Manhattan Theatre Club presents Qui Nguyen's twist on the classic boy-meets-girl romance. Here, the lovers are refugees from the Vietnam War, newly settled in a relocation camp in Arkansas. More…
Featuring anachronistic pop-culture elements like rap to recreate the meeting of the playwright’s own parents, 'Vietgone' ranges from hilarity to heart-wrenching drama. Obie-winning playwright Nguyen and director May Adrales skip through time and around the globe to present a fresh theatrical take on one real family’s history.
"'Vietgone' is a must-see...It has laughs, ninjas, a serious rap flow, and a rare perspective on the Vietnam War...Nguyen's insights on the Vietnamese perspective are fascinating...'Vietgone' assures that you are always spiritually connected to the characters' stories by, again, having a marvelously talented cast...'Vietgone' truly is a poignant tale for our current socio-political atmosphere. Wonderfully directed by May Adrales." Full Review
"Beautifully conveyed through director May Adrales' unapologetically theatrical staging, 'Vietgone' makes you believe that epic tales of heroism and loss exist all around us in this nation of immigrants...The personal nature of the play and a structural refinement in Nguyen's writing results in an emotional resonance unprecedented in his work...Nguyen's clear-eyed recognition of the realities of war is rare, refreshing, and definitely speaks to a dramatist who has matured…but not too much." Full Review
"Nguyen and director May Adrales find such richly inventive and entertaining ways to tell the story of these two refugees that the play feels wiped clean of the clichés of both the 'immigrant experience' and 'the hell of war'...For all the pop-culture silliness, the playfulness with language, and the clever stagecraft, 'Vietgone' paints complex and credible portraits of the two main characters...'Vietgone' is comic and compassionate; overlong—and overdue." Full Review
“Downtown theatergoers know the work of Qui Nguyen from his productions at the Vampire Cowboy Theatre Company which he co-founded in 2000. While ‘Vietgone’ is often untidy and overly complex, this exuberant autobiographical play is a fascinating look at the Vietnamese American experience from their point of view written by an insider. Under the direction of May Adrales, the versatile cast makes this an offbeat and absorbing evening in the theater.” Full Review
"The freshest, most exuberantly youthful piece I’ve seen at MTC in ages...Adrales’ high-octane staging moves so swiftly and surely, you may not initially appreciate the buckets of stagecraft she and Nguyen throw at us scene after scene...It's the immigrant narrative, but told with disarming frankness and humor—plus a roadside throwdown involving rednecks and ninjas. I cannot emphasize enough what a versatile and lovable cast this is." Full Review
"Playwright Nguyen has developed characters with believable conflicts that drive an intriguing and transformative plot...Under May Adrales’s careful direction, Jennifer Ikeda, Raymond Lee, and the ensemble cast deliver captivating performances permeated with honesty and authenticity...'Vietgone' adds to the richness of the understanding of how love transcends indifference and adds richly to the dramatic fabric of contemporary American theatre." Full Review
"The story is moving, the rhymes are natural and poignant, and the characters touch on many real challenges of coping with refugee life. Director May Adrales has expertly drawn out wonderful performances from this cast...Nguyen has lovingly created a tribute to his family and his heritage through humor and heart, and without ever stepping foot on the proverbial soap box. 'Vietgone' is definitely not to miss." Full Review
"A high-octane, swiftly hysterical, well-crafted experience. A mash-up of rap, hip-hop, and characters that never say die, it is a super-smart, irresistible way to talk about war...But it’s not a musical–it’s a play and an experience, and originally theatrical. So, I tip my hat to 'Vietgone,' precisely and well-directed by May Adrales, who has found the right tone and color to make this extremely engaging." Full Review
"Qui Nguyen’s play has all of the ingredients of solid entertainment: a captivating love story, action-packed fight scenes, comedy that hits all the bases, and sculpted men having their shirts ripped off. What truly brings this production to the next level is its ability to challenge normative liberalism and racial stereotypes in a way that is illuminating without being force-fed. It’s a delicate balance that is executed with wit and finesse by director May Adrales." Full Review
"The cast members are appealing, but the acting is uneven and often unsubtle. The first-rate production benefits from an excellent scenic design by Tim Mackabee, greatly enhanced by Jared Mezzocchi’s projections...Director May Adrales skillfully holds it all together. It’s an unruly play that could use a slight trim, but its energy and inventiveness go a long way to make up for its shortcomings. I found it refreshing and worthwhile." Full Review
"Nguyen’s script adds confessional rap, fight sequences, and moments so real that the Vietnam we grew up with takes on a whole new shape. This is fantasy-fiction that tells a story of realism. The language is charming slang using humor laced with profanity just to keep things real...This is a talented and clever company...Nguyen’s 'Vietgone' is about loss while his characters use a brave determination to survive in a way that is hip, jarring and oh so watchable." Full Review
"It is often wildly entertaining, and yet the play provokes thought about the plight of those who left Vietnam during the infamous war...It is mainly the humor that defines this take on the subject, with rap sequences, slapstick and jokes about sex...'Vietgone' director May Adrales accents its comically mischievous edge as well as the serious side. Some cutting might be wise and there are dull spots here and there. But deep feelings effectively burst forth." Full Review
