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Monday, March 25, 2019

OPENING: Chicago Premiere of Lauren Yee's Cambodian Rock Band at Victory Gardens Theater

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar


Victory Gardens Theater Presents
with City Theatre Company and Merrimack Repertory Theatre
the Chicago Premiere of
Cambodian Rock Band



By Lauren Yee 
Directed by Marti Lyons
Featuring Songs by Dengue Fever
April 5 – May 5, 2019

Special Engagement
Dengue Fever at Lincoln Hall
May 1, 2019

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we adore Lauren Yee's writing and can't wait to catch the Chicago Premiere of Cambodian Rock Band! I'll be out for the press opening April 12th, so check back soon for my full review. There are a plethora of public programs in conjunction with the production so save the dates and engage in some thought provoking dialogue and in depth exploration of the show's themes. 

Victory Gardens Theater continues its 44th season with the Chicago Premiere of Cambodian Rock Band, written by Lauren Yee, featuring songs by Dengue Fever and directed by Marti Lyons. Cambodian Rock Band runs April 5 – May 5, 2010, with press performance on Friday, April 12, 2019 at 7:30pm at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue. Victory Gardens is also pleased to announce a partnership with Lincoln Hall to present Dengue Fever in concert on Wednesday, May 1, 2019. 

Cambodian Rock Band is presented with City Theatre Company and Merrimack Repertory Theatre. Following the run at Victory Gardens Theater, Cambodian Rock Band will be presented at City Theatre Company in Pittsburgh, PA, September 14 - October 6, 2019, and Merrimack Repertory Theatre in Lowell, MA, October 16 - November 10, 2019.

Part comedy, part mystery, part rock concert, this thrilling story toggles back and forth in time, as father and daughter face the music of the past. Neary, a young Cambodian American, has found evidence that could finally put away individuals who carried out the Cambodian genocide. But her work is far from done. When Dad shows up unannounced—his first return to Cambodia since fleeing 30 years ago—it’s clear this isn’t just a pleasure trip. A wild rock-and-roll journey through the eyes of father and daughter, Artistic Director Chay Yew brings the world premiere journey of Lauren Yee’s (Samsara) Cambodian Rock Band from South Coast Repertory Theatre to Victory Gardens.

“Yee’s play is a fierce, gorgeous, heartwarming, comedic fairy tale.” – Los Angeles Times 

"Lauren Yee's Cambodian Rock Band is a work of incredible theatrical deftness, brutal honesty, pure heart and wit. Her play breathes life to the timely issues in our divided nation: immigration, race, genocide and human rights abuses; the rights of refugees and emigres; the consequences of apathy when a country shifts under a brutal regime; and the destruction of freedom of expression in the midst of political transitions and upheavals," says Chay Yew, Artistic Director. "In Lauren’s astute eyes, one thing remains consistent throughout our temperamental world: the constancy, the resilience and enduring power of art and artists. Cambodian Rock Band celebrates the indomitable legacy of art and music; how artists capture our individual and national spirit and hopes; and the uncanny ability of art to inspire, to affirm our humanity, and to bring us together."

The cast of Cambodian Rock Band includes Rammel Chan (Duch), Eileen Doan (Pou/Guard/Keyboard), Peter Sipla (Rom/Journalist/Drums), Greg Watanabe (Chum/Bass), Aja Wiltshire (Neary/Sothea/
Vocals), and Matthew Yee (Leng/Ted/Guitar).

The creative team includes Matt MacNelly (music direction), Yu Shibagaki (scenic design), Izumi Inaba (costume design), Keith Parham (lighting design), and Mikhail Fiskel (sound design).

