San Diego Playwrights

An all-volunteer network supporting and promoting local playwrights

New Date Announced! – Local Flavor Play Reading of Steven Oberman’s new play, “Herzl’s Dream”

Play Reading has been rescheduled for Tuesday, February 8 at 7:30pm

San Diego Playwrights in conjunction with Scripps Ranch Theatre present a Local Flavor Play Reading


Featuring Sean Paul Boyd, Wendy Maples and Katie Oberman

Tuesday, February 8 at 7:30pm


on the Alliant University Campus

9783 Avenue of Nations, San Diego

In Europe of the 1890’s, a time of widespread anti-Semitism, the renowned Theodor Herzl is approached by a strange woman. He is the leader of the modern Zionist movement, frustrated with his attempts to establish a Jewish homeland as a safe haven for his people. She is a Polish fortune teller who sacrifices everything to ensure Herzl does not give up his quest, for their destinies depend upon it. In this fictionalized encounter between real people of the past, hope and fate intertwine to inspire Herzl’s immortal words, “If you will it, it is no dream.”

Suggested Donation: $10 at the door

SRT COVID protocols will be followed: visit for more info

Leave a comment »

POSTPONED 2020: Local Flavor Play Reading of Nuptial Stagecraft by California Jack Cassidy


Nuptial Stagecraft flyer

Leave a comment »

2019 Local Flavor Play Reading of Switching Tracks by Matt Thompson

Switching Tracks
San Diego Playwrights, in conjunction with Scripps Ranch Theatre, presents the Local Flavor Play Reading series featuring “Switching Tracks” by Matthew Salazar-Thompson, on Sunday, December 1 at 7:00pm. Suggested donation $10 at the door.
A divorced couple, Michael and Rebecca, haven’t seen each other in over ten years. After a chance encounter at Grand Central Station, both of them find new connections with each other as they comb through the bevy of old emotions on their path moving forward.
For more information contact Steven Oberman
Leave a comment »

2019 Local Flavor Play Reading of One-Act Plays by Janet Tiger and Lisa Balderston

Local Flavor 6.10.19 Flier

San Diego Playwrights, in conjunction with Scripps Ranch Theatre, presents the Local Flavor Play Reading series featuring two one-act plays:

“Sweepstakes” by Janet S. Tiger

In 1982, two sisters – completely different in so many ways – need to work together to deal with some life issues, including how to get a pizza for free.  Amidst the laughter and some strong language, they deal with very current issues.

“Transported” by Lisa Balderston

Two years after a mass shooting took their sons’ lives, two mothers run into each other during a late subway ride home. Although close friends when their sons were dating, they have drifted apart since the funerals. Regrets and resentments come to the surface as their reunion takes a turn and they reveal how much their lives have changed.

Leave a comment »

2019 Local Flavor Play Reading of Jane Doe in the Quiet Room by Jack Shea

Jane Doe updated

Leave a comment »

2018 Local Flavor Play Reading of Family Mystique by Anita Yellin Simons

Family Mystique-revised

San Diego Playwrights and Scripps Ranch Theatre are proud to announce that the next Local Flavor Play Reading will be Family Mystique by Anita Yellin Simons. The reading will be Monday, December 3 at 7:30pm. Suggested donation is $10. For more information contact Steven Oberman at
Directed by Timothy Cabal
Featuring: Janey Hurley, Hannah Logan, Timothy Cabal, Jack Roberts , John Carroll, and Kelly Saunders

Scripps Ranch Theatre performs in the Legler Benbough Theatre on the campus of Alliant International University in Scripps Ranch.


Scripps Ranch Theatre
Legler Benbough Theatre
Alliant International University
9783 Avenue of Nations
San Diego, CA 92131
(858) 578-7728
Freeway Directions
Campus and Parking Map

Anita Simons

Playwright Anita Yellin Simons


Anita Yellin Simons is a political activist and playwright who combines both her love of history and activism in her many award-winning plays. Her first play GOODBYE MEMORIES, about Anne Frank before going into hiding, has won numerous awards and had several productions and readings. HEARTLAND, about German POWs working on American farms and what happened to thousands of German-Americans sent to internment camps during WWII, had a production and placed second in the David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award, and was published by Sense Publishers in their social-fictions series. Later plays THIS WE’LL DEFEND, about female rape in the military, IN SANITY, about a family’s struggle with teenage drug addiction, and SILENCE IS NOT GOLDEN, about domestic abuse, have all had successful readings with professional talk backs that spark stimulating discussions and how to deal with each of the issues presented in the plays. She also has a comedy JOY VEY (co-written with Lojo Simon) about dueling new grandmas — one Jewish and one Gentile. Simons specializes in thought-provoking theater with humor and pathos.

