"Part-standup, part-theater, all-authentic, Judy Lei's solo show, "The World's Greatest," delivers a compelling narrative of a young girl's coming of age in Manhattan Chinatown's public schools and local struggles, with an unflinching look at family heartache and cultural dissonance along the way. Judy's voice shines throughout, filling you with her raw emotion and boundless optimism and vision. This show can't be easily pigeonholed as a story about race, or sex, or class, but in some ways is a profound reflection on all three. Both the APA community and our larger society need to hear what Judy has to say."
"The World's Greatest, performed by the exuberant ball of energy that is Judy Lei, is a prime example of one young woman bringing her truth of one young Brooklyn/Chinatown high schooler's journey of reckoning to the stage. Raw, mature and exquisitely delicate, I felt Judy's storytelling preserve the Brooklyn high school experience (that I grew up with) in raw detail, reliving her emotions with her as she laid them out for the audience."
Ashley C. | Feminist
"The World's Greatest is a refreshing addition to common voices we hear about the lives of Asian American youth and urban life in New York City. Judy Lei astutely captures a rich slice of the emotional and personal negotiations that young Chinese Americans make as they make sense of their identities, cultures, and places in the world's greatest multicultural city. The show resonates loudly and deeply, and I left feeling so glad that Judy went there in all the ways that she did."
New Yorker & Proud Public School Graduate
"As a kid born-and-raised in Chinatown, I oftentimes find it hard to express the fullness of community and richness of life extent in my hometown. Judy's show is one of the most comprehensive, vibrant, and humanizing takes of what it means for an ABC (American-Born Chinese) like me to grow up and try to fit into a society where there's no clear space for us. She engages the audience through the hour with her own brand of humor, levity, and emotional punch. I'm so glad she's giving this to her audiences, and I'm so glad she gave this to me as I continue this writing and living process of my own choosing."
Annie Tan | Special Education Teacher and occasional writer/activist
"Judy Lei's performance in The World's Greatest is so engaging and vivid that you will almost forget it's a one woman show! The show will make you laugh, cry and cringe. And in the end, you will realize you've witnessed a powerhouse of a young talent unafraid to tell an authentic story."
Julie Y. | Founder of DreamMaker/3D
"Judy's story is as entertaining as it is inspiring. With my being raised out West, I appreciated the differences and similarities between my experience growing up Asian American, and hers in Brooklyn/Chinatown. To see a vibrant, unapologetic, and badass Asian American woman telling her truth was so empowering. A show like The World's Greatest breaks down barriers in the best way, and proves to be increasingly relevant in an age where marginalized communities are constantly threatened."
Alexa S. | Student
"The show was so familiar to my life I almost felt as if I was on stage a part of the show. I love that although people may be from different worlds we can always share the same story."
Grace B. | Artist
"I salute Judy for the bravery and raw emotion that she gave us in The World's Greatest. I have a hard time remembering the last time I saw something so brutally honest in any medium. Candor like that stays with you."
Jim M. | NYC resident
"Judy Lei has a kinetic, special energy on stage. I was amazed at her ability to draw the outlines of such a unique character and sustain it throughout the entire one-woman show!"
Ursula L. | Filmmaker
"Judy's story of navigating Chinatown playground politics will challenge you to look for all of the forces that carried you to where you are today. As New York and Chinatown continue to change over time, it is absolutely crucial to call out the complex narrative of the Chinatown teen – what it's like to grow up within the neighborhood's boundaries and what it means to ask for more."
Shirley Z. | Homie, lover, friend
"The World's Greatest is a relatable, raw, down-to-earth testimony of the challenges of growing up in New York City (and challenges of emerging adulthood in general!). The audience is transported back to a cringe-worthy time of life when angst and insecurities reign true in an energetic delivery by the one and only Judy Lei. You'll feel nostalgic, emotional, and you definitely won't be disappointed."
