The cast of Qui Nguyen’s critically-acclaimed new play Vietgone– Raymond Lee, Paco Tolson, Samantha Quan, Jon Hoche and Jennifer Ikeda – were on fire last night at Manhattan Theatre Club.
Nguyen is the co-founder of the OBIE Award-winning Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company of NYC and is often credited as a pioneer of “geek theatre”.
Helmed by May Adrales, Nguyen’s award-winning Vietgone is currently having its New York premiere at MTC at New York City Center – Stage I (131 West 55th Street). Click here for tickets.
Vietgone is produced in association with South Coast Repertory and was originally commissioned and developed by South Coast Repertory as part of SCRCrossRoads, with funding from the Time Warner Foundation. It is a recipient of the Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award and the winner of the 2015 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award recognizing playwrights for scripts that premiered professionally outside New York City during 2014.
Innovative, fresh and visually appealing, Nguyen’s singular voice and vision is on display with Vietgone, a modern twist on the All-American love story, borrowing elements from the world of up-to-the-minute popular culture to recreate the playwright’s own parents’ meeting, ranging from hilarity to heart-wrenching drama. 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.
Raymond Lee, Paco Tolson and Jennifer Ikeda. Photo: Carol Rosegg
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).
What the critics are saying:
“This gleefully salacious quasi-musical could be seen as a fascinating companion piece to the novel “The Sympathizer,” by Viet Thanh Nguyen, which won this year’s Pulitzer Prize. Each begins with the fall of Saigon and follows its Vietnamese protagonists to refugee limbo in America, and each feels like a decades-overdue corrective of American obliviousness to Vietnamese people in particular and a purge of American horseshit about Asian people in general. But only this play boasts an eye-popping comic-book aesthetic, a physics-defying five-way fistfight, and several foulmouthed rap ballads. The playwright Qui Nguyen based his delightfully gonzo script on the true story of his parents’ escape from Vietnam, and it’s hard to think of an instance where a writer has tackled his parents’ courtship more vividly, outrageously, and hilariously. The whole Manhattan Theatre Club production, from its outstanding ensemble to its resourceful director, May Adrales, is in perfect synch with Nguyen’s deranged yet heartfelt vision.” The New Yorker
“Go see MTC’s sexy, sassy and exuberantly youthful #VIETGONE!”
David Cote, Time Out New York CRITICS’ PICK
Timeout New York: Theater review: Qui Nguyen’s Vietgone is sexy, sassy, two-fisted fun
“A wildly fun, imaginative production, wonderfully staged and hilarious!”
Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter
“A Raucous, immensely moving comedy.”
Charles Isherwood, New York Times
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 Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.