Musical Theater


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

Interstate is a pop-rock poetry musical about a Queer Asian-American duo comprised of Dash, a transgender spoken word performer, and his best friend Adrian, a lesbian singer-songwriter. Fueled by the allure of fame and a desire to connect with their community, they embark on their first national tour. Their music touches Henry, a South Asian transgender teenage boy living in Kentucky, 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.

Awards and Nominations:

  • Winner, “Outstanding Lyrics” (New York Musical Festival)

  • Winner, “Special Citation: Representation and Inclusion” (New York Musical Festival)

  • Nomination, “Best Musical” (New York Musical Festival)

  • Nomination, “Outstanding Music” (New York Musical Festival)

Developmental History:

  • Dramatists Guild Foundation Musical Theater Fellowship (October 2018 - May 2019)

  • Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals (February 2019)

  • New York Musical Festival (July 2018)

  • Musical Theater Factory Residency at Playwrights Downtown (March 2018)

  • Invitation-only 29-hour AEA reading at Studio 353 (April 2016)

  • Private reading at Project REACH (November 2013)

  • Dixon Place's HOT! Festival (July 2013)

  • Private reading at A.R.T./New York (May 2013)

  • terraNOVA Collective's Groundworks Residency at the IRT (October 2012)

Official Website:


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
Developed at The Theater Offensive

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 resistance movements of present day, the musical follows two struggling groups of people as they take matters into their own hands.

Development 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

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.

Awards and Nominations:

  • Jonathan Larson Grant Recipient (American Theater Wing)

  • Winner, “Best New Play” (Independent Reviewers of New England)

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.