San Diego Playwrights

Getting San Diego Playwrights Produced on San Diego Stages

TURBULENCE–An Interview with Breaking Waves Playwright Katie Brady

Katie Brady

Katie Brady

Tell us about yourself.

I am a word-obsessed, board game-loving, tennis smashing, singer/songwriter who loves music, theater and open mindsets. I am also lucky enough to be married to my best friend and be the mother of two awesome boys. I had the privilege to front San Francisco-based bands Crackerjack Tattoo and Sweet Harriet and have enjoyed being on the other side of the curtain in Jesus Christ Superstar, 1940’s Radio Hour, The Boyfriend and Hello Dolly.

Tell us about your play.

“Turbulence” is a heart-warming comedy about a teenager flying to his first year of college on an athletic scholarship.  Chaos arises when the son reveals that he didn’t actually get the scholarship and, in fact, was not accepted to the college. It’s an exploration of authenticity and acceptance in an anxiety-riddled environment.

What was it like to work with the actors to workshop your play?

Day one I was impressed. Our auditions were 100% improvisation. I think it takes a good bit of moxie to stand in front of three playwrights and be an Ewok on vacation or a foul-mouthed grandmother. Post-audition it’s been inspiring to watch these talented folks bring the characters to life.

What’s next?

I’m currently co-writing a musical that explores some similar themes as “Turbulence.”

Katie Brady’s play “Turbulence” will be produced by Actors Alliance and San Diego Playwrights as part of the Breaking Waves Festival in the 2015 San Diego International Fringe Festival.  Performances are July 24 @ 9:00 pmJuly 25th @ 2:30 pmJuly 29 @ 6:00 pmJuly 31 @ 7:30 pm and August 2 @ 11:30 am at the Raw Space Theater.

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KIDNAPPING LOLA–An Interview with Breaking Waves Playwright Michael Vegas Mussman

Michael Vegas Mussman

Michael Vegas Mussman

Tell us about yourself.

I’m a theatre dork, an old-fashioned romantic, a wannabe novelist. My adorable husband is from Chile, and we live in Mission Hills with a belligerent Maltese named Sweetie.

Tell us about your play.

About a year ago I woke up from a weird dream, grabbed a yellow pad, and wrote: “Monologue from POV of woman locked in the trunk of a car.” Then I promptly forgot all about it. Months later, I signed up to write a play for Breaking Waves. At the auditions, I met the actors, and that car-trunk idea came right back into my head. Now the woman in the trunk has a name, Lola, and a story.

What was it like to work with actors to workshop your play?

It was thrilling, stressful, amazing, insane, wonderful. These actors are ridiculously creative. All I did was give them a simple premise – two guys driving an old car, woman in the trunk – and they ran with it. They practically wrote their characters’ stories from scratch. They threw so many ideas at me. I only wish I could have used more of them.

What is your next step?

I wrote a one-act a about a closeted gay man who learns the true meaning of Pride. It’s basically “A Christmas Carol” but with disco balls and rainbow flags. I call it “A Pride Pastiche.”

Last night I had this weird dream that featured drug cartels, spies, and aliens from another dimension. My goal is to work all of that into a play and take it to Broadway.

 “Kidnapping Lola” by Michael Vegas Mussman will be produced by Actors Alliance and San Diego Playwrights as part of the Breaking Waves Festival in the 2015 San Diego International Fringe Festival. “Kidnapping Lola” tells the story of Diego and Lil Bing, two partners in crime who kidnap people for money. One of them is thinking about a career change. Performances are July 24 @ 9:00 p.m., July 25 @ 2:30 p.m., July 29 @ 6:00 p.m., July 31 @ 7:30 p.m. and August 2 @ 11:30 a.m.

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QUARANTINE–An Interview with Breaking Waves Playwright Wesley Mullins

Wesley Mullins

Wesley Mullins

Tell us about your play.

“Quarantine” tells the story of the first night a doctor spends in isolation once she returns from treating Ebola patients overseas.  As if being confined to one room for two weeks isn’t bad enough, she soon discovers her new home is haunted by two inept ghosts.

