New Donna Summer Musical, Leigh Silverman-Helmed WILD GOOSE DREAMS and More Round Out La Jolla Playhouse's 2017-18 Season
La Jolla Playhouse, nationally-renowned for the development of new work, announces four world-premiere productions for the 2017/2018 season, including the previously-announced Escape to Margaritaville (May/June), featuring the songs of legendary singer-songwriter-author Jimmy Buffett and an original story by co-book writers Greg Garcia ("My Name Is Earl") and Mike O'Malley ("Survivor's Remorse," "Shameless"), directed by La Jolla Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley (Come From Away, Memphis).
The Playhouse will also mount another rousing world-premiere musical: Untitled Donna Summer Project (November/December), to be directed by Tony Award winner and Playhouse Director Emeritus Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys, The Who's Tommy) and choreographed by Olivier Award-winner Sergio Trujillo (Memphis, Jersey Boys).
Joining these works will be two world-premiere plays: At the Old Place (July/August), by Rachel Bonds, directed by Playhouse Associate Artistic Director Jaime Castañeda (Tiger Style!, Guards at the Taj) and Wild Goose Dreams (September/October), by Hansol Jung, directed by Leigh Silverman (Broadway's Violet, Chinglish).
Two additional productions for the 2017/2018 season will be announced shortly.
"Continuing The Playhouse's tradition of developing and launching new works, our first four announced shows of 2017/18 are all world premieres, including two exuberant new musicals that celebrate two of America's most beloved musical icons. Des has always been the quintessential rock-star director, and it's a joy to welcome him and long-time collaborator Sergio Trujillo back to The Playhouse," noted Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley. "Additionally, our own Jaime Castañeda will put his indelible mark on a poignant piece by playwright Rachel Bonds, while Leigh Silverman makes her Playhouse debut helming Hansol Jung's astonishing new play. It's a season that finds compelling drama everywhere on the map - from a tropical island to South Korea - while exploring with our audiences fascinating intersections of cultures and identities."
About the 2017/2018 Season:
Escape to Margaritaville
World Premiere Musical
Music and Lyrics by Jimmy Buffett
Directed by Christopher Ashley
May/June, 2017; Mandell Weiss Theatre
Featuring both original songs and your most-loved Jimmy Buffett classics, this new musical is the story of a tropical island resort and its part-time bartender, part-time singer and full time charmer who thinks he's got life all figured out. Until a beautiful career minded tourist steals his heart and makes him question everything.
At the Old Place
By Rachel Bonds
Directed by Jaime Castañeda
July/August, 2017; Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre
In her mid-40s and facing a breaking point, a literature professor returns to her childhood home in Virginia only to discover two young people camped out on her lawn. This keenly-observed, intimate new play about the search for the roads not taken is directed by Playhouse Associate Artistic Director Jaime Castañeda, who helmed the theatre's recent acclaimed productions of Tiger Style! and Guards at the Taj.
Wild Goose Dreams
By Hansol Jung
Directed by Leigh Silverman
September/October, 2017 Mandell Weiss Forum
A North Korean defector who has left her family behind and a lonely South Korean father start an unlikely online romance as they each attempt to allay their fears and alienation in this inventive, lyrical and darkly humorous piece directed by Tony-nominated and Drama Desk Award-winning Leigh Silverman (Broadway's Violet, Chinglish).
