Watch exclusive highlights from the production in the above video, which has the cast singing "Cyclo," by Cambodian rock musician Yol Aularong. Cambodian Rock Band will subsequently play Berkeley Repertory Theatre (February 25-April 2), ACT Theatre/5th Avenue (January 24-February 25, 2024), and Center Theatre Group (dates to be announced).
The play with music tells the story of a Khmer Rouge survivor returning to Cambodia for the first time in 30 years, as his daughter prepares to prosecute one of Cambodia’s most infamous war criminals. The actors in the show also play live music, performing songs from the band Dengue Fever and classic Cambodian oldies. Cambodian Rock Band played Off Broadway at Signature Theatre in 2020.
Directed by Chay Yew, the touring cast includes Francis Jue as Duch, Abraham Kim as Rom/Journalist, Jane Lui as Pou/S21 Guard, Obie winner Joe Ngo as Chum, Geena Quintos as Neary/Sothea, and Moses Villarama as Ted/Cadre/Leng with understudies Kelsey Angel Baehrens, Alex Lydon, and Vi Tran.
Yellow Sound Label released the original Off-Broadway cast recording in 2020, which can be listened to below.
“Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band is a work of incredible theatrical deftness, brutal honesty, pure heart, and wit,” says director Yew. “Her play breathes life into the timely issues in our divided nation: immigration, race, genocide, and human rights abuses; the rights of refugees and emigres; the consequences of apathy when a country shifts under a brutal regime; and the destruction of freedom of expression in the midst of political transitions and upheavals. In Lauren’s astute eyes, one thing remains consistent throughout our temperamental world: the constancy, the resilience, and enduring power of art and artists. Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band celebrates the indomitable legacy of art and music; how artists capture our individual and national spirit and hopes; and the uncanny ability of art to inspire, to affirm our humanity, and to bring us together.”
The production also has scenic design by Takeshi Kata, costume design by Linda Cho, lighting design by David Weiner, sound design by Mikhail Fiksel, projection design by Five Ohm Productions with Luke Norby, wig design by Tom Watson, music supervision and co-music direction by Matt MacNelly, music supervision and co-music direction by Jane Lui, and associate direction by Graham Schmidt. Merrick A.B. Williams is the stage manager, and Caroline Duffin is the assistant stage manager.
Cambodian Rock Band was developed in The Ground Floor: Berkeley Rep’s Center for the Creation and Development of New Work in 2016.