La Jolla Playhouse unveils four shows — including a pair of world premieres — in 2019-20 season lineup


The first four pieces of the 2019-20 La Jolla Playhouse season have been announced, and they include two world premieres plus the latest work — this time a musical — from the prolific John Leguizamo, plus an acclaimed, rock-driven piece by the in-demand playwright and University of California San Diego grad Lauren Yee.

Details on two additional season productions (plus run dates for all the shows) are still in the wings, but here’s what we know so far:

“Put Your House in Order,” by Ike Holter: Lili-Anne Brown directs the Chicago-based Holter’s world-premiere work, which Playhouse artistic chief Christopher Ashley calls “a witty, suspenseful cross between a romantic comedy and apocalyptic thriller.”

Here’s the theater’s blurb on the work: “Caroline and Rolan’s first date winds up at Caroline’s home in an upscale Chicago suburb. But when the city around them begins exhibiting signs that something is terribly wrong, they have to learn to trust each other to stand a chance against the horrors outside her backyard gate. Equal parts romantic comedy and old-school thriller, this new play from one of Chicago’s hottest playwrights explores new beginnings at the end of the world.”

“The Luckiest,” by Melissa Ross: Ashley says this world-premiere play “paints a moving picture of a young woman attempting to retake control of her life in the face of a serious illness.” Former Playhouse associate artistic dkirector Jaime Castañeda returns to direct the piece, which was developed through the Playhouse’s 2018 DNA New Work Series.

The story: “Lissette is a vibrant and fiercely independent young woman. But when a sudden diagnosis shatters her world into pieces, she finds herself at odds with her mother and her best friend, who each come bearing strong opinions wrapped in good intentions. With an overwhelming amount of choices to make in a very short amount of time, Lissette is forced to navigate between the two while unflinchingly forging her own path for her future.”

“Kiss My Aztec!” The Playhouse is staging the Berkeley Repertory Theatre production of this cheekily titled musical, based on a screenplay by Leguizamo and Stephen Chbosky. Tony Taccone directs the piece, which has music by Benjamin Velez, a book by Leguizamo and Taccone, and lyrics by David Kamp, Benjamin Velez and Leguizamo.

Ashley says the show “takes us back to the 16th century in a savagely funny and deeply irreverent piece about the Aztec resistance to the Spanish conquistadores.” Leguizamo, of course has a long history with the Playhouse — including a workshop production of his last piece, “Latin History for Morons,” which went on to Broadway.

The blurb on the new work: “When the Spanish set their sights on Mesoamerica and its riches, they will destroy anyone and anything that keeps them from conquering and claiming it all for themselves. But the Aztecs are like, ‘Hell, no!’ This fresh, irreverent and outrageous satire could only spring forth from the insanely hilarious mind of John Leguizamo, last seen at the Playhouse in his acclaimed one-man show ‘Latin History for Morons.’ Featuring a fusion of bolero, hip-hop, merengue and rap, ‘Kiss My Aztec!’ celebrates, elevates and commemorates Latinx culture in an uproarious new musical.”

“Cambodian Rock Band,” by Lauren Yee: The UCSD-trained Yee’s much-buzzed play-meets-rock-concert features songs by the Cambodian-American band Dengue Fever. Chay Yew directs the work, which Ashley calls “a redemptive and rocking story of a father and daughter finding each other amid decades-old secrets.”

The Playhouse take: “Cambodian Rock Band thrusts us into the life of a young woman trying to piece together her family history 30 years after her father fled Cambodia. Featuring a cast that performs a mix of contemporary Dengue Fever hits and classic Cambodian oldies, playwright and UC San Diego MFA alumna Lauren Yee brings to vivid life the Cambodian rock scene of the ‘60s and ‘70s, a movement cut short by the Khmer Rouge’s brutal attempt to erase the music (and musicians) once and for all. A story about survivors, the resilient bond of family and the enduring power of music.”

Tickets for the 2019-20 Playhouse season are available only through a subscription purchase for now; call (858) 550-1010 or go to

Twitter: @jimhebert