The Production

Based on interviews and trial transcripts, Top Secret tells the inside story of the Washington Post’s 1971 decision to publish the pentagon papers. The play recently concluded a 10-day, 3-city tour in China. Read More

From the Blog

Top Secret attracts global media attention

The recent tour of Top Secret in China has received attention from media outlets all over the world. Below are links to the coverage:

Chinese Allow Play on Pentagon Papers, but Not a Talk About It
The New York Times
December 2, 2011

Pentagon Papers still causing controversy 40 years on (in China)
Los Angeles Times
December 3, 2011

and Beijing
New Yorker
December 9, 2011

In Beijing, you just can’t chat about things “Top Secret”
Shanghai Scrap, Bloomberg
December 3, 2011

American Play Center on Free Speech Tours China

Voice of America News
December 5, 2011

STL Students Attended a Performance of “Top Secret”
Peking University School of Transnational Law
November 30, 2011

PKU cancels talk after free speech play

Global Times
December 4, 2011

Le pari (in)sense d’une troupe de theatre americaine en Chine
Le Monde
December 9, 2011

US Consul General in Shanghai discusses Top Secret

In this short clip, the United States Consul General in Shanghai talks about the timeless message of Top Secret in a toast at a reception for the Top Secret cast and team at his apartment.

Cowan’s play on press freedom completes tour in China

Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers, a docu-drama co-written by CCLP director Geoffrey Cowan and the late Leroy Aarons, was performed in China in November and December 2011. The L.A. Theatre Works production was performed in Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou. The tour was sponsored by the U.S. Embassy and the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. Top Secret was last presented during a successful Off-Broadway run at New York Theatre Workshop in 2010.

This China production of Top Secret was directed by award-winning director Stephen Sachs. The cast included well known actors from stage, screen, and television including Henry Clarke, JD Cullum, James Gleason, Nicholas Hormann, Amy Pietz, Russell Soder, Josh Stamberg, Peter Van Norden, Steve Vinovich and Tom Virtue.

In conjunction with performances, CCLP presented post-performance discussions with Cowan and other special guests in partnership with China’s leading law and journalism schools. This provided a valuable opportunity to contextualize the content of the play, which is authentically American, within Chinese society.

In addition to the performances and discussions, Cowan delivered the prestigious F.Y. Chang lecture, a joint program of Peking University Law School, Tsinghua University Law School and the Harvard University Law School East Asian Legal Studies Program.

Links to coverage:
Voice of America
New York Times
Los Angeles Times

Tour Details

November 21 – 26, 2011 / Shanghai
Seven performances in the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center’s Annual International Contemporary Theatre Festival
Panel discussions with Cowan and NYU Shanghai public interest law professors and Fudan University School of Journalism.
One performance at the Peking University (PKU) School of Transnational Law as part of the celebrations in honor of PKU Shenzhen’s 10th Anniversary;
Panel discussions, lectures, and workshops with bilingual law students, law professors, and local community led by law school Dean Jeffrey Lehman and Cowan.

November 29 – 30, 2011 / Guangzhou
Two performances at Sun Yat-Sen University
Panel discussions with Cowan about the role of journalists and journalism in society

December 1 – 5, 2011 / Beijing
Four performances at the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture’s Annual International Theater and Dance Festival
Panel discussions and lectures at the Comparative Law Program at Renmin University of China Law School; Peking University; Tsinghua University
Panel discussions with the American Bar Association.