2020/2021 Season

Bhangin’ It

World-Premiere Musical

Mandell Weiss Theatre

Book by Mike Lew and Rehana Lew Mirza | Music and Lyrics by Sam Willmott

Directed by Amy Anders Corcoran

A Co-Production with McCarter Theatre Center

Winner of the 2019 Richard Rodgers Award, Bhangin’ It is an exhilarating new musical set in the high stakes world of intercollegiate competitive Bhangra: a traditional Punjabi folk dance morphed into a good ol’ American dance-off. Mary, a biracial college student, thinks she’s got all the right moves on the Bengal Tigers Bhangra team – but to teammate Preeti, she is just not “Indian enough.” When Mary is abruptly booted off the Tigers, she and her roommate Sunita put together a team whose only criteria for joining is a desire to dance. With Nationals coming up, can Mary whip this eclectic, ragtag group into shape to take on the competition? Brash, intoxicating and joyous, Bhangin’ It is a celebration of the traditions we inherit from yesterday and those we create for tomorrow.

Complete your evening at Bhangin’ It by making a reservation at our onsite restaurant James’ Place, just steps away from the theatre, or stop by for a drink. Click HERE to reserve your table. James’ Place opens at 5:00 pm.


Cast & Creators
Image of Mike Lew Mike Lew Co-Librettist

is beyond thrilled to return to La Jolla Playhouse, his hometown theatre. Previous collaborations with the Playhouse include serving as the 2018/19 Artist-in-Residence and a commission for The Colonialism Project (both with Rehana Lew Mirza), and the west coast premiere of his play Tiger Style! (also at Olney, Huntington and Alliance). His other plays include Teenage Dick (Ma-Yi at the Public, Donmar Warehouse, Wooly Mammoth, Artists Rep); Bike America (Ma-Yi, Alliance) and microcrisis (Ma-Yi, InterAct, Next Act). He and Ms. Lew Mirza are joint Mellon Foundation Playwrights-in- Residence at Ma-Yi Theater. Mike is a Dramatists Guild Council member, Tony voter and New Dramatists resident. Honors: Lark Venturous and NYFA fellowships; PEN, Lanford Wilson, Helen Merrill, Heideman and Kendeda awards. Education: Juilliard, Yale.

Mike Lew Co-Librettist
Image of Rehana Lew Mirza Rehana Lew Mirza Co-Librettist

Previous collaborations with La Jolla Playhouse include serving as the 2018/19 Artist-in-Residence and a commission for THE COLONIALISM PROJECT (both with Mike Lew). Her plays include: HATEFUCK (2019 production at Colt Coeur and WP Theater); A PEOPLE'S GUIDE TO HISTORY IN THE TIME OF HERE AND NOW (Primary Stages commission); SOLDIER X (Ma-Yi, Brooklyn College; 2015 Kilroys List; NYSCA/Lark commission); TOMORROW, INSHALLAH (Storyworks/HuffPost commission; production: Living Room Theater); NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH (NNPN/ InterAct commission); and BARRIERS (Desipina, Asian American Theater Company). Honors include: 2019 NYFA Fellow, HBO Access Fellow, Lilly Award and a TCG/New Georges Fellowship. She and Mike also share a Mellon Foundation National Playwright residency administered in partnership with Howlround at Ma-Yi Theater. M.F.A.: Columbia University; B.F.A.: NYU Tisch.

Rehana Lew Mirza Co-Librettist
Image of Sam Willmott Sam Willmott Composer/Lyricist

His projects include YO, VIKINGS! and the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre's WAKE UP, DAISY! (both with Marcus Stevens); the Emmy-nominated HBO documentary SONG OF PARKLAND, STANDARDIZED TESTING – THE MUSICAL!!!! and the mini-musical SCARLET TAKES A TUMBLE. His written work has received the Kleban Prize, the Fred Ebb Award, a Jonathan Larson Grant, the ASCAP Foundation’s Cole Porter and Harold Adamson Awards, MAC’s John Wallowitch Award, and the Kennedy Center ACTF Musical Theater Award. He has written over 150 songs for the Korean English-language children’s program, ENGLISH EGG, and taught at Harvard University, Pace University’s Musical Theater BFA, and Lincoln Center’s Songwriting in Schools Program. SamWillmott.com.

Sam Willmott Composer/Lyricist
Image of Amy Anders Corcoran Amy Anders Corcoran Director

She was the associate/resident director of ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE for Christopher Ashley on the pre-Broadway tour and on Broadway, and directed the national tour which opened in Providence, RI in October. She also served as Mr. Ashley’s Associate Director on Disney’s FREAKY FRIDAY. She directs mostly new musicals, including the NYC off-Broadway and London premieres of UNEXPECTED JOY. Her work has also been seen at Asolo Rep, Guthrie Theatre, Goodspeed, NAMT and ACT. Favorite directing credits include 21 CHUMP STREET (European premiere), I AM MY OWN WIFE (NYC site-specific production), LITTLE WOMEN, SMOKEY JOE'S CAFÉ and CULT!. Corcoran received the SDC Noël Coward Fellowship for Comedic Direction, mentored by Mark Rucker. A proud member of SDC, she holds a B.A. in Psychology with Honors from the University of Kansas and an M.F.A. in Directing from Penn State.

Amy Anders Corcoran Director
Venue Info

Mandell Weiss Theatre

The Mandell Weiss Theatre is a 492-seat proscenium arch theatre, with two front rows of removable seats allowing for a greater stage length. The theatre also maintains an upstairs wooden deck for parties, receptions and outdoor gatherings, and a small outdoor amphitheatre for pre-show entertainment.

View Seating Chart

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