Diversionary Theatre Announces 2022/2023 Season Featuring the American Premiere of THE HIGH TABLE and More

The season will also feature the San Diego Premiere of Head Over Heels and more.

By: Jul. 08, 2022
Diversionary Theatre Announces 2022/2023 Season Featuring the American Premiere of THE HIGH TABLE and More

Diversionary Theatre has announced its 2022/2023 season: the legacy revival The Mystery of Irma Vep (December 2022), by Charles Ludlam and directed by Matt M. Morrow; the American Premiere of The High Table (February/March 2023), by Temi Wilkey, directed by Bibi Mama; in the Reuel K. Olin New Play Development Center Monsters of the American Cinema (March 2023), by San Diego-based playwright Christian St. Croix; the San Diego Premiere of Head Over Heels (May/June, 2023), songs by The Go-Go's, based upon The Arcadia by Sir Philip Sidney, conceived and original book by Jeff Whitty, adapted by James Magruder, and directed by Matt M. Morrow.

Tickets for Diversionary's 2022/2023 season productions are currently available via a subscription purchase at https://cloud.broadwayworld.com/rec/ticketclick.cfm?fromlink=2184819®id=80&articlelink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.diversionary.org%2Fseason-37-we-are-family?utm_source=BWW2022&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=article&utm_content=bottombuybutton1 and by calling 619.220.0097. Subscription packages start at just $68. Discounted subscriptions are available for seniors, students, educators and military.

"Diversionary is back and stronger than ever," says Executive Artistic Director, Matt Morrow. "This season has been programmed with so much light and love to continue to sustain us as we venture through the unknowns of living in an endemic and the anxiety-inspiring decisions of our current Supreme Court. I could think of no better reason to focus on what binds us together as a family to find strength, inspiration, and fellowship. I hope you will leave our theatre lighter, and inspired to make the world a bit brighter and lovelier."

Diversionary's 37th season kicks off in July with an expanded Teen-Versionary ensemble - a diverse cross section of queer youth - writing and performing a new play as part San Diego's Pride Festival, inspired by LGBTQ+ Heroes and performing July 15, 2022 at 3:00 PM and July 16 at 4:00 PM. Admission is free.

The 2022/2023 season also includes the Fall Fresh Festival (October/November 2022) celebrating the one-year anniversary of Diversionary's Austin & Joann Clark Cabaret. The Clark Cabaret has been welcoming its community six nights a week to enjoy drinks and live entertainment in a piano bar atmosphere complete with performances by beloved local favorites, up-and-coming artists, and local theatre companies. From drag kings and queens to stand-up comedy and hosted movie nights, Diversionary will be bursting at the seams this fall with an eclectic assortment of queer-themed entertainment with an emphasis on non-profit groups and diverse artists, as well as serving as a hub for organizing and meeting.

Diversionary's annual program serving LGBTQIA+ senior citizens, the Stonewall Salon, moves to the Fall for season 2022/2023, and centers around the theme of personal heroes and chosen family. The group of LGBTQ+ elders meet for six weeks to devise their own show based on their personal histories, culminating in free performances open to the public.

Also in the fall, Diversionary opens its Mainstage, New Play Development Center, and Arts Education Center for San Diego theatre makers and arts educators. This curated program provides performance space to sister organizations in need of a place to call home. With limited theatre and arts education venues across our city, this vital community outreach strengthens Diversionary's engagement with like-minded peer organizations and individual artists.

Arts education programming will continue to be prominent throughout the 2022/2023 season, including the annual LGBTQ+ themed touring production, D-Tours, going to schools in the San Diego Unified School District (March/April 2023). Kid-Versionary continues its after school programming on-site at Alice Birney Elementary and Roosevelt Middle Schools. The Silver Squad and Diversionary Werks continue with their periodic drop-classes, and the Teen Playwriting Lab continues with a six-week playwriting session for LGBTQIA+ teenagers (Spring 2023).

