The first show out of the gate (or is it driveway?) is American Night: The Ballad of Juan José, written by Richard Montoya and developed by Culture Clash, one of the most prolific and provocative Chicano/Latino performance troupes in the country. The La Jolla Playhouse production will be directed by Jo Bonney, who is also co-creator of the play, and is a co-production with Center Theatre Group. Originally commissioned and produced by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, American Night: The Ballad of Juan José will run January 27-February 26, 2012 in the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre. [The Drama King will review the show on opening night, February 4]
The plot of American Night focuses on Juan José as he becomes ensnared in a turbulent, whirlwind journey through pivotal moments in American history, all the while feverishly cramming for his U.S. citizenship exam. The cast includes Stephanie Beatriz as Lydia, Rodney Gardiner as Ben Pettus, David Kelly as Harry Bridges, Terri McMahon as Mrs. Finney, René Millán as Juan José, Richard Montoya as Juan José the First, Kimberly Scott as Viola Pettus, Herbert Siguenza as Neil Diamante, and Daisuke Tsuji as Johnny.
Next, get in and buckle up! La Jolla Playhouse has announced the playwrights and directors for their exciting new venture out of the theatre and into the parking lot with The Car Plays: San Diego, running February 23-March 4. This second production in the Playhouse’s innovative, site-based Without Walls (WoW) series was originally conceived by Paul Stein and features a series of five intimate ten-minute plays, each taking place in a car. Audiences of two are ushered to their car seats, the car doors close, and the play unfolds just a dashboard away. Ten minutes later, the doors open and the audience walks to the next car in the Playhouse parking lot, where a new car awaits and a new play begins.
The Car Plays idea originated in LA (probably by some frustrated playwright stuck in a freeway crawl on the I-5) and is getting a tune up for its San Diego run: four commissioned MFA students from UCSD’s Playwriting Program have created new pieces specifically for this production. In addition, seven plays will be helmed by esteemed local San Diego directors, including USD faculty member Lisa Berger, UCSD Theatre Professor Robert Castro, ion Theatre Executive Artistic Director Claudio Raygoza, Mo`olelo Artistic Director Seema Sueko, North Coast Rep Artistic Associate Matt Thompson, Moxie Theatre Artistic Director Delicia Turner-Sonnenberg, and San Diego REPertory Theatre Artistic Director Sam Woodhouse.
Finally, the Playhouse gets out of the car and into the kitchen with their 2012 POP (Performance Outreach Program) Tour production, Recipe for Disaster. A co-commission with Childsplay of Arizona, this play with music is a world premiere work that will tour local San Diego schools from January 30-March 30. The tour will also include several public performances at the Playhouse on February 25 and March 3.
For more information on any of the La Jolla Playhouse’s 2012 productions, call their Box Office at 858-550-1010 or visit www.lajollaplayhouse.org.