Diners treated to special performances showcasing Thai traditional music & dance
The owner of Weera Thai, a popular Thai restaurant in Las Vegas, says she is excited to share with her customers more than just authentic & traditional cuisine from her native country. She is also on a mission to build a brand that embraces diversity and multicultural awareness in the community.
“Most Americans are probably now familiar with Thai cuisine but our culture is more than just about the food,” said Sasi Photidokmai. “We love to see our customers learn more about what makes our country and culture so unique and beautiful”.
Diners who stopped by the Weera Thai location on Rainbow Boulevard earlier this month got to experience another aspect of Thai culture with a 3-day mini concert performed by the “MoradokMai” (New Heritage) Theater Company and School. This troupe of young Thai musical artists made a stop in Las Vegas as part of a tour across the US. Moradokmai is led by Mr. Janaprakul Chandruang or “Kru Chang”, a Thai National artist and acclaimed actor & educator in Thailand. Chandruang started this theater community and homeschool as a nonprofit and self-reliance-based organization back in 2005.
“I am just an ordinary teacher trying to collaborate art and music between West and East and somehow lay the foundation for the kids for them to grow in their own fruitful ways,” said Chandruang.
This is not the theater troupe’s first stop in Las Vegas but the first time performing at Weera Thai Restaurant.
For Photidokmai, who has owned and operated Weera Thai since the first location opened in 2008, she admitted she never heard of Moradokmai before the students reached out. But she said as soon as she learned more about their mission and background, she immediately agreed for them to perform at her restaurant while they are here in Las Vegas.
“These days, very few people pay attention to traditional Thai culture and music and because of that, they are gradually fading away,” said Photidokmail. So when I heard about Moradokmai and what they are doing to help preserve our culture, I knew we wanted to support them. And these students are amazing. They are really talented and such wonderful ambassadors of Thai culture.”
The young Thai artists performed a number of songs that blend Traditional Thai music with contemporary sounds. One of the students named Chadok, said the experience of traveling and performing around the world with this company is priceless.
“I like the people in Las Vegas. They are very nice. I love to play music, sing and talk to people about culture and what we do at school. It’s really fun”.
For Chandruang, he said touring the US is like a homecoming for him. He once lived in the US and attended the University of Montana. He said the impact his theater company has had on everyone they meet in their global tour has been nothing short of amazing.
“Moradokmai. It means new heritage. It means appreciating the wisdom of the past but not ignoring new and up and coming generations,” said Chandruang. “I envy my students because I could not do what they are doing. What I have missed, I enforce on them and they can do it and that makes me happy”.
For Photidokmai, she hopes to see more Thai artists come to Las Vegas in the future. She and her family currently own and operate 3 Weera Thai restaurant locations: Rainbow, Spring Mountain and Sahara. At the latter location, Weera Thai Marketplace has recently opened next door offering snacks, gifts, books and souvenirs. The fourth location of the restaurant, which will be called Were Thai Seafood and Bar, is set to open later this year at Town Square.