Diversionary Theatre is the nation's third-oldest LGTBQ+ theatre dedicated to amplifying queer voices through the performing arts in a dynamic, inclusive, and provocative environment that celebrates and preserves their unique culture, while contributing to an environment of diversity and inclusion throughout the broader community. Since Diversionary's founding in 1986, it has continually provided an inspiring and thought-provoking theatrical platform to explore complex and diverse stories of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning communities in the form of live entertainment that can be enjoyed by all. The Austin & Joann Clark Cabaret is a new space at Diversionary Theatre opened in fall of 2021, and features a full bar and a permanent historical display created in partnership with LAMBDA Archives of San Diego commemorating the space in the tradition of the iconic "Gay Bar" where the LGBTQ+ community and movement coalesced.

About the 2022/2023 Season

Legacy Revival


By Charles Ludlam
Directed by Matt M. Morrow

December 1-24, 2022
Opening December 10, 2022
Gothic horror, Victorian romance, and classic B-movies are whipped together into a diabolical delight for the holidays. When Lady Enid joins her newlywed Lord Edgar at his estate in the mysterious moors of the English countryside, dark family secrets and supernatural lore emerge with some seriously campy consequences. This queer comic masterpiece comes to the Diversionary stage for the first time in 20 years, with two performers bringing innumerable ridiculous characters to life in a high camp tour de force.

American Premiere


by Temi Wilkey
Directed by Bibi Mama

February 9 - March 17, 2023
Opening February 18, 2023

Tara and Leah are planning their perfect London wedding: The dresses are chosen, the venue is booked, and the invitations are mailed. But when Tara's Nigerian parents refuse to attend, it's not just the RSVP list that is thrown into question. Meanwhile, suspended in the stars, three of Tara's ancestors are jolted from their rest to decide whether or not to bless her wedding. A hilarious and heartfelt story of lineage and love is played out between the heavens and earth in this debut play from British playwright Temi Wilkey.

In the Reuel K. Olin New Play Development Center


by Christian St. Croix

March 16-26, 2023
Opening March 18, 2023

When Remy, a black man, finds himself not only the owner of his late husband's drive-in, but also the guardian of his straight, white teenage son, the two forge a relationship around the classic horror movies they regularly screen for the public. However, the grief they harbor over their shared loss threatens to fracture their bond just when they need each other the most. Written by San Diego's most exciting emerging playwright, this haunting, funny, and loving story about race, sexuality, and family reveals the monsters and saviors we discover in each other.



Songs by The Go-Go's
Based Upon The Arcadia by Sir Philip Sidney
Conceived and original book by Jeff Whitty
Adapted by James Magruder
Directed by Matt M. Morrow

May 25-June 18, 2023
Opening Night June 3, 2023

From the visionary behind Avenue Q comes a bold new Broadway musical fairytale where "Once Upon a Time" crashes into our present moment. In the mythical land of Arcadia, the royal family is challenged to set out on a journey to save their beloved kingdom from extinction. Through their adventure gender roles are upended, relationships liberated, and love is discovered in the most surprising of ways. Told to the hypnotic beat of the iconic 80's all-girl rock band The Go-Go's, Head Over Heels joyously unveils a path to a new world where diversity is celebrated and ladies lead!


