La Jolla Playhouse announces a new play development initiative, the DNA New Work Series, entailing a six-week period of workshop productions and public readings of new plays and musicals, taking place January 24 through March 3, 2013. The focus of the DNA New Work Series is to allow playwrights and directors the opportunity to develop a script by providing rehearsal time, space and resources, culminating in a workshop production or public reading.
“As the place to look for what’s next in American theatre, it’s not only a major tenet of our mission to cultivate and develop the work of emerging and established artists, it’s in our DNA,” said Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley. “The Playhouse’s commitment to these artists and their work is the lifeblood of our theatre, and it is our hope that we can create an annual series to shine a spotlight on the development of the eclectic and diverse theatre that has become a hallmark on our stages.”
All projects in the DNA New Work Series will take place with little or no scenic, costume or staging elements, and actors may have scripts in hand. The various creative teams will be available for interviews for feature coverage; however, in order to preserve the developmental nature of the program, DNA Series productions are not open to review.
A centerpiece of the series will be a staged reading of the new musical Chasing the Song, by the Tony Award-winning creators of Memphis: Joe DiPietro (book and lyrics) and David Bryan (music and lyrics), and directed by Christopher Ashley (Glengarry Glen Ross, Memphis). The musical will have two public staged readings on Friday, January 25 and Saturday, January 26, both at 8:00pm in the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre. In New York’s legendary Brill Building, Elegant Edie’s music publishing house is struggling along when talented novice songwriter Ginny bursts on the scene. She quickly learns the ropes from her seasoned colleagues, penning several hits and discovering herself in the process. Chasing the Song follows this group of pop songwriters and the changing sounds of the music charts in the early 1960s, prior to The Beatles emerging and changing the entire music world.
Two new plays will also be developed in workshop productions as part of the series: The Tall Girls, a new drama by Meg Miroshnik, will run for eight performances January 24 – February 3 in the Rao and Padma Makineni Play Development Center. In the dusty, desolate town of Poor Prairie, fifteen-and-a-half-year-old Jean has been exiled as caretaker for her wild-child cousin, Almeda. It’s a grim, dangerous place to eke out an existence as a teenage girl—until a handsome man with a past arrives, a brand-new basketball in tow. As the town’s girls come together to form a team set on making it out of Poor Prairie, a committee of townspeople threatens to stamp out girls’ sports altogether.
Brahman/i, a new comedy by Aditi Brennan Kapil, directed by Jeremy Cohen, will run for eight performances February 21 – March 3 in the Rao and Padma Makineni Play Development Center. Sixth grade was hard enough before Brahman discovered he was intersex — or in the words of his traditional Indian aunt, a hijra. This hilarious stand-up comedy routine/play takes on history, mythology, gender roles and high school through the inimitable comic lens of Brahman/i, a boy/girl tethered by neither gender nor culture, and wildly curious and inventive in his/her examination of both.
Additionally, the DNA New Work Series will include six free 1-day readings that will be presented over six days: February 7 - 9 and February 14 - 16. The readings include Being Henrietta by Monique Gaffney, Orange Julius by Basil Kreimendahl, The Consultant by Heidi Schreck, as well as three additional readings to be announced shortly.
Ashley continued, “I’m so pleased to work with Playhouse favorites Joe DiPietro and David Bryan on their latest project, as well as welcome newcomers Aditi Brennan Kapil and Meg Miroshnik, giving these exceptional artists a chance to hone their work in an environment of support that only The Playhouse can provide.”