Brooke Ishibashi, Abraham Kim, Raymond Lee, Jane Lui, Joe Ngo and Daisuke Tsuji set for World Premiere of Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band at South Coast Repertory, March 4-25

Abraham Kim, Daisuke Tsuji, Brooke Ishibashi, Raymond Lee and Jane Lui in South Coast Repertory's world premiere production of Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee. Photo by Danielle Bliss/SCR.
Lauren Yee
Lauren Yee
Chay Yew. Photo by Lia Chang
Chay Yew. Photo by Lia Chang

Part comedy, part mystery and part rock concert, playwright Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band explores an overlooked chapter of history-1970s Cambodia with its vibrant surf-rock music scene and then under the Khmer Rouge regime. The play features songs by the Long Beach-based band Dengue Fever. The world premiere of this South Coast Repertory commission is directed by Chay Yew on the Julianne Argyros Stage, March 4-25. Tickets are available at www.scr.org.

“Since I first heard Dengue Fever’s music, I’ve been obsessed with the history of Cambodia’s surf-rock scene and the country’s dark Khmer Rouge years, when so many people, including those in the arts, perished,” Yee said. “I never knew quite how to write about it in a way that celebrated the individuals behind the music. Until now.”

From the first rehearsal: actors Brooke Ishibashi, Jane Lui, Abraham Kim, Joseph Ngo, Daisuke Tsuji and Raymond Lee with playwright Lauren Yee (center). Courtesy of Facebook
From the first rehearsal: actors Brooke Ishibashi, Jane Lui, Abraham Kim, Joseph Ngo, Daisuke Tsuji and Raymond Lee with playwright Lauren Yee (center). Courtesy of Facebook

Cambodian Rock Band is set in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and moves back and forth in time. It’s the story of a young Cambodian American who has found evidence that could finally put away one of the Khmer Rouge’s chief henchman, a man who oversaw the country’s most notorious prison. But her work is far from done. Her Dad shows up unannounced-his first time back in Cambodia since fleeing 30 years ago- and it’s clear that this isn’t just a pleasure trip for him.

Yee is a finalist for the 2018 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for her play The Great Leap (world premiere through March 11, Denver Center for the Performing Arts). Her other plays include King of the Yees (Goodman Theatre, Center Theatre Group), Ching Chong Chinaman, The Hatmaker’s Wife, Hookman, In a Word, Samsara and The Tiger Among Us. She was a Dramatists Guild Fellow, a MacDowell Fellow, a MAP Fund grantee, a member of The Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group, a Time Warner Fellow at the Women’s Project Playwrights Lab, the Shank Playwright-in-Residence at Second StageTheatre, a Playwrights’ Center Core Writer and held the Page One Residency at Playwrights Realm. In a Word won the Francesca Primus Prize and was a finalist for the American Theatre Critics Association/Harold and Mimi Steinberg Award. The Hatmaker’s Wife was an Outer Critics Circle nominee for the John Gassner Award for best play by a new American playwright. She earned a BA from Yale University and an MFA from the University of California, San Diego.

Yee wrote Cambodian Rock Band on commission through SCR’s CrossRoads program, which develops plays that explore the cultural diversity of Orange County through artist residencies. For Cambodian Rock Band, Yee’s residency cast a wider net, including Long Beach. CrossRoads is supported by a grant from the Time Warner Foundation.

Abraham Kim, Daisuke Tsuji, Brooke Ishibashi, Raymond Lee and Jane Lui in South Coast Repertory's world premiere production of Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee. Photo by Danielle Bliss/SCR.
Abraham Kim, Daisuke Tsuji, Brooke Ishibashi, Raymond Lee and Jane Lui in South Coast Repertory’s world premiere production of Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee. Photo by Danielle Bliss/SCR.

The cast includes Brooke Ishibashi, Abraham Kim, Raymond Lee, Jane Lui, Joe Ngo and Daisuke Tsuji.

