La Jolla Playhouse to Premiere TO THE YELLOW HOUSE by Kimber Lee and GUILTY PLEASURE by Paul Rudnick in 2020/21 Season
La Jolla Playhouse has announced the final two productions for its 2020/2021 season: the world premieres of to the yellow house, by Kimber Lee (tokyo fish story), directed by former Playhouse Associate Artistic Director Neel Keller (School for Wives, Light Up the Sky), running July 14 - August 9; and Guilty Pleasure, by Paul Rudnick (Jeffrey; screenplays for Sister Act, In & Out), directed by Christopher Ashley (Come From Away, Diana), the Rich Family Artistic Director of La Jolla Playhouse. Produced in association with Diversionary Theatre, Guilty Pleasure will run November 8 - December 6.
The Playhouse also announced that renowned immersive artist and award-winning scenic and costume designer David Israel Reynoso (WOW Festival productions of Las Quinceañeras and Waking La Llorona, as well as designer for Queens, Tiger Style!, among others) has been named the 2020/2021 Artist-in-Residence. During his residency, Reynoso will be creating a new piece for the Playhouse's acclaimed Without Walls (WOW) Series of site-based and immersive theatre. The Playhouse's Artist-in-Residence program is designed to give artists the freedom to focus on their ongoing body of work, while becoming fully immersed in all aspects of the institution, from the stage to the boardroom to the classroom.
"I've wanted to share Paul Rudnick's work with Playhouse audiences ever since I arrived here twelve years ago. After working together on numerous plays, it's a delight to collaborate once again on the world premiere of his deliciously wicked new comedy, which we'll be producing in association with our friends at Diversionary Theatre. I'm also eager to welcome Kimber Lee to the Playhouse with her riveting piece that explores an artist on the cusp of finding his brilliance," said Ashley. "Additionally, it's a pleasure to bring Playhouse favorite David Israel Reynoso on board as our next Artist-in-Residence. His past WOW Festival productions have beguiled audiences with their stunning and ethereal immersive environments, and I can't wait to see his next project evolve at the Playhouse this season."
These works join the Playhouse's previously-announced 2020/2021 season productions of Lempicka (May 19 - June 28), the Broadway-bound musical featuring book and lyrics by Carson Kreitzer, music by Matt Gould, and direction by Tony Award winner Rachel Chavkin (Hadestown); What the Constitution Means to Me (September 1 - 27), by Pulitzer Prize finalist Heidi Schreck, directed by Oliver Butler; the world premiere of Mother Russia (September 8 - October 4), by UC San Diego MFA alumna Lauren Yee (Cambodian Rock Band), directed by Tyne Rafaeli (The Coast Starlight); and the world-premiere musical Bhangin' It (February 16 - March 28, 2021), book by Mike Lew (Tiger Style!) and Rehana Lew Mirza (DNA Series' Child of Colonialism), music and lyrics by Sam Willmott, and directed by Amy Anders Corcoran.
About the 2020/2021 Season
Book and Lyrics by Carson Kreitzer
Music by Matt Gould
Directed by Rachel Chavkin
May 19 - June 28
Amid the violence of the Russian Revolution, a young painter named Tamara de Lempicka and her aristocrat husband are forced to abandon their luxurious lifestyle and flee to the dubious safety of Paris. Relying on raw talent and relentless ambition, Tamara claws her way from penniless refugee to in-demand portraitist, earning a place among Parisian high society. Her world is upended once again when she meets Rafaela, a free spirit from the city slums, who introduces Tamara to a new world of decadence and passion. Torn between her new muse and her husband, and fighting to leave her mark on an ever-changing world, Tamara must discover the depths of her own strength to survive. Spanning decades of political turmoil and told through a thrilling, pop-infused score, Lempicka boldly explores the contradictions of a world in crisis, a woman ahead of her era, and an artist whose time has finally come. The world premiere of Lempicka was originally produced in July 2018 by the Williamstown Theatre Festival; Mandy Greenfield, Artistic Director.
