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SEASON & EVENTS

2017-2018 Season
A 24-Decade History of Popular Music
The Eva Trilogy
Reel to Reel
The Gangster of Love


MAGIC'S 2018-2019 SEASON

Magic Theatre's 2018-2019 Season will include the World Premiere of Ashlin Halfnight's The Resting Place; the World Premiere of Mfoniso Udofia's In Old Age; and an anniversary revival of Luis Alfaro's critically acclaimed Oedipus el Rey, which premiered at Magic Theatre nine years ago. The Season will also include Magic's beloved, annual Virgin Play Festival.


2018-2019 Subscriptions‍

The RESTING PLace

Written by Ashlin Halfnight

October 10-November 4

The Resting Place is a provocative and intense look at an American Family in a cloudburst of crisis—filled with raw humor, piercing darkness and fierce love. Ashlin Halfnight (Magic Virgin Play Festival 2017) addresses familial obligation, guilt, our own complacency and culpability in wrongdoing and asks, how do we reconcile our love for someone with the knowledge of their horrifying transgression?

MORE INFO


IN old age

Written by Mfoniso Udofia

March 27-April 21

When Azell Abernathy, a seasoned repairman, arrives at the home of Abasiama Ufot to redo the floors of her dilapidated New England home, he is surprised to be met with stubborn resistance. The two clash, challenge each other, and eventually form an unlikely spiritual connection. Abasiama and Azell learn the true nature of forgiveness and love, just as her life takes a new turn. This fifth installment of Mfoniso Udofia’s Ufot family cycle offers both a purge and a peacemaking; both frenzy and faith.


Oedipus El rey
REvival

May 29-June 23

Set in South Central LA, Oedipus el Rey is a gritty and electrifying take on the Greek tragedy. Oedipus is reimagined as a troubled young man whose dreams of controlling his own destiny soar beyond the prison walls where he’s spent his life. But in a place where everyone is trapped—by desperation or fate, history or violence—no one man can change his story alone. Love, family and belief collide in this chilling, incredibly powerful play that asks: what’s fate, and what’s just the system?

MORE INFO

A 24-Decade History of Popular Music

written by Taylor Mac

September 15: Chapter I (1776-1836)

September 17: Chapter II (1836-1896)

September 22: Chapter III (1896-1956)

September 24: Chapter IV (1956-the present)

Photo: Teddy Wolff
Photo: Teddy Wolff

Presented by Curran and Stanford Live
In association with Magic Theatre and Pomegranate Arts



has closed

September 15-24, 2017

West Coast Premiere

A 24-Decade History of Popular Music is Mac’s multi-year effort to chart a subjective history of the United States through 246 songs that were popular throughout the country, and in its disparate communities, from 1776 to the present day. In performing the work, Mac is joined by an orchestra—led by Music Director Matt Ray, who created new arrangements of all 246 songs—plus an ensemble of “Dandy Minions” and a variety of local special guests, including members of the audience cast as colonial needleworkers, World War I soldiers and Yum Yum from The Mikado. Costume designer Machine Dazzle, a longtime Mac collaborator, has handmade an outrageously imaginative, world-unto-itself costume specific to each decade.

A 24-Decade History of Popular Music recently won the 2017 Edward M. Kennedy Award for Drama inspired by American History and was a 2017 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Drama, in addition to being included on an unprecedented three New York Times “Best of…” lists in 2016: Performance, Theater and Classical Music.

A 24-Decade History of Popular Music will be presented over four nights at Curran Theater (445 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA 94102).

 ·  Friday, September 15 at 5pm (Chapter 1: 1776-1836): The American Revolution from the perspective of the yankee doodle dandy, the early woman’s lib movement, an epic battle between drinking songs and early temperance songs, a dream sequence where the audience is blindfolded and the heteronormative narrative as colonization.

 ·  Sunday, September 17 at 2pm (Chapter II: 1836-1896): Walt Whitman and Stephen Foster go head to head for the title of Father of the American Song, culminating in the queerest Civil War Reenactment in history.  Oh, and: a production of The Mikado set on Mars.

 ·  Friday, September 22 at 5pm (Chapter III: 1896-1956): A Jewish tenement, a WWI trench, a speakeasy, a depression, a zoot suit riot all make the white people flee the cities.

 ·  Sunday, September 24 at 2pm (Chapter IV: 1956-the present): Bayard Rustin’s March on Washington leads to a queer riot, sexual deviance as revolution, radical lesbians, and a community building itself while under siege.

Magic subscribers get one ticket (per subscription) to one of these six-hour performances.

A 24-Decade History of Popular Music is Created, Written, Performed and Co-Directed by Taylor Mac, with Co-Direction by Niegel Smith, Music Direction & Arrangements by Matt Ray, Costume Design by Machine Dazzle, Dramaturgy by Jocelyn Clarke, Scenic Design by Mimi Lien, and Lighting Design by John Torres. A 24-Decade History of Popular Music is produced by Pomegranate Arts and Mac’s company Nature’s Darlings.

