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La Jolla Playhouse Announces Cast and Creative Team for 2021 POP Tour: PICK ME LAST

The cast features seven recent UC San Diego Theatre & Dance MFA graduates.

La Jolla Playhouse Announces Cast and Creative Team for 2021 POP Tour: PICK ME LAST

La Jolla Playhouse has announced the cast and creative team for its 2021 Performance Outreach Program Tour production, Pick Me Last, by Idris Goodwin, directed by Jacole Kitchen, Playhouse Director of Arts Engagement and In-House Casting. This year's POP Tour will be available in a virtual format, which can be accessed any time between the launch date in early May and July, 2021. The piece will be offered for free to all San Diego schools, community organizations and families, as well as to those around the country. For more information about booking the POP Tour, visit pop-tour-lajollaplayhouse.com.

The cast features seven recent UC San Diego Theatre & Dance MFA graduates, including Anthony Adu as "Wes," Corneilus Franklin as "New Kid/Stranger 1/Mother/Stacy," Rebecca Futterman As "Yancy/Burger/ TWFTPOTPWRA," Savanna Padilla as "Chavonne," Cody Sloan as "Bilal/Lorenz/ Ritchie," Emily Stout as "Claire/Freud/Esme" and Lee Vignes as "Musk/Father/ Corey/Stranger 2."

The creative team includes Idris Goodwin, Playwright; Jacole Kitchen, Director; Jonathan Gilmer, Scenic Designer; Carmon Amon, Costume Designer; Lindsay Alayne Stevens, Lighting Designer; Evan Eason, Sound Designer; Madison Mae Williams, Dramaturg; Kira Vine, First Assistant Director; and BluLight Films, Video Production and Direction.

About the Show

They say when a butterfly flaps its wings, the effect is greater than we can ever know. This is called The Butterfly Effect. Ten-year-old Wes is a regular kid who hears music in his mind to drown out the noise of his home, and always gets picked last to play games on the playground. When Wes's best pal Chavonne learns about The Butterfly Effect, she puts a plan in place that just might cause a chain reaction leading to getting herself picked last at recess, therefore causing Wes not to be last for the first time ever. Joined by Sigmund Freud, Elon Musk and others popping in and dropping knowledge, Chavonne embarks on a quest to advocate for Wes, but soon learns that the problem she is trying to fix, may not be the one that needs solving.

"While this year's POP Tour may look a little different, our commitment to introducing young people to theatre hasn't changed. Idris has created a delightful and touching new piece that speaks to issues of self-esteem and inclusion that students face every day, brought to classrooms in a safe, virtual format," said Christopher Ashley, the Rich Family Artistic Director of La Jolla Playhouse. "It's also extremely gratifying to be able to have UC San Diego MFA students make up the entire cast, offering them both a Playhouse residency and a chance to practice their craft during a time when many theatres are dark."

This year's POP Tour will be available in a virtual format as a 45-minute film, with video direction and production from BluLight Films. Their team includes Edwin Franko, Director of Film for BluLight; Rah Davis, Executive Producer for BluLight; Anthony Alegrete, Producer for BluLight and Mark Arica, Director of Photography for BluLight.

The video will showcase the cast performing on a vibrant set with costumes, filmed without an audience within all COVID-19 compliances, and featuring music from Brooklyn-based Afrobeat band Antibalas. The piece will be offered for free to all San Diego schools, community organizations and families, as well as to those around the count from its launch date in early May through July, 2021.

The experience will include closed captioning and audio description accommodations. In addition, teacher and students will have access to a standards-based virtual LJP E-guide which will include lesson plans centering on the show's themes of inclusion and being the new kid, along with creative team interviews, and pre- and post-show engagement activities that educators can integrate into their existing curriculum.

The Playhouse annually commissions world-class artists to create a bold new play for young audiences. Playwrights create an innovative, 45-minute piece that addresses issues in students' lives. Launched in 1987, the POP Tour has been bringing theatre to schools for more than 30 years.

La Jolla Playhouse also offers the Adopt-A-School program which provides funding for POP Tour performances at schools that could not otherwise afford it. With the help of the theatre's Education Committee, Playhouse Board members Judy Smith and Barbara ZoBell created the Adopt-A-School program for those who love theatre and feel no child should be without its transformative power. For more information, contact Cristina Hernandez at chernandez@ljp.org.

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