"The setting is the past but the vibe is totally contemporary...Stereotypes are constantly turned on their heads...And, layering real substance underneath all the hijinks, views of the 20-year-long war are similarly upended. The AARP-aged couples on both sides of me left at intermission but the two hours and 20 minutes whizzed by for me and I can't wait to see what Nguyen does next." Full Review
"In its admirable insistence on overturning the usual pieties and insisting that the Vietnamese refugees who populate the play are not helpless victims in a racist America, the play can sometimes be sophomoric, even grating. Then again, when the author's voice is this fresh and funny, how can one complain too much?...Under Adrales' fast-paced, often buoyant direction, the cast proves to be excellent company...'Vietgone' has become surprisingly moving, its many excesses notwithstanding." Full Review
"Nguyen is clearly a playwright with an inventive mind, and while 'Vietgone' has many pleasures—including jazzy comic performances from an excellent cast, under May Adrales’ direction—it suffers from a lack of discipline...The flippant tone of 'Vietgone' does sometimes pall...The play ends with an immensely moving scene...The laughter subsides; the play’s flaws recede; and we are left with a resonantly ambiguous picture of the manner in which wars have an indelible impact on individual lives." Full Review
"Overtly rollicking and sneakily moving...Some of the writing is lazy, with Nguyen so comfortable in his ultra-vernacular style that he doesn’t challenge himself to create a more distinctive diction for each character...Adrales’s direction is sometimes more vivid than precise...But 'Vietgone' is a more serious work than it initially seems...He sneaks in warmth behind the silliness, solemnity alongside the kung fu, making the deliberately preposterous feel vibrantly real, even poignant." Full Review
"The playwright and director May Adrales have collaborated to deliver a wildly fun, imaginative production. Not all of it works, and the play itself could benefit from some trimming. But individual elements are terrific, such as the Vietnamese characters speaking in flawless English while the Americans talk with an exaggerated, ungrammatical drawl...In the terrific ensemble, Lee and Ikeda display sizzling chemistry and formidable comic chops." Full Review
"Qui Nguyen’s ode to his parents' history takes an unruly approach to a how-I-met-your-mother tale...Theatricality abounds: the fourth wall falls, Saigon falls too, cartoony ninjas kick into action, rap songs underscore everything. Except for the simplistic songs that stop the play in its tracks, it clicks." Full Review
"Astonishingly, none of this feels extraneous or gratuitous...And despite the (intentionally) broad playing style, passionate, complex feelings do indeed come through...'Vietgone' does not entirely benefit from the nonlinear chronology Nguyen has imposed, and the zaniness does start to wear a bit thin...Even during the weaker stretches, though, director May Adrales keeps the pacing sprightly and the froth bubbling, and keeps you from remaining at sea for long." Full Review
"'Vietgone' moves into newer territory for the usually staid pieces seen at Manhattan Theatre Club...Very contemporary, flippant and freewheeling play that includes rap, hip-hop (original music Shane Rettig), ninjas, ongoing expletives and frequent timeline changes that can be a little head-spinning...May Adrales directs this playful, yet serious piece and seems to know how to go with the flow, creating an excellent presence." Full Review
"Part playful, part deadly serious, Qui Nguyen takes aim at both Baby Boomers and Millennials alike in his innovative new work and hits both targets...Nguyen has structured the piece very cleverly, and has given every audience demographic a sympathetic way into the story, ably assisted by his creative team...The play challenges the political views we’ve clung to for decades...He might make us think, but the thought is delivered or followed with a laugh, and that feeling of connection." Full Review
"With 'Vietgone,' Nguyen manages to address the multifaceted experiences of being an Asian American but also successfully subvert casting traditions and the argot stereotypically associated with Asian culture as far as the U.S. is concerned...'Vietgone' falls short with its minimalist musical score...Irrespective, with a talented cast of entertainers with comic gold chops, 'Vietgone' remains a poignant, touching, waggish and even awe-inspiring love letter to America's global village." Full Review
"The springiness in the script is enhanced by May Adrales's vivid staging, which features confessional rap interludes, a hallucinatory fight sequence, and graphic-novel-like projections designed by Jared Mezzocchi...It's funny, it flips the script on a very real language barrier, and it centralizes Vietnamese characters in a story about the Vietnam War (for once). In doing so, it reminds us of the human stories behind our own era's displaced." Full Review
"An original, affectionate and often funny tribute to the playwright’s parents...The love story develops along the usual lines, although it’s evident that neither the playwright nor his director want to be considered conventional. One drawback are the song, set to original music, but still obdurately ordinary. The lyrics only repeat things we already know from the dialogue...Whatever re-writes Nguyen might have in mind for this play, he’d be wise to start by tossing out the tunes." Full Review
"In Mr. Nguyen's eyes, America is far from perfect—and he actually nails the stereotypical types throughout the south and west...A bit too zany at times (it was the '70s after all) and a bit too long and drawn out in others—this play has a future if tightened and given a general tune-up...The story of the actual South Vietnamese is one we Americans rarely consider...Not all of these questions get answered but the last 10 minutes of the play will bring the entire piece to a crescendo close." Full Review
See it if So creative! Awesome to see a show created by and starring Asians. If you enjoyed Hamilton check this show out... rapping, singing, loved it
Don't see it if you don't enjoy engaging, contemporary and highly inventive theater.