Meet the Playwright

Taylor Mac (who uses “judy”, lowercase sic, not as a name but as a gender pronoun) is a playwright, actor, singer-songwriter, performance artist, director and producer. “A critical darling of the New York scene” (New York Magazine), judy’s work has been performed at New York City’s Lincoln Center, The Public Theatre and Playwrights Horizons, London’s Hackney Empire, Los Angeles’s Royce Hall, Minneapolis’s Guthrie Theater, Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre, the Sydney Opera House, Boston’s American Repertory Theatre, Stockholm’s Sodra Theatern, the Spoleto Festival, San Francisco’s Curran theater and MOMA, and literally hundreds of other theaters, museums, music halls, opera houses, cabarets, and festivals around the globe. Judy is the author of seventeen full-length plays and performance pieces including  A 24-Decade History of Popular Music (2017 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Drama, Kennedy Prize in Drama), Hir (placed on the top ten theater of 2015 lists of The New York Times, New York Magazine, and Time Out NY; published by North Western University Press and in American Theater Magazine), The Lily’s Revenge (Obie Award), The Walk Across America for Mother Earth (named One of the Best Plays of 2011 by The New York Times), The Young Ladies Of (Chicago’s Jeff Award nomination for best solo), Red Tide Blooming (Ethyl Eichelberger Award), and The Be(a)st of Taylor Mac (Edinburgh Festival’s Herald Angel Award). Recent acting roles include Shen Teh/Shui Ta in The Foundry Theater’s production of Good Person of Szechwan at La Mama and the Public Theater (for which judy received Lucille Lortel and Drama League Award nominations), Puck/Egeus in the Classic Stage Company’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream, the title role in various productions of judy’s play, The Lily’s Revenge, and opposite Mandy Patinkin in the two-man vaudeville, The Last Two People On Earth, directed by Susan Stroman. Mac is currently creating a Dionysia Festival of four original plays (to be premiered separately and eventually performed in repertory), which deal in some way with our cultural polarization and that include:  an all-ages play called, The Fre (commissioned by the Children’s Theater Company in Minneapolis, premiere date TBD); a kitchen-sink tragedy named, Hir (which received its world premiere at the Magic Theater in Feb 2014);  a dance-theater play, The Bourgeois Oligarch, and a music theatre debate regarding small and large government, set inside an Ezra Pound poem, in the subconscious of Clarence Thomas, during a Supreme Court Hearing. Mac is the recipient of multiple awards including the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History, Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a Guggenheim Award, the Herb Alpert Award in Theater, the Peter Zeisler Memorial Award, the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award and an Obie. An alumnus of New Dramatists judy is currently a New York Theater Workshop Usual Suspect and the Resident playwright at the Here Arts Center.


The Resting PLAce


written by Ashlin Halfnight
directed by Jessica Holt




World Premiere

Oct 10-November 4, 2018

The Resting Place is a provocative and intense look at an American Family in a cloudburst of crisis—filled with raw humor, piercing darkness and fierce love. Ashlin Halfnight (Magic Virgin Play Festival 2017) addresses familial obligation, guilt, our own complacency and culpability in wrongdoing and asks, how do we reconcile our love for someone with the knowledge of their horrifying transgression?


Meet the playwright



Ashlin Halfnight





Ashlin Halfnight is currently a writer on the Emmy Award-winning Netflix show, BLOODLINE. His feature films ASTRAEA and DIVING NORMAL can be found on VOD, and his mockumentary feature MAYBE THERE'S A TREE (starring Colin Mochrie & Creed Bratton) is currently in post-production. His teen thriller SURVIVAL BOX is in pre-production, scheduled to shoot in July, 2017 in Toronto. His plays have been performed across North America and Europe and include ARTIFACTS OF CONSEQUENCE, A HARD WALL AT HIGH SPEED, LAWS OF MOTION, and GOD'S WAITING ROOM. Ashlin is a Fulbright Scholar, former professional hockey player signed by the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, a Howard Stein Playwriting Fellow, and was the 2006 artist in residence at the National Theater of Hungary, in Budapest. Ashlin holds an honors BA in English from Harvard University and an MFA in Playwriting from Columbia University’s School of the Arts. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and sons, and enjoys whiskey, new socks, and the film Footloose.




in old age

written by Mfoniso Udofia
directed by Victor Malana Maog






World Premiere

March 27-April 21, 2019

When Azell Abernathy, a seasoned repairman, arrives at the home of Abasiama Ufot to redo the floors of her dilapidated New England home, he is surprised to be met with stubborn resistance. The two clash, challenge each other, and eventually form an unlikely spiritual connection. Abasiama and Azell learn the true nature of forgiveness and love, just as her life takes a new turn. This fifth installment of Mfoniso Udofia’s Ufot family cycle offers both a purge and a peacemaking; both frenzy and faith.


