Patron Services: 858.550.1010

La Jolla Playhouse presents SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical Book by Colman Domingo, Robert Cary, and Des McAnuff; Musical Supervision by Ron Melrose; Choreographed by Sergio Trujillo; Directed by Des McAnuff

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Know Before You Go

World-Premiere Musical

SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical

EXTENDED AGAIN! Now Playing - December 24

Book by Colman Domingo, Robert Cary, and Des McAnuff
Musical Supervision by Ron Melrose
Choreographed by Sergio Trujillo
Directed by Des McAnuff

This vibrant, world-premiere musical charts the incomparable life of Donna Summer, the undisputed Queen of Disco, from her modest Boston childhood to international stardom.

Told through the dramatic lens of her final concert, SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical presents the complexities and conflicts the iconic songwriter and singer faced in her meteoric rise – and descent. Featuring three actresses in the title role and a score with more than 20 of Summer’s classic hits including “Love to Love You, Baby,” “Bad Girls” and “Hot Stuff,” this electric experience is a moving tribute to the voice of a generation.

La Jolla Playhouse Director Emeritus Des McAnuff is acclaimed for creating unforgettable theatrical events from indelible popular music in such shows as The Who’s Tommy and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. Now, with SUMMER, Des is joined by his Jersey Boys choreographer Sergio Trujillo as they return to the Playhouse with a production that will combine touching drama with the propulsive, kinetic heart of a rock concert.


LaChanze

LaChanze
"Diva Donna"
(Tony Award winner, The Color Purple)

Ariana DeBose

Ariana DeBose
"Disco Donna"
(Broadway’s Hamilton)

Storm Lever

Storm Lever
"Duckling Donna"
(Playhouse’s Freaky Friday)





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Patron Services will be happy to answer any questions you have at (858) 550-1010.

This production contains strobe light, smoke and haze effects, adult content and language.

Children ages 6 and under are not permitted in the theatre during performances unless otherwise posted. Unaccompanied minors ages 12 and under are not permitted in the theatre.




Production Sponsors

Gurtin: Municipal Bond Management
MSI Productions
Michael & Melissa Bartell
Brian & Silvija Devine


Recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award

The Company

Cast Members of SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical

MACKENZIE BELL
ANDRA CASTON
ARIANA DeBOSE
KIMBERLY DODSON
ANISSA FELIX
DREW FOSTER
ARI GROOVER
AFRA HINES
AARON KROHN
LaCHANZE
JENNY LAROCHE
STORM LEVER
AURELIA MICHAEL
WONU OGUNFOWORA
REBECCA RIKER
CHRISTINA ACOSTA ROBINSON
KEN ROBINSON
JESSICA RUSH
KAYE TUCKERMAN
JARED ZIRILLI




Musicians

MUSIC DIRECTOR/CONDUCTOR/KEYBOARD 1: VICTORIA THEODORE
ASSISTANT MUSIC DIRECTOR/KEYBOARD 2: TAYLOR PECKHAM
KEYBOARD 3: LISA LeMAY
GUITAR VINCE COOPER
DRUMS KIMBERLY THOMPSON
CONTRACTOR: LORIN GETLINE
REHEARSAL PIANO: VICTORIA THEODORE, TAYLOR PECKHAM
REHEARSAL DRUMS: KIMBERLY THOMPSON

MUSIC SEQUENCER: BILL BRENDLE
MUSIC TRANSCRIBER: DANIEL MATÉ
MUSIC DEPARTMENT ASSISTANTS: MICHAEL KAISH, JASON BLACKWELL
ELECTRONIC MUSIC/KEYBOARD PROGRAMMING: RANDY COHEN, COHEN KEYBOARDS
ASSOCIATE ELECTRONIC MUSIC PROGRAMMER: JEREMY KING
ASSOCIATE ELECTRONIC DRUM PROGRAMMER: KIMBERLY THOMPSON




Credits for SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical

MUSIC DIRECTOR/CONDUCTOR: VICTORIA THEODORE
ORCHESTRATIONS: BILL BRENDLE & RON MELROSE
ARRANGEMENTS: RON MELROSE
SCENIC DESIGNER: ROBERT BRILL
COSTUME DESIGNER: PAUL TAZEWELL
LIGHTING DESIGNER: HOWELL BINKLEY
SOUND DESIGNER: GARETH OWEN
PROJECTIONS DESIGNER: SEAN NIEUWENHUIS
WIG DESIGNER: CHARLES G. LaPOINTE
FIGHT DIRECTOR: STEVE RANKIN
DIALECT COACH: EVA BARNES
CASTING: TARA RUBIN CASTING
DRAMATURG: SHIRLEY FISHMAN
STAGE MANAGER: ANDREW NEAL
FIRST ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER: LUCY KENNEDY
ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER: SAMANTHA PREISS

