World Premiere of Once Upon a (Korean) Time Opens August 31 at La MaMa | Playbill

Off-Broadway News World Premiere of Once Upon a (Korean) Time Opens August 31 at La MaMa

Ma-Yi Theater Company presents Daniel K. Isaac’s new work about experiences of the Korean American diaspora.

Daniel K. Isaac Luke Fontana Photography

Daniel K. Isaac’s new play Once Upon a (Korean) Time officially opens its world premiere Off-Broadway August 31 at La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre. Ma-Yi Theater Company presents the new play, which began previews August 23 and runs through September 18.

The cast stars Sonnie Brown, Sasha Diamond, David Lee Huynh, Teresa Avia Lim, Jon Norman Schneider, David Shih, and Jillian Sun with Daniel K. Isaac and Sami Ma as understudies.

Combining traditional Korean fables with the horrors of the Korean War, Isaac’s playwriting debut creates a theatrical analog for the experiences of the Korean American diaspora. The play, set across swathes of time, traces inherited trauma through generations and the methods each one uses to manage it.

Directing the production is Obie-winner Ralph B. Peña. He is joined on the creative team by scenic designer Se Oh, costume designer Phuong Nguyen, lighting designer Oliver Wason, projection designer Yee Eun Nam, sound designer Fabian Obispo, and props designer Alexander Wylie. Alyssa K. Howard serves as production stage manager.

“With Once Upon a (korean) TIME, I set out to write something unapologetically epic and explosively theatrical…aka expensive,” said Isaac in a statement. “Frankly, I was tired of being expected to write small cast plays with single settings. Affordable and producible – I hated these limitations. I’m so thankful that Ralph and Ma-Yi have signed on and not backed down from this challenge. How fitting it is to have my world premiere of this play and as a playwright with a company that has a legacy in championing Asian American voices and centering the marginalized, making the seemingly impossible possible.”

For tickets and more information, visit


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