San Diego Playwrights

Getting San Diego Playwrights Produced on San Diego Stages

JOY VEY–A Comedy by Anita Yellin Simons and Lojo Simon

on November 20, 2014

Anita Yellin Simons and Lojo Simon have been writing plays separately and together since they first met in a UCSD Extension class nearly 10 years ago. Together they have written two comedies and a drama.

Anita Yellin Simons

Anita Yellin Simons

Lojo Simon

Lojo Simon

Their latest effort is called JOY VEY, a comic two-hander about two grandmas during the Christmas/Chanukah season. Gammy Leigh has big plans for her holiday overnighter with her grandbabies, including a surprise visit from Santa. She isn’t alone with her twin grandbabies for five minutes when Bubbie Arlene unexpectedly shows up at the door armed with Chanukah gifts galore and a know-it-all attitude that even the most mellow Gammy can’t abide. Thus begins a fierce competition for the title of World’s Best Grandma and a battle of wills that leads the ladies to debate everything from breastfeeding to childrearing to the merits of Arlene’s ex-husband, Mark.


JOY VEY will be workshopped this December at the Center for Jewish Culture in La Jolla. Audiences are invited for two workshop productions on Dec. 4 and 6 at 7:30 PM at the La Jolla JCC. The production stars San Diego standouts Jill Drexler and Rhona Gold and is directed by the renowned musical theatre actor/director Evan Pappas of New York City.

Local audiences may remember the political drama HEARTLAND penned by Simons and Simon (no, they are not related), which made its debut at Mira Costa College in Oceanside in 2008, under the direction of Eric Bishop. HEARTLAND has won several national awards, including first place in the Dayton Playhouse FutureFest. Both JOY VEY and HEARTLAND were workshopped at Scripteasers in San Diego. HEARTLAND is now available in book form on Amazon.

Simons and Simon say that they like to work together because they enjoy the camaraderie, and each holds the other accountable for getting the work done. That doesn’t mean that co-writing is easy, especially for these two women who often find themselves at odds artistically. But judging by their success, they manage to reach successful compromise.

Their writing process usually involves a lot of phone calls and email exchanges (Lojo Simon currently lives in Orange County) that lead to preliminary character development, story and plot. One of the writers typically begins writing text, and when she reaches a natural stopping point or simply gets frustrated with her progress, she emails the script to the other one, who picks up where her partner left off. Rewriting is done constantly as are follow-up conversations, as the demands of the script change and grow throughout the writing process.

What’s next for the playwriting duo?  Probably another comedy since they’re so much more fun than drama.

For Joy Vey tickets, please call (858) 362-1348.


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