You can’t always get what you want, but you might get what you need.
La Jolla Playhouse is a place where artists and audiences come together to create what’s new and next in the American theater – from Tony Award-winning productions, to imaginative programs for young audiences, to interactive experiences outside our walls. Founded in 1947 by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer, the Playhouse is currently led by Tony Award-winning Artistic Director Christopher Ashley and Managing Director Debby Buchholz. The Playhouse is internationally renowned for the development of new plays and musicals, mounting 108 world premieres, commissioning 70 new works, and sending 35 productions to Broadway – including the hit musicals COME FROM AWAY and JERSEY BOYS – and garnering 38 Tony Awards, among them the 1993 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre.
In its early years, the Playhouse thrived as a summer stock retreat for such Hollywood luminaries as Vivian Vance, Groucho Marx and Eve Arden. After over a decade of performances featuring numerous greats from stage and film, the Playhouse went on hiatus from 1959 to 1982. But while it was shuttered, a handful of dedicated supporters fought to keep the theater alive, eventually working to revive it on the campus of UC San Diego in 1983.
Over the next three decades, the Playhouse rose to prominence as one of the most celebrated regional theaters in the country. Under the artistic leadership Des McAnuff (1983-1994 and 2001-2007), the Playhouse developed dozens of new works, many of which transferred to Broadway, including BIG RIVER, THE WHO'S TOMMY and JERSEY BOYS.
The theater also launched the acclaimed Performance Outreach Program (POP) Tour, in which a brand new, Playhouse-commissioned work brings the magic of theater into San Diego schools. The Playhouse continued its commitment to developing new plays and musicals with the launch of its Page To Stage New Play Development Program, spawning the Pulitzer Prize-winning I AM MY OWN WIFE.
Led since 2007 by the Tony Award-winning Artistic Director Christopher Ashley, the Playhouse has solidified its reputation for originating work, including the Ashley-directed Broadway musical COME FROM AWAY.
Deepening the Playhouse’s connection to the San Diego community, Ashley inaugurated the Resident Theatre Program in 2008, providing a temporary home each year for an up-and-coming company. He also spearheaded the innovative Without Walls (WOW) series of site-inspired and immersive theatre. The Playhouse hosts a biennial WOW Festival featuring local and international artists in vibrant, interactive experiences that amplify the energy of the city.
From its signature play-development initiatives to its intriguing and playful WOW programming, La Jolla Playhouse has become the place to see what’s next on the American theater landscape.
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