Poor Yella Rednecks
by ​​Qui Nguyen
directed by ​​May Adrales
March 30, 2019 - April 27, 2019


In the award-winning Vietgone, Qui Nguyen recounted his parents’ hot and hilarious courtship in a Vietnamese refugee camp in 1975. Now, six years later, Tong and Quang are building new lives in a foreign land called Arkansas. But marriage is hard – especially when she’s having doubts and his first one isn’t over yet. One family’s history makes for a raucously funny, deeply moving take on the immigrant story, told with hip-hop style.

Previews: ​ ​March 30 - April 4, 201​9
First Night: ​ ​April 5, 201​9
Regular Performances: April 6-27, 201​9

Recommendation: ​High school and above. Contains strong, frequent profanity, rap music, haze, smoking and a Vietgone re-cap.

Running Time: Approximately ​two hours including one intermission.

Qui Nguyen is a playwright, screenwriter and co-founder of the Obie Award-winning Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company (New York City), the “pioneers of geek theatre.” His plays include Vietgone (2016 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award, commissioned by SCR and premiered by SCR with Manhattan Theatre Club); She Kills Monsters (2014 American Alliance for Theatre and Education Distinguished Play Award); Soul Samurai (2009 GLAAD Media Award nomination) and the critically acclaimed Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company shows The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G, Alice in Slasherland, Fight Girl Battle World, Men of Steel, Living Dead in Denmark and the upcoming Revenge Song (Geffen Playhouse, 2020). His recent awards include a 2016 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Preschool Animated Program (“Peg+Cat”) and a 2015 New York Community Trust Helen Merrill Playwriting Award. For television and film, he’s written for Marvel Studios, AMC, SyFy and PBS. He currently writes for “The Society” (Netflix) and Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Learn more about the production, cast & creative team with a peek into the program. Read full artist bios, in-depth articles and more.


Tim Chiou (Quang/Bully Chris) is excited to reunite with Samantha, May and SCR. His previous stage credits include Two Mile Hollow by Leah Nanako Winkler (Artists at Play), Yoga Play by Dipika Guha (SCR), tokyo fish story by Kimber Lee (directed by May Adrales, The Old Globe), The North China Lover (adapted and directed by Heidi Stillman, Lookingglass Theatre Company), Snow Falling on Cedars adapted by Kevin McKeon (TheatreWorks), and Year Zero by Michael Golamco (Victory Gardens Theatre The Colony Theatre). His recent television credits include “Silicon Valley,” “iZombie” and “American Koko.” Follow him: @timchiou and timchiou.com


Samantha Quan (Huong/Thu/San/Cop) appeared in SCR’s 2015 Pacific Playwrights Festival reading and the world premiere production of Vietgone and in the play’s co-production at Manhattan Theatre Club. Her theatre credits include workshops of Peerless, Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, Red Flamboyant and American Hwangap (Ojai Playwrights Conference), B.F.E. (Just Add Water Festival), Masha No Home (Ensemble Studio Theatre) and An Infinite Ache (The Old Globe). Her television credits include “Elementary,” “NCIS,” “Blue” and “Castle.” Her film credits include 4 Wedding Planners, Sake Bomb and Good Grief. Quan is an alumna of the graduate acting program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.


Maureen Sebastian (Tong) appeared at SCR previously in Vietgone and in the Pacific Playwrights Festival reading of Poor Yella Rednecks. Her regional credits include Arabian Nights (Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Arena Stage), The Winter’s Tale and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey) and Thunder Above, Deeps Below (Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center). Her off-Broadway credits include Now Circa Then (Ars Nova), Lonely, I’m Not and Year Zero (Second Stage Theater) and Soul Samurai (Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company, Ma-Yi Theater Company). Her television credits include “Law & Order: SVU” (NBC), “Bull” (CBS), “Elementary” (CBS), “Oasis” (Amazon), “American Gothic” (CBS), “Revolution” (NBC) and “New Girl” (FOX).


