Press Release: ​​2019 Pacific Playwrights Festival

2019 Pacific Playwrights Festival: Seven New Plays From the Nation’s Hottest Playwrights

COSTA MESA, Calif. (​​Feb. ​​​6, 2019)— South Coast Repertory Artistic Director David Ivers and Managing Director Paula Tomei today announced the lineup for the 2019 Pacific Playwrights Festival (PPF). The annual showcase of new works kicks off on April 26 with a concert reading of a new musical adaptation of Prelude to a Kiss, directed by Ivers in his directorial debut as SCR’s artistic director.

The musical by Craig Lucas (book), Daniel Messé (music and lyrics) and Sean Hartley (lyrics) is an SCR commission, adapted from Lucas’s earlier play, also an SCR commission that premiered at the Costa Mesa, Calif.-based theatre in 1988, was a hit on and off-Broadway and became a popular film.  

“What an honor to announce the bold array of voices slated for this year’s Pacific Playwrights Festival,” said Ivers. “Immediate and full of heart, these seven plays represent some of the finest new work written for the stage. I’m thrilled to invite our community and industry to experience South Coast Repertory’s cornerstone event for new play development.”

The 22nd year of the festival, April 26-28, features two full productions and four additional staged readings with works by Kevin Artigue, Adam Bock, Chisa Hutchinson, Qui Nguyen, Ana Nogueira and Melissa Ross. Tickets, including discounted packages to see all five readings, are available online at

“There’s so much excitement surrounding this year’s Pacific Playwrights Festival including launching it with a reading of the new musical version of Prelude to a Kiss,” said Tomei. “This work by Craig Lucas has roots in SCR’s rich past, will be directed by our new artistic director, David Ivers, and is the perfect example of the past and the future harmoniously coming together to foster the creation of great theatre.”

Festival Co-Director John Glore, SCR’s associate artistic director, said the 2019 festival is a showcase not to miss.

“The lineup for the Pacific Playwrights Festival this year offers a whirlwind of theatrical storytelling in many forms,” said Glore. “David Ivers’ first festival as artistic director will have a local flavor to it because six of the plays—including all five staged readings—have resulted from SCR commissions.”

The two world premiere full productions at the 2019 Pacific Playwrights Festival are:

Poor Yella Rednecks
by Qui Nguyen
directed by May Adrales
dramaturg: Kimberly Colburn
March 30-April 27, Segerstrom Stage
A commission of SCR and Manhattan Theatre Club.
One family’s history makes for a raucously funny, deeply moving take on the immigrant story, told with hip-hop style.

by Kevin Artigue
directed by Leah C. Gardiner
dramaturg: Jerry Patch
April 14-May 5, Julianne Argyros Stage
A mystery within a love story, about an African-American cop, her white male partner and a relationship that gets shaken to its core.

The five staged readings scheduled at PPF are:

Prelude to a Kiss
by Craig Lucas
music by Dan Mess​​é
lyrics by Sean Hartley and Dan Messé
directed by ​​​​David Ivers
dramaturg: John Glore
An SCR commission
Friday, April 26, at 1 p.m., Segerstrom Stage
About this musical: Craig Lucas’s adult fairy tale is reborn as a musical. A roller-coaster romance goes off the rails when a mysterious twist of fate on their wedding day takes Rita away from Peter, sending him on a quest to win her back.

The Canadians
by Adam Bock
directed by Jaime Casteñada
dramaturg: Jerry Patch
An SCR commission
Friday, April 26, at 4 p.m., Segerstrom Stage
About this play: Life is good in Port Alison, Manitoba—precisely why Gordy has never left. But then opportunity knocks, and he has a chance to go on a cruise with his pal, Brendan. A comedy about how one small chance leads to big changes.

Unlikeable Heroine
by Melissa Ross
directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch
dramaturg: Kimberly Colburn
An SCR commission
Saturday, April 27, at 10:30 a.m., Segerstrom Stage
About this play: Diana, the new president of Kensington College, can barely get her pictures hung in her office before she’s caught in the crossfire between the old guard and the student body over a controversial class. “Time-Honored” collides with “Time’s Up” in this new play by Of Good Stock's Melissa Ross.  

by Chisa Hutchinson
directed by Sarah Rasmussen
dramaturg: Amrita Ramanan
An SCR commission
Sunday, April 28, at 10:30 a.m., Segerstrom Stage
About this play: Strange things are happening in Rebecca’s new apartment—poltergeist strange. And it’s not easy being on the front lines of gentrification. Now Yvette, a homeless woman, keeps intruding on her life. But even the best home-security system can’t save Rebecca from what’s really haunting her.

Mask Only
by Ana Nogueira
directed by Mike Donahue
dramaturg: Andy Knight
An SCR commission
Friday, April 26, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 27, at 8 p.m.; Sunday, April 28, at 2:30 p.m., Nicholas Studio.
About this play: You always know where to find Jeff and Judy—at an audition or camped out by the stage door of Broadway’s latest musical. But their friendship gets tested when a new man comes into Judy’s life and a new woman comes into Jeff’s drag routine.

Playwrights Panel Discussion: The panel discussion will include playwrights featured in this year’s festival and takes place on Sunday, April 28, from 9-10 a.m., on the Julianne Argyros Stage. The panel discussion is free.

Created in 1998, the Pacific Playwrights Festival has grown into one of the leading festivals of new plays in the country and showcases some of the best new work on SCR’s radar. The festival offerings generate lively conversation, future world premieres and subsequent productions for numerous playwrights including Lucas Hnath’s A Doll’s House, Part 2, Qui Nguyen’s Vietgone, Julia Cho’s The Language Archive, Amy Freed’s The Beard of Avon, Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel, Rolin Jones’ The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow, Donald Margulies’ Shipwrecked! An Entertainment,​ Lauren Gunderson’s ​I and You and Lauren Yee’s ​Cambodian Rock Band.

The 2019 Pacific Playwrights Festival is made possible with generous support from The Shubert Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, the Elizabeth George Foundation and the Edgerton Foundation.

The Pacific Playwrights Festival Honorary Producers are Sally Anderson and Tom Rogers, Kristen and Adrian Griggs, Carolyn and Bill Klein, Marilyn and Tom Sutton, Samuel and Tammy Tang, and Linda and Tod White.

The Costa Mesa Marriott is the festival’s official hotel.


About tickets: The 2019 Pacific Playwrights Festival has several ticketing options:

  • Tickets for individual readings are $18.
  • Packages to see all five readings are available for $75
  • Tickets for individual full productions range from $23-86 each (Poor Yella Rednecks  and Sheepdog)
  • The Sunday, April 28, 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

Theatre Industry Professionals: Theatre industry professionals may select single tickets or a full festival package. Contact the Box Office at (714) 708-5555 or go online at Complete PPF information for theatre industry professionals is available from Festival Coordinator Andy Knight, associate literary director, at (714) 708-5062 or

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 Emmes/Benson Theatre Center, part of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Event parking is available for a $12 fee in the automated parking structure on Park Center Drive, off Anton Blvd.

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.