When Bruce Lee was born, his mother gave him a girl's name to disguise him from evil spirits. When actor/performing artist Soomi Kim learned this surprising fact, she felt destined to create a theatre performance inhabiting the incomparable martial arts superstar. Set in the inner landscape of Bruce Lee's mind the moment he died in 1973, Lee/gendary is a theatrical deconstruction of an icon; a spiritual and psychological examination of Lee's life from birth to death. This unique gender-bending theatre performance fluidly integrates text, live original music, video and an explosive hybrid of martial arts and dance. Lee/gendary's efforts are the result of a dedicated collaboration with Kim. This group of talented artists includes: writer Derek Nguyen, director Suzi Takahashi and composer/vocalist Jen Shyu with additional recorded music by Adam Rogers. This piece features Kim as Lee as well as 5 other actor/martial artists. Lee/gendary was a part of The First National Asian American Theater Festival held in New York City which ran June 11 - 24, 2007. It then ran for 3 weeks at HERE Arts Center's mainstage, October 2008. This run garnered 6 New York Innovative Theater Awards and 3 wins.

*See video clip from Lee/gendary here (part of the Asian America interview)

NYITA NOMINATIONS: Outstanding Lighting Design (Lucrecia Briceno), Outstanding Director (Suzi Takahashi), Outstanding actress in a lead role and Outstanding Choreography (Soomi Kim, alongside Airon Armstrong for choreography), Oustanding actress in a featured role (Constance Parng) and Outstanding Production of a Play (company).

WINS: Suzi Takahshi: Outstanding Director, Constance Parng: Outstanding actress in a featured role. Soomi Kim and company: Outstanding Production of a Play.

Reviews for Lee/gendary

*All photos from the FNAATF by Steven Schreiber 

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  • Jen Shyu and Dan Weiss

    Composer/vocalist Jen Shyu plays with Dan Weiss at the FNAATF

  • Yin and Yang Opening scene

    Shing Ka and Jen Shyu, Lee/gendary at the First National Asian American Theater Festival (FNAATF) in NYC, Samuel Beckett Theater, June 2007

  • Bruce teaches the Cha Cha

    With James Huffman

  • Linda and Bruce

    FNAATF with Ariel Shepley as Linda Lee

  • Screen Test

    FNAATF, Soomi Kim as Bruce Lee, reenacting Lee's first screen test

  • The Chinese Connection

    Soomi Kim as Bruce Lee at the FNAATF

  • Lee's vices


  • Betty Ting Pei tells her story

    Victoria Linchon as Betty Ting Pei, FNAATF

  • Betty Ting Pei #2: Constance Parng

    HERE Arts Center performance run of Lee/gendary. Octber 2008.

  • Game of Death

    Pai Sen Wang as Kareem Abdul Jabaar. FNAATF

  • Flipping over Pai

    FNAATF, scene from "Game of Death"

  • Betty is trapped

    Constance Parng wins the NYITA for Outstanding actress in a featured role. HERE Arts Center performance Oct. 2008

  • Choosing the dark side and being cool.

    Shing Ka as the male super star counterpart of Bruce Lee. FNAATF

  • Yang, Bruce and his vices

    Shing Ka and Soomi Kim FNAATF

  • Ladies and gentlemen, Chuck Norris.

    Walker Lewis gives a strong and hilarious performance as the one and only Chuck Norris. (HERE Arts Center)

  • Yang haunts Bruce

    Shing Ka and Soomi Kim FNAATF

  • Final fight

    Shing Ka and Soomi Kim FNAATF

  • The Last Battle

    Shing Ka and Soomi Kim FNAATF

  • Shing Ka and Soomi Kim FNAATF

  • Coroner's report

    Ariel Shepley, HERE Arts Center 2008

  • Epilogue

    Victoria Linchon, Ariel Shepley, Shing Ka, Soomi Kim, James Huffman and Pai Sen Wang. FNAATF