Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

San Francisco Playhouse Announces Updates To New Works Program

Learn more about the lineup here!

San Francisco Playhouse continued its commitment to developing new plays and nurturing the voices of active writers with the selection of seven playwrights comprising the fourth and fifth years of the company's Five-Year Commission Program.

The recipients of these commissions are Claude Jackson, Jr., Lee Cataluna, Hend Ayoub, Geetha Reddy, Ezra Reaves, Sam Hamashima, and Ruben Grijalva. An eighth commissioned playwright will be announced soon.

Claude Jackson, Jr.'s play, Cashed Out, will receive its world premiere in the Playhouse's upcoming 2022/23 Season. The play, which began as a ten-minute scene showcased in the Playhouse's popular live streaming Zoomlet series, is now a full-length drama that follows the life of Rocky Camu and her family on the Gila River Indian Reservation.

Lee Cataluna's play, Sons of Maui, was also incubated in the Zoomlet series. After audiences' resounding response to this heartfelt tale of two Hawaiian brothers preparing for their father's memorial service, the Playhouse commissioned Ms. Cataluna to turn it into a full-length play.

Ruben Grijalva joins the commission program for the second time in three years after a whirlwind experience with his hit play Shoot Me When.... First commissioned in January 2020, Mr. Grijalva submitted his first draft of the play in April, welcomed his first child in May, and the play was announced as part of the Playhouse's 20/21 Season in November. Filmed on stage for online streaming, the play was directed by Susi Damilano and premiered in May 2021. Shoot Me When... was awarded the 2022 Will Glickman Award for Best New Bay Area Play. Grijalva's upcoming commission remains untitled.

"We are so proud of how far our New Works program has come, and of the role our theatre has played in the development of the American theatrical canon," said Bill English, Artistic Director. "Cultivating these new voices through our program has validated our feelings that playwrights are the prophets of our time."

Commissioned playwrights from the first three years of the program include Theresa Rebeck, Aaron Loeb, Chelsea Marcantel, Christian Durso, Julie Hébert, Melissa Ross, Octavio Solis, Teddy Hulsker, Julia Brothers, Brian Copeland, Ruben Grijalva, and Tori Keenan-Zelt. San Francisco Playhouse continues to develop these commissions with readings, workshops and virtual productions.

The Sandbox Series of World Premieres, the crown jewel of San Francisco Playhouse's New Works Program, remains on intermission. The program, which features fully staged productions with professional actors and designers, was forced to take a hiatus by the Covid-19 pandemic. It will return in a future season.

The 5-Year Commission Program, which is a part of the Playhouse's acclaimed New Works Program, was established in 2018 dedicated to the creation of 20 new plays over the next five years. The goal of the program is to provide more structure and long-range planning to the company's already robust but informal commission program which has produced such plays as Seared by Theresa Rebeck, Bauer by Lauren Gunderson, Pluto by Steve Yockey, and You Mean To Do Me Harm by Christopher Chen. Playwrights engaged in the first two years of the program included Theresa Rebeck (Seared), Aaron Loeb (Ideation), Chelsea Marcantel (A White Girls Guide to International Terrorism), Christian Durso (a first commission), Julie Hébert (Tree), Melissa Ross (An Entomologist's Love Story), and Octavio Solis (Mother Road).

The New Works Program at San Francisco Playhouse includes monthly play readings, the 3-play Sandbox Series of world premieres, and the 5-year Commission Program. The Playhouse's commitment to new works has been honored by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Edgerton Foundation, The Biller Foundation, The Zellerbach Foundation, The Hewlet and Gerbode Foundations and the American Theatre Wing. The program has achieved significant critical and commercial milestones: two Will Glickman Awards in the past four years; the Sandbox Series smash hit Ideation, which recently completed a successful Off-Broadway engagement in New York City; and George Brant's Grounded, which went on to international acclaim after its Sandbox premiere.

San Francisco Playhouse Announces Updates To New Works Program

Related Articles View More San Francisco Stories

More Hot Stories For You