New Works by Jon Robin Baitz, Bill Cain, Sandra Tsing Loh and More Set for 20th Anniversary Ojai Playwrights Conference

New Works by Jon Robin Baitz, Bill Cain, Sandra Tsing Loh and More Set for 20th Anniversary Ojai Playwrights Conference

The Ojai Playwrights Conference (OPC), one of the most acclaimed new play developmental programs in the country, announces its celebratory 20th Anniversary season with an extraordinary program of playwrights, new play workshop presentations and special performance events from August 6 through 13, 2017 in Ojai, California.

The OPC Summer New Works Festival will feature twelve events over five days with up-and-coming playwrights as well as writers that have been working with the conference for many years. Participating in this year's conference with new works are Will Arbery, Jennifer Barclay, Bill Cain, Samuel D. Hunter, JC Lee, Sandra Tsing Loh, Ren Dara Santiago and. Korde Arrington Tuttle. Additionally, Jon Robin Baitz, Rick Cleveland, Robin Gerber, Richard Montoya with Roger Guenveur Smith, and Hallie Palladino will be this year's "Writers-In-Residence.

The Festival will also include two very special "Intersection Series" events: a 20th Anniversary opening event, TRUTH WILL OUT featuring the artists and writers from this year's conference; and a second event that explores the exceptional talent that resides right here in Southern California, SO CAL ARTISTIC POWER, which will feature new pieces from Jon Robin Baitz (who is creating an epilogue for his play Vicuña, which will debut at this "Intersection" event): Rick Cleveland, Richard Montoya and others in a celebration of the very best of Southern California writing talent.

Comments OPC Artistic Director/Producer, Robert Egan, "It is gratifying to celebrate 20 years of productive new play development. Beyond our most enthusiastic expectations, we have become a national leader in this arena. Those playwrights who have experienced our process keep wanting to come back year after year, and have become our greatest advocates. This is due in large part to our unique mission of developing plays and playwrights that dare and care to write vividly, bravely and deeply about the socio-political and ethical challenges we face as a people. We live in tumultuous and momentous times. Our playwrights imagine the horizon of possibility by facing the troubling truths of the present."

Egan continues, "We have one of the best gatherings of playwriting talent ever coming to Ojai for our 20th Anniversary season. Consistent with our mission -- veteran OPC playwrights Bill Cain, Sam Hunter, JC Lee, Sandra Tsing Loh join forces with exciting festival newcomer Jennifer Barclay and emerging talents Ren Dara Santiago, Will Arbery and Korde Arrington Tuttle to provide a provocative and probing portrait of America today. Beyond the fake, the inflammatory, the sensationalized and the deceptive - come experience visions of truth about the present disturbing and incendiary American moment. At OPC 2017 - Truth Will Out!"

Seating is limited for the OPC Summer New Works Festival, and tickets ($30) may be purchased online at


Sunday, August 6 at 6:00pm

Intersections #1:


Opening Night OPC Writers' Cabaret

Featuring OPC 2017 Playwrights and Artists

Directed by Robert Egan with Kristen Osborn

Zalk Theater, 703 El Paseo Rd., Ojai

Monday, August 7 at 8:00pm


Showcasing original works by OPC Interns

Directed by Alice Tuan

Zalk Theater, 703 El Paseo Rd., Ojai

Thursday, August 10 at 7:00pm

Intersections #2:


Directed by Robert Egan with Kristen Osborn

7:00 PM, Matilija Auditorium, 703 El Paseo Rd., Ojai

Friday, August 11

New Play Workshop #1


Written by JC Lee

Directed by Ron Lagomarsino

6:00 pm - Zalk Theater at Besant Hill, 8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Rd., Ojai

New Play Workshop #2


Written by Sandra Tsing Loh

Directed by Bart DeLorenzo

9:00 pm - Zalk Theater at Besant Hill, 8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Rd., Ojai

Saturday, August 12


Directed by Kim Maxwell

10:00 am - Zalk Theater at Besant Hill, 8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Rd., Ojai

New Play Workshop #3


Written by Bill Cain

Directed by Hal Brooks

1:00 pm - Zalk Theater at Besant Hill, 8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Rd., Ojai

New Play Workshop #4


Written by Korde Arrington Tuttle

Directed by Joshua Brody

4:00 pm - Zalk Theater at Besant Hill, 8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Rd., Ojai

New Play Workshop #5


Written by Samuel D. Hunter

Directed by Robert Egan

7:30 pm - Zalk Theater at Besant Hill, 8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Rd., Ojai

Sunday, August 13

New Play Workshop #6


Written by Ren Dara Santiago

12:00 pm - Zalk Theater at Besant Hill, 8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Rd., Ojai

