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Magic's 2016-17 Season

We are thrilled to share with you our 2016-2017 season, in which we welcome two vibrant world premieres, a very Virgin Play Festival featuring exclusive access to work in gestation, and two legacy masterworks that will launch the new year and Magic's 50th birthday in high style!

Rolling World Premiere

written by Richard Montoya
directed by Sean San José

in collaboration with
Campo Santo & Borderlands Theater

Laney College Performance: October 29th @ 2:30

[click learn more about Laney College performances]


What are people saying about Nogales?
Who should see Nogales?
Loretta's Opening Night Speech


Ran October 12 - October 31, 2016

With irreverence and searing humor, Richard Montoya, famed member of Culture Clash, explores the conflicts and supersized personalities in the iconic border town of Nogales. Blending a variety of historical and current sources, Nogales delivers a powerful story about a contemporary America that has lost its moral center.

"Nogales rests primarily on the sturdy shoulders of its actor-creators, Richard Montoya and Sean San José. Separately and as a team, they deliver powerful performances that show the audience what can happen when two master craftsmen are at work. I truly hope this play has a longer life span than its initial co-production. Montoya’s script is a most impressive achievement." -Huffington Post
"Two hours after Donald Trump referred to “bad hombres” illegally crossing the border in the Wednesday, Oct. 19, presidential debate, Magic Theatre, in collaboration with Campo Santo and Tucson’s Borderlands Theater, opened a show that marked a stunning rebuke to the Republican candidate’s racism, xenophobia and demagoguery."
"A co-founder of the pioneering Latino performance trio Culture Clash, which specialized in satire, Montoya is wonderfully restrained with his punch lines. He makes you lean in and work to keep up, much as it must be like to play audience to the real-life master manipulator."
-SF Chronicle

Meet the Playwright

Richard Montoya is an American playwright, actor, filmmaker, and co-founder of the collective performance trio, Culture Clash, which was formed in 1984 in San Francisco’s Mission District. Born in 1959, Montoya is the son of well- known artist, poet, and activist José Montoya, a co-founder of the Chicano artistic collective known as the Royal Chicano Air Force. While José Montoya went to art school in the East Bay (CCAC) in the early 60’s he quickly gravitated to Berkeley and the Beat Movement still percolating in SF’s North Beach.

While growing up, Montoya witnessed his family’s involvement in the civil rights movement and Cesar Chavez’ United Farm Workers movement as artist activists. He continues that legacy through his career as a playwright, actor and indie filmmaker. Through searing satire or heightened realism Montoya’s writings dig deep into the margins of America. The shadow lands: barrios, deserts, jails where characters confront racism, discrimination, and the difficulties and dangers of displacement and the ghosts of a post-colonial reality on the Mexico-U.S. border. He has co-authored several important works for the national stage and several published anthologies of plays. Among others, he has authored commissioned works for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Cal Shakes, Arena Stage, the Mark Taper Forum, Yale Repertory, Huntington Theater, Berkeley Rep, Getty Villa, South Coast Repertory and La Jolla Playhouse. As a solo writer he has created Water & Power, Palestine New Mexico, Anthems, American Night and The River. Montoya is an alumni of Luis Valdez’ Teatro Campesino and of the Sundance Institutes Writers and Directors Lab, as well as a two-time Annenberg Film Fellow. Montoya was also a staff writer on the critically acclaimed television show Southland. He studied drama at CSU Sacramento and graduated from the Summer Training Congress at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco under Artistic Director Bill Ball. Life on the Water, Asian American Theater, Stages/Studio 24 with Rene Yanez, La Pena and The Intersection are where he cut and sharpened his satirical fangs. He is writer and star of the recently released film The Other Barrio filmed entirely on location in the Mission District with producers Rene Yanez, Lou Dematteis, and Dante Betteo. Grateful for this Magic Theater debut and to be in the orbit of Loretta Greco and stardust of playwright hero Mr. Sam Shepard! Montoya dedicates his performance in Nogales to the memory of director Mark Rucker (The Birds) and to all who hazard their souls to the misfortunes of the desert.

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


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, and asks: what do we owe each other?