Where did you come up with the idea? 

The doctor is inspired by real people in the news over the last year.  I’ve been fascinated by the stories of Ebola workers who risk their lives, surrounded by death, working in unimaginable conditions and then react so strangely when asked to spend time in quarantine.  I wanted to write about someone doing something heroic and then being forced into isolation where they’d have to deal with the realities of what they’d just experienced.

Because this was for the Fringe Festival, I wanted there to be something Fringe-worthy about it.  A good Fringe play features some experimental, fun elements in the storytelling.  What better way to liven up the doctor’s confinement than to put her in a room with a couple of ghosts.

This is your second year participating in the Fringe Festival.  How do you like it?

I like the festival because Fringe attendees seem to want to have a good time; they are a welcoming, accommodating audience.  I’m usually afraid to take risks in my writing, but the Fringe Festival is the perfect spot to explore new genres and aesthetics.

“Quarantine” by Wesley Mullins is produced by Actors Alliance and San Diego Playwrights as part of the Breaking Waves Festival in the 2015 San Diego International Fringe Festival.  Things go from bad to worse for an Ebola doctor.  After she’s ordered to spend time in quarantine, she discovers that the room where she’ll spend the next two weeks is haunted by two ghosts. Performances are July 24 @ 9:00 p.m., July 25 @ 2:30 p.m., July 29 @ 6:00 p.m., July 31 @ 7:30 p.m. and August 2 @ 11:30 a.m.

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TINY–An Interview with Out on a Limb Playwright Tori Rice

Tori Rice (Photo Credit Dana Patrick)

Tori Rice (Photo Credit Dana Patrick)

Tell us about yourself.

I’ve been writing stories since I could hold a pen. I’m a Mom, a Teaching Artist, a Playwright and an Actress. I was born in Indiana, raised in Arizona, and have lived in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and now here.   It’s like I just kept moving further west.  Next stop . . . the ocean. (Tori’s website

Tell us about your play.

The inspiration for “Tiny” came out of an article I read about the thousands of people who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001.  The article spoke about the ‘ambiguous loss’ suffered when there is no verification of a missing person’s status as alive or dead.  I started reading up on disappearances, and how those who are left behind cope differently.   I wondered what would happen if a child disappeared out of a home without a trace–how would those parents navigate through that.  Sometimes I write about things that scare the crap out of me.  This is definitely one of those plays.  And I don’t know if I’d have written the play this soon without the competition from Scripps Ranch Theatre’s Out on a Limb (OoaL).  I read that article about ‘ambiguous loss’ right around the time of the deadline requesting a ‘Statement of Intent.’  It was Lizzie Silverman, who was produced in last year’s OoaL (and now for her second year in a row!) who encouraged me to enter.  The stars aligned there for me.

What are your challenges? What are your successes?

I have a very strong inner critic.  I tend to overthink and overtalk.  I fear that I am not all that eloquent when I try to talk about writing, or shoot, anything in general.  I carry ideas around for a long time . . . sometimes so long that instead of percolating, they can stagnate.   Balancing life in general is another challenge.   But I do have endurance, which I think is key for a writer.  And I love storytelling.  I love to hear other people’s stories, I love crafting a story, and I absolutely love the process of collaboration.  I recently enjoyed a wonderful collaboration with my immersive play, Sisters in the System, commissioned by Playwrights Project: Telling Stories, Giving Voice to Foster Youth. (See

Truly though, each play now feels like a success because my work has matured so much over the years.  I’m grateful for new play development opportunities.  Mad props to all those supporting new play development in San Diego.  There are so many talented artists here; I feel incredibly lucky.

What is your next step?

I’ve been writing shorter plays, so my next step is a new full length.

Thanks for talking with us, Tori! Good luck with “Tiny and Out on a Limb!

Scripps Ranch Theatre’s Out on a Limb runs July 10-12 and July 17-19. For more information and tickets visit

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WATER LORDS–An Interview with Out on a Limb Playwright Lizzie Silverman

Lizzie Silverman

Lizzie Silverman

Tell us about yourself.

