Closed 1h 40m
The Great Leap
Chelsea
84

The Great Leap NYC Reviews and Tickets

84%
(50 Reviews)
Positive
96%
Mixed
4%
Negative
0%
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.

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Member Reviews (50)

90
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.

92
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 Read more

Critic Reviews (17)

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 conventional machinery of “The Great Leap” moving at a well-oiled pace. And the performances are smooth and credible, even when the plot is not."
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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. Yet there’s a lot to applaud here. Yee knows how to make her characters seem like real people and Taibi Magar’s precise production has visual flair."
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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 Leap' is a touch Hollywood-ish in its narrative neatness, it’s still an exhilarating, deeply satisfying piece of work, powered by gutsy performances and full of bright, inquisitive, humorous life."
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June 10th, 2018

"Its kicker of a finish...is 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 of life. But Yee's story seems too large and action-packed to be satisfactorily told in a four-character play. Too much is described rather than seen, which saps the piece of potential excitement."
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June 5th, 2018

“Magar, has handled her cast of newcomers and old pros deftly...Engaging as it is, ‘The Great Leap’ runs into trouble in its later passages, as things get increasingly tangled in the wildest coincidences...Still, the cast and dialogue are usually lively, and Wong gives one of the first notable performances of the new season. His quietly focused, witty, and often moving depiction of this complex character provides plenty of evidence that this fine actor still has plenty of game.”
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June 4th, 2018

“Yee draws some interesting parallels between sports and politics even though she's guilty of falling back on clumsy contrivances to advance her plotting...The absence of actual basketball playing isn't necessarily a problem—until it is. Magar keeps the action moving and her superb cast in motion...Despite its flaws, it's gratifying to see an innovative play hold up a mirror to sports and finds politics and our shared humanity reflected back.”
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June 8th, 2018

“Thrilling basketball action with only one player, no basket, and barely a Spalding in site...Yee is in thorough control. She manages to mix the sweep of the Chinese and American dynamics, the humor of her borscht-belt-like Ugly American, and the harsh-but-tender family drama. And basketball...The performance of the evening, though, comes from Wong...I don’t know that I’ve seen him give such an affecting performance since ‘M. Butterfly.'”
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June 4th, 2018

"Although the topics of international diplomacy and competitive sports may seem like disparate themes, Yee’s fine writing and fiery wit allows the two subjects to intertwine effortlessly...Yee’s script is bolstered by the dynamic and seemingly effortless direction of Taibi Magar...It is BD Wong’s portrayal of Wen Chang that brings the play to its knees. His tender portrayal of a man who had survived both the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution feels stirring and soul-shattering."
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June 4th, 2018

“For the most part, ‘The Great Leap’ is a story well told. Three-dimensional characters, albeit with single defining traits, interact in ways that are sometimes very funny and consistently entertaining. The play’s surprise ending is a stretch. It’s set up well – enough information for you to see it coming; not so much as to be obvious – but the surprise itself seems contrived. Still, it provides insight into both Manford and Wen, who each obtain their own insight into themselves and each other.”
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June 4th, 2018

"A moving, thoughtful story about parents, children, friendship, and love...It's a well-constructed plot in a well-conceived play. But the production really works because of its characters and the exceptional acting which brings them to life...For a 'basketball play,' there are a few odd times where the production seems curiously static. But these missteps are few and far between. For the most part, Yee's play is compelling and powerful, with performances (especially Wong's) to match."
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June 5th, 2018

“By turns funny and intense, 'The Great Leap' is an intimate story played out on a world stage. The play is wonderfully written, well structured and considered very moving. The actors give consistently excellent performances...Ahn, as Connie exudes warmth...As Chang, BD Wong is riveting. His every moment burns with longing. Speaking in a quiet measured tone he is nonetheless intense and remarkably present...’The Great Leap’ speaks of ambition and overreach — and the power of idealism."
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June 4th, 2018

"Yee - who reportedly drew her inspiration from some real-life events experienced by her father -- has created a two-act work that manages to enlighten us about history without being pedantic and move us as people without being overly sentimental. If basketball (the ostensible subject of the play) had a four-point shot, this play might be its theatrical equivalent."
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June 9th, 2018

"The game not only brings Saul and Wen together again, it also introduces several melodramatic plot devices...Even more contrived-but undeniably absorbing-is its nexus between sports and politics, since the game coincides with what was happening politically in China in June 1989…Regardless of its several implausibilities…and its need to depend on soliloquies for important exposition, 'The Great Leap'…holds you as tightly as a ball in Bill Russell's palm…The acting is uniformly exciting."
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June 4th, 2018

"Just good enough that one wishes it were better. Playwright Lauren Yee displays a knack for sketching vivid characters and situations with dramatic potential...The three male characters all get a chance to shine...The direction by Taibi Magar is unfussy. There are some fine moments, but they are too few."
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June 4th, 2018

"Such a fluent piece of playwriting, set around a terrible and notorious historical event, that you will go home and Google elements of it immediately...If the play flags slightly when its political preoccupations overshadow the characters, it doesn’t seem a foul deserving of the referee’s whistle. The play is a believable encapsulation of history, and a respectful reclamation of the same."
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June 5th, 2018

“The plot is quite predictable. But Yee handles the development of the plot and characters with so much aplomb that the audience is more than happy to take those leaps with her. There is humor throughout, even in the tensest scenes...While the turns in the story are frequently predictable, Yee’s writing is so crisp and dimensioned that we just go with its flow. The direction by Taibi Magar strikes a balance between the humor and the unraveling of the characters’ stories at an energized pace.”
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June 5th, 2000

“'The Great Leap' occasionally skirts didacticism in the cross-cultural clashes it explores...Still, Yee's writing can be sharp and illuminating...There's much to admire in director Magar's economical yet handsome production...An entertaining history lesson, at the very least. But the character of Wen Chang offers something more: an affecting portrait of a man who finally realizes the emotional limits of his cultural and political loyalties."
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