Welcome to the Staging Area, La Jolla Playhouse’s virtual content page. Join us here for a variety of fun and engaging online projects we’re creating while our theaters are dark. We’ve been collaborating with artists, educators and staff from all departments to bring the Playhouse to you – virtually! Click below to explore.
WALKS OF LIFE – Now LIVE!
Blindspot Collective is developing a new WOW piece entitled Walks of Life, an original, Playhouse-commissioned work of auditory theatre featuring short scenes by playwrights and composers from across the country. In the midst of a pandemic that fractures and isolates our communities, this aural experience offers the opportunity to safely and imaginatively reconnect with each other by bearing witness to life’s intimate moments captured entirely in sound. Participants experience the performance while walking independently through their own neighborhoods, and over the course of three 30-minute parts, they are introduced to characters and stories that might be unfolding in the homes around them.
3 World-Premiere projects from Gob Squad, Culture Clash and Tom Salamon.
ANCIENT – Now LIVE!
San Diego-based artists Mike Sears and Lisa Berger are creating Ancient, a Playhouse-commissioned video installation that explores the relationship between repetition and meditation, the routine and the ancient. With an original score composed by Shawn Rohlf for cello, piano and guitar, text by Rainer Maria Rilke, and a company of nine actors, Ancient invites the audience to observe an unfolding of day-to-day tasks that have been in play for centuries.
WOW GOES DIGITAL!
Introducing a series of inventive, digital Without Walls (WOW) shows to enjoy at home! From intimate, one-on-one experiences to collective events, these brand new virtual WOW offerings bring world-class artists directly to you – fostering connection with each other and allowing art to flourish.
Conversations and content sharing with Playhouse artists.
Dance Tutorial/Q+A with JERSEY BOYS Tony Award-Winning Choreographer Sergio Trujillo
On Friday, May 1, Tony Award-winning choreographer Sergio Trujillo led a dance tutorial for the iconic closing number of the Tony-winning, Playhouse-born, international smash hit, JERSEY BOYS! Learn all those smooth, sexy moves from “Oh, What a Night.” Hint: There may be a few surprises along the way!
DJ Event featuring Playhouse songs
On Friday, April 24, we enjoyed a live deejay session with one of our favorite record-spinning wizards, Shammy Dee! Check out this specially-arranged array of songs from Playhouse musicals, and just TRY not to dance along!
Musical theatre lovers! We’re launching a new series called “Deep Cuts,” where we’ve asked some of our favorite Playhouse artists to resurrect and share a song that didn’t make the final cut for a Playhouse show.
For our newest edition of “Deep Cuts,” we’re doing something special and joining with our Come From Away family to take a look back at their #CutFromAway concert at NYC’s 54 Below. In this video, creators David Hein and Irene Sankoff and the incredible Broadway cast performed an earlier version of the now-iconic song “You Are Here.” Video by Famous in NY.
In this installment of “Deep Cuts,” the co-creators of 2016’s MISS YOU LIKE HELL, Quiara Alegría Hudes (book and lyrics) and Erin McKeown (music and lyrics), perform “Vecinos,” a beautifully hopeful song about kindness — particularly fitting now, considering the trying times in which we find ourselves.
In the first installment of “Deep Cuts,” Benjamin Velez, composer and lyricist of Kiss My Aztec!, performs “I’m That Guy,” which he co-wrote with David Kamp. Take a listen:
Catching up with Walt Spangler
On Friday, April 3, we had a TGIF-fueled happy hour on Instagram Live when Playhouse Associate Technical Director Jonathan Gilmer spoke with ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE’s scenic designer Walt Spangler. The two talked design inspiration for the Playhouse-born musical, how they kept those cabanas in the air (plus other set challenges), what icon Jimmy Buffet asked for in the first meetings for the show, and the fun of making “cheeseburgers” in paradise! Watch the video here:
Facebook Live “Screech-In” Event!
Watch our special Facebook Live event with Come From Away‘s Tony Award-nominated choreographer Kelly Devine and Associate Choreographer Ricky Hinds which aired on Monday, March 30 at 2pm PT. Hear them talk about the inspiration for the “Screech-In” dance sequence from this celebrated Playhouse-born musical, followed by a virtual Broadway choreography session on how to do the steps at home. Follow along with Kelly, Ricky and dancer Marjorie Failoni (Escape to Margaritaville) and see if you’d earn the right to “kiss the cod.”
Here are some videos submitted by viewers!
A series of posts each week from Playhouse artists and staff sharing favorite photos, videos and memories.
Seeing a Playhouse production *five* times is probably a good indication that it made a strong impression, wouldn’t you say? In this new LJP Vault video, our network systems specialist, Daryl Davis (the IT wizard better known as “Scooter” to Playhouse staff), tells us what drew him to see Will Power’s reimagined take on Shakespeare, SEIZE THE KING, nearly half a dozen times. One of the reasons: a cherished evening he shared with his teenage son, pictured with him here.
Twenty-four years as a Playhouse employee is a lot of time to put together an impressive list of favorite shows and memories! In the latest edition of LJP Vault, Patron Services Sales Specialist Paul Preston – the face behind the friendly and familiar voice on the other end of the phone line for many subscribers and donors – shares some of the plays, musicals and moments that continue to shine brightly for him in a recollection of the Playhouse that spans close to an extraordinary two-and-a-half decades!
What happens when a cast of incredible actors on stage in a Playhouse production is also a warm and big-hearted group of humans off stage? They get a special shout-out and lots of love as a favorite memory for the LJP Vault! In this installment of the Vault, Company Manager Erica Martin fondly recalls why the performers in John Leguizamo’s exuberant musical KISS MY AZTEC! were so unforgettable.