Since joining Diversionary Theatre as Executive Artistic Director in 2014, Matt M. Morrow has helped increase Diversionary's operating budget by 100%. Under Matt's leadership the theatre has been nominated for 29 San Diego Critics Circle Awards, winning two Outstanding New Play Awards in 2017 and 2019. Alongside Diversionary's Board of Trustees, Matt led the Securing Our Future campaign, a $2.5 million renovation project for the theatre's home in University Heights. Notable productions Matt has directed and/or produced with Diversionary include the 20th Anniversary production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Winner, 2019 Outstanding Lead Performance in a Musical, SDCC Award), Miranda Rose Hall's The Hour of Great Mercy (Winner, 2019 Best New Play, SDCC Award), the World Premiere of Gordon Leary and Julia Meinwald's musical The Loneliest Girl in the World, Georgette Kelly's Ballast (Winner, 2017 Best New Play, SDCC Award), Justin Huertas' Lizard Boy The Musical (Winner, Outstanding Lead Performance in a Musical). Matt was honored with the inaugural Larry T. Baza Arts & Culture Award from San Diego Pride, and was a Creative Catalyst Fellow with The San Diego Foundation and La Jolla Playhouse. He has developed new work with The Sundance Theatre Institute, The Old Globe, The Banff Centre, Center Theatre Group, American Conservatory Theater, Lincoln Center, PlayPenn, and Page 73 Productions in residence at the Yale School of Drama. Matt served as The John Wells Professor of Directing at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama (Graduate & Undergraduate Directing programs), and is a member of the Lincoln Center Director's Lab. Matt is currently adjunct Professor of Directing at UCSD's Graduate Directing program. He holds a BFA in Directing from Carnegie Mellon University.

Charles Ludlam (Playwright, The Mystery of Irma Vep) was born in Northport, Long Island on April 12, 1943. He had officially come out by the time he received a degree in dramatic literature from Hofstra University in 1964. After graduation he joined the Playhouse of the Ridiculous, but after a falling out formed his own Ridiculous Theatrical Company in 1967. Ludlam's satirical avant-garde company soon found an appreciative audience with early productions like Conquest of the Universe, or When Queens Collide, and The Enchanted Pig. For the next two decades he wrote, directed, and performed (in female as well as male roles) in almost all of the over two dozen productions, and often co-starring his life partner, Everett Quinton. His plays imitated a variety of sources from gothic novels to film noir, and from pulp fiction to opera. His productions were often characterized by cross-dressing, double-entendre, melodramatics, and biting humor. Ludlam was the recipient of six Off-Broadway (Obie) Awards as well as a Drama Desk award, and the Rosamund Gilder Award. Some of his most popular works included The Artificial Jungle, Camille, Galas, Reverse Psychology, and Der Ring Gott Farblonjet. Ludlam's most popular play was the tour de force The Mystery of Irma Vep, in which two actors play seven roles in a send-up of gothic horror novels. In 1991, Irma Vep was the most produced play in the US; and in 2003, it became the longest-running play ever produced in Brazil. Ludlam was also highly regarded as an instructor, teaching or staging productions at New York University, Yale, and Carnegie Mellon. Ludlam was diagnosed with AIDS in March 1987 and died of PCP pneumonia at age 44 on May 28, 1987. At the time of his death, the New York Times called him "one of the most prolific and flamboyant artists in the theatre of the avant-garde." In his honor, the street in front of his theatre in Sheridan Square was renamed Charles Ludlam Lane. In 2009 he was posthumously inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.

Temi Wilkey (Playwright, The High Table) is an actor & writer from North London. She studied English at Cambridge before training with the National Youth Theatre REP company in 2014. Temi was a member of the Royal Court's Young Writers Group in 2017 and wrote her debut play, The High Table, at the course's culmination. It was produced at the Bush Theatre in Lynette Linton's debut season, and won Temi the Stage Debut Award for Best Writer in 2020. She also co-founded & co-directed the Drag King company, Pecs, performing in the sell-out runs of their shows at venues including Soho Theatre, The Yard & Tate Britain before leaving the company in 2019. Temi wrote an episode of Netflix's Sex Education S3 for which she was nominated for the NAACP award for Outstanding writing in a Comedy Series. She has written two episodes for Disney Plus's forthcoming show Wedding Season. Temi is working on the adaptation of the Booker-prize winning book Girl, Woman, Other for the BBC and her own original projects in the UK and the US. She is currently on the BFI Flare x BAFTA Crew programme mentored by Russell T Davies, and is one of the Forbes 30 under 30 for 2021.