Paco Tolson ( Playwright/Immigration Officer/British Narrator/Little Man Puppeteer/Bobby/Bully Tommy/Grocery Boy) appeared at SCR previously in Peter and the Starcatcher and the world premiere of Vietgone, as well as the 2013 CrossRoads Project and the 2015 and 2018 Pacific Playwrights Festivals. Off-Broadway, he appeared in Vietgone (Manhattan Theatre Club), Twelfth Night (Fiasco Theater, Classic Stage Company), The Unwritten Song (Ensemble Studio Theatre), The Children of Vonderly and Rescue Me (Ma-Yi Theater Company) and Soul Samurai (Ma-Yi Theater Company, Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company). During his tenure with Vampire Cowboys, he originated roles in Men of Steel, Fight Girl Battle World, Agent G and The Saturday Night Saloon. His Oregon Shakespeare Festival credits include The Winter’s Tale, Daedalus Project, Vietgone and works in development at the festival’s Black Swan Lab. In 2016, he appeared in the Boston Court New Play Festival. His film and television credits include “Madam Secretary,” “Happy!,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “The Code” and 7 Day Gig. “With love to Kate and Ama, my heart and soul.”


Eugene Young (Nhan/Cowboy/Little Man/Grocery Boy) is making his SCR mainstage debut after taking part in the reading of Poor Yella Rednecks last year at the Pacific Playwrights Festival. His New York City credits include Cardinal (Second Stage Theater), Geek! and Alice in Slasherland (Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company) and Twelfth Night (Arclight Theater, Leviathan Lab). Regionally, he appeared in Alice in Slasherland (Redhouse Arts Center, Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company) and Tiger Style! (Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center). His television credits include “Veep” (HBO), “Jane the Virgin” (CW), “Criminal Minds” (CBS), “Unforgettable” (CBS) and “Revenge” (ABC). youngeugene.com IG: @youngeugene 

Creative Team

May Adrales (Director) is thrilled to be back at SCR, having directed Vietgone, Little Black Shadows and the PPF reading of Cambodian Rock Band. Her work has been seen at Lincoln Center Theater, Signature Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, Second Stage Theater, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Goodman Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Portland Center Stage, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Syracuse Stage, Cleveland Play House, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Pioneer Theatre and Two River Theater. She serves as associate artistic director at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre. Adrales is former director of on-site programs at the Lark Play Development Center and artistic associate at The Public Theater. She holds an MFA from the Yale School of Drama, is a former faculty member at Yale and Brown universities and holds fellowships with The Drama League, New York Theatre Workshop and Second Stage for directing. She has directed at NYU, Bard College, The Juilliard School, Fordham University and Yale School of Drama. mayadrales.net

Arnulfo Maldonado (Scenic Design) is a New York City-based set and costume designer. His recent NYC credits include Fireflies (Atlantic Theater Company); India Pale Ale, Sugar in Our Wounds (Manhattan Theatre Club); School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, Charm (MCC Theater); I Was Most Alive With You, Dance Nation, Men on Boats (Playwrights Horizons); God Said This (Primary Stages); and Usual Girls and Bobbie Clearly (Roundabout Theatre Company). His regional credits include Alley Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Center Stage, Center Theatre Group, Guthrie Theater, Humana Festival, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, The Old Globe, Two River Theater and Williamstown Theater Festival. He has designed for the touring productions of Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower (Under the Radar Festival at the Public Theater; international tour); and The Magnetic Fields: 50 Song Memoir (BAM Next Wave Festival; international tour). Maldonado is a Clubbed Thumb Affiliated Artist, recipient of a Princess Grace Fabergé Theater Award and a multiple-Henry Hewes Design Award nominee. He earned his MFA at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. arnulfomaldonado.com

Valérie Thérèse Bart (Costume Design) is technically making her SCR debut, but started here as a stitcher many years ago. An NYC-based designer, her credits there include Little Women (by Kate Hamill, world premiere, Primary Stages), Something Clean and Too Heavy for Your Pocket (world premieres, Roundabout Theatre Company), Vanity Fair (by Kate Hamill, world premiere, Pearl Theater), The Servant of Two Masters (Theatre for a New Audience), Twelfth Night & What You Will (Bedlam) and Macbeth (The Acting Company). Regionally, her work includes the world premiere of The Song of Summer by Lauren Yee (Trinity Repertory Theatre), A Doll’s House, Part 2 (Actors Theatre of Louisville), Vietgone by Qui Nguyen and The Great Leap by Lauren Yee (Denver Center for the Performing Arts), The Invisible Hand (Cleveland Play House) and the world premiere musical POP! (Yale Repertory Theatre). She also designs for opera with such titles as Rocking Horse Winner/Vinkensport (Opera Saratoga), Rigoletto (Minnesota Opera), Fidelio and Butterfly (Heartbeat Opera) and Listen, Wilhelmina! (Wolf Trap Park for the Performing Arts, sets/costumes). She earned her MFA in design from the Yale School of Drama. For more, visit valeriebart.com

