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Arts | Coolture

Jason Mraz wrote a musical! ‘Shine’ will debut in San Diego in 2020

Jason Mraz is shown performing for children at Burbank Elementary School in San Diego.
Jason Mraz is shown performing for children at Burbank Elementary School in San Diego.
(Photo by Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)

The two-time Grammy Award-winning troubadour will use his own songs in San Diego-centric musical, which will team him with Malashock Dance, Banding Together and transcenDANCE

Jason Mraz will debut the first musical of his career, the San Diego-centric “Shine,” in early 2020 with a pair of performances at Spreckels Theatre.

“Shine,” which draws from the two-time Grammy Award winner’s catalog of songs, is a collaborative production. It will team the Oceanside-based troubadour with several San Diego nonprofit arts and arts education groups that have been beneficiaries of his nonprofit Jason Mraz Foundation.

Joining him on stage to perform “Shine” will be at least three area dance and music organizations. They include: Banding Together, which provides music opportunities to individuals with special needs; Malashock Dance, whose education program offers access to dance for under-served students, low-income families, individuals with disabilities and promising pre-professional dancers who may face financial barriers; and transcenDANCE, which helps young people in under-served San Diego County communities transcend barriers, expand their artistic ambitions and create positive change through dance and performance.

More participating arts groups will be announced soon. (Ticket information for the Feb. 15 and 16 shows appears below.)

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“Each of these organizations was chosen because of their commitment to inclusive arts education and the advancement of equality,” Mraz said in a statement released Monday morning.

“I am humbled to provide my songs as a framework for them to express their unique points of view. By shining a light on these programs serving our local community’s youth, I want to underscore the importance of access to arts programming for all children in all communities — no matter their gender, race, ability level, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. Every child should have the opportunity to find their voice through the arts.”

Mraz, 42, is testament to the power of the arts to transform young people. He became involved in musical theater while attending high school in his Virginia hometown of Mechanicsville. He later attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City for about 18 months. In 1999, he moved to San Diego and made his area debut at Java Joe’s, where he would perform a weekly residence that lasted several years.

Mraz signed his first major record contract in 2001 and, a year later, scored his first Top 10 hit with “The Remedy (I Won’t Worry).” His biggest hit to date, 2008’s “I’m Yours,” became an international success. In June, the song received the prestigious Diamond Award from the Recording Industry Association of America in recognition of “I’m Yours” having sold more than 10 million copies in the U.S. alone. In late 2017, Mraz made his Broadway debut, appearing opposite Sara Bareilles in the hit musical “Waitress.”

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Mraz describes the concept of his musical “Shine” as a celebration of the city of San Diego that is centered around the local community. Its plot follows him and some of his friends as they engage in such activities as playing at a local park and exploring a farmer’s market, then dance into the night and fall asleep under the stars.

Given Mraz’s passion for surfing, it will be surprising if at least once scene isn’t set on, or near, the ocean. The title of “Shine,” incidentally, comes from his song of the same name, which appeared on Mraz’s 2014 album, “Yes!”

Tickets for “Shine” go on Sale Sept. 6 at 10 a.m. at jasonmraz.com. They are priced between $49.50 and $119.50 each, plus service fees. Proceeds will go to the Jason Mraz Foundation, whose past beneficiaries include Harmonic Humanity, True Colors Fund, Life Rolls On, SPARC, Rock n’ Roll Camp For Girls, and the American Foundation for Equal Rights.


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