See it if you remember the 60's and are willing to reevaluate your memories with a joyous life affirming musical combing period songs and Asian hiphop
Don't see it if you find staged intimacy and crude language offensive.
See it if you want to see one of the most captivating, audacious & thrilling shows of the year; if you like innovative staging & adventurous acting
Don't see it if abundant profanity tests your patience; if you have no interest in confronting how you think of the Vietnam war
See it if plays that cast a different perspective on a well-known historical event using the very best theatricality sparks you curiosity
Don't see it if you prefer the typical living-room dramas produced for this sort of audience or if you don't care for excessive profanity.
See it if you appreciate great new work and can't afford to see Hamilton - this is one of the best shows I've seen this season!
Don't see it if there is no good reason not to see this!
See it if you want a unique commentary on the immigrant experience during the Vietnam War and appreciate a genre bending theatrical experience.
Don't see it if you have an unimaginative mind.
See it if You are interested in a different perspective of history, enjoy the Hamilton soundtrack, love great staging, want to see fantastic acting.
Don't see it if You dislike stories that jump time period and place, are uncomfortable with cursing and sex.
See it if you want to see Asian characters at the center of their own narratives, with great nods to Hamilton-style hip hop theater.
Don't see it if You need to have white people or white perspectives at the core of every story.
See it if A very interesting exploration on the Vietnam war from America Allie/ Immigrant point of view. Donald you need to se this Play🇺🇸
Don't see it if If your Donald Trump or don't like progressive Theatre. Great work on all accounts
See it if You want a fresh look at the Vietnam War from the Vietnamese pov. You like rap music, geek theater, romantic comedy & challenging ideas.
Don't see it if You want a conventional musical about conventional subjects, hate rap music and cultural references, don't like innovative theater.
See it if Poor person's Hamilton.Great songs, fights. Armadillos a rare sight on stage. Lucky audience members get a fortune cookie; in my case two.
Don't see it if Historically weak. Dialogue is way too contemporary for the time. Rap had yet to emerge. Opening scene w playwright way too cute and hammy.
See it if you like shows that help you see something you thought you knew from an entirely new perspective. Great staging. Clever. Funny. A MUST SEE!
Don't see it if ??? Can't think of any reason to not see this enlightening and entertaining show. I know it's a cliché but-I laughed. I cried. I loved it.
See it if The antithesis of Miss Saigon: strong, sex-positive Asian female who doesn't need a man makes it in America and chooses a heroic Asian man.
Don't see it if Vietnam War is triggering. Discomfort with flipping meek Asian archetypes / stereotypes. Dislike refugees.
Also Ticket from online rush for $32.50.
See it if You want fast pace, contemporary entertainment with a interesting story. The show hit all it's marks. It is very fun yet intelligent.
Don't see it if Are offended by bad language or can't stand rap music.
See it if you are willing to be challenged, provoked and engaged. Great acting, passion, and thought-provoking. Put yourself in another's shoes to see
Don't see it if you are upset by profanity that fits the characters and the situation. you want to be entertained without thought
See it if Theater that uses contemporary language and hip-hop vernacular to tell a story of an earlier generations experience as Vietnam war refugees.
Don't see it if You hate rap and can't see its effectiveness as a staging device to manipulate your point of view about Asian sterotypes and the Vietnam war
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