Theater Notebook: La Jolla Playhouse announces cast, creative team for upcoming musical ‘Lempicka’

The company of La Jolla Playhouse's upcoming production of the musical "Lempicka."
(La Jolla Playhouse)

Also in this week’s San Diego theater column, news from the San Diego International Fringe Festival, the Old Globe and North Coast Repertory Theatre


La Jolla Playhouse has unveiled the cast and creative team of its upcoming production of “Lempicka,” the Carson Kreitzer-Matt Gould musical that will run June 14 through July 24.

Eden Espinosa, star of the Old Globe’s “Rain” and “The Gardens of Anuncia” and Broadway’s “Wicked,” will lead the cast as the title character, Tamara de Lempicka, a painter who fled the Russian Revolution and built an international career in bohemian Paris with her sensuous paintings. Then, when the Germans entered Paris in 1940, she fled again to Los Angeles. Espinosa originated the role of Tamara in the musical’s 2018 world premiere at the Williamstown Theater Festival.

Andrew Samonsky (star of the Playhouse’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”) will play Tamara’s husband, Tadeusz Lempicki; and the role of Tamara’s Parisian muse and lover Rafaela will be split by Amber Iman (Broadway’s “Soul Doctor”) from June 14 to July 10 and Ximone Rose, July 12 through 24. Victor E. Chan will play Baron; George Abud will play Marinetti; Natalie Joy Johnson will play Suzy Solidor; Jacquelyn Ritz will play Baroness; and Jordan Tyson will play Kizette.

The ensemble includes Leanne Antonio, Lauren Blackman, Leovina Charles, Milena J. Comeau, Michael Louis Cusimano, Alexa Jane Lowis, David Merino, Luke P. Monday, Devin L. Roberts, Morgan Nicholas Scott, Joey Taranto and Mariand Torres.

The musical will be directed by Rachel Chavkin — the 2019 Tony winner for directing “Hadestown” — with choreography by Raja Feather Kelly, scenic design by Riccardo Hernandez, costumes by Anita Yavich, lighting by Bradley King, sound by Justin Stasiw and projections by Peter Nigrini, orchestrations by Cian McCarthy and music supervision by Remy Kurs.

For tickets, visit

‘Kristina Wong’ a Pulitzer finalist

Playwright-actor Kristina Wong pandemic-penned stage comedy “Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord,” which runs Sept. 20 through Oct. 16 at La Jolla Playhouse, has been named a finalist for the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The play and Slvia Khoury’s “Selling Kabul” were finalists in the category, and James Ijames’ “Fat Ham” won the prize, which was announced on May 9.

Balboa Park will once again be the hub of the 2022 San Diego International Fringe Festival.
Balboa Park will once again be the hub of the 2022 San Diego International Fringe Festival. It was last the Fringe home base in 2019, pictured here.
(Courtesy of Margarito G. Perez)

San Diego’s Fringe fest announces dates, locations

The San Diego International Fringe Festival will return in a “pop-up” edition next month, after a two-year pandemic-related break.

This year’s festival will run June 2 through 12 and will encompass 130 individual performances at five different locations around San Diego. The main festival hub will be Balboa Park, where performances will be presented in the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre and the Centro Cultural de la Raza. There will also be individual “pop-up” shows at the Les Girls nightclub in the Midway District, a mobile “Mini Van Jam” and The Template arts performance space in Ocean Beach.

“This year, we are getting our feet back on the ground with an exciting pop-up energy,” said Kevin Charles Patterson, Fringe executive director, in a statement. “That means experiencing the beautiful, the bizarre and the unexpected in this limited edition of Fringe frenzy eyeball-busting shows.”

The full lineup of shows and ticket sales information will be available soon. Visit

‘Dancin’ and ‘Forbidden Broadway extend

Due to strong ticket sales, the Old Globe in Balboa Park has extended its run of the musical “Bob Fosse’s Dancin’” by one week. The musical, directed by Wayne Cilento, is a reimagination of Fosse’s 1978 musical “Dancin.’” The production will now play through June 5. Tickets are now on sale at

North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach has extended its run of “Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits” through May 22. The show features parody skits of some of Broadway’s most beloved musicals. Tickets are now on sale at

Kragen writes about theater for the San Diego Union-Tribune. Email her at