Assistant Director: Michael Bello
Assistant Choreographer: Katherine Roarty
Second Assistant Director: Will Detlefsen
Dance Captains: Ari Groover, Jenny Laroche
Fight Captain: Drew Foster
Associate Costume Designer: Michael McAleer
LJP Assistant Costume Designer: Desiree Hatfield-Buckley
Associate Sound Designer: Joshua Leibert
Time Code Associate: Russel Godwin
Hudson Scenic Technicians: Nick Christiani, Josh Braun, Erik Nelson
Hudson Scenic Automation Programmer: Karl Schuberth
Associate Wig Designer: Ashley Rae Callahan
Sound Engineer: Stephen Henshaw
Moving Lights Programmer: Harry Sangmeister
Associate Lighting Designer: Joe Duran
Associate Projections Designer: Eric May
Production Video Supervisor: Greg Peeler
Associate Scenic Designer: Justin Humphries
Assistant Scenic Designer: Anna Robinson
Scenic Design Assistants: Matthew Herman, Yi-Chien Lee, Samantha Rojales
Lighting Design Assistant: Joel Britt
Stage Management Production Assistant: Mandisa Reed
Stange Management Intern: Courtney LeFan

Reviews

World Premiere – SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical
» Entertainment Today

A Feast for the Eyes and Ears
» Gay San Diego

Donna Summer Receives Royal Treatment in SUMMER at La Jolla Playhouse
» BroadwayWorld


Press

Queen of Disco reigns again in La Jolla Playhouse's Donna Summer musical
» San Diego Union-Tribune

LaChanze, Ariana DeBose, and Storm Lever Will Star in Donna Summer Musical World Premiere
» Playbill

Tony-winner LaChanze among the '3 Donnas' in Playhouse musical 'Summer'
» San Diego Union-Tribune

Feature: The Donna Summer Musical
» LGBT Weekly

Ariana DeBose Brings Some SUMMER to San Diego
» BroadwayWorld

LaChanze's Donna Summer Lovin'
» American Theatre

This 'Summer' Heats Things Up at La Jolla Playhouse
» Progressive Pulse

Mandell Weiss Theatre

The Mandell Weiss Theatre is a 492-seat proscenium arch theatre, with two front rows of removable seats allowing for a greater stage length. The theatre also maintains an upstairs wooden deck for parties, receptions and outdoor gatherings, and a small outdoor amphitheatre for pre-show entertainment.

> Learn more


Children under the age of 6 are not permitted in the theatre during performances unless otherwise posted.

Foodie Fridays

Foodie Friday

Every Friday during the run of SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical, starts at 6:30 pm

Theatergoers are invited to attend Foodie Fridays, where a ticket to select Playhouse performances also includes access to some of San Diego’s finest food trucks!




Sonic Saturdays

Sonic Saturdays

Sonic Saturdays

Every Saturday evening during the run of SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical, starts at 7:00 pm

Enjoy live music before the show.




Concession Drink Specials

Thirsty Thursdays

Concession Drink Specials

Bars open an hour before the show. Concessions and other beverages are available for purchase.

Thirsty Thursdays: $5 beer
Matinee Mimosas on Saturdays and Sundays: $8 mimosas







James' Place will be closed for a private event on Tuesday, December 19. However, Scugnizzi Pizza will be offering food for purchase starting at 5:30 pm.



ACCESS Performances

ACCESS performance

ACCESS

Saturday, December 2 at 2:00pm

During this performance, La Jolla Playhouse provides American Sign Language interpretation for audience members who are deaf or hard of hearing and audio description for patrons who are blind or have low vision.

Audience Engagement Events

Insider Events

Insider Event

Wednesday, November 29 at 6:45 pm

Insider events offer a special pre-performance presentation by members of the Playhouse staff that highlights the history and making of the production you are about to see. Sponsored in part by Vi at La Jolla Village

Insider Events

Insider Event

Saturday, December 9 at 1:15 pm

Insider events offer a special pre-performance presentation by members of the Playhouse staff that highlights the history and making of the production you are about to see. Sponsored in part by Vi at La Jolla Village

Discovery Sunday

Discovery Sunday

Sunday, December 10 after the 2:00 pm performance

Special guest speakers engage audience members in a moderated discussion exploring the issues and themes in the play.

