Announcing the 2017-18 Season of Plays

From timeless classics to brand new works, the plays selected for the 2017-18 season celebrate and interrogate the best and the worst of being human. This rich and exciting season, with themes ranging from the personal to the political, demonstrates and showcases the talents of SDA students through their work as actors, playwrights, designers, stage managers and technical directors.

The 2017-18 season will include:

An Octoroon
By Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
McClintock Theatre | September 28-October 1, 2017
Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, a provocative new voice in American theatre, brings a radical, incendiary and subversively funny riff on Dion Boucicault’s once-popular 1859 mustache-twirling melodrama. Judge Peyton is dead, and his plantation is on the brink of foreclosure. George, the high-minded heir apparent, falls for the lovely Zoe, who’s one-eighth black. But the bigoted belle Dora has eyes for George, and the dastardly overseer M’Closky plots to keep Zoe and Terrebonne for himself. This Obie Award-winning hall of mirrors skewers outdated sensibilities about race and narrative with acerbic humor and spectacular theatricality. An Octoroon is “this decade’s most eloquent theatrical statement on race in America today.” – The New York Times

Twelfth Night
By William Shakespeare
Bing Theatre | October 5-8, 2017
Shakespeare’s enduring romantic comedy unleashes Saturnalian energies by turning logic and expectation on its head with a tale of mistaken identities and unrequited affection. Shipwrecked on the island of Illyria, Viola and her twin brother Sebastian are separated, each fearing the other lost to the sea. Viola disguises herself as a boy and wades into a complex romantic triangle with Duke Orsino and the Countess Olivia. Where music is the food of love, and nobody is quite what they seem, anything is possible.

Passion Play
By Sarah Ruhl
Scene Dock Theatre | October 12-22, 2017
BFA Senior Acting Repertory
Three different acting troupes rehearse the annual Passion Play at three key moments in history: 1575 Northern England, just before Queen Elizabeth outlaws the ritual; 1934 Oberammergau, Bavaria, as Adolf Hitler is rising to power; and Spearfish, South Dakota, from the time of the Vietnam War through Ronald Reagan’s presidency. In each period, the players grapple with the transformative nature of art, and politics are never far in the background. Hailed by The New Yorker’s John Lahr as “extraordinary,” “bold,” and “inventive,” and called “a new American classic” by Time Magazine, this intimate epic occurs at the timely intersection of politics and religion.

Punk Rock
By Simon Stephens
Scene Dock Theatre | October 12-22, 2017
BFA Senior Acting Repertory
In a private school outside of Manchester, England, a group of highly-articulate 17-year-olds flirt and posture their way through the day while preparing for their A-Level mock exams. With hormones raging and minimal adult supervision, the students must prepare for their future — and survive the savagery of high school. Inspired by playwright Simon Stephens’ experience as a teacher, Punk Rock exposes the corrupt heart of adolescence in a hilarious and chilling narrative. “[A] tender, ferocious and frightening play…Mr. Stephens, one of the most quietly original playwrights working today.” – The New York Times

Trojan Barbie
By Christine Evans
McClintock Theatre | October 26-29, 2017
Part contemporary drama, part homage to Euripides’ Trojan Women, Trojan Barbie recasts the legendary fall of the city of Troy against the vivid reality of modern warfare. Poetic, compassionate, and tinged with great warmth and humor, Trojan Barbie is an epic war story with an unlikely heroine, who always looks on the bright side even as past and present collide about her. “You will not find a better play. Anywhere. Anytime.” – The Signal Tribune

Wild Honey
by Michael Frayn | Adapted from an original play by Anton Chekhov
Bing Theatre | November 2-5, 2017
A village schoolmaster has it all: wit, intelligence, a comfortable and respectable life in provincial Russia, and the attentions of four beautiful women (including his wife!). Frayn’s comedy of errors drawn from Chekhov’s untitled, and posthumously discovered, early play is a glimpse into 19th Century life replete with tempestuous passions among the idle in rural Russia.

The Wild Party
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa
McClintock Theatre | November 16-19, 2017
Vaudeville siren Queenie has grown tired and resentful of her relationship with Burrs, a clown. To test its limits, Queenie throws the wildest party New York has ever seen. But as their alluring and reckless friends start to arrive and the booze flows freely, the decadent evening turns increasingly dark and deadly. The Wild Party is a raging hymn to excess, sexuality and chaos, and a searing examination of 1920s America.

Circle Mirror Transformation
By Annie Baker
Scene Dock Theatre | November 16-19, 2017
MFA Year 2 Acting Repertory
An unlikely collection of strangers sign up for an acting class at the local community center. As they begin to experiment with harmless games, their real offstage lives gradually infiltrate the classroom, revealing insights and transformations both humorous and heartbreaking. The winner of the 2010 Obie Award for Best New American Play, Circle Mirror Transformation examines the redemptive power of theatre.

