by ​J​ulia Cho
directed by Lisa Peterson
October 19, 2019 - November 16, 2019


Sometimes a meal is more than just food. A man shares a bowl of berries and a young woman falls in love. A mother meticulously prepares her son’s favorite dish to keep him from leaving home. And a Korean-American son cooks soup for his ailing father to say what words cannot. The perfect bite transcends time and cultural differences in this poetic tale of love, loss and healing by the author of The Language Archive and Office Hour.

Previews: ​​October ​19-​24, 2019
First Night: ​​​October ​25, 2019
Regular Performances: October ​26 - November 16, 2019

Recommendation: Age 14 and above. Contains adult language, vaping​, haze and fog effects.

Running Time: Approximately ​​two hours, including one 15-minute intermission.

Julia Cho has written the full-length plays Office Hour, The Language Archive, The Piano Teacher, Durango, The Winchester House, BFE, The Architecture of Loss and 99 Histories. They’ve been produced in New York at Roundabout Theatre Company, The Public Theater, Vineyard Theatre, Playwrights Horizons and New York Theatre Workshop; and regionally at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, among others. Her honors include the Susan Smith Blackburn Award, the National Theatre Conference’s Barrie Stavis Award, the Claire Tow Award for Emerging Artists and the L. Arnold Weissberger Award for Playwriting. She has been the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts grant and a Van Lier Fellowship from New York Theatre Workshop. She was also a Lila Acheson Wallace Playwriting Fellow at The Juilliard School and is an alumna of New Dramatists.

Learn more about the production, cast & creative team with a peek into the program. Read full artist bios, in-depth articles and more.


Bruce Baek (Uncle) is thrilled and honored to be making his South Coast Repertory debut. A hardcore New Yorker who wants to call California a second home, he is an avid meditator and a former lifeguard who loves the water. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Baek grew up in the peaceful suburb of Glen Rock, New Jersey, but then moved to New York City’s building forest to become a filmmaker and now an actor. His selected New York City theatre credits include Members Only (INTAR Theatre), Under Protest (Joria Productions Now at Theatre Row) and Model (Manhattan Repertory Theatre). He appeared in season two of “Taken” (NBC) and his role as a North Korean soldier in that show has been praised for his authentic portrayal and presentation of North Korean language and dialect with the highest fluency. His other television and film credits include “High Maintenance” (HBO), “Deception” (ABC), “Jessica Jones” (Netflix) and “Power” (Starz). Baek has completed a soon-to-be-released independent film, The Architect, in which he plays a leading role. Visit


Joy DeMichelle (Diane) is thrilled to be at SCR. Her theatrical credits include Sweat (Mark Taper Forum); Stonewall Jackson’s House (off-Broadway, American Place Theatre); Raisin in the Sun and The Water Hole (Actors Theatre of Louisville); Seven Guitars and Blues for an Alabama Sky (Denver Center Theatre); The Piano Lesson, Spirit North and a one-women piece entitled Harriet’s Return (Crossroads Theatre); and Darker Face of the Earth (Fountain Theatre). Her television and film credits include “For the People,” “Criminal Minds,” “Parenthood,” “Lie To Me,” “Outlaw,” American Gun, Taking Back Our Town (with the late Ruby Dee), “Judging Amy,” “King Pin,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Strong Medicine” and “One Life to Live.” She also has appeared in numerous national commercials. She earned her BFA at North Carolina A&T State University and her MFA from Rutgers University (Mason Gross School of the Arts), where she received the prestigious Bettenbender Outstanding Performance Award.


Jinn S. Kim (Ray) is a New York-based actor with various theatre, film and television credits; he has been a member of LAByrinth Theater Company since 1995. He is the executive director of Developing Artists, a non-profit organization that provides opportunities for underserved teens to reach their full potential through a practical application of the performing arts. Developing Artists helps diverse students proclaim themselves as ARTivists, who relentlessly fight for positive social change ( His theatre credits include Queen Latina & the Power Posse vs. the Evils of Society by David Anzuelo; Race, Religion & Politics by Stephen Adly Guirgis (co-starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman); Dreaming in Tongues; A Winter Party by John Patrick Shanley; The Fairy Tale Project (The Public Theatre); disOriented by Kyung Park (Peter Jay Sharp Theatre); the New York Innovative Theatre Award-winning production of Rise and Fall of a Teenage Cyberqueen by Lindsay Joy Murphy; Loveness by Craig “muMs” Grant; and The Oldest Boy by Sarah Ruhl (Marin Theatre Company). His film and television credits include Hurricane Streets, “Oz,” Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “How to Make it in America,” “Power,” 11:55, “Jessica Jones,” “Feed the Beast,” “Bull,” “Gotham” and “God Friended Me.”


