Cambodian Rock Band
by Lauren Yee
featuring songs by Dengue Fever
directed by Chay Yew
March 4, 2018 - March 25, 2018


Part comedy, part mystery, part rock concert, this thrilling story toggles back and forth in time, as father and daughter face the music of the past. Neary, a young Cambodian American has found evidence that could finally put away the Khmer Rouge’s chief henchman. But her work is far from done. When Dad shows up unannounced—his first return to Cambodia since fleeing 30 years ago—it’s clear this isn’t just a pleasure trip.

Previews: March 4–8, 2018
First Night: March 9, 2018
Regular Performances: March 10–25, 2018

Recommendation: Age 13 and above. Contains adult language, haze effects, smoking of electronic cigarettes, loud music and violence.

Running Time: Approximately two hours and ​15 mintues including one 15-minute intermission.

Lauren Yee has written King of the Yees, which premiered last season at the Goodman Theatre (Chicago) and Center Theatre Group (LA), followed by productions at ACT Theatre and Canada’s National Arts Centre. Her current and upcoming productions include The Great Leap at Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Seattle Repertory Theatre and Atlantic Theatre Company; King of the Yees (San Francisco Playhouse and Baltimore Center Stage); and The Song of Summer (Trinity Repertory Company). Her other plays include Ching Chong Chinaman (Pan Asian, Mu Performing Arts), The Hatmaker’s Wife (Playwrights Realm, Moxie Theatre, PlayPenn), Hookman (Encore Theatre, Company One), In a Word (San Francisco Playhouse, Cleveland Public Theatre, Strawdog Theatre) and Samsara (Victory Gardens Theatre, Chance Theater). Her work is published by Samuel French. Her recent honors include the Kesselring Prize, Francesca Primus Prize, an upcoming Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University and the top two plays on the 2017 Kilroys List (Cambodian Rock Band and The Great Leap). She is a finalist for the American Theatre Critics Association/Harold Steinberg Award and the Edward M. Kennedy Prize. Yee is a member of the Ma-Yi Writers’ Lab and alumna playwright of Playwrights Realm. She has current commissions from Geffen Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, Lincoln Center/LCT3, Mixed Blood Theatre, Portland Center Stage and Trinity Repertory. She earned a BA from Yale University and an MFA from the University of California, San Diego.
Learn more about the production, cast & creative team with a peek into the program. Read full artist bios, in-depth articles and more.

Brooke Ishibashi (Neary/Sothea) is delighted to return to her hometown for her SCR debut. Hailing from three generations of a musical family (Grandmother Mary Kageyama Nomura was coined “The Songbird of Manzanar” during Japanese internment there), Ishibashi is proud to share a story that transcends harrowing times through the power of music. Her credits include work at The Public Theater, New York City Center, La MaMa, Ars Nova, HERE Arts, Women’s Project Theater, Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company, Vineyard Theatre, Clubbed Thumb, New Georges, Ma-Yi Theater, National Asian-American Theater Company, Soho Rep, The Foundry Theatre, Lark Play Development Center and the National Asian Artists Project. Her upcoming credits include a musical project inspired by the life of Pat Suzuki and the pilot presentation of The Sisters Ishibashi. She holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. She is a proud member of Fair Wage Onstage, a Grassroots movement of Actors’ Equity Association members separate from—but working alongside and in support of—the union to fight for higher wages and stronger contracts.

​​​​​Abraham Kim (Rom/Journalist) returns to SCR after taking part in the Cambodian Rock Band workshop and Pacific Playwright Festival reading, participating both as a musician (drummer) and as an actor. Kim is an acclaimed drummer and music producer, based in Los Angeles. He has toured domestically and internationally as a drummer for artists like Dan AKA Dan and Magnetic North & Taiyo Na and recently completed a 63-city tour across the U.S. and Canada with renowned indie rock band, Run River North. He is currently gigging locally with his band, Former Faces. As an actor, Kim’s credits include playing Son in LA Riots, a play written and directed by John Daniels (Cafe Fais Do Do, 2009). You may have seen him playing a “tough guy” hanging out in the LA Metro in a commercial for YouTube Music last year. Instagram: @abekimdrummerla

Raymond Lee (Ted/Leng) appeared at SCR previously in the world premiere of Office Hour and the world premiere production and Pacific Playwrights Festival reading of Vietgone, as well as productions of Robin Hood and Four Clowns. His other theatre credits include Vietgone (Manhattan Theatre Club), for which he received the Theatre World Award for Outsanding Off-Broadway Debut, and tokyo fish story (The Old Globe). His television credits include “Mozart in the Jungle,” “Scandal,” “Modern Family,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “How I Met Your Mother.” His film credits include Farah Goes Bang (Nora Ephron Prize) and A Leading Man (Best Supporting Actor, Asians on Film Festival). He is currently a series regular on Alan Ball’s new HBO series, “Here and Now.” Lee is a founding member of the Los Angeles-based touring clown troupe Four Clowns. He sends all kinds of love to his wifey and mom.

