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
Avg Score

Ambitious, Great acting, Clever

See it if You're interested in a new take on a historical event

Don't see it if Basketball absolutely bores you

Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Hilarious, Intelligent

See it if I liked the show, I thought it was clever.

Don't see it if Anyone can see this show

Cliched, Well-staged, Well-acted

See it if The premise is interesting and novel. The play is well-structured. The historical premise is compelling.

Don't see it if The plot is melodramatic and cliched; characters interactions don't feel psychologically truthful.

Clever, Great writing, Great acting, Resonant

See it if You're interested in Asian American culture, You like basketball, You want to see a meaningful play with humor and drama.

Don't see it if You don't like sports, international subjects, don't like sets where you have to use your imagination.

During previews
Thrilling, Touching, Uneven, Clever, Well played

See it if you’d like to put a human face on the on-again/off-again thaw in US-China relations in the years after the 1st ping-pong diplomacy of 1971.

Don't see it if you require a plot to be fully plausible before you surrender to the thrill of it.

Also It doesn’t bother me that Lauren Yee’s “The Great Leap” feels contrive... Read more Read less

During previews
Strange tale of china & basketball - scores sometimes, but often misses the rim

See it if ambitious premise 2 portray US-China relationship thru basketball diplomacy; high energy, clever in your face US trash talking; fine BD Wong

Don't see it if use of basketball 2 explain everything is formulaic & reductive; characters cartoonish; 2nd act revelations/Tiananmen Sq ending contrived

During previews
Great writing, Relevant, Riveting, Great direction

See it if you enjoy sports dramas with historic significance. That said, sports is used as a mechanism; the story is about identity and relationships.

Don't see it if you’re looking for a light show to raise your spirits after a hard day. Go see Escape to Margaritaville instead.

Also This show is very well written. Historic context (China in 1989 and U.... Read more Read less

During previews
Good acting. good theatre

See it if You like new interesting theatre.

Don't see it if You like only comedy or musicals.

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Ambitious, Formulaic, Intense

See it if you want to see an interesting, if unpolished, work by a rising young playwright performed by fine actors.

Don't see it if you have an aversion to basketball.

During previews
Great acting, Relevant, Political, intriguing

See it if you want to see BD Wong in a play about 1980's China where sports and politics play a intermingling role in USA-China relations

Don't see it if you don't like plays involving basketball, politics occurring in China during the Cultural Revolution as seen through a hopeful player.

During previews
Compelling, Entertaining, Clever

See it if You want an well done, interesting story, set among historical events, that draws you along with tempo and humor.

Don't see it if I don't know why, but I did not engage fully with the story. I, while drawn in, didn't care. I hope you will.

During previews
Great acting, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if It's a play that again reminds me how I never understood when I was young that my parents and grandparents were young too.

Don't see it if If you're looking for a comedy, this isn't it. It's an insightful play that makes us look back into our past and our forbears

During previews
Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if A moving story that deals with competition between a Chinese basketball team and American and the people involved.

Don't see it if No interest in basketball or the struggle with Chinese politics and competition.

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Surprising

See it if Very engrossing 2 hours. Great performances by 4-member cast. San Francisco 1989, a high school basketball player from Chinatown, pushes ..

Don't see it if . his way onto local college team which will visit China in a month. In 1971, the basketball coach had been to China. Several twists/reveals

During previews
Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting, Entertaining, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy a very good production of a play about ambition and the clashing of American culture with Chinese culture, in the US and China.

Don't see it if you expect a play "about basketball." It's about people.Playwright Lauren Yee and director Taibi Magar fill the show with humor and pathos.

Also The show has a great cast. B.D. Wong is wonderful as the would-be Chin... Read more Read less

During previews
Entertaining, Good acting, Slow

See it if You like B.D. Wong and want to see some good acting in an interesting, but overly long play.

Don't see it if You like big stage productions with fantastic sets - about all you get here is a basketball.

During previews
Absorbing, Great staging, Great acting, Great writing, Intense

See it if You like historical or political fiction. You like BD Wong.

Don't see it if You are offended by profanity. There’s a lot of it.

Also I loved this show. It was riveting.

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if great little play about ego, paternity, destiny, and stepping up to play your part.

Don't see it if story moves back and forth between 2 eras and shifts its viewpoint between 3 characters. some people may find this confusing.

During previews
Absorbing, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Great writing

See it if a multi-layered story featuring B.D. Wong, that is cleverly staged, intrigues you.

Don't see it if you don't like well-written plays featuring B.D. Wong.

Also This is a very well-written play that goes from micro to macro and bac... Read more Read less

During previews
Creative, Engaging, Thought provoking

See it if cross cultural psychological explorations appeal to you

Don't see it if you will not embrace basketball as being the vehicle through which the characters evolve

Also I found this a totally entertaining believable unbelievable story that... Read more Read less

During previews
Funny, Great acting, Resonant

See it if You like stories about family, woven with global history and sports. A great cast and great humor!

Don't see it if You don’t like sports or foul language.

During previews
Absorbing, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if You enjoy well told stories of cultural identity, globalization, and family. BD Wong gives a spectacular performance.

Don't see it if You're looking for a grand epic. This story approaches big themes on a small, intimate scale.

During previews
Entertaining, Edgy, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if You are up for a creative history lesson combining a basketball theme and diplomatic problems.

Don't see it if you are immune to the Chinese mind set versus American outlook.

During previews
All encompassing, Good acting, Riveting

See it if Layers of stories encompass the 1971 to 1989. Great acting, especially Manford. Dramatic, tear jerker for me at the end.

Don't see it if Just know it has to do with basketball, but has nothing to do with basketball.

During previews
Riveting, Masterful, Profound, Must see, Great writing

See it if you love the 80s, basketball, history, comedy, immigrants, politics, great writing, San Francisco, China, BD Wong, family, diplomacy,

Don't see it if you are a die hard communist party member.

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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