Wednesday, February 12, 2014

PlayGround Announces 2014 Gala Honorees!

PlayGround has just announced the line-up for this year’s Gala fundraiser on Monday, April 7 at American Conservatory Theater: award-winning actor/director/playwright Colman Domingo and San Francisco Chronicle theatre critic Rob Hurwitt. The evening features an onstage conversation with Domingo and Hurwitt, a reception and silent auction, seated dinner, and presentation of the 2014 PlayGround Emerging Playwright Awards, June Anne Baker Prize and PlayGround Fellowship. Honorary co-chairs for this year’s gala are Jean and Michael Strunsky. For tickets and information, visit

Colman was most recently featured in the Bay Area with his play, Wild with Happy, which received its critically-acclaimed West Coast premiere at TheatreWorks last spring following its world premiere at New York’s Public Theater. He was a mainstay of the Bay Area acting and directing scene for more than a decade, including work with PlayGround, before heading to New York in the early 2000s. His solo play A Boy and His Soul received its London premiere at the Tricycle Theater and Australian premiere at The Brisbane Powerhouse Theater. He is a Tony Award nominee for The Scottsboro Boys, which he took to London this past fall. He recently received stand out notices for Lincoln opposite Daniel Day Lewis and Lee Daniel’s The Butler. 

Mr. Domingo has been honored with some of the highest honors of the American stage as the winner of  OBIE, Lucille Lortel, GLAAD, Connecticut Critics Circle, Bay Area Theater Critics Circle, and Drama League Awards. Broadway credits include the Tony Award winning musicals Passing Strange and Chicago. He has been nominated for the Drama Desk, Audelco and Fred Astaire Awards. Recent film work includes All is Bright, Newlyweeds, and Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer and Passing Strange. He has recently directed Off Broadway premieres of Exit Cuckoo (Working Theater), No Parole (All for One), Single Black Female (New Professional Theater), and Up Jumped Springtime (Lincoln Center Director’s Lab/HERE). Regionally for Berkeley Rep, Geva Theater, Theater Rhinoceros, The Complex, Inquiline Theater Company and Intersection for the Arts.

Gala host committee members include past honorees Amy Freed, Philip Kan Gotanda, Jonathan Moscone, Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Bruce Norris, Lynn Nottage, Carey Perloff, and Octavio Solis. The honorary committee includes Daniel E. Cohn & Lynn Brinton, Delia Ehrlich, composer John Kander, Fred Levin & Nancy Livingston, Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock, Tony Award-winning playwright/musician Stew, Broadway director Susan Stroman, and actor Sharon Washington.

All proceeds benefit PlayGround and its award-winning new play incubator programs. Since 1994, PlayGround has nurtured nearly 200 Bay Area playwrights, supporting the development of over 650 original short plays and 50 new full-length plays. PlayGround alumni have gone on to win local, national and international honors for their short and full-length work, including recognition at the Humana Festival, Sundance Festival, DC’s Source Festival, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Aurora Theatre's Global Age Project, Internationalists Playwriting Prize, and New York International Fringe Festival, among others.; this event serves to recognize and support the ongoing efforts of these theatre artists. 

Event:             2014 PlayGround Benefit & Awards Night with Colman Domingo and Rob Hurwitt 
Date/Time:     Monday, April 7, 2014 
Location:        American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA 
Tickets:           Host Table of 10 - $10,000
                       Premium* Table of 10 - $5,000
                       Benefit Table of 10 - $3,000
                       Premium* Individual Ticket - $500
                       Benefit Individual Ticket - $300 

* Premium tables and premium individual tickets include priority seating nearest our guests-of-honor and listing as part of the benefit honorary committee.

For more information, call (415) 992-6677, or visit

PlayGround Company in the News Feb-14

Read on to learn more about PlayGround Company Member and Alumni recent news, current happenings, and upcoming events.

Aaron Loeb has won the 2013 Glickman Award for his new play IDEATION, which premiered in the San Francisco Playhouse’s Sandbox Series this past fall. This is his third premiere at the Playhouse, following the success of FIRST PERSON SHOOTER and ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S BIG GAY DANCE PARTY.

Ken Prestininzi just opened (as director) Peter Sinn Nachtrieb's new play, THE TOTALITARIANS, at Southern Rep in New Orleans, coming next fall to San Francisco.

Eric Fraisher Hayes recently directed a successful run of Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker for Role Players Ensemble in Danville.

Molly Noble is currently Directing James and The Giant Peach for the Marin Masque Children's Unit and Five Women Wearing The Same Dress at College of Marin.

Rachel Bublitz's one-minute play Peeper was published in the Vine Leaves Literary Journal. You can read the play here:, on page 41. Rachel read her play Rewind at quiet lightning's monthly reading series, is was also published and is available in their literary magazine, sparkle + blink, and on their website. Rachel's one-act play Much Ado About Mathletes was selected for a production at San Francisco State University coming up in May. The Custom Made Theatre Co. in San Francisco has commissioned a full-length play from Rachel, based on the story of Pegasus. There will be a staged reading of this play this summer.