Lead Partner for the Victory Gardens Theater production of Cambodian Rock Band is the National Cambodian Heritage Museum and Killing Fields Memorial located at 2831 W. Lawrence Avenue, Chicago, IL. www.cambodianmuseum.org



About the Artists
Lauren Yee’s (Playwright) Cambodian Rock Band, with music by Dengue Fever, premiered at South Coast Rep and is also currently running at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, followed by La Jolla Playhouse. Her play The Great Leap has been produced at the Denver Center, Seattle Repertory, Atlantic Theatre, the Guthrie Theatre, and American Conservatory Theatre, with future productions at Arts Club and InterAct Theatre. Honors include the Horton Foote Prize, Kesselring Prize, Primus Prize, a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton, and the #1 and #2 plays on the 2017 Kilroys List. She's a member of New Dramatists, Ma-Yi Writers’ Lab member, and Playwrights Realm alumni playwright. She has written for Mixtape (Netflix). Current commissions include Geffen Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, Lincoln Center/LCT3, Portland Center Stage, Second Stage, South Coast Rep, and Trinity Rep. She holds a BA from Yale and a MFA from UCSD.

Marti Lyons (Director) is a Chicago-based director currently directing How to Defend Yourself by Lily Padilla for the 2019 Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville. She will be at the helm of this play again as it makes its World Premiere at Victory Gardens Theater in the winter of 2020. She most recently directed Witch by Jen Silverman (Writers Theatre); Botticelli in the Fire by Jordan Tannahill (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company); The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe and Kings by Sarah Burgess (Studio Theater); Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (The Court Theatre); Native Gardens by Karen Zacarias (Victory Gardens Theatre); Twelfth Night (Montana Shakespeare in the Schools); The Mystery of Love and Sex by Bathsheba Doran (Writers Theatre); Short Shakes! Macbeth and Short Shakes! Romeo and Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); Wit (The Hypocrites); The City of Conversation by Anthony Giardina (Northlight Theatre Company). She directed Wondrous Strange by Meg Miroshnik, Martyna Majok, Jen Silverman and Jiehae Park (2016 Humana Festival). Title and Deed by Will Eno (Lookingglass Theatre Company) and a reading of Martin Zimmerman’s On the Exhale for the New Stages Festival at the Goodman Theatre, where she received the 2015 Maggio directing fellowship. Other projects include Laura Marks’ Bethany, Marks’ Mine and Will Nedved’s Body and Blood (The Gift Theatre); Catherine Treischmann’s Hot Georgia Sunday and Theresa Rebeck’s Seminar (Haven Theatre); Prowess by Ike Holter, The Peacock and Give it all Back by Calamity West, and The Last Duck by Lucas Neff (Jackalope Theatre); The Play About My Dad by Boo Killebrew (Raven Theatre); Mai Dang Lao by David Jacobi, 9 Circles by Bill Cain, Maria/Stuart by Jason Grote, and co-directed The Golden Dragon (Sideshow Theatre). Marti is an ensemble member at The Gift Theatre, an Artistic Associate with Sideshow Theatre and a proud member of SDC.

Dengue Fever (Songs) began in the late 1990s with a 6-month trek through Southeast Asia by Keyboardist Ethan Holtzman. Returning to Los Angeles with a suitcase crammed full of Cambodian cassette tapes, Holtzman and his brother Zac, who had discovered the same music while working at a record store in San Francisco, reunited. The brothers soon bonded over their love of vintage Cambodian rock and in 2002 founded the band with saxophonist David Ralicke (Beck/Brazzaville), drummer Paul Dreux Smith, and bassist Senon Williams (Radar Brothers). Shortly thereafter the members were on hot pursuit for the ideal Cambodian chanteuse to complete their outfit. After a short period of musical courtship that began at a Cambodian nightclub in Long Beach, CA, Chhom Nimol joined the band when she realized the guys shared a genuine passion for the music and culture of her homeland.

That passion is a cross pollination of Khmer rock, garage rock, psychedelic rock and the British Invasion sound that has pushed the band to heights they could only dream of in 2002. Dengue Fever has performed in front of thousands of fans at such noted music festivals as WOMAD (UK, AUS, NZ), WOMEX (Spain), Melbourne Festival (AUS), Glastonbury (UK), Bumershoot, (USA), Transmusicales (France), Roskilde (Denmark), Electric Picnic (Ireland), Peace and Love (Sweden), Treasure Island (USA) among many others. Their songs have appeared in films such as City of Ghosts, Jim Jarmusch’s Broken Flowers, The Hangover 2, the Showtime series Weeds, the HBO’s hit series True Blood (which named an entire episode after one of their songs and featured the band’s music), the CBS series CSI: Las Vegas, and numerous independent documentaries.

