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South Coast Repertory Announces Lineup for 26th Pacific Playwrights Festival May 3-5

The following is a press release from an organization unaffiliated with Culture OC. The information provided has been written by the submitting organization and not by the writers at Culture OC. We include this on our site in the spirit of sharing information about the arts and culture community in Orange County.

Two World-Premiere Productions and Five Readings Showcase Leading Playwriting Talent

With two world premieres of fully staged productions serving as anchors, South Coast Repertory (Artistic Director David Ivers and Managing Director Paula Tomei) announced the lineup for the 26th Pacific Playwrights Festival (PPF). The highly anticipated showcase of new works, part of the theatre’s play development initiative—The Lab@SCR—runs May 3-5. Single-tickets and discounted ticket packages for all five readings are available at

Anchoring the Festival are the world-premiere productions of Prelude to a Kiss, The Musical, music by Daniel Messé, lyrics by Sean Hartley and Daniel Messé, book by Craig Lucas, and Galilee, 34 by Eleanor Burgess. The festival includes five staged readings: Meeting for Worship by Ana Nogueira, The Brothers Play by Arya Shahi, You Are Cordially Invited to the End of the World! by Keiko Green, Fremont Ave. by Reggie D. White and An Oxford Man by Else Went.

“All the writing is bold and fearlessly ambitious, and it makes for a real feeling of expansiveness in the Pacific Playwrights Festival this year. There are stories told with tremendous ensembles, stories that span lifetimes and beyond, and stories that feel transcendental as they wrestle with the indisputable,” PPF Co-Director and Director of The Lab@SCR Andy Knight said. “The great enterprise in the writing in PPF this year shows, I think, a note of optimism, too; because the resigned don’t flirt with the impossible. This group of artists is setting aside the caution that’s been ever-present in our lives throughout the past few years—and showing it’s possible to aspire again.”

Both Prelude to a Kiss, The Musical and Galilee, 34 came out of previous PPFs. Prelude to a Kiss, The Musical was a 2019 staged reading. Galilee, 34 was featured at last year’s silver anniversary PPF.

“It’s always the most inspiring time of year as PPF centers our touchstone commitment to new work, global stories and extraordinary writing,’ Ivers said. “I’m thrilled to welcome and support the artists and communities represented in what I know will be a special and resonant Pacific Playwrights Festival.”

Prior to the 8 p.m. May 4 performance of Prelude to a Kiss, The Musical, the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) will present the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award. One of the most prestigious honors a new play can receive, the Steinberg Award recognizes the best scripts premiering professionally outside of New York City. Recent award winners include Cambodian Rock Band, I & You and Vietgone—plays largely developed, in part, at South Coast Repertory. Both Cambodian Rock Band and Vietgone became SCR productions.

The weekend also includes a free panel discussion with this year’s festival playwrights on Sunday, May 5, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. 

“There is something absolutely daring and expansive in the voices of this season's PPF slate of plays,” PPF Co-Director and SCR Associate Artistic Director Kim Martin-Cotten said. “Each of these seven stories moves through unexpected landscapes to confront what is familiar and intimate with a reach that asks us to stretch our sense of possibility. They all invite us to open new windows into what we will allow ourselves to imagine is possible in moments of great consequence.”

The 2024 Pacific Playwrights Festival


"Prelude to a Kiss, The Musical"

music by Daniel Messé

lyrics by Sean Hartley and Daniel Messé

book by Craig Lucas

directed by David Ivers

April 5-May 4, 2024, Segerstrom Stage

About this play: “For better or worse” takes on new meaning when a mysterious guest requests a kiss at Peter and Rita’s wedding—and their lives are forever changed.  Originally a South Coast Repertory world premiere, the Tony Award-nominated play returns as a musical. Refreshed, reimagined and elevated by a breathtaking score, this modern fable soars through the peaks and valleys of love—the perfect salve for our disconnected times.

"Galilee, 34"

by Eleanor Burgess

directed by Davis McCallum

April 21-May 12, 2024, Julianne Argyros Stage

About this play: The healer from Nazareth is dead—and his followers are determined to keep sharing his message. The problem is the Roman Empire wants them out of the picture. And they don’t have a leader. And they can’t quite agree on exactly what that message is. With wit and intelligence, one of the country’s most exciting writers takes us back to the start of a world-changing movement for a deeply personal look at those who made it happen.


Staged Readings

"Meeting for Worship"

by Ana Nogueira

directed by Mike Donahue

an SCR Commission

Friday, May 3, at 1 p.m., Segerstrom Stage

About this play: At a Quaker high school, students and teachers gather weekly. Here, they sit in silence—sometimes bored, sometimes passing notes and sometimes waiting for the spirit to speak through them. But what happens to this ritual when a scandal threatens to unravel the fabric of their Quaker values? And what does it cost to stand up and speak? 

"The Brothers Play"

by Arya Shahi

Friday, May 3, at 4 p.m., Julianne Argyros Stage

About this play: Little brother makes a bundle in LA and just bought a ranch back home in Tucson. Big brother is a poet in New York…with his own reasons for coming back. As they struggle to reconnect, the brothers discover the ranch house isn’t the only thing in need of renovation.

"You Are Cordially Invited to the End of the World!"

by Keiko Green

directed by Zi Alikhan

Friday, May 3, at 8 p.m., Saturday, May 4, at 8 p.m., Sunday, May 5, at 2:30 p.m., Nicholas Studio

About this play: Greg’s received a terminal diagnosis. At least he’s in good company—the planet’s on its last legs, too. Coincidence? Not for Greg. After all, the world’s too big not to be kind of magical.

"Fremont Ave."

by Reggie D. White

directed by Taylor Reynolds

Saturday, May 4, at 10:30 a.m., Julianne Argyros Stage

About this play: In the 1960s, George buys a house in Southern California. Years later, Robert is still living there but itching to start his own life. Today, Joseph is back in the home he thought he left for good. A vibrant story about three generations of men—and the rock that holds them all together.

"An Oxford Man"

by Else Went

directed by Emma Rosa Went

Sunday, May 5, at 10:30 a.m., Segerstrom Stage

About this play: He was of the world undefined, by the world undefined—and ushered in a new age of understanding. Join us, dear audience, for this deliciously embellished (mostly) true story of the life and times of Laurence Michael Dillon, the first “modern” transgender man.

The Pacific Playwrights Festival is made possible with support from The Shubert Foundation, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, the Elizabeth George Foundation and the Pacific Playwrights Festival Honorary Producers: Richard and Lisa de Lorimier, Kristen and Adrian Griggs, Talya Nevo-Hacohen and Bill Schenker and Peter and Joy Sloan.


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