The design and creative team includes Takeshi Kata and Se Oh, scenic design; Sara Ryung Clement, costume design; David Weiner, lighting design; Mikhail Fiksel, sound design; Matthew MacNelly, music director; and Joanne DeNaut, CSA, casting. The production manager is Joshua Marchesi and the stage manager is Bryan Sommer. Andy Knight is the dramaturg.

Cambodian Rock Band has generous support from Honorary Producers Carolyn and Bill Klein and Samuel and Tammy Tang. The media partners are KCRW, Orange Coast Magazine and the Orange County Business Journal. This play is a recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award.

Tickets start at $23. Discounts are available for full-time students, patrons 25 years of age and under, fulltime educators, seniors and groups of 10 or more. For complete information, visit: www.scr.org.

Tickets: May be purchased online at www.scr.org, by phone at (714) 708-5555 or by visiting the Box Office at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. Performances run March 4-25. Ticket prices start at $23. Low-priced previews run March 4-8. SCR’s performances run Tuesdays-Sundays; there are no performances on Mondays.

Lauren Yee’s THE GREAT LEAP, is among 10 Finalists Selected for the 2017-2018 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Lori Tan Chinn
Lia Chang. Photo by Lori Tan Chinn

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 is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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VIETGONE’S Raymond Lee, MISS SAIGON’S Jon Jon Briones and Eva Noblezada Among 2017 Theatre World Award Winners

Jon Jon Briones and Eva Noblezada. Photo by Lia Chang
Jon Jon Briones and Eva Noblezada. Photo by Lia Chang
Jon Jon Briones and Eva Noblezada. Photo by Lia Chang

The 2017 Theatre World Award honorees for Outstanding Broadway or Off-Broadway Debut Performance include Miss Saigon stars Jon Jon Briones and Eva Noblezada and Raymond Lee, who appeared in MTC’s production of Qui Nguyen’s Vietgone. 

Raymond Lee and Jon Hoche in VIETGONE. Photo: Carol Rosegg
Raymond Lee and Jon Hoche in VIETGONE. Photo: Carol Rosegg

Other winners include Denée Benton, Amber Gray and Josh Groban (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812),  Carlo Albán (Sweat), Christy Altomare (Anastasia), Barrett Doss (Groundhog Day), Lucas Hedges (Yen), Jeremy Secomb (Sweeney Todd), and Cobie Smulders (Present Laughter).

Barrett Doss and Cast. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Barrett Doss and Cast. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Tony Shalhoub and Katrina Lenk in THE BAND's VISIT (Photo: Ahron R. Foster)
Tony Shalhoub and Katrina Lenk in THE BAND’s VISIT (Photo: Ahron R. Foster)

Katrina Lenk (Indecent, The Band’s Visit) will receive the 9th Annual Dorothy Loudon Award for Excellence in the Theater.

Glenn Close (Sunset Boulevard) will receive the 5th Annual John Willis Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre.

Josh Groban and Denée Benton in Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 Photo by: Chad Botka
Josh Groban and Denée Benton in Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 Photo by: Chad Botka

Dave Molloy (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812) will be honored with a Special Theatre World Award in recognition for his Broadway debut as composer, writer, lyricist, orchestrator, and actor.

The 73rd Annual Theatre World Awards Ceremony will be held on Monday evening, June 5, 2017 beginning at 6:30 p.m. at The Imperial Theatre (249 West 45th Street), current home of The Great Comet, recipient of 12 Tony Award nominations including Best Musical. Hosted annually by well-known theater journalist, Peter Filichia, the 73rd Annual Theatre World Awards ceremony is produced by Theatre World Awards, Inc. Board of Directors.

