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A compelling contemporary musical based on Hans Christian Andersen's classic tale, The Nightingale tells the story of a young emperor in ancient China, whose luxurious but constricted life inside the walls of the Forbidden City is upended by the song of an extraordinary bird that lives beyond his reach.

A Page To Stage Musical

The Nightingale

July 10 – August 5

Book and Lyrics by Steven Sater
Music by Duncan Sheik
Choreography by Dan Knechtges
Directed by Moisés Kaufman

A new musical about falling in love with the world.

A young prince is about to be crowned Emperor, but his rebellious spirit first longs to see the realm he’ll rule. When a courageous young fisherwoman brings him a wild nightingale that sings the song of his heart, he can no longer resist the world outside the palace walls. This new musical captures the wild exuberance of youth and the thrill of newfound freedom.

The Nightingale features an evocative contemporary score by Grammy and Tony Award-winning musician Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening), book and lyrics by Grammy and Tony Award winner Steven Sater (Spring Awakening), choreography by Dan Knechtges (Xanadu) and direction by Tony Award nominee and Playhouse favorite Moises Kaufman (33 Variations, I Am My Own Wife).

The Nightingale will be presented as part of the Playhouse’s acclaimed Page To Stage Play Development Program. What is Page To Stage?

> You are welcome to join us immediately following the performance Sunday, July 22nd at 2:00 pm for a special community panel discussion about the casting process for the show. The discussion will begin at approximately 3:45pm and you do not need to purchase a ticket to attend. See Events tab for more details.

Listen to the Music



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Meet the Creative Team

Moisés Kaufman is one of the most celebrated writers and directors working in theatre today. He directed the Playhouse’s 2008 production of 33 Variations, which went on to Broadway, as well as The Laramie Project and the Pulitzer- and Tony Award-winning play I Am My Own Wife, by Doug Wright, which began as the Playhouse’s inaugural Page To Stage workshop production in 2001 and had its West Coast premiere here in 2005. As a writer/director, his work includes Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde (Lucille Lortel Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Joe Callaway Award, GLAAD Media Award) and The Laramie Project (Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk nominations, GLAAD Media Award). He was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for his direction of the Pulitzer Prize finalist Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, which ran on Broadway starring Robin Williams. Kaufman is the Artistic Director of Tectonic Theater Project in New York City. Since 1992, Tectonic Theater Project has produced innovative works that explore theatrical language and form, fostering an artistic dialogue with audiences on social, political and human issues.

Steven Sater won Tony Awards for Best Book and Best Score, the Drama Desk and Outer Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Lyrics, the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album, as well as the London Critics Circle Award and the 2010 Olivier Award for Best New Musical for Spring Awakening. Plays include the long-running Carbondale Dreams; Perfect for You; Doll (Rosenthal Prize); A Footnote to the Iliad (New York Stage and Film); Asylum (Naked Angels), and a reconceived musical version of Shakespeare’s Tempest (Lyric Hammersmith). He has also collaborated with Duncan Sheik on Nero (Magic Theatre, NY Stage and Film); Umbrage (Steppenwolf New Play Prize); the critically acclaimed album Phantom Moon (Nonesuch); and Alice By Heart (forthcoming from National Theatre of London: Connections, spring 2012). Sater wrote the script and lyrics for Prometheus Bound, with music by Serj Tankian, directed by Diane Paulus, which premiered at the A.R.T. in March 2011. He has also written the script and lyrics for Some Lovers, with music by Burt Bacharach, which premiered in December 2011 at the Old Globe. Additionally, Sater works as a pop/rock lyricist and as a screenwriter (the forthcoming Chitty Chitty Bang Bang remake for Sony Pictures).

