In the wings: Diversionary takes a trip to ‘The Happiest Place’


Diversionary Theatre is staging (or imagineering?) the West Coast premiere of “The Happiest Place on Earth,” Philip Dawkins’ play about dashed dreams and deliverance in a certain Magic Kingdom.

Jonathan L. Green directs Jacque Wilke in the San Diego acting favorite’s first-ever solo show.

Dawkins’ autobiographical work, which the playwright performed himself when it debuted in 2016, explores family struggles against the cheery backdrop of the Anaheim theme park.

Wilke, a San Diego Theatre Critics Circle award-winner in 2014 and 2016, has been a standout in several shows at the LGBT-centered Diversionary.

Here’s the theater’s blurb on the play:

“Once upon a time in 1955, a magical kingdom was built on the founding principles of dreams, American idealism, and our wildest hopes. Eight years later, a quintessential American family reeling from the loss of their King embarks on a quest for restoration and deliverance in this kingdom.

“Fifty years later, their expedition is brought to dazzling life in an effort to understand one’s place in family, the American way, and whether happiness is truly a place where dreams come true.”

“The Happiest Place on Earth” runs through April 15 at the University Heights theater.

“The Happiest Place on Earth”:

When: Previews begin Thursday. Opens March 24. 7 p.m. Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. Through April 15.

Where: Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Blvd., University Heights.

Tickets: About $22.50-$50 (discounts available).

Phone: (619) 220-0097.


Twitter: @jimhebert