Unicorn announces ‘Vietgone’ as next production


Hitting the Road. Falling in Love. And Kicking Ass.


By Qui Nguyen

Original Music by Shane Rettig

Directed by Cynthia Levin


Award-winning pioneer playwright Qui Nguyen brilliantly chronicles the love story of his parents’ meeting in an Arkansas refugee center after fleeing Vietnam after the fall of Saigon in 1975. It’s a buddy story, an all-American romance, and a motorcycle road-trip adventure that reexamines how we think about the heroes and victims of the Vietnam War. Vietgone skips through time and roams the globe with snarky humor, hip-hop, and lots of sex. It’s one ironic, foul-mouthed, bad-ass new play.


“Hip, high-wire theatricality . . . sultry sexiness . . . quirky playfulness”

– The Seattle Times  


“Vietgone is a journey of intersecting lives after the fall of Saigon”

-Los Angeles Times


“A raucous, immensely moving comedy with jazzy comic performances from an excellent cast. Qui Nguyen is clearly a playwright with an inventive mind”

-Charles Isherwood, The New York Times

Vietgone is on Unicorn Theatre’s the Levin Stage located at 3828 Main Street, Kansas City, MO 64111. The show runs April 18th to May 13th, 2018. Previews are April 18th, 19th, and 20th. Opening Night is April 21st, 2018. Performances run Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. For those who are unable to afford a full price ticket, they may “Pay What U Can” at performances on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; because we believe art is for everyone.

Tickets are now on sale. Call 816-531-PLAY (7529) EXT. 10, go online at www.UnicornTheatre.org or buy in person during box office hours located at 3828 Main St., Kansas City, MO 64111. Special discounts are available for groups of 10+, seniors (65+) and students.

Special Events:

Drink-Backs are scheduled for April 27th and May 4th after the production. The bar will stay open after select Friday night shows, so grab a drink and chat with some of the actors & staff members for Reverse Happy Hour. We will be hanging out around the bar for informal discussions on the many issues explored.  A free Featured Friday event is scheduled for May 4that 7:00 PM. Talk back performances, where patrons are encouraged to stay after the show and discuss the play with the actors and director are scheduled for April 24th, 29th, and May 6th.

About the Director, Cast, and Creative Team:

Cynthia Levin (PRODUCING ARTISTIC DIRECTOR/DIRECTOR) is in her 39th season with the Unicorn. Over the years she has served as a director, actor, designer or producer for over 300 productions.  At the Unicorn, she recently directed ChesapeakePriscilla Queen Of The Desert (co-directed with Missy Koonce), Eclipsed, Hand to God, Heathers: The Musical (again, with Missy), The Oldest Boy, Women Playing Hamlet (world premiere), Bad Jews, Grounded, Venus in Fur, My Name is Asher Lev, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, The Soul Collector (world premiere), Hungry (world premiere), Red, Two Jews Walk Into A War…, Distracted, Green Whales (world premiere), Miss Witherspoon, My First Time, The Clean House, Mauritius, 9 Parts of Desire, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Bat Boy: The Musical and additionally the world premieres of rightnextto me (both at the Unicorn and Geva Theatre Center, Rochester, NY), How His Bride Came to Abraham, Light:Damage, Mercy Killing, Innocent Thoughts and Jack and Jill. At Coterie Theatre, she has directed Number the Stars, And Then They Came for Me, Frankenstein, Gatherings in Graveyards (I and II), Valley Song and To Kill A Mockingbird. At the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., she directed readings of Occupants, In The Belly Of The Whale, The Friendship Of Her Thighs, The Last Pair Of Earlies, Tigers Be Still and White Devil and Loving Mother for the MFA Playwright’s Workshop. Cynthia is a graduate of Park University which also awarded her an Honorary Doctorate in 2002. She is a founding board member of the National New Play Network, an organization dedicated to the development and production of new works. She has been honored with the Pinnacle Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Human Rights Campaign Equality Award and most recently the Kathryn V. Lamkey Award from the Actor’s Equity Association for her ongoing commitment to diversity. She shares her home with Zia (the beagle), Dodger (the cat) and the spirit of the big red dog, Sylvia.

