Even though this production was being put together and slated to go up in Sarasota, Florida, it was being created by a team of visiting artists mostly from Chicago. Many of the collaborators involved have worked together before on various projects which resulted in a creative synergy that was beautifully familiar and productive in the greatest way. We were all excited to be there, making art together again. We started tech rehearsals on Friday March 13th, which seemed to be around the same time the most of the world was forced to confront how serious the coronavirus pandemic was and how quickly things were changing and escalating. New information about the virus and and news concerning city or state mandated bans on public gatherings was coming in very fast, with barely enough time for us to react to each new development. Meanwhile as this news was pouring in, we were actively working to finish adding technical elements to the show so that we could have our first public preview performance scheduled for Wednesday March 18th and opening performance on Friday March 20th. However on Saturday March 14th, our 2nd day of tech rehearsals, the city of Sarasota advised against public gatherings of more than 10 people so it was decided the show would not have a public performance but we would still finish making the show for the tentative possibility of filming and later streaming it online. This meant keeping the production team and actors in Sarasota until the originally planned opening date March 20th. It was a surreal and bizarre feeling to keep working on a play that may not ever have an audience, but we forged ahead anyway. However with the state of things becoming more and more concerning and uncertain by the hour, where scenarios of travel bans and shelter in place orders seemed to be a real possibility, we thought it was a priority to get home as soon as possible. It was was decided that we would not finish making the show after all even for a filmed version and the team would be going home early on Monday March 16th. It was very sad to leave what would have certainly been been a powerful and stunningly beautiful production. However we left with with some optimism as Asolo Repertory is hoping to re-program the show in the future, perhaps as part of their 2020-21 season.

THE GREAT LEAP, Asolo Repertory Theatre
Written by Lauren Yee
Directed by Vanessa Stalling

Helen Joo Lee as CONNIE
Fenton Li as WEN CHANG
Glenn Obrero as MANFORD
Gregg Weiner as SAUL
Scenic Design: Arnel Sancianco
Costume Design: Theresa Ham
Lighting Design: Keith Parham
Projection Design: Paul Deziel
Sound Design and Original Composition: Jeffrey Levin
Hair/Wig & Make-up Design: Michelle Hart

To check out more of Jeffrey’s work, please visit

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