I wrote my first play in high school. When the spring one-act festival came around, I directed, stage managed, and ran lights for my own show. What a whirlwind! But I was hooked. In college I wrote frequently for Nomads Theatre Company, a student organization at UCSD that produces only new works. I also worked extensively on the New Perspective Festival for two summers. I’ve had workshop productions at 10th Avenue Theatre through Playwrights Project, OnStage Playhouse through Nomads, and productions of numerous shorter plays, including a piece in That 24-Hour Thing at last year’s Fringe Festival. I am the Office Manager at Playwrights Project, so even when I’m not writing, I’m helping facilitate other people’s writing!

Tell us about your play.

When I started writing “Water Lords” a year ago, the drought was barely on anyone’s radar. Awareness has increased since then, but even with photos and water infographics circulating, nobody wants to talk about water issues because water is so boring. Nobody wants to talk about the snooze-fest that is desalinization pros and cons, the taboo and disgusting idea of recycling, and the dreaded word “conservation” that means we have to be inconvenienced and change our daily routines . . . all for a problem we may not even personally see yet. Given the complex circumstances of water in the state – antiquated water rights laws, aging infrastructure, lack of public interest, etc. – water managers are doing an incredible job. But what if we didn’t take any action? What would the current trends look like if they were extrapolated to their somewhat hilarious extremes, and that became the new status quo?

What are your challenges? What are your successes?

With this play, research was the major challenge – not because it’s difficult to find information, but because there’s so much! The water situation is incredibly complicated and I find it all fascinating. It was tricky to strike a balance because I didn’t want the play to get bogged down with too many facts, but I also wanted this fictional future to be somewhat plausible. Some of the fun facts that I couldn’t fit into the play have been funneled into my blog instead, which you can visit at

I think the success of this play is in its relevancy to the here and now. There are very few opportunities like Scripps Ranch Theatre’s Out on a Limb in terms of such a quick turnaround from the writing of a script to production.

What is your next step?

I will continue to work on “Water Lords” and various other scripts, but I am also very excited to return to my back-burner project: an epic science fiction space adventure novel. Look for that in about ten years.

Thanks for talking with us, Lizzie! Good luck with “Water Lords” and Out on a Limb!

Scripps Ranch Theatre’s Out on a Limb runs July 10-12 and July 17-19. For more information and tickets visit

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SEPTEMBER AND HER SISTERS–An Interview with Out on a Limb Playwright Jenny Lane

Jenny Lane

Jenny Lane

Tell us about yourself.

I grew up just outside of Detroit, thinking I wanted to be a performer. That lasted until I got to college where I split my time fairly evenly between theatre studies and creative writing, and it was in my senior year of college that I wrote my first play. It was a total mess, and after working in theatre administration for a couple of years, I decided to go back to school to formally train in dramatic writing. So, I went to Columbia (a program headed at the time by Chuck Mee, where I got to work with such writers as Sheila Callaghan, Lucy Thurber, and Sarah Ruhl) and graduated in 2011. Then, I worked as the administrative director for the League of Professional Theatre Women for several years before making the cross-country move from New York to San Diego. Now, I teach (playwriting, fiction, and creative non-fiction), and split my time fairly evenly between playwriting and fiction writing.

So that’s been my career trajectory. Outside of all that, I am obsessed with travel, I can’t read enough books, I love all things water-related (swimming, kayaking, boating, whale watching), I play in a pool league (though not very well) and am a growing photography enthusiast (I got a Nikon D3200 last Christmas). My boyfriend and I live with our Crested Gecko, Juno, in University Heights.

For more information about me, check out my website at

Tell us about your play.

So, about a year ago, I caught an open mic night at Queen Bee’s in North Park. I was so inspired by the raw talent of the spoken word performers that I wrote my very first spoken word poem — the poem that is the opening of “September and Her Sisters.” The play really formed around that poem, and became an exploration of all different types of love.

What are your challenges? What are your successes?