Lap Chi Chu (Lighting Design) recently designed the world premieres of Lynn Nottage’s Mlima’s Tale, Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves, Rajiv Joseph’s Describe the Night, and Suzan-Lori Park’s Father Comes Home from the Wars. He has designed regionally for Mark Taper Forum, Geffen Playhouse, Williamstown Theater Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, American Contemporary Theater, Goodman Theatre, American Repertory Theater, Shakespeare Theater Center, Dallas Theater Center and The Alley Theater. His New York design credits include The Public Theater, Lincoln Center Theater, Atlantic Theater Company, New York Theatre Workshop, Signature Theatre and Second Stage Theatre. His awards include the 2018 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Lighting Design, Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Angstrom Award for Career Achievement in Lighting Design, an Ovation Award and multiple Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards. Chu is on the lighting design faculty at California Institute of the Arts. lapchichu.com

Shane Rettig (Original Music/Sound Design) returns to SCR where he previously worked on Vietgone. His New York credits include The Public Theater, The New Group, Signature Theatre, Roundabout Theatre Company, Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company, Ma-Yi Theater Company, Clubbed Thumb, New Georges, The Flea Theater, The New Victory Theater, La MaMa, Soho Rep, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and HERE Arts Center. He designed the music and was co-lyricist for War is F*cking Awesome with Qui Nguyen (Sundance Lab, 2013); and music for The Unknown (New York Musical Theatre Festival, 2005). His work has been seen regionally at Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Arena Stage, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Children’s Theatre Company, Dallas Theatre Center, La Jolla Playhouse, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Yale Repertory Theatre and the Prague Quadrennial. He received the Frederick Loewe Award (War is F*cking Awesome, 2015) as well as nominations for Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel awards. 

Kenny Seymour (Arrangements) is a composer, arranger, copyist, music director and keyboardist. His Broadway and off-Broadway credits include Ain’t Too Proud: The Life & Times of the Temptations (music director/music supervisor/arranger; Tony Award for Best Musical); Memphis (music director/conductor); Amazing Grace (orchestrator); Marley (music supervisor/arranger/orchestrator); A Time Like This: Music for Change at Carnegie Hall (music director/music supervisor and arranger/orchestrator); Half-Time: The Musical (dance music arranger/electronic music producer); Tallest Tree in the Forest (music director/arranger/incidental music); Scary Musical (orchestrator); Hot Feet: The Music of Earth Wind & Fire (synth programmer); and The Wiz at La Jolla Playhouse (dance music arranger). His work for film includes Talking With the Taxman About Poetry (composer, Global Music Award, Best Original Score). He has been a music arranger and orchestrator for television shows on FOX, BET and NBC including the inaugural ball for President Barack Obama. Seymour earned degrees from Manhattan School of Music and Berklee College of Music. kennyseymour.com

Jared Mezzocchi (Projection Design) returns to SCR after designing Vietgone in 2015. He won a 2017 Obie Award, Lucille Lortel Award and Henry Hewes Award for his design in Vietgone (Manhattan Theatre Club), and also received the 2012 Princess Grace Award as the first projections designer to receive it. He is a company member at Woolly Mammoth Theatre (The Nether, Women Laughing Alone With Salad, Chad Deity). His additional Washington, D.C. credits include Smart People (Arena Stage), Astro Boy (Studio Theatre) and BELL (National Geographic). His additional New York credits include Downtown Loop (3-Legged Dog) and You Are Dead. You Are Here. (HERE Arts Center). Regionally, his work has been seen at Portland Center Stage, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Baltimore Center Stage, Cleveland Play House, Company One Theatre and The Wilma Theater. He has designed nationally and internationally for Big Art Group, Builder’s Association and Connect4Climate (Design Week, Milan, Italy). Mezzocchi is the artistic director of Andy’s Summer Playhouse, an innovative New Hampshire children’s theater focusing on new work. He teaches in the MFA design program at The University of Maryland.

