ADV – Leaderboard

La Jolla Playhouse Announces DNA New Works Series

The annual new-play series, featuring plays by Keith Bunin, Idris Goodwin, Noelle Viñas, and Lia Romeo, runs Dec. 1-12.

LA JOLLA, CALIF.: La Jolla Playhouse has announced the lineup for its 2022 DNA New Works series, featuring four new-play readings. The series runs Dec. 1-12 at the Rao and Padma Makineni Play Development Center, and admission is free.

“The DNA New Works Series serves as a vital pipeline for new work, as well as a crucible for fostering new artists relationships,” said Christoper Ashley, La Jolla’s artistic director, in a statement. “Patrons relish the opportunity to take part in the birth of a new play while giving playwrights invaluable support and feedback.”

Keith Bunin.

The series will begin with the commissioned work The Loyal Opposition by Keith Bunin, Dec. 1-3, directed by Ashley. The play follows a group of three friends who endeavor to open a restaurant. Bunin’s play The Coast Starlight recently premiere at La Jolla and his work has been presented at Playwrights Horizons, New York Stage and Film, and the Atlantic Theater Company, among others. He is also the screenwriter of the Disney Pixar film Onward and wrote for HBO’s In Treatment.

Idris Goodwin. (Photo by Scott Majors)

DNA New Works will continue with the La Jolla commission Manny and the Wise Queens (Dec. 2-4) by Idris Goodwin. Set in the small town of Bethlehem, Pa., in December 2020, the play finds a recent high school graduate collaborating with two wise queens in a quarantined town at Christmas. Goodwin, currently the artistic director of Seattle Children’s Theatre, has written over 60 plays, including a hip-hop breakbeat series. Manny and the Wise Queens will be directed by Jacole Kitchen, La Jolla’s director of arts engagement and in-house casting and a co-leader of learning and engagement.

Noelle Viñas.

Next up will be Noelle Viñas’s Derecho (Dec. 8-10), which follows Eugenia, a woman running for public office, who must confront how traditional Latinx values conflict with an ever-changing American definition of success. Derecho received the 2019 John Gassner Award from the New England Theatre Conference, and Viñas also received the 2021 Jeffry Melnick New Playwriting Award from Primary Stages. A Uruguayan American playwright, television writer, and educator, Viñas has had work developed with SPACE on Ryder Farm, the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and the Civilians R&D Group, among others. Derecho will be directed by Delicia Turner Sonnenberg, the founder and former artistic director of MOXIE Theatre in San Diego and a longtime La Jolla collaborator.

Lia Romeo.

The series will conclude with Lia Romeo’s The Agency, Dec. 9-11. The comedy follows Ani, an aspiring actor who begins working at an agency that rents out surrogate friends and loved ones to lonely clients. Romeo, a playwriting fellow at the Juilliard School, is a four-time Kilroys List honoree whose work has been developed or presented by the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, 59E59, and New Jersey Repertory Company, among others. She teaches at Fairleigh Dickinson University and is the associate artistic director of Project Y Theatre Company. The Agency will be directed by Pesha Rudnick, the founding artistic director of Local Theater Company in Boulder, Colo.

La Jolla Playhouse is a place where artists and audiences come together to create what’s new and next in the American theatre, from Tony-winning productions, to imaginative programs for young audiences, to interactive experiences outside our theatre walls. 

Support American Theatre: a just and thriving theatre ecology begins with information for all. Please join us in this mission by joining TCG, which entitles you to copies of our quarterly print magazine and helps support a long legacy of quality nonprofit arts journalism.

ADV – Billboard