Oh, man… Well, my biggest challenge right now is trying to balance writing for money and working on my passion projects. The majority of my income right now is from freelance and ghost writing, some of which is creative. So while it’s a fun gig, it’s difficult to strike a balance between getting that work done, and getting my own work done.

My successes… I think, really, getting to be a part of Scripps Ranch Theatre’s Out On A Limb (OoaL) festival is my biggest success in the last few months. I left a huge network in New York, where I was a part of writing groups, and having readings or workshops or productions all the time. Over the last two years, I’ve had to build my network again from scratch, and I’m just so thrilled to finally have a play going up in the city where I live. I’ve missed it a lot over the last 2 years, and I can’t wait to further build my community.* I have really loved working with everyone involved in OoaL, and hope I have the chance to work with them all again.

*To that end, if you’re a SoCal Theatre Artist and you’d like to connect, you can find me on Facebook and Twitter, or you can e-mail me at I definitely want to hear from you!

What is your next step?

I’ve actually already started expanding “September and Her Sisters” from a 30-page One-Act into a full-length. So my next step is to finish that, and then beg my amazing cast to do a reading of it with me!

Outside of “September,” I have a few other upcoming projects: I’m headed to Vermont in July to work on a generative theatre piece at Bennington, I have a workshop of a new play called The Burning Brand in the fall, and I have a production of a new play called Agents of Azeroth going up in DC in the winter.

Thanks for talking with us, Jenny! Good luck with “September and Her Sisters” and Out on a Limb!

Scripps Ranch Theatre’s Out on a Limb runs July 10-12 and July 17-19. For more information and tickets visit

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“Writing the Changing World,” the third national conference of the Dramatists Guild, is being held in La Jolla July 16-19, 2015, at the Hilton Torrey Pines. The Dramatist Guild promises that the conference will be “a happening unlike any other.” The Guild states, “Bringing together more artists from film, television, and social platforms, we’re offering panels and workshops on storytelling for the future. Attendees will be exploring creative outlets in an ever-growing theatre community, have access to entrepreneurial marketing strategies for all creatives, and continue to map out challenging artistic paths.”

The conference will include many San Diego playwrights, some of who will lead panel discussions and present readings of their plays to attendees. The public is welcome to attend but a discount is offered to Dramatists Guild members. Admission to the conference ranges from $395 to $535 depending on when you sign up. There is a discount for students with valid I.D. Discounts for volunteers are also available through Tari Stratton,

For a full schedule of each day’s events and activities, click on the link:

Gary Garrison

Gary Garrison, Dramatist Guild Executive Director of Creative Affairs

We put the following questions to Gary Garrison, Executive Director of Creative Affairs at the Guild, as a way to glean some insights into the upcoming conference and how it might benefit local playwrights.

1) How does the conference title, “Writing the Changing World,” reflect the current state of affairs for playwrights, and what programs in the conference directly address this theme?

I think it’s important to recognize that no dramatist has a straight trajectory while building and shaping a career. There are often long periods of writing, with sometimes even longer periods of rejection, frustration and exasperation with little to no attention from the theatre community. What, then, can dramatists do to survive their careers? What can any of us do to keep ourselves above the poverty level, using whatever skills we have as dramatists or theatre people? One answer has become increasingly clear over the last five to ten years: we see more and more dramatists embracing film and television as a way of staying financially solvent. We also see, most often in television, network shows being helmed by playwrights.  Since a good number of our members are on the west coast, and film and television is such a prevalent industry there, why shouldn’t we make an effort to explore that industry as a source of work and commerce for playwrights, as well as understand the commonalities of craft and career? That’s why we chose the west coast as the site of our conference this year.

In terms of the conference title or theme, “Writing the Changing World,” the world is changing culturally and politically at break-neck speed — gay marriage, for example, has changed the cultural landscape of so many states in our country (California alone has been a fascinating study in the psychology of change). The legalization of pot has had a profound impact on the here and now. Banks all over the world are being indicted for bad business practices; weather is literally changing the face of our globe. As dramatists, what responsibility do we have in mirroring our current society and addressing our future? Hopefully the 2015 DG conference will answer some of those questions.