Jully Lee (Cornelia) is thrilled to be returning to South Coast Repertory after her SCR debut in tokyo fish story. She is the artistic director of COLD TOFU, the nation’s first and longest-running Asian-American improv comedy troupe, and most recently performed as Shapeshifter in Hannah and the Dread Gazebo at Fountain Theatre, co-presented with East West Players. Her other theatre credits include The Joy Luck Club (national tour); Ladies, Colony Collapse (Boston Court Pasadena); 36 Views (PCPA); The Enchanted Nightingale (Garry Marshall Theatre); Mexican Day (Rogue Machine Theatre); Tales of Clamor (Aratani Theatre); Chinese Massacre [Annotated] (Circle X Theatre); Sweet Karma (Grove Theatre Center); and Sun Sisters and Fabric (Company of Angels). Her recent television credits include recurring roles on “The Kicks” (Amazon) and “Gang Related” (Fox), as well as guest appearances on “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” “Jane the Virgin” (CW), “Veep” (HBO), “This Is Us” (NBC), “Henry Danger” (Nickelodeon), “Rosewood” (FOX), “I’m Sorry” (TruTV), “The Kominsky Method” and “Best.Worst.Weekend.Ever” (Netflix). In film, she appeared in Reach, Thriller, Double Mommy and is in two upcoming films, The Illegal and Paper Tiger.


Irungu Mutu (Lucien) is thrilled and blessed to be making his SCR debut in Aubergine, his second Julia Cho play! His select regional theatre credits include Petrol Station (The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts), Macbeth (Actors Theatre of Louisville), The Language Archive (Bristol Riverside Theatre), The Convert (The Wilma Theater, Woolly Mammoth Theatre), Ruined (Mixed Blood Theatre), Henry V (Arkansas Repertory Theatre), A Raisin in the Sun (Crossroads Theater) and Peter and the Starcatcher and Memphis (La Jolla Playhouse). His off-Broadway and New York City credits include Mlima’s Tale (The Public Theater), Nollywood Dreams (Cherry Lane Theatre), Our Lady of Kibeho (Signature Theatre), Bikeman (Tribeca Performing Arts Center), A King of Infinite Space (HERE Arts, New York SummerStage), Bronks Ekspres, The Moth & the Flame (Target Margin Theater) and Before and After NY (Performa 15 Biennial). He has appeared in the films Bikini Sunshine, and Oxalis and on television in “Instinct” (CBS), “Preacher” (AMC), “Power” (Starz), “Elementary” (CBS) and “The Blacklist” (NBC). He received his training at University of California, San Diego (MFA), Rutgers University (Mason Gross School of the Arts, BFA) and Shakespeare’s Globe (U.K.). This winter, he goes into production in Kenya for the upcoming film, Leaving Isiolo, which he wrote, will co-direct, produce and act in. Mutu wishes to thank Lisa P., his outstanding castmates, Grant Management, O.O and the superb SCR team! Instagram: @irungumutu.


Luzma Ortiz (Hospital Worker) is grateful to return to the Segerstrom Stage in her second show this season at South Coast Repertory! Her previous SCR credits include Gabby Orozco in American Mariachi and Rosamond in Nate the Great. Her other favorite roles include Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray (Norris Theatre, Palos Verdes Performing Arts), Gladys/Bolero Singer in In the Heights (Musical Theatre West), understudy for Dora in Dora the Explorer Live! (Equity national tour), Fosca’s Mother in Passion (directed by Kent Nicholson), Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha and Eva Peron in Evita (Irvine Barclay Theatre), Cynthia in Contra La Corriente (Brown Bag Theatre Company), The Scarlet Pimpernel (Performance Riverside), Emma Goldman in Ragtime (directed by Gary Krinke), Maria in West Side Story (directed by Denise Jacobs, Inland Theatre League Award) and Dottie in Noises Off (directed by Chuck Ketter). Ortiz earned a BFA in musical theatre, with honors in acting, from the University of California, Irvine, and completed the musical theatre program at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (New York). For Damian Kim and the Kreder/Hilton Family. For more information visit: and follow LuzmaOrtizActress on Instagram.