Vi Tran (QUANG) is a performer, playwright, and owner/curator of the Buffalo Room. Unicorn credits:Take Me OutBloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, and The Oldest Boy. Other: Starlight, The Coterie, Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre; Paramount Theatre (Chicago), Playhouse on the Square (Memphis), and the Kennedy Center of Performing Arts. Vi’s autobiographical refugee folk musical memoir, The Butcher’s Son, was awarded Most Promising Musical and Best Leading Performer at Underscore Theatre Company’s 2018 Chicago Musical Theatre Festival. As Vietnamese American artists come of age and begin telling their stories and their parents stories, it takes brave companies like the Unicorn to help give those stories a voice and Vi is thrilled to be a part of telling Qui Nguyen’s thrilling tale of love, loss, and family.

Ai Vy Bui (TONG) is thrilled to be making her Unicorn Theatre debut with this compelling story. Her most recent works include A Charlie Brown Christmas (Violet), Avenue Q (Christmas Eve), Not With A BangBut A Whimper (Faye), Junie B. Jones The Musical (Lucille), and The Butcher’s Son (Xinh).  She would like to thank her loved ones for their endless support.  Fun fact: part of this story takes place in Fort Chaffee, Arkansas; the same Refugee Camp her mother and family resided in after the Fall of Saigon.

Andi Meyer (HUONG) is an actor and Artistic Director of Tradewind Arts, an organization devoted to illuminating and empowering the voices of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (API).  Currently, Andi is a studio resident of the Charlotte Street Foundation, focusing on #representationmatters and changing the narrative of invisibility and stereotypes for people of color. She is also on the steering committee for the 6th National Asian American Theatre Conference. Andi is thrilled to return to the Unicorn in Vietgone, the theatre’s first show ever produced with an all Asian cast and Asian American playwright. Past Unicorn appearances include The Oldest BoyDistractedBright Ideas, and In The Blood.


Eric Palmquist (NHAN, PROPERTIES DESIGNER) is a graduate of the University of Kansas theatre program. Recent credits include Alex in The Book Club Play (Kansas Rep) and Akira in Hana’s Suitcase(The Coterie), and he has performed with the Living Room, KC Fringe, the Buffalo Room, Tradewind Arts, and the MET. As a props designer, designs include Informed ConsentProject Dawn, the upcoming  Hir(Unicorn), Once on This IslandCasa ValentinaFinian’s Rainbow (Spinning Tree), and Superior Donuts(OCTA).

Sean Yeung (BOBBY) is thrilled to be part of the cast of Vietgone! This will be his first show since The King and I at the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre in 2014. Since then, he’s been rocking out at Howl at the Moon Piano Bar as a musician. He is thankful to his friends, his family, his bandmates, and the cast and crew for their love and support. The greatest thanks goes to Ali Watson. She is Sean’s rock and his favorite person in the world. He loves her more and more every day. Now sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!

Tanya Brown (STAGE MANAGER) has been working with the Unicorn for the past eleven seasons. Some of her all-time favorites have been Bloody Bloody Andrew JacksonMy Name Is Asher LevWomen Playing HamletCock, and Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical.

Emily Swenson (SCENIC DESIGNER) is Production Manager and Resident Designer at Unicorn Theatre. Recently at Unicorn, Emily scenic designed Project Dawn, Lighting Designed Chesapeake, and Assistant Directed Disgraced. Last season, Emily Assistant Directed The Way We Get By, Projection DesignedPriscilla Queen of the Desert, Lighting Designed Application Pending and Scenic Designed Eclipsed. She premiered as a Playwright in the 2017 Kansas City Fringe Festival with Walls Suck which was awarded best in venue. Many thanks to her Unicorn family!

Victor En Yu Tan (LIGHTING DESIGNER) previously designed Bad Jews for the Unicorn.  Locally, he designed Romeo & JulietDeath of A SalesmanWhipping ManCarouselBorderland and Broke-ology, KC Repertory; and Black Pearl Sings!, Spinning Tree. Regionally he designed Satchel Paige and the KC Swing!, Cincinnati Playhouse & St Louis Rep; Vanya, Sonia, Masha, And Spike, KC Rep & Center Stage; I Sing the Rising Sea, Virginia Stage; Sheila’s Day, Hartford Stage; The Ballad of Emmett Till, Goodman Theatre; Stickfly, McCarter Theatre, and many others. In NYC, he designed over 25 productions for the Public Theatre and over 40 for the Pan Asian Rep. He is Professor of Lighting Design at UMKC.


Jon Robertson (SOUND DESIGNER) is a composer and sound designer. This is his fifth design at the Unicorn, having previously worked on Men on BoatsClybourne ParkBad Jews, and Tribes. Recent work includes music composition and sound design on And Then There Were None (dir. John Rensenhouse, Kansas City Actors Theatre), associate sound design on X: or Betty Shabazz v. The Nation (dir. Ian Belknap, The Acting Company, New York), and sound design on A Christmas Carol (dir. Quin Gresham, Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre).