Jane Lui (​​​​Pou/s-21 Guard) is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and recording artist originally from Hong Kong. Her most recent work includes original compositions and music direction for LA Times Critic’s Choice The Secret in the Wings (Coeurage Theatre Company). Her album Goodnight Company was nominated for Best Recording at the San Diego Music Awards. Her work has earned 4.4-million views on her YouTube channel, Luieland, and brought her music to Europe, Australia, Japan and across the U.S. She has been featured in Virgin America In-Flight Entertainment, Uppercase Magazine and Make: magazine. In 2012, she began acting and doing voiceover work. Lui is deeply grateful to be a part of the Cambodian Rock Band family. She is currently working on her fourth album under the project name Surrija. She earned a BMus from San Diego State University’s School of Music, magna cum laude.

​​​​Joe Ngo (​​Chum) is beyond elated to be a part of Cambodian Rock Band. His credits include Lauren Yee’s King of the Yees (ACT Theatre, Seattle), White Snake (Baltimore Center Stage), Henry IV: Part One (Seattle Shakespeare Company), Blood Wedding (Odyssey Theatre Ensemble) and Hamlet: Abridged as an actor/teaching artist with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival School Visit program. As a solo performer/writer, his piece Words, Words was recently produced as a part of Leviathan Labs’ Living Room Series and BarnArts Collective’s BarnFest in New York City. He is a graduate of Cal Poly Pomona and the MFA acting program at the University of Washington. He wishes to express his immense gratitude for being able to share this play with his family and friends, especially his parents, who survived the Khmer Rouge.

​​​​​​Daisuke Tsuji (​​​​Duch) is mad with joy to make his SCR debut. Most recently, he appeared in With Love and a Major Organ at The Theatre @ Boston Court, As You Like It at Antaeus Theatre Company and as William Shakespeare in the world premiere of Imogen Says Nothing at Yale Repertory Theatre. His other theatre credits include the title role in The Orphan of Zhao at American Conservatory Theater and La Jolla Playhouse; American Night at Kirk Douglas Theatre; and, as a company member of Oregon Shakespeare Festival, he performed in 10 productions including the Fool in King Lear. His television credits include recurring roles in IFC’s “Brockmire” and Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle.” As a clown, he has worked with Cirque du Soleil in Dralion. Currently, he is working on a video game, “Ghost of Tsushima,” as the main character. He is a proud UCLA alumnus.
Creative Team
Chay Yew (Director) has New York credits that include The Public Theater (Oedipus el Rey, Durango, Ameriville, Low), Playwrights Horizons (Cool Dip in a Barren Saharan Crick), New York Theatre Workshop (The Architecture of Loss), Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (Draw The Circle), The Playwrights Realm (My Mañana Comes), Ensemble Studio Theatre (Where Did We Sit on the Bus?), National Asian American Theatre Company (The House of Bernarda Alba) and Ma Yi Theatre (Last of the Suns). His regional credits include works at the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Kennedy Center, Mark Taper Forum, Goodman Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theater, Denver Center Theater, Huntington Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, PlayMakers Repertory, Empty Space Theatre, Portland Center Stage, East West Players and Singapore Repertory Theatre. His opera credits include the world premieres of Osvaldo Golijov and David Henry Hwang’s Ainadamar (co-production with Tanglewood Music Center, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and LA Philharmonic) and Rob Zuidam’s Rage D’Amors (Tanglewood). He is a recipient of the Obie Award and Drama-Logue Award for Direction. He is artistic director of Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago.

Matthew MacNelly (Music Director) is an actor, musician, director and producer who resides in Los Angeles. He’s thrilled to be back at SCR developing this unique play. MacNelly has been playing guitar and writing original music since he was 14. As a musician, he has played in several rock bands at venues from Washington, D.C., to LA. His acting credits in Southern California include Woyzeck (ETC, Santa Barbara), Glengarry Glen Ross, Our Town (La Jolla Playhouse) and Three Plays in a Tattoo Shop (The Trip Theater). He has a BA from Georgetown University and an MFA in acting from the University of California, San Diego.

