San Diego Playwrights

Getting San Diego Playwrights Produced on San Diego Stages

Sheila and Jeffrey Lipinsky Sponsor Playwrights Project’s Plays by Young Writers


Playwrights Project is pleased to announce that the 30th annual festival of Plays by Young Writers will be sponsored by the Sheila and Jeffrey Lipinsky Family Fund. As long-time friends and major donors of Playwrights Project, Mr. and Mrs. Lipinsky were the organization’s natural choice when seeking a major sponsor for the festival.

Jeffrey and Sheila Lipinsky

Jeffrey and Sheila Lipinsky

“We really care about Playwrights Project and want to invest where we can make a difference. The work that they do is so important and has made such an impact on so many young lives. By teaching playwriting in the classrooms, it has allowed the students to tell their stories in very propelling ways and make their voices heard. We are so grateful that our support can make an impact on this very  worthwhile organization, and we have been very impressed, over the years, with their ability to wisely use the funds provided. ” – Sheila and Jeffrey Lipinsky

The festival features winning scripts from the California Young Playwrights Contest for ages 18 and under, and will be held at The Sheryl and Harvey White Stage in the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center at The Old Globe on January 22 – February 1, 2015. For more information and reservations, please contact Playwrights Project at (858) 384-2970 or Visit

Contest winners were selected from 581 plays submitted by students from across the state. Four scripts will receive full professional productions, and four scripts will receive staged readings in this highly regarded festival of new voices.

In this year’s festival, hidden truths and unspoken needs complicate the lives of four families in very different ways.

Coffee, Cream, and Closure – Felicia, a busy career woman seeks the help of a medium to re-examine her relationship with her family.

Crown Prince Crazy – When 16-year-old Bennie’s family is deported, he must find a way to tell his mother he plans to stay in the U.S.

From Another House – Lena’s first meeting with her father and his family sparks discoveries and questions about the meaning of family.

Light – Danielle’s need to be accepted by her lighter skinned family exposes intra-racial prejudice and a search for self-worth.

All contest submissions were evaluated by theatre professionals who volunteered their time and expertise. Final Judges in the selection process included Deborah Salzer (Founder of Playwrights Project), Martin Benson (Founding Co-Artistic Director of South Coast Rep), Danielle Mages Amato (Literary Manager/Dramaturg at The Old Globe Theatre), Randy Reinholz (PSFA Director of Community Engagement and Innovative Programs at San Diego State University and Producing Artistic Director, Native Voices at the Autry), and Delicia Turner Sonnenberg (Artistic Director of MOXIE Theatre). Program Manager and Producer Derek Charles Livingston spearheaded the evaluation process, which focused on a sense of truth, imagination, fresh use of language, and grasp of dramatic structure. All contest participants who requested feedback received individualized written critiques.

The Festival is divided into Program A (appropriate for ages 11+) and Program B (for ages 16+). Each program includes two staged readings and two full productions. Two acting ensembles will present the two different programs, with actors playing multiple roles.

Program A for ages 11 and up

Full Productions

Coffee, Cream, and Closure by Matthew Maceda, age 15, Torrey Highlands

Crown Prince Crazy by Alberto Cordova, age 18, Escondido

Staged Readings

Best Friend Mistakes by Donya Sharifi, age 12, Rancho Peñasquitos

One Magical Day by Tricia Mendoza, age 14, Rancho Peñasquitos

Full productions directed by George Yé:

Coffee, Cream, and Closure was written by Matthew Maceda, who attends Westview High School. The play examines how we look at death, as a young business woman reconnects with her deceased father through the help of a medium she meets at a coffee shop. At age 15, this is Matthew’s first year competing in the older division of the contest, after winning readings three years in a row in the younger division. Founder Deborah Salzer will serve as writing mentor\dramaturg, supporting the playwright in further developing his play.

Crown Prince Crazy was written by 18 year old Alberto (Bert) Cordova who graduated from Orange Glen High School in Escondido this past June. Bert wrote his play during our program Border Lines\Fronteras de Lineas led by Erika Phillips and James Pillar. The play gives a theatrical glimpse into the internal and external influences impacting a 16-year-old boy who must decide whether to accompany his family back to Mexico or remain rooted and alone in his life in the USA.

Crown Prince Crazy rehearsal photo:  George Yé (director), Alberto Cordova (playwright), Jessica Ordon (dramaturg)

Crown Prince Crazy rehearsal photo: George Yé (director), Alberto Cordova (playwright), Jessica Ordon (dramaturg)

Alberto Cordova (playwright), George Yé (director), Eddie Garcia (actor), John Polak (actor), Miguel Padilla (actor)

Crown Prince Crazy rehearsal photo: Alberto Cordova (playwright), George Yé (director), Eddie Garcia (actor), John Polak (actor), Miguel Padilla (actor)

Staged Readings directed by Erika Phillips:

Best Friend Mistakes by Donya Sharifi, age 12, is a fresh take on best friend betrayal when Harry misses his best friend’s birthday party. Donya took part in a playwriting residency at Mesa Verde Middle School led by Founder Deborah Salzer.