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 as they teach each other the true nature of forgiveness and love.
In Old Age is the fifth installment of Udofia’s Ufot family cycle, offers a purge and a peacemaking; frenzy and faith.

Oedipus El rey

May 29-June 23

Set in South Central LA, Oedipus el Rey is a gritty and electrifying take on the Greek tragedy, written by the acclaimed Magic playwright Luis Alfaro. Oedipus is reimagined as a young man whose dreams of controlling his own destiny soar beyond the prison walls where he’s spent his life. In a place where everyone is trapped by desperation, violence, and history, can one man transcend his own story? Love, family, and belief collide in this chilling, muscular odyssey that asks: what’s fate and what’s just the system?


Virgin new play festival

December 1-16

Our play festival centers on bringing emerging and mid-career playwrights together, giving each writer the time and space to create and experiment and hear their work out loud.

It's an exciting opportunity for writers to get space and time to work, for us to get to know new playwrights and familiar playwright's work, and for our audience to meet new playwrights and new plays. We invite Magic Family patrons to join us for readings presenting new work by writers we love.

Recent writers have included: Jessica Hagedorn, Ashlin Halfnight, Barbara Hammond, John Kolvenbach, Lauren Yee, Clare Barron, Dipika Guha, Han Ong, Mfoniso Udofia & many, many more.

Book Your Tickets

Legacy Revival

written by Paula Vogel
directed by Jonathan Moscone

Laney College performance: April 1st @ 2:30 pm

[click here for more information about Laney College performances]

The Baltimore Waltz

Begins March 22, 2017

Paula Vogel’s fantastical satire takes us on a whirlwind odyssey through Paris, Amsterdam, Munich and Vienna in search of romance and a cure.  Part heartfelt tribute and part political indictment, this groundbreaking work from the beloved Pulitzer Prize winner was given its West Coast premiere at Magic in 1992.

Meet the Playwright

How I Learned to Drive, The Long Christmas Ride Home (The Vineyard); Don Juan Comes Home from Iraq (Wilma Theater); A Civil War Christmas (Long Wharf, New York Theatre Workshop); The Mineola Twins (Roundabout); Hot ‘n’ Throbbing (A.R.T., Signature Theatre); The Baltimore Waltz, Desdemona, And Baby Makes Seven (Circle Rep); The Oldest Profession (Signature Theatre). Awards include the Pulitzer Prize, two Obies, the NY Drama Critics Circle, Theatre Hall of Fame, Dramatists Guild Lifetime Achievement, and The Thornton Wilder Award. She is most honored by three awards given in her name: the Paula Vogel Award at the American Theatre College Festival, the Paula Vogel mentorship program for Philadelphia Young Playwrights, and the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award given by the Vineyard Theatre. After teaching for 30 years at Brown University and Yale School of Drama, she now conducts workshops at theatres, schools, and community organizations. Upcoming projects: Jitterbugging and the War Effort (Long Wharf), Baby Girl, a musical theatre work with Matt Gould, and the book, How to Bake A Play.

Text Link

World Premiere

written by Han Ong
directed by Loretta Greco


Begins May 31, 2017

It’s a homecoming for MacArthur Genius award winner Han Ong, who returns to Magic after a 25 year hiatus. Grandeur imagines a meeting between an ambitious young journalist and the shape-shifting music legend, Gil Scott-Heron. Questions of legacy, art, hope, and redemption drive this funny and gut-wrenching exchange.

Meet the Playwright

Han Ong is a novelist and playwright. His novels are Fixer Chao (Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2001), which was named a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year and cited as a new immigrant classic by the New York Times; and The Disinherited (Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2004), nominated for a Lambda Book Award. Among Ongʼ s more than three dozen plays are The L.A. Plays (1990), The Chang Fragments (1996), Middle Finger (1997), and The Suitcase Trilogy (1992–97). They have been widely produced in the US in such venues as the Joseph Papp Public Theater (New York), Berkeley Repertory Theater (Berkeley, California), the Mark Taper Forum (Los Angeles, California) and the American Repertory Theater (Cambridge, Massachusetts), as well as abroad, at Londonʼ s Almeida Theater. Ong is one of the youngest recipients of the MacArthur Fellowship, awarded to him in 1997, when he was 29. He has also received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. Born in the Philippines to Chinese parents, he immigrated to the US with his family as a teenager. He lives in New York city. He has been a guest lecturer at Columbia University and Long Island University and has taught playwriting for several years at New Yorkʼ s 92nd Street Y.