Tell us about your play.

FAMILY MYSTIQUE is part of a trilogy of “autobiographical” plays about difficult periods in my life. The synopsis is basically: On August 4, 1964, seventeen year-old Linda Smolen is excited and scared to be off to college, but in one day sees her idyllic, albeit fantasy, family go from “The Sound of Music” to “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” when she has to deal with the harsh reality of her parents’ troubled marriage, her brother’s juvenile delinquency and her mother’s attempted suicide. Life isn’t fair and teenage angst and self-absorption hasn’t changed much in the past 50 years. When the play continues three years later in 1967, Linda is ready to face the future as a new feminist and say goodbye to her mother’s life of marriage and motherhood or in Linda’s mind “slavery.”

What have been your successes with the piece? What have been your challenges?

I always take my first draft of any play to Scripteasers to be read and critiqued. From that first reading, I made additional changes/cuts and had another reading at the San Diego Women’s Museum of California. I made some additional changes and then put the play away. I felt it needed further work. Now that I have an opportunity for another reading with a director and audience, I look forward to more input about how to improve this piece.

Please join San Diego Playwrights and Scripps Ranch Theatre in supporting local playwrights in the development process. We hope to see you December 3 for the reading of Family Mystique!


1 Comment »

2018 Local Flavor Play Reading of FREEDUMB by James Caputo


Tell us about yourself.

I am an actor, who became a director, who became a playwright. I find that both experiences inform my work.

In what way?

To give just a few examples: as an actor. I know how much time is necessary for an emotional swing; as a director, I know the importance of stage dynamics.  I write to accommodate such considerations.

What are your strengths and weaknesses as a writer?

I suppose dialogue is my strength. I find it a very natural thing – a flowing of the mind. My weakness is definitely plot. It is a constant screeching worry.

Speaking of plot, do you always work from an outline?

I never work from an outline. I wish I could, but it never works for me. It takes me forever to write one, and when I do I wander off of it almost immediately. It’s just not my process.  Freedumb started as a few monologues that eventually wound up in the middle of the play.  After 30 – 40 pages, a story may start to suggest itself, and for the first time, I have a vague sense of direction.

Tell us about that process, how much rewriting do you do, how many drafts?

I never look forward to rewriting, and my draft count is a few at best.  I write very slowly. I labor over each sentence, each word. I think when you do that, rewriting becomes less important. On a good day, I’m happy if I write three pages.

What are your successes?

My plays have been produced in 10 states from New York to California.  Locally, I have had full productions of four different full lengths.

What are your challenges?

Finding extended alone-time to write has to be my #1 challenge, isn’t it everybody’s?

Tell us about your play, that just had a Local Flavor reading.




Leigh Akin, Hannah Logan, James Caputo, Lydia Lea Real, Krista Feallock, J.d. Burke and Steven Oberman (Not Pictured: Joe Paulson)

Freedumb is about talk-radio and its influence on our country. At a time when technology allows us the ability to be the most informed nation, we have become the most uninformed. The play examines those people: what they believe, what motivates them. We had a great audience for the reading, and I came away with excellent notes which I am incorporating now. Thank you San Diego Playwrights and Scripps Ranch Theatre for this wonderful opportunity. And a big shout-out to my director, Hannah Logan and her excellent cast: Lydia Lea Real, Joe Paulson, J.d. Burke, Krista Feallock and Leigh Akin.

What is your next step?

Freedumb is a political play, and political plays have a very short shelf life, so the usual development path is out of the question. I will be sending it out to political theaters and posting it on the New Play Exchange as soon as possible.

Thanks for talking with us, James! Break a leg with Freedumb!

For submission guidelines visit Local Flavor Play Readings.

