Press Release: ​Sheepdog

Mystery Within a Love Story: Sheepdog by Kevin Artigue Set for World Premiere at South Coast Repertory

COSTA MESA, Calif. (​​​April 3, 2019)— Two police officers in Cleveland—they’re partners and they’re in a relationship. She is African American; he is white and things have been good. But what happens if an incident in the line of duty changes the foundation of who they are together? Kevin Artigue’s Sheepdog will have its world premiere at South Coast Repertory, April 14-May 5, on the Julianne Argyros Stage. The SCR commission is directed by Leah C. Gardiner and is part of the 2019 Pacific Playwrights Festival. Tickets are available at

The play is a mystery within a love story about Amina and Ryan. And what happens to rock their relationship to its core. Amina has been on the police force for 13 years, and Ryan for 8; and she’ll follow her training to get to the truth in the case that unfolds. “And to do that—to solve it—she has to explore her past and those memories serve as clues to the present,” Artigue said.

Director Gardiner said that the play asks enormous questions about love, prejudice “and the harsh reality that each can influence the other.”

“So how do you grapple with your past, while confronting your present, as you struggle to build a future?” Gardiner asked. “I hope audiences will leave considering those questions and ask themselves how their own blind spots inform their relationships with loved ones and strangers alike.”

Artigue writes plays and for TV and film. Raised in Redlands, Calif., he now calls Brooklyn home. His plays have been developed with The Public Theater, the National New Play Network, New York Theater Workshop, Portland Center Stage, Golden Thread, Theatre of NOTE, the Playwrights Foundation, Long Wharf Theater and the Playwrights’ Center (Minneapolis). He’s a member of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group at Primary Stages and was a member of the Interstate 73 Writers Group (2016) and the Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group (2015-16). His films include Resistance (2014) and Holy Ghost People (2013). He is currently developing screenplays for Imperative Entertainment, Star Thrower Entertainment and Scott Free Productions. Artigue earned his MFA from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop.

Gardiner last directed the world premiere of Blue Door by Tanya Barfield at SCR in 2006. Her 2019 production of If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka at Playwrights Horizons is a New York Times Critics’ Pick. Her other credits include Generations and born bad (Obie Award), The Ruins of Civilization, Fidelis, Antony and Cleopatra, The Normal Heart, Fences, Notes From the Field and By the Way, Meet Vera Stark.

The cast includes Lea Coco (as Ryan) and Erika LaVonn (as Amina); both are making their SCR debuts. Coco’s credits include Blue Man Group, The Public Theater, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Utah Shakespeare Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, J. Edgar, Sinister 2, “Queen Sugar” and The Sweetest Christmas (Hallmark Channel). LaVonn’s credits include the Broadway production of The Lion King, My Lord, “Law & Order: SVU,” War of the Worlds, The Christians, What I Learned in Paris and The Mountaintop. Voice actors include Melody Butiu and Ricardo Salinas.

The creative team includes Myung Hee Cho, scenic design; Leah Piehl, costume design; Cameron Jaye Mock, lighting design; Martín Carrillo, sound design, original music; Howard Fredrics, original music; and Joanne DeNaut, CSA, casting. The production manager is Holly Ahlborn and the stage manager is Darlene Miyakawa. Jerry Patch is the dramaturg.

Generous support for this production comes from The Playwrights Circle, which serves as Honorary Producer. The circle members include Sandy Segerstrom Daniels; Dr. Robert F. and Julia A. Davey; Patricia Ellis; David Emmes and Paula Tomei; Janet and Michael Hards; Tracy and Roger Kirwan; Carl Neisser; Michael Oppenheim; Carolina and John Prichard; Michael Ray; Susan Shieldkret and David Dull; Peter and Joy Sloan; Julia Voce; and Judy and Wes Whitmore.

The production is the recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award.

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 Sheepdog

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 April 14-May 5. Ticket prices start at $23. Low-priced preview performances run April 14-18.  

Performance Dates, Times: 

  • Previews
    • Sunday, April 14, at 2 p.m.
    • Tuesday-Thursday, April 16-18, at 7:45 p.m.
      Note: Friday, April 19, is an invitation-only performance
  • Regular performances
  • Special note: There are no Monday performances.
    • Evenings:
    • Tuesdays-Sundays, April 20-21; April 23-28; and April 30-May 4, at 7:45 p.m.
      • There is no evening performance on Sunday, May 5
  • Matinees:
    • Saturdays-Sundays, April 20-21; April 27-28; and May 4-5 at 2 p.m.
  • ASL-interpreted: Saturday, May 4 at 2 p.m.

Special Events:

  • Post-Show Discussions: Tuesday, April 23, and Wednesday, April 24. Discuss the play with Sheepdog cast members during free post-show discussions led by SCR’s literary team. Julianne Argyros Stage.
  • Inside the Season: Saturday, May 4, 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 Sheepdog. 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:  Poor Yella Rednecks by Qui Nguyen, through April 27; Sheepdog by Kevin Artigue, April 14-May 5; Pacific Playwrights Festival, April 26-28; M. Butterfly by David Henry Hwang, May 11-June 8; and The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, May 24-June 9 (Theatre for Young Audiences). Complete information is available at

ABOUT SOUTH COAST REPERTORY: Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, founded in 1964 by David Emmes and Martin Benson and led by Artistic Director David Ivers and Managing Director Paula Tomei, 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. Of SCR’s more than 52​8 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.