Bibi Mama (Director, The High Table) is a first generation Beninese-American actress born and raised in Mansfield, CT. Growing up she watched her father, an English professor and author, continue the Yoruba oral tradition through storytelling. Watching him inspired her love for acting. She earned my B.F.A. from THE Howard University and an MFA at The Old Globe/University of San Diego MFA Graduate Acting Program.

Christian St. Croix (Playwright, Monsters of the American Cinema) is an award-winning playwright based in San Diego, CA. He was recently featured in American Theatre Magazine's "Role Call: People to Watch" installment. His plays include new work, We Are the Forgotten Beasts; Monsters of the American Cinema, winner of the 2021 Carlo Annoni International Drama Award, and Zack, winner of the 2021 Young-Howze Theatre Award for Best Comedic Writing. His work has been produced by Blindspot Collective in association with the La Jolla Playhouse (San Diego, CA), ArtsWest Playhouse (Seattle, WA), Prologue Theatre (Arlington, VA), Know Theatre of Cincinnati (OH), Playwrights Round Table (Orlando, FL) and the House of International Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark. He's recently under commission by Playwrights Project.

Jeff Whitty (Book Writer, Head Over Heels) is a Tony Award-winning, Academy Award-nominated American playwright, actor and Oscar-nominated screenwriter. For the stage musical Avenue Q, he won the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical. For his work on the Fox Searchlight film Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018), he was nominated for the BAFTA and Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and won numerous awards including the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Screenplay, AARP's Movies for Grownups, the Satellite Awards, and the Film Independent Spirit Awards. Avenue Q was his first produced musical and Can You Ever Forgive Me his first produced screenplay.

James Magruder (Book adapter, Head Over Heels) was born in Washington, D.C., and moved with his family five times before settling down in Chicagoland. These early and frequent dislocations, combined with a brutish stepfather, a burgeoning queer identity, and a veeeery late puberty, have provided him with a backlog of humiliating grist and many outstanding scores to settle. He went off to Cornell University, spent his junior year in Paris, served time as a grad student in the Yale French department, then defected to the Yale School of Drama, where he received his doctorate. His dissertation, Three French Comedies (Yale University Press), was named an "Outstanding Literary Translation of the Year" by the American Literary Translators Association. Today, his versions of Molière, Marivaux, Lesage, Labiche, Gozzi, Hofmannsthal, Dickens, and Giraudoux have been produced across the country and earn him tens of dollars. He also wrote the book for the Broadway musical Triumph of Love (1997) and co-wrote the recent Head Over Heels (2018), for which he received a nomination for Outstanding Book of a Musical by the Outer Critics Circle. He began writing fiction in 2002. His stories have appeared, or are forthcoming, in StoryQuarterly, The Idaho Review, The Hopkins Review, New England Review, The Gettysburg Review, Bloom, Subtropics, The Normal School, and elsewhere, and the anthologies Boy Crazy and New Stories From the Midwest. His debut novel, Sugarless, was a Lambda Literary Award Finalist, and was shortlisted for both the VCU Cabell First Novelist Prize and the 2010 William Saroyan International Writing Prize. Northwestern University Press published his first collection of stories, Let Me See It, in 2014. Love Slaves of Helen Hadley Hall, nineteen years in the making, was published by a now-defunct indie press in 2016 and reissued in 2017 by Chelsea Station. Vamp Until Ready, a summer stock novel set in upstate New York in the 1980's, arrives at the end of September, 2021. A five-time fellow of the MacDowell Colony, Magruder's work has also been supported by the Maryland State Arts Council, the New Harmony Project, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, the Ucross Foundation, the Blue Mountain Center, and the Jerome Foundation. He teaches dramaturgy at Swarthmore College, adaptation at Yale School of Drama, and fiction at the University of Baltimore.