Sean Cawelti (Puppet Design and Direction) is a director, puppet/video designer and creator of immersive and site-specific experiences. He is a graduate from the University of California, Irvine, with honors in directing and he studied puppetry at Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. He is the founding artistic director of Rogue Artists Ensemble (Los Angeles) and has won awards for his work as a designer, director and playwright, including a UNIMA Citation of Excellence and the Sherwood Award from Center Theater Group (Los Angeles). His work has been seen at the Getty Villa, SCR, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Cornerstone Theater Company, Chicago Opera Theater, LA Theatre Works, Geffen Playhouse, Long Beach Opera, Imago Theatre (Portland), New York City Opera, Center for Puppetry Arts (Atlanta) and the Kanye West Yeezus world tour. Cawelti is a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829. seancawelti.com

Kimberly Colburn (Dramaturg) was SCR’s literary director, co-director of the Pacific Playwrights Festival and led the theatre’s CrossRoads initiative; she has relocated to Toronto. Her recent dramaturgical work includes the SCR world premiere productions of A Doll’s House Part 2 by Lucas Hnath and Little Black Shadows by Kemp Powers. Formerly, she was literary manager at Actors Theatre of Louisville, where she was dramaturg for the world premieres of Partners by Dorothy Fortenberry and The Roommate by Jen Silverman, among others. Her other world premiere projects include José Cruz González’s The Long Road Today/El Largo Camino de Hoy, Matthew Lopez’s Zoey’s Perfect Wedding, Zoe Kazan’s Trudy and Max in Love and A Wrinkle in Time adapted by John Glore, along with dozens of other productions, workshops and readings. She has worked with companies including Los Angeles Opera, Mixed Blood Theatre, Oregon Contemporary Theatre, Critical Mass Ensemble, Artists at Play and Native Voices at the Autry.

Kathryn Davies (Stage Manager) previously stage-managed Sugar Plum Fairy, The Roommate, All the Way, Future Thinking, Red, Vietgone, The Whipping Man, Tartuffe, Reunion, Trudy and Max in Love, The Motherf**ker with the Hat, How to Write a New Book for the Bible, Sight Unseen, Topdog/Underdog, In the Next Room or the vibrator play, Doctor Cerberus, Ordinary Days, Our Mother’s Brief Affair and The Injured Party—all at SCR. Her favorite credits include The Wars at the Grand Theatre; Dividing the Estate at Dallas Theater Center; La Bohème at Tulsa Opera; The Mystery of Irma Vep at The Old Globe; Tosca and La Fille du Régiment at Opera Ontario; Of Mice and Men at Neptune Theatre; The Dresser at Manitoba Theatre Centre; Skylight at Tarragon Theatre; To Kill a Mockingbird at Citadel Theatre; and The Designated Mourner at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Davies also worked as head theatre representative at the Toronto International Film Festival, Dubai International Film Festival, AFI Fest, TCM Film Festival and the Los Angeles Film Festival. 

Natalie Figaredo (Assistant Stage Manager) is a production stage manager whose credits include With Love and a Major Organ (Boston Court Pasadena), The Cake (Geffen Playhouse), The Cake (Echo Theatre), Reasons to be Pretty, The Lieutenant of Inishmore (Long Beach Playhouse) and Tender Napalm (Six01 Studio). Her credits as an assistant stage manager and production assistant include Amos and Boris, Little Black Shadows, Junie B Jones is Not a Crook, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Yoga Play, Orange, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Going To A Place where you Already Are and A Year with Frog and Toad (SCR) and Closer (The Macha Theatre). She is an assistant stage manager at Disneyland.

Shammy Dee (Music Director) moves people through music, primarily as a DJ and producer. As a music director, he has worked on Welcome To Arroyo’s (The Old Globe), How We Got On (Cleveland Playhouse) and Tiger Style! (La Jolla Playhouse). He was both music director and composer for Vietgone (A.C.T. San Francisco, East West Players) and is excited to be a part of Poor Yella Rednecks. He releases a new song every week. Instagram: @shammydee | shammydee.com