Gretchen Halle (COSTUME DESIGNER) is a recent graduate of the MFA Costume Design and Technology Program at University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is currently teaching Stage Makeup and Stage Movement at KCKCC. She has designed costumes for recent productions in the Midwest such as,Stupid F##king Bird (Unicorn Theatre), Heathers (Graceland University), What Would Crazy Horse Do?, A Christmas Carol, Lot’s Wife (KC Rep), and Medea (UMKC Theatre). Upcoming: Henry IV Part 1(Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre).

Alex Davila (PROJECTIONS DESIGNER) is an stage technician based in Kansas City. While completing his degree at Avila University, Alex has worked with various companies including KC Starlight, Spinning Tree, SM Theatre in the Park, the White Theatre, and the Santa Fe Opera. He is looking forward to working with the creative team for the second time here at the Unicorn.

Amanda Dawson (DRAMATURG) is a freelance dramaturg and Assistant Professor of Theatre and Speech at Brescia University in Owensboro, KY. Amanda holds Ph.D. from The University of Kansas, a M.A. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and a B.S.E. from the University of Central Missouri. Her scholarly research focuses on representations of the Vietnam War on stage. She is a co-founder and co-producer of the Owensboro Theatre Alliance. Amanda is so thrilled to be back “home” with her artistic family – thank you, Cynthia! Much love to her Kansas City chauffeur, Ryan.

Courtney Dozier (SOUND BOARD OPERATOR) was born and raised in Miami, FL. She moved to Kansas City and graduated from Kansas City Art Institute with a B.F.A with a focus in sculpture and architecture. When she isn’t at work she is in her studio making art, drinking tea, and watching Futurama. Any day could be the best day of your life; how exciting!

About the Playwright: Qui Nguyen is a playwright, screenwriter, and co-founder of the OBIE Award-winning Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company of NYC. His plays include Vietgone (2016 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award, 2016 LADCC Tim Schmitt Award, 2016 Edward M. Kennedy Prize finalist); War is F**king Awesome (Frederick Loewe Award); She Kills Monsters (2014 AATE Distinguished Play Award, 2012 GLAAD Media Award nom); Soul Samurai (2009 GLAAD Media Award nom), and the critically acclaimed Vampire Cowboys shows: The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent GAlice in Slasherland Fight Girl Battle World,  Men of Steel,  Six Rounds of Vengeance,  andLiving Dead in Denmark. Recent awards include a 2016 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Preschool Animated Program (Peg+Cat) and a 2015 New York Community Trust Helen Merrill Playwriting Award. He is proud member of the WGA, The Dramatists Guild, The Playwrights Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, and The Ma-Yi Writers Lab. He’s an alumni of New Dramatists and Youngblood. For TV, Qui’s written for Silent History (AMC), Dispatches from Elsewhere (AMC),Incorporated (SYFY), and Peg+Cat (PBS). He’s an alumni of the Marvel Studios Writers Program.


 About Unicorn Theatre

Founded in 1974, Unicorn Theatre enhances the Kansas City community by developing and producing high-quality, thought-provoking plays that have never been seen in the region. We illuminate social issues by shining a light on diversity and inclusive stories which include race, religion and gender identity. Unicorn creates opportunities for the advancement of emerging and established actors, directors, playwrights, designers, technicians and administrative staff.  Unicorn Theatre is under the artistic and executive leadership of Producing Artistic Director Cynthia Levin, who joined the company in 1979. From a newly expanded home in the Midtown neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri, the Unicorn houses two stages—The Levin Stage (formerly The Main Stage) and The Jerome Stage (added in 2008).  After a year-long capital campaign Unicorn Theatre was able to purchase the building outright in 2014.  A fully professional not-for-profit theatre, the theatre operates under agreement with Actor’s Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States. The Unicorn is a founding member of the National New Play Network, an alliance of not-for-profit professional theatres that champions the development, production and continued life of new plays for the American theatre; and is a constituent member of Theatre Communications Group, Inc., the national service organization for the not-for-profit professional theatre.  Financial assistance for this theatre has been provided by The National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency; the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency; corporate and foundation gifts; and the generous individuals throughout the community we serve.


Unicorn Theatre / 3828 Main Street / Kansas City, MO 64111

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