One Magical Day by Tricia Mendoza, age 14, who took part in a playwriting program at Black Mountain Middle School led by Wendy Waddell. A surprisingly young fairy godmother has a hard time finding a deserving human to help.


Francisco Brambila, Veronica Burgess, Zion Dyson, Eduardo Garcia, Virginia Gregg, Kimberly King, Dylan Nalbandian, Miguel Padilla, John Polak, Arnica Skulstad Brown, Reed Willard

Program B for ages 16 and up

Full Productions

Light by Ke’Ona, age 17, Escondido

From Another House by Eliana Pipes, age 17, Altadena

Staged Readings

With Your Own Eyes by Sol Manuel Garza, age 14, San Marcos

She Remembers by Jerusha Israel, age 13, Rancho Peñasquitos

Full productions directed by Rosina Reynolds:

Light was written by Ke’Ona, who took part in our playwriting program co-taught by her classroom teacher Ms. Ramirez and Playwrights Project Executive Director Cecelia Kouma. Ke’Ona’s play is about an African American teen living with her grandmother in kinship care, struggling with racial prejudice, a family that resents her, and a boyfriend with a dangerous lifestyle. The playwright will work with writing mentor Monique Gaffney, who performed the play during class sessions. Actors visited the class midway through the residency to read the students’ plays aloud and discuss possible revisions with the playwrights, and returned on the final day of classes to perform finished plays for students and invited guests.

From Another House was written by Eliana Pipes from Altadena, who submitted three noteworthy plays to this year’s contest. Eliana has had a play produced at The Blank Theatre in LA and is currently a freshman at Columbia University. This seriocomic play explores what really defines a family when a young woman connects with a father who never knew she existed. Aleta Barthell will serve as Eliana’s writing mentor as Eliana continues to develop the play for production.

From Another House rehearsal photo: Aleta Barthell (dramaturg), Eliana Pipes (playwright)

From Another House rehearsal photo: Aleta Barthell (dramaturg), Eliana Pipes (playwright)

From Another House rehearsal photo: Aliyah Malcom (actor), John Tessmer (actor), Saverina Scopelleti (actor), Whitney Brianna Thomas (actor), Rosina Reynolds (director)

From Another House rehearsal photo: Aliyah Malcom (actor), John Tessmer (actor), Saverina Scopelleti (actor), Whitney Brianna Thomas (actor), Rosina Reynolds (director)

Staged Readings directed by Derek Livingston:

With Your Own Eyes by Sol Manuel Garza is a futuristic play about a boy who doesn’t realize the degree to which he’s tied to the grid, until his uncle taps into the system. Sol Manuel wrote the play in English class at High Tech High North County, taught by Carol Cabrera, who began teaching playwriting with Playwrights Project.

In She Remembers by Jerusha Israel, an 80-year-old woman questions the meaning of life, when her lifelong friend’s memory fades. Jerusha took part in a playwriting program at Black Mountain Middle School led by Wendy Waddell.


Marshall Anderson, Whitney Brianna Thomas, Kimberly King, Aliyah Malcom, Eric Poppick, Saverina Scopelleti, Alexandra Slade, John Tessmer, Aaron Winey


Public Performances

Saturday, January 24 – 7:30 PM – Opening Night (four full productions\no readings)

Friday, January 30 – 7:30 PM – Program B

Saturday, January 31 – 2:00 PM – Program B

Saturday, January 31 – 7:30 PM – Program A

Sunday, February 1 – 2:00 PM – Program A

Production Team

Director – Program A Full Productions George Yé

Director – Program B Full Productions Rosina Reynolds

Director – Program A Staged Readings Erika Phillips

Director – Program B Staged Readings Derek Livingston

Dramaturg – From Another House Aleta Barthell

Dramaturg – Light Monique Gaffney

Dramaturg – With Your Own Eyes Derek Livingston

Dramaturg – Crown Prince Crazy Jessica Ordon

Dramaturg – Coffee, Cream, & Closure Deborah Salzer

Dramaturg – She Remembers Tiffany Tang

Dramaturg – One Magical Day & Best Friend Mistakes Rachael VanWormer

Production Stage Manager – Sharon Strich

Assistant Stage Manager – Hannah May

Technical Director – Mark Robertson

Costume Design – Alina Bokovikova

Assistant Costume Design – Arianna Ibanez

Assistant Costume Design – Michelle Bales

Sound Design – Melanie Chen

Lighting Design – Sherrice Mojgani

Scenic Design – Timothy Nottage

Properties Design – Angelica Ynfante

About Playwrights Project:

Playwrights Project advances literacy, creativity and communication by empowering individuals to voice their stories through playwriting programs and theatre productions.

Playwrights Project gratefully acknowledges major support for this program from: City of San Diego Commission for Arts & Culture, Mandell Weiss Charitable Trust, Kinder Morgan Foundation, and Macy’s. Additional support provided by Balboa Park Kiwanis Foundation, Community Service Association of San Diego Unified School District, Mrs. Audrey Geisel / Dr. Seuss Fund, Kiwanis Club of La Jolla, Kiwanis Club of Old San Diego, National Endowment for the Arts, and ResMed Foundation

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