DNA 2019

The Playhouse’s acclaimed new play development initiative, the DNA New Work Series, is back for its seventh year, running May 2 – 5, 2019.

The DNA New Work Series allows playwrights and directors the opportunity to develop a script by providing rehearsal time, space and resources – all culminating in readings which engage audiences in the creative process. All projects in the DNA New Work Series take place with little or no scenic, costume or staging elements, and actors may have scripts in hand. It’s a rare chance for theatre-lovers to be a part of a new work in its earliest stages of development. Numerous DNA pieces have gone on to a full production on the Playhouse stages and nationally, such as Ayad Akhtar’s The Who & The What, Quiara Alegría Hudes’ Miss You Like Hell and the upcoming season’s The Luckiest and The Coast Starlight.

Tickets for this event have been underwritten through the generosity of our sponsors: Paula and Ted Adams, Stephanie Bergsma and Dwight Hare, Judy and Bill Garrett, Wendy Pincus, Robin and Larry Rusinko, and Pam Wagner and Hans Tegebo. If you would like to join with them in supporting New Work at the Playhouse, please consider a tax-deductible donation. Gifts of $150 or more receive benefits. All gifts are appreciated and admired. Thank you!

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All DNA readings are general admission seating. FREE, reservations required.


La Jolla Playhouse Commission


Written and Directed by Guillermo Calderón

Thursday, May 2 at 7:30pm
Rao and Padma Makineni Play Development Center

Something ominous is happening in the town of Elizabeth, New Jersey. Elizabeth warns her daughter Elizabeth that a psychopath is targeting their cow, Elizabeth. But within this story lie other coded stories, all concocted by a woman torn between leaving and staying. Guillermo Calderon’s wildly original new commission for La Jolla Playhouse is a dark comedy about navigating a world of corrosive fears and impermeable borders.


The Best We Could (a family tragedy)

Written by Emily Feldman
Directed by Kate Eminger

Friday, May 3 at 7:30pm
Rao and Padma Makineni Play Development Center

“Are you sitting down? Maybe you should sit down.” A daughter’s road trip with her father becomes a theatrical journey across more than just state lines in this funny, wise and heartbreaking new play from UC San Diego MFA graduate Emily Feldman.



Book by Kyle Jarrow
Music & Lyrics by Mark Mothersbaugh and Kyle Jarrow
Based on the novel by Nick Hornby
Skateboard Movement by Tony Hawk
Directed by Sean Graney

Saturday, May 4 at 2:00 pm and 7:30pm
Seuss 1 (skate demo in Rao and Padma Makineni Play Development Center)

Sam, a 17-year-old kid from a troubled background, finds refuge in the world of skateboarding and through imagined conversations with his idol, Tony Hawk. But when he falls in love with a girl named Alicia, it seems like everything’s looking up — until it all comes crashing down. Mark Mothersbaugh and Kyle Jarrow’s musical adaptation of Nick Hornby’s novel is a funny and edgy exploration of young adulthood and what it means to wrestle with dreams and disappointments.

NOTE: The DNA Series presentation will include a reading of the first act and a brief skate choreography demonstration hosted by Tony Hawk.


Jean, Jonah, and The Ginger Karl

Written by Jeff Augustin
Directed by Joshua Kahan Brody

Sunday, May 5 at 2:00pm
Seuss 1

When Jean arrives in Miami from Haiti, he’s determined to “learn America” during a cross-country journey with his pregnant wife. Decades later, his son Jonah makes the same trip in reverse, desperate to understand his father – and discover himself. Two lives unfold side-by-side in UC San Diego MFA graduate Jeff Augustin’s (The Last Tiger in Haiti) beautiful new play about memories real and imagined. Commissioned by Actors Theatre of Louisville.

Photo credit: The 2018 DNA New Work Series reading of The Coast Starlight; photo by Grace Madamba.

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