Meet the Creative Team

Des McAnuff served as La Jolla Playhouse’s Artistic Director from 1983 through 1994, and from 2001 through April 2007. Under his leadership, the Playhouse garnered more than 300 awards, including the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. He is currently Director Emeritus. Playhouse to Broadway credits include: Doctor Zhivago; Jesus Christ Superstar; Jersey Boy (four Tony Awards); Billy Crystal’s 700 Sundays (Tony Award); How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (five Tony nominations); director and co-author with Pete Townshend on The Who’s Tommy (Tony and Olivier Awards for Best Director) and Big River (seven Tony Awards), among others. He also directed the premieres of Aaron Sorkin’s The Farnsworth Invention and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, which he co-wrote. Opera credits: Faust (The Met, ENO). Film credits: Cousin Bette (director), Iron Giant (producer, BAFTA Award) and Quills (executive producer). Recipient of the Drama League’s 2006 Julia Hansen Award, Mr. McAnuff served as Artistic Director at Canada’s Stratford Festival from 2007 through 2012. In 2012, he was awarded Canada’s esteemed Governor General’s National Arts Center Award and the Order of Canada.

Robert Cary's Playouse credits include Palm Beach. Broadway: On the Town (additional material). Television: Grease: Live! (Fox), A Christmas Story (upcoming this December on Fox). Off-Broadway: Inventing Avi. West End: Flashdance, the Musical (also National Tour, Stockholm, Paris, current UK tour). Proud husband (and frequent collaborator) of Jonathan Tolins and proud father of Selina and Henry. He is a graduate of Yale College, and is a former member of Joffrey II and Yale Whiffenpoofs.

Colman Domingo is a Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League and Olivier Award-nominated theater, television and film artist. His plays and musicals include Dot (Samuel French), Wild with Happy (Dramatists Play Service), A Boy and His Soul (Oberon Books), Lights Out: Nat King Cole, The Brother(s) and Up Jumped Springtime. His work has been produced by The Public Theater, Vineyard, Humana Festival of New American Plays, New York Stage and Film, A.C.T., The Tricycle Theater in London, Brisbane Powerhouse in Australia, Thick Description in San Francisco, Baltimore Center Stage, Detroit Public Theater, among many others. He has been commissioned by The Geffen Playhouse, A.C.T., People’s Light and Theater Company, Scott Rudin and Jeffrey Seller. He is developing a television drama for AMC of which he will serve as an Executive Producer.

Ron Melrose's credits at the Playhouse include Jersey Boys, The Wiz, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. Forty years of arranging, music direction and supervision, including eighteen Broadway shows and productions spanning the world. Winner of a Helpmann Award (Australia’s Tony) for music direction on Jersey Boys, music supervisor of Jersey Boys film, associate producer of Jersey Boys cast and Christmas albums. Music supervisor and arranger, A Bronx Tale (Broadway), co-producer of cast album. Composer: Fourtune (Off-Broadway), The Silver Swan (NEA Fellowship), The Missing Peace (Washington’s Capitol Fringe), Early One Morning (liturgical one-woman musical), two Harvard Hasty Pudding shows, a gospel-based Requiem, and songs for Saturday Night Live. Education: Harvard (philosophy), Westminster (choral conducting).

Sergio Trujillo's Playhouse credits include Disney’s Freaky Friday, Chasing the Song, Memphis, Zhivago, The Wiz, Jersey Boys. Broadway: On Your Feet (Tony Award nominee; Outer Critics Circle/Astaire Awards), Memphis (Olivier/OCC Award, Drama Desk/Astaire Award nominations), Jersey Boys (Drama Desk/OCC nomination), A Bronx Tale (Chita Award nomination), Addams Family, Next to Normal, Hands on a Hardbody (Drama Desk nomination), Leap of Faith (Drama Desk nomination), Guys and Dolls (Astaire Award nomination), All Shook Up. Director/Choreographer: Arrabal (ART), Gloria Estefan on Broadway (Minskoff Theatre), Flashdance (National Tour), White Noise (Royal George Theatre). Other Theatre: Ain’t Too Proud (Berkeley Rep), Invisible Thread (Second Stage; Astaire Award nomination), Carmen (Olney Theatre; Helen Hayes nomination), Disney’s Freaky Friday (Signature Theatre). International: Tarzan (Disney), Peggy Sue Got Married (West End), The Sound of Music and West Side Story (Stratford Festival).

