Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Apparently, it is that time of year when San Diego theatre companies that run on a pseudo-fiscal year announce their upcoming seasons. I’ll be revealing the full seasons of four theatre companies – New Village Arts, San Diego REP, La Jolla Playhouse, and North Coast REP – in four separate blogposts over the course of the next few days.

Up first is New Village Arts. Their Season 12 includes two musicals, two Pulitzer Prize winners, and three classic American plays. In addition, they are expanding their partnership with the Playwrights Project with two New Play Festivals (one in July and one in January) featuring workshop productions of new work by San Diego playwrights. Here is their full - and might I add, quite ambitious - lineup of shows:

New Play Festival

July 20-22 & 27-29, 2012

A continuing collaboration with Playwrights Project of San Diego, NVA will produce two workshop productions of new plays by San Diego artists. The New Play Festival will happen twice a year: once in the summer and once in the winter.

Much Ado About Nothing

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Ensemble Member Kristianne Kurner

Featuring Ensemble Member Justin Lang with Max Macke and Durwood Murray

August 2-5 & 9-12, 2012

Shakespeare in the Park returns to the beautiful campus of Pacific Ridge School in southeast Carlsbad. MUCH ADO is a romantic comedy and Shakespeare’s wittiest play. In this charming story, soldiers returning from war stop in to the estate of Leonato for relaxation, romance and rivalry.

"Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps." – MUCH ADO

"Next to Normal" will be lead by the husband and wife team of Manny and Melissa Fernandes (pictured above). Manny will be making his directorial debut and Melissa will be returning to NVA after her recent appearance in "Into the Woods." Photo by Pam Kragen.

Next To Normal

By Tom Kitt & Brian Yorkey

Directed by Ensemble Member Manny Fernandes

Featuring Melissa Fernandes as Diana

September 8 – September 30

Winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for drama, this groundbreaking musical stars Melissa Fernandes as Diana, a woman struggling with bi-polar disorder. This unforgettable rock musical examines mental illness and its affect on the family.

“No show on Broadway right now makes as direct a grab for the heart — or wrings
it as thoroughly — as does this brave, breathtaking musical.” – New York Times.

Wait Until Dark

By Frederick Knott

Directed by Ensemble Member Dana Case

Featuring Ensemble Member and Actors Equity Member Daren Scott as Harry Roat

November 3 – November 25

A recently blinded woman is terrorized by a trio of thugs while they search for a heroin stuffed doll they believe is in her apartment. The woman takes charge of her fate in this classic 1960’s thriller. As the lights go out in the theatre, the audience will jump out of their seats in fear.

“made me jump ... in a theater ... in front of people. That’s not an easy feat” – The Herald Bulletin

Director of NVA's holiday musical "Plaid Tidings," Jason Heil played the role of Smudge in the Old Globe's 2010 revival. Photo by Daniel Baird.

Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings

By Stuart Ross

Directed by Jason Heil

December 8 - 24

Plaid Tidings – A Special Holiday Edition of Forever Plaid continues the story of the singing group whose lives were lost in an accident involving a busload of teens en route to see “The Ed Sullivan Show.” This holiday favorite will be directed by Jason Heil, who appeared as one of the actors in the production at the Old Globe Theatre. Full of Christmas favorites such as “Mr. Santa,” “Let It Snow” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” Plaid Tidings is a holiday treat for the entire family.

New Play Festival

January 11-13, 2013

A continuing collaboration with Playwrights Project of San Diego, NVA will produce two workshop productions of new plays by San Diego artists. The New Play Festival will happen twice a year: once in the summer and once in the winter.

The family in "The Trip to Bountiful" is usually a Caucasian one, but NVA plans to examine the play through the experiences of an African-American one, lead by the luminescent actress Sylvia M'Lafi Thompson (pictured above). Courtesy photo.

The Trip to Bountiful

By Horton Foote

Directed by Kristianne Kurner

Featuring Actors Equity Member Sylvia M’Lafi Thompson as Carrie Watts

February 9 – March 3, 2013

All Carrie Watts wants before she dies is to see her hometown of Bountiful, Texas one last time. Her son and daughter-in-law don’t believe she should make the trip, so she heads out herself to make her dream come true. Starring the amazing actress Sylvia M’Lafi Thompson as Carrie Watts. Produced in honor of NVA Ensemble Member Sandra Ellis-Troy.

“If there's any such thing as a bulletproof play, “The Trip to Bountiful” may be it. Horton Foote's elegiac study in the diminution of old age, which featured Oscar-winner Geraldine Page in the 1985 film, is a sure-fire crowd pleaser” – Los Angeles Times

ion Theatre Executive Artistic Director Claudio Raygoza (above) will make his NVA directorial debut with "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Courtesy photo.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

By Dale Wasserman

Directed by Claudio Raygoza (Executive Artistic Director of ion theatre)

Featuring Ensemble Member Kristianne Kurner as Nurse Ratched

March 30 – April 21, 2013

ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST is arguably the greatest anti-authority protest novel of the 20th century. The story pits RP McMurphy (a convict who has feigned psychosis so that he can spend the final months of his sentence at a mental institution) against Nurse Ratched (the icy head nurse of the ward), who believes that rules must be followed without exception. A band of patients get caught in the crossfire and the audience is left to decide who was right and who was wrong.

From director Claudio Raygoza: “I first read the novel on a long, bleak Arizona road-trip during my junior high years and it's haunted me for decades. Kesey's novel has to be one of the finest, most shattering contributions to modern literature, and Wasserman's faithfully gutsy adaptation wrestles with essential questions regarding morality, heroism and personal freedom. I'm thrilled to be undertaking this challenge -- and overjoyed to be working at New Village Arts.”


By Edward Albee

Directed by Ensemble Member Amanda Sitton

Featuring Ensemble Member Dana Case as Nancy and Ensemble Member Justin Lang as Leslie

May 18 – June 9, 2013

Winner of the 1975 Pulitzer Prize. While having a picnic on the dunes of a quiet beach, Nancy and Charlie, a couple facing retirement, have a spirited debate about how to spend the rest of their lives. Nancy wants adventure and excitement and Charlie would just like to rest. A very unique couple arrives on the same sand dune and have Nancy and Charlie questioning their relationship, each other and their very sanity. An examination of marriage and family that only Edward Albee could create.

Season subscriptions are now on sale and can be purchased by visiting or by calling 760-433-3245.

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