2) What special (out of the ordinary) kinds of programming are in the works for the conference?

Our conference is constructed primarily around panels, workshops and seminars. These are a few of the over 100+ events that will happen across our time there:

Audio/Radio Writing

The Playwright-Performer

The Making of Jukebox Musicals

One-on-One with Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez

Blogging as Political Activism for Theatre

Comedy Across Mediums

The Cultural Fingerprint in Writing for Television

Women Writing Women

Lisa Kron

Lisa Kron

What makes what we do particularly unique is that we have access to a number of reputable writers that sit on our Council of the Dramatists Guild, or work in collaboration with our Council members. So, for example, in the Comedy Across Mediums panel, we have Lisa Kron (Tony award winner for Fun Home this year), Dan Castellaneta and Deb Lacusta (The Simpsons), Mark Krause (cartoonist), Lisa Lampanelli (comedian), David Rambo (playwright and television writer, The Lady With All the Answers) and Michael McKeever (playwright).

3) Why San Diego (La Jolla)?

It was on the west coast, it was cheaper than any major city on the west coast — which directly translates to our members, it has a thriving theatre community, and quite frankly, where can you find a more beautiful setting?

4) Who are the keynote speakers?

John Logan (Red, I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers)

Marsha Norman (The Secret Garden, ‘night Mother, The Color Purple, Getting Out)

Linda Bloodworth-Thomason (Designing Women)

Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Wicked, Pippin, The Hunchback of Notre Dame)

Conference attendees include members of the San Diego Playwrights network who will lead panel discussions and present readings of their plays. On Thursday, July 16 at 3:00 p.m., Patrice Cassedy will lead a panel on Writing From History: Finding Your Niche (and Passion), featuring Aleta Barthell, Thelma Virata de Castro and Anita Simons. At 4:00 p.m., de Castro will speak about Building Community: How to Get Produced in Your Own City. Cassedy, Simons and Steven Oberman will complete the panel.

On Thursday, July 16 at 8:00 p.m., in the “After Hours” portion of the conference, Cassedy will present White Playwright/Black Story, which will include a reading by San Diego actors Monique Gaffney and Sylvia M’Lafi Thompson of a scene from her off off-Broadway play Detroit Blues, followed by a discussion that explores the question: Can we tell each other’s stories? On Friday, July 17 at 9:00 p.m., Oberman will present Vanished: Taking it to the Fringe, which will include a reading from his interactive show “Vanished,” and a discussion of the process of producing it for the upcoming San Diego International Fringe Festival.  

Hope to see a bunch of you at the conference. Let’s welcome our fellow playwrights with open arms!

For more information about the Dramatist Guild and National Conference, visit

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TreePress Connects Playwrights, Teachers, and Directors–An Interview with Co-Founder Laura Fisher

We recently interviewed Laura Fisher, Co-Founder and Managing Director of TreePress, an international online play publishing hub that went live May 5. Here are her thoughts on this new London-based business.

Please tell us about your personal journey to TreePress.

TreePress started in response to challenges Co-Founder Adrienne Ferguson experienced in her classroom: an acute lack of playscripts available for schools.  As the curtain fell on each school play, we would pause for a lone gin and tonic before starting to think about what we would do next! As we struggled to find new work, Adrienne started to write her own.  This was where we discovered this incredible community of writers and commissioning theatres who were creating inspiring new material and producing for their stages…but it was so difficult to get it distributed. We wanted to connect these two groups: people who write scripts and people who need them. This is pretty much where TreePress began!

Tell us about TreePress and your colleagues.

Theatrical publishing is broken. We’ve fixed it. Theatres, playwrights and teachers have long written inspiring material, yet are unable to distribute it. We’ve created an online hub for teachers, directors, playwrights and publishers. You can browse, compare and license plays from all over the world.

