Second Generation Presents Galois, a Rock Musical

Article by Kevin Young
Photo credit Xue Liang

Galois is a chaotic, mesmerizing, mathematical, melodic journey, produced by Second Generation, taking the audience back in time during the riotous French Revolution to experience the erratic violence, through the vigilant eyes of the late mathematician, Evariste Galois. Galois is for those who love a wild vivacious rock concert or a meticulous historical story retold in live action.

In fact the real Galois, whom the musical reinvents is portrayed as a young diligent, impulsive, math student by day who laid the foundation for Galois’ theory in Algebra. Yet he is a radical revolutionary activist by nightfall landing himself in a rusty prison cell.

Second Generation (2g), an Asian American theatre company was founded 17 years ago by Wellington Yang and current president Gladys Chen. Chen, former director of marketing at Johnson & Johnson, dropped out of medical school to champion 2g into the theatrical spotlight. Chen prides 2g for being instrumental by assisting young playwrights showcase their works on stage. Galois is the first production released by 2g in six years, marking Galois as 2g’s comeback to the performing arts scene. Galois was put together in a little over one year.

Gladys Chen

“2g is dedicated to developing new works and we are really excited by the opportunities that we have. We invite people to come support and see the work we produce,” Chen continued, “We have lots of projects we are working on so people should stay tuned.”

Aaron Jones, Sung Rno

Galois is directed by the Californian native, Victor Maog, who has been involved in directing dramatic playwrights since his high school days. Maog is credited for introducing Galois’ two writers, Sung Rno, and Aaron Jones, by setting them “on a blind date,” which made Galois possible. Maog enthusiastically spoke about the intended target audience.

Victor Maog

“Galois is for people who want to be on the edge of something. People who like musicals but want them to be electric! People who want to have a hero that can be a rock star,” Maog continued “People who like Asian American theater that can do things beyond boundaries. That’s Galois’ target audience. People who are hungry.”

Galois’ inception started when Sung Rno received a grant to write a scientific and mathematical playwright. Rno having a bachelor’s in physics from Harvard, and a master’s in poetry from Brown University combined both of his expertise to create a “unique experience,” and develop the unexplored, character, Galois.

Sung Rno

“We’re trying to create someone who is really trying to fight against a system. And what happens if the system really doesn’t necessarily support that person?” said Rno, “We’re trying to have the audience feel something really deep and something really exclusive about this character.”

Diane Phelan

This rock musical’s protagonist, Galois (Julian Cihi) is unique, witty, idealistic, and headstrong to battle the traditional French monarchy and the royalists opposed to change. Galois is passionate and fights for what he believes in never cowering to the government oppression. Galois not only a fierce warrior, demonstrates daunting devotion to his beloved fiery-vixen, the prison doctor’s daughter, Stephanie Dumotel (Diane Phelan). Galois’ affection tragically spearheads him to die fighting for Stephanie’s love in a fatal pistol duel against his archenemies, the wealthy and arrogant, Duchalet (Jonathan-David).

Julian Cihi

Cihi, who has been involved in musicals since his choir days in high school, has had training from both Brown University and New York University’s elite performing arts schools.

Julian Cihi

“To be honest I didn’t have any time to do all the luxurious prep work because I was getting new pages of scripts and music lyrics every day until four days ago. (July 21) I went by what was presented to me and took that information and let the words fill out the character. I had to discover the character by just doing it,” said leading actor, Julian Cihi, “With a complex character like Galois there is so much playing room between his world inside v.s. reality, and the world perceived by others. There are so many different layers and we are still figuring out what’s the dream world and what’s the ideal world.”

Jane Jung

Whether it’s the rowdy music or the powerful performance by Cihi and the rest of the cast, Galois will not disappoint. Maog even teased that one of the upcoming projects from 2g will entail the story of a biracial girl from Washington D.C., miraculous discovering that she is part Asian. Viewers can not only enjoy Galois but also look forward to 2g’s future productions.

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