T​akeshi Kata (Scenic Design) returns to SCR after designing A Doll’s House, Part 2 and Office Hour. His recent New York credits include Office Hour (The Public Theater), The Profane (Playwrights Horizons), Man From Nebraska (Second Stage Theater); Gloria and Outside People (Vineyard Theatre); Forever (New York Theatre Workshop); and Darren Brown: Secret, Through a Glass Darkly (Atlantic Theatre Company). Regionally, Kata has worked at Alley Theatre, American Players Theatre, Cleveland Play House, Dallas Theater Center, Ford’s Theatre, Geffen Playhouse, Goodman Theatre, Hartford Stage, Kirk Douglas Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Long Wharf Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, The Old Globe, Skylight Opera, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival and Yale Repertory Theatre. Kata has won an Obie Award and has been nominated for Drama Desk and Barrymore awards. He is an assistant professor at the USC School of Theatre.

Se Hyun Oh (Scenic Design) returns to SCR after designing A Doll’s House, Part 2 and Yoga Play last season. His recent scenic design credits include Underneath the Lintel (Geffen Playhouse); The Hothouse, Hedda Gabler (Antaeus Theatre); Allegiance the Musical (Japanese American Cultural & Community Center); Building the Wall (Fountain Theatre); Exit Strategy (LA LGBT Center); Grey Nomad (Australian Theatre Company); Two Kids that Blow Shit Up (Artists At Play); BED (Echo Theatre Company). His associate design credits include Office Hour (Public Theatre); Constellations (Geffen Playhouse); The Imaginary Invalid (The Old Globe); Another Sun the Musical (Hyundai Theatre Group). He holds an MFA in scenic design from Northwestern University.

Sara Ryung Clement (Costume Design) returns to SCR where her past projects include costumes for A Doll’s House, Part 2; 4000 Miles; Completeness; and Becky Shaw; sets and costumes for How the World Began; and the set design for Absurd Person Singular. Her upcoming projects include the world premieres of Kemp Powers’ Little Black Shadows and Idris Goodwin’s The Way the Mountain Moved. Her work has been seen off-Broadway at Second Stage Uptown and regionally at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Geffen Playhouse, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Denver Center Theatre Company, La Jolla Playhouse POP Tour, Mixed Blood Theatre, TheatreWorks, Baltimore Center Stage, The Theatre @ Boston Court, Perseverance Theatre, East West Players, Cornerstone Theater Company, A Noise Within, Yale Repertory Theatre, Native Voices at the Autry and others. She is on the set design faculty at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. Clement was awarded the Donald and Zorca Oenslager Fellowship in Design and earned a MFA at Yale School of Drama and an AB from Princeton University.

David Weiner (Lighting Design) returns to SCR after designing Smokefall. His work on Broadway includes The Price, Stephen King’s Misery, Romeo and Juliet, Dead Accounts, Grace, Godspell, The Normal Heart, Reasons to Be Pretty, Butley, The Real Thing, Dinner at Eight and Betrayal. His off-Broadway work includes designs at Manhattan Theatre Club, Second Stage Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, MCC Theater, The Public Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, Theatre for a New Audience, Vineyard Theatre and Atlantic Theater Company. Weiner has worked regionally at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, Center Theatre Group, Guthrie Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, McCarter Theatre, Huntington Theatre, American Repertory Theater, Williamstown Theatre Festival, American Conservatory Theater, New York Stage & Film and Berkeley Repertory Theatre. His opera and music credits include Pictures Reframed (Lincoln Center), Die Vogel, Der Zerbochene Krug and Der Zwerg (Los Angeles Opera). His theme park work includes the first live stage production of Frozen at The Hyperion Theater in Disney’s California Adventure Park. Weiner has been awarded three Lucille Lortel Awards (Guards at the Taj, Through a Glass Darkly and Rodney’s Wife), an LA Ovation Award (Venice), a Drama Desk nomination (Small Fire) and seven American Theater Wing Hewes Design Award nominations.

