First Look: Hyunmin Rhee, Viet Vo, Emjoy Gavino, Rebecca Hirota, and Eric Sharp in Qui Nguyen’s VIETGONE on The Guthrie Theater’s Wurtele Thrust Stage; Performances through Oct. 16

Eric Sharp and Hyunmin Rhee in Qui Nguyen’s VIETGONE at The Guthrie Theater. Photo: Dan Norman

The Guthrie Theater (Joseph Haj, Artistic Director) is presenting Vietgone by Qui Nguyen, with original music by Shane Rettig and directed by Mina Morita. Vietgone began previews on Sept. 10, and will continue through Oct. 16 on the Wurtele Thrust Stage. Opening night is Friday, Sept. 16 at 7:30pm. Single tickets start at $20 for preview performances (September 10–15). All other performances range from $31 to $79. Single and group tickets are on sale now through the Box Office at 612.377.2224 (single), 1.877.447.8243 (toll-free), 612.225.6244 (group) or online at guthrietheater.org.

Guthrie Theater is located at 818 South 2nd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55415.

Post-play discussions and accessibility services (ASL-interpreted, audio described, open-captioned and relaxed performances) are available on select dates. For up-to-date information about the theater’s health and safety policies, visit www.guthrietheater.org/health.

Emjoy Gavino in Qui Nguyen’s VIETGONE at The Guthrie Theater. Photo: Dan Norman

Part history play and part memoir, Nguyen’s irreverent, whip-smart comedy uses flashbacks and bursts of rap music to share a human-centered view of the Vietnam War and its aftermath. When Saigon falls in 1975, Vietnamese refugees Quang (Hyunmin Rhee) and Tong (Emjoy Gavino) find themselves living in the land of “cheeseburgers, waffle fries and cholesterol” (aka America) — an intoxicating adventure that leads them to question their futures, both together and in their new country.

Hyunmin Rhee, Rebecca Hirota, Eric Sharp, Viet Vo, and Emjoy Gavino in Qui Nguyen’s VIETGONE at The Guthrie Theater. Photo: Dan Norman

The cast of Vietgone features Emjoy Gavino (Guthrie: A Christmas Carol) as Tong/Ensemble, Rebecca Hirota (Guthrie: debut) as Thu/Huong/Ensemble, Hyunmin Rhee (Guthrie: debut) as Quang, Eric Sharp as Nhan/Khue/Ensemble (Guthrie: A Christmas Carol, As You Like It) and Viet Vo (Guthrie: debut) as Playwright/Bobby/Giai/Ensemble.

Rebecca Hirota in Qui Nguyen’s VIETGONE at The Guthrie Theater. Photo: Dan Norman

The creative team for Vietgone includes Qui Nguyen (Playwright), Shane Rettig (Original Music), Mina Morita (Director), Lex Liang (Scenic Designer), Enver Chakartash (Costume Designer), Masha Tsimring (Lighting Designer), Mikhail Fiksel (Sound Designer/Composer), Nicholas Hussong (Projection Designer), Oscar Pagnaroth Un (Rap Consultant), Anna J. Crace (Dramaturg), Keely Wolter (Vocal Coach), Darrius Strong (Movement Director), Aaron Preusse (Fight Director), Anh-Thu Pham (Cultural Consultant), Alessandra Bongiardina (Intimacy), Jennifer Liestman (Resident Casting Director), Lori Lundquist (Stage Manager), Kathryn Sam Houkom (Assistant Stage Manager) and Emma Y. Lai (Assistant Director).

Hyunmin Rhee and Emjoy Gavino in Qui Nguyen’s VIETGONE at The Guthrie Theater. Photo: Dan Norman
Viet Vo, Eric Sharp, Hyunmin Rhee in Qui Nguyen’s VIETGONE at The Guthrie Theater. Photo: Dan Norman
Emjoy Gavino, Hyunmin Rhee, Eric Sharp in Qui Nguyen’s VIETGONE at The Guthrie Theater. Photo: Dan Norman
Hyunmin Rhee and Emjoy Gavino in Qui Nguyen’s VIETGONE at The Guthrie Theater. Photo: Dan Norman

Qui Nguyen (Playwright) is a playwright, television/film writer and co-founder of the Obie Award-winning Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company in New York City. Known for his innovative use of pop culture, stage violence, puppetry and multimedia, Nguyen’s numerous and eclectic plays include Vietgone, Poor Yella Rednecks (a follow-up to Vietgone), the Dungeons & Dragons comedy She Kills Monsters, the action comedy Six Rounds of Vengeance, the action drama Soul Samurai, the Shakespearean zombie comedy Living Dead in Denmark, Revenge Song, The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent GAlice in SlasherlandFight Girl Battle World, and Men of Steel. For TV/Film, he’s written for Marvel Studios, Netflix, AMC, SYFY, and PBS.In 2016, Nguyen received the Steinberg New Play Award for Vietgone and a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Preschool Animated Program for “Peg + Cat.” He most recently wrote Disney’s Raya and The Last Dragon (nominated for a 2022 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature) and is currently co-directing and writing Disney’s upcoming Strange World (Thanksgiving 2022). Learn more at www.quinguyen.com.

Mina Morita (Director) is the Artistic Director of Crowded Fire Theater in San Francisco, California, and a celebrated director of new plays who has worked at Yale Repertory Theatre, Berkeley Rep, Magic Theatre, Center REPertory Company, A.C.T., Campo Santo, Shotgun Players, Playwrights Foundation, TheatreFirst, Ferocious Lotus, Bay Area Children’s Theatre and Berkeley Playhouse. She received a Theatre Bay Area Award for Outstanding Direction of a Musical in 2014, plus a nomination for Outstanding Direction of a Play in 2017 and a Shellie Award for Best Director in 2018. Previously, she served as Artistic Associate at Berkeley Rep and its center for the creation and development of new work, The Ground Floor. In 2016, Theatre Bay Area awarded Morita the 40@40 distinction for her impact on Bay Area theater. She was also honored to share her story on TEDx and be chosen as one of the illustrious YBCA 100. Learn more at www.minamorita.com.

Related Events
Relaxed Performance – Sunday, October 9 at 6:30 p.m.

A relaxed performance is intended to be sensitive to and accepting of any audience member who may benefit from a more relaxed environment. They are intentionally modified to accommodate patrons with sensory and vestibular sensitivities, anxiety, dementia, autism spectrum disorders, learning differences and/or other challenges attending the theater. Single tickets to the relaxed performance of Vietgone are $29 for adults and $15 for children. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Box Office at 612.377.2224. For more information, visit www.guthrietheater.org/relaxed.

Accessibility programs are sponsored by United Health Foundation.

Land Acknowledgment
The Guthrie Theater acknowledges that it resides on the traditional land of the Dakota People and honors with gratitude the land itself and the people who have stewarded it throughout the generations, including the Ojibwe and other Indigenous nations.

The GUTHRIE THEATER (Joseph Haj, Artistic Director) is an American center for theater performance in Minneapolis, Minnesota, celebrating 60 years of artistic excellence during its 2022–2023 Season. Under Haj’s leadership, the Guthrie has continued its dedication to producing a mix of classic and contemporary plays and cultivating the next generation of theater artists. Since its founding in 1963, the theater has set a national standard for excellence in the field and served the people of Minnesota as a vital cultural resource. The Guthrie houses three state-of-the-art stages, production facilities, classrooms, restaurants and dramatic public spaces. guthrietheater.org

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