Reading Stage presents KENTUCKY

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by Leah Nanako Winkler

directed by Grace Dolezal-Ng

One Night Only: Monday, May 24, 7 pm on Zoom

Tickets: Free (suggested donation $10)

IMPORTANT:  You will receive the Zoom link in the confirmation email when you RSVP; the email comes from with the subject line: “here is your login information for CCCT’s Reading Stage production of KENTUCKY on Monday, May 24 at 7pm PDT”. If you don’t receive this email, your reservation for the performance is not complete. Please check your spam or junk folder or send an email to for assistance.


HIRO- Elizabeth Ung
SOPHIE- Caroline Chu
MASAKO- Eiko Yamamoto
JAMES- Keith Larson
LARRY/ERNEST- LaMont Ridgell
ADAM- Justin Lopez
DA’RAN- Brock Crockom
GRANDMA- AJ Davenport
LAURA/BRIDESMAID- Melani de Guzman
SYLVIE- Maria Cabral




Hiro is a self-made woman making it in New York. But she is also single, almost thirty, and estranged from her dysfunctional family who lives in Kentucky. When her little sister, a born-again Christian, decides to marry at twenty-two, Hiro takes it upon herself to do whatever she can to stop the wedding and salvage any shred of hope she had about her sister’s future. The themes of identity, religion, and love collide in this unique coming-of-age story.


Leah Nanako Winkler is an award-winning playwright from Kamakura, Japan and Lexington Kentucky. Her plays include God Said This (Winner: 2018 Yale Drama Series, World Premiere: Humana Festival, Off-Broadway Premiere Primary Stages/Cherry Lane), Two Mile Hollow (Winner: Francesca Primus Prize, Kilroys List, Simultaneous world premiere w/ Artists At Play in La, Mixed Blood/Theater Mu in Minneapolis, First Floor Theater in Chicago and Ferocious Lotus in SF), Kentucky ( Kilroys List/ World premiere: Ensemble Studio Theatre in coproduction with Page 73 and the Radio Drama Network. West Coast Premiere: East West Players), Death For Sydney Black (terraNova Collective, Kilroys Honorable Mention), Diversity Awareness Picnic (Clubbed Thumb/Playwrights Horizons Superlab, Kilroys Honorable Mention), Linus and Murray (EST/Marathon 2017), Hot Asian Doctor Husband (Theater Mu/Mixed Blood ), and Nevada-Tan (only on Audible).

She started out self-producing experimental comedies with her now-defunct theater company Everywhere Theatre Group from 2006-2012 at places like the New Ohio Theatre, The Brick Theatre, Dixon Place, the Ontological Hysteric Theater/Incubator Arts Project the Prelude Festival, and random boats and bars. Leah’s collections of short plays, Nagoriyuki & Other Short Plays and The Lowest Form Of Writing are performed widely in the US, France, and Asia. Other publications include American Theater Magazine, Nanjing University’s Stage and Screen Reviews, Yale University Press, Backstage, Smith and Krauss, Samuel French, and Dramatists Play Service.

She has served on the faculty of New Group’s Urban Arts Initiative, ESPA at Primary Stages, and the Writer’s Foundry at St. Joseph’s College, as well as teaching as a guest artist at schools around the country. Leah is an alumnus of Youngblood at the Ensemble Studio Theater, terraNova Groundbreakers Playwrights Group, the Dorothy Strelsin New American Playwrights Group at Primary Stages, and the Lab at WP Theater where she was a 2016-2018 Time Warner Fellow. She was a Ucross fellow with the Sundance Institute. She is currently a labbie at Ma Yi and a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre.  She’s working on commissions from WP Theater, EST/SLOAN,  Yale Rep, and Disney/Marvel.

Leah was awarded the first-ever Mark O’Donnell Prize from The Actors Fund and Playwrights Horizons.  She was also one of the inaugural recipients of a commission from Audible’s Emerging Playwrights Fund and was named the 2017-2019 Jerome New York Fellow at the Lark. Recently, she won a 2020 Steinberg Playwright Award.

TV credits include Michael Moore’s TV NATION, New Amsterdam (S2), and A24’s Ramy on Hulu (S1)  for which, along with the other writers, she won a Peabody.  She is currently adapting her play Nevada-Tan into a feature for Amazon Studios, her play Hot Asian Doctor Husband with Killer Films with Anna Akana set to star, and Lindsay Wong’s memoir The Woo-Woo for UCP.  She is a writer/producer on Love Life Season 2 at HBO MAX.

She attended Tates Creek High School and has a MFA from Brooklyn College. The New York Times called her a “distinctive new voice.” Follow her @leahnanako.


This post was written by CCCT