Untitled Donna Summer Project
World Premiere Musical
Directed by Des McAnuff
Choreographed by Sergio Trujillo
November/December, 2017; Mandell Weiss Theatre
This vibrant, world-premiere musical charts the incomparable life of Donna Summer - the undisputed Queen of Disco. Playhouse Director Emeritus Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Who's Tommy) directs this musical extravaganza, featuring more than 20 of Summer's classic hits and electric dance in a tribute to the voice of a generation.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Christopher Ashley (Director: Escape to Margaritaville) has served as La Jolla Playhouse's Artistic Director since October, 2007. During his tenure, he has helmed The Playhouse's acclaimed productions of Come From Away, The Darrell Hammond Project, Chasing the Song, His Girl Friday, Glengarry Glen Ross, A Dram of Drummhicit, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Restoration and the acclaimed musicals Xanadu and Memphis, which won four 2010 Tony Awards including Best Musical. He also spearheaded The Playhouse's Without Walls (WoW) series and the Resident Theatre program. Prior to joining The Playhouse, he directed the Broadway productions of Xanadu (Drama Desk nomination), All Shook Up and The Rocky Horror Show (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations), as well as the Kennedy Center Sondheim Celebration productions of Sweeney Todd and Merrily We Roll Along. Other New York credits include: Blown Sideways through Life, Jeffrey (Lucille Lortel and Obie Awards), The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, Valhalla, Regrets Only, Wonder of the World, Communicating Doors, Bunny Bunny, The Night Hank Williams Died and Fires in the Mirror (Lucille Lortel Award), among others. Mr. Ashley also directed the feature films Jeffrey and Lucky Stiff, as well as the American Playhouse production ofBlown Sideways through Life for PBS. Mr. Ashley is the recipient of the Princess Grace Award, the Drama League Director Fellowship and an NEA/TCG Director Fellowship.
Rachel Bonds' (Playwright, At the Old Place) plays have been developed or produced by South Coast Rep, McCarter Theatre, Atlantic Theater Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, Ars Nova, Roundabout Underground, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Studio Theatre, New York Stage & Film and SPACE on Ryder Farm, among others. She is an affiliated artist of New Georges, an Alum of EST's Youngblood, Ars Nova's Play Group and SPACE on Ryder Farm's Working Farm; recipient of the 2014 Heideman Award from Actors Theatre of Louisville, the 2013 L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award from Williamstown Theatre Festival and the 2015 Sky Cooper Prize from Marin Theatre Company. Commissions include Studio Theatre, South Coast Rep, Atlantic Theater Company, McCarter, Ars Nova/ Manhattan Theatre Club and The Geffen. She is currently the 2016 Tow Foundation Playwright-in-Residence at Ars Nova. Bonds is a graduate oF Brown University.
Jimmy Buffett (Composer/Lyricist, Escape to Margaritaville). Singer/songwriter/author Jimmy Buffett has become a legend of popular culture as the composer of such classic songs as "Margaritaville," "Come Monday," and "Cheeseburger In Paradise." He has recorded over fifty albums, most of which have gone gold, platinum or multi-platinum. His sold-out concert tours are an annual rite of summer for his legions of fans, affectionately known as Parrotheads, many of whom are professionals by day and who dress in spectacular and outrageous tropical outfits and headwear when Jimmy comes to town. Born in the Gulf Coast town of Pascagoula, Mississippi, he was raised in Mobile, Alabama. He is a fourth-generation sailor and fisherman, a pilot, a surfer, and a frequent traveler to remote and exotic places of the world, having become addicted to National Geographic magazine as a child. The lyrics to many of his songs are influenced by his travels all over the globe. As a best-selling author, he is one of only nine authors in the history of The New York Times Bestseller List to have reached #1 on both their fiction and non-fiction lists. Jimmy has received two Grammy nominations, numerous Country Music Association awards and was the recipient of one of the nation's highest songwriting honors when he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame. And now Jimmy is heading into the Theatre world. The idea of turning Margaritaville into a musical has been percolating for quite a while but it's gearing up to make its debut in the near future. It will feature the music and lifestyle of Jimmy Buffett, from an original story, and includes both new songs and the most-loved Buffett classics. Speaking of Buffett classics, the most famous of them all, "Margaritaville" has been inducted into the 2016 Grammy Hall of Fame for its cultural and historic significance. Only those recordings that have influenced and inspired both music creators and fans for generations are considered for this most special honor.