New Play Workshop #7


Written by Will Arbery

Directed by Casey Stangl

3:00 pm - Zalk Theater at Besant Hill, 8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Rd., Ojai

New Play Workshop #8


Written by Jennifer Barclay

Directed by Margot Bordelon

6:00 pm - Zalk Theater at Besant Hill, 8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Rd., Ojai



Over three consecutive and unnaturally frigid winters in Evanston, IL, the city's deputy public works administrator agonizes over whether she should implement groundbreaking road de-icing technology. What are the potential consequences for her salt truck teams and her city? Meanwhile, her directionless daughter struggles with the ever-stranger winters, as her top salt truck drivers battle increasingly massive snow storms and unexpected personal tragedy. There's something underneath it all that makes everyone feel rather uneasy.

BIO: Will Arbery is a playwright + filmmaker from Texas + Wyoming. He's currently the recipient of the Edes Foundation Prize for Emerging Artists. He's a member of EST/Youngblood and an alum of Clubbed Thumb's Early Career Writers Group, Theater Masters, Alliance Theatre/Kendeda, and Variety's "110 Students to Watch." His play The Mongoose was an L.A. Times Critic's Pick and won the Stage Raw Theatre Award for Best Playwriting. He grew up the only boy among seven sisters.


A small town high school prepares for its 40th annual production of Our Town. But this traditional ritual, which has united the community for generations, becomes the occasion for a human tragedy far too common in our America. Suspended between past and future, before and after, the town historian - a local mother - narrates this theatrical tale asking us: Who is responsible? How have we failed? And what are we going to do about it all?

BIO: A Chicago bred actor-turned-playwright recently relocated to the DC area, where she is a member of Arena Stage's 2017-18 Playwrights' Arena, Jennifer Barclay has had plays produced and developed by Steppenwolf, La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe, RedCat, Center Stage, and the Kennedy Center. Jennifer is the recipient of the Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award, Kennedy Center National Science Playwriting Award, and the Pinter Review Gold Medal. Ripe Frenzyreceived the National New Play Network's 2016 Smith Prize for Political Theatre.


To be, or not to be - and at what price? Is an Oscar-winning star willing to die to prove he has a great Hamlet in him? Will an understudy sell his soul for a chance at the greatest of roles? Can a dying actor find life in Hamlet's death if given the chance? The story of three Hamlets and one woman passionately committed to directing a Hamlet so perfect that we need never encounter this timeless, tortuous play again.

BIO: Making his seventh appearance at the Ojai Playwrights Conference, Bill Cain is the author of (among other works): Stand Up Tragedy (LA Critics Award, Helen Hayes Award, and the Joseph A. Callaway Award for its Broadway production), Equivocation (LA Ovation Award, American Theater Critics' Association/Steinberg Award), 9 Circles (ATCA/Steinberg Award, Sky Cooper New Play Award), and How To Write a New Book for the Bible (Bay Area Critics' Award). Bill is also the recipient of the inaugural Terrence McNally New Play Award from Philadelphia Theater Company.

GREATER CLEMENTS by Samuel D. Hunter

In rural Idaho, a once thriving mining community is hit hard by economic troubles. Long-time resident Maggie is forced to close her small museum devoted to the mine and its fabled history of fatal accidents. A mysterious beau from Maggie's youth arrives with his precocious granddaughter who begs Maggie's troubled son to give her the final tour of the abandoned mine. Long buried hopes and dreams are resurrected in the form of personal and public ghosts.

BIO: Samuel D. Hunter's plays include The Whale (Drama Desk Award, Lucille Lortel Award, GLAAD Media Award, Drama League and Outer Critics Circle nominations), A Bright New Boise (Obie Award, Drama Desk nomination), The Few, A Great Wilderness, Rest, Pocatello, Lewiston, Clarkston, and most recently, The Healing and The Harvest. He is the recipient of a 2014 MacArthur "Genius Grant" Fellowship, a 2012 Whiting Writers Award, and the 2008 PONY/Lark Fellowship.


A white middle-aged former ranch-owner is struggling to survive as a workman in the gig economy. He has a tense confrontation with his Mexican-American boss who is angling to make it as a real player in a tech business run by liberAl White entrepreneurs. Is it a racially charged incident? Or something more? A portrait of privilege and identity, class and race, fragility and anxiety in a rapidly changing nation.