Previous winners who have won the prestigious Theatre World Award most at the beginning of their careers include Meryl Streep, RoseMary Harris, Marlon Brando, Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Anne Bancroft, James Earl Jones, Liza Minnelli, Alan Alda, Zoe Caldwell, Christopher Walken, Alec Baldwin, Bernadette Peters, Audra McDonald, Al Pacino, Grace Kelly, Tom Hanks, Bryan Cranston, and so many more.

www.theatreworldawards.org

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits
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 is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

Qui Nguyen’s VIETGONE Receives 3 Lucille Lortel Nods including Outstanding Play; Full List of Nominations

The Off-Broadway League today announced nominations in 19 categories for the 32nd Annual Lucille Lortel Awards for Outstanding Achievement Off-Broadway.

One of my favorite plays, MTC’s New York premiere of Qui Nguyen’s Vietgone, helmed by May Adrales and starring Raymond Lee, Paco Tolson, Samantha Quan, Jon Hoche and Jennifer Ikeda,  received three nods including Outstanding Play, Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play for Paco Tolson and Outstanding Projection Design for Jared Mezzochi.

Jon Hoche, Raymond Lee, Paco Tolson, Jennifer Ikeda and Samantha Quan. Photo: Carol Rosegg
Jon Hoche, Raymond Lee, Paco Tolson, Jennifer Ikeda and Samantha Quan. Photo: Carol Rosegg
Qui Nguyen
Qui Nguyen

Innovative, fresh and visually appealing, Nguyen’s singular voice and vision is on display with Vietgone, a modern twist on the All-American love story, borrowing elements from the world of up-to-the-minute popular culture to recreate the playwright’s own parents’ meeting, ranging from hilarity to heart-wrenching drama. It’s the classic story of boy meets girl – except this boy and girl are refugees from the Vietnam War newly settled in a relocation camp inside Middle America.

wsj.com: Creating the Chaos of War With Light, Sound and Projection

Hangin’ with VIETGONE Stars Raymond Lee, Paco Tolson, Samantha Quan, Jon Hoche and Jennifer Ikeda 

Qui Nguyen’s “Vietgone” wins $25,000 Steinberg/ATCA Award for 2015 

The Lortel Awards will be presented on Sunday, May 7, 2017 at NYU Skirball Center beginning at 7:00 PM EST. This year’s event will be hosted by actor and comedian, Taran Killam, and will once again serve as a benefit for The Actors Fund.

Leading the nominations this year with 7 each are the new musical, Hadestown – a folk opera produced by New York Theatre Workshop – and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, currently at the Barrow Street Theatre, which has been converted into a pie shop for the intimate staging.

Lynn Nottage. Photo by Lia Chang
Lynn Nottage. Photo by Lia Chang

As previously announced, celebrated costume designer William Ivey Long will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage will be inducted onto the famed Playwrights’ Sidewalk in front of the Lucille Lortel Theatre. Former Managing Director of the Roundabout Theatre Company, Harold Wolpert, will be presented with the Edith Oliver Service to Off-Broadway Award.

A breakfast reception honoring the nominees will take place from 10 AM – 12 PM on Wednesday, April 26, at Playwrights Horizons (416 West 42nd Street, New York).

2017 LUCILLE LORTEL AWARDS NOMINATIONS:

Anthony Azizi, Dariush Kashani, Jennifer Ehle, Michael Aronov and Daniel Oreskes in OSLO. Photo by T. Charles Erickson
Anthony Azizi, Dariush Kashani, Jennifer Ehle, Michael Aronov and Daniel Oreskes in OSLO. Photo by T. Charles Erickson
Tony Shalhoub and Katrina Lenk in THE BAND's VISIT (Photo: Ahron R. Foster)
Tony Shalhoub and Katrina Lenk in THE BAND’s VISIT (Photo: Ahron R. Foster)

Outstanding Play
Indecent
Produced by Vineyard Theatre in association with La Jolla Playhouse and Yale Repertory Theatre
Written by Paula Vogel, Created by Paula Vogel & Rebecca Taichman
Oslo
Produced by Lincoln Center Theater
Written by J.T. Rogers
Underground Railroad Game
Produced by Ars Nova
Written by Jennifer Kidwell and Scott R. Sheppard
Vietgone
Produced by Manhattan Theatre Club in association with South Coast Repertory
Written by Qui Nguyen
The Wolves
Produced by The Playwrights Realm in association with New York Stage and Film and Vassar’s Powerhouse Theatre Season
Written by Sarah DeLappe

