East West Players (EWP), the nation’s longest-running professional theater of color and the largest producing organization of Asian American artistic work, announces the cast and creative team for the Los Angeles premiere of Qui Nguyen’s “Vietgone,” which The New York Times has hailed as “a raucous comedy” and Rolling Stone has described as “a wild, enjoyable ride.”
Directed by Jennifer Chang, “Vietgone” begins performances on Oct. 18, and runs until Nov. 11, with opening night on Oct. 25.
“Vietgone” spins a modern twist on the classic boy-meets-girl story: Quang and Tong, refugees fleeing the Vietnam War, hook up and fall in love in a relocation camp in Arkansas. Bold and fearless, “Vietgone” takes audiences on a rip-roaring ride across 1970s America with a hot soundtrack that serves up hip-hop, sass, and revolution.
“We are thrilled to present the Los Angeles premiere of ‘Vietgone,’ a play that delves into the heart of the Vietnamese refugee experience, as seen through the lens of a remarkable love story,” says Snehal Desai, EWP producing artistic director. “Qui is an incredible storyteller with a unique, fresh voice. Inspired by how his parents met and fell in love, the play weaves in personal history and a powerful narrative about immigration, war, and forced relocation. We’re so excited to open our new season, “Culture Shock,” with such a bold, daring play that is both funny and moving.”
Making their EWP debuts are:
• Paul Yen (CBS’ “Young Sheldon,” ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder”) as Quang;
• Sylvia Kwan (“Water by the Spoonful”) as Tong;
• Jane Lui (Pou in “Cambodian Rock Band”) as Asian Girl, American Girl, Thu, Huong, Translator, Flower Girl;
• Scott Ly (Fox’s “Bones”) as Nhan, Nhan, Khue, Asian Guy, American Guy;
• Albert Park (“The Car Plays 2018,” “All’s Well That Ends Well”) as Playwright, Giai, Bobby, Captain Chambers, Redneck Biker, Hippie Dude.
The creative team includes Shammy Dee (composer), Thomas Isao Morinaka and Aaron Aoki (fight choreography), Kaitlyn Pietras and Jason H. Thompson (scenic and projection design), Tom Ontiveros (lighting design), John Zalewski (sound design), Stephanie A. Nguyen (costume design), Glenn Michael Baker (prop master), and Jade Cagalawan (stage manager).
All performances of “Vietgone” will be staged at the David Henry Hwang Theater at the Union Center of the Arts, 120 Judge John Aiso St. in Little Tokyo. Previews are Thursday, Oct. 18, through Sunday, Oct. 21, with 8 p.m. shows from Friday to Saturday and a 2 p.m. matinee show on Sunday. All preview seats are $30.
Regular performances are from Friday, Oct. 26, through Sunday, Nov. 11, with 8 p.m. shows from Thursday to Saturday and 2 p.m. matinee shows on Saturday and Sunday. Opening night is Thursday, Oct. 25, at 8 p.m.
Tickets may be purchased online at www.eastwestplayers.org or by calling (213) 625-7000, making sure to mention any wheelchair/accessible seating needs. Student, senior, and group discounts are available. General admission prices range from $40 to $60. Dates, details, and ticket prices are subject to change.
East West Players’ 53rd anniversary season, “Culture Shock,” is about disrupting the status quo and taking charge of the “outsider” narrative. Upcoming: “Man of God” by Anna Moench, directed by Jesca Prudencio (Jan. 31-Feb. 24, 2019); “Mamma Mia!” with music and lyrics by Benny Andereson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, book by Catherine Johnson, directed by Snehal Desai (May 9 to June 9).
This production is made possible with generous support from the S. Mark Taper Foundation.