Mikhail Fiksel (Sound Design) is a designer, composer, musician and DJ based in New York City and Chicago. His recent theatre credits include The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe (Studio Theatre, Goodman Theatre); The Treasurer by Max Posner and A Life by Adam Bock (Lucille Lortel Award, Drama Desk Award nomination; Playwrights Horizons); Tiger Style by Mike Lew (La Jolla Playhouse); Learning Curve by Albany Park Theatre Project and Third Rail Projects; The Sign In Sidney Brustein’s Window by Lorraine Hansberry and 2666 by Robert Falls and Seth Bockley (Goodman Theatre); and Fulfillment by Thomas Bradshaw (Drama Desk nomination; The Flea). His other credits include projects with Manhattan Theatre Club, 2nd Stage Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory, Dallas Theatre Center, The Old Globe, Geffen Playhouse, Long Wharf Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Victory Gardens, Writers Theatre and TimeLine Theatre Company. His film projects include original scores for The Wise Kids, Alien Brides and Glitch. He is a recipient of two Lucille Lortel Awards, multiple Joseph Jefferson Awards and the Michael Maggio Emerging Designer Award; he is a proud member of Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association and United Scenic Artists.

Andy Knight (Dramaturg) is South Coast Repertory’s associate literary director and festival coordinator for the Pacific Playwrights Festival. At SCR, his dramaturgy credits include the world premieres of Qui Nguyen’s Vietgone, Catherine Trieschmann’s Theatre for Young Audiences play, OZ 2.5 and the West Coast premiere of Karen Zacarías’ Destiny of Desire. His other recent credits include the world premiere of Carla Ching’s The Two Kids That Blow Sh*t Up with Artists at Play. In addition to working as a dramaturg, he assists on SCR’s CrossRoads Initiative, a program that brings playwrights into the Orange County community as a way to inspire their new plays.

Bryan Sommer (Stage Manager) returns for his second time at South Coast Repertory. He first worked at SCR on the workshop of Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing (2017) and he’s thrilled to be a part of the Cambodian Rock Band company. His other select regional theatre credits include Shakespeare in Love, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, The Odd Couple, King Lear and Les Misérables at Utah Shakespeare Festival; Porgy and Bess at Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara; and Honor Killing, Elf: The Musical, Other Desert Cities and Deathtrap at Pioneer Theatre Company in his native home of Salt Lake City. When he can’t be found in the regional theatre, he can be found sailing the seas on cruise ships, stage-managing for Norwegian Creative Studios on cruise lines such as Regent Seven Seas and Oceania. Sommer is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Kathleen Barrett (Assistant Stage Manager) is happy to return to South Coast Repertory where her previous credits include work on A Doll’s House, Part 2; Flora & Ulysses; Office Hour; The Tempest; The Stinky Cheese Man; Five Mile Lake; The Light in the Piazza; and Ivy + Bean: The Musical. In addition, she has spent the last four summers working with the SCR Summer Players on their productions of Into the Woods, Beauty and the Beast, Mary Poppins and Peter Pan. Her other recent credits include King Charles III (Pasadena Playhouse); The Crucible, Pass Over, The Fundamentals, Constellations, East of Eden, The Herd, Airline Highway (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); Cinderella at the Theater of Potatoes (The Hypocrites); Hand to God (Victory Gardens Theater); Far from Heaven (Porchlight Music Theatre); and Gotta Dance (Broadway in Chicago). Barrett holds a BA from Kalamazoo College in Michigan.

*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.

Joe Ngo, Abraham Kim, Brooke Ishibashi, Jane Lui and Raymond Leei in "Cambodian Rock Band." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Jane Lui and Brooke Ishibashi in "Cambodian Rock Band." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Joe Ngo and Brooke Ishibashi in "Cambodian Rock Band." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Daisuke Tsuji and Joe Ngo in "Cambodian Rock Band." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Daisuke Tsunji in "Cambodian Rock Band." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Daisuke Tsuji in "Cambodian Rock Band." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Raymond Lee, Joe Ngo, Abraham Kim, Jane Lui and Brooke Ishibashi in "Cambodian Rock Band." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Raymond Lee and Joe Ngo in "Cambodian Rock Band." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Raymond Lee and Joe Ngo in "Cambodian Rock Band." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Joe Ngo in "Cambodian Rock Band." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Brooke Ishibashi and Joe Ngo in "Cambodian Rock Band." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Brooke Ishibashi, Joe Ngo, Jane Lui, Raymond Lee and Abraham Kim in "Cambodian Rock Band." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
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As the costume designer for Cambodian Rock Band, Clement researched Cambodian fashion of the ​'70s, among other topics. We asked about her design inspiration for this thrilling new play.
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Join us for a series of events before and during the run of Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee (March 4-25, 2018, Julianne Argyros Stage).
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Playwright Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band makes its world premiere on the Julianne Argyros Stage. ​Learn more about Yee and the inspiration for her exciting new work.

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

Carolyn ​& Bill Klein
Samuel ​& Tammy Tang

KCRW  Orange Coast Magazine

Events For ​​​​Cambodian Rock Band

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