San Diego Playwrights

Getting San Diego Playwrights Produced on San Diego Stages

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.

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

Jane Doe updated

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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
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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!


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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.

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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!!

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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:

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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


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OUR STORIES–Thelma Virata de Castro

Umeko Kawamoto 002

Last fall I attended a memorial service at the Buddhist Temple of San Diego. Umeko Kawamoto was born on November 16, 1920 and lived for almost 96 years. She was a daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, waitress, bank teller and community volunteer. At the service, her family shared some of her favorite sayings:

“Your life isn’t small. It should include more than yourself.”

I interviewed Umeko for Asian Story Theater’s Stories of the Sun Café in 2015. She was a waitress at the Sun Café, a historic restaurant in prewar Japantown, in what became San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. She was interned at Poston during World War II, but that was just one portion of her experience. She talked mainly about her family. She loved dancing and Johnny Mathis. Her motto was “Keep Busy”, which became the title for the script I wrote about her.

Interview picture Umeko Kawamoto

Umeko Kawamoto Interview with Kent Brisby and Thelma Virata de Castro (Photo Credit Joyce Teague)

Why do stories matter? At the reception after the memorial service, I sat and chatted with some of those who came to honor Umeko. The generation that followed the internees became historians, community leaders and civil rights activists.  Japanese Americans have been some of the most vocal to protest anti-Muslim government policies.

“Your life isn’t small. It should include more than yourself.”

Sun Cafe


Stories of the Sun Café focused on the Chinese American and Japanese American communities of San Diego. In Winter 2015, Asian Story Theater was awarded a California Humanities Community Stories Grant for Halo-Halo—Mixed Together Stories from San Diego’s Filipino American Community. I worked as Community Liaison and one of the playwrights for the project.

Halo-Halo Poster

In our Humanities-based approach for Halo-Halo, we solicited story ideas from community groups and our playwright team. We were given ideas for military stories, such as World War II Veterans, and education stories, such as the Filipino Language Movement. We learned about a pageant protestor in the 1970’s, and did historical research about Taxi Dance Halls and the Delano grape strike. One playwright wrote about a transgender civic leader, and another wrote about a young woman who is undocumented. Just as the dessert of halo-halo is made up of a mixture of ingredients, the Filipino American community contains a mixture of stories.


Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) and Filipino American Educators Association Meeting

Someone I know asked if I could interview him for the project. I wasn’t sure why he wanted to talk. When we met, he shared his experience of domestic violence. Months later, I also interviewed his mother. Family is perhaps the highest value in Filipino culture. This mother didn’t tell her friends about her husband’s abuse because she didn’t want them to look down on her. Although these interviewees remain anonymous, their story is being told. The son is still healing, but he wanted people to know: “You are not alone.”

One of the most powerful experiences I’ve had in theatre was to sit in the same audience with Umeko and watch her story. Theatre brings people together to remember, to learn, and to feel. These are our stories.

Halo-Halo–Mixed Together Stories from San Diego’s Filipino American Community runs March 31-April 9 at the Lyceum Space, Horton Plaza, downtown San Diego. For tickets call 619-544-1000 or visit For more information about Halo-Halo visit

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BACKSTAGE DRAMA–An Interview with Michael Vegas Mussman and Samantha Goldstein

San Diego Playwrights recently talked with playwright Michael Vegas Mussman and director Samantha Goldstein about their San Diego Fringe show “Backstage Drama”.

Tell us about yourselves.

me chair color

Michael Vegas Mussman

Michael Vegas Mussman: I’ve been playing around with art of improvisation for a couple years. When I started taking classes and performing at local improv theatres, I discovered this funky little community of improvisers. We improv people are so funny. To me, we seem like a bunch of grownup kids who loved doing theatre in high school and never wanted to quit, so we just keep running up on stage – even well into middle-age.  And we do it for free! So I decided to write about these weirdos and all the drama we get into. This is my second show at SD Fringe. Last year I wrote a one-act called “Kidnapping Lola” that was produced by Actors Alliance.