Rammel Chan (Duch) has appeared regionally in Vietgone (Writers Theatre), King of the Yees (Goodman Theatre & Kirk Douglas Theatre), Oblivion (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), A Red Line Runs Through It (u/s Second City), Twilight: Los Angeles, and 1992 (Next Act Theatre Milwaukee).  Film and TV credits include: Cold War, End of the Tour, The Red Line (CBS), Crisis, Chicago Justice (NBC), Patriot (Amazon) and The Jamz (Netflix).

Eileen Doan (Pou/Guard/Keyboard) is making her Victory Gardens debut. Her Regional credits include: Anytown, New Kid (George Street Playhouse), Unto These Hills (Mountainside Theatre), Starstruck, Hair (University of Kentucky), and Jeff The Monster (University of Central Lancashire). Film/TV credits include: Now I’m Confused. Music credits include: Gently (single), A Matter of Time, Many The Miles, and One Of You.

Peter Sipla (Rom/Journalist/Drums) has previously appeared at Victory Gardens in Year Zero. Other Regional credits include: The King and I (Lyric Opera of Chicago),  Short Shakes!: Romeo and Juliet, Passion (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), South Pacific (Drury Lane Theatre), Newsies, City of Angels (The Marriott Theatre), Wizard of Oz, Miss Saigon (Paramount Theatre), Juno, Blood & Gifts, The Last Wife (TimeLine Theatre), Travels with my Aunt (Writers' Theatre), Macbeth, 50-minute A Midsummer Night's Dream (First Folio Theatre), Pacific Overtures (Porchlight Music Theatre), Hot Mikado (Skylight Music Theatre), Company (Brightside Theatre), Elephant's Graveyard (Red Tape Theatre), Aladdin, and Believe (Disney Cruise Line). His Film & TV credits include Chicago Fire.

Greg Watanabe (Chum/Bass) (Chum) Broadway: Allegiance. Off-Broadway: Ballad Of Yachiyo (Public Theater), Golden Child (Signature Theater). Regional: Romeo and Juliet (OSF), The Summer Moon (A Contemporary Theater, South Coast Rep), Extraordinary Chambers (The Geffen Playhouse), The Happy Ones (South Coast Rep), Exit The King (Shakespeare Theater of NJ), A Single Shard (People’s Light), Our Town (South Coast Rep), Hold These Truths (Perseverance Theatre, New Century Theatre). Film & TV: “Madam Secretary”,  “Criminal Minds”, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, “Reno 911”, “Aquarius”, Only The Brave, Life Tastes Good.

Aja Wiltshire (Neary/Sothea/Vocals) has appeared regionally in Pirates of Penzance, HMS Pinafore (Hypocrites and Olney Theatre Center), Aristophanesathon, Cinderella at the Theatre of Potatoes (Hypocrites), Merrily We Roll Along (Porchlight Music Theatre), Little Fish (Kokandy Theatre), Hookman (Steep Theatre), Spring Awakening (Griffin Theatre), The Wedding Singer (Haven Theatre), Closer, Next Fall, and The Lyons (AstonRep).

Matthew Yee (Leng/Ted/Guitar) Theatre credits include Vietgone, Twelfth Night (Writers Theatre), Once (Paramount Theatre), Treasure Island (Lookingglass Theatre Company), Alice’s Rock and Roll Adventure, The Year I Didn't Go to School, A Year With Frog And Toad (Chicago Children's Theatre) and The Wheel (Steppenwolf Theatre Company). Television credits include “Chicago Fire”, “Chicago Justice” (NBC) and “Empire” (Fox).