Leave a comment »

2018 Staged Reading of Dark Matter by California Jack Cassidy

CA Jack Cassidy Dark Matter Staged Reading 5th Wall Productions

5th Wall Productions Staged Reading of California Jack Cassidy’s (center) Dark Matter

About a year ago I sent my play Strange Charm out to various theaters that posted development opportunities with Playwrights Center. 5th Wall Productions of Charleston, South Carolina, chose it for a staged reading. Despite the fact that they were in the process of getting evicted from their space (the mall owner didn’t like the “adult content” in their plays), the company went out of their way to welcome me.


The actors who did the reading were great, and the audience was fully engaged and knowledgeable for the feedback session afterwards. I came back with a long list of ways to make the play better, including a new title — Dark Matter. For me, the trip was a huge success!!

Leave a comment »

Out to Lunch and That 24-Hour Thing–Writing for Prompts in San Diego Fringe by Thelma Virata de Castro

Ah, there it is. The empty white page. What to do with it? Sometimes playwrights get lucky and are given prompts and a cast to write for. I lucked out this summer by being involved with two such productions in the 2017 San Diego International Fringe Festival.



Jennie Olson Six, Kevin Six and Liz Silverman are the co-founders of New Play Cafe, a theatre company that presents short original plays in cafes. For the Fringe, New Play Café is presenting pieces written for the theme “Out to Lunch”, to be performed at an actual Panera Bakery.

Out to Lunch Pic

I’ve written a play set during World War II, and explored emotional minefields in others, but for “Out to Lunch” I entered a new battleground–middle school. My play “Team Death” is set during lunch at an average middle school. I couldn’t choose who to write for among the seven cast members, so I wrote a script that included all of them. There are the two main characters, Beth and Danilo, and their inner thoughts, plus some supporting characters, who are all named Peyton. As happens with many plays, the supporting characters took over, and Jennie requested I write some short scenes for them during the transitions to other plays. Watch out for the Peytons!

Postcard 2017

I will also be writing for Logan Squared’s production “That 24-Hour Thing” for the fourth time. Producers Hannah Logan and Ron Logan meet with the playwrights early on a Saturday morning. We draw prompts for actors, setting, props and genre. We then have twenty-four hours to write our short plays, which will then be rehearsed and performed the following day. For “That 24-Hour Thing” I’ve written plays set in an art museum and an alley, and on a safari to capture Walter the Lionkiller dentist. Hannah has gathered incredibly talented theatre artists to participate. She calls it “theatre under pressure” and I love it.


Even when given prompts, a writer really is writing what matters to them. I am thankful for these opportunities to practice writing and exercise creativity. I may even take a shift at being a Short Order Playwright at “Out to Lunch”, in which the audience offers prompts for a monologue written during the performance. I’m not the greatest cook, but I hope you’ll find the plays tasty!


New Play Café’s “Out to Lunch”

Panera Bread, near Horton Plaza

225 Broadway, San Diego 92101

Arrive early to park and order food and drinks

Outside on patio—bring a jacket for evening performances

$10 plus $5 Fringe Tag


Playwrights—Thelma Virata de Castro, Hannah Logan, Melvin D. L. Price, Jr., Tori Rice, Tom Steward


Friday, June 23 @ 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, June 24 @ 3:00 p.m.

Sunday, June 25 @ 3:00 p.m.

Wednesday, June 28 @ 7:00 p.m.

Thursday, June 29 @ 8:00 p.m.

Friday, June 30 @ 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, July 1 @ 3:00 p.m.


For tickets and show information:


Logan Squared’s “That 24-Hour Thing”

San Diego Public Central Library

Neil Morgan Auditorium

Sunday, July 2 @ 6:30 p.m.

Free admission! Arrive early for parking and seating


Playwrights—Chip Bolcik, Thelma Virata de Castro, Salomon Maya, Liz Silverman, Janet Tiger, Nicolette Vajitay


Monologue Writers—Aleta Barthell, Will Cooper, Taberah Holloway, Todd Jackson


For tickets and show information:

Leave a comment »

IN SECURITY–An Interview with Michael Mussman and Taberah Joy Holloway


Last year we interviewed Michael Mussman about his 2016 San Diego Fringe play “Backstage Drama”. This year, he’s back with a musical! San Diego Playwrights spoke with Michael and director Taberah Joy Holloway about “In Security”.

Tell us about your newest project. What is “In Security” all about?

Michael: “In Security” is a musical spoof on corporate America. June is the only woman in her IT department, and she’s also the most competent. She comes across some damning information about her company, Hexagon Security. Will she keep the secret to herself, or will she blow the whistle? Oh, and there’s also a love interest with the new guy on the team, who’s also digging up dirt on the company.