Outstanding Musical
The Band’s Visit
Produced by Atlantic Theater Company
Music and Lyrics by David Yazbek, Book by Itamar Moses, Based on the screenplay by Eran Kolirin
Dear Evan Hansen
Produced by Second Stage Theatre in association with Stacey Mindich Productions
Book by Steven Levenson, Music and Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Hadestown
Produced by New York Theatre Workshop
Written by Anaïs Mitchell
Ride the Cyclone
Produced by MCC Theater
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Brooke Maxwell and Jacob Richmond
The Total Bent
Produced by The Public Theater
Text by Stew, Music by Stew and Heidi Rodewald

(top) Amelia Workman, David Ryan Smith and Nike Kadri; (middle) Roslyn Ruff, Mirirai Sithole and Jamar Williams; (bottom) Daniel J. Watts. Photo: Joan Marcus
(top) Amelia Workman, David Ryan Smith and Nike Kadri; (middle) Roslyn Ruff, Mirirai Sithole and Jamar Williams; (bottom) Daniel J. Watts. Photo: Joan Marcus

Outstanding Revival
The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World AKA the Negro Book of the Dead
Produced by Signature Theatre
Written by Suzan-Lori Parks
Othello
Produced by New York Theatre Workshop
Written by William Shakespeare

Crystal Dickinson in FUNNYHOUSE OF A NEGRO. Photo: Monique Carboni
Crystal Dickinson in FUNNYHOUSE OF A NEGRO. Photo: Monique Carboni

Signature Plays: Edward Albee’s The Sandbox, María Irene Fornés’ Drowning, and Adrienne Kennedy’s Funnyhouse of a Negro
Produced by Signature Theatre
Written by Edward Albee, María Irene Fornés, and Adrienne Kennedy
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Produced by Rachel Edwards, Jenny Gersten, Seaview Productions, Nate Koch, Fiona Rudin, Barrow Street Theatre, Jean Doumanian, Rebecca Gold, and Tooting Arts Club
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Book by Hugh Wheeler, Adaptation by Christopher Bond
Sweet Charity
Produced by The New Group in association with Kevin McCollum
Book by Neil Simon, Music by Cy Coleman, Lyrics by Dorothy Fields

Photos: SIGNATURE PLAYS featuring Frank Wood, Alison Fraser, Crystal Dickinson, January LaVoy, Ryan-James Hatanaka and More at Signature Theatre

Photos: Sutton Foster, Joel Perez, Emily Padgett, Shuler Hensley, Nikka Graff Lanzarone in The New Group’s SWEET CHARITY

Outstanding Solo Show
Chris Gethard: Career Suicide
Produced by Judd Apatow, Mike Berkowitz, Brian Stern, Mike Lavoie, and Carlee Briglia
Written and Performed by Chris Gethard
Latin History for Morons
Produced by The Public Theater in a co-production with Berkeley Repertory Theatre
Written and Performed by John Leguizamo
Notes From The Field
Produced by Second Stage Theatre and American Repertory Theater
Created, Written, and Performed by Anna Deavere Smith
The Outer Space
Produced by The Public Theater
Book and Lyrics by Ethan Lipton, Music by Ethan Lipton, Vito Dieterle, Eben Levy, and Ian M. Riggs
Performed by Ethan Lipton
Sell/Buy/Date
Produced by Manhattan Theatre Club
Written and Performed by Sarah Jones

Outstanding Director
Will Davis, Men On Boats
Anne Kauffman, A Life
Lila Neugebauer, The Wolves
Bartlett Sher, Oslo
Rebecca Taichman, Indecent

The cast of INDECENT. Photo by Carol Rosegg
The cast of INDECENT. Photo by Carol Rosegg

