Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Manic Pixie Dream Girl Extended to Feb 17!

Critics Agree:  Graphic Novel + Stage Play = Awesomeness

Due to popular demand, Manic Pixie Dream Girl: a graphic novel play has been extended for a week through February 17. San Francisco Chronicle called playwright Katie May “an intriguing new voice” and exclaimed director Jon Tracy’s work as a “crisp and concentrated production.” Bay Area Reporter added that MPDG is “fun with occasional dollops of existential thoughtfulness.” The added performances at the A.C.T. Costume Shop Theater (1117 Market Street, San Francisco) are at 8pm on Thursday, February 14 through Sunday, February 17. Tickets ($25-$40) are available for purchase at or at 415.799.8350.

Two indie art forms intersect in the world premiere production of Manic Pixie Dream Girl: A Graphic Novel by Bay Area writer Katie May. This darkly comic story follows a struggling graphic novelist who falls in love with a mysteriously silent manic pixie dream girl and explores what happens when she becomes more than just a character type. Told in the style of a comic book, this world premiere production is directed and designed by Jon Tracy and features the art of Rob Dario. More Judd Apatow than William Shakespeare, MPDG is a Guinness®-drinking, pop-culture referencing punch in the theatrical gut. 

Commissioned by PlayGround, MPDG is produced by PlayGround, Manic Pixie Productions (Katie May, Liz Anderson, and Jim Kleinmann) and David Steele.

What:             Manic Pixie Dream Girl
a world premiere play by Katie May
directed by Jon Tracy
featuring the art of Rob Dario

Told in the style of a comic book, this world premiere play follows a struggling graphic novelist who falls in love with a mysteriously silent manic pixie dream girl and explores what happens when she becomes more than just a character type. More Judd Apatow than William Shakespeare, MPDG is a beer drinking, pop-culture referencing punch in the theatrical gut.

When:            Through February 17, 2013 (Performs Thursdays through Sundays at 8pm)

Where:           The A.C.T. Costume Shop Theater (1117 Market Street, San Francisco)

Pricing:          $25–$40

Info and tix:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

An Invitation to the Future...

Ever wonder what the world will look like in ten or twenty years? Or what the state of the American Theatre will be? How content will be generated - for the stage, big screen, television or internet? Where will the next generation of great storytellers come from? Where will the next generation of great audiences come from?

At PlayGround, we have a group of people who think about these questions and more, helping to assure the future of PlayGround, our playwrights, and our programs... helping eliminate boundaries, increase impact, and create new opportunities. They are our Board of Directors.

Dedicated volunteers, they meet just four times a year and help put together an annual retreat of directors, artists, supporters and friends that more closely resembles a mini-TED conference than it does a traditional nonprofit board retreat. They are a diverse group, representing a variety of professions and backgrounds, but all with an entrepreneurial spirit and deep appreciation for the arts, artists and the power of imagination.

Under the board's leadership, PlayGround has expanded core programs such as Monday Night PlayGround (relocated to Berkeley Rep in 2003) and the Best of PlayGround Festival (relocated to Thick House in 2009 and expanded to four weeks with additional performances, commission readings, and the addition of the Young Playwrights Project), launched new programs such as the expanded Commissioning Initiative (2006), New Play Production Fund (2009), PlayGround Film Festival (2012) and, just this season alone, PlaySpace, PlayGround-LA and Demo Day. In just the past five years, through the most recent economic recession, PlayGround's organizational budget has grown by 165% while reserves have increased by 524%.

If it sounds like PlayGround is a different kind of nonprofit and our board is a different kind of board, you're right. Want to learn more? Interested in getting more involved? We would like to invite you to join us in a conversation to see if serving on the PlayGround Board or in another advisory capacity might be a good fit. To respond to this invitation, send us an email or call us at (415) 992-6677. We look forward to speaking with you soon!

Warmest regards,

Jim Kleinmann                           Regina Guggenheim
Artistic Director                         Chair, Board of Directors

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do. - Apple Inc.

Monday, January 14, 2013

PlayGround Company in the News Jan-13

Tom Swift’s short film The Beginning has been selected to the prestigious SF Indie Fest, February 17 and 19 (Sunday and Tuesday), 2:45 and 7:15 at the Roxie.  Simultaneously, the stage version is in rehearsal in Sydney, Australia.

Michael Barret Austin will be performing in the world premiere PlayGround co-production of Katie May’s MANIC PIXIE DREAM GIRL, directed by Jon Tracy, and featuring PlayGround regulars Lyndsy Kail, Liz Anderson, and Josh Roberts. The play runs Jan 17-Feb 10 at the A.C.T. Costume Shop.

Brian Herndon is closing JANE AUSTEN'S EMMA with Arizona Theatre  Company, and starts rehearsals in March for BEING EARNEST with TheatreWorks.

Robert Sicular is off to the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC to do the spring rep at of Coriolanus (Menenius), and Schiller's Wallenstein (Octavio Palladini), running late March until June.

Katja Rivera is directing Expecting Isabel with Role Players Ensemble in Danville, with Artistic Director Eric Fraisher Hayes; Jan18-Feb 9th,

Jonathan Spector’s play In From The Cold is one of the winners of Aurora's Global Age Project, and will have a reading there Feb. 4th.

Julia Brothers and Joy Carlin will be appearing in OUR PRACTICAL HEAVEN at Aurora Theatre through March 3rd.

