Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Jon Hoche, Jennifer Ikeda, Raymond Lee, and More to Star in Qui Nguyen’s VIETGONE at MTC, Oct. 4- Dec. 4

Qui Nguyen

Qui Nguyen

Manhattan Theatre Club (Lynne Meadow (Artistic Director) and Barry Grove (Executive Producer) is presenting the New York premiere of Vietgone, the new play by Qui Nguyen (She Kills Monsters), directed by May Adrales (Luce).

The cast of Vietgone will feature Jon Hoche (national tour of War Horse, The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G), Jennifer Ikeda (Top Girls at MTC, Seascape), Raymond Lee (Farah Goes Bang, founding member of Four Clowns clown troupe), Samantha Quan (4 Wedding Planners, “NCIS”), and Paco Tolson (Peter and the Starcatcher at South Coast Rep, Ensemble Studio Theatre member).

The limited engagement of Vietgone begins previews Tuesday, October 4 in advance of a Tuesday, October 25 opening night at MTC at New York City Center – Stage I (131 West 55th Street). Click here for tickets.

A modern twist on the All-American love story, Qui Nguyen’s new play Vietgone pulses with contemporary energy. It’s the classic story of boy meets girl – except this boy and girl are refugees from the Vietnam War newly settled in a relocation camp inside Middle America. Borrowing elements from the world of up-to-the-minute popular culture to recreate the playwright’s own parents’ meeting, Vietgone ranges from hilarity to heart-wrenching drama. Nguyen and director May Adrales skip through time and around the globe to present a fresh theatrical take on a moving account of one real family’s history.

Vietgone is produced in association with South Coast Repertory. Vietgone was originally commissioned and developed by South Coast Repertory as part of SCR CrossRoads, with funding from the Time Warner Foundation. It is a recipient of The Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award.

The creative team for Vietgone features Tim Mackabee (scenic design), Anthony Tran (costume design), Justin Townsend (lighting design), Shane Rettig (original music and sound design), and Jared Mezzocchi (projection design).

ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Qui Nguyen (Playwright), often credited as a pioneer of “geek theatre,” is a playwright, television writer, and co-founder of the Obei Award-winning Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company of New York City. His plays include Vietgone (premiered October 2016 at South Coast Repertory with upcoming productions at Oregon Shakespeare Festival in April 2016 and Manhattan Theatre Club in October 2016); War is F**king Awesome (developed by Sundance Theatre Institute, Frederick Loewe Award); She Kills Monsters (The Flea, Buzz22 Chicago/Steppenwolf, Company One, 2014 AATE Distinguished Play Award, 2012 GLAAD Media Award nomination); Krunk Fu Battle Battle (East West Players); Bike Wreck (Ensemble Studio Theatre); Soul Samurai (2009 GLAAD Media Award nomination), The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G (Ma-Yi Theater & Vampire Cowboys); and the critically acclaimed Vampire Cowboys productions of Alice in Slasherland, Fight Girl Battle World, Men of Steel, and Living Dead in Denmark. He is a recipient of the 2015 New York Community Trust Helen Merrill Playwriting Award and 2014 Sundance Institute/Time Warner Fellowship. Current commissions include The Atlantic, Manhattan Theatre Club/South Coast Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Company, and Children’s Theatre Company. He is a resident artist at New Dramatists, a core member of The Playwrights Center, and a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre and The Ma-Yi Writers Lab. For television, he’s writes for the Emmy Award-winning PBS children’s cartoon, “Peg+Cat.”

May Adrales (Director) has helmed several world premieres including JC Lee’s Luce (LCT3); Katori Hall’s Whaddabloodclot!!! (Williamstown Theater Festival); A. Rey Pamatmat’s Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them (Actors Theatre of Louisville) and after all the terrible things I do (Milwaukee Rep); Thomas Bradshaw’s Mary (The Goodman Theatre) and The Bereaved (Partial Comfort Productions); In This House (Two River Theater Company); Richard Dresser’s Trouble Cometh (SF Playhouse); and Tommy Smith’s The Wife (Access Theater). She directed David Henry Hwang’s The Dance and the Railroadat Signature Theater; Kimber Lee’s Tokyo Fish Story (Old Globe); Stefanie Zadravec’s The Electric Baby (Two River); Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop(Milwaukee Rep); Chinglish (Portland Center Stage); In the Next Room (Syracuse Stage); and Breath and Imagination (Cleveland Playhouse). She is a Drama League Directing Fellow, Women’s Project Lab Director, Soho Rep Writers/Directors Lab and NYTW directing fellow, and a recipient of the TCG New Generations Grant, Denham Fellowship and Paul Green Directing Award. She proudly serves as an associate artist at Milwaukee Rep. She is the former Director of On Site Programs at the Lark Play Development Center and Artistic Associate at The Public Theater. Adrales has directed and taught at Juilliard, ART, ACT, Fordham, NYU, and Bard College. She is on faculty at the Yale School of Drama and Brown/Trinity MFA program. MFA, Yale School of Drama.www.mayadrales.net

Jon Hoche (Asian Guy/American Guy/Nhan/Khue) is the Artistic Associate of Vampire Cowboys Theater Company, the creators of the genre “Geek Theater.” The New York Times has said Hoche “slyly interprets multiple comic roles with precision.” NYTheatre.com inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 2011. He was in the World Premiere of Vietgone at South Coast Repertory. Jon has toured all of North America and Japan with the Tony Award-winning Broadway show, War Horse, as a puppeteer and the show’s puppet captain. Recently, he helped launch the inaugural season of Tantrum Theater, puppeteering Audrey 2 in Little Shop of Horrors. Jon was selected to take part in the first diversity puppetry workshop at The Jim Henson Company in 2015. Off-Broadway, Jon has originated roles in Soul Samurai and The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G. Other select credits include: Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England (Two River Theater); Dracula (Premiere Stages); Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Othello and Titus Andronicus (American Globe Theater); The Wong Kids in The Secret of the Space Chupacabra (Ma-Yi Theater). Jon has also starred online in the hit web series “I Hate Earth” and reviews Action Movies from the 80s, 90s and beyond as the host of “ReAction Movie Review.” http://www.JonHoche.com