BIO: JC Lee writes for theatre, film and television. His play, Luce, received its world premiere in 2013 at Lincoln Center Theatre before subsequent productions in Chicago and London. His other plays have been staged and developed at Center Theatre Group, Ojai Playwrights Conference, Marin Theatre Company, The Williamstown Theatre Festival, Magic Theatre, Azuka Theatre Company and many others. He's received commissions and fellowships from The Old Globe, Second Stage, South Coast Repertory, the National New Play Network, and MCC Theater, where his play, Relevance, will premiere in 2018.


What defines family is survival. Mars, Leon and Marie grow up in the far north of Manhattan learning how to look solid when life fills you with holes. This is a trick they learned from their baffling, battling and absent parents - and later finessed by them on the block. As they wrestle with the challenges of independence, a missing parent creeps back into their lives. All they believed was solid about themselves and family threatens to melt into dream.

BIO: Ren Dara Santiago is a Fila-Rican playwright from Harlem. The Siblings Play has had development at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Labyrinth Theater, MCC Theater, and The Cherry Lane Theatre (Mentor Project). She has a Playwriting Mentorship Residency at SPACE on Ryder Farm and is a teaching artist for the advanced playwrights at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. Ren is a founding member of Middle Voice at Rattlestick and is an eternal member of The Baldwin Project by Lucy Thurber.

BLUE STATE by Sandra Tsing Loh

To say Sandra Tsing Loh was upset by the election is like saying Sylvia Plath had minor issues with hydration. On Election Day, November 8th, Sandra was humming "Happy", sipping chardonnay and ironing her growing collection of soft-knit pantsuits. On November 9th, she raged in gothic fury at entire rust belt states. A full-tilt tribal journey through one Blue Stater's Kubler-Ross Stages of the Orange Apocalypse. Audience participation will be invited - laughing, hugging, howling is a must!

BIO: Named by Variety as one of America's 50 most influential comedians, Sandra Tsing Loh is a writer and performer whose solo theatre shows include: Aliens in America and Bad Sex With Bud Kemp (both off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre); Sugar Plum Fairy (Geffen Playhouse, Seattle Rep); I Worry (Kennedy Center, Actors Theatre of Louisville) and The Bitch Is Back (Broad Stage). Her memoir, The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones, was selected as one of The New York Times' 100 Most Notable Books and was developed at OPC.

graveyard shift by KORDE ARRINGTON TUTTLE

An African-American couple uncertain about their relationship and future seize the employment opportunity of a lifetime and move from Naperville, Illinois to Waller County, Texas. In a small police department in Waller County, three employees also contemplate their conflicting personal desires and future life opportunities. Inspired by the poignant reality and ongoing legacy of Sandra Bland, graveyard shift is a love story about racial collision and the consequences of being in the wrong place at the wrong time in 21st century America.

BIO: Hailing from Charlotte, North Carolina, Korde Arrington Tuttle has had his work developed at the Obie-winning Fire This Time Festival, HomeBase Theatre Collective, The Movement Theater Company, The New School's 2015 AfroFuturism Conference, and The Tenth Magazine. Korde is a proud recipient of the Steinberg Playwriting Fellowship, and was selected as a finalist for the 2017 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Contest and City Theatre National Award for Short Playwriting Contest.


Jon Robin Baitz has developed many of his plays at the Ojai Playwrights Conference including Vicuña, Other Desert Cities, and The Paris Letter. His other plays include The Film Society (world premiere directed by Robert Egan), The Substance of Fire, Three Hotels, and A Fair Country, which, along withOther Desert Cities, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and winner of Drama Desk and Drama Critics Circle Awards, as well as a multiple Tony nominee. He created the long-running ABC hit series Brothers & Sisters, and wrote and produced The Slap for NBC in 2015. Baitz will be working on the Epilogue to his hit play, Vicuña.

RICK CLEVELAND, a playwright and Emmy winning television writer, returns to OPC to work on a new monologue chronicling the true story behind "Trump vs. Wynn," the movie script he wrote for HBO. That script led Trump to file a lawsuit that kept the movie from being made, and also robbed the world from seeing what would have been a classic, iconic (and possibly world-saving) performance of "the Donald" as played by Christopher Walken. Rick will be creating this new show based on the mercurial world of Trump and

ROBIN GERBER is a best-selling author, historian, and speaker. Robin's books include Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way: Timeless Strategies from the First Lady of Courage (Penguin/Portfolio), Katharine Graham: The Leadership Journey of an American Icon (Penguin/Portfolio), Ruth Handler: Barbie and Ruth: The Story of the World's Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her (Harper/Collins), and the novel Eleanor vs. Ike (Harper/Avon). Prior to becoming a writer, Robin practiced law in Washington, D.C. and worked on Capitol Hill. The Shot is her first play and Robin will be developing it while in residence.

