The cast of Lauren Yee’s “Cambodian Rock Band,” which was scheduled to be performed at Mark Taper Forum.

Center Theatre Group, which operates the Mark Taper Forum, the Ahmanson Theatre and the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles, announced on June 15 that it is “pausing” a significant portion of its programming due to financial constraints.

The statement reads as follows: “Center Theatre Group (CTG) — along with arts organizations across the country — continues to feel the aftereffects of the pandemic and has been struggling to balance ever-increasing production costs with significantly reduced ticket revenue and donations that remain behind 2019 levels. We are still facing a crisis unlike any other in our 57-year history.

“It is in this environment that we have to take the extraordinary step of pausing a significant portion of CTG programming beginning this summer and continuing through the 2023/24 Season, as well as taking significant restructuring measures to build a vibrant and sustainable organization that can navigate this new paradigm.

“CTG will be announcing a 2023/24 Season in the Ahmanson Theatre and select programming at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. CTG will pause season programming at the Taper beginning this July. This pause will include the postponement of the world premiere of ‘Fake It Until You Make It’ by Larissa FastHorse and directed by Michael John Garcés, which we plan to feature in a future season. Regrettably, we also need to cancel the previously announced tour of ‘Cambodian Rock Band’ by Lauren Yee and directed by Chay Yew. Taper subscribers and ticket holders will be contacted directly with further details.

“Pausing season programming at the Taper is a difficult but necessary decision that will impact artists and audiences; and is particularly painful for the talented and committed CTG staff who have dedicated so much to bringing great theatre to L.A. The Taper has long been recognized as the heart of CTG’s groundbreaking programming.

“However, though we will not be programming a season in the Taper this year, we hope during this time to be able to utilize this beloved theatre space in innovative, non-traditional ways through special events and community-centered programs starting as early as the fall. We will also continue to offer our robust Education & Community Partnerships programs, which reach thousands of students each year in all of our spaces and venues.

“CTG’s mission is to serve the diverse audiences of Los Angeles. We look forward to collaborating with The Music Center, the County of Los Angeles, and the greater L.A. arts community to envision and create a stronger future. Our hope, in this moment, is that these challenging times will present an opportunity for us to come together and collectively write the next great chapter in CTG’s storied history.

“Most importantly, we need you, our community, to join us and support local theatres—both here in Los Angeles and across the country. With your substantial support and advocacy, we will not only return to the legendary Mark Taper Forum, but together build a vibrant future for a cornerstone of culture in L.A.”

The statement was issued by Amy Forbes, president of the board; Snehal Desai, incoming artistic director (and outgoing artistic director of East West Players); Meghan Pressman, managing director and CEO; and the CTG Board of Directors.

Yew posted his reaction on Facebook on June 16: “A strange coincidence. I posted yesterday about our upcoming engagement of ‘Cambodian Rock Band’ at Arena Stage (in Washington, D.C.), when, an hour later, I was given news that the production will be canceled at Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles.

“Lauren Yee, the entire cast and design team of ‘Cambodian Rock Band’ — as well as the Asian American communities in the Southland — are naturally disappointed by CTG’s decision to pause their upcoming season.

“We share the same pain and stand with fellow BIPOC theatre artists, playwright Larissa FastHorse and director Michael John Garces, with their groundbreaking work, ‘Fake It Till You Make It,’ as four of us have always committed to create work to uplift our communities …

“It is Lauren’s deepest desire to share ‘Cambodian Rock Band’ with Los Angeles, where the largest Khmer and Southeast Asian populations in the United States reside. Her joyous and powerful play shone a rare light on a largely invisible and voiceless American community that came to this country having survived a horrific chapter of global history. The Khmer Rouge genocide forced massive migrations of refugees in 1975, as did the defeat of the Khmer Rouge by the Vietnamese army in 1979. Many of those refugees came to Long Beach, where a community had been established. This is the beating heart of Lauren’s work.

“‘Cambodian Rock Band’ 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. The play has taken on more potent currency, given our domestic politics in the last years.

“In Lauren’s astute eyes, one thing remains consistent throughout our often temperamental world: the constancy, the resilience and enduring power of art and artists, despite censorships, bans and destruction by despots.

“‘Cambodian Rock Band’ celebrates the indomitable legacy of art and music; how artists capture our individual and national spirit and hopes; and the uncanny ability of art to inspire, to affirm our humanity, and to bring us together.

“Perhaps this work will find its way back to the hearts and lives of the Khmer community in Long Beach, where it first inspired Lauren to create this work.”

“Cambodian Rock Band,” featuring Brooke Ishibashi, Francis Jue, Abraham Kim, Tim Liu, Jane Lui and Joe Ngo, will be performed at Arena Stage from July 19 to Aug. 27.

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