Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

KRISTINA WONG, SWEATSHOP OVERLORD Added to La Jolla Playhouse 2022/2023 season

The piece will replace Mother Russia, which is now tentatively planned for the Playhouse’s 2023/2024 season.

KRISTINA WONG, SWEATSHOP OVERLORD Added to La Jolla Playhouse 2022/2023 season

La Jolla Playhouse has announced that Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord, written and performed by Kristina Wong (who was featured in the Playhouse's Digital WOW production of Binge), directed by Chay Yew (Playhouse's Cambodian Rock Band), will be added to its 2022/2023 season, running September 20 - October 16. The piece will replace Mother Russia, which is now tentatively planned for the Playhouse's 2023/2024 season.

On Day 3 of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kristina Wong began sewing masks out of old bedsheets and bra straps on her Hello Kitty sewing machine. Before long, she was leading the Auntie Sewing Squad, a work-from-home sweatshop of hundreds of volunteers-including children and her own mother-to fix the U.S. public health care system while in quarantine. It was a feminist care utopia forming in the midst of crisis. Or was it a mutual aid doomsday cult? With hilarity and boundless generosity, she invites the audience in on her work building community in isolation, while reflecting on what we'd been through and imagining what we wanted to become.

"Kristina Wong is a one-of-a-kind performer and activist whom we're delighted to bring back to the Playhouse - this time in person," said Christopher Ashley, the Rich Family Artistic Director of La Jolla Playhouse. "During the pandemic, Kristina started a volunteer mask-sewing group of 'aunties,' which inspired this acclaimed, wildly-funny new solo performance piece."

Ashley continued, "In consultation with the show's creative team, the Playhouse has postponed the world-premiere play Mother Russia in light of current events still unfolding. The production is currently planned for 2023, allowing the creative team additional time for reconsideration of certain script and production elements. We remain excited to produce Lauren Yee's timely exploration of the ongoing political systems we find ourselves in."

This production joins the Playhouse's previously-announced 2022/2023 season, including Lempicka: A New Musical, book and lyrics by Carson Kreitzer, music by Matt Gould, choreographed by Raja Feather Kelly, and directed by Tony Award winner Rachel Chavkin (Broadway's Hadestown), running June 14 - July 24; the world premiere of Here There Are Blueberries, by Tony Award nominee Moisés Kaufman (Playhouse's 33 Variations, Broadway's I Am My Own Wife) and Amanda Gronich, conceived and directed by Moisés Kaufman, produced in association with Tectonic Theater Project, running July 26 - August 21; the En Garde Arts production of Fandango for Butterflies (and Coyotes), by Andrea Thome (Playhouse's Neva), original music by Sinuhé Padilla, directed by José Zayas, running August 30 - September 25; As You Like It, by William Shakespeare, co-directed by Tony Award winner Christopher Ashley (Come From Away) and Helen Hayes Award winner Will Davis (Off-Broadway's Men on Boats); and the world-premiere musical The Outsiders, book by Pulitzer Prize finalist Adam Rapp (The Sound Inside), music and lyrics by Jamestown Revival (Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance) and Tony Award winner Justin Levine (Moulin Rouge!), music supervision, arrangements and orchestrations by Justin Levine, directed by Obie Award winner Danya Taymor (Pass Over), running February 19 - April 2, 2023.

Prior to the start of the subscription season, the Playhouse will mount its acclaimed Without Walls (WOW) Festival at ARTS DISTRICT Liberty Station April 21 - 24, 2022 featuring four action-packed days of theatre, dance and music, with multiple performances by renowned local, national and International Artists taking place throughout the weekend.

Tickets for the Playhouse's 2022/2023 season productions are currently available via a subscription purchase at

Artist Biographies

Kristina Wong is a performance artist, comedian, writer and elected representative who has been presented internationally across North America, the UK, Hong Kong and Africa. Her work has been awarded with grants from Creative Capital, The MAP Fund, Center for Cultural Innovation, National Performance Network, a COLA Master Artist Fellowship from the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, nine Los Angeles Artist-in-Residence, and Center Theatre Group's Sherwood Award. Her rap career in post-conflict Northern Uganda was the subject of The Wong Street Journal which toured the US, Canada and Lagos, Nigeria (presented by the US Consulate). Her long running show Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest looked at the high rates of depression and suicide among Asian American women and is now a concert film. Kristina currently serves as the elected representative of Wilshire Center Koreatown Sub-district 5 Neighborhood Council, the subject of her show Kristina Wong for Public Office. In the pandemic, the national tour of that show pivoted to streaming performances from her home and a professional recording for Center Theater Group's Digital Stage where she is a member of the Creative Collective. "Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord" premiered off Broadway at New York Theater Workshop and is nominated for the Lortel Award for "Outstanding Solo Show". It's based on her journey of starting and leading the Auntie Sewing Squad (ASS), a national mutual aid collective of over 800 volunteer "aunties" distributing home-sewn masks and other support for vulnerable communities during the first two years of the pandemic. Kristina is developing a new work over the next three years as the Artist-in-Residence at ASU Gammage.

Chay Yew directed La Jolla Playhouse's acclaimed production of Cambodian Rock Band. His credits include Off-Broadway productions at The Public, Playwrights Horizons, New York Theatre Workshop, Signature Theatre Company, Rattlestick, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Playwrights Realm, National Asian American Theatre Company, Ma-Yi Theatre. Regional: American Conservatory Theater, Berkeley Rep, South Coast Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Goodman Theatre, Denver Theater Center, Humana Festival, Kennedy Center, Mark Taper Forum, Long Wharf Theatre, Hartford Stage, Seattle Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse, Huntington Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Woolly Mammoth, Victory Gardens, East West Players, Writers Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Curious Theatre, Mosaic Theatre Company, Playmakers Rep, Round House, Teatro Vista, Laguna Playhouse, Geva Theatre, Empty Space, Cornerstone Theater, Singapore Repertory Theatre. Opera: Tanglewood Music Center, Los Angeles Philharmonic. Awards: Obie, Craig Noel, Drama-Logue awards.

La Jolla Playhouse is a place where artists and audiences come together to create what's new and next in the American theatre, from Tony Award-winning productions, to imaginative programs for young audiences, to interactive experiences outside our theatre walls. Founded in 1947 by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer, the Playhouse is currently led by Tony Award winner Christopher Ashley, the Rich Family Artistic Director of La Jolla Playhouse, and Managing Director Debby Buchholz. The Playhouse is internationally renowned for the development of new plays and musicals, including mounting 108 world premieres, commissioning 60 new works, and sending 33 productions to Broadway - including the hit musical Come From Away - garnering a total of 38 Tony Awards, as well as the 1993 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre.

Photo credit: Tom Fowler

Related Articles

More Hot Stories For You