SCR’S JULIANNE ARGYROS STAGE OPENS ITS SEASON WITH VIETGONE
World Premiere Underwritten by Marci Maietta Weinberg and William Weinberg
COSTA MESA, CA, October 9, 2015. The 2015-16 season on South Coast Repertory’s Julianne Argyros Stage got underway tonight with the world premeire of Qui Nguyen’s Vietgone. Underwritten in part by Marci Maietta Weinberg and SCR Trustee William Weinberg, the play is produced in association with Manhattan Theatre Club.*
The First Night events began in the lobby, where SCR Artistic Director Marc Masterson, Managing Director Paula Tomei and Board President Sophie Cripe welcomed Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do. Do presented them with a certificate congratulating the theatre for the world premiere of Vietgone and for its efforts to share the Vietnamese-American experience with the Orange County community.
Then, as First Nighters were seated, Cripe welcomed everyone from the stage, introduced Do, his wife Judge Cheri Pham and Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen and thanked them for honoring the theatre. She then acknowledged SCR Founding Artistic Directors David Emmes and Martin Benson.
Joining her onstage, Tomei thanked First Night subscribers for their strong commitment to SCR, giving a special shout-out to new subscribers in the audience. “And, tonight we have with us two very good friends,” Tomei added. “Please stand so we can show our appreciation—Julianne and George Argyros.”
In his curtain speech, Artistic Director Marc Masterson talked about the play’s journey through SCR’s CrossRoads commissioning project (funded by Time Warner Foundation) to develop plays that explore the cultural diversity of Orange County. Masterson explained, “Qui was one of our first CrossRoads playwrights. During his residency with us, he visited the UCI Library’s Southeast Asian Archive of photos taken in an Arkansas refugee camp in 1975. The camp had been home to 50,000 Vietnamese and Cambodia refugees, including Qui’s parents.
“That was the impetus for the play by this young American of Vietnamese heritage who admitted knowing almost nothing about being Vietnamese. So Vietgone informed Qui—and us. You’ll find that it offers a rarely discussed side of the Vietnam War as well as taking a fresh look at a new generation of Americans. And, it’s wickedly funny.”
Cripe acknowledged the couple who helped make the show possible. “Bill and Marci are longtime SCR patrons,” she said. “In fact, Bill has been a fan since childhood, when he and his four siblings attended shows with their parents, Elaine and Martin. This is Marci and Bill’s first time as individual Honorary Producers, but as members of the Playwrights Circle they helped underwrite The Parisian Woman, and they also have underwritten the Neighborhood Conservatory’s free after-school program. We welcome their continued support and hope you’ll read all about this dynamic couple in your program.”
Finally, Tomei thanked Media Partner KPCC, represented by reporter Annie Gilbertson, and invited everyone to the Cast Party, co-sponsored by Elizabeth An at AnQi in South Coast Plaza.
Among the First Night subscribers and their guests were John & Mary Carrington, Kevyan & Samira Samini, Bart & Laurie Brown, Randall & Estella Yang, Katie Koster, Alan & Olivia Slutzky with Grant & Heidi Bixby, Mickey Williams, Talya Nevo-Hacohen & Bill Schenker, and Pauliana Hall.
*Performances at Manhattan Theatre Club will be in the fall of 2016 at NY City Center Stage I. (Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s production of Vietgone opens in the Thomas Theatre in March 2016.)
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ABOUT SOUTH COAST REPERTORY: Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, founded in 1964 by David Emmes and Martin Benson, is widely recognized as one of the leading professional theatres in the United States. While its productions represent a balance of classic and modern theatre, SCR is renowned for its extensive new-play development program, which includes the nation’s largest commissioning program for emerging and established writers. One-quarter of SCR’s 525 productions have been world premieres. SCR-developed works have garnered two Pulitzer Prizes and eight Pulitzer nominations, several Obie Awards and scores of major new-play awards. Located in Costa Mesa, Calif., SCR is home to the 507-seat Segerstrom Stage, the 336-seat Julianne Argyros Stage and the 94-seat Nicholas Studio. www.scr.org