Friday, April 11, 2014

PlayGround Festival of New Works Lineup Announced!

PlayGround has announced the lineup for the 18th annual PlayGround Festival of New Works – the Bay Area’s largest celebration of new works for the stage and screen by local writers. Running May 1-25 at San Francisco’s Thick House (and other Bay Area locations), the festival features the world premiere of Sleeping Cutie: A Fractured Fairy Tale Musical (which begins previews April 17), Festival Staged Readings of four new full-length plays, Best of PlayGround 18 celebrating the top short works of the season, and the third annual PlayGround Film Festival with screenings of 11 short films and writer interviews at the Roxie and Aquarius Theatres. The Festival includes more than 30 performances, screenings and readings over four weeks, featuring more than 150 Bay Area writers, directors, actors, filmmakers and designers. All-Festival Passes begin at $60 and individual tickets are $15-$55. Tickets are available through the Box Office at 415-992-6677 or online at 

Sleeping Cutie
A World Premiere Musical by Diane Sampson and Doug Katsaros
Directed by Cindy Goldfield
Music Direction by David Aaron Brown
April 17-May 11 at Thick House

Festival Staged Readings
Value Over Replacement by Ruben Grijalva
Dust to Dust by Daniel Heath
Hedge by Robin Lynn Rodriguez
Adult Swim by Jonathan Spector
May 17-18 & May 24-25 at Thick House

Best of PlayGround 18
The Broken-Tooth Comb by William Bivins
When You Talk About This by Patricia Cotter
Riding Dragons by Victoria Chong Der
Mr. Wong's Goes to Washington by Ruben Grijalva
Stranger in a Stranger Land by Karen Macklin
Love Spacewalked In by Maury Zeff
May 8-25 at Thick House

3rd PlayGround Film Festival
Two programs of 11 films adapted from award-winning short plays
May 1 at Roxie Theatre (San Francisco) and May 5 at Aquarius Theatre (Palo Alto)

Program A:
The Beginning (Brian Tolle, filmmaker; Tom Swift, screenwriter and producer)
Ecce Homo (Jonathan Luskin/Mark Leialoha/Flying Moose Pictures, filmmakers; Jonathan Luskin, screenwriter)
The Etymology of Zero (an animated short; Seth Podowitz, filmmaker; Katie May, screenwriter; Katie May and Liz Anderson, co-producers; David Azer, Jan Heiman, Eileen Laitinen, Brendan Oshima, and Rachel Whalon, animators)
Reunion (Gregory Runnels and Mark Runnels, filmmakers; Kenn Rabin, screenwriter)
Wednesday (Jennifer Arzt, filmmaker; Daniel Heath, screenwriter)

Program B:
Aegis (Jonathan Luskin/Mark Leialoha/Flying Moose Pictures, filmmakers; Jonathan Luskin, screenwriter)
The Secret Life of a Hotel Room (The Runnels Brothers, filmmakers; Garret Jon Groenveld, screenwriter)
Climax (Jeremy Solterbeck, filmmaker; Sean Owens, screenwriter; based on the short play by Sean Owens)
Miss Finknagle Succumbs to Chaos (Amy Harrison, filmmaker; Kirk Shimano, screenwriter)
Obit (Brian Tolle, filmmaker; Geetha Reddy, screenwriter)
Undone (Bruce Coughran, filmmaker; Diane Sampson, screenwriter)

Festival Full-Length Staged Readings

Value Over Replacement by Ruben Grijalva
At five-foot-seven, one-hundred-sixty pounds, light-hitting shortstop turned drive-time sports radio host Edward “Chip” Fuller is hardly the poster-boy for baseball’s steroid era.  But when he learns his name will appear on a list of players linked to performance enhancing drugs, Chip is forced to explain his choice to colleagues, his listeners, and his family.  In doing so, he must choose between a bland public apology and a much more difficult confession: that if he had it to do over again, he wouldn't change a thing.

Ruben Grijalva (Value Over Replacement) earned his BA in Cinema from SFSU and helped start the fitness-entertainment company Virtual Active. Works include the award-winning short film Shadow Ball (2007), the full-length play Foresight (2010), and the short play Value Over Replacement, which featured in the Best of Playground 2013.

Dust to Dust by Daniel Heath
Dust to Dust is the story of a young woman's fight against a family history of compulsive hoarding--or her battle against a Satanic attack on her grandmother's house, or both.

Daniel Heath's (Dust to Dust) productions of full-length plays include Seven Days (SF Playhouse, San Francisco, 2010), Man of Rock (New York Musical Theatre Festival 2011, and the Climate Theatre, San Francisco, 2010) and A Merry Forking Christmas (PianoFight, San Francisco, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012). He is a PlayGround Resident Playwright and two-time recipient of PlayGround commissions, and his short plays have been performed across the U.S. and Canada. He wrote Dust to Dust as part of Just Theater's New Play Lab in 2012. By day he is a founding partner in Giant Rabbit, LLC, a company that builds web sites and data systems for non-profit organizations.