Jennifer Ikeda (?Tong). Jenny is elated to be joining the cast of Vietgone at MTC, where she previously appeared in James MacDonald’s acclaimed revival of Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls. Recent theatre credits include the world premiere of JUNK by Ayad Akhtar, directed by Doug Hughes, at La Jolla Playhouse; Revolt.She Said.Revolt Again. at Soho Rep; Charles Frances Chan Jr’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery with NAATCO; and Macbeth with The Public Theater’s Mobile Shakespeare Unit. Other New York credits include Seascape (LCT); Love and Information (NYTW); Ping Pong, Titus Andronicus, The Bacchae, Two Noble Kinsmen, As You Like It (Public); Marie Antoinette (Soho Rep); Hamlet (TFANA); Takarazuka!!! (Clubbed Thumb). Film/TV credits include: Killing Hasselhoff (upcoming, opposite Ken Jeongand David Hasselhoff); Advantageous (Sundance 2015 Special Jury Prize); People We Meet;Lefty Loosey, Righty Tighty; Incoming; “Elementary,” “Blindspot,” “Madam Secretary,” “Happyish,” “Person of Interest,” “Smash” (recurring). Additionally, Jenny has been seen in David Michalek’s “Portraits in Dramatic Time” for the Lincoln Center Festival, heard on NPR’s Selected Shorts, and has recorded dozens of audiobooks (2x Audie Award Winner), including the All Soul’s Trilogy, soon to be adapted for the BBC. BFA, Juilliard. @ikedamame

Raymond Lee (Quang) was last seen in tokyo fish story (The Old Globe). Other theatre credits include world premieres of Vietgone (South Coast Repertory) and Office Hour (South Coast Repertory). NY: Four Clowns (La MaMa). Select TV credits include: “Mozart in the Jungle,” “Scandal,” “Modern Family,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Jessie,” “Ben and Kate,” “Hart of Dixie,” and others. Film credits include Farah Goes Bang (Tribeca Film Festival premiere and Nora Ephron Prize winner) and A Leading Man (Best Supporting Actor at Asians on Film Festival). All kinds of love to his Mom and Stacy. theraymondlee.com

SAMANTHA QUAN (Asian Girl/American Girl/Thu/Huong/Translator/Flower Girl). Theater credits include: Vietgone (South Coast Rep); workshops of 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 Theater); An Infinite Ache (The Globe Theaters); Mrs. Feuerstein (Chashama Theater); Titus Andronicus, Scapin, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Idaho Shakespeare Festival). Television credits include: “Elementary,” “NCIS,” “The Mentalist,” “Blue, “Suburgatory,” “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “Castle.” Film credits include: 4 Wedding Planners, Sake Bomb and the independent film Good Grief. Samantha is a graduate of the NYU Acting Program.

Paco Tolson (Playwright/Giai/Bobby/Captain Chambers/Redneck Biker/Hippie Dude) is a graduate oF Brown University and a member of Ensemble Studio Theater. Vietgone marks ten years of collaboration with playwright Qui Nguyen and his fifth Off-Broadway premiere of a new American play. He has developed work extensively with EST’s Youngblood, Ma-Yi Theatre Company and Ma-Yi Writer’s Lab, Center Theatre Group, New Dramatists, and South Coast Rep among others. Select credits include: Vietgone, Peter and the Starcatcher (SCR); Vietgone, The Winter’s Tale (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Rescue Me, Children of Vonderly, Soul Samurai (Ma-Yi); End Days (EST); Slavey (Clubbed Thumb); Tooth and Claw, Arabian Nights (Arden Theatre Company); and Fight Girl Battle World (Vampire Cowboys). Film and TV: “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” Hot for Teacher, 7 Day Gig, Miracle Maker, Mars One-Way, Jesus Year, and Lemonade (Russell Simmons’ All Def Digital). In 2009 he was honored as a “Person of the Year” by NYTheater.com and hailed as a “New York treasure” by Time Out NY.

Manhattan Theatre Club, under the leadership of Artistic Director Lynne Meadow and Executive Producer Barry Grove, has become one of the country’s most prominent and prestigious theatre companies. Over the past four and a half decades, MTC productions have earned numerous awards including six Pulitzer Prizes and 20 Tony Awards. MTC has a Broadway home at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 West 47th Street) and two Off-Broadway theatres at New York City Center (131 West 55th Street). Renowned MTC productions include The Father by Florian Zeller; Fool For Love by Sam Shepard; Airline Highway by Lisa D’Amour; Casa Valentina by Harvey Fierstein; Outside Mullingar and Doubt by John PatRick Stanley; The Commons of Pensacola by Amanda Peet; Murder Ballad by Julia Jordan and Juliana Nash; Choir Boy by Tarell Alvin McCraney; The Assembled Parties by Richard Greenberg; Wit by Margaret Edson; Venus in Fur by David Ives; Good People and Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire; The Whipping Man by Matthew Lopez; Time Stands Still by Donald Margulies; Ruined by Lynn Nottage; Proof by David Auburn; The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife by Charles Busch; Love! Valour! Compassion! byTerrence McNally; The Piano Lesson by August Wilson; Crimes of the Heart by Beth Henley; and Ain’t Misbehavin’, the Fats Waller musical. For more information on MTC, visit www.ManhattanTheatreClub.com.

Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits

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 is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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