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Grove Theater Center presents the west coast premiere of Henry Ong’s ‘Sweet Karma,’ opening May 10 for five-week run

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Play explores the real life tragic story of an Oscar-winning actor who survived the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, only to be fatally gunned down in the streets of Los Angeles

Bonna Tek (Arun) and Jo Jo Gonzales (Vichear Lam) share a happy moment. Photo by Amy Davis.

Bonna Tek (Arun) and Jo Jo Gonzales (Vichear Lam) share a happy moment. Photo by Amy Davis.

Henry Ong (Photo courtesy of www.henryong.info/)

Henry Ong (Photo courtesy of www.henryong.info)

Los Angeles, CA, April 12 –Grove Theater Center (GTC) is proud to present the West Coast premiere of Henry Ong’s play, “Sweet Karma.” Based on true events, “Sweet Karma” tells the haunting tale of a survivor of the Khmer Rouge genocide in war-time Cambodia, who was plucked out of obscurity to star in a major motion picture and win the coveted Academy Award, only to be fatally gunned down outside his Los Angeles apartment a decade later.

“Sweet Karma” opens on May 10 at GTC Burbank, 1111-b West Olive, Burbank, California, and runs through June 8. Performances are on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 3pm. Tickets are $29.50 general; $24.50 senior/Burbank resident; $14.75 students; $19.50 groups of 10 or more. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to www.gtc.org.

“We are very happy that Henry can be part of the GTC New Play Initiative, and we look forward to helping develop this fascinating exploration of the life and death of an extraordinary man,” said Kevin Cochran, director of “Sweet Karma” and GTC artistic director. “We are especially delighted to produce a work that reflects the diversity of Los Angeles and highlights a segment of our community – the Cambodian community – that is seldom represented on our local stage.”

Henry Ong’s plays have been produced around the world. His best known works include “Madame Mao’s Memories” (Old Globe Theatre, San Diego; TheatreWorks, Singapore; et. al); “Fabric” (Company of Angels, Los Angeles; Singapore Repertory Theatre, Singapore; and Nomad Theatre, Surrey, England); “Rachel Ray” (Pacific

Resident Theatre); “The Legend of the White Snake” (Eagle Rock Center for the Arts) and “People Like Me” (Playwrights’ Arena). An earlier version of “Sweet Karma” was produced by Immigrants’ Theatre Project and Queens Theatre in the Park, New York in December 2009.

The play is presented as a special program of Grove Theater Center’s New Play Initiative. Previous New Play Initiative projects include “Eternal Equinox” (which played Off-Broadway at 59e59 Theaters in NYC last spring), “Blake…da Musical!” (LA Ovation Award for Best New Musical), “Straight Up with a Twist” (Ovation nomination for Best Solo Performance and five-month run in NYC at The Players Theater, R.R.R.E.D. (four LA Weekly nominations and a special event at the New York Musical Theater Workshop), “Bobby & Matt” (part of the 15th annual International Fringe Festival of New York City) and “Film Chinois” (Ovation Award for Best New Play).

For more information, please call (818) 528-6622, or go to www.gtc.org.

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