Berkeley Repertory Theatre presents Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band, a Signature Theatre production, performing at Berkeley Rep’s Roda Theatre (2015 Addison St., Berkeley) beginning Saturday, February 25 and continuing through Sunday, April 2, 2023.
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 30 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. Directed by Chay Yew, and featuring songs by Dengue Fever, this intimate rock epic about family secrets is set against a dark chapter of Cambodian history.
The Khmer Alumni Association and Berkley Rep are presenting Khmer Community Day on Sunday, Mar. 12. The free pre-show welcome reception starts at 12:45pm and the performance begins at 2pm.
Cambodian Rock Band was developed in The Ground Floor: Berkeley Rep’s Center for the Creation and Development of New Work in 2016. This production is presented in association with Alley Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre, 5th Avenue Theatre, and Center Theatre Group.
The cast of Cambodian Rock Band includes (in alphabetical order) Lucille Lortel Award and Obie Award winner Francis Jue (Duch), Abraham Kim (Rom/Journalist), Jane Lui (Pou/S21 Guard), Obie Award winner Joe Ngo (Chum), Geena Quintos (Neary/Sothea), Moses Villarama (Ted/Cadre/Leng), and Kelsey Angel Baehrens (Understudy), Alex Lydon (Understudy), and Vi Tran (Understudy).
Directed by Chay Yew, the creative team of Cambodian Rock Band includes Takeshi Kata (Scenic Designer), Linda Cho (Costume Designer), David Weiner (Lighting Designer), Mikhail Fiksel (Sound Designer), Five Ohm Productions with Luke Norby (Projection Designer), Tom Watson (Wig Designer), Matt MacNelly (Music Supervisor and Co-Music Director), Jane Lui (Music Supervisor and Co-Music Director), Graham Schmidt (Associate Director), Merrick A.B. Williams (Stage Manager), and Caroline Duffin (Assistant Stage Manager).
Tickets ($49-$123) for Cambodian Rock Band are on sale now and can be purchased online at berkeleyrep.org/shows/cambodian-rock-band/ or by phone at 510-647-2949 (Tue-Sun, 12-7 p.m.). Ticket prices are subject to change without notice.
Join playwright Lauren Yee on February 25 for a pre-show talk followed by the first preview. This performance is dedicated to the Bay Area AAPI community! Use promo code DIALOGUE30 for 30% off tickets for this show.
Obie Winner Joe Ngo is Living His Best Life with the Very Personal Story of CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND
LIA CHANG is a Chinese-American actor, a multi-media content producer, an award-winning filmmaker, and a photo activist and documentarian, who lifts up and amplifies BIPOC communities and artists and the institutions that support them. Lia is also the host and Executive Producer of BACKSTAGE PASS WITH LIA CHANG, an Arts and Entertainment and Lifestyle program that airs on Sundays at 6:30pm on FIOS 34, RCN 83, Spectrum 56/1996 and MNN2.
Lia moved to New York from her home in San Francisco when she was 17 years of age and made her stage debut as Liat in a national tour of South Pacific with Barbara Eden and Robert Goulet. She spent many years working extensively Off-Broadway, including Signature Theatre’s revival of Sam Shepard’s Chicago. Her film work includes Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, and The Last Dragon. The decades of being viewed by others through the narrow lens of “Asian actor” in the industry brought Lia to a turning point, and she picked up her camera, determined to create awareness by documenting the work and the lives of her BIPOC colleagues, resulting in the creation of thousands of photographs and pieces of video. Her photo archives are housed in the AAPI collection in the Library of Congress’ Asian Reading Room under “Lia Chang Theater Portfolio collection,1989-2011” and in the “Lia Chang Photography Collection” in The Billy Rose Theatre Division of the New York Public Library.
Lia’s awards include the 2000 OCA Chinese American Journalist Award, the 2001 AAJA National Award for New Media and the 2022 Prospect Muse Award. She is also an AAJA Executive Leadership Graduate, a Western Knight Fellow at USC’s Annenberg College of Communications for Specialized Journalism on Entertainment Journalism in the Digital Age, a National Press Photographers Association Visual Edge/Visual Journalism Fellow at the Poynter Institute for New Media, and a Scripps Howard New Media Fellow at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.
More recently, Lia co-founded Bev’s Girl Films, which makes films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. She executive produced and starred in the indie films Hide and Seek (AA Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Best Actress Nomination), Rom-Com Gone Wrong, and When the World Was Young (2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative).
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