For the latest news-folllow @leahnanko on twitter

-10/24/19 Nevada-Tan is now out on Audible!

Two Mile Hollow won the Francesca Primus Prize !

-8/16-19 Hot Asian Doctor Husband opens at Theater Mu 

-8/9/19 Kentucky opens at Imprint Theater Works in Dallas, Texas 

God Said This now published by Yale University Press. 

Linus and Murray now published by Dramatists Pay Service 

Two Mile Hollow is a finalist for the Francesca Primus Prize 

-7/25: Free Reading: God Said This at East West Players/Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles as part of the Counter Culture series

-5/30: Free Reading: Hot Asian Doctor Husband at Playwrights Horizons 2pm. To RSVP email

-Just announced- Kentucky will have a Chicago Premiere at the Gift Theater directed by Chika Ike 

-4/30 I’ll be a guest on The Takeaway by Tanzina Vega on WNYC

God Said This Jan 29-Feb 25 at the Cherry Lane Theater.  Use Code GSTREVIEW for $20 tickets!

-Congrats to the cast and crew of Two Mile Hollow in Arizona and Boston for successful runs!

-Ferocious Lotus’ production of Two Mile Hollow was named a top production of 2018 by both the SF Chronicle and KQUED

Casting announced for God Said This at the Cherry Lane Theater presented by Primary Stages. Tickets are also now on sale! If you are under 35, use code PS35 for $35 tickets!  Link:

-I received the Yale Drama Series Prize at Lincoln Center !

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Two Mile Hollow was nominated for 10 TBA Awards and 2 Minneapolis Theater Awards! Congrats to Ferocious Lotus and Mu Theater!

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-6/23- 7/15 Two Mile Hollow opens at Ferocious Lotus in San Francisco to rave reviews.

-6/23- 7/15 Two Mile Hollow opens at Ferocious Lotus in San Francisco to rave reviews. Read about it in Bay Area Plays, The Mercury News and the SF Chronicle   

God Said This won the 2018 Yale Drama Series Prize! This year’s judge was Ayad Akhtar. Read about it in the New York Times 

-4/26-28 An NYC workshop production of Two Mile Hollow as part of WP Theater’s Pipeline Festival. Details and tickets here! 

-God Said This announced as part of Primary Stages 2018-2019 Season! 

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God Said This opened at the Humana Festival! Tickets available here.  

LA TIMES feature on Audible Commission:

Two Mile Hollow announced as a part of WP Theater’s Pipeline Festival! Read about it on Playbill. Tickets on sale now! 

Two Mile Hollow named Best Of The Week by the Star Tribune!


Two Mile Hollow opened in Minneapolis at Theater Mu /Mixed Blood Theater to rave reviews!  ! Tickets are on sale here!  Running Feb 16-March 4th.

Press For Two Mile Hollow at Mixed Blood/Mu Theater

-Two Mile Hollow with First Floor Theater was named one of the Best in Off The Loop Theater of 2017 by the Chicago Tribune, Ada Grey’s Top 10 Plays of 2017   and one of New City’s Top 5 Comedies of 2017!

-I was named the 2017-2019 New York Jerome Fellow by the Lark! Read the release on American Theater Magazine 

-My play God Said This will premiere at the 42nd Humana Festival of New American Plays this February! Tickets, info and announcement here:

I received the first-ever Mark O’Donnell Prize from The Actors Fund and Playwrights Horizons. Read about it on Playbill! Special Note: I’m very thankful to everyone who was involved in giving me this award-the staff at PH, The Actors Fund, Steve O’Donnell, Jack Tantleff and to all of my friends and supporters ❤  I love you!

Two Mile Hollow opened to RAVE REVIEWS at First Floor Theater in Chicago! Running through November 4th. Tickets and info available here 

Photo credit: Sam Doyle

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A raucous, shoot-the-prisoners parody…(Two Mile Hollow) is hilarious, biting, and an incredibly astute dissection of the place where whiteness, privilege and wealthiness all blur together into an awful, cawing morass. Directed with equal parts rigor and verve by Hutch Pimentel, First Floor Theater’s production is Two Mile Hollow’s world premiere—and it could not have come at a better, more urgent time. Chicago is lucky to have it.“- Time Out Chicago (4 Stars)

Unrelentingly hilarious…Winkler’s play and First Floor’s sharp-elbowed production busts down the door of the American theater’s insular beach house and tells its residents that it’s time to get packing.- Chicago Tribune (3.5 Stars) 

