I love telling stories.


Interstate

Book and Lyrics by: Melissa Li and Kit Yan
Music by: Melissa Li
Direction by: Jessi D. Hill

Synopsis:
Interstate is an Asian-American pop-rock poetry musical that follows Dash, a transgender spoken word performer who becomes internet-famous along with his best friend Adrian, a lesbian singer-songwriter. Fueled by the allure of fame and a desire to connect with their community, the band embarks on a road trip across America for their first national tour. Their fiercely political and deeply personal music touches Henry, a transgender teenage boy living in small-town middle America, and he finds solace in their art as he struggles with his own identity and family. After blogging about the band and documenting his own gender journey, he decides to set out on a quest to meet his heroes in person, hoping to find answers to his own struggles. Interstate is a touching story about how two transgender people at different stages of their journey navigate love, family, masculinity, and finding a community in the era of social media.

Production History:

Interstate’s production history includes a 4-day writing workshop (October 2012) as part of the terraNOVA Collective’s Groundworks Residency at the IRT, a closed private reading of Act 1 at A.R.T./New York (May 5, 2013), and a full public staged reading at Dixon Place’s HOT! Festival (July 8, 2013). In November 2013, Interstate held a full-length in house workshop reading at Project Reach. On April 25th, 2016 Interstate held a 29-hour invitation only AEA reading at Studio 353. Most recently we participated in the Musical Theater Factory’s week-long residency, during which we worked with a cast and creative team to further develop Interstate and showcase four sold-out presentations at Playwrights Downtown on March 9-11, 2018.

Interstate is currently part of the New York Musical Theater Festival (NYMF) with a full workshop production running from July 9-15, 2018.

 


99% Stone

 99% Stone,  The Theater Offensive (2011 cast)
99% Stone, The Theater Offensive (2011 cast)

Book by: Letta Neely
Music and Lyrics by: Melissa Li
Originally Conceived by: Abe Rybeck
Produced by: The Theater Offensive

Synopsis:
Based on the events leading up to the 1969 Stonewall Riots, 99% Stone tells the story of two flame queens, a stone butch dyke, and a Puerto Rican lesbian who finally rose up with the people and fought against institutionalized homophobia and discrimination on that one fateful night in June. Weaving the historic event with the Occupy Movement of present day New York, the musical follows two struggling groups of people as they take matters into their own hands.

Production History:
Originally created by Abe Rybeck as Rachel and Sybil at The Stonewall Inn, the show was a 20-minute piece of guerrilla  theater that toured on the streets of Boston in the summer of 2011. Shortly after, The Theater Offensive brought in playwright Letta Neely and 99% Stone was born. A recipient of the NPN Creation Fund, the NPN Forth Fund, and the NEFA Expeditions Touring Grant, the musical had another successful workshopping street tour in the summer of 2012. The full-length show is scheduled for a staged reading in February 2013, a workshop production in Summer 2013, with a full touring production planned for 2014.

 

Surviving the Nian

 Surviving the Nian,  The Theater Offensive (2007)
Surviving the Nian, The Theater Offensive (2007)

Book by: Abe Rybeck
Music and Lyrics by: Melissa Li
Story by: Abe Rybeck and Melissa Li
Directed by: Patrick Wang
Produced by: The Theater Offensive

Synopsis:
After 5 years at University in the States, Kaylin returns home to Hong Kong to celebrate Chinese New Year with her African-American girlfriend Asha, and to come out to her family. What she didn't expect is that her family has plans for her to stay in Hong Kong and help with the family acupuncture business. Nian refers to the mythical beast that comes once a year to terrorize families, and sometimes in order to survive the New Year, families have to stick together.

Production History:
Originally part of The Theater Offensive's Play Lab, Surviving the Nian went through 4 years of workshops before its final production at the Boston Center for the Arts Calderwood Pavilion in 2007. That same year, Melissa and Abe won the Jonathan Larson Award for talent in composition and writing. Surviving the Nian also won the IRNE award in 2007 for Best New Play.


Miscellaneous


Avocados: The Musical

We entered a video recipe contest hosted by Avocados From Mexico in 2009. We made this musical, and won.


Good Asian Drivers: The Musical

Before we ever dreamed of writing a real musical, I wrote this silly opening number to a fake musical right before embarking on our cross country tour.