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Pan Asian Repertory Theatre Will Present Re-Envisioned Musical CAMBODIA AGONISTES


Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, supported by a prestigious $35,000 Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, has announced it will present a re-envisioned revival production of Cambodia Agonistes, with play and lyrics by Ernest Abuba and original music by Louis Stewart. Performances are set to begin Monday, May 18, 2020 at 7:30PM for a limited engagement through Sunday afternoon, June 7, 2020 at 2:30PM in The Mezzanine Theatre at A.R.T./NY Theatres (502 West 53rd Street). Opening Night is set for Thursday evening, May 21, 2020 at 7:30PM. Cast will be announced shortly.

Cambodia Agonistes is an epic music-theatre piece celebrating the resilience of the Cambodian people in the aftermath of genocide-the 1970s "killing fields." The play's soaring score, with full orchestral accompaniment, includes musical numbers ranging from operatic lyricism to beat café jazz. Its story is given renewed significance in the wake of recent refugee crises and civil wars. It tells the story through the lens of a traditional Cambodian dancer, suffering from psychosomatic blindness, who seeks refuge in New York.

"In 1979, I saw a newspaper photo of a thin young woman, facing the camera, as she walked down a dusty Southeast Asian road, and in her arms, she cradled the body of a dead child," express Ernest Abuba, playwright and lyricist. "That photograph seemed to encompass not only the full horror of the Cambodian Holocaust, but also to symbolize the resilience of women, to survive."

Composer Louis Stewart shared, "I elected to use a variety of musical styles to fit the subject's drama as well as expressing the cultural milieu and theme of loss and vengeance."

"The story could only be told in the artful frame of music, dance, visual elements and symbolizes the eternal struggle between good and evil, vengeance and redemption," stated Tisa Chang, director. "Cambodia Agonistes is our tribute to all people who are displaced and seek refuge to overcome."

The creative design team includes Set by You-Shin Chen, Lights by Leslie Smith, Costumes by Hyun Sook Kim, Sound by Ian Wehrle. The Stage Management team is Kristine Schlachter and Sabrina Morabito.

Cambodia Agonistes will play the following performance schedule: Tuesday - Saturday at 7:30PM, Saturday and Sunday at 2:30PM. PLEASE NOTE: Special first performance on Monday, May 18 at 7:30. There is no performance on Friday, May 22. Ticket information will be available in March at or call (212-868-4030)

There will be Special Student Matinee performances on selected weekdays at 11:00 a.m. To bring your school to a performance and more information, please email info@panasianrep.orgor call (212) 868-4030.

For more information about Pan Asian Rep, visit

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