DNA 2022

As part of the Playhouse’s commitment to being a home for artists to develop new plays and musicals, Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley created the DNA New Work Series in 2013.

DNA offers playwrights and directors the opportunity to develop a script by providing rehearsal time, space and resources, culminating in public readings. This process gives audiences a closer look at the play development process, while allowing the Playhouse to develop work and foster relationships with both established and up-and-coming playwrights.

The DNA New Work Series has been a launching pad for numerous projects that have gone on to full productions in future Playhouse seasons, including Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhtar’s The Who & The What; Chasing the Song, by the Tony Award-winning team of Joe DiPietro and David Bryan (Memphis, Diana); Michael Benjamin Washington’s Blueprints to Freedom; UC San Diego MFA graduate Jeff Augustin’s The Last Tiger in Haiti; Miss You Like Hell, by Pulitzer Prize winner Quiara Alegría Hudes and Erin McKeown; Kill Local, by UC San Diego MFA graduate Mat Smart; What Happens Next, by UC San Diego MFA graduate and faculty member Naomi Iizuka; Melissa Ross’ The Luckiest and Keith Bunin’s The Coast Starlight.


All DNA readings are general admission seating and take place in the Rao and Padma Makineni Play Development Center (PDC). FREE, reservations required.

Tickets for this event have been underwritten through the generosity of the Sheri L. Jamieson New Work Development Fund as well as our DNA New Work Series co-sponsors:

Jendy Dennis Endowment Fund of the JCF
Hal and Hilary Dunning
Judy and Bill Garrett
Dean Haas
Dwight Hare and Stephanie Bergsma
Debby and Hal Jacobs
Karen and Jeff Silberman
Greta and Stephen Treadgold
Peggy Wallace

Additional support from:
Denise and Lon Bevers and Mr. Stacy Cromidas and Ms. Ruth Gilbert

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!

Support DNA



La Jolla Playhouse Commission

By Keith Bunin
Directed by Christopher Ashley

Thursday, December 1 and Saturday, December 3 at 7:30 pm

Lee, Milo and Jesse met in college and have been crashing into and out of each other’s lives ever since. When Lee finally acts on her dream of opening a restaurant, she re-assembles the group to prepare a grand first meal on a fateful March night. Funny, open-hearted and deeply moving, The Loyal Opposition charts the gravitational pull of our friends and our pasts amidst the chaos and uncertainty of the present.



La Jolla Playhouse Commission

By Idris Goodwin
Directed by Jacole Kitchen

Friday, December 2 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, December 4 at 2:00 pm

In the small town of Bethlehem in December, a bright star draws distant visitors bearing gifts to usher in a new era. Only this is 2020, and according to Manny, a depressed 18 year old recent high school graduate, the “bright star” is just two planets close together. Manny has locked himself away in his family’s attic to escape whatever holiday cheer remains in his quarantined town – until the sudden arrival of two wise queens provides a potential key to Manny’s deliverance. Idris Goodwin’s new comedy is a celebration of home, hip-hop and the unexpected gifts we share.



By Noelle Viñas
Directed by Delicia Turner Sonnenberg

Thursday, December 8 and Saturday, December 10 at 7:30 pm

Hoping to join the wave of women of color elected for public office, Eugenia Silva fights to bring an old friend onto her primary campaign. As a storm brews, tensions between her ambitions and her sister Mercedes begin overshadowing the need to reconnect with her roots and family. As the past manifests and interrupts the present, the sisters must confront how traditional Latino values conflict with an ever-changing American definition of success.



By Lia Romeo
Directed by Pesha Rudnick

Friday, December 9 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, December 11 at 2:00 pm

Ani has always dreamed of becoming an actress, but she’s not getting cast and she’s almost out of money. So she takes a job at a “rental agency,” where lonely clients can hire actors to serve as surrogate friends or loved ones. It seems like the perfect gig – it pays well, she’s good at the work and she’s helping people feel better. But what will it mean for her real-life relationships? Lia Romeo’s new comedy examines a world where we can buy whatever we want – if we’re willing to pay the price.


Top banner photo credit: The 2021 DNA New Work Series reading of not-for-profit (or the equity, diversity and inclusion play); photo by Daryl “Scooter” Davis/Dig That Photography.

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