Full Performance Schedule:
Previews for Cambodian Rock Band are April 5-11, 2019. Previews are $25-50. The Press opening is Friday, April 12, 2019 at 7:30pm. Regular performances run April 13 – May 5, 2019: Tuesday – Friday at 7:30pm; Saturday at 3pm and 7:30pm; Sunday at 3pm. Regular performances are $32-$65. 

Accessible Performance Schedule:

ASL Interpreted Performance: Friday, April 19 at 7:30pm

Word for Word (open captioning): Friday, April 19 at 7:30pm, Saturday, April 20 at 3:00pm and Wednesday, April 24 at 2:00pm

Audio Description/Touch Tour: Friday, April 19 at 7:30pm (Touch tour at 6:00pm), Sunday, April 28 at 3:00pm (Touch tour at 1:30pm)

Performances are at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, in the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park Neighborhood. For tickets and information, call the Victory Gardens Box Office, 773.871.3000, email tickets@victorygardens.org, or visit www.victorygardens.org. Ask the Box Office about discounts for students, seniors, and those with access needs. Groups of 10 or more, call 773.634.9862 for discounted rates. 

Public Programs
Public Programs are events designed to enhance your experience by exploring themes and issues within Victory Gardens’ productions. Connecting our theater to the world beyond the stage and rehearsal room, Public Programs bridge ideas, provoke dialogue, and deepen the relationship between our audiences and our productions. Public Programs are composed of three distinct tracks: 

SALON: A post-show performance series bringing local artists, students, and/or organizations into the conversation of the play through their own work. 

PANEL: A post-show conversation with community leaders, playwrights, activists, artists, and educators. These panels use the play's themes to ignite a conversation about our world and the people in it. 

CELEBRATION: Pre- and post-show events celebrating the themes of the play through art, food, and community. 

AFTERWORDS
Post-Show Conversations
After every performance of CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND (unless otherwise noted)
Join us for one of our intimate post-show conversations. Led by members from the Victory Gardens community—artistic affiliates, artistic staff, and community partners— reflect on what you’ve seen and share your response.

ENDANGERED ART FORMS IN THE WAKE OF WAR, DISPLACEMENT, AND GENOCIDE
Post-Show Conversation
April 9th | Tuesday | 9:45PM 
Made possible by the support of The David Rockefeller Fund
Cambodian Rock Band features an array of psychedelic surfer rock songs by Dengue Fever, an American band that fuses sixties Cambodian pop and psychedelic rock. During the Khmer Rouge's reign the genre disappeared with the death of the artists who created it, but the art form has now been given new life by Dengue Fever. How can art be preserved in the wake of war, displacement, and genocide? When art and artists are threatened, what can we do to keep the art-form’s legacy alive? Join us after the show in conversation with artists and scholars of endangered art forms as they discuss and celebrate the preservation and continued life of their art.

SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER WITH THE CAMBODIAN HERITAGE MUSEUM AND KILLING FIELDS MEMORIAL
Post-Show Conversation
TBA 
Made possible by the support of The David Rockefeller Fund
The Cambodian Heritage Museum and the Killing Fields Memorial were established in Chicago in 2004. Together these organizations make up one of only two Cambodian museums in America. For fifteen years, these sites have provided the Chicago public with an integral means of access to an ardent population of Cambodian storytellers, artists, and survivors. Join us after the show for a chance to dialogue with representatives of the museum as they keep the history and culture of Cambodia—along with their own personal stories—alive and thriving.

CROSS-GENERATIONAL CONVERSATIONS AND THE IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE
Post-Show Conversation
April 18th | Thursday | 9:45PM
Made possible by the support of The David Rockefeller Fund
Between the years of 1975 and 1994, 157,518 Cambodian citizens were admitted to the U.S.—97% of which were refugees of the Khmer Rouge. In Cambodian Rock Band Neary grapples with her father’s silence as a survivor, refugee, and immigrant, as well as her own disconnect with her family’s history. How do immigrant parents communicate their family histories of survival to their children, and how do families integrate these histories into their everyday lives? How do first generation immigrants and their children navigate the generational gap while negotiating the experience of living as an immigrant in America today?  Join us in conversation with first and second-generation immigrants as they discuss the power of oral histories, intergenerational communication, and familyhood.