Lawrence Kao (Hip-Hop Consultant) appeared at SCR previously in tokyo fish story and Fast Company. He grew up in Hacienda Heights, Calif., as an only child left to his imagination. Playing the role of Lysander in a high school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream furthered his interest in acting. While studying theatre at UC-Irvine, he began dancing with Kaba Modern, which led to his participation on “America’s Best Dance Crew” (MTV). His other theatre credits include Krunk Fu Battle Battle (East West Players), Vietgone (San Diego Repertory) and The Great Leap (Guthrie Theater). He is a series regular on an upcoming Netflix original series “Wu Assassins.” Follow him @iamLawrenceKao 

Maggie Macdonald (Fight Consultant) is an accomplished fight director, motion-capture actress/performer and stuntwoman. Her film and television credits include season two of “The Tick,” The Hunger Games series, “The Americans” and season seven of “The Vampire Diaries.” For the past three years, she has been working on the highly anticipated video game sequel to Naughty Dogs’ The Last of Us as a motion-capture performer for the lead character, Ellie. She will be fight-choreographing the debut of Revenge Song, a A Vampire Cowboys Creation at Geffen Playhouse next season. Macdonald is an adjunct faculty member in the combat department at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles.

The Actors and Stage Managers employed in this production are members of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

Tim Chiou and Maureen Sebastian in "Poor Yella Rednecks." Photo by Jordan Kubat
Maureen Sebastian, Paco Tolson and Eugene Young in "Poor Yella Rednecks." Photo by Jordan Kubat
Samantha Quan, Eugene Young and Paco Tolson in "Poor Yella Rednecks." Photo by Jordan Kubat
Maureen Sebastian and Tim Chiou in "Poor Yella Rednecks." Photo by Jordan Kubat
Maureen Sebastian and Tim Chiou in "Poor Yella Rednecks." Photo by Jordan Kubat
Maureen Sebastian and Paco Tolson in "Poor Yella Rednecks." Photo by Jordan Kubat
Eugene Young, Samantha Quan, Paco Tolson, Tim Chiou and Maureen Sebastian in "Poor Yella Rednecks." Photo by Jordan Kubat
Samantha Quan, Eugene Young and Paco Tolson in "Poor Yella Rednecks." Photo by Jordan Kubat
Paco Tolson, Maureen Sebastian and Tim Chiou in "Poor Yella Rednecks." Photo by Jordan Kubat
Eugene Young and Maureen Sebastian in "Poor Yella Rednecks." Photo by Jordan Kubat
Maureen Sebastian and Eugene Young in "Poor Yella Rednecks." Photo by Jordan Kubat
Samantha Quan and Maureen Sebastian in "Poor Yella Rednecks." Photo by Jordan Kubat
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The Cast of Poor Yella RednecksGet Your Groove On with Poor Yella Rednecks Playlist
​The play incorporates original rap songs to help tell ​the story. It also includes snippets of hits from the ’70s and ’80s. Here’s a look at the show’s incidental music.
Cast of Poor Yella RednecksParty Play: Poor Yella Rednecks
The world premiere of Poor Yella Rednecks opened to an enthusiastic First Night audience. Take a look back at the opening night through commentary and photos.
Community WomenBuilding Community Engagement for Poor Yella Rednecks

​Archivist Thuy Vo Dang and Professor Linda Trinh Vo share their thoughts on creating awareness and engaging the local Vietnamese American community in Qui Nguyen’s Poor Yella Rednecks.

Poor Yella Rednecks CastProfane Pleasure in Life’s Pain

Behind the hip-hop, rap and humor in Poor Yella Rednecks is a deep-rooted story of humanity. Read notes from the show’s dramaturg.

Cast of Poor Yella RednecksMeet the Cast of Poor Yella Rednecks
Meet the Cast: Some familiar and new faces are in the line for Poor Yella Rednecks. Meet the cast.
Valerie BartA Conversation with Valérie Thérèse Bart, Costume Designer of Poor Yella Rednecks
In this Q&A, Valérie Thérèse Bart reveals her inspiration for Poor Yella Rednecks, some of her favorite productions she’s worked on and her longtime association with SCR.
May Adrales and Qui NguyenThe Inside Scoop on Poor Yella Rednecks

Playwright Qui Nguyen and director May Adrales talk about Poor Yella Rednecks.


Edgerton FoundationThis play is a recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award.

Marci Maietta Weinberg & Bill Weinberg 
Talya Nevo-Hacohen & Bill Schenker

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Events for ​Poor Yella