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Cambodian Rock Band
NORTHWEST ARKANSAS—February 19, 2024—The Obie Award-winning play-with-music Cambodian Rock Band featuring songs from Dengue Fever will open in TheatreSquared’s West Theatre on February 28 and will run through March 24. Tickets, ranging
NORTHWEST ARKANSAS—February 19, 2024—The Obie Award-winning play-with-music Cambodian Rock Band featuring songs from Dengue Fever will open in TheatreSquared’s West Theatre on February 28 and will run through March 24. Tickets, ranging in price from $43 to $68, can be purchased by calling (479) 777-7477 or by visiting theatre2.org.
Guitars tuned. Mic checked. Get ready to rock.
Backed by a live band playing contemporary Dengue Fever hits and classic Cambodian oldies, this darkly funny, electric new play tells the story of a father who escaped a murderous regime returning home after 30 years in search of his wayward daughter. As the play jumps back in time, it’s a rock epic meets thrilling mystery as both are forced to face the music of the past.
“A fierce, gorgeous, heartwarming, comedic fairy tale… Yee has made her characters so joyfully and ridiculously human that it’s impossible not to identify with them,” noted The Los Angeles Times.
Director Nelson T. Eusebio III returns to TheatreSquared after directing last season’s hit Kim’s Convenience. He says he was most drawn to the darkly comic piece because of its impactful second act.
“What excited me about directing the show is its deep psychological exploration of how everything has been warped by the Khmer Rouge, what that has done to the Cambodians, to [play characters] Chum and Leng specifically,” he explains. “I love plays with intense dramatic stakes with only two or three people, and those scenes in this play are dynamite—and the music is so fun and vibrant and celebratory. It serves as a great counterpoint to the darkness of the aforementioned scenes. The whole thing makes for a delicious meal for any director to get their hands on.”
“This groundbreaking play has captivated audiences around the globe, and we are so honored—and excited— to bring it to the Northwest Arkansas community,” says T2 Executive Director Shannon A. Jones. “The show is a poignant exploration of identity, resilience, and the enduring power of music in the face of adversity.”
The music featured in the show is a rollicking mix of classic 1960s-1970s rock music as well as songs from current-day Los Angeles-based band Dengue Fever. The music is performed live on stage by the talented actor/musicians of the show: Greg Watanabe, K Chinthana Sotakoun, Alex Lydon, Jojo Gonzalez, Shawn Mouacheupao, and Eileen Doan. The show’s music director is Jason Liebson.
“The fusion of music and narrative serves as a testament to the universal language of art and its ability to transcend barriers of language and culture,” notes Jones.
Creative staff includes Cultural Dramaturg Simone Cottrell; Scenic Designer Riw Rakkulchon; Costume Designer Yoon Bae; Projection Designer Caite Hevner; Lighting Designer Minjoo Kim; Sound Designer Cameron M. Griffiths, and Stage Manager Merit Glover.
Reviews have noted Cambodian Rock Band’s “tonal mix”, with Hollywood Reporter calling it “genre-defying”. Eusebio says it’s Yee’s unique storytelling skills that make the show so compelling.
“The ‘tonal mix’ is so effective because it uses humor and music to explore a dark part of history that most people know nothing about,” he points out. “Genocide itself is so incomprehensible that the word is meaningless. If you tell people that this is about the Cambodian Holocaust—everyone understands that, but nobody wants to go watch a two hour play about that. So Lauren doesn’t do that. [Instead], she writes about the genocide through the lens of artists, through the lens of history, and through the lens of Duch. Duch is Pol Pot’s chief torturer, but Lauren makes him your host for the evening. It’s a very subversive set up, and keeps the play from falling into one easily definable genre.”
“This play not only entertains but also educates and illuminates crucial aspects of history and culture that deserve our attention,” adds Jones. “By engaging with this powerful story, our community has the opportunity to gain insight into a chapter of history that is often overlooked and to reflect on the enduring impact of trauma and resilience.”
Performances of Cambodian Rock Band are scheduled Tues-Sat at 7:30pm, and Sat and Sun at 2pm at TheatreSquared’s West Theatre on 477 W. Spring Street in downtown Fayetteville, Arkansas. Tickets range from $43-$68. All fees are included, with no additional charges at checkout.
Subscription packages for TheatreSquared include full seven-play packages starting at $199, with four play flex packages starting at $128. Benefits for season ticket holders include savings of up to 20% on every show, free unlimited exchanges, discounted reserved parking, and same-day discounts on T2 merchandise and in The Commons Bar/Café.
Through T2’s Lights Up! For Access program, supported by the Walmart Foundation, SNAP benefit recipients can purchase $1 tickets, while students and patrons under the age of 30 can purchase $15 tickets. Fully subsidized, free tickets are also available for clients of a number of local community service organizations. For more information, visit theatre2.org/lights-up.
Subscription packages and single tickets can be reserved by calling TheatreSquared at (479) 777-7477 or by visiting theatre2.org/subscribe.
TheatreSquared’s signature offering of bold new plays in an intimate setting has driven its growth to become the state’s largest theater, offering more than 350 performances annually in an intimate setting. Its pioneering work has been recognized with the 2022 Obie Award as well as critical acclaim from The New York Times (“Best Theater of 2020” list), The New Yorker, and The Wall Street Journal. The playwright-led company is one of mid-America’s leading laboratories for new work, having launched more than 70 new plays. Notable collaborators have included Candrice Jones, Bryna Turner, The Kilbanes, Sarah Gancher, José Cruz Gonzales, Mary Kathryn Nagle, Qui Nguyen, Mona Mansour, Amy Evans, and many others. TheatreSquared’s home—winner of the 2021 International Architecture Award—is a cultural landmark. Offering far-reaching access and education programs and an open-all-day gathering space, the Commons Bar/Café, TheatreSquared remains rooted in its founding vision, that “theater—done well and with passion—can transform lives and communities.”
Major funding for the TheatreSquared Season 18 is provided by the Walton Family Foundation; the Walmart Foundation; the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation; the Windgate Foundation; the Shubert Foundation; the Tyson Family Foundation; the Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage; the National Endowment for the Arts; Bob and Becky Alexander; Jane Hunt; Barbara Shadden; Todd Simmons and Melissa Hall Simmons; and Simmons Foods.
Marketing support for TheatreSquared Season 18 is provided by Experience Fayetteville, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Fayetteville Flyer, 3W Magazine, CitiScapes, KUAF, 5NEWS, MailCo USA, iHeart Radio, NWA Daily, ROARK, and Fayetteville City Lifestyle.
(Sunday) 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
477 W. Spring St.