Inside Asian American Night at Signature’s First Preview of Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND

Photography, Theater

Moses Villarama, Courtney Reed, Lauren Yee, Francis Jue, Joe Ngo, Jane Lui and Abraham Kim. Photo by Lia Chang

I continued my Lunar New Year celebration at Signature Theatre’s Asian American night of the first preview of Lauren Yee’s Award winning play Cambodian Rock Band, helmed by Chay Yew and featuring the songs of Dengue Fever at the Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues) on February 4.

The audience at Signature Theatre’s Asian American night of Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND in New York on February 4, 2020. Photo by Lia Chang

The performance was dedicated to audience members of Asian descent with playwright Lauren Yee handing out coveted Cambodian Rock Band buttons in front of the Irene Diamond Stage at the Pershing Square Signature Center pre-show, and was followed by a post-show happy hour. It was a night of epic proportions as I stepped out on the stage to take the photo below of the audience.

The audience at Signature Theatre’s Asian American night of Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND in New York on February 4, 2020. Photo by Lia Chang

In a Facebook post, BD Wong writes,”ASIAN AMERICAN NIGHT” @ Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND. A musical/theatrical experience I recommend. This music, ensconced in a play that highlights everything good about Lauren Yee’s writing, is electric – particularly the musical component – so well executed and full of sexy joy. And there are performances in this production that will knock your zoris off. What a productive artistic acknowledgement of one of the most painful events in human history.

Lauren Yee and BD Wong. Photo by Lia Chang

If you are Asian American (or connected in some real way to someone Asian American) the experience of seeing such a production on a designated “Asian American Night” is exhilarating – do it if you get a chance, there are two more coming up…it’s a total PARTY. The great Lia Chang took this photo after the performance, and it properly illustrates the energy of the night.”

Tony Award winner and Emmy nominee BD Wong appeared in productions of Lauren Yee’s The Great Leap in New York and San Francisco, then helmed the Pasadena Playhouse production. He can currently be seen as Wally on Comedy Central’s “Awkwafina is Nora from Queens”.

Tabitha Lee, Grant Chang (THE GREAT LEAP), Lauren Yee, BD Wong (THE GREAT LEAP) and Richert Schnorr. Photo by Lia Chang

See you at the next Asian American night on February 9th. Use code CRBAA for Asian American nights listed below at checkout. Opening night is set for February 24th and due to popular demand, the production has been extended through March 15, 2020. Click here for more information on the show.

Lauren Yee. 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.

Courtney Reed, Moses Villarama, Lauren Yee, Joe Ngo, Francis Jue, Jane Lui and Abraham Kim. 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.

Lauren Yee, Chay Yew and Nataki Garrett Myers. 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.

James Chen, Joel de la Fuente, Francis Jue, Lia Chang, Kristen Faith Oei. Photo by Garth Kravits

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.

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:

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

Matt MacNelly, Lauren Yee, Jane Lui, Jason Liebman, James Chen. 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

Melissa Slaughter, Gen Parton- Shin, Courtney Reed, Erin Quill, Lauren Yee, Alex Chester-Blank, Jason Liebman. Photo by Lia Chang

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

Sunday, February 16 – Khmer Community Day on February 16 at 2:00 pm.Tonight’s performance is dedicated to audience members of Asian descent, featuring a pre-show chat with playwright Lauren Yee, as well as a post-show happy hour.

Moses Villarama, Francis Jue, Joe Ngo and Joel de la Fuente. Photo by Lia Chang

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

Daniel Siegel, Hazel Anne Raymundo, Telly Leung, James Babcock, Francis Jue, Andrew Cheng, Kristen Faith Oei. Photo by Lia Chang

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Asian American Night for 1st Preview of Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND Featuring Francis Jue, Abraham Kim, Jane Lui, Joe Ngo, Courtney Reed, Moses Villarama at Signature Theatre Tonight 

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

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 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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s