Brilliant…striking…goddamn hysterical. When I find something particularly funny, my laughter often spills over into cursing under my breath. Milder jokes might earn an “oh my God,” while those that are particularly cutting—or just particularly hysterical—produce stronger language. Sitting in the audience of Two Mile Hollow, I was a veritable one-woman storm of f-bombs. At one point, I was in literal danger of falling out of my chair.”- Chicago Splash

“Nanako Winkler’s brand of savagery is refreshing and exhilarating. The play’s microaggressions are writ macro by her bold and unyielding voice. “-New City Stage 

“Impeccably] comedic, powerful direct and biting”-PerformInk (Critics Pick) 


Time Out Chicago  ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️ and critic’s choice!

Chicago Tribune: (3.5 Stars) Two Mile Hollow Takes On The White Family Plays 

Hullabaloo On the Horizon: A Review of Two Mile Hollow At First Floor Theater 

PerformaInk Critic’s Pick: Two Mile Hollow At First Floor Theater 

Review: Hilarious Satire! First Floor Theater Presents Two Mile Hollow at The Den Theatre

Chicago Splash: Two Mile Hollow Review (Not) White People By The Water 

Broadway World PhotoFlash: Take a Walk Through Two Mile Hollow 

Chicago Tribune: Don’t Miss These Chicago Plays 

Time Out Chicago: 19 Chicago Theater Shows To See in October 

7 Things To Do In Wicker Park 

Legs was commissioned by Atlantic Theater Company for Asian American Mix Fest (running 9-17). More info  here!

-Two Mile Hollow will receive a simultaneous world premiere in the 2016-2017 season with Artists At Play LA, Theater Mu/Mixed Blood in Minneapolis, First Floor Theater in Chicago and Ferocious Lotus in San Francisco. Read the announcements below:

American Theatre Magazine: Mixed Blood 2017-2018 Season To Feature 2 World Premieres 

Chicago Tribune: First Floor Theater announces 2017-18 season

 Broadway World: Artists At Play Continues The Conversation of Diversity and Representation Through Candid Stories and Fearless New Works 

Two Mile Hollow is on the 2017 Kilroys List and Thirty-Six got an honorable mention!  Read about it in the New York Times, Playbill, American Theatre Magazine and of course- on the Kilroys Official Website!  

To request either script, please contact my agent at

Two Mile Hollow

(3F, 2M, all POC)

Two Mile Hollow is a satirical take-down of the ever-popular White People By The Water genre- where affluent white people discover secrets and fight in a big house by the water. A non-white cast plays the very white Donnelly family with both compassion and brutality as Charlotte, a POC playing a POC comes of age. A direct response to ridiculous things that happen in the American Theatre like the constant use of yellowface and a sincere comedy.

When the Donnelly’s gather for a weekend in the country to gather their belongings for their recently sold estate—both an internal storm and a literal storm brews (uh oh!). As this brood of famous, longing-to-be-famous and kind of a mess but totally Caucasian family comes together with their non-white personal assistant, Charlotte, some really really really really really complicated and totally unique secrets are revealed over white wine…

-My play Linus and Murray was a part of the 36th Marathon at the Ensemble Studio Theatre! Some reviews below:

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Screen shot 2017-06-17 at 5.21.08 PMDebargo Sanyal, left, as a cat, and Curran Connor as a dog in Leah Nanako Winkler’s “Linus and Murray,” at Ensemble Studio Theater. CreditGerry Goodstein

The best of this bunch? Leah Nanako Winkler’s “Linus and Murray,” in which Murray (Curran Connor), a shaggy canine rescue, and Linus (Debargo Sanyal), a slinky feline egotist, discuss their opposing worldviews in adjoining backyards. Murray admits that he’s “pretty excited to not be killed” and struggles never to disappoint his owner. Linus brags about defecating on his owner’s bed, insisting that humans are “lucky to have us.” RJ Tolan directed these two perfectly cast actors with exquisite feeling and high-precision humor. The ending is devastating.-The New York Times 

-May 28th- June 26th: My play LINUS AND MURRAY is a part of the 36th Marathon of One Act Plays at the Ensemble Studio Theatre. We’re in Series B. Tickets and info here

-May 17th at 2pm. Free reading of my new play God Said  This at Primary Stages as part of Fresh Ink. Info below: unnamed.jpg

-May 11-May 25th: My short play Rodman will play as part of F*It Club’s The Spring Fling: Rebound at Irt Theater on May 11-May 25th. Tickets  here 

-May 7th and 8th. Sonoko Kawahara and I adapted the Japanese Folk Tale “Momotaro” for  Japan Society’s Kids Day Celebration. Free.