Richard Montoya is a solo playwright and one-third of the legendary performance trio known as Culture Clash. Water & Power, American Night, The River and Nogales are among his award winning solo writing efforts. With the Clash crew he co-created Chavez Ravine, Radio Mambo, A Bowl of Beings and many other seminal works exploring life in the Americas on the borders of society.

Roger Guenveur Smith has adapted his Obie Award-winning solo performance of A Huey P. Newton Story into a Peabody Award-winning telefilm. His Bessie Award-winning Rodney King is currently streaming on Netflix. Other work for the international stage includes Frederick Douglass Now, The Watts Tower Project, Iceland, Juan and John, Who Killed Bob Marley, and, with Mark Broyard, Inside The Creole Mafia - LA Weekly Production of the Year. Richard and Roger will be developing Venice Is Dead - a raucous wake for a beloved place full of historical romance, transformation and danger.

HALLIE PALLADINO is a Chicago based playwright and essayist. Recent plays include Missed Connections (Idle Muse Theater's Athena Festival 2015; Pride Films & Plays LezPlay Festival 2015) and Sunrise: Ardmore Beach (Something Marvelous Festival 2015). She's also involved with the literary departments of Stage Left Theater and the Something Marvelous Festival. Hallie will be working on her newest play, Infatuation, recently workshopped as part of the Dandelion Theater's Reservoir Series.



This inspirational 20th Anniversary cabaret event is a rare opportunity to see and hear our exceptional 2017 artists on stage in one grand kick-off event. Experience the stories, the poems, the songs, and the scenes of these accomplished writers and performers as they theatrically meditate on the nature of truth in American society today. Where are the truths we hold to be self-evident in our political and personal lives these days? Will American truths emerge once again as a guiding light to a better future and a better planet? Or will truth remain obfuscated in division and ill-will? Featuring OPC artists Will Arbery, Jennifer Barclay, Bill Cain, Sam Hunter, JC Lee, Hallie Palladino, Ren Dara Santiago, Roger Guenveur Smith, Sandra Tsing Loh, Korde Arrington Tuttle and other talent to be announced.


Five of Southern California's most exciting artistic voices bring their newest work to the OPC stage. Jon Robin Baitz unveils the epilogue to his hit play Vicuñaprior to its production in Washington D.C. this fall. Kurt Seaman has won the presidency but finds himself wandering the lonely halls of the White House in deep despair. Rick Cleveland returns to Ojai where he was a founding member of OPC. He shares sections of his newest theatrical monologue chronicling the absolutely true story behind "Trump vs. Wynn," the movie script he wrote for HBO. Ojai resident Robin Gerber brings portions of her powerful new play about Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham to the stage. Before she became the most famous newspaper publisher in America, and brought down President Nixon, she was abused in body and soul by her husband. Then came "The Shot". Renowned L.A. artists Richard Montoya and Roger Guenveur Smith perform very special sections of Venice Is Dead - a raucous wake for a beloved Southern California place full of historical romance, transformation and danger.



Young aspiring artists from colleges around the country spend a week immersed in the writing process with our OPC senior artists. They each create a solo work based on the deep truth of their lives and deliver it to the OPC audience. An evening that is astounding, revelatory, and worth the trip to experience the beauty of the youthful, wise human soul!


After a week immersed in the writing process, with mentoring by director Kim Maxwell and our OPC playwrights, young high school writers and performers take to the stage with their raw and uncensored material. Compelling, funny and always insightful!

Every summer, theatre professionals and enthusiastic audiences from Southern California converge in Ojai Valley to participate in the development of new plays for the American theatre. Under the direction of Artistic Director/Producer Robert Egan, carefully selected playwrights from all over the world join together for an intensive two-week, in-residence workshop program that culminates in OPC's popular public workshop series - known as the "OPC Summer New Works Festival."

In addition to the presentation of new play workshops, prominent artists from the theatre community appear in engaging public forums for an exchange of ideas on a range of cultural and artistic subjects in the "Intersections Series." The Ojai Playwrights Conference is also committed to nurturing the writing talents of Southern California youth. Through the OPC Youth Workshop program, high school students participate in a mentoring program with visiting theatre professionals and create their own dramatic works, which are performed during the Festival.

Many of the plays developed at OPC have received high praise and recognition including Tony Awards, Pulitzer Prize nominations, The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, Steinberg/ATCA New Play Awards, Obie Awards and Helen Hayes Awards. Additionally, plays developed at OPC have gone on to prominent productions at theatres throughout the United States and around the world, from the Mark Taper Forum, The Public Theater, Goodman Theatre, Seattle Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Broadway, and London's West End to theaters in Asia and Africa.

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