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Press Release: 2023 Pacific Playwrights Festival


COSTA MESA, Calif. (March 7, 2023)—South Coast Repertory (Artistic Director David Ivers and Managing Director Paula Tomei) announces the lineup for the 25th Pacific Playwrights Festival. The highly anticipated showcase of new works, part of the theatre’s play development arm—The Lab@SCR—runs May 5-7. Single-tickets and discounted ticket packages for the 25th PPF are available at

Anchoring the Festival are the world-premiere productions of avaaz by Michael Shayan and Coleman ’72 by Charlie Oh. The Silver Anniversary festival includes five staged readings of works by Anika and Britta Johnson and Nick Green (Dr. Silver), Clarence Coo (Chapters of a Floating Life), Bleu Beckford-Burrell (Crasiss), Eleanor Burgess (Galilee, 34) and Noa Gardner (A Small Man).

“The plays in the Pacific Playwrights Festival all have an incredible sense of vision to them this year; it’s a real testament to the playwrights’ singular voices,” PPF Co-Director and Director of The Lab@SCR Andy Knight said. “Each writer has an acute ability to create vivid and dynamic worlds as playgrounds for stories, and those stories—which range from contemporary dramas to reimagined histories—promise to challenge, delight, and transport audiences. The mission behind PPF is (and has always been) to showcase the playwright’s imagination, and I think this year’s festival really does that. It’s a perfect way to celebrate our 25th PPF.”

Three works in the 2023 festival are moving to the next steps of their development. A reading of avaaz was featured in the 2022 Pacific Playwrights Festival. Coleman ’72 was featured as a reading in the 2021 streaming PPF. And an excerpt of Dr. Silver was featured as a Samples from The Lab offering at the 2022 PPF, giving audiences an exclusive sneak peek at the musical in development.

“We are thrilled to be celebrating the 25th anniversary of PPF,” Ivers said. “It’s always an exciting time of year at SCR—prioritizing new plays, new playwrights and gathering with dearest colleagues to share in the process of building a bright and diverse collection of world premiere experiences.”

Prior to the May 6 evening performance of Coleman ‘72, 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 7, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

“These stories have a wide reach across place and time, speaking to ideas on love and grief, family and belonging, faith and power,” PPF Co-Director and SCR Associate Artistic Director Kim Martin-Cotten said. “This is a season of beautiful and surprising plays from diverse perspectives. It is a slice of stories that will offer our audience a weekend of expansive and nuanced explorations of what it is to wrestle with the conditions of our world.”

The 2023 Pacific Playwrights Festival


by Michael Shayan
directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel
April 29-May 27, 2023, Segerstrom Stage
About this play: Meet Roya, our fabulous hostess, as she welcomes you into her home to celebrate Nowruz, the Iranian New Year. She’s preparing a feast, but the main attraction is Roya sharing her great American journey from Tehran to “Tehran-geles,” California. Get ready for the time of your life with this hilarious and deeply personal tribute to the playwright’s mother, deliciously portrayed by the person who knows her best—her son. Traditions, humor and passionate storytelling transform this tale of family bonds into an unforgettable theatre event!

Coleman ’72
By Charlie Oh
directed by Chay Yew
April 23-May 14, 2023, Julianne Argyros Stage
About this play: Jenn, Michelle and Joey look back at the summer of 1972, when their Korean American family piled into the Buick for an All-American road trip—spontaneously orchestrated by their father. From Milwaukee to Los Angeles and back again, they hit the open plains, stocked with kimchi, banchan and lemon drops, rickety Coleman camper in tow. But Korean parents and American kids hold conflicting ideas of what they’re looking for and the real purpose of their journey comes to light. A funny and touching world premiere by an exciting new voice.


Dr. Silver
created by Anika and Britta Johnson
music and lyrics by Anika and Britta Johnson
book by Nick Green
directed by Logan Vaughn
Friday, May 5, at 1 p.m., Julianne Argyros Stage
About this play: The day has come. It is time for Dr. Silver and his followers to drink the divine tonic and join the heavenly orchestra. But in order for his congregants to face the end, they must first think back to how it all began. First presented as a Samples from The Lab excerpt in PPF 2022, Dr. Silver: takes the next step in its development with a full concert reading.

Chapters of a Floating Life
by Clarence Coo
directed by TBD
Friday, May 5, at 4 p.m., Julianne Argyros Stage
About this play: In 1940s New York City, two couples from China struggle to make ends meet. Uptown, Shen Fu and Yun long for their former lives as an academic and writer. Downtown, Tom and Elsie toil in their tiny restaurant. Chance meetings bring them together—and unlock the possibility of new beginnings.

A Small Man
by Noa Gardner
directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch
An SCR Commission
Friday, May 5, at 8 p.m., Saturday, May 6, at 8 p.m., Sunday, May 7, at 2:30 p.m., Nicholas Studio
About this play: Mother and Son spend every night playing cards and telling Hawaiian stories about the world’s creation. Better those stories than their own, which are more complex… and challenging. But without facing their past, they’re stuck without a future.

by Bleu Beckford-Burrell
directed by Lili-Anne Brown
An SCR Commission
Saturday, May 6, at 10:30 a.m., Julianne Argyros Stage
About this play: In New Market, Jamaica, stood a house on the hill. There, lived Granny and her five grandkids. In Granny’s house, there was something to fear. The kids are now grown and far away, but something still remains in the shadows.

Galilee, 34
written and directed by Eleanor Burgess
Sunday, May 7, at 10:30 a.m., Julianne Argyros Stage
About this play: With Yeshua dead, his disciples are determined to keep spreading his message. The only trouble is the Roman Empire might want them dead. And they don’t have a leader. And they can’t quite agree what Yeshua’s message was

The Pacific Playwrights Festival is made possible with support from The Shubert Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Elizabeth George Foundation and the Pacific Playwright Festival Honorary Producers: Laurie and Steve Duncan, Kristen and Adrian Griggs, Peter and Joy Sloan, Jean and Tim Weiss and Julia Voce.


The 2023 Pacific Playwrights Festival offers several ticketing options:

  • Tickets for individual readings are $20 each
  • Subscriber packages to see all five readings cost $85; $75 for SCR Super-Subscribers
  • Tickets for the productions of avaaz and Coleman ’72 range from $27-$98 each
  • The Sunday, May 7 playwrights panel discussion is free and open to the public

Tickets and ticket packages for the general public and theatre industry professionals may be purchased online at

Location: South Coast Repertory is located at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa, at the Bristol Street/Avenue of the Arts exit off the San Diego (405) Freeway in the David Emmes/Martin Benson Theatre Center, part of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Parking is available on Park Center Drive, off Anton Boulevard.

Complete information is available at

ABOUT SOUTH COAST REPERTORY: Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, founded in 1964, is led by Artistic Director David Ivers and Managing Director Paula Tomei. SCR is widely recognized as one of the leading professional theatres in the United States. While its productions represent a balance of classic and modern plays and musicals, SCR is renowned for its extensive new-play development program—The Lab@SCR—which includes one of the nation’s largest commissioning programs for emerging, mid-career and established writers. Of SCR’s more than 500 productions, one-quarter have been world premieres. SCR-developed works have garnered two Pulitzer Prizes and eight Pulitzer nominations, several Obie Awards and scores of major new-play awards. Located in Costa Mesa, Calif., SCR is home to the 507-seat Segerstrom Stage, the 336-seat Julianne Argyros Stage and the 94-seat Nicholas Studio.

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