WHERE ARE WE NOW: EXPLORING ASIAN AMERICAN POPULATIONS IN CHICAGO
April 20th | Saturday | 5:30 p.m.
Post-show Presentation and Conversation
In 2017, when gathering information to increase our knowledge about the experiences and conditions of racial and ethnic groups in Chicago, the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy discovered a major disparity: data collected - if at all - about Asian American populations in Chicago was either unreliable or unavailable. IRRPP moved immediately to work to eradicate this lack of investment in Asian American communities and in April 2018, they published their report, A Tale of Diversity, Disparity, and Discrimination: The State of Racial Justice for Asian American Chicagoans. Join us as we hear about their findings and learn about where were are now - and where we hope to go from here.  

LEGAL JUSTICE IN THE AFTERMATH
Post-Show Conversation
April 24 I Wednesday I 9:45PM
Made possible by the support of The David Rockefeller Fund
In July of 2007—twenty-eight years after the end of the Khmer’s Rouge’s occupation—the first Khmer Rouge leader was tried and convicted for crimes against humanity with a lifetime sentence. While this was a long awaited victory for Cambodia, it was only the beginning—the three other surviving cadres have not received a verdict and may not live to see their sentence. What does legal and emotional justice look like after events of mass-trauma? How long does justice take? And how do entire countries, peoples, and religions find recovery in the aftermath? Join us in conversation as we spotlight the function of justice when the war is over but the legal battle has just begun.

REBUILDING HOME IN EXILE
Post-Show Conversation
May 3rd I Friday I 9:45PM
Made possible by the support of The David Rockefeller Fund
Nearly forty years after the Khmer Rouge’s rule, 2018 saw the deportation of over 200 Cambodian Americans that, like Chum, call America home. How do we define home—is it the sights? The smells? The feelings? How do experiences and memories of pain and struggle transform our understanding of where we belong, where we return to, and where we call home? And what do you do when the home you knew is gone, and the place you’ve fled for refuge threatens to deport you? Join us after the show in conversation with refugees and experts on displacement as we explore the complexities of conjuring a home in exile.    

CHICAGO CAMBODIA ROCKS!
Post-show Celebration
May 4 | Saturday | 5:30pm
Support and celebrate Cambodian businesses located right here in Chicago! After the show, join us in the Lobby for an incredible afternoon of performances, food, and music, highlighting Cambodian artists, restaurants and businesses. It’s a celebration you don’t want to miss!


Tickets:
Previews: $25 - $50
Regular run: $32 - $65

Box Office: The Box Office is located at 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago. 773.871.3000; www.victorygardens.org.

Dengue Fever at Lincoln Hall:
Wednesday, May 01, 2019
Doors 8:00 PM / Show: 9:00 PM with Dos Santos Lincoln Hall (2424 N Lincoln Ave)
Tickets on sale
$22 Advance / $25 Door - 18+
Ticket Link

2018/19 Season Sponsors:
REAM Foundation, The Harvey L. Miller Supporting Foundation, Bill and Orli Staley Foundation, Helen Zell

Season Sponsor Partners:
Conant Family Foundation; George A. Joseph; Marcelle McVay and Dennis Zacek; Jeffrey Rappin and Penny Brown; Jane M Saks, Nathan Cummings Foundation 

Major Production Sponsor:
National Endowment for the Arts, Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation

Production Sponsors:
Betty Bradshaw; Goldman, Sachs & Co.; Charles E. Harris, II, Mayer Brown LLP

Playwright’s Society 
Sponsors:
Frederick Bates and Ellen Benjamin; Regina Cross; Linda Karn; Golden Country Oriental Food LLC, Indomie Instant Noodles; Sylvia and Larry Margolies; Roxanne Saylor & Coco Soodek, The Katherine Soodek Foundation; Sue E. Wallace

Student Matinee and Youth Engagement Sponsors:
Exelon, AllState, Capital Group Private Client Services

Travel Sponsor:
Southwest Airlines

In-Kind Sponsor:
Whole Foods Market

Lead Partner Sponsor:
National Cambodian Heritage Museum and Killing Fields Memorial 

Partner Sponsor:
Foxhole Creative, Goose Island Brewing Company 

Major Season Support:
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Joyce Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Shubert Foundation, Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation, Wallace Foundation.