Sab Shimono (Ray's Father) returns to SCR after appearing in The Ballad of Yachiyo and tokyo fish story. On Broadway, he appeared in the world premieres of Mame, Pacific Overtures, Lovely Ladies, Kind Gentlemen and Ride the Wind. His off-Broadway and regional theatre credits include The Wash, Yankee Dawg You Die, Avocado Kid, After the War, Wrinkles, The Wind Cries Mary, Happy End, Orphan of Zhao and Aubergine. His film and television credits include Old Dogs, Gung Ho, Presumed Innocent, Waterworld, Come See the Paradise, The Shado, Paradise Road, The Big Hit, The Terror, “The Blacklist,” “Longmire,” “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” “Mad Men,” “Seinfeld,” “Two and a Half Men,” “E.R.,” “X-Files,” “The Simpsons,” “Jackie Chan Adventures,” “Stretch Armstrong” and “M*A*S*H*” He has received awards from L.A. Weekly and Dramalogue, a Clio Award and an outstanding actor nomination for a Drama Desk Award (New York City).

Creative Team

Lisa Peterson (Director) returns to SCR after directing Culture Clash (Still) in America, The Madwoman in the Volvo by Sandra Tsing Loh and Collected Stories by Donald Margulies. At Center Theatre Group, she recently directed Lynn Nottage’s Sweat as well as Culture Clash’s Chavez Ravine (2015 Ovation Award, Best Production) and Water and Power, among others. A two-time Obie Award-winner, she co-wrote and directed An Iliad with Denis O’Hare, as well as world premieres by Tony Kushner, Beth Henley, Naomi Wallace, Chay Yew, Luis Alfaro, Jose Rivera, Ellen McLaughlin, Marlane Meyer and Caryl Churchill at theatres including New York Theatre Workshop, The Public Theater, Vineyard Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, Guthrie Theater, Actors Theater of Louisville, La Jolla Playhouse, Arena Stage and McCarter Theatre Center. For the last three years, Peterson was associate director at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where her recent productions include The Good Book, which she also wrote with Denis O’Hare, It Can’t Happen Here, adapted from Sinclair Lewis by Tony Taccone, Lillian Hellman’s Watch on the Rhine and Office Hour by Julia Cho.

Myung Hee Cho (Scenic & Costume Design) is a set and costume designer for theatre, opera, dance and live entertainment. She designed Sheepdog, Goldfish, The Piano Teacher, System Wonderland and others at SCR. Her recent credits include sets for For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf at The Public Theater; Nikki Corona, Black Super Hero Magic Mama at Geffen Playhouse; Trojan Women, a new Korean opera, at the LIFT Festival (London), Holland Festival and Wiener Festwochen; set and costumes for In the Body of the World at Manhattan Theatre Club and American Repertory Theater; The Thieving Magpie at Glimmerglass Opera; The Marriage of Figaro at Washington National Opera; and Golden Fairytale Fanfare at Shanghai Disney Resort. Her other selected credits include Trans Scripts at A.R.T.; Stuck Elevator at ACT; Emotional Creature at the Linney Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Market Theatre (Johannesburg, South Africa); The Magic Flute at the Canadian Opera Company; and The Good Person of Szechuan at the Landestheater Linz (Austria). She is professor of stage design at UCLA and a recipient of multiple Princess Grace Awards.

Ruoxuan Le (Associate Costume Designer) is an active costume designer for both stage and screen productions, currently based in LA. She is the costume designer in residence for American Contemporary Ballet, and the recipient of Swarovski Award for Excellence in Costume Design (2014). She received her MFA in costume design for entertainment media from UCLA (2016) and a BA in costume design from Wimbledon College of Art at the University of the Arts (London, 2012). Her notable credits include Hannah and the Dread Gazebo (Fountain Theatre, 2019), Lost Childhood (UCLA Opera, 2019), The Nutcracker Suite (American Contemporary Ballet, 2017-18), Steel Magnolias (L.A. Theatre Works, 2018), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Independent Shakespeare Company, 2018), The Great Wall Musical: One Woman’s Journey (Drama Center Theatre, Singapore, 2017), Judgement at Nuremberg (L.A. Theatre Works, 2016), Distant Vision (American Zoetrope, 2016) and Spring Awakening (NoHo Arts Center, 2015).

Peter Maradudin (Lighting Design) is pleased to return to SCR where he has designed more than 40 productions including Kings; The Weir; Fences; You, Nero; A Feminine Ending; The Studio; A Naked Girl on the Appian Way; Princess Marjorie; Safe in Hell; Hurrah at Last; Great Day in the Morning; and Prelude to a Kiss. On Broadway, he designed the lighting for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Kentucky Cycle; off-Broadway, he designed Threesome, Hurrah at Last, The Ballad of Yachiyo and Bouncers. Maradudin has designed more than 300 regional theatre productions for companies such as The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Guthrie Theater, American Conservatory Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, La Jolla Playhouse, Seattle Repertory Theatre, The Old Globe, Steppenwolf and Portland Center Stage. He is the author of two novels, The Masked Avenger and The Queen of Spades, under his nom de plume, Peter Alexei, and is a resident of Seattle.

John Gromada (Original Music & Sound Design) has composed music or designed sound for 40 Broadway productions including All My Sons, Torch Song, The Elephant Man with Bradley Cooper, The Trip to Bountiful with Cicely Tyson (Tony Award nomination), Gore Vidal’s The Best Man (Drama Desk Award), Clybourne Park (also at Mark Taper Forum), Seminar, Prelude to a Kiss, Proof, Twelve Angry Men and the original A Few Good Men. His other New York credits include The Cake, Amy and the Orphans, Bruce Norris’ Domesticated, Old Hats, Measure for Measure (Delacorte Theater), The Orphans’ Home Cycle (Drama Desk and Henry Hewes awards), Shipwrecked! (Lucille Lortel Award), The Singing Forest, Julius Caesar, The Skriker (Drama Desk Award), Machinal (Obie Award). His work has been heard at scores of regional theatres including the Southern California productions of Meteor Shower at The Old Globe, Ether Dome at La Jolla Playhouse and The Trip to Bountiful at the Ahmanson Theatre. His television and film credits include a score for the Emmy Award-nominated The Trip to Bountiful and Showing Roots. Gromada has received the National Endowment for the Arts Opera/Music Theatre Fellowship and grants from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. For more information and music, visit or itunes.

Yee Eun Nam (Projection Design) is an LA-based scenic and projection designer for opera, theatre and any form of live performance. Her recent regional theatre design works include Black Super Hero Magic Mama (Geffen Playhouse), Sweat (Mark Taper Forum), Bordertown Now (Pasadena Playhouse) and Citizen: An American Lyric (Kirk Douglas Theatre, Fountain Theater). Her other theatre design works include The Joy Luck Club (Sierra Madre Playhouse), Hannah and the Dread Gazebo (Fountain Theatre), The Mountaintop (Garry Marshall Theatre), SAPO (Getty Villa) and Mother of Henry, Members Only, Dementia, A Mexican Trilogy: An American Lyric (Latino Theater Company). Her opera and music theatre design works include Then I Stood Up: A Civil Rights Cycle (LA Opera Connects), Notorious RBG in Song (Skirball Cultural Center), Venus and Adonis/Savitri (New Camerata Opera, NYC), Backwards from Winter (Center for Contemporary Opera, NYC), Cruzar la Cara de la Luna (The Soraya, LA), Lohengrin (New World Center) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tales of Hoffmann, Crucible, L’enfant et les sortilèges (Miami Music Festival). Her upcoming projects include Sisters in Law (Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts), plus And Then They Came For Me (MainStreet Theatre). She earned her BFA in metal craft at Seoul National University and her MFA in theatre design at UCLA. Portfolio:

Ben Shipley (Stage Manager) is thrilled to join South Coast Repertory on Aubergine! His off-Broadway credits include 1001 Nights (Atlantic Theater Company), Don Juan, The Winter’s Tale (Pearl Theatre Company), Titus Andronicus (New York Shakespeare Exchange) and The Invisible Hand (New York Theatre Workshop). His national tour credits include Magic School Bus and Junie B. Jones (TheaterWorksUSA). His regional credits include Good People, Always...Patsy Cline, Driving Miss Daisy (New Harmony Theatre), John & Jen (Siren & Sailor Theatre Co.), La Cage Aux Folles, Appt w/Death, Life Could Be A Dream (Cortland Repertory Theatre), World Builders (Flux Theatre Ensemble), Noël, Good King Wenceslas (Stages on The Sound), Henry V, Blithe Spirit (Texas Shakespeare Festival), Backyard (Echo Theatre Company), How I Learned To Drive (Illyrian Players), The Pain and the Itch (Zephyr Theatre), and Khardal and What Would Crazy Horse Do? (Berkeley Repertory Theatre). He is an alumnus of the Ithaca College Department of Theatre Arts. For more information, please visit

Margaret Kayes (Assistant Stage Manager) is excited to join the South Coast Repertory family! Her credits include Good People, Always…Patsy Cline, Driving Miss Daisy, Nunsense, Talley’s Folly, Around the World in 80 Days, Souvenir (New Harmony Theatre); Pygmalion (University of Southern Indiana); Madama Butterfly (Opera San Jose), Bright Star (Musical Theatre West); Red Hot and Cole and The Magic Flute (Eklund Opera Program); Peter Pan and Tinkerbell: A Pirate’s Christmas and Aladdin and His Winter Wish (Lythgoe Family Panto); Billy Elliot (San Diego Musical Theatre); The Mole Hill Stories (First Stage Children’s Theatre); The Wild Party, Boeing Boeing, The Valley of the Heart, The 39 Steps, RFK and The Addams Family (San Jose Stage Company); Sweeney Todd: and One Man, Two Guvnors (Lyric Stage Company of Boston); Twelfth Night, Coriolanus and Othello (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company); The Secret Garden, The Unbleached American, Something’s Afoot, The Marvelous Wonderettes, Thoroughly Modern Millie and The Full Monty (Stoneham Theatre); and La Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein, Tancredi, The Bartered Bride, The Nose and Der Freischütz (Opera Boston).

The Actors and Stage Managers employed in this production are members of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

Jinn S. Kim and Sab Shimono in "Aubergine." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Sab Shimono and Jinn S. Kim in "Aubergine." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Jinn S. Kim and Jully Lee in "Aubergine." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Joy DeMichelle in "Aubergine." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Sab Shimono in "Aubergine." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Jully Lee and Joy DeMichelle in "Aubergine." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Jully Lee, Sab Shimono, Jinn S. Kim and Bruce Baek in "Aubergine." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Jinn S. Kim and Sab Shimono in "Aubergine." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Bruce Baek and Jinn S. Kim in "Aubergine." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Jinn S. Kim and Irungu Mutu in "Aubergine." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Jully Lee and Jinn S. Kim in "Aubergine." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
Luzma Ortiz and Jinn S. Kim in "Aubergine." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
video video video
Korean Food
8 Great Spots for Korean Food in Orange County

The subject of food is a dominant theme in Julia Cho’s Aubergine. Why not grab a pre- or post-show bite at one of Orange County’s many Korean restaurants. Here are a few to try.

Jinn Kim and Sab Shimono
The Language of a Korean-American Family

Julia Cho’s Aubergine centers around themes of family, food, love, loss and life often in the Korean language. Learn how Korean family names work quite differently than family names in English.

Aubergine Cast with TAngs
Party Play: Aubergine
Opening night for Julia Cho’s Aubergine shined brightly—from stellar performances to a stellar cast party.
Lisa Peterson
Aubergine Director Lisa Peterson
Director Lisa Peterson and playwright Julia Cho’s friendship goes way back, so she jumped at the chance to helm Aubergine. However, she admits that, when she first saw the play, its story hit very close to home.
Food with Chopsticks
The Rise of Korean Cuisine
With food as one of Aubergine’s dominant themes, thought we'd round up some information about the steadily increasing popularity of Korean cuisine in the U.S.
Sab Shimono and Jinn Kim
The Flavors of Remembrance
Food as sustenance for the body and soul is at the heart of Aubergine. Learn more about the play from the show’s dramaturg.
The Cast of Aubergine
Meet the Cast of Aubergine
The seven actors in Aubergine are a mix of those familiar to SCR audiences and those making their debut. They are Obie Award-winners, Broadway veterans, children of aging parents and more. Read on to meet the cast.

Sandy Segerstrom Daniels
Samuel & Tammy Tang

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