Magic Lab

For Magic Theatre Subscribers Only

Have you ever wondered how a play gets from the page to the stage? The 2016 Virgin Play Festival is an exclusive insider's look at writing in the making! Showcasing young playwrights working side-by-side with Magic's family of mid-career writers, 2016 will feature work in progress from Christina Anderson, Dipika Guha and John Kolvenbach among many others.

Every subscription includes tickets to the Virgin Play Series

Subscribers Only Schedule

Friday, Dec. 2 - 8pm
You Got Older by Clare Barron

Saturday, Dec. 3 - 8pm
How to Catch Creation by Christina Anderson

Sunday, Dec. 4 - 2:30pm
Eva Trilogy by Barbara Hammond

Tuesday, Dec. 6 - 7pm
No One is Forgotten by Winter Miller

Wednesday, Dec. 7 - 8pm
Go. Please. Go. by Emily Feldman

Thursday, Dec. 8 - 8pm
Reel to Reel by John Kolvenbach

Dates Open to Subscribers and the Public

Tuesday, Dec. 13 - POSTPONED • Stay Tuned
Hoodwinked by Emily Mann

Wednesday, Dec. 14 - 2:30pm
Untitled play by Dipika Guha

Clare Barron

You Got Older // Friday, Dec. 2 - 8pm

When her dad gets sick at the same moment her life implodes, Mae moves back to her childhood home. Tender and darkly comic, You Got Older is a meditation on the fragility of ordinary happiness, a new play about family and fantasy—and how we learn to keep going.

Christina Anderson

How to Catch Creation // Saturday, Dec. 3 - 8pm

What would we forgive for those we love? What can we give up for them? Weaving through San Francisco over 40 years How to Catch Creation explores family, connection, and parenthood. A celebration of the power of regeneration this story asks the question—who has the right to start over?

Barbara Hammond

The Eva Trilogy // Sunday, Dec. 4 - 2:30pm

An Irish expat returns home from her rebellious life in Paris. A reunion with her mother forces her to make a choice that has irreparable consequences. We move through time and space, the mundane and the magical to celebrate a woman unbound by social constraint. Spanning thirty years The Eva Trilogy asks how do you stand up for what you know to be true when the world asks you to compromise?

Winter Miller

No One is Forgotten // Tuesday, Dec. 6 - 7pm

A woman. A man. Indefinite time. Their lives filled with un-answerable questions, two people create a whole world in the confines of captivity. No One is Forgotten celebrates the power of intimacy, imagination, and the radical resilience of the human spirit.

Emily Feldman

Go. Please. Go. // Wednesday, Dec. 7 - 8pm

A couple decides: This isn’t working. He says he’ll leave, and then he doesn’t. He stays and stays and stays. Through seventy years of marriages, bar mitzvahs, baptisms, and funerals, he stays. People get drunk. People get sober. People plan vacations. People die. Somebody wins the lottery. A baby grows up. Everybody dances. GO. PLEASE. GO. asks what it means to love somebody for a lifetime, and what a lifetime even means.

John Kolvenbach

Reel to Reel // Thursday, Dec. 8 - 8pm

What does it sound like when you fall in love? Moving through time and space, sound and word, Reel to Reel presents a collage of sounds, a spliced portrait of a life together. This is an aural history, a love story told over fifty-five years and three months.

Emily Mann

Hoodwinked // Tuesday, Dec. 13 - POSTPONED • Stay Tuned

Drawing from interviews, transcripts and other primary sources Hoodwinked is a riveting exploration of Islamic extremism sparked by the 2009 mass shooting on the Army base in Fort Hood, Texas. Urgent and difficult, the play asks how we make sense of the questions, confusion and misinformation surrounding one of the most pressing issues of our time. 


Questions? Call 415.441.8822 or send an email to: