Press Release - ​The Madwoman in the Volvo

Sandra Tsing Loh Takes the Driver’s Seat at South Coast Repertory World Premiere of The Madwoman in the Volvo
Popular NPR Commentator Writes and Stars in Comedy

COSTA MESA, Calif. (​Dec. 7, 2015) 

Cheery self-help books that advocate eating kale and doing yoga didn’t cut it for Sandra Tsing Loh when menopause and a mid-life crisis hit. Instead, the NPR personality, memoirist and now playwright opted for a different way to embrace her change of life, with hilarious results.

Loh’s new play, The Madwoman in the Volvo, will have its world premiere at South Coast Repertory, Jan. 3-24, 2016. Lisa Peterson will direct—with Loh leading the cast—on the Julianne Argyros Stage. Tickets are available at

“I have been a fan of Sandra Tsing Loh for years,” said Artistic Director Marc Masterson. “As a writer, she is funny and frank and, as a performer, she is able to tell a story with her signature candor, bravery and wit.”

In the throes of her own mid-life change, Loh wrote an essay for the Atlantic Monthly, which later became the basis for her memoir, The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones. She identified herself as someone who is from the “Triple M Generation—menopausal, middle-aged and a mother.” The New York Times selected Madwoman as one of the paper’s 100 Notable Books of 2014. Booklist called it “hilarious, comforting and enlightening.”

The memoir’s three-character stage adaptation is a bumper-car ride through mid-life madness, all sparked by an unlikely trip to Burning Man.

Loh is a writer/performer whose solo theatre shows include Aliens in America and Bad Sex With Bud Kemp (both off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre), Sugar Plum Fairy (Geffen Playhouse, Seattle Repertory Theatre), I Worry (The Kennedy Center, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville) and, most recently, The Bitch Is Back (Broad Stage).  Her bestselling New York Times Notable Book, Mother on Fire, was inspired by her hit solo show in 2005 and led Variety to name her one of America’s 50 most influential comedians.  The play version of Madwoman received development support at the Sundance Theatre Lab and Ojai Playwrights Conference. She currently is an adjunct professor at the University of California, Irvine, in drama and science communication. 

Peterson has earned numerous directing honors including Obie and Lucile Lortel awards and multiple Drama Desk nominations. She is a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop, a member of Ensemble Studio Theater and serves on the executive board of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.

In addition to playwright Loh, the cast for The Madwoman in the Volvo includes Caroline Aaron and Shannon Holt.

The design and creative team includes Rachel Hauck, scenic design; Candice Cain, costume design; Geoff Korf, lighting design; Lindsay Jones, original music/sound designer; and Joanne DeNaut, CSA, casting. The show’s production manager is Joshua Marchesi, the stage manager is Jennifer Ellen Butler and the dramaturg is Jerry Patch.

The Madwoman in the Volvo is generously supported by Honorary Producers Steve and Laurie Duncan. The media partner is The Orange County Register.

Tickets start at $22. Discounts are available for full-time students, patrons 25 years of age and under, fulltime educators, seniors and groups of 10 or more. For complete information, visit:

Related Information for The Madwoman in the Volvo

Tickets: May be purchased online at, by phone at (714) 708-5555 or by visiting the box office at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. Performances run Jan. 3-24, 2016. Ticket prices start at $22. Low-priced preview performances run Jan. 3-7. 

Performance Dates, Times: 
  • Previews
    • Sunday, Jan. 3, at 2 p.m.
    • Tuesday-Thursday, Jan. 5-7, at 7:45 p.m.
      Note: Friday, Jan. 8, is an invitation-only performance
  • Regular performances
    Special notes: There are no Monday performances. There is no evening performance on Sunday, Jan. 24.

  • Evenings:
    • Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 9-10, Jan. 16-17, Jan. 23, at 7:45 p.m.
    • Tuesday-Friday, Jan. 12-15, and Jan. 19-22, at 7:45 p.m.
  • Matinees:
    • Saturdays-Sundays, Jan. 9-10, Jan. 16-17, and Jan. 23-24 at 2 p.m. 
  • ASL-interpreted: Saturday, Jan. 23, at 2 p.m.

Special Events:

  • Post-Show Discussions: Tuesday, Jan. 12, and Wednesday, Jan. 13. Discuss the play with cast members of The Madwoman in the Volvo during free post-show discussions led by South Coast Repertory’s literary team. Julianne Argyros Stage.
  • Inside the Season: Saturday, Jan. 16, from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Led by members of SCR’s literary staff, this lively two-hour session features in-depth interviews with cast members and artists from SCR's production staff, offering insights into SCR’s production of The Madwoman in the Volvo. The morning includes a guided tour of the set. Julianne Argyros Stage. Tickets are $12 and may be purchased in advance or at the door.

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.

Upcoming Productions:  Red by John Logan (Jan. 22-Feb. 21, 2016, Segerstrom Stage); Pinocchio  by Greg Banks (Feb. 5-21, 2016, Theatre for Young Audiences, Julianne Argyros Stage); Going to a Place where you Already Are* by Bekah Brunstetter (March 6-27, 2016, Julianne Argyros Stage); Future Thinking* (March 25-April 24, 2016, Segerstrom Stage); Office Hour* by Julia Cho (April 10-May 1, 2016, Julianne Argyros Stage); Amadeus by Peter Shaffer (May 6-June 5, 2016, Segerstrom Stage); and The Light Princess by Mike Pettry and Lila Rose Kaplan (May 20-June 5, 2016, Theatre for Young Audiences, Julianne Argyros Stage). The 19th annual Pacific Playwrights Festival runs April 22-24, 2016.

*Denotes world premieres

More information is available at

ABOUT SOUTH COAST REPERTORY: Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, founded in 1964 by David Emmes and Martin Benson, is widely recognized as one of the leading professional theatres in the United States. While its productions represent a balance of classic and modern theatre, SCR is renowned for its extensive new-play development program, which includes the nation’s largest commissioning program for emerging and established writers. One-quarter of SCR’s 525 productions 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.