Adrienne Ferguson has been teaching Drama for 15 years, including Head of Drama at Fettes College Prep School and Drama Leader for IAPS.  She has written 7 plays, directed at the Edinburgh Fringe and written for ‘Teaching Drama’. She has a B.Ed from Cambridge University, is a NATD committee member, trustee for FoolProof Creative Arts, as well as annually leading drama camps for a Scottish youth work charity.

I worked for PwC as a Management Consultant gaining experience leading innovative technology projects (with a focus on the Education sector).  In 2012, I was the Director of St Andrews Charity Fashion Show – expanding the show across multiple cities and raising over £120,000 for charity.

What would you like playwrights to know about submitting to TreePress?

We’re an exciting new way to self-publish and distribute your work more effectively. We accept all work (any type, any genre), for all ages. Our platform manages and sells the script and performance rights on your behalf. We’re currently invite-only and you can request an invitation on

If a play is accepted, what happens next?

The great thing about TreePress is… we accept everything! Once you’ve uploaded your work, it goes through a quick review process and then it’s ready to be sold all over the world. In addition, you can gather reviews, connect with people who are performing your work and reach out to a wider community of writers, publishers and directors throughout the world. We’d love to have you with us!

Thanks for talking with us Laura! Good luck with Tree Press! For further information please visit

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SISTERS IN THE SYSTEM–An Immersive Theatre Piece by Tori Rice

Tori Rice (Photo Credit Dana Patrick)

Tori Rice (Photo Credit Dana Patrick)

Sisters in the System

by Tori Rice

Where: SDSU Experimental Theatre

When: Wednesday, March 25 & Friday March 27, 2015 at 7:30 pm

Tickets: Free, with reservation

Sisters in the System by Tori Rice is an immersive theatre piece about two girls navigating juvenile court. Rice interviewed students, judges, CASAs (Court Appointed Special Advocates), attorneys, social workers, family members and many others. The resulting play is a fictionalized account of those interviews, offering a 360 view into the almost comical complexity and confusion encountered by juveniles in the foster care and court systems. The play was originally produced with great success last summer in the mock courtroom at Cal Western School of Law.

The production is a collaboration between Playwrights Project, San Diego State University’s Guardian Scholars Program, and SDSU’s School of Theatre, Television, and Film (TTF), and was developed as a commission for Playwrights Project’s program Telling Stories: Giving Voice to Foster Youth.  Adapting the play to a university theatre setting is providing an opportunity for students in different departments to collaborate and build empathy as the students (on stage and in the audience) learn about the challenges faced by college students who have had to navigate a “system.”

Space is limited and reservations are required. Please RSVP at or call (858) 384-2970.

The event flyer is available here:

Directions to the theatre, parking info, on SDSU website here:

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HEART OF A LION–An Interview with Michael Eichler

Michael Eichler had an excerpt of his play Heart of a Lion read at WordPlay Tuesdays at Diversionary Theatre in October 2014. The entire script will be read at Moxie Theatre 6663 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, 92115 on Tuesday March 24, 2015 at 7:30 pm. (A show the day before sold out a month in advance!) Tickets are $20 and all proceeds will benefit the Consensus Organizing Center at SDSU. You can make reservations at  Kevin Six is directing a terrific cast led by Jim Chovick.  Come join Leon the lion and learn that love can take the most unusual forms.

Tell us about Heart of a Lion and its development.
I was thinking about how little communication we have between generations today and when we do it’s pretty stilted and stereotypical. I asked, what do these attempts at connecting look like? Is there such a thing as friendship between people of different generations? If not, is there anything we can do to compensate?

What are your challenges? What are your successes?

Pete has a lion puppet, Leon, who becomes his best friend. This premise creates a very demanding role for the actor who has to be both the puppet and the man. Is this an idea that today’s audiences can relate to, or is it just a “stupid little story?” We had a house reading  and the play was very well received.

What is your next step?

After two readings at Moxie, and the necessary rewrites, I hope to find a theatre interested in a workshop production. Maybe there is a market for a sweet little oddball romance after all. When you think about it, who wouldn’t want to get to know Leon?

Read our previous interview with Michael about his play Holy Name.

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