Relevant

See it if using a sports metaphor to stand in for the shifting power dynamics between the U.S. and China intrigues you.

Don't see it if a somewhat heavy playwriting hand will interfere with your enjoyment.

Also A slightly draggy, repetitive first act explodes in the second. While ... Read more Read less

Great writing, Absorbing, Must see, Thought-provoking

See it if you know or are curious about events at Tianamen Square. This complex drama is about that & ever so much more.

Don't see it if you don't care for complex story lines or only like musicals.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Riveting

See it if you want to see a unique story with unanticipated twists & turns; you want to see BD Wong on stage at his best; you enjoy drama with humor

Don't see it if you don't like small, intimate theaters; you only like musicals; excellent writing doesn't impress you; you're offended by 4 letter words

Great acting, Entertaining, Clever, Great writing

See it if For fast paced excellently acted play based on unusual subject matter- regardless of whether it's tcompletely historically accurate.

Don't see it if Don't like small theate experiences or small venues.

Entertaining, Great acting, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Profound

See it if You enjoy plays based upon true stories and that are well done and engaging with unexpected twists in an intimate setting.

Don't see it if You prefer musicals and large theater productions.

Clever, Entertaining, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if you want to take a step back in time to 1989 and see the Tiananmen Square protests woven into a human interest story.

Don't see it if you have no interest in Chinese culture.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Great staging, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy excellent theatre based on history

Don't see it if You dislike politically based theatre regarding historical events

Clever, Absorbing, Slow in parts, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if / a great example of a micro story told well to get you to care about a macro story (in this case, the unrest in China in 1989).

Don't see it if you're in the mood for something splashy. This is actually kind of a quiet show, lots of two-person scenes.

Also Good performances all around, with special props to BD Wong and Ned Ei... Read more Read less

Clever, Entertaining, Great acting

See it if interesting as it is based on a true story with Wang excellent

Don't see it if somewhat predictable and shallow but still worth seeing.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Slow

See it if you love twists on historical events. All four actors were incredible, and the directing was really top-tier.

Don't see it if you're not highly interested in human stories revolving around historical events. This was incredible, but don't come looking for a comedy.

Absorbing, Masterful, Great staging

See it if You have a strong interest in modern Chinese history' like BD Wong

Don't see it if You have a real problem when actors voices are unclear

Also I normally have a real problem with preposterous plots trying to pose ... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Funny, Great writing, Intense

See it if you like a good story that is well written about recent historic events

Don't see it if you're looking for a fancy production with big scenic design

Also The only thing I felt like could be stronger was the acting. Sometimes... Read more Read less

Clever, Confusing, Ambitious, Bd wong is the reason to go.

See it if If you like new works that play with conventions, and want to learn about a side of China you not familiar with.

Don't see it if If you don't like characters who are mouthpieces for a playwright.

Also This is a good effort from Lauren Yee. I got to see King of the Yees i... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Great staging, Intense

See it if you like little known historical stories; wonderful acting, staging and design; taught, stylized and emotional. Built around sports.

Don't see it if you don't like stories built around sports; you demand linear storytelling; you demand naturalistic acting and directing styles.

Relevant, Epic, Great acting, Edgy, Absorbing

See it if you like historical fiction and brilliant story telling

Don't see it if you are abrasive to anything sports related or are racist.

Also Saw this at Steppenwolf in Chicago. SO GOOD. The cast, projections and... Read more Read less

June 4th, 2018
"Congested tale of two countries...Ambitiously straddles several well-worn narrative forms, and not without strain. The play is replete with the clichés of sports underdog nail-biters, angry-young-teen stories and roads-not-taken dramas of middle-age regret...But Ms. Magar keeps the more conventi...
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June 5th, 2018
"'The Great Leap' can feel hasty and overstuffed; there’s a whole prestige-TV season’s worth of big reveals crammed into her two hours. Yee's writing for Manford and his cousin Connie shows its expository effort, and her last-minute repurposing of real-world heroism is unintentionally offensive. ...
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June 4th, 2018
"Smart, feisty, highly enjoyable...Here in Magar’s swift, punchy staging, anchored by four excellent performances, we feel the kind of up-and-down-the-court rush Yee is striving for...They don’t illustrate the game — rather, they help us imagine its stakes, its dangers, its magic...If 'The Great ...
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June 10th, 2018
"Its kicker of a both surprising and makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, despite a fine company and a story with some spark to it, getting to that terrific ending is a bit of a trudge...At its best when comparing the two cultures' contrasting styles of play to their contrasting styles...
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