Taberah: “In Security”, for me, is a story about a woman doing her best with somewhat limited options. She wants to do the right thing, but what’s the right thing in that situation?

My perspective is colored by my mother who was the only female electrical engineer at her company in the 1980s in the rural south. My own experience working in corporate law (where my starting class had four women in a pool of seventeen) also informs the direction.

It’s a funny show. For me, what is most important is telling a real story about real people while entertaining.

Tell us about yourselves.

Taberah: I am a kinesthetic human. Movement and the way we move through space fascinates me. Directing is surprisingly fun. I first debuted as an artist in the 2015 Atlanta Fringe. I tried to do everything in that first show (write, direct, act, produce). I have learned SOOO much. My main lesson is do one thing at a time. It’s easier and the product is better when there are multiple hands in the making. Since moving here two years ago, the San Diego theatre community welcomed me with giving opportunities to write, act, and direct. I am so grateful to Michael for allowing me to direct and to Thelma for connecting us.

Michael: I’m originally from Silicon Valley. This is my third time writing a show for Fringe. If you saw “Backstage Drama” at Diversionary Black Box last year, then you’ll remember Romo, the star of that show. She’s returning this year in the role of June. And this time she gets to show off her powerful voice.

Where did the idea come from, and how did you start?

Michael: One night I ran into Jordan Liberman at an improv show. Jordan is the accompanist for Minor Suspension, a long-running musical improv troupe. I sort of jokingly suggested we should write a musical together. Little did I know that Jordan was about to call my bluff. Next thing I know, I’m spending my weekends at Jordan’s house, jamming in front of his upright piano.

I worked for a huge corporation for seven years, and a startup for two years after that. A lot of what I witnessed — the office politics, the gossip, the disregard for talent — inspired me to create these characters. One of them is a bro who doesn’t realize his jokes are offensive. There’s a guy who cannot figure out PowerPoint. And there’s the young woman in marketing who never speaks up for herself, even when the guys are stepping on her. I put all those memories into the story. Anyone who’s ever worked in a cubicle will recognize a lot in this show.

What challenges have you faced, and what success have you enjoyed?

Taberah: There have been very few challenges. I have a great producer and musical director. And the actors! Did I mention how fantastically funny the actors are? Rehearsals are fun. I like working with this group of people. Everyone gets along, and we all want to tell a story together. The ultimate success is how all these talented people are working toward a common goal. I am proud of all my actors, and everything they bring to the table.

Michael: At first it I made it very difficult for myself. I assumed that I would just write some poetry and then hand over a libretto for Jordan to set to music. That did not work. Thankfully, Jordan taught me that most contemporary songs don’t rhyme very much. The rhythm and emotion are what matter.

I’m most proud of our song “Rumor / Scandal.” I didn’t have a very clear idea to start with — all I knew was I wanted it to sound like the opening number from Sondheim’s “Company,” where you have these overlapping voices all saying the name “Bobby” over and over. So I just started typing up fragments, the kinds of whispers you might overhear in a hallway or restroom. No one phrase makes sense by itself, but when you put them all together with music they’re zany and fun.

What makes this production special?

Michael: First, the venue. I really wanted to do a site-specific work. And thanks to the great people at Fringe, we got a space that actually looks like a corporate office, with a receptionist desk and everything! We’re staging “In Security” at SD Art Institute’s project space, which is on the first floor of Horton Plaza. I plan to serve coffee and bagels, just like a real-life business meeting.

Also, considering this is her first musical, I’m blown away by Taberah’s directing skills! She really got the story on a very deep level, and she has revealed all kinds of nuance in the characters.

What’s next for you?

Taberah: I have a feeling this show will lead naturally into my next creative project. It’s not evident to me what that is now because I am knee deep in bringing this show to life. I may do more storytelling at venues around town. We’ll see!

Michael: I’m shopping around to other theatres to see if we can get “In Security” remounted in other cities. Being in Fringe means we only get 45 minutes, so I’ll need to add a few more scenes and songs to make this a full length show. This whole experience has shown me that musical theatre really is my first love. So I definitely want to collaborate with more musicians, and I hope I get to work with Jordan again.

Thanks for talking with us, Michael and Taberah! And break a leg with “In Security”!

For more information and tickets, visit


Leave a comment »