Duncan Sheik was awarded the 2007 Tony Awards for Best Orchestrations and Best Original Score and a 2008 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album for his Broadway hit, Spring Awakening. Mr. Sheik is currently composing for the forthcoming Broadway production of American Psycho, an adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen classic Nightingale, as well as Alice by Heart, inspired by Lewis Carroll's classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in development at the National Theatre in London. Sheik was part of the 2009 Powerhouse Theater Season with a workshop of Whisper House, a collaboration with Kyle Jarrow, which premiered at The Old Globe Theatre in 2010; and Sheik and his collaborator on Spring Awakening, playwright Steven Sater, presented a workshop of Nero (Another Golden Rome) at the Powerhouse Theater in 2008. In the mid 1990’s, Sheik’s self‐titled debut on Atlantic Records was an enormous popular and critical success, spent 52 weeks on the Billboard 200 and earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Male Vocal. In the midst of Sheik’s theater projects, he continues to tour and release his own records, including 2011's "Covers 80s" a collection of Sheik's interpretation of classics and obscurities from artists from the synth pop era. Sheik has composed for film and TV, including the film score for Mary Stuart Masterson’s directorial debut, The Cake Eaters, and a film score for Curious Pictures’ animated film Little Spirit and most recently Harvest. His albums include “Duncan Sheik” (1996), “Humming” (1998), “Phantom Moon” (2001), “Daylight” (2002), “White Limousine” (2006), “Brighter/Later: A Duncan Sheik Anthology” (2006), and “Greatest Hits: A Duncan Sheik Collection” (2007) "Whisper House" (2009), "Covers 80s" (2011).

Press and Reviews for The Nightingale

‘Nightingale’ winging its way to Playhouse
> Read more from UT San Diego

‘Spring Awakening’ team to bring fairy-tale show to La Jolla Playhouse
> Read more from the Los Angeles Times

Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik’s The Nightingale Will Test Wings at La Jolla Playhouse
> Read more from Playbill

Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre

The Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre is the third and newest of La Jolla Playhouse's theatres, the 6,500-square-foot Potiker theatre is the centerpiece of the first permanent year-round home for the Playhouse — the $17 million Joan and Irwin Jacobs Center.

“A box within a box, within a box,” the theatre is a glass-enclosed black cube that gives the Playhouse performance options; the seating and the stage can be placed wherever the director wishes, enhancing the performer-audience relationship. The performance area — complete with removable seats to allow for as few as two audience members and as many as 450 — has a mostly- removable performance floor with trap doors that lead down to a labyrinth of facilities and backstage areas for casts and crews, including a sound and recording studio which allows live music to be channeled into the theatre. Above the audience's heads sits a wire tension grid; there is also a balcony along the theatre's outer wall for extra seating or performance space.

The Potiker Theatre is a flexible space; therefore seating configurations change for each show.

> Learn more

The Nightingale Special Events

Talkback Tuesday

Tuesday, July 24 following the 7:30 performance

Join the cast and crew for a discussion following the performance.

Foodie Friday

Friday, July 27 at 6:00 pm

Help us celebrate the enchanting new Page To Stage Musical, The Nightingale, with food trucks and beer during Foodie Friday. Purchase a ticket to the show on July 27 and join us at 6:00 pm for a complimentary microbrew tasting from Stone Brewing Company. Plus enjoy Asian fusion cuisine from our new food truck, Asian Persuasion, and classic griddled fare from Ms. Patty Melt.

Insider Event

Saturday, July 28 at 1:00 pm

Meet with a Playhouse staff member 1 hour prior to the performance for an insider’s discussion.

Insider Event

Wednesday, August 1 at 6:30 pm

Meet with a Playhouse staff member 1 hour prior to the performance for an insider’s discussion.

Discovery Sunday

Sunday, August 5 following the 2:00 pm performance

Join special guest speakers after the performance as they explore the themes of the production.

Nikki Castillo and Bobby Steggert in La Jolla Playhouse’s Page To Stage workshop production of THE NIGHTINGALE, book and lyrics by Steven Sater, music by Duncan Sheik, directed by Moises Kaufman, running July 10 - August 5 in the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre; photo by Craig Schwartz.

Bobby Steggert and Corbin Reid in La Jolla Playhouse’s Page To Stage workshop production of THE NIGHTINGALE, book and lyrics by Steven Sater, music by Duncan Sheik, directed by Moises Kaufman, running July 10 - August 5 in the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre; photo by Craig Schwartz.

Kimiko Glenn (center) with Steve Gunderson and Matthew Patrick Davis in La Jolla Playhouse’s Page To Stage workshop production of THE NIGHTINGALE, book and lyrics by Steven Sater, music by Duncan Sheik, directed by Moises Kaufman, running July 10 - August 5 in the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre; photo by Craig Schwartz.

Community Panel Discussion

Watch the entire, unedited video of the Playhouse's casting discussion on The Nightingale.