Theater Notebook: La Jolla Playhouse plans world premiere musical based on ‘The Outsiders’


La Jolla Playhouse on Monday announced the final two productions of the 2022-23 season this week. It also unveiled a dozen other shows that will be presented this spring during its annual Without Walls (WOW) festival, which will take place in April.

Joining the season in February-March 2023 will be “The Outsiders,” a world musical premiere based on SE Hinton’s 1967 novel about two rival teenage gangs fighting over territory in 1960s Oklahoma. It will include a book by Pulitzer Prize finalist Adam Rapp (“The Sound Inside”) and a score by Jamestown Revival, an American folk duo of Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance, and Tony winner Justin Levine (“Bonfire Night”). Obie Award winner Danya Taymor will direct.

The 2022 season will be rounded out with a gender-focused production of William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” co-directed by Tony-winning Playhouse artistic director Christopher Ashley and award-winning Will Davis (“Men in Boats”). of the Helen Hayes Prize. Production will take place in November and December of this year.

Ashley said he had wanted to direct “As You Like It” for a long time and that the play’s scenes of exile and self-examination in the forest felt appropriate after two years of the pandemic: “It’s a pleasure to working with the talented Will Davis on a fresh and smooth take on Shakespeare’s timeless comedy.

These two shows join previously announced “Lempicka,” “Here There are Blueberries,” “Fandango for Butterflies (and Coyotes),” and “Mother Russia.” Details at

“C’est pas là, c’est par là,” by French theater company Galmae, will be presented at the Without Walls 2022 festival at La Jolla Playhouse from April 21-24.

(La Jolla Playhouse)

The latest WOW shows revealed

In January, the Playhouse announced the first nine shows scheduled for its annual Without Walls festival in the Liberty Station arts district in Point Loma from April 21-24. This week, it announced the remaining 12 shows, which are listed below. The full lineup can be found at

“40 Watts From Nowhere” by Mister and Mischief, Los Angeles: Audience members step into a DJ booth where they can spin music and share their voices in a live experiential documentary about the true story of magazine editor-turned-radio pirate Sue Carpenter, who created an illegal radio station for musical misfits in the closet of his home in the LA community of Silver Lake.

“The Box Show” by Dominique Salerno, new York: Salerno plays 30 characters inside a small box, ranging from a drunken couple in Las Vegas to a lonely giantess, a lost pope and the entire Greek army.

New York actor Dominique Salerno will play 30 characters in a box in "The box show."

New York actor Dominique Salerno will play 30 characters in a box in “The Box Show.”

(CSI Rental)

It’s not there, it’s over there (It’s not here, it’s this way)” by GalmaeFrance: This ensemble piece is all about creating a large web of tangled threads that people create, run through, and unravel. It represents how humans move when alone or in a crowd and how they find their space.

“Looking for Avi” from Catherine Wilkinson and Elizabeth madroneNew York: This interactive audio guided tour is aimed at young queer audiences. Structured around a familiar Western fairy tale, audience members can make non-binary decisions and explore the possibility that quests and stories don’t have a clean, simple ending.

“The Four Seasons” by San Diego Ballet: This site-specific traveling performance will feature dancers performing outdoors to Vivaldi’s famous Violin Concerto with four season-themed movements.

“Instead of FLWRZ” from the Soulkiss Theater, San Diego: This multi-site performance highlights theater, dance, and music from local San Diego-based R&B, soul, and hip-hop artists. It is about the death of a homosexual couple’s relationship following an act of infidelity.

“Just One Phase” by Malashock Dance, San Diego: Eight dancers will present 10 short pieces of contemporary dance representing phases of each person’s life, including childhood, adolescence, independence, relationships and community.

The music feels different to me now” by Bill WrightSan Diego: This dance and music piece will feature “Jody” throwing her annual party for her band of singer-dancer friends, who will draw on stories from their lives that are both funny and poignant.

The Mystery of Secrets” from the San Diego Dance Theater: Four choreographers will create mysterious, improvised dance pieces at sites around the festival center in the Arts District. In addition to the SDDT dancers, there will be community dancers and artists from Flamenco Sur.

“Somnium” from the Rosin Box project, San Diego: This new ballet centered around and on the architecture of Liberty Station will combine dance, projection mapping and music to create an immersive and multisensory experience.

A sheet of plexiglass separates two spectators for La Jolla Playhouse's

A sheet of plexiglass separates two spectators from La Jolla Playhouse’s “An Encounter,” the second play in its Without Walls festival show “A Thousand Ways.”

(Pam Kragen/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

“A Thousand Ways (Part 3): An Assembly” by 600 Highwaymen, New York: The final play in a three-part interactive theater project, The Playhouse, started in February 2021 as a way to build community among strangers during the pandemic-related quarantine. The finale will bring former contestants together in groups of 12 to form structures using note cards while the audience watches.

“TransMythical” by Animal Cracker Conspiracy, San Diego: This 30-minute process through the Arts District will feature giant puppets, masked figures and musicians on a journey of magic, imagination and inclusivity.

They join the previously announced shows: “Ants” from the Polyglot Theatre, Australia; “Ascension” of the San Diego Opera; “Black Séance” by Blindspot Collective, San Diego; “The Bubble” from CORPUS, Canada; “The Frontera Project” by Tijuana Hace Teatro, Mexico, & New Feet Productions, New York; “Lessons in Temperament” from Outside the March, Canada; “Monuments” by Craig Walsh, Australia; “Upon His Shoulders We Stand” from TuYo Theatre, San Diego.

The festival will also feature a designed theater project featuring 33 San Diego high school visual and performing arts students, and the Playhouse’s 2022 Performance Outreach Program (POP) touring show “Hoopla!”

Pam Kragen writes about theater for the San Diego Union-Tribune. Email him at [email protected]


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