Christine Y. | Dreamer
"Judy had my attention the moment she stepped out from behind the door and held it until the curtains fell. It took me awhile to realize that she was telling her story to an audience and not directly to me at a coffee shop. Through her story she made me re-analyze all of the events that I had experience growing up and made me confront all of my buried emotions. I walked out of the venue reflective and inspired."
Janet C. | Fan
"Never since John Leguizamo's Freak, did I see such a raw, biting, and witty performance. Judy Lei leaves everything on stage and does not hold back. A must see!"
Jonathan & Jenny Palumbo
"Judy made me laugh, cry and reminisce the old school days of NYC in the 90s. Her performance had lots of heart, honesty, and fearlessness. Truly inspiring. Don't miss it."
Nelly S. | actor
"The World's Greatest had me laughing at moments while at the same time helped me to understand a little bit of the East Coast Asian American experience. Judy Lei's ability to verbally visualize her upbringing made me wish I was a New Yorker too."
Paul Yen | Secret Identity Crisis
"What struck me about Judy Lei's show, The World's Greatest, was the sheer honesty and freshness of her perspective. Her story of struggle, friendship, and loss explored an arena of the Asian American experience that is rarely told and is authentic to the places she grew up. The World's Greatest is funny as it is vulnerable and I would recommend it to all my friends, Asian or not."
James Y. Shih | filmmaker
"Having grown up in LA, and having only visited NYC a few times, it seems like Judy and I grew up in different worlds. However, Judy is able to bring you into her world, and allows everyone to connect on a more individual and human level. Judy brings to light many difficulties that people may go through, but don't talk about much. The World's Greatest was a refreshing narrative, full of humor, but also raw emotion. As an Asian American woman, some of Judy's experiences felt relative to barriers I myself dealt with. Especially in regards to finding one's identity, Judy talks about balancing between upholding family traditions, while fitting into social norms. Judy keeps things real, and it's definitely a show everyone can enjoy and appreciate."
"Heartfelt. Sincere. Hilarious. Judy Lei pays homage to local NYC Chinatown and nostalgic 90s pop culture in a rich portrayal of pivotal experiences during her middle and high school years. Often vulnerable and always authentic, Judy is the wild child who never had a chance, until she discovers how to become the World's Greatest."
Gee-Wey Yue | immigration museum staff member
"judy combined humor and heart in this telling biographical story. a fascinating look into the asian american story that's not often told."
"Judy brought me back to a time when I wanted to fit in, be popular, prettier, and smarter. Her show made me reflect on my own experiences, both my most awkward and embarrassing and my best. At the end I came out inspired to be me."
c.k. | fan
"Raw and very real. Super gutsy and ballsy with the things you've mentioned and physically showed to the audience."
Wilson Ng | Entrepreneur
"Judy Lei takes no B.S.! She brings unfiltered nostalgia to those who grew up in New York City's public school system and takes us on an epic roller coaster ride of self discovery and reawakening. I loved every moment of her raw emotion."
"The World's Greatest will disarm and warm your cynical heart with its down-to-earth tone and emotional poignancy. Judy Lei's courage and vulnerability is inspiring!"
Vicky Du | Filmmaker and Artist
"Raw, impassioned, and moving. Judy knows how to tell a story and you won't forget this one."
Robert H. | Actor
"The World's Greatest is a brilliant one woman show capturing the essence of modern day urban teen life."
"Great show - it reminded me of what it was like to be a high school student in NYC which included the good, the bad, as well as the hilariously awkward. Would definitely recommend!"
"The World's Greatest" provided an in-depth look at what made Judy who she is today. Her show proves that she is not afraid to share who she is through her art. Judy has inspired me, through her story, to continue working towards stepping into my own greatness!"
Chris Paul Morales | Actor, Singer-Songwriter
Watch a clip of the solo show.
NYC - TBG Studio Theatre - Previews: May 1, 6, 7, 8, 2016 | Performances: August 19-22, 2016 and September 16 and 17, 2017. / Museum of Chinese in America: March 9, 2018.
Los Angeles - Performance - April 23, 2017 - 2PM at the JANM Tateuchi Democracy Forum.