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If You Catch A Show in NYC, It May Have Started in San Diego

If you’re heading to New York City and plan to catch a show, the chances you will see a show connected to San Diego’s La Jolla Playhouse are pretty high. “Come From Away,” “Indecent,” “Junk,” “Latin History for Morons,” “Escape to Margaritaville” and “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical” all transferred from the Playhouse to Broadway within the same year.  SDSU Alums to Premiere New Musical at Prestigious NYMF And that’s not even counting the Off-Broadway shows connected to the Playhouse: “Jersey Boys” and “Miss You Like Hell.” It’s been a whirlwind of a year for the Playhouse, which may just be the most represented regional theater on Broadway at the moment.  San Diego Well Represented at the Tony Awards This Year “It’s been a pretty exciting year for the Playhouse on Broadway,” Tony Award-winning Director and Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley told NBC 7 San Diego in a phone interview. The regional theater received the Regional Theatre Tony Award in 1993, a big honor for regional theaters. Several of the productions that transferred to Broadway are now up for theater’s most prestigious award, the Tony Awards: “Junk,” “Latin History for Morons” and “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.” World-Premiere Musical ‘Diana’ Lands at La Jolla Playhouse Ashley said he’s delighted for the artists who were recognized this year. “I am really proud of the La Jolla Playhouse board and audience for their commitment to new work,” he said. “It was our fifth season of all new plays and musicals and you can feel it, in terms of the impact we’re having on the world.”Part of what attracts artists to San Diego, Ashley said, is the artistic and production staff at the Playhouse.”I think the Playhouse staff does an extraordinary job in supporting the vision of the artists who come here and you can feel that, in terms of how much impact those plays and musicals go on to have,” Ashley said. As many patrons know, the Playhouse subscription season has six shows. Or, as Ashley puts it: “We have six opportunities to say yes to artists.”Every year, the Playhouse is pitched about 5,000 to 10,000 projects, Ashley said. Part of their work is having to narrow down thousands of submissions to just six pieces. The staff tries to stay loyal to artists who have made a home at the Playhouse, Ashley said. This way, the audience can develop a relationship with a writer and see their work develop. The Playhouse also pays special attention to any plays that deal with the here and now, “a play that has to get produced this year, because of something that’s happening in the culture or something that’s happening in Washington or something that’s happening in San Diego,” Ashley said. Then, Ashley said, they also make sure they have a variety of voices and points of view. “(We try to make sure) that the artists have very different view points and have very different voices and make sure that there’s a full view of what’s happening in the world and of the artistic form and stories are going to populate our stages every year,” Ashley said. “That you’re not seeing the same play again and again, but hopefully, every time you walk in the door, you have an unexpected experience.”Part of the reason their programming selections tend to work well, Ashley said, is because of the theater community in San Diego. Aside from the Playhouse, San Diego is also home to several other world-class theaters: The Old Globe and the San Diego Rep, plus Broadway San Diego offers Broadway’s best tours. In addition to the dozens of theaters in San Diego, there are also several top notch theater programs at UCSD, USD, City College and SDSU. All of those factors and more create an energetic audience ready to see theater. “The audiences are adventurous and up for supporting something new, which is the first thing you’ve got to have, an audience that’s going on an adventure with you,” Ashley said.When it comes to this year’s Tony Awards, less than a month away, Ashley said he doesn’t know how the awards will end up. But he is grateful the Playhouse can be a part of the theater community on its biggest night. “It’s a moment that the theater community gets to come together, and celebrate excellence nationally, and I am honored that the Playhouse is such a part of that conversation,” Ashley said. I think the playhouse staff does an extraordinary job in supporting the vision of the artists who come here and you can feel that, in terms of how much impact those plays and musicals go on to have. Photo Credit: Vito di Stefano
Source: NBC San Diego

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