Meet the playwright

Mfoniso Udofia

a first-generation Nigerian-American storyteller and educator, attended Wellesley College and obtained her MFA in Acting from the American Conservatory Theater. During her stay in the Bay, she co-pioneered a youth initiative, The Nia Project, providing artistic outlets for youth residing in Bayview / Huntspoint. In January 2016 Playwrights Realm produced the world premiere of Sojourners, the origin story of the Ufot Family Cycle. In Spring 2016, The Magic Theatre in San Francisco produced the west coast premiere of Sojourners and the world premiere of the third installation in the Ufot Family Cycle, runboyun, in repertory. New York Theatre Workshop produced the New York City return of Sojourners in Spring 2017, which ran in repertory with the world premiere of Her Portmanteau, which was previously developed in 2015 at the National Black Theatre. She’s the recipient of the 2017 Helen Merrill Playwright Award and the 2017-2018 McKnight National Residency and Commission at The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis. Her Ufot Cycle play, Her Portmanteau, will be produced [Spring 2019] by American Conservatory Theater, and was recently produced at Pasadena’s Boston Court Performing Arts Center. Mfoniso is also currently at work on a commission from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, translating Shakespeare’s Othello, through their Play On! program. Mfoniso’s plays have been developed at and/or presented/produced by The New York Theatre Workshop, The Playwrights Realm, The Magic Theatre, Dr. Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theatre, Hedgebrook, Sundance Theatre Lab, NNPN, Space on Ryder Farm, NNPN New Play Showcase, Makehouse, Soul Productions, terraNOVA, I73, The New Black Fest, Rising Circle’s INKTank, At Hand Theatre Company, The Standard Collective, American Slavery Project, Liberation Theatre Company, and more. Mfoniso was a finalist for the 2015 PoNY Prize, the Eugene O’Neill NPC, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Many Voices Fellowship, Page73 Development Programs, Jerome Fellowship, New York Theatre Workshop’s 20/50 Fellowship, and Lark Playwrights’ Week. Follow her at @mfudofia or visit www.mfonisoudofia.com.




Oedipus el rey

written by Luis Alfaro
directed by Loretta Greco





Check out the Magic Theatre's 2010 World Premiere of Oedipus El Rey

Oedipus El Rey:
2010 Premiere




"Alfaro may be the first, Sophocles included, to place the love of Oedipus and Jocasta squarely at the play's tragic center. More than that, he makes it resonate with a passion fully enhanced not only by the spare poetry of his text but also by Greco's intense staging and the naked vulnerability of two fully committed actors in the show that opened Wednesday."
— Robert Hurwitt, San Francisco Chronicle



Legacy Revival

MAY 29-JUNE 23, 2019

Set in South Central LA, Oedipus el Rey is a gritty and electrifying take on the Greek tragedy. Oedipus is reimagined as a troubled young man whose dreams of controlling his own destiny soar beyond the prison walls where he’s spent his life. But in a place where everyone is trapped—by desperation or fate, history or violence—no one man can change his story alone. Love, family and belief collide in this chilling, incredibly powerful play that asks: what’s fate, and what’s just the system?


meet the playwright


Luis Alfaro

Luis Alfaro is a Chicano writer/performer known for his work in poetry, theatre, short stories, performance and journalism. He is also a producer/director who spent ten years at the Mark Taper Forum as Associate Producer, Director of New Play Development and co-director of the Latino Theatre Initiative.
His plays and performances include Oedipus el Rey (Magic Theatre, Boston Court Theatre, upcoming at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company) Electricidad (Teatro Vision-San Jose, Mark Taper Forum-Los Angeles, Goodman Theater-Chicago, Borderlands Theatre-Tucson), Downtown (Institute of Contemporary Art-London, XTeresa Performance Space-Mexico City), No Holds Barrio (Goodman Theatre-Chicago), Body of Faith(Cornerstone Theater Company-Los Angeles), Straight as a Line (Primary Stages-NY, Edinburgh Festival-Scotland, Goodman Theatre-Chicago, The National Theatre of Romania [2 year run]) Bitter Homes and Gardens (Latino Chicago, Playwrights Arena-Los Angeles) Ladybird (La Jolla Playhouse) Black Butterfly(Smithsonian Museum, The Kennedy Center-Washington D.C., Mark Taper Forum-Los Angeles) Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner (Taper Too-Los Angeles, Teatro Vista-Chicago). He is the recipient of a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowship, popularly known as a "genius grant," awarded to people who have demonstrated expertise and exceptional creativity in their respective fields.
A Rockefeller Fellow and University of California Regents Chair Fellow, he is the only artist to have won two awards in the same year from The Kennedy Center's Fund for New American Plays. He is also the recipient of awards from the National Endowment of the Arts, Theatre Communications Group and PEN USA, among others. He is featured in over 25 anthologies, has an award-winning spoken word CD, and was nominated for a local Emmy Award for his short film, Chicanismo. He is a member of New Dramatists, an associate artist at Playwrights Arena and Cornerstone Theatre Company in Los Angeles. His play Electricidad was featured on the cover of American Theatre Magazine and the complete script was published in the February 2006 issue.
He teaches at the University of Southern California (Graduate Playwriting Program, Solo Performance, Youth Theater) and California Institute of the Arts (Solo Performance, Actors Studio).