Inside AAPI Happy Hour Featuring The Cyclos; Signature Theatre Extends Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND through March 15

On January 15, Signature Theatre hosted an Asian American and Pacific Islander happy hour in celebration of the highly anticipated New York premiere of Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band.

CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND playwright Lauren Yee, Jane Lui, Joe Ngo, director Chay Yew, Francis Jue, Moses Villarama, Music Supervisor Matt MacNelly, Courtney Reed and Abraham Kim. Photo by Lia Chang

Previews of Cambodian Rock Band, helmed by Chay Yew and featuring the songs of Dengue Fever, kick off on February 4, with opening night set for Monday, February 24 on the Irene Diamond Stage at the Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues). Due to popular demand, the production has been extended through March 15, 2020. Click here for more information.

CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND playwright Lauren Yee and director Chay Yew. Photo by Lia Chang

Cambodian Rock Band is an intimate rock epic about family secrets set against a dark chapter of Cambodian history. It launches 2019 Steinberg Playwright Award recipient Lauren Yee’s Residency 5.

Playwright Lauren Yee hands out CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND pins. Photo by Lia Chang

Lauren was on hand to share Cambodian Rock Band buttons while audience members noshed on Five-Spice Glazed Pork Belly, Ginger Barbecue Brisket, Roasted Chicken “Chimi”, Spicy Organic Tofu, and Roasted Cauliflower sandwiches from my favorite Cambodian sandwich shop, Num Pang.

Baayork Lee. Photo by Lia Chang

The Cyclos (the featured band in the play) performed several songs from the show.

The Cyclos perform at the Asian American and Pacific Islander Happy Hour hosted by Signature Theatre in celebration of the New York premiere of Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND on January 15, 2020. Photo by Lia Chang

The cast includes Francis Jue as Duch, Abraham Kim as Rom, Jane Lui as Pou, Joe Ngo as Chum, Courtney Reed as Neary/Sothea and Moses Villarama as Ted/Leng.

CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND cast members Jane Lui, Joe Ngo, Francis Jue, Abraham Kim, Moses Villarama and Courtney Reed. Photo by Lia Chang

Guitars tuned. Mic checked. Get ready to rock! This darkly funny, electric new play with music tells the story of a Khmer Rouge survivor returning to Cambodia for the first time in thirty years, as his daughter prepares to prosecute one of Cambodia’s most infamous war criminals. Backed by a live band playing contemporary Dengue Fever hits and classic Cambodian oldies, this thrilling story toggles back and forth in time as father and daughter face the music of the past.

CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND playwright Lauren Yee, Jane Lui, Joe Ngo, director Chay Yew, Francis Jue, Moses Villarama, Music Supervisor Matt MacNelly, Courtney Reed and Abraham Kim. Photo by Lia Chang

The creative team for Cambodian Rock Band includes Takeshi Kata (Scenic Design), Linda Cho (Costume Design), David Weiner (Lighting Design), Mikhail Fiksel (Sound Design), Luke Norby (Projection Design), Matt MacNelly (Music Supervision) and Unkle Dave’s Fight-House (Fight Director). The Production Stage Manager is Charles M. Turner III and casting is by Caparelliotis Casting.

The Cyclos: Joe Ngo, Abraham Kim, Courtney Reed, Moses Villarama, Jane Lui. Photo by Lia Chang

Additionally, Signature Theatre will host several special events at The Pershing Square Signature Center in conjunction with its run of Cambodian Rock Band. Signature Spotlight Series is sponsored by American Express.

Schedule of special events:
Tuesday, February 4 – Asian American night dedicated to audience members of Asian descent, featuring a pre-show chat with playwright Lauren Yee, as well as a post-show happy hour. Use code CRBAA at checkout.

The Cyclos: Joe Ngo, Abraham Kim, Courtney Reed, Moses Villarama, Jane Lui. Photo by Lia Chang

Sunday, February 9 – Asian American night dedicated to audience members of Asian descent, featuring a pre-show chat with playwright Lauren Yee, as well as a post-show happy hour. Sold-out

The Cyclos: Joe Ngo, Abraham Kim, Courtney Reed, Moses Villarama, Jane Lui. Photo by Lia Chang

Wednesday, February 12 – Pre-show spotlight discussion with Chay Yew and Lauren Yee on Wednesday, February 12 at 6:30 pm

The Cyclos: Joe Ngo, Abraham Kim, Courtney Reed, Moses Villarama, Jane Lui. Photo by Lia Chang

Thursday, February 13 – Talkbacks with members of the cast and creative team after the show

The Cyclos perform at the Asian American and Pacific Islander Happy Hour hosted by Signature Theatre in celebration of the New York premiere of Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND on January 15, 2020. Photo by Lia Chang

Sunday, February 16 – Khmer Community Day on February 16 at 2:00 pm.

