Video and Photos: Inside the 2nd Asian American Night of Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND at Signature Theatre

Photography, Theater

Asian American representation is everything!!! On Sunday night, the lobby of the Pershing Square Signature Center in New York was abuzz, filled with Asian American theater artists and members of the Asian American community who turned out to see Lauren Yee’s Award winning play Cambodian Rock Band on the Irene Diamond Stage.

Ellis Gage, Jonathan Castanien, Carolina Do, Lauren Yee, Xiaoqing Zhang, Kevin Schuering, Raymond J. Lee, Hansel Tan, Michael Protacio, Jaygee Macapugay, Alyse Alan Louis. Photo by Lia Chang

When Signature Theatre designated the February 9 performance was Asian American night dedicated to audience members of Asian descent, tickets sold out in 4 hours before the show even opened. The theater company set another Asian American night on February 4 which also sold out. Check out video of the audiences from both nights.

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.

Lainie Sakakura, Frank Yee, Lauren Yee, Isabela Sanchez, Alex Sanchez and Avelina Sanchez. 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.

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

Helmed by Chay Yew and featuring the music of Dengue Fever, 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.

Asian American Night at Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND at Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on February 9, 2020. 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.

Asian American Night at Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND at Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on February 9, 2020. Photo by Lia Chang

In a post on Facebook, director Chay Yew writes, “When art reflects the world…

When we first started Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND, her play shone a light on a largely invisible American community – Cambodian refugees and immigrants – who came to this country having survived a horrific chapter of global history.

During our first week of previews, with our own recent history especially in the last weeks, I can’t help but draw parallels between our country and CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND.

Lauren’s play has become a cautionary tale of the unchecked power and authoritarianism leading to the destruction of human and civil rights, torture and brutality, and genocide.

We need more artists to create work that hold up a mirror to society, to speak truth to power, and to unite our fractured nation.

Resist and rise.”

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.

Asian American Night at Lauren Yee’s CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND at Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on February 9, 2020. Photo by Lia Chang

Schedule of special events:

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.

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. This 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.

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

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. 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.

Courtney Reed, Daniel K. Isaac, Virginia Wing and 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.

ENDLINGS cast Emily Kuroda, Jiehae Park, Wai Ching Ho, Brian Ge, Jo Yang, Sarah Shin. Photo by Lia Chang

ENDLINGS cast Emily Kuroda, Jiehae Park, Wai Ching Ho, Brian Ge, Jo Yang, Sarah Shin. 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.

Rehana Lew Mirza, Michael Lew, Lauren Yee, Dustin Chinn, Jiehae Park. 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.

Frank Yee, Lisa Gold, June Jee, May Chen, Tony Jee and Rocky Chin. Photo by Lia Chang

Rocky Chin, Lisa Gold and Frank Yee with a group of students from Yale. Photo by Lia Chang

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

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 

Jo Yang, Garth Kravits, Virginia Wing, Jason Ma and Lia Chang. Photo by Alex Sanchez

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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