Friday, January 13, 2017

December People's Choice Award

The people have spoken... The December People's Choice Award goes to Ruben Grijalva for his short play, Nutcracked, presented as a staged reading at the Monday Night PlayGround “Holiday Extravaganza” on December 19 at Berkeley Rep. Congratulations, Ruben!

Courtesy of Mr. Grijalva, we're pleased to share the first two pages from the award-winning script. Enjoy! 

Ruben Grijalva

TED Male, 35 - 45
JILL Female, 35 - 45
CLARA Female, Youthful
NUTCRACKER Male, youthful
MOUSE KING Male, 40s

(LIGHTS UP on TED seated, watching a football game.
The crowd roars and Ted jumps to his feet.)

That's what I'm talking about, baby! Wooooo --!

(JILL enters. Ted, startled, drops quickly to the couch,
wraps himself in a blanket. His woohoos dissolve into a
coughing fit. She's not buying it.)

Feeling better?

(weak, scratchy voice)
Hmmm? Oh, hey there, you're early. I'm, you know, I'm okay. Still a little...
(he shivers)
You know? Still not quite fully -- uh, how was --
(cough, cough)
How was the ballet?

If you didn't want to go, you should have just said so.

No, I wanted to, I just -- this thing going around the office, it's really --
(she's not buying it)
Alright, but, to be fair, I did say so. You asked if I wanted to go, and I said there was a game on, and you said there was a game every week, but the Nutcracker was only once a year, which is --

Which is true.

Yeah, but...don't you think every four years would be fine? Like the Olympics. Keep it novel.

Well, you would have loved it tonight, because it was...novel.

It was good?

I didn't say that.

Too novel?

They changed it.

What, like the costumes or something?

Like the plot.

The plot? But aren't people kinda expecting --

Yes, they are kinda expecting.

And they just changed it?

They just changed it.

And not for the better?

Not for me.

What did they change? Actually, what is the plot again?

Oh come on, you saw it last year.

Yeah, but I wasn't exactly --



Your eyes were open, I checked multiple times.

Yeah...that's a little trick I learned in college.


Join us for the next Monday Night PlayGround on Monday, January 16, at Berkeley Rep and choose your own favorite. Click here for more info.

January Company In The News

Congratulations go to Aaron Wilton for teaming up with Symmetry Theatre and TheatreFirst to do a staged reading of his play, THE PLAY ABOUT A DICK, on Sunday night! The reading also served as a benefit for Planned Parenthood and starred PlayGrounders Stacy Ross, Jomar Tagatac and Teddy Spencer.  

Douglas Giorgis is continuing to perform multiple roles in the development of the new play "Slice" by Robin Bradford.

Starting February 24 Mary Baird will be an understudy for JOHN at the Strand in SF while also enjoying a monologue class with Meryl Shaw and Lauren English. 

Madeline Puccioni's COOLEY'S REEL is up and dancin' right now through Feb. 5 at the Santa Cruz Actors Theatre's 8x10@8 Festival!   She'll be there on January 14 for the 3pm matinee.  She hopes to see you there!  In February, Madeline's EURYBIA AND THE PIRATE QUEEN and SARAH GOODIN will join plays by Victoria Chong Der, Genevieve Jesse McCall, and Carol Lashof in Those Women Productions' ESCAPE VELOCITY show at Temescal Arts Center!  Join us for pizza at LaneSplitter's next door afterward? 

Heartland Plays has just published eight ten-minute plays by Ross Peter Nelson. The scripts available include pieces initially developed at Playground, the Pear Theatre, Southern Rep, and others.      

Gwen Loeb will be in a reading of Diane Sampson's play, THE GREATER GOOD, directed by Molly Noble, and then heading to New York to perform in Lisa Rafel and Gary Malkin's new musical CAN YOU HEAR ME BABY under the direction of Cara Reichel, the Producing Artistic Director of Prospect Theater Company.

After performing in a sold-out run of VIETGONE at Seattle Rep in December, Will Dao will be returning to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE (opens 2/25) and THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR (opens 6/16).

George Maguire performed in a stage reading of DYNAMO for the Eugene O'Nell Festival. He is producing the film GENERATIONS - a SAG short shooting locally in March.

Lean In With Liz!, a ten-minute play by Rachel Bublitz, will be performed in Greenbrier Valley Theatre's 2017 New Voices Play Festival the first weekend of February in Lewisburg, West Virginia. Additionally Rachel's full-length play Ripped is receiving an in-house reading with Salt Lake Acting Company this January.

Meghan Trowbridge (O'Connor to you all) has taken on the role of Literary Director for PianoFight's Pint Sized Plays Festival. Submissions are now open to anyone who resides in the Bay Area, and has a play that is set in a bar. The plays should last only as long as it takes a character to finish a pint of beer - this could be a few seconds to a max of 8 pages. Find the submission guidelines and how to submit your scripts here:      

Writing  a post-apocalyptic immersive theater piece for an abandoned mine complex in Outokumpu, Finland, for the February 2017 incarnation of the international multimedia Decameron Project, during Finland's centennial celebration is our very own Ignacio Zulueta.

