City Theatre Previews ‘Cambodian Rock Band’; Stagioni features Seasonal Italian Fare (Thurs., 9/19/19)

1) Chicago is a big theater town, with myriad productions each year and picky critics. When a play arriving there gets rave notices like “haunting, wise … chilling … triumphant”—not to mention “the best show you’ll see in Chicago this spring. Maybe all year”—it’s probably pretty good. City Theatre of Pittsburgh brings Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band to our town. The (fictional) story revolves around a young Cambodian-American woman who travels to Cambodia, hoping to learn details about the massacres and atrocities carried out by the Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970s. That part, sampled in flashbacks, is all too true. An estimated 2 million people died in dictator Pol Pot’s attempts to purify the country. Targets included intellectuals, city dwellers, Muslims, anyone with foreign connections, and children of those killed, lest they seek revenge when grown. Yet Cambodian Rock Band is described as “uplifting”—and it does rock. There’s plenty of live music from psychedelic surf rockers Dengue Fever. (See the video above, made at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival production.) The play is co-presented at City by Victory Gardens Theater, which staged it in Chicago a few months ago, and Merrimack Repertory Theatre of Lowell, Massachusetts. 8 p.m. Tonight’s show is a pick-your-price-preview. Performances continue through October 6. 1300 Bingham St., South Side. (MV)

'Cambodian Rock Band' is onstage this month at City Theatre. (photo: Liz Lauren/Victory Gardens Theater)

‘Cambodian Rock Band’ is onstage this month at City Theatre and features a live rock band. (photo: Liz Lauren/Victory Gardens Theater)

2) Local and seasonal—from the antipasti to the house cocktails, that’s chef-owner Stephen Felder and co-owner Cara Delsignore’s approach to Italian cooking at Stagioni.  On the menu patrons can find small plates of grilled octopus, fried green tomatoes, crab cake, and greens and beans. Seven pasta dishes are offered. Grilled branzino, braciole, and lamb all’ Abruzzo are several of the main dishes. To ensure regulars never get bored, Stagioni promises a menu that changes frequently depending on what’s coming into season in the region. Stagioni also hosts events, like their Monthly Sunday Supper—four courses, served family-style. These suppers sell out quickly, so those interested should make reservations quickly. 2104 E. Carson St., South Side. (CM)

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Rick Handler

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