Robert Sicular is doing a reading of Cary Pepper's new play, Reclaimation, at the Mill Valley Library, 375 Throckmorton, Thursday, Feb. 13th at 7:00 PM. Free admission.

George Maguire recently completed the pilot for the Web-series AFTERGLOW, and is the new villain voice for the game TOME. He also will direct CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF for the O'Neill Festival opening in September.

Anthony Williams will be filming two days in San Francisco on Diary of a Teenage Girl as Frankie. After the War Blues opens Marc 7th at UC Berkeley, directed by Steven Anthony Jones with Anthony Williams as Sleepy. 

Nancy Carlin is in rehearsal for Twelfth Night with Cal Shakes, playing Malvolio. She is touring locally and running at Intersection Feb 20- March 2.

Liz Anderson will be doing an improv gig in Dubai in March.

M. Graham Smith is about to kick off 4 weeks of the Global Age Project at Aurora Theatre, featuring 4 readings of as-yet-unproduced work of visiting prize-winners Kristoffer Diaz, Jami Brandli, MJ Kaufman, and Stephen Brown.

Gwen Loeb just completed filming webisode 1 of AFTERLOW by Sarah Overman. Gwen is now in rehearsals for Diane Sampson's TALE OF A SLEEPING CUTIE directed by Cindy Goldfield, set to open April 19 at Thick House, after which Gwen will be playing Mrs. Bennett in PRIDE & PREJUDICE Directed by Ginny Reed at Livermore Shakespeare Company.

Cindy Goldfield is directing the reading and production of The Tale of the Sleeping Cutie by Diane Sampson in April, and starring in the west coast premiere of Mr. Irresistible by D’Arcy Drollinger (book/lyrics) and Chris Winslow (music) in early June.

Ron Campbell is back in the Bay Area playing Bucky again in R. Buckminster Fuller, The History (and the Mystery) of the Universe at San Jose Rep. Opening Feb 5.

Will Dao will make his Bay Area musical debut in the Bay Area Children's Theater premiere of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon directed by Mina Morita. The production runs March 22 through March 16 at Berkeley's Osher Studio.

Lauren Yee is currently in rehearsals for The Architecture of Becoming at Women's Project, a collaboratively created project with the Women's Project Lab members. Her short The Play About the Aswang is part of Bread & Circuses, opening at Impact Theatre in February.

Molly Aaronson-Gelb is opening a remount of A Maze with Just Theater and Shotgun Players, running Feb 14-March 9t. Features PlayGround regulars Clive Worsley, Carl Holvick-Thomas, Lauren Spencer and others.

Madeline Puccioni's THE INTERVIEW will be produced in Towne Street Theatre's "7 by 10" Festival, February 6-23 at the Stella Adler Theatre, Hollywood and Highland.

Bindlestiff will present staged readings of Aimee Suzara’s new work, A HISTORY OF THE BODY, directed by Desdemona Chiang, on Feb 15 at 3pm and Feb 16 at 5pm. Featuring Rinabeth Apostol, Carina Lastimosa Salazar, Michelle Talgarow, and Deedra Wong.

Friday, February 07, 2014

11th Annual MATH NIGHT Topic Announcement

PlayGround has announced the topic for the eleventh annual Monday Night PlayGround “Math Night”, presented in association with Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) and taking place at 8pm, Monday, February 17 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. That topic, A PASSION FOR PRIMES, will lead to the creation of more than thirty short plays, of which six will be selected for presentation on February 17. For additional information on the topic and its inspiration, mathematician Yitang Zhang and his recent breakthrough on the twin primes conjecture, visit Selected plays will be announced via Facebook and PlayGround’s website on Friday, February 14. For tickets and more information, visit

PlayGround audiences will get to enjoy a unique behind-the-scenes perspective, with a free pre-performance discussion on February 17 at 7:10pm, led by MSRI Director David Eisenbud and featuring mathematics documentary filmmaker George Paul Csicsery (currently working on a documentary about mathematician Yitang Zhang), mathematics and science journalist Erica Klarreich, and the selected PlayGround playwrights.  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 nearly 200 local playwrights in the development and staging of over 680 original short plays and 50 new full-length plays, including more than a dozen that have since premiered in the Bay Area. For more information, visit

The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) is dedicated to the advancement and communication of fundamental knowledge in mathematics and the mathematical sciences, to the development of human capital for the growth and use of such knowledge, and to the cultivation in the larger society of awareness and appreciation of the beauty, power and importance of mathematical ideas and ways of understanding the world. From its beginning in 1982 the Institute has been primarily funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) with additional support from other government agencies, private foundations, and academic sponsors and corporate partners. Approximately 2,000 mathematical scientists visit MSRI each year, many for substantial periods.

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 February 17 PlayGround “Math Night”, presented in association with Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI), is “A PASSION FOR PRIMES,” inspired by the work of mathematician Yitang Zhang and subsequent breakthroughs by the Polymath Project and James Maynard.

WHERE:         Berkeley Repertory Theatre
2025 Addison St
Berkeley, CA

WHEN:           Monday, February 17, 2014 at 8pm
                        Additional Season Dates:
                        March 17, 2014

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