Aaron Wilton and Maryssa Wanlass can be seen in Something Cloudy, Something Clear, extended through January 20 at Theatre Rhino:

Rosie Hallett is rehearsing Word for Word's You Know When the Men Are Gone, which runs at Z Space January 31-February 24.

Cindy Goldfield is working with the ACT MFA2 class, assistant directing TARTUFFE for Giles Havergal, and preparing to leave for NY to star in D'Arcy Drollinger and Chris Winslow's new musical, MR. IRRESISTIBLE.

Tracy Held Potter will be directing a staged reading of short plays by Rachel Bublitz at the Masquers Playhouse in Pt. Richmond on Sunday, January 27th at 7 p.m. Facebook invitation (with more details): Also, Pacifica Table Readers will be doing a table reading of her full-length, Sweet, Sweet Revolution, on Sun, Feb 3.

Diane Sampson’s short play, Romulus and Jewel, a Ten Minute Travesty in Five Acts will be included in the PCSF's annual Sheherezade Festival in April.

Ron Campbell just opened with Cirque du Soleil here in London at the Royal Albert Hall and even got to make fun of Princess Kate and Prince William. (She was celebrating her 31st birthday.) Read about it here:

Patricia Cotter has a new musical, Rocket Science, premiering at the Village Theater in Issaquah, WA (just outside of Seattle) and running through Jan 20. Adapted from the HBO film by Jeffrey Blitz,  the musical has music by Stephen Weiner and lyrics by Jason Rhyne.

Leah Halper's full length play about Rachel Carson, Always Be True, will get a staged reading on Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. at City Lights Theatre in San Jose, under the direction of Jeffrey Lo.

Louis Parnell is in BELL BOOK AND CANDLE at the SF Playhouse through Jan 19 & goes right into rehearsals for THE COUCH for 3Girls Theatre that opens the first week of March at the old Playhouse location, 533 Sutter Street.

Jonathan Luskin is shooting Aegis this coming weekend at Zynga. Jeremy Kahn, Warren David Keith, and Carrie Paff are cast.

Mary Baird is leaving her New York apartment after 40 years of life there, returning to her CA roots and hitting the pavement running. She is so looking forward to working with the PlayGround community in 2013.

Mercedes Segesvary will be reading her work, I want to Break You on stage at Write Club; Tuesday January 15th 8pm, Make-Out Room, SF.

Bennett Fisher's new adaptation of Karel and Josef Capek's The Insect Play will be presented in the Cutting Ball Risk is This Festival on Friday and Saturday, January 25 and 26. The reading is directed by Cutting Ball Artistic Director Rob Melrose and is free to attend. Bennett is also the dramaturg for the festival, which runs until February 9.

Molly Noble’s upcoming projects include directing Pack of Lies, opening  Jan 18 at Ross Valley Players, and Till You Hear My Story, performing Feb 23 at San Quentin. She is also acting with Theatre Lunatico in Cafe Coppelia in  March at 142 Throckmorton Theatre.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

PlayGround January Topic Announcement!

PlayGround kicked off the New Year in (musical) style this morning with the announcement of the topic for the fourth annual Monday Night PlayGround “Musical Theatre Night”, presented in association with TheatreWorks’ New Works Initiative and taking place at 8pm, Monday, January 21 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. That topic, I Have A Dream…, will lead to the creation of more than thirty short musicals, of which six will be selected for presentation on January 21, with original music by composers/musicians Ben Prince and Don Seaver. Participating directors this month include: Chris Smith, Evren Odcikin, Tracy Ward, Barbara Oliver, Resident Director Jon Tracy, and PlayGround Artistic Director Jim Kleinmann. Selected plays will be announced via Facebook and PlayGround’s website on Thursday, January 17. For tickets and more information, visit

PlayGround audiences get to enjoy a unique behind-the-scenes perspective, with free pre-performance discussions every month at 7:10pm, featuring playwrights and other special guests related to that month’s topic.  Audience members can also experience the thrill of being a producer through the monthly People’s Choice Awards, helping to determine which plays and playwrights go on for consideration in PlayGround’s annual showcase, the Best of PlayGround Festival.

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 Best of PlayGround Festival, full-length play commissions and support for the production of new plays by local playwrights through the New Play Production Fund and, PlayGround’s newest initiative, the PlayGround Film Festival. To date, PlayGround has supported more than 185 local playwrights in the development and staging of nearly 650 original short plays and 41 new full-length plays, with 7 more commissions currently in development. For more information, visit

WHAT:          Occurring monthly, October-March, the popular Monday Night PlayGround series presents staged readings of thematically-connected short works by the Bay Area’s best new playwrights each month at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, staged by leading local professional actors and directors.  The given topic for the January 21 PlayGround event is “I HAVE A DREAM… .

WHERE:       Berkeley Repertory Theatre
2025 Addison St
Berkeley, CA

WHEN:          Monday, January 21, 2013 at 8pm
                        Additional Season Dates:
                        February 25, 2013 – Collaboration with Mathematical Sciences Research Institute
                        March 18, 2013

TICKETS:     $15/$20 (priority seating), available online or at the door.  Pay-What-You-Can at the door beginning one hour before the performance, subject to availability.  4-admission flex subscriptions are just $60.  For more information about the Monday Night PlayGround series, call (415) 992-6677 or visit