Press Release - ​Sugar Plum Fairy

NPR Superstar Sandra Tsing Loh's Sugar Plum Fairy: Sweet, Sour and Laugh-Out-Loud Funny

COSTA MESA, Calif.—NPR superstar Sandra Tsing Loh brings her trademark candor and razor-sharp wit to the holidays with an offbeat, poignant spin on the coming-of-age classic, Sugar Plum Fairy. The play, adapted by Loh from her solo comedy show of the same name, is on South Coast Repertory’s Julianne Argyros Stage, Dec. 3-24; Bart DeLorenzo directs. Tickets are on sale now at

This is the story of Loh’s holiday trauma, which revolves around the piles of tinsel, reindeer infestations, too-cheery tales of preternaturally good-hearted children—and the memories of a particularly fraught childhood holiday. At the age of 12, she was obsessed with landing the highly coveted lead role in the Beverly Rosann School of Dance’s production of The Nutcracker. Sugar Plum Fairy is filled with ambition, rivalry and pre-teen angst over one of life’s crushing blows.

“Sandra is among the most insightful and amusing commentators on life in Southern California,” said Jerry Patch, dramaturg for Sugar Plum Fairy. “She deftly portrays the fall ritual found at ballet studios, here and around the country, where young dancers line up to audition with dreams of dancing the role of Clara or the Sugar Plum Fairy. But what happens when your rival is your older sister? Sandra tells a tale about the horrors and wonders of growing up, about the Christmas season, and about the beginnings of her ongoing discovery of the artist's life.”

Loh’s play, The Madwoman in the Volvo, premiered at South Coast Repertory in 2015 and subsequently ran at Pasadena Playhouse and Berkeley Repertory Theatre. The New York Times selected her book of the same name for its 100 Most Notable Books list and Variety named her as one of the 50 Most Influential Comedians. She has been a regular commentator on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” and on PRI’s “This American Life” and “Marketplace”; her weekly segment, “The Loh Life” is heard on KPCC. She combines her communication and science skills into her syndicated daily minute, “The Loh Down on Science,” which is heard weekly by four million people. Her honors and awards include a Pushcart Prize, MacDowell fellowship and three National Magazine Award nominations. Loh is a contributing editor for The Atlantic Monthly and an adjunct professor of visual art and science communication at the University of California, Irvine.

For Sugar Plum Fairy, Loh reteams with Shannon Holt (who appeared previously at SCR in Loh’s The Madwoman in the Volvo) with the cast completed by Tony Abatemarco (most recently seen at SCR in Peter and the Starcatcher and Bach at Leipzig).

The design and creative team includes Keith Mitchell, scenic design; Angela Balogh Calin, costume design; Jared Sayeg, lighting design; John Ballinger, sound design; and Joanne DeNaut, CSA, casting. The production manager is Joshua Marchesi and the stage manager is Kathryn Davies. The dramaturg is Jerry Patch.

Sugar Plum Fairy has generous support from Honorary Producers The Slutzky Family. The media sponsor is the Orange County Register.

Tickets start at $23. 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 ​​Sugar Plum Fairy

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 Dec. 3-24. Ticket prices start at $23. Low-priced previews run Dec. 3-7. SCR’s performances run Tuesdays-Sundays; there are no performances on Mondays.

Performance Dates, Times:

  • Previews
    • Sunday, Dec. 3 at 2 p.m.
    • Tuesday-Thursday, Dec. 5-7, at 7:45 p.m.
      Note: Friday, Dec. 8, is an invitation-only performance
  • Regular performances
    Special note: There are no Monday performances.
    • Evenings:
      • Tuesdays-Sundays, Dec. 9-10; Dec. 12-17; and Jan. 19-23, at 7:45 p.m.
      • There is no evening performance on Sunday, Dec. 24
    • Matinees:
      • Saturdays-Sundays, Dec. 9-10; Dec. 16-17; and Dec. 23-24 at 2 p.m.
    • ASL-interpreted: Saturday, Dec. 16, at 2 p.m.

Special Events:

  • Post-Show Discussions: Tuesday, Dec. 12, and Wednesday, Dec. 13. Discuss the play with Sugar Plum Fairy cast members during free post-show discussions led by South Coast Repertory’s literary team. Julianne Argyros Stage.
  • Inside the Season: Saturday, Dec. 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 Sugar Plum Fairy.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.

Current and Upcoming Productions: Gem of the Ocean by August Wilson, through Nov. 11; Ella Enchanted: The Musical by Karen Zacarías and Deborah Wicks La Puma, Oct. 27-Nov. 12 (Theatre for Young Audiences); A Christmas Carol adapted by Jerry Patch, Nov. 24-Dec. 24; and Shakespeare in Love adapted by Lee Hall, Jan. 13-Feb. 10, 2018. 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.