TRIEU TRAN (UNPLUGGED) to Support VAALA in Orange County, 8/17

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TRIEU TRAN (UNPLUGGED) to Support VAALA in Orange County, 8/17

Shakespeare/Summerfest Orange County (SOC) at The Garden Grove Amphitheater continues its innovative 2014 season of ONE BIG FAMILY UNDER THE STARS by joining forces with the Vietnamese American Arts & Letters Association (VAALA) in producing a community night benefit for VAALA. TRIEU TRAN (UNPLUGGED), a concert version of the Vietnamese American actor's critically acclaimed UNCLE HO TO UNCLE SAM, directed by Robert Egan, which played to sold out houses at The Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles last year, will make its Orange County debut for a one-night only engagement.

The concert is set for August 17, 2014 at 8:00pm at The Garden Grove Amphitheater, 12762 Main Street, Garden Grove, CA 92842, Box Office: (714) 590-1575 or online at www.shakespeareoc.org. Tickets: $15 and $25 - For mature audiences only (language/images of war). An audience talk back will follow the performance.

Trieu Tran (Joey Phan on HBO's THE NEWSROOM, TROPIC THUNDER) tells his harrowing and uplifting life story: from his family's escape from the fall of Saigon, through the challenges of being an immigrant, a gang member, struggling through school, and finally falling in love with the theater and finding success in Hollywood. With the help of his remarkable mother, Tran's story sheds a moving light for all of us on the immigrant experience in America: a universal thread that is the fabric of our country.

John Walcutt, new Producing Artistic Director of SOC, follows the tremendous success of their season-opening production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM produced in association with Garden Grove's world-famous Polynesian dance troupe, Hitia O Te Ra.

Walcutt, who says that 80% of the audience coming to his theater this summer has never been there before, continues his stated mandate of building bridges in this community that speaks 76 different languages, and boasts a huge Vietnamese-American demographic. He sought out VAALA because of their commitment to quality cultural programming in the Vietnamese community, and wooed them to join in with his organization to do something together. The two groups plan to co-produce ROMEO AND JULIET next season at SOC.

"TRIEU TRAN (UNPLUGGED) is a landmark event in our community," says Walcutt. "Everyone will find a common thread in Trieu's moving story of what it is to be American."

Trieu Tran states, "I am extremely thrilled to bring my show to Garden Grove and have the opportunity to perform for a diverse audience that includes my native community. I have chosen to call the show TRIEU TRAN (UNPLUGGED) for it will be a stripped down "concert" version of UNCLE HO TO UNCLE SAM. I am aware of the sensitivities, and I understand how the title can be misconstrued. The theatre I enjoy and appreciate is the theatre of inclusion. I believe my solo show represents that to its core. Though it is my personal story, I believe it is a story of many other Vietnamese. It is an immigrant story-like that of all displaced people in the world. Not to give anything away, but I want the audience to come to the theatre and experience the ritual with me. For the audience will see, and relate to, the universal themes of assimilation, racism, violence, forgiveness, and redemption. Trying to find oneself in a polarized and racially disturbed world. It is poetic and soaring, emotional, raw and truthful. Hopefully the audience will not only be emotionally and spiritually moved, but be entertained as well. Vietnamese music, R&B, hip hop, and Shakespeare. After all, isn't Vietnam Shakespearean? :)"

"On behalf of VAALA, we are very excited to collaborate with SOC to bring "TRIEU TRAN (UNPLUGGED)" to Orange County. Trieu Tran's story needs to be shared, and we are thankful to SOC, and to Trieu, for presenting this show as an artistic bridge between communities," says Ysa Le, Executive Director of the Vietnamese American Arts & Letters Association (VAALA).

VAALA Board Member, Giana Nguyen Foster, adds, "I'm especially excited that this production is being presented in Garden Grove, my hometown. Growing up, I didn't have many opportunities to see live theater, let alone a show of this caliber, even though the Garden Grove Amphitheater was literally in my backyard. I admire and applaud SOC's efforts to make theater arts accessible to the surrounding community."

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