La Jolla to Present Robert and Kristen Anderson-Lopez Musical and Paula Vogel Premiere

News   La Jolla to Present Robert and Kristen Anderson-Lopez Musical and Paula Vogel Premiere
 
A new musical by Academy Award-winning "Frozen" songwriters Robert and Kristen-Anderson Lopez and a collaboration between Rebecca Taichman and Paula Vogel will be featured in La Jolla Playhouse's 2015-16 season.

The California-based theatre's season, which comprises entirely new works, will also include the Without Walls (WoW) Festival, featuring Healing Wars, conceived, directed and choreographed by Liz Lerman.

"This season embodies the Playhouse's adventurous spirit in so many ways. It is comprised entirely of new works that challenge our notions of what a play — and even a character — can be. We've assembled an astounding group of artists, many of whom have worked in unique partnerships to create their pieces," artistic director Christopher Ashley said in a statement. "It has also been a goal of mine to bring our innovative Without Walls program to a wider audience, and for the first time, a WoW show will be part of our subscription series. The inaugural WoW Festival in 2013 far exceeded my expectations, and since that time, we've been busy curating site-based works for this next Festival, to be anchored by Liz Lerman's astonishing dance-theatre piece."

The world-premiere production of the musical Come from Away, featuring book, music and lyrics by husband-and-wife team Irene Sankoff and David Hein, will be directed by Ashley. The musical is "based on the true story of when the isolated town of Gander, Newfoundland played host to the world. What started as an average day in a small town turned in to an international sleep-over when 38 planes, carrying thousands of people from across the globe, were diverted to Gander on September 11, 2001. Undaunted by culture clashes and language barriers, the people of Gander cheered the stranded travelers with music, an open bar and the recognition that we're all part of a global family."

Robert Lopez (The Book of Mormon, Avenue Q) and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, who wrote the Academy Award-winning song "Let It Go" from the movie "Frozen," collaborated on the book, music and lyrics of Up Here, which will receive its world premiere at La Jolla, directed by Tony Award nominee Alex Timbers (Peter and the Starcatcher, Rocky).

Here's how the production is billed: "In Up Here, when introverted 30-something computer repairman Dan finds a potential spark with outgoing t-shirt designer Lindsay, his attempts at a relationship are thwarted by the Technicolor world in his head. This world-premiere musical goes where no musical has gone before, bringing to life the circus of judgmental, neurotic, ever-changing characters that rule an ordinary man's mind. Up Here is an ambitious, razor-sharp musical comedy about recognizing your place in the universe — and maybe even finding happiness." Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad (A Raisin in the Sun, Gem of the Ocean) will direct Blueprints to Freedom: An Ode to Bayard Rustin, by Michael Benjamin Washington (Memphis, The Wiz). The play had its first workshop during the Playhouse's 2014 DNA New Work Series.

"In the sweltering political and racial heat of 1963, Bayard Rustin, a brilliant architect of the Civil Rights Movement and an openly gay man, is enlistedto orchestrate an unprecedented March on Washington by colleagues that recently exiled him," press notes state. "With the stakes growing ever higher, Rustin finds himself at a personal crossroads, just as the nation is at cultural and political one. Blueprints to Freedom: An Ode to Bayard Rustin presents a complex and dynamic portrait of a man at the turning point of professional and spiritual redemption."

Healing Wars "is a multisensory experience that blends dance, storytelling and multimedia in an exploration of how soldiers and healers cope with the physical and psychological wounds of war. Incorporating narratives from the American Civil War as well a remarkable performance from a young Navy veteran, this powerful piece asks how we as a nation recover from what seems like endless battles." The show's run will culminate at the 2015 WoW Festival taking place October 9–11. Healing Wars marks the first WoW production to be part of the Playhouse's subscription series. Additional productions for the 2015 WoW Festival will be announced at a later date.

Director Rebecca Taichman (Sleeping Beauty Wakes, Milk Like Sugar) and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel (How I Learned to Drive) collaborated on the world premiere of Indecent, co-produced with Yale Repertory Theatre. The play with music is "inspired by the true events surrounding the controversial 1922 Broadway debut of Sholem Asch's God of Vengeance, a work considered by many to be a seminal work of Jewish culture – and by others, a work of traitorous libel. Alive with popular songs of the era, this deeply-moving piece charts the history of an incendiary work, the artists who risked their careers and lives to perform it, and the evolving identity of the culturally-rich community that inspired its creation."

La Jolla Playhouse is located at 2910 La Jolla Village Drive La Jolla, CA. Visit LaJollaPlayhouse.org for more information.

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