Kentucky will be one of the graduation plays at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. The performance is at 3pm and free! Reserve at

– Jan 23-Feb 11th I’ll be in Wyoming as one of 6 theatre artists to partake in the 2017 Sundance Institute Retreat at Ucross. Read about it here. 

-I wrote an article about class disparity in the theatre world, edited by Diep Tran! Read it here

-I’ll be taking part in Primary Stages’ Morning in America, November 9, 9:00AM on February 18 and 19 at the Cherry Lane Theater as a benefit for The Actors’ Fund. Read the press release here.

East West Players’ production of Kentucky was named one of the top theatrical highlights of 2016 

The Adventures Of Minami The Robot From Japan Who Makes You Feel Safe When Loneliness Is Palpable: Part 1  had a successful run ( Dec 15-30th) at The Brick Theatre! It was named a best theatrical production of 2016 by Forces Of Geek! Also check out my interview on HiLo Brow and some reviews here and here!

-I was profiled in the LA Times!  This article was subsequently printed on the cover of the Arts and Books section on a Sunday.  Thank you LA Times!


-Kentucky at East West Players Tops the “Don’t Miss List” 

–  Angry Asian Man  Interview

Rafu Shimpo Feature 

Fall/Winter 2016:

-I have a piece in After Orlando at DR2 on December 11th. Al proceeds will go to Read about it on Playbill. David Schwimmer, Christopher Jackson, Cassie Beck, Jessica Hecht, Wilson Cruz, and Susan Heyward will perform. All proceeds from After Orlando will go to Pulse of Orlando, a non-profit created after the Orlando attacks. The DR2 Theatre is located at 103 East 15th Street, New York. Tickets here

-Ferocious Lotus Theatre Company presented a reading of Two Mile Hollow.  It was a Lily Janiak Theatre Pick for the San Francisco Chronicle!


-I received a 2016 Sloan Commission  to write about scientist Ruby Hirose, an unknown Japanese American chemist who performed groundbreaking contributions to polio vaccine development- while her family was interned after Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. Read about it here. 

-I had a lot of fun at #CAATAOSF where my play Two Mile Hollow was presented by Artists at Play and Second Generation Productions. Read about that and CAATA on American Theatre Magazine. 

-I was nominated for the 2016 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize!

-I was featured on American Theatre Magazine alongside many wonderful southern playwrights! Read the article here!

Kentucky will have a West Coast Premiere at East West Players. Running November 10-December 11th, 2016. Read the announcement on Playbill, and  American Theatre Magazine  Casting through July 27th. Submit here. 

-My short play YOU’RE AMAZING will be at Williamstown Theatre Festival on 8/9 .Directed by Seonjae Kim! 

-I’m a 2016-2018 Time Warner Fellow   WP (Women’s Project) Lab Read about it in American Theatre Magazine 

-I’m teaching a class on short form playwrighting  in the fall at Primary Stages ESPA! Sign up here

-Honorable Mention on The Kilroys List, Two Mile Hollow.

-Had a great time teaching at the New York State Summer Young Writers Institute

-This Saturday June 25-come to a reading of my play Two Mile Hollow directed by Hand To God’s Moritz von Stuelpnagel! 3pm at ART/NY. FREE. Details here 



“The playwright Leah Nanako Winkler has created a sort of millennial Odyssey, chronicling the rustic homecoming of a New York City transplant. Long in flight from a troubled upbringing, Hiro (Satomi Blair) returns to her native Kentucky in the hope of preventing the marriage of her younger sister Sophie. But Sophie (Sasha Diamond) has found her own kind of escape, in born-again Christianity, and confounds the alienated Hiro with her church-centered contentment, which the play treats with sensitivity. Hiro’s sense of autonomy is further challenged by her abusive father, her immigrant mother, and the childhood friends she left behind. Morgan Gould’s lively production, which includes a Greek-style chorus and a talking cat, has an antic, unruly spirit. Still, Winkler’s story is ultimately a serious one, about the commonplace nature of childhood trauma and the radically different paths people take to recover.”- The New Yorker 

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“Refreshing and witty. A fresh, affecting play.”—Time Out New York