What would a Playhouse production’s Opening Night be without the incredible party that follows the performance? (If you’ve been to one of these celebrations, then you know what we mean!) This next LJP VAULT entry is from Special Events Coordinator Erica Kao, who helps to plan, organize and make these fantastic post-show festivities go from vision to reality. Here, she shares why the Opening Night for Cambodian Rock Band was such a standout in her memory.
Coming out of the LJP VAULT: a look back on the Student Matinee for Playhouse-born SUMMER: THE DONNA SUMMER MUSICAL with Interim Education and Outreach Director Bridget Cavaiola, who shares with us why the experience with 500+ San Diego high school students was so exhilarating.
This next edition of LJP VAULT comes from Travis Guss in Patron Services.
“Hi everyone! I’m Travis Guss, Senior Patron Services Manager at La Jolla Playhouse. I have been working at the Playhouse since 2013, and I’ve had so many great memories here. It is kind of an impossible task to narrow it down to just one, but I will try.
A few years ago when MISS YOU LIKE HELL was running (2016/2017 Season), I had the pleasure of meeting Daphne Rubin-Vega, who was in the production. A long time ago, I was a RENT-head (mega-fan of the musical RENT), so having Daphne at the Playhouse was a total dream for me. I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with her at Opening Night for MISS YOU LIKE HELL (the photo shown here) and asked her, if by any chance, she’d sign my RENT CD cover, though I didn’t have it with me at the time. She said most definitely and that she would come find me sometime if I brought it in. About a week later, I was at the Potiker box office and, lo and behold, Daphne finds me and asks if I had the CD case for her to sign. (We RENT-heads are serious about memorabilia.) I did happen to have it, so she signed it and also ended up talking with us at the office for quite a while. It was awesome.
It was only after I started working at LJP that I learned we had done a 1997 production of RENT in which Neil Patrick Harris played Mark Cohen. How great of a show that must have been!
Working at the Playhouse for the past 6 ½ years, it has been amazing seeing 8 shows go to Broadway, COME FROM AWAY (another favorite memory) being one of them. In total, La Jolla Playhouse has sent 33 productions to Broadway. All great stuff, so many fantastic memories here, and I’m definitely looking forward to many more!”
Playhouse Prop Shop Supervisor Deb Hatch provides the third installment of LJP VAULT by sharing one of her favorite memories: working on 2012’s Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.
In this video, featuring scenes from the hit Playhouse musical created by Wayne Coyne and Des McAnuff (who also directed the show) and inspired by the music of The Flaming Lips, Deb recalls both the fulfillment and challenge of bringing the electrifying production to life:
Our next installment of LJP VAULT comes from Managing Director Debby Buchholz, who shares this look back at 2004 Playhouse-born hit musical Jersey Boys:
“The ‘making’ of Jersey Boys is one of my very favorite Playhouse memories. Partly because it was my first musical and I learned so much while meeting so many wonderful people who are still part of my life today. Partly because 16 years later it is a show that is still making audiences happy and excited to go to the theatre. The Playhouse has produced more than two dozen new musicals in the time that I have been here – 15 of which have gone on to Broadway. Each one of them has had this magical beginning. Knowing that I get to contribute to making that happen is what makes it phenomenal for me to come to work at the Playhouse every day.”
Our first LJP Vault entry is from our very own Christopher Ashley:
“SEAFOAM SLEEPWALK was produced as part of our very first Without Walls (WOW) Festival in 2013. As we planned our festival, I had the novel experience of approaching artists I have long admired with the question ‘If you could make a performance, anywhere but in a conventional theatre, what would it be?’ When I approached the acclaimed puppet and theatre artist Basil Twist with that question, his immediate answer was ‘I would design a 20-foot-high Venus, who could rise from the waves at La Jolla Shores beach, worshipped by cupids and surfer dudes, and then she would turn around, revealing that her reverse side was a sea monster. She would devour the rest of the cast and descend back into the sea.’ After a moment’s thought, I blurted out, ‘You’re hired.’
Since this was our first foray into a site-specific and immersive festival, our audience had little idea what to expect. We performed six times, and the first audience was a slightly disappointing 100 beach-goers. But word about this piece started to sweep the Shores beach community, and the audience doubled each performance. By the sixth and final performance, thousands of people gathered to experience the imaginative genius of Basil Twist and his colossally-scaled Venus.”
– Christopher Ashley, The Rich Family Artistic Director of La Jolla Playhouse
La Jolla Playhouse is planning exciting content for educators, including lesson plans, professional development videos, and a guide to creating a devised theatre project. We’ll also be offering virtual content for students (grades 3 – 12) and adults, such as online dance, acting and improv training, as well as master classes and tutorials with Playhouse artists and staff. For families, we’ll be sharing theatre activities and games to do at home!
Follow along with Playhouse Costume Shop Supervisor Jennifer Ables and try DIY-ing your own Tink fairy wings, inspired by the musical FLY and the whimsical Paul Tazewell-designed costume. Want to see how adorably these wings turn out? Take a look at the two VIPs making special guest appearances in this video. (Hint: Our very own Tink, the extraordinary Isabelle McCalla, is one of them. Stay tuned to see the other!)
Good Crafternoon! Playhouse Resident Costume Design Assistant Desiree Hatfield-Buckley shows us how to make a Lost Boy headdress inspired by the Tony-winning designer Paul Tazewell’s costumes from the Playhouse musical Fly!