With the world premiere of the Tony Award-winning Thoroughly Modern Millie just one of the recent draws at La Jolla Playhouse, it's no surprise that San Diego company would be looking to expand. The new Playhouse "theatre village," carrying a $36 million price tag, however, will turn the two-theatre company into an entertainment center.
Additions to the Playhouse, which is made up of the Mandell Weiss Theatre and the Mandell Weiss Forum, include the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Black Box Theatre, the Wagner Dance Facility, a restaurant with cabaret, rehearsal, classroom and workshop space, scene shop and warehouse and staff offices. The whole complex is to be named the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Center.
In a released statement, artistic director Des McAnuff said, "When it is completed, a person will be able to spend a day at La Jolla Playhouse, attending productions in any of our three theatres, going to our workshop productions and lectures, participating in our classes, dining in the new restaurant, having a picnic on the lawn, enjoying a late night, post-performance drink in our cabaret and mingling with the actors and creative teams in our landscaped public spaces."
La Jolla Playhouse has raised $32 million of the $36 million required to complete the project. Fundraising for the plan began in 1997 and has included gifts from the County of San Diego, the S. Mark Taper Foundation and Audrey Geisel/Dr. Seuss Foundation.
This season, La Jolla Playhouse will produce the world premieres of Charles L. Mee's Wintertime, Heather McDonald's When Grace Comes In and Jose Rivera's Adoration of the Old Woman. The theatre, situated on the University of California, San Diego, campus, won the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre in 1993 and premiered Big River, The Who's Tommy, A Walk in the Woods and the Matthew Broderick revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. — By Christine Ehren