Hedge by Robin Lynn Rodriguez
In a city divided, who is responsible for building community? What boundaries do we need for protection? What boundaries do we need to cross?

Robin Lynn Rodriguez has been writing with PlayGround for three years, joining the Resident Playwrights group this year. She is excited to present her full-length play Hedge in a staged reading at this year's Festival. Her full-length Hella Love Oakland was workshopped at the 2013 PlayGround Festival. The short version was featured at the 2012 Festival when she won the Emerging Playwright Award and the June Anne Baker Prize. Her work has also appeared at the One-Minute Play Festival and the Playwright's Theater at the Tao House.

Adult Swim by Jonathan Spector
A pair of teenage lifeguards struggle to unwrap the mysteries of life during in a hot, slow summer amongst bratty kids, killer ping pong and lots of whistle-twirling.

Jonathan Spector is the Co-Artistic Director of Just Theater, where he has directed The Internationalist, 1001, Current Nobody, and I Have Loved Strangers. He has also directed and developed work with Muwgumpin, Aurora Theater, and Playwrights Foundation. Also a playwright, he has been a winner of Aurora Theater's Global Age Prize, PlayGround's Emerging Playwright Award, and Theatre Bay Area's TITAN award. His plays have been produced and/or developed with Aurora Theater, PlayGround, Just Theater, Playwrights Foundation, Stanford University, and the Source Theater Festival. He is a Resident Playwright at Playwrights Foundation and his play In From The Cold will premiere this fall at Just Theater. 

About PlayGround
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. 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, Source Festival, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Aurora Theatre's Global Age Project, Internationalists Playwriting Prize, and New York International Fringe Festival, among others.  More information at

Master Calendar

Event:                   Sleeping Cutie
Dates:                   Through May 11
Location:             Thick House, 1695 18th Street, San Francisco
Tickets:                Sleeping Cutie: $30-$40, discounts available for students, PlayGround subscribers and members, and groups of 10 or more.

Event:                   PlayGround Film Festival
Dates:                   May 1, 6:45pm (Program A) at Roxie Theatre, 3117 16th Street, San Francisco
                                May 1, 8:15pm (Program B) at Roxie Theatre, 3117 16th Street, San Francisco
                                May 5, 6:45pm (Program A) at Aquarius Theatre, 430 Emerson Street, Palo Alto
                                May 5, 8:15pm (Program B) at Aquarius Theatre, 430 Emerson Street, Palo Alto
Tickets:                PlayGround Film Festival: $15-$20, discounts available for students, PlayGround subscribers and members, and groups of 10 or more.

Event:                   Best of PlayGround 18
Dates:                   Thursdays - Sundays, May 8 - 25 (Friday, May 9th, Press Night)
Time:                    Thurs. - Sat., 8pm; Sun., 7pm
Location:             Thick House, 1695 18th Street, San Francisco
Tickets:                Best of PlayGround: $25-$40 (general), discounts available for students, PlayGround subscribers and members, and groups of 10 or more. Thursdays, May 8, 15, and 22 are Pay-What-You-Can performances; Pay-What-You-Can tickets go on sale one hour before the performance, first-come first-served, subject to availability.
For tickets call (415) 992-6677 or on-line at

Event:                   Festival Full-Length Staged Readings
Schedule:            May 17, 12:00pm – Reading #1, HEDGE by Robin Lynn Rodriguez
                                May 17, 3:00pm – Reading #2, ADULT SWIM by Jonathan Spector
                                May 18, 11:00am – Reading #3, DUST TO DUST by Daniel Heath
                                May 18, 2:00pm – Reading #4, VALUE OVER REPLACEMENT by Ruben Grijalva
                                May 24, 1:00pm – Reading #5, ADULT SWIM by Jonathan Spector
                                May 24, 4:00pm – Reading #6, DUST TO DUST by Daniel Heath
                                May 25, 12:00pm – Reading #7, VALUE OVER REPLACEMENT by Ruben Grijalva
                                May 25, 3:00pm – Reading #8, HEDGE by Robin Lynn Rodriguez
Tickets:                Festival Staged Readings: $15 suggested donation, online at or at the door. All readings included in All-Festival Pass.

All-Festival Passes: An All-Festival Pass includes one guaranteed priority-seating ticket to each festival event, including the PlayGround Film Festival, Best of PlayGround, four Festival Full-Length Staged Readings, and other festival ticketed events as announced (Sleeping Cutie must be purchased separately). Individual performance tickets must be reserved in advance and are subject to availability. $60 for 2014-15 PlayGround subscribers; $75 for non-subscribers ($150 value). To purchase an All-Festival Pass, call (415) 992-6677 or go online at

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