Joe Ngo, Abraham Kim, Courtney Reed, Moses Villarama, Jane Lui perform at the Asian American and Pacific Islander Happy Hour hosted by Signature Theatre in celebration of the New York premiere of Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND on January 15, 2020. Photo by Lia Chang

Thursday, February 27 – Talkbacks with members of the cast and creative team after the show

Courtney Reed, Francis Jue, Moses Villarama perform at the Asian American and Pacific Islander Happy Hour hosted by Signature Theatre in celebration of the New York premiere of Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND on January 15, 2020. Photo by Lia Chang

Thursday, March 5 – Talkbacks with members of the cast and creative team after the show

Joe Ngo, Abraham Kim, Courtney Reed, Moses Villarama, Jane Lui perform at the Asian American and Pacific Islander Happy Hour hosted by Signature Theatre in celebration of the New York premiere of Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND on January 15, 2020. Photo by Lia Chang

Wednesday, March 11 – Asian American night dedicated to audience members of Asian descent, featuring a pre-show chat with playwright Lauren Yee, as well as a post-show happy hour. Use code CRBAA at checkout.

Courtney Reed, Francis Jue, Moses Villarama perform at the Asian American and Pacific Islander Happy Hour hosted by Signature Theatre in celebration of the New York premiere of Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND on January 15, 2020. Photo by Lia Chang

To purchase tickets for all Signature Productions call Ticket Services at 212-244-7529 (Tues. – Sun., 11am – 6pm) or visit www.SignatureTheatre.org.

Courtney Reed, Francis Jue, Moses Villarama perform at the Asian American and Pacific Islander Happy Hour hosted by Signature Theatre in celebration of the New York premiere of Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND on January 15, 2020. Photo by Lia Chang

Lauren Yee is a playwright born and raised in San Francisco. She currently lives in New York City. Her CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND, with music by Dengue Fever and others, premiered at South Coast Rep, with subsequent productions at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, Victory Gardens, City Theatre, Merrimack Rep, Signature Theatre, Portland Center Stage, and Jungle Theatre. 

Moses Villarama. Photo by Lia Chang

Her play THE GREAT LEAP has been produced at Denver Center, Seattle Rep, Atlantic Theatre, the Guthrie Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, Arts Club, InterAct Theatre, and Steppenwolf, with future productions at Long Wharf, Cygnet Theatre, and Asolo Rep/Miami New Drama.

Joe Ngo. Photo by Lia Chang

She is the winner of the Doris Duke Artists Award, the 2019 Steinberg Playwright Award, Whiting Award, Steinberg/ATCA Award, Horton Foote Prize, the Kesselring Prize, American Academy of Arts and Letters literature award, the Francesca Primus Prize and a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton. She has been a finalist for the Edward M. Kennedy Prize and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Her plays were the #1 and #2 plays on the 2017 Kilroys List.

The Cyclos: Joe Ngo, Abraham Kim, Courtney Reed, Moses Villarama, Jane Lui. Photo by Lia Chang

Lauren is a Residency 5 playwright at Signature Theatre, New Dramatists member (class of 2025), Ma-Yi Writers’ Lab member, former Princeton University Hodder fellow, and Playwrights Realm alumni playwright. Her TV work includes Pachinko(Apple) and Soundtrack(Netflix). She is currently under commission from Geffen Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, Second Stage, South Coast Rep. She completed her BA at Yale and her MFA at UCSD. www.laurenyee.com

The groundbreaking Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access, which recently celebrated its one-millionth ticket sold, is a program that guarantees affordable tickets to every Signature production through 2031. Serving as a model for theatres and performing arts organizations across the country, the Initiative was founded in 2005 and is made possible by lead partner The Pershing Square Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, the Howard Gilman Foundation, Margot Adams, The SHS Foundation, Consolidated Edison Company of New York, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND playwright Lauren Yee, Jane Lui, Joe Ngo, director Chay Yew, Francis Jue, Moses Villarama, Music Supervisor Matt MacNelly, Courtney Reed and Abraham Kim. Photo by Lia Chang

Asian American and Pacific Islander Happy Hour In Celebration of Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND at Signature Theatre on January 15 

Lauren Yee and Jackie Sibblies Drury Receive 2019 Steinberg Playwright Awards at the 12th Annual “Mimi” Awards

The Rise of Playwright Lauren Yee 

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the filmsWolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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