Jaime Castañeda (Director, At the Old Place) joined The Playhouse in 2014 as the Associate Artistic Director, where he has directed Tiger Style! by Mike Lew and Guards at the Taj by Rajiv Joseph. He has directed productions for Dallas Theater Center, Atlantic Theater Company, Cleveland Play House, The Old Globe, Perseverance Theatre, Kitchen Dog and American Theater Company. He has also developed new plays with the O'Neill, Rattlestick Theater, Portland Center Stage, Denver Center Theater, The Kennedy Center and the Atlantic Theater Company, where he spent five seasons as Artistic Associate. He is a Drama League fellow and has received the Princess Grace Award and the TCG New Generations Grant. M.F.A. in Directing from University of Texas at Austin.
Greg Garcia (Co-Book Writer, Escape to Margaritaville) created three back to back syndicated comedies: "Yes Dear," "My Name Is Earl," and "Raising Hope." He has written on a variety of other sitcoms including "Family Matters" and "Family Guy," and won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy series for the pilot of "My Name is Earl." In addition to his own creations, Garcia supervises writers and produces projects through his Production Company Amigos de Garcia. In addition to his work in TV Garcia is currently co-writing Escape to Margaritaville and still finds time to do things like work at Burger King during the last writer's strike because, why not?
Hansol Jung (Playwright, Wild Goose Dreams) is a playwright and director from South Korea. Plays include Cardboard Piano (Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville), Among the Dead(Ma-Yi Theater Company), No More Sad Things (co-world premiere at Sideshow Theatre, Chicago and Boise Contemporary Theatre), Wolf Play, and Wild Goose Dreams. Commissions from Playwrights Horizons, the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation grant with Ma-Yi Theatre and a translation of Romeo and Juliet for Play On! at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Her work has been developed at the Royal Court (London), New York Theatre Workshop, Berkeley Rep's Ground Floor, O'Neill Conference, Sundance Theatre Lab, Lark Play Development Center, Salt Lake Acting Company, Boston Court Theatre, Bushwick Starr, Asia Society New York, and Seven Devils Playwright Conference. She is the recipient of the 2016 P73 Playwright Fellowship at Page 73 Productions, Rita Goldberg Playwrights' Workshop Fellowship at the Lark, 2050 Fellowship at New York Theater Workshop, MacDowell Colony Artist Residency, and International Playwrights Residency at Royal Court (London). Her plays have received the Paul Stephen Lim Playwriting Award (Among the Dead), Honorable Mention from the 2014 Arch and Bruce Brown Playwriting Competition (Cardboard Piano), and was named 2014 finalist for the Ruby Prize (No More Sad Things). She has translated over thirty English musicals into Korean, including Evita, Dracula, Spamalot and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, while working on several award winning musical theatre productions as director, lyricist and translator in Seoul, South Korea. Jung holds a Playwriting MFA from Yale School of Drama, and is a proud member of the Ma-Yi Theater Writers Lab.
Des McAnuff (Director, The Untitled Donna Summer Project) served as La Jolla Playhouse's Artistic Director from 1983 through 1994, and from 2001 through April 2007, where he directed more than 30 productions of classics, new plays, and musicals. Under his leadership, The Playhouse garnered more than 300 awards, including the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Broadway: Big River (1985, seven Tony Awards including Best Director and Best Musical);A Walk in the Woods (1988); The Who's Tommy (1993, Tony Award for Best Director; 1997 London Olivier Award for Best Director and for Best Musical); How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1995); Dracula the Musical (2004); Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays (2004, Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event); Jersey Boys (2006, four Tony Awards including Best Musical; 2008 London Olivier Award for Best New Musical); Aaron Sorkin's The Farnsworth Invention (2007); Guys and Dolls (2009); Jesus Christ Superstar (2012); Doctor Zhivago (2015). Many of these productions were launched at The Playhouse, where he is Director Emeritus. Recipient of the Drama League's 2006 Julia Hansen Award for lifetime achievement in directing, Mr. McAnuff served as Artistic Director at Canada's Stratford Festival from 2007 through 2012 where he directed a dozen productions, including The Tempest and Caesar and Cleopatra with Christopher Plummer. Opera:Faust at the Met & ENO, Wozzeck at San Diego Opera. Film: Cousin Bette (director), Rocky and Bullwinkle (director), The Iron Giant (producer, 9 Animation Society Awards), Quills (executive producer).