Screenshot 2016-05-30 11.07.31

Michael Vegas Mussman


Samantha Goldstein: I’ve been acting and directing in San Diego community theater for about eight years now.  It’s just a labor of love for me.  In the past year, I’ve directed two shows at Patio Playhouse in Escondido and have a third coming up.  I’m also currently acting in “Clybourne Park” at that theater.  I joined up with the “Backstage Drama” crew through a recommendation from Ronnell, who plays Angela.  She and I met doing a 24 Hour Theater Festival and she liked my style.  I’m very grateful because this is an amazingly talented and enthusiastic bunch of people, and Michael’s play is hilarious and fun.

Tell us about your play.

Michael Vegas Mussman: “Backstage Drama” is a comedy about an improv trio called Fruit Hole. The script calls for every other scene to be improvised. So it’s a hybrid of scripted dialogue with scenes that are made up on the spot. No two shows will be the same. I like to think of it as my love letter to the improv community. So I added a bunch of inside jokes for the improv people in the audience.

Samantha Goldstein: “Backstage Drama,” as Michael explained it to me, has some similarities to the great British play “Noises Off,” in the sense that the inner workings (and soft underbelly) of a theater performance are exposed by literally turning the show backwards.  The audience gets to see both the improv performance, in which the participants are confident, seasoned and skilled, and the shenanigans backstage, where jealousies, insecurities and missed emotional connections are revealed.

What are your challenges? What are your successes?

Michael Vegas Mussman: It wasn’t enough for me to write a script; I’m also producing my own show. The challenges are always the same – coming up with money, booking rehearsal space, figuring out everyone’s schedule, all those boring logistics. But the biggest success is finding six people who are willing to put on a play. All I did was ask, “Hey you want to be in my play?” I was shocked at how quickly these artists volunteered. Their enthusiasm has made it all worthwhile.

Samantha Goldstein: So far, the challenge is just getting all the people in one place at the same time.  Everyone is busy with work and other projects, so scheduling the rehearsals has been a bit of a challenge.  Luckily, I’m shielded from a lot of that by Michael’s tireless efforts.  The success is seeing how “game” everyone is to try stuff.  Sometimes when I’m directing, actors recoil from my goofier ideas because they worry about looking silly.  This bunch is not concerned. 😉

What is your next step?

Michael Vegas Mussman: Next we’ve got to promote, promote, promote and sell some tickets! After the Fringe Festival, I’m going to take a long nap. Then I’m going to concentrate on writing longer works for the theatre. Eventually I’ll move away from the little comedies and do more experimentation.

Samantha Goldstein: More rehearsals, with everyone there!  The more we practice, the better it’s all going to look.  I’m feeling very confident about the show being both hysterical and full of heart.  Oh, and next step for me?  Like Michael said, a long nap.  I’ve done back-to-back shows for a year now, and will still be producing another show and moving into another house this summer, so I have to calm down for at least a few weeks!  (I say this with mock-frustration—the fact is, I’m like Tinkerbell, and can’t exist without applause.  Which means whatever break I take must be mercifully brief.)

Thanks for talking with us Michael and Samantha! Break a leg with “Backstage Drama”!

“Backstage Drama”

Fri June 24 @ 4pm

Sun June 26 @ 1pm

Mon June 27 @ 6pm

Wed June 29 @ 8pm

Sat July 2 @ 9pm

For more information visit



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HARLOWE–An Interview with Jennifer Lane

Center Theatre Group has announced the 10 finalists who have been chosen for the first annual Humanitas/CTG Playwriting Prize. The award will be given to the best new and unproduced play written by a Southern California playwright. San Diego Playwrights caught up with finalist Jennifer Lane to discuss her play, HARLOWE.


Jennifer Lane

About HARLOWE: After suffering a potent physical trauma, Harlowe loses her sense of touch. When her sister brings her home to convalesce, she retreats to the bathroom and spends hour after hour languishing in the tub. Harlowe is a story of sisters and bodies; it is a story of how we heal.


