World premiere of ‘Happy Armenians’ staged by award-winning Vista Players

Asbarez – Vista Players, the acclaimed theater ensemble that “set the standard by which others were judged” (Sacramento News & Review), will stage the world premiere of “Happy Armenians,” the latest work by Elly Award-winning playwright and director Aram Kouyoumdjian. “Happy Armenians” will open on October 2, 2015 at the NoHo Arts Center, where it will enjoy a 12-performance run over four weekends through October 25.

“Happy Armenians,” a dramedy, tells a “parallel world” version of history in which Armenia has become a global empire, upending the world order as we know it. Its king, however, has only 30 more days to live, and Levon, a blood relative, is the unexpected – and unwilling – heir to the throne, who must manage a war against Switzerland, the geopolitics of African and South American colonization of Europe, and his budding love for a brilliant scientist named Siran.

A humorous, imaginative, and poignant rumination on love, war, and the burdens of history, “Happy Armenians” boasts a stellar cast, led by Daniel Hubbard as Levon and featuring the talents of Heather Lynn Smith, Tavis L. Baker, Jade Hykush, and Mark Eric Howell.

Maro Parian is designing the production’s towering set and constructing its unique costumes. Henrik Mansourian is the show’s lighting designer and Armineh Hovanesian its stage manager. Ara Dabandjian is composing the play’s original music score.

Performances are on Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 pm (except on Saturday, October 3, when the curtain rises at 7:00 pm), and on Sundays at 3:00 pm. Due to the intimate nature of the performances, no late seating will be allowed.

Kouyoumdjian is the winner of Elly Awards for playwriting (“The Farewells”) and directing (“Three Hotels”), and has been hailed for having “an adventurous artistic sensibility for intelligent productions” (Sacramento Bee). His directing credits include “Arcadia,” “Far Away,” “Marvin’s Room,” “The Play About the Baby,” and “Six Degrees of Separation.” His feature plays and solo pieces have been performed in half a dozen cities, from Los Angeles (Fountain Theatre) to London (Finborough Theatre). His most recent productions include “Ancient Gods” (Garni Theatre Ensemble at the NoHo Arts Center, 2014) and, earlier this year, the open-air, site-specific performance “i Go On” at DTLA’s Grand Park.

Vista Players is an award-winning theater ensemble devoted to staging contemporary plays of social relevance. It was founded in Northern California, where its premier outing was “Six Degrees of Separation.” Over the course of six seasons, the “acclaimed” troupe (Sacramento Bee) staged esteemed productions of nine plays by such leading playwrights as Tom Stoppard, Caryl Churchill, and Edward Albee. Vista Players is now L.A.-based, and “Happy Armenians” marks its relaunch in Southern California.