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Stuck Elevator

​Music by Byron Au Yong

Libretto by Aaron Jafferis

Stuck Elevator tells the story of Guang, a Chinese food deliveryman struggling for freedom from debt, human smugglers, loud-mouthed coworkers, and the temptations of General Tso. Based on the true story of an undocumented immigrant who survived 81 hours in a Bronx elevator, this comic-rap-scrap-metal-music-theatre work follows Guang’s increasingly fantastic attempts to escape a 4′ by 6′ by 8′ metal box.

“High point of the theatrical year...

Creative riches explode from one small,

claustrophobic space in the extraordinary musical

that opened Tuesday at American Conservatory Theater... An epic's worth of inspired music and inspirational content, performances and design... A vibrant opera-musical theater hybrid with a story both personally compelling and eye-opening... The musical and dramatic impact of "Elevator" is immediate. The potency of its metaphor is guaranteed to linger."

– San Francisco Chronicle


“A fascinating and compelling work that proves strong ideas can’t be contained in simple boxes... claustrophobic and expansive, intimate and existential, personal and political all at once.” – Variety


“Audacious, compelling and hugely imaginative.” – Huffington Post


“Together Au Yong and Jafferis create one of the more ambitious, listenable modern scores in contemporary musical theater.” –

5 actors, 4 musicians

Stuck Elevator is scored for five voices, violin, cello, percussion, and piano. These live performance recordings are for demo purposes only.
Guang 洸 (tenor)
Míng 茗 (soprano)
Marco (tenor)
Wáng Yuè 王岳 (baritone)
Zhong Yì 忠佚 (bass-baritone)


Stuck Elevator is a project of Creative Capital, developed with support from the Sundance Institute Theatre Program, Yale Institute for Music Theatre, Asian/Pacific/American Institute Artist-in-Residence Program at NYU, Edgerton New Play Foundation, and NEA Art Works.


Touring is made possible with funding by New England Foundation for the Arts' National Theater Project. Support from 4Culture, Artist Trust, API/2, City of Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, Hand2Mouth's Risk/Reward New Performance Festival, Museum of Chinese in America, On the Boards' NW New Works Festival, Theatre Off Jackson, Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, and New York Theatre Workshop.


The American Conservatory Theatre premiere, directed by Chay Yew, received the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Original Musical. Au Yong and Jafferis also received a Time Warner Foundation Fellowship for their work on Stuck Elevator.

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