Eurydice
By Sarah Ruhl
Scene Dock Theatre | November 16-19, 2017
MFA Year 2 Acting Repertory
Ruhl’s Eurydice is a lush and wildly imaginative retelling of the classic myth of Orpheus, told through the eyes of its heroine. Dying too young on her wedding day, Eurydice journeys to the land of the dead, where she reunites with her adoring father and struggles to remember her lost love. With contemporary characters, ingenious plot twists, and breathtaking visual effects, the play is a fresh look at a timeless fable.

The Matchmaker
By Thornton Wilder
Scene Dock Theatre | February 2-March 4, 2018
MFA Acting Repertory
Wealthy Horace Vandergelder gets more than he bargains for when he hires legendary matchmaker Dolly Gallagher Levi to find his perfect mate. Wilder’s hilarious farce reminds us to live fully and embrace the unexpected.

Buenaza/Cabrón
By David Bridel and the MFA Acting Class of 2018 | Music and Lyrics by Caitlyn Conlin
Scene Dock Theatre | February 2-March 4, 2018
MFA Acting Repertory
A business in ruins. A woman disappeared. A mysterious relative. Created by the company, Buenaza/Cabrón follows two reporters who chase down a story of goodness, only to find the dark secrets that live in our hearts. Inspired by the writings of Bertolt Brecht.

A Bright Room Called Day
By Tony Kushner
Scene Dock Theatre | February 2-March 4, 2018
MFA Acting Repertory
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner’s eerily prophetic play is the haunting story of a group of artists and activists struggling to preserve themselves in 1930s Berlin as the Weimar Republic falls to its knees. The play transcends historical drama as we witness the parallel narrative of a contemporary woman who is morally outraged at the government.

Macbeth
By William Shakespeare
Bing Theatre | February 22-25, 2018
Shakespeare’s bloody psychological thriller about a fearless warrior tempted by a prophecy, and encouraged by his wife into his own all-consuming ambition. Filled with some of the Bard’s most vivid characters, Macbeth probes the recesses of our subconscious drives, illuminating our essential humanity with rich poetry and unforgettable power.

Great Expectations
By Barbara Field, from the novel by Charles Dickens
McClintock Theatre | March 1-4, 2018
Dickens’ classic work of orphan Pip and his journey from poverty and ignominy to safety and respectability is brought to vivid life in this adaptation by Barbara Field.

The Labyrinth of Desire
By Caridad Svich | Adapted and translated from Lope de Vega’s La Prueba de los Ingenios
Scene Dock Theatre | March 29-April 1, 2018
When Florela’s fiancé leaves her to compete with other suitors for the hand of the rich and beautiful Laura, Florela goes undercover to keep her man. Filled with clever deceptions and hilarious disguises, this who’s who comedy of romantic intrigue explores the delightful and essential mystery of love. This stylish and contemporary adaptation proves that long before Sex and the City, intuition and infatuation have challenged the boundaries and fluidity of human desire.

West Side Story
Based on a conception of Jerome Robbins | Book by Arthur Laurents, Music by Leonard Bernstein, Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Bing Theatre | March 29-April 8, 2018
From the first notes to the final breath, West Side Story is a poignant, provocative, and emotionally powerful musical that transports William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to mid-1950s New York City, as two young, idealistic lovers find themselves caught between warring street gangs. Their struggle to survive in a world of hate, violence, and prejudice is one of the most heart-wrenching and relevant musical dramas of our time.

Don’t Go
Created in association with Sojourn Theatre
Scene Dock Theatre | April 19-22, 2018
Join us for the premiere of a new theatrical work created by the innovative Sojourn Theatre Company — a nationally acclaimed ensemble that employs theatre to engage communities and create positive social change — in collaboration with our students. Blurring the borders between theatre and civic engagement, this participatory, site-specific theatrical work will bring diverse audiences together to create meaningful connections across differences.

BFA Sophomore Show
McClintock Theatre | April 19-22, 2018
An annual tradition, a play will be announced in the spring that will showcase the talents of the School’s sophomore class of BFA actors.

USC New Works Festivals
The USC School of Dramatic Arts’ MFA in Dramatic Writing is an intensive, intimate, mentor-driven, practicing literary arts program. The School’s three-tiered New Works Festival allows audiences to witness the growth of bold and distinctive artist-creators.

Year One: New Play Readings
April 30, 2018
The first public readings of exciting new works by the School of Dramatic Arts’ first-year MFA Dramatic Writing students. Seating is limited.

Year Two: Workshop Productions
Massman Theatre | Apr 6-22, 2018
NWF Year Two showcases the emerging voices of the School’s second-year MFA in Dramatic Writing students with workshop productions featuring professional directors and dramaturges, and School of Dramatic Arts’ actors.

Year Three: MFA in Dramatic Writing at The Pasadena Playhouse
Carrie Hamilton Theatre at The Pasadena Playhouse | May 25-26, 2018
The thesis plays of the graduating MFA in Dramatic Writing cohort are presented as concert readings with professional actors and directors. NWF Year Three is a partnership with The Pasadena Playhouse’s Playworks, a continuation of the theatre’s 100-year commitment to cultivating playwrights and original works.