La Jolla Playhouse

Founded in 1947 by legendary actor Gregory Peck, along with Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer, the La Jolla Playhouse is one of the nation’s leading repertory companies for first-time plays and theater education. Each season the Playhouse introduces both the country, and often the world, to premieres of the latest and greatest plays performed and produced by some of the country’s leading stars. Since its inception, over 35 of these world premiere plays have gone on to Broadway productions, with just as many moving to Off Broadway venues and venues around the world. The Playhouse’s productions have gone on to win over 300 major honors, including 35 Tony Awards, and a 1993 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre.

Joan and Irwin Jacobs Center

Joan and Irwin Jacobs Center

The playhouse prides itself on working closely with the community and offers a range of unique programs such as its signature Page to Stage program, in which participants witness readings, rehearsals, and workshops, and even influence the plays’ directions by offering feedback that creates vital changes in the programs. The Playhouse’s annual touring production for children, the POP Tour, reaches over 21,000 children every year by putting a creative team in a van that travels throughout the country to various schools. Additionally, the Playhouse pushes the boundaries of theatre with its acclaimed site-specific program, Without Walls, which stages productions outside of a traditional four-walled theatre space. These productions have included performances at the San Diego Botanical Garden in Encinitas, in the Playhouse parking lot, at Martini’s Above Fourth in Hillcrest, and in Little Italy.

The Playhouse’s three venues offer something for everyone, from the 492-seat Mandell Weiss Theatre, to the 400-seat Mandell Weiss Forum, to the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre, a black box flexible theatre seating up to 450 patrons, and the centerpiece of the 6,500-square-foot Joan and Irwin Jacobs Center. This season’s productions include The Orphan of Zhao, starring B.D. Wong (Law & Order, Jurassic Park), Ether Dome, Kingdom City, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Second City’s Nut-Cracking Holiday Revue, El Henry, and more, including the Saturday Night Live alumnus one man show, The Darrell Hammond Project. (858.550.1010, lajollaplayhouse.org)     ALICIA GARCIA