Outstanding Choreographer
Joshua Bergasse, Sweet Charity
David Dorfman, Indecent
Georgina Lamb, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
David Neumann, Hadestown
David Neumann, The Total Bent

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play
Reed Birney, Man From Nebraska
Michael Emerson, Wakey, Wakey
Lucas Hedges, YEN
Joe Morton, Turn Me Loose
David Hyde Pierce, A Life

Rebecca Naomi Jones and Kecia Lewis in George Brant's Marie and Rosetta. (© Ahron R. Foster)
Rebecca Naomi Jones and Kecia Lewis in George Brant’s Marie and Rosetta. (© Ahron R. Foster)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play
Johanna Day, Sweat
Jennifer Ehle, Oslo
Jennifer Kidwell, Underground Railroad Game
Kecia Lewis, Marie and Rosetta
Maryann Plunkett, Women of a Certain Age

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
Michael Aronov, Oslo
Charlie Cox, Incognito
Matthew Maher, Othello
Justice Smith, YEN
Paco Tolson, Vietgone

Max Gordon Moore and Nana Mensah in MAN FROM NEBRASKA (Photo: Joan Marcus)
Max Gordon Moore and Nana Mensah in MAN FROM NEBRASKA (Photo: Joan Marcus)

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Jocelyn Bioh, Everybody
Hannah Cabell, The Moors
Randy Graff, The Babylon Line
Ari Graynor, YEN
Nana Mensah, Man From Nebraska

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical
Ato Blankson-Wood, The Total Bent
Shuler Hensley, Sweet Charity
Patrick Page, Hadestown
Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen
Jeremy Secomb, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Emily Padgett, Donald Jones, Jr., Sutton Foster, Joel Perez, Cody Williams. Photo Credit: Monique Carboni
Emily Padgett, Donald Jones, Jr., Sutton Foster, Joel Perez, Cody Williams. Photo Credit: Monique Carboni

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical
Sutton Foster, Sweet Charity
Amber Gray, Hadestown
Jo Lampert, Joan of Arc: Into the Fire
Katrina Lenk, The Band’s Visit
Siobhan McCarthy, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Nathan Lee Graham, The View UpStairs
Gus Halper, Ride the Cyclone
Joel Perez, Sweet Charity
Ari’el Stachel, The Band’s Visit
Chris Sullivan, Hadestown

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Asmeret Ghebremichael, Sweet Charity
Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan Hansen
Betsy Morgan, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Emily Rohm, Ride the Cyclone
Karen Ziemba, Kid Victory

Outstanding Scenic Design
Scott Davis, Ride the Cyclone
Rachel Hauck, Hadestown
Laura Jellinek, A Life
Mimi Lien, Signature Plays: Edward Albee’s The Sandbox, María Irene Fornés’ Drowning, and Adrienne Kennedy’s Funnyhouse of a Negro
Jason Sherwood, The View UpStairs

Outstanding Costume Design
Montana Blanco, The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World AKA the Negro Book of the Dead
Tilly Grimes, Underground Railroad Game
Susan Hilferty, Love, Love, Love
Sarah Laux, The Band’s Visit
Emily Rebholz, Indecent

Outstanding Lighting Design
Mark Barton, Signature Plays: Edward Albee’s The Sandbox, María Irene Fornés’ Drowning, and Adrienne Kennedy’s Funnyhouse of a Negro
Jane Cox, Othello
Greg Hofmann, Ride the Cyclone
Amy Mae, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Ben Stanton, YEN

Outstanding Sound Design
Mikhail Fiksel, A Life
Robert Kaplowitz, Hadestown
Stowe Nelson, Small Mouth Sounds
Nevin Steinberg, Wakey, Wakey
Matt Stine, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Outstanding Projection Design
Elaine McCarthy, Notes From The Field
Duncan McLean, Privacy
Jared Mezzochi, Vietgone
Peter Nigrini, Dear Evan Hansen
Peter Nigrini, Wakey, Wakey

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits
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 is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.