Mike O'Malley (Co-Book Writer, Escape to Margaritaville). Truly a multi-hyphenate, Mike O'Malley got his start in front of the camera hosting Nickelodeon's "Get the Picture" and the iconic game show "Guts". His success continued in television with standout roles in "Yes Dear," "My Name Is Earl," "My Own Worst Enemy," "Justified," and his Emmy®-nominated, groundbreaking performance as 'Burt Hummel' on the hit show "Glee." Mike's feature work includes roles in Eat Pray Love, Cedar Rapids, Leatherheads, Meet Dave, 28 Days, Concussion and the upcoming Clint Eastwood project, Sully. Also an accomplished writer, Mike wrote and produced the independent feature Certainty, which he adapted from his own play. In television, Mike has served as a consulting producer on "Shameless" and is in his third season as creator and executive producer of "Survivor's Remorse" for Starz.
Leigh Silverman (Director, Wild Goose Dreams) directed the Broadway productions of Violet (Tony Award nomination), David Henry Hwang's Chinglish and Lisa Kron's Well. Her Off-Broadway credits include American Hero (2ST); Kung Fu (Signature Theatre); The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence (Playwrights Horizons); The Call (Playwrights Horizons); The Madrid (MTC); Golden Child (Signature Theatre); No Place to Go (Public Theater; Two River Theatre); In the Wake (Center Theatre Group/ Berkeley Repertory Theatre and The Public Theater, Obie Award, Lortel nomination); Go Back to Where You Are (Playwrights Horizons, Obie Award); From Up Here (MTC, Drama Desk nomination); Yellow Face (Center Theatre Group/The Public Theater);Coraline (MCC/ True Love); Blue Door (Playwrights Horizons); Well (The Public Theater; Huntington Theatre; ACT); Danny and the Deep Blue Sea (Second Stage Theatre). Recent regional: The Heidi Chronicles (The Guthrie); American Hero (WTF); Chinglish (Goodman Theater, Jeff nomination; West Coast/Hong Kong tour).
Sergio Trujillo (Choreographer, The Untitled Donna Summer Project) choreographed The Playhouse's productions of Chasing the Song, Memphis, Jersey Boys, The Wiz and Zhivago. His Broadway credits include Memphis (Olivier, OCC Awards; Astaire, Drama Desk nominations), Jersey Boys (Olivier, Drama Desk, OCC Award nominations), Hands on a Hardbody(Drama Desk nomination), Leap of Faith (Drama Desk, Astaire nominations), The Addams Family, Next to Normal (Lortel nomination), All Shook Up, Guys and Dolls (Astaire nomination). Off-Broadway: Saved (Lortel nomination), The Capeman, Romeo & Juliet (Public), A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Kismet (Encores!), Salome (NYC Opera). Regional: Director/ Choreographer - Arrabal, Flashdance, White Noise; Mambo Kings. International: Disney's Tarzan; West Side Story; The Sound of Music (Stratford); Peggy Sue Got Married (West End); Kiss Me, Kate (Japan). Film/TV: Jersey Boys, "SYTYCD", "Triple Sensation."
The Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse is internationally-renowned for creating some of the most exciting and adventurous work in American theatre, through its new play development initiatives, its innovative Without Walls series, artist residencies and commissions, including BD Wong, Daniel Beaty and Kirsten Greenidge. Currently led by Artistic Director Christopher Ashley and Managing Director Michael S. Rosenberg, The Playhouse was founded in 1947 by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer, and reborn in 1983 under the artistic leadership of Des McAnuff, La Jolla Playhouse has had 25 productions transfer to Broadway, garnering 35 Tony Awards, among them Jersey Boys, Memphis, The Who's Tommy, Big River, as well as Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays and the Pulitzer Prize-winning I Am My Own Wife, both fostered as part of The Playhouse's Page To Stage Program. Visit LaJollaPlayhouse.org.