During my second year of graduate school, I hit a bit of a dry spell. Maybe it was because I’d spent the last year and a half writing more than I ever had before in my life, or maybe it was because I’d just moved, or maybe it was because I was told that I needed to begin thinking about my thesis play and I was worried that I just didn’t have anything good left in my brain. Regardless, I wasn’t writing. And when you’re in grad school for a writing degree, and you’re not writing, it’s kind of a problem.


I do a lot of things when I’m not writing, mostly they involve streaming video on the internet or drinking coffee and staring at ceilings. But this time when I couldn’t write, I took a bath. This time, when I was stuck, I submerged myself under the water and held my breath until I couldn’t any more. When I was under the water, I listened to my heartbeat, and I was soothed, connected to something primordial. And when I got out of the water, I sat down at my computer, and three days later I had the first full draft of Harlowe.


This is one of those magical stories of creation that artists chase for their whole careers, and rarely get. I didn’t have a play; and then — boom — I did. I don’t remember what it was like, writing it. I only know that it popped into being like Athena out of Zeus’ forehead, whole, fully formed.


Harlowe has never needed the major overhauls that some of my other plays have required, and as such, it bears a striking resemblance to that first, magical draft I wrote in those three mystical days. But I have had the privilege of developing the piece with a number of remarkable theatre artists, to whom I owe a great deal, who have made the play what it is.


First, Sarah Ruhl mentored me on it. There’s this pretty great part of being a Columbia grad student where they hire your number-one top-choice living playwright to mentor you on your thesis play, and I chose Sarah. I chose her because of Eurydice and In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play; I chose her because she began her writing career as a poet, and I needed a poet’s eye on the lengthy, metaphor-heavy monologues that littered the play. And she helped me sculpt those monologues into poetry in their own right.


From there, it was performed as part of the thesis festival at Columbia, directed by Jess K. Smith, and featuring a team of actors I still think of in my head whenever I work on the play. They got it up on its feet, water and all, and I learned how submerging your lead actress in water has an astounding impact on the speeches, and it remains one of the most satisfying artistic collaborations of my life.



Columbia University Thesis Production of HARLOWE


After grad school, it was further developed during the Alec Baldwin Fellowship at Singer’s Forum, directed by Marlo Hunter. We focused our attention then on a character that had, up until that point, been mostly just a foil for everyone else on stage. She brought a phenomenal actor into the role and helped me dig into the character, and the entire process taught me an invaluable lesson about excavating theme to anchor characters to the heart of a story. Concurrently, it was presented in Washington D.C. at the Inkwell Theatre, directed by Lee Liebeskind. And I got to travel there to see the excerpt they presented. This was my first taste of travel for writing, and I was hooked.


Then, I put it away for a year before I took it to the Gulfshore Playhouse in Naples, Florida where it was part of their New Works Festival, directed by Lou Tyrell. Lou helped me polish it, til it had that production-ready shine, and then he brought it to his own theatre festival at Florida Atlantic University’s Theatre Lab. There, it was directed by Matt Stabile, who showed me that I was wrong when I thought there was no work left to do on it. His keen insights and unabashed enthusiasm about the play have blown it wide open for me, and I see it anew because of him and Lou and my cast at FAU Theatre Lab.



Florida Atlantic University Theatre Lab reading of HARLOWE


Now, it’s a finalist for this amazing prize. To win the prize would be a huge honor all on its own, but what’s remarkable about this particular prize is that they attach money to the play itself as an incentive for a California theatre to produce it. That’s huge. That’s the dream. And I know I am echoing the sentiments of all of my fellow finalists when I say how thrilling that is.


I am in astounding company as a finalist, and it’s such a privilege to be in the running alongside such fantastic SoCal talent. And as I wait to hear about Harlowe’s status, I can’t help but think about the many remarkable artists who have touched the play, whose fingerprints are all over it. I’m writing this as a sort of love letter to them all, to say… Thank you. Working on this play has been a joy, and an education. You all have changed me utterly.

Thank you for sharing the story of HARLOWE, Jennifer! Good luck on its journey to production!

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