Robert Brill's designs for the Playhouse include The Darrell Hammond Project, Kingdom City, Chasing the Song, His Girl Friday, as well as numerous collaborations with Des McAnuff, including Sideways, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Wiz, Tartuffe and many others. His Broadway credits include Assassins (Tony nomination), as well as the set and club design for the critically-acclaimed revival of Cabaret, Jesus Christ Superstar, Guys and Dolls (Tony nomination), Buried Child, Design for Living and others. His recent credits include Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations, Disney’s Frozen, as well as numerous opera world premieres, including Moby-Dick, Cold Mountain, Everest, Doubt, The Manchurian Candidate and It’s a Wonderful Life. A graduate of UCSD and a founding member of Sledgehammer Theatre, he is a recipient of the Michael Merritt Award for Excellence in Design and Collaboration, and a 2011 La Jolla Playhouse Honors Award. Mr. Brill is Professor of Scenic Design at UC San Diego.

Paul Tazewell's credits include Escape to Margaritaville, Hollywood, Chasing the Song, Side Show, His Girl Friday, Memphis, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Wiz, Palm Beach. Broadway: Hamilton (Tony Award); Side Show; Memphis (Tony Award nomination); A Streetcar Named Desire (Tony Award nomination); Jesus Christ Superstar; In the Heights (Tony Award nomination); Guys and Dolls; The Color Purple (Tony Award nomination); Elaine Stritch at Liberty; Caroline, or Change; and Bring in ’da Noise, Bring in ’da Funk (Tony Award nomination). TV: NBC’s The Wiz Live!, HBO’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and Lackawanna Blues. Opera: Faust for The Met and English National Opera, Porgy and Bess and Showboat for Washington National Opera, Magdelena for Théâtre du Châtelet, Margaret Garner for Michigan Opera Theatre and Little Women for New York City Opera.

Howell Binkley's Playhouse credits include Escape to Margaritaville, Hollywood, Come From Away, Chasing the Song, Jesus Christ Superstar, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Memphis, Xanadu, Cry-Baby, Zhivago, The Wiz, Private Fittings, Palm Beach, Jersey Boys, The Farnsworth Invention, Dracula, Eden Lane and How to Succeed.... Broadway: Prince of Broadway, Come From Away (2017 Tony nom), A Bronx Tale, Hamilton (2016 Tony winner), After Midnight (2014 Tony nom), How to Succeed… starring Daniel Radcliffe (2011 Tony nom), West Side Story (2009 Tony nom), Gypsy starring Patti LuPone, In the Heights (2008 Tony nom), Jersey Boys (2006 Tony winner), Avenue Q, The Full Monty, Parade, Kiss of the Spider Woman (1993 Tony nom). Co-Founder and Resident Lighting Designer for Parsons Dance. 1993 Sir Laurence Olivier and Canadian Dora Awards for Kiss of the Spider Woman. 2006 Henry Hewes Design Award for Jersey Boys. 2016 Henry Hewes Design Award for Hamilton.

Gareth Owen has previously designed for La Jolla Playhouse's Come From Away and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He holds Olivier Awards for Memphis and Merrily We Roll Along, and nominations for Top Hat and End of the Rainbow; Tony Award nominations for A Little Night Music and End of the Rainbow; and an Outer Critics Circle Award for Come From Away. Currently: A Bronx Tale and Come From Away on Broadway; Bat Out of Hell, 42nd Street, Young Frankenstein and Wind in the Willows in London’s West End; Disney’s Little Mermaid, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Beauty and the Beast, as well as Strictly Ballroom and Bodyguard worldwide. More than 280 commercial musicals around the world.

Sean Nieuwenhuis has designed for La Jolla Playhouse's productions of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Sideways and Jesus Christ Superstar. Broadway: Doctor Zhivago, Jesus Christ Superstar. Regional: Rear Window (Hartford Stage); A Word or Two (Ahmanson); The Who’s Tommy, Evita, Cabaret, Wanderlust, A Word or Two (Stratford Festival); The Little Prince (Theatre Calgary); Anne of Green Gables (Confederation Centre). Opera: Macbeth (LA Opera), Faust (The Met), Manchurian Candidate (Minnesota Opera); Nixon in China (Royal Swedish Opera, WOO Dublin, San Francisco Opera, Kansas City Lyric). Dance: Handmaid’s Tale, Going Home Star (Royal Winnipeg Ballet). Events: 2017 Invictus Games Opening & Closing Ceremonies, 2010 Paralympic Winter Games Opening & Closing Ceremonies.

Victoria Theodore is making her playhouse debut with SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical. Past work includes Beyoncé’s 2016 Formation World Tour, Stevie Wonder’s A Wonder Summer’s Night World Tour, Song Traveling World Tour, Live DVD: Live at Last. Performed with Stevie Wonder in the Oscar-winning documentary Twenty Feet from Stardom. The Arsenio Hall Show (2013-2014). Regional: Beehive, The ‘60s Musical (Rawley T. Farnsworth Theatre). Ms. Theodore’s debut album of original music, “Grateful,” is available online.

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