Teddy Spencer is currently preparing to begin the first US tour of WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S LONG LOST FIRST PLAY (ABRIDGED) with the Reduced Shakespeare Company this January.

On Monday, January 9th at the GLBT History Museum 4127 18th Street, San Francisco, Rhino in the Castro presented a reading of TENN by Kathy Boussina. TENN, an evocation of celebrated gay playwright Tennessee Williams and his longtime lover, Frank Merlo, viewed through the lens of the unconventional therapeutic relationship that develops between Williams and his psychoanalyst.  As the play unfolds, Williams's haunted past surfaces and Frank struggles to save his partner and keep their love intact.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Potrero Nuevo Project!

“Like Rome and other great cities, San Francisco is a city of villages on hills. Potrero Hill is the quintessential village-on-a-hill, and all phases of San Francisco history have been portrayed on it.” –Kevin Starr, California State Librarian Emeritus. PlayGround celebrates the grand re-opening of its renovated and renamed San Francisco home, Potrero Stage (formerly Thick House), with The Potrero Nuevo Project, a theatrical imagining of the past, present and future of Potrero Hill. Featuring original short works by local playwrights Patricia Cotter, Victoria Chong Der, Ruben Grijalva, Garret Jon Groenveld, Genevieve Jessee, Martha Soukup, Maury Zeff, and Ignacio Zulueta, The Potrero Nuevo Project is co-directed by Norman Gee, Margo Hall, Katja Rivera, and PlayGround Artistic Director Jim Kleinmann, with an ensemble of eight    Carlos Aguirre, Melvign Badiola, Jessica Bates*, Karen Offereins, Soren Oliver*, Jed Parsario, Cathleen Riddley*, and JD Scalzo — performing more than 25 roles. Journey over 250 years in 90 minutes to experience the people, places, and times that shaped this region: the Ohlone who first hunted and fished here; the Spanish missionaries and early Californios who began settling the region; Kit Carson, the De Haro family, and the launch of the Mexican-American War; post- Gold Rush San Francisco and a rancher’s unique legacy; survivors of the 1906 earthquake; the WWII shipbuilders of Pier 70; Fritz Maytag and the birth of the craft brewing movement; a Potrero Annex family’s memories on the eve of the Hope SF reconstruction, and beyond! Each Potrero Nuevo Project performance will be followed by a brief panel discussion with local residents, business and civic leaders, historians, and more. For tickets and more information, visit
* Member, Actors’ Equity Association.

PlayGround will debut the improvements to Potrero Stage, including new air conditioning, seating, theatrical lighting, signage, and lobby and restroom upgrades, the weekend of January 28-29 with two community open houses, one for the Bay Area theatre community (Saturday, January 28, 11am-1pm) and one for the Potrero Hill community (Sunday, January 29, 12pm-2pm).

PlayGround, the Bay Area’s leading playwright incubator, provides unique development opportunities for the Bay Area’s best new playwrights, including the monthly Monday Night PlayGround staged reading series, annual PlayGround Festival of New Works, full-length play commissions and support for the production of new plays by local playwrights through the New Play Production Fund. To date, PlayGround has supported over 200 local playwrights in the development and staging of more than 800 original short plays and 71 new full-length plays, with 8 more commissions currently in development. For more information, visit

In October 2015, PlayGround signed a multi-year lease for the Thick House Theater, where PlayGround has been in residence and produced its annual festival and numerous co-productions since 2008. Under PlayGround’s leadership, the Thick House venue, recently renamed Potrero Stage: The PlayGround Center for New Plays, will expand its role as a hub for diverse small theatre companies and independent artists and a platform for the development and production of great new works. To that end, PlayGround launched a $250,000 capital campaign to support significant capital improvements and continued artist accessibility/affordability and temporarily closed the venue last fall to complete the renovations, including new air conditioning, seating, lighting and signage. The renovated and renamed theatre will reopen the last weekend of January with two public open houses: Saturday, January 28, 11am-1pm for the Bay Area theatre community and Sunday, January 29, 12pm-2pm for the Potrero Hill community.

WHAT: THE POTRERO NUEVO PROJECT, a theatrical imagining of the people, places and times that shaped this region! Featuring original short plays by Patricia Cotter, Victoria Chong Der, Ruben Grijalva, Garret Jon Groenveld, Genevieve Jessee, Martha Soukup, Maury Zeff, and Ignacio Zulueta. The inaugural production of Potrero Stage.

WHERE: Potrero Stage (formerly Thick House), 1695 18th Street, San Francisco, CA

WHEN:  February 2-19, 2017

Thursday, Feb 2, 8pm (Preview, PWYC)
Friday, Feb 3, 8pm (Preview, PWYC)
Saturday, Feb 4, 8pm (Press  Night)
Sunday, Feb 5, 7pm
Thursday, Feb 9, 8pm
Friday, Feb 10, 8pm
Saturday, Feb 11, 8pm
Sunday, Feb 12, 7pm
Thursday, Feb 16, 8pm
Friday, Feb 17, 8pm
Saturday, Feb 18, 8pm
Sunday, Feb 19, 7pm (Closing)

TICKETS: $25-$55. For more information about The Potrero Nuevo Proejct, call (415) 992-6677 or visit