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Magic Theatre Presents World Premiere Of Jessica Hagedorn's THE GANGSTER OF LOVE


Magic Theatre Presents World Premiere Of Jessica Hagedorn's THE GANGSTER OF LOVE Magic Theatre (Loretta Greco, Artistic Director and Jaimie Mayer, Managing Director) announced today the complete cast of Jessica Hagedorn's World Premiere THE GANGSTER OF LOVE, the final production of the 2017-2018 season. Previews begin on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at Magic Theatre's Fort Mason location, with opening night on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are on-sale now.

Jessica Hagedorn's THE GANGSTER OF LOVE focuses on the author's own story of immigration from Manila and is based on her book of the same name. In THE GANGSTER OF LOVE, Raquel "Rocky" Rivera and her eccentric family settle in the Haight during the 1970s, amidst a dynamic period of conflict, social change, and artistic flourishing in San Francisco. The lauded city of poets, rebels, and thriving musicians will be reclaimed at Magic Theatre through the eyes of Hagedorn's immigrant artists. This world premiere stage adaptation - twenty years in the making - will feature live music, poetry reading, and the music video as key narrative forms. THE GANGSTER OF LOVE is a Magic Gerbode commissioned new play.

The cast will feature Sarah Nina Hayon as "Milagros Rivera," Golda Sargento as "Rocky Rivera," Jed Parsario as "Voltaire Rivera," Sean San Jose as "Uncle Marlon, Carabao Kid," Chuck Lacson as "Basilio Cruz, Shig Murao," Lance Gardner as "Bugsy Bustamante, Zeke Akamine, Jimi Hendrix", Patrick Alparone as "Elvis Chang," Lawrence Radecker as "Rick Foss" and Dezi Soley as "Keiko Van Heller." In addition to Ms. Hagedorn and Ms. Greco, the creative team includes Shirley Fishman (Dramaturg), Hana Kim (Scenic and Projections Design), Sara Huddleston (Sound Design), Ulises Alcala (Costume Design), Ray Oppenheimer (Lighting Design) and Michaela Byrne (Production Stage Manager).

"We are honored to welcome the great Jessica Hagedorn back to Magic," said Magic Theatre Artistic Director Loretta Greco. "For over two decades, THE GANGSTER OF LOVE has been a classic full of inspiration and deeply meaningful for so many young people. All of us at Magic are thrilled to support the creation of a play from the original prose which is in equal parts: an artist's coming of age story, an immigrant's tale, and the story of San Francisco and the glorious 70's... Magic will return to its old warehouse roots while the audience grooves to the sounds of the GANGSTER OF LOVE band! We can't wait!"

"I'm thrilled to be collaborating once again with the Magic Theatre's fearless artistic director, Loretta Greco, in bringing THE GANGSTER OF LOVE to San Francisco," said Playwright Jessica Hagedorn. "I can't wait to work with our innovative creative team, and the stellar cast of kick-ass actors and musicians that we've assembled." About Jessica Hagedorn.

Jessica Hagedorn is the author of Toxicology, Dream Jungle, The Gangster of Love, and Dogeaters, which won the American Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award in fiction. Other publications include Danger And Beauty, a collection of poetry and prose, and Burning Heart: A Portrait Of The Philippines (with photojournalist Marissa Roth). Hagedorn edited both volumes of Charlie Chan Is Dead: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Fiction, and Manila Noir, a crime fiction anthology. Her plays include Most Wanted, Stairway To Heaven, Fe In The Desert, and the stage adaptation of Dogeaters. In collaboration with composer Fabian Obispo, Hagedorn is adapting Lysley Tenorio's short story, Felix Starro, into a musical play. Her work in film includes screenplays for director Shu Lea Cheang's Fresh Kill and for the Oxygen Network's animated series, The Pink Palace. Honors and awards include a Guggenheim Fiction Fellowship, a Lucille Lortel Playwriting Fellowship, and a Philippine National Book Award for Manila Noir. She is an alumna of the Sundance Theatre Lab for Dogeaters and Most Wanted, and the Sundance Screenwriters' Lab for Dogeaters. For more information, visit

Loretta Greco is currently in her tenth season as Magic Theatre's Artistic Director. At Magic, she has developed and premiered Taylor Mac's Hir; Luis Alfaro's Oedipus El Rey; Polly Pen and Victor Lodato's Arlington; Sharr White's Annapurna; Lloyd Suh's American Hwangap; and Octavio Solis' Se Llama Cristina. Ms. Greco's directing credits at Magic include Theresa Rebeck's Mauritius, Jessica Hagedorn's Dogeaters, the revival of Sam Shepard's Fool For Love, and the World Premiere of Han Ong's Grandeur. This season, Ms. Greco previously directed the World Premiere of Barbara Hammond's The Eva Trilogy.

Ms. Greco's New York Directing premieres include: Tracey Scott Wilson's The Story, Lackawanna Blues (Obie) by Ruben Santiago Hudson, Nilo Cruz's Two Sisters and a Piano at NYSF/Public Theater, Rinne Groff's Inky at Women's Project, and Nilo Cruz's A Park in Our House at New York Theatre Workshop. Prior to her Magic post, she served as Producing Artistic Director of New York's Women's Project and the Associate Director/Resident Producer at the McCarter Theatre. Ms. Greco received her MFA from Catholic University, her BA from Loyola University New Orleans, and has received two Drama League Fellowships and a Princess Grace Award.
Magic Theatre's 2018-2019 Season will be announced shortly.

Magic Theatre is located in the Marina District of San Francisco, at the historic Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture (Fort Mason, 2 Marina Blvd., Building D, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94123). The entrance to Fort Mason is at the intersection of Marina Blvd and Buchanan Street. The performance schedule is Tuesday at 7:00 p.m., Wednesday - Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets, priced from $20.00 to $65.00, are available online at; by calling Magic Theatre at (415) 441-8822; or visiting Magic Theatre's Box Office, Tuesday - Friday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during non-performance dates. On performance dates, the Box Office is open Tuesday - Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday one hour prior to the show. For more information, visit

Now celebrating its 51st year of continuous operation, Magic is dedicated to creative risk: we cultivate bold new plays and playwrights to produce incendiary and ideologically robust stories that ask substantive questions about our place in humanity. Magic provides a nurturing yet rigorous artistic home where innovative writers can create a body of work. We believe that developing an evolved artistic vocabulary with the playwright at our side greatly improves a playwright's chances to thrive. By adding voices to the canon, we ensure the vibrancy of the American theatre.

Magic's impact has resonated throughout the country and beyond since its founding by John Lion in 1967; Lion brought in Sam Shepard and Michael McClure as playwrights-in-residence, establishing Magic as a space for the communion of playwright and audience. From these early plays to the World Premieres of Luis Alfaro's Oedipus el Rey and Taylor Mac's The Lily's Revenge and Hir, Magic continues to produce groundbreaking new work.

Since Artistic Director Loretta Greco assumed leadership of Magic in 2008, the theatre has produced twenty world premieres, seventeen of which have enjoyed life beyond the Magic stage. Magic plays have received numerous awards including the Pulitzer Prize, ten Obie Awards, the Kennedy Center Award, Bay Area Critics' Circle Awards, and the NAACP Image Award.

Photo credit: Helen Oji

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