Exceptional. There is an excitement and charm to Nanako Winkler’s language. The accessibility draws an immediate bond with the audience…’Kentucky’ was sublimely constructed and adoringly envisioned and has not only put Leah Nanako Winkler on the map but ensured her as an important player in contemporary theater.” Theatre in the Now


Flat-Out hillarity… the play, which on one hand is a comedic romp, also offers food for thought on a variety of important topics. “How will this fadge?” as one of Shakespeare’s heroines once questioned. So see the play. I highly recommend it.”- Epoch Times

The play follows Hiro, who has to stop her little sister from marrying a man she hardly knows, but that means returning to Kentucky and the home she’s put behind her. Hiro’s quest involves confronting forgotten friends, former flames, and the family she fled.

Ensemble Studio Theatre is located at 549 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019

In other news:

My new play Thirty-Six Will have a reading on May 25th at 4pm at Primary Stages. The Fresh Ink reading series is the first opportunity to hear seven brand new plays from the playwrights in the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group. All readings are free and open to the public. To rsvp please email or call Sean Patrick O’Brien at 212-840-9705. See flyer below:


My play Two Mile Hollow received a workshop by Artist’s at Play! I had a blast!

There is an evening of my short plays happening at Allentown Public Theatre Allentown, Pennsylvania!  on May 17th! More information on their facebook page! 

Feb 2016- I received a Sloan Commission to write a short play about Science at Ensemble Studio Theatre.

  • I taught a playwrighting workshop at the Milbrook School and had a lot of fun!

FALL 2015

I received a space grant and a commission from 2G-New York’s premiere Asian American Theatre Company! I was also nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize  and received the Truman Capote Fellowship in Playwrighting!

I had a lot of fun being a guest Artist with the immersive peice HouseWorld by Andrew Hoepfner too!


July 13-19 I’ll be in residence at SPACE on Ryder Farm with EST/Youngblood.

July 20-26 I’ve been invited to participate in Page 73’s summer residency at Yale University to work on my play KENTUCKY with director Morgan Gould.

August, 2015- My play Death For Sydney Black was a part of Cohesion Theater Company’s Parity Fest in Baltimore.


My play KENTUCKY is in the top ten on the 2015 Kilroy’s List!  You can learn more about the Kilroys and this year’s List as well as all of the nominations  on Indie Wire, Fortune, American Theatre Magazine, Backstage and New York Times. My play Death For Sydney Black which was a nominee in 2014 also received an honorable mention!   Hooray! #thekilroys #parityraid

Running  through June 27th: My play DOUBLE SUICIDE AT UENO PARK!!! is a part of Ensemble Studio Theatre’s 35th Marathon of One-Act Plays.  Tickets available here.FB_IMG_1434823124121

Double Suicide at Ueno Park!  by Leah Nanako Winkler; directed by John Giampietro*

Two courtesans in 18th century Japan are set free from the red-light district once a year to see the cherry blossoms at Ueno Park. As the seasons pass, the best friends make a dangerous pact.

Press quotes below! 


This satirical comedy had the audience roaring with laugher that became nervous as it revealed the shocking (and infuriating) truths about Japanese Concubines. A sharp and entertaining cultural lesson that delivered a perspective that we need to hear.” -Times Square Chronicles


“Ms. Winkler’s writing is so simple but exquisite in its execution.  In twenty minutes the sad lives of the girls are deftly dramatized with a compelling range of emotion. Visually Stunning…a vivid masterpiece”


Wonderfully, violently, crudely and delightfully subversive. The play snipes at old, but abiding notions of femininity, the fetishization of geishas, ritual suicide and other destructive tropes that linger around the Western idea of Japan, with deadly precision.” –Stage Buddy


“Double Suicide At Ueno Park by Leah Nanako Winkler, directed by John Giampietro intriguingly roasts the Japanese feudal aesthetic of renunciation of the world…tragedy is not often this funny.  Ditto for clever subversion…. and this all leads to the inevitable brilliance of this piece. “-Ny Theater Now


“Certainly the most imaginative entry in the series is Double Suicide at Ueno Park…Leah Nanako Winkler, takes a crowbar to the traditional image of the Japanese geisha. (Anyone who thinks Arthur Golden’s popular novelMemoirs of a Geisha is the last word on the subject is in for a stabbing shock.) Winkler has a gift for savage satire that makes me eager to see what she does next, and, in John Giampietro, she has a director who is totally on her wavelength.”- Lighting And Sound America


This offbeat story of two Japanese courtesans takes  a few chances that pay off” -New York Times


Photo Credit:  Gerry Goodstein

MAY 2015

 I’ll be at the  The Drama Bookshop in New York for the OOB 39th Edition book launch. There will be readings of the plays included in the series and a signing afterward.