to the yellow house - world premiere
By Kimber Lee
Directed by Neel Keller
July 14 - August 9
February, 1886. Vincent Van Gogh is broke again. Trailing past due notices and annoyed innkeepers, he arrives unexpectedly at his brother's doorstep in Montmartre determined to make another fresh start. Caught in the colorful whirl of the Parisian art scene, he drinks too much, falls in love with the wrong woman, argues with everyone - and paints. Night and day he works to translate what he feels onto the canvas, relentlessly chasing a new form of expression that seems to be always around the next corner. But at what point in an endless cycle of failures do faith and persistence become delusion and foolishness? A meditation on love, art and not being popular.
What the Constitution Means to Me
Directed by Oliver Butler
September 1 - 27
Direct from Broadway, the 2019 Tony-nominated Best Play and Pulitzer Prize finalist What the Constitution Means to Me, by famed writer Heidi Schreck, arrives at La Jolla Playhouse for a strictly limited engagement. This boundary-breaking play breathes new life into our Constitution and imagines how it will shape the next generation of Americans. Fifteen-year-olda??Heidi earned her college tuition by winning Constitutional debate competitions across the United States. In this hilarious, hopeful and achingly-human new play, she resurrects her teenage self in order to trace the profound relationship between four generations of women and the founding document that shaped their lives. Schreck's timely and galvanizing play, directed bya??Oliver Butler, became a sensation off-Broadway last fall before transferring to Broadway, where it received two Tony Award nominations among countless other accolades. See the playa??The New York Timesa??hails as "not just the best play on Broadway, but also the most important." Casting for What the Constitution Means to Me will be announced at a later date.
Mother Russia - world premiere
By Lauren Yee
Directed by Tyne Rafaeli
September 8 - October 4
Welcome to St. Petersburg in the 1990s - the Berlin Wall has fallen, the Soviet Union has dissolved and opportunity abounds. But barely-competent government surveillance workers Euvgeny and Dmitri find themselves lost in their strange new world of glasnost, perestroika and McDonald's. When they're assigned to track Katya, a fallen pop-star with international allure, a love triangle, mistaken identities and some really shoddy espionage tactics are set in motion. It's possible they might just make it out of this mess and find happiness - if only they could make a decision. A world-premiere comedy about the curse of freedom and having to choose between the Filet-o-Fish and the Big Mac.
Guilty Pleasure - world premiere
By Paul Rudnick
Directed by Christopher Ashley
In Association with Diversionary Theatre
November 8 - December 6
Bethany's life as a middle-aged, midwestern housewife comes to a crashing halt when her husband suddenly announces he's leaving her for a woman named Kelli-Amber. Shell-shocked, Bethany finds solace in her secret hobby - penning gay erotica. When her playful fantasies of lover pirates, star-crossed congressmen and clowns with marital issues become hugely popular online, she's given a new outlook on life. But as her fame grows, will the risks of being a "slash fic" author lead to danger, happiness or the very best combination of both? Our own Christopher Ashley (Diana, Come From Away) directs this laugh-out-loud new comedy from Paul Rudnick (Jeffrey) about finding your calling in your guilty pleasure.
Bhangin' It - world premiere
Music and Lyrics by Sam Willmott
Directed by Amy Anders Corcoran
Co-Production with McCarter Theatre Center
February 16 - March 28, 2021
Winner of the 2019 Richard Rodgers Award, Bhangin' It is an exhilarating new musical set in the high stakes world of intercollegiate competitive Bhangra: a traditional Punjabi folk dance morphed into a good ol' American dance-off. Mary, a biracial college student, thinks she's got all the right moves on the Bengal Tigers Bhangra team - but to teammate Preeti, she is just not "Indian enough." When Mary is abruptly booted off the Tigers, she and her roommate Sunita put together a team whose only criteria for joining is a desire to dance. With Nationals coming up, can Mary whip this eclectic, ragtag group into shape to take on the competition? Brash, intoxicating and joyous, Bhangin' It is a celebration of the traditions we inherit from yesterday and those we create for tomorrow.
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