About Victory Gardens Theater
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Chay Yew and Managing Director Erica Daniels, Victory Gardens is dedicated to artistic excellence while creating a vital, contemporary American Theater that is accessible and relevant to all people through productions of challenging new plays and musicals.  Victory Gardens Theater is committed to the development, production and support of new plays that has been the mission of the theater since its founding, set forth by Dennis Začek, Marcelle McVay, and the original founders of Victory Gardens Theater.

Victory Gardens Theater is a leader in developing and producing new theater work and cultivating an inclusive Chicago theater community. Victory Gardens’ core strengths are nurturing and producing dynamic and inspiring new plays, reflecting the diversity of our city’s and nation’s culture through engaging diverse communities, and in partnership with Chicago Public Schools, bringing art and culture to our city’s active student population.  

Since its founding in 1974, the company has produced more world premieres than any other Chicago theater, a commitment recognized nationally when Victory Gardens received the 2001 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, Victory Gardens Biograph Theater includes the Začek-McVay Theater, a state-of-the-art 259-seat mainstage and the 109-seat studio theater on the second floor, named the Richard Christiansen Theater.

Victory Gardens Ensemble Playwrights include Luis Alfaro, Philip Dawkins, Marcus Gardley, Ike Holter, Samuel D. Hunter, Naomi Iizuka, Tanya Saracho and Laura Schellhardt. Each playwright has a seven-year residency at Victory Gardens Theater. 

Victory Gardens Theater receives major funding from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Joyce Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The REAM Foundation, Shubert Foundation, Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation, Wallace Foundation. Additional major funding comes from Crown Family Philanthropies, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, Polk Bros. Foundation.

Major funders also include: Allstate, Alphawood Foundation, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Edgerton Foundation, Exelon, Field Foundation of Illinois, The Harvey L. Miller Supporting Foundation, David Rockefeller Fund, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Time Warner Foundation, Inc.

Additional funding this season Robert and Isabelle Bass Foundation Inc., Charles H. and Bertha L. Boothroyd Foundation, Capital Group Private Client Services, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, ComEd, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Golden Country Oriental Foods, Goldman Sachs, John R. Halligan Foundation, Illinois Humanities Council (with support from the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety + Justice Challenge), ITW, Mayer Brown LLP, The McVay Foundation, Metropolitan Capital Bank and Trust, National Endowment for the Arts, Negaunee Foundation, Roberta Olshansky Charitable Fund, Origin Ventures, Pauls Foundation, PNC Financial Services Group, Prince Charitable Trusts, Charles and M.R. Shapiro Foundation, Wrightwood Neighbors Foundation. 

In-kind support is provided by: Italian Village Restaurants, Southwest Airlines, Roy’s Furniture, Suite Home Chicago, Taco Joint, and Whole Foods Market. 

Capital improvement support from the Performing Arts Venue Fund at the League of Chicago Theaters, with funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; and Capacity Building support by Compass-Chicago.

Victory Gardens Theater is proud to be part of the 2019 Year of Chicago Theatre, presented by the City of Chicago and the League of Chicago Theatres. To truly fall in love with Chicago, you must go to our theatres. This is where the city bares its fearless soul. Home to a community of creators, risk-takers and big hearts, Chicago theatre is a hotbed for exciting new work and hundreds of world premieres every year. From Broadway musicals to storefront plays and improv, there’s always a seat waiting for you at one of our 200+ theatres. Book your next show today at ChicagoPlays.com.

For more information about Victory Gardens, visit www.victorygardens.org.  Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/victorygardens, Twitter @VictoryGardens and Instagram @victorygardenstheater. 

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