Rehana Lew Mirza and Mike Lew at Ma-Yi Theater Company

Playwright

Rehana Lew Mirza’s recent full-length plays include: Soldier X (2015 Kilroy selection; 2015 Ma-Yi Theater production; 2012 NYSCA Commission with the Lark); Lonely Leela (2014 LPAC production; readings: Magic Theatre, HERE, New Georges, 2G); Barriers (productions with Desipina and Asian American Theater Company); Particles of Pakistan (E.S.T. Sloan Commission) and If It's Sad I Don't Want to See It (readings: Queens Theater in the Park, 2G). Awards/Residencies include: a 2015 Rhinebeck residency and Orchard Project residency with collaborators Sam Willmott and Mike Lew for Bhangin' It, 2013 NNPN commission via InterAct Theater for Neighborhood Watch, 2013 Tofte Lake Emerging Artist residency, 2009/2010 Indo-American Arts Council playwright residency with The Lark, NBC Short Film Festival Audience Award, John Golden Award, and a LMCC artist grant. She is a current member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab (co-director from 2011-2013) and the Primary Stages Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group. MFA: Columbia University; BFA: NYU Tisch.

Mike Lew’s plays include Teenage Dick (Ma-Yi at the Public, Artists Rep, and Perseverance productions; Public Studio, O’Neill, OSF workshops), Tiger Style! (Olney, Huntington, La Jolla Playhouse, and Alliance productions; O’Neill and CTG workshops), Bike America (Ma-Yi and Alliance productions), microcrisis (Ma-Yi, InterAct, and Next Act productions), Moustache Guys, and the book to the musical Bhangin’ It (Jerome Robbins Project Springboard and Rhinebeck Writers Retreat “Triple R” workshops). He is a Tony voter and Dramatists Guild Council member. Honors include a Mellon National Playwrights Residency at Ma-Yi and La Jolla Playhouse Artist-in-Residence (both with Rehana Lew Mirza); Lark Venturous and NYFA fellowships; and the PEN Emerging Playwright, Lanford Wilson, Helen Merrill, Heideman, and Kendeda awards. He is co-director of Ma-Yi Writers Lab. Education: Juilliard, Yale. Website: mikelew.com.

Theatre

Ma-Yi Theater Company is the country’s leading incubator of new plays by Asian American playwrights. Since its founding in 1989, it has distinguished itself as a leader in challenging popular prescriptions for what culturally specific theater should be, and as a staunch advocate for increasing the national visibility of Asian American Theater artists. Ma-Yi Theater encourages its artists to engage their communities in meaningful conversations even as they stretch themselves to stake new creative territories. The theater continues to be guided by knowing why and for whom it makes theater.

Today, Ma-Yi Theater Company is home to the Ma-Yi Writers Lab. With twenty-nine current active members, it is the largest peer-to-peer assembly of professional Asian American playwrights in the country.  In 2010, Ma-Yi Theater committed to only producing works generated by its Writers Lab.

Ma-Yi Theater Company is led by founding member and current Producing Artistic Director Ralph B. Peña, and Executive Director Jorge Z. Ortoll.

Residency Activity 

Mike and Rehana have used the Ma-Yi studio space as their primary collaboration place to meet with composer Sam Willmott and choreographer Rujuta Vaidya on their co-written musical Bhangin’ It. The project has recently benefited from a writing retreat with Goodspeed and is currently slated for a dance workshop with the Jerome Robbins Foundation, a script workshop with La Jolla Playhouse (where Mike and Rehana were recently named Artists-in-Residence), and a 29-hour workshop with Ma-Yi later this fall. Mike and Rehana also continue work on their co-written trilogy about British colonialism, a commission from La Jolla Playhouse. Mike did the first public reading of the first play in the trilogy, British Raj: Just the Fun Parts, as part of Ma-Yi Labfest. Currently Mike is in pre-production for Ma-Yi’s world premiere of his play Teenage Dick, to be staged at the Public in June-July 2018. Mike has recently won a Venturous Fellowship in support of Teenage Dick, as well as the PEN Emerging Playwright Award. Over the course of this fellowship Rehana has written three new plays: Hatef*ckLadybits, and A People’s Guide to History in the Time of Here and NowHatef*ck has had readings with New Group and Primary Stages in addition to being a Kilroys selection, and is having another reading with Playwrights Horizons in June. Ma-Yi is currently seeking out a copro partner to stage the world premiere, hopefully in the 2019 season. Ladybits is having a workshop with Local Lab in Portland, and A People’s Guide… had a Primary Stages reading and will be workshopped at Playwrights Horizons’ theatre school this May.

How has this residency changed the theatre, and how has this residency changed the playwright? — March 2018

More from the Residency

Playwright-Parents, Part One
Essay

Playwright-Parents, Part One

09 August 2017

Rehana Lew Mirza and Mike Lew document their first year as parents and Playwrights-in-Residence at Ma-Yi. 

Diversity for Dummies
Essay

Diversity for Dummies

25 March 2017

Ralph B. Peña offers advice to those looking to diversify their theatre companies and productions.

Playwright Residency
Essay

Playwright Residency

Why Rehana Lew Mirza and Mike Lew? Why Ma-Yi Theater Company?

30 July 2016

Ralph Peña, Producing Artistic Director of Ma-Yi Theater Company in New York City and playwrights-in-residence Rehana Lew Mirza and Mike Lew discuss their participation in the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s National Playwright Residency Program.