APRIL 2015

My play Taisetsu Na Hito is now available for purchase at Samuel French!

0046963_taisetsu_na_hito_300An excerpt of the play was  featured on Episode #1616 WNYC’s Studio 360 Podcast called “EX MACHINA,” SEXY ROBOTS, & FOUR-LEGGED STARS. It aired on Thursday, April 16, 2015 and was  hosted by PeaBody award winning Kurt Anderson. There I can also be heard briefly talking to Eric Molinsky about Robots and sexuality. Check it out at the link below.

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My short play Tomorrow was a part of EST/Youngblood’s April brunch series. The theme was optimism and it starred Cathy Curtin (Orange is the New Black), Shawn Randall (Symphonics Live!) and Sasha Diamond (The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra GO). It was directed by John Giampietro.


MARCH 2015

My new book of short plays, The Lowest Form Of Writing is finally out!


You can purchase it on Amazon for $10 at or come see me at any of my gigs or plays. Speaking of plays!!!!

TICKETS NOW ON SALE FOR MY NEW PLAY KENTUCKY, DIRECTED BY MORGAN GOULD  AT EST/YOUNGBLOOD RUNNING MARCH 18-28. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or click here!  I’m super excited about this play and I hope you can join me!!! 

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by Leah Nanako Winikler
Directed by Morgan Gould
Starring: Satomi Blair, Sasha Diamond, Ronald Peet, Lucy DeVito, Amir Wachterman, Allyson Morgan, Christine Lee, Alex Grubbs, Curran Connor, Merissa Czyz, Jay Patterson, Samantha Sembler, Lynette Freeman, Virginia Wing, Marcia Haufrecht and Emily Kunkel.

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 up on 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.


March 18 at 7pm
March 19 at 7pm
March 21 at 2pm
March 26 at 7pm
March 28 at 7pm

FALL/Winter 2014-

-Will be part of New Georges 1 Minute Play Festival

-Awarded space grant with 2G (Second Generation)

-12/17 Remounting my short play “Alone On Christmas-W4Mw-28 ( Brooklyn)” w/ Darcy Fowler, Jared McGuire and special guests. Directed by Matt Dickson. Tickets here

-My full length KENTUCKY  will be a part of EST/YOUNGBLOOD’s Unfiltered festival in Spring 2015. Details forthcoming. 

-Date set for China publication! My short plays I Don’t Want to Read Your Blog, LOVE, BELIEBER and Arch-Nemisis will be published in the December Edition of Nanjing University’s Stage and Screen Reviews 

-My short play YOU’RE AMAZING Was part of EST/Youngblood’s Legal Brunching Age

-I was a part of F*It Club’s F*ing Up Halloween where I “acted” in a play. It was scary!

-Jennifer Gordon Thomas performed my monologue LIONS as part of CAPS LOCK THEATRE’s PUSSY FEST at Judson Church.

-My short play WRINKLE was part of Asking For Trouble 2014 at Ensemble Studio Theatre. It was directed by Danya Taymor and starred Curren Conner, Artem Kreimer, Jesse Geguzis and Hand To God’s Steven Boyer.


 August 2014- 

-My short play Taisetsu Na Hito won the  Sam French OOB Festival!  It will be published in an anthology in 2015. Read about it on Backstage!

-The cast of Taisetsu Na Hito and I were interviewed for a new podcast on WNYC radio! The episode will be released in the fall of 2014!


July 2014- 

-I went to SPACE on Ryder Farm with EST/Youngblood

June 2014-

– My plays Diversity Awareness Picnic and Death For Sydney Black were nominated for The Kilroys List. Read about The List in the NYTimes. 


-Cover Art for my upcoming book of short plays by Lilli Stein!


May 2014

-My short plays, “I Don’t Want To Read Your Blog” and “Arch-Nemisis” were performed at Nanjing University in China! They will both be published and translated into Chinese the fall of 2014.

Here are some production photos they sent me!

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-I was chosen as a finalist for theThe Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Fellowship at The Juilliard School for the 2nd time.