Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Jon Tenney, Tessa Auberjonois, John de Lancie, Emily Ruth James and Kwana Martinez in World Premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s MR. WOLF at South Coast Repertory through May 3; SCR Podcast features the playwright’s inspiration

Playwright Rajiv Joseph on the set of his new play, "Describe the Night" at the Shubert Theatre in New York on November 21, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Playwright Rajiv Joseph on the set of his new play, “Describe the Night” at the Shubert Theatre in New York on November 21, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Playwright Rajiv Joseph is one of the nation’s hottest new playwrights—as well as screenwriter and other credits. South Coast Repertory commissioned him to write a theatre piece and the resulting play, Mr. Wolf, has its world premiere at South Coast Repertory, April 12-May 3, 2015, directed by Founding Artistic Director David Emmes.  In this conversation with SCR Associate Artistic Director John Glore, Joseph talks about writing, inspiration and his new play. Opening night is April 17, 2015.

This production is part of the Pacific Playwrights Festival. Tickets are available at www.scr.org.  South Coast Repertory is located at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa.

Here’s the set-up: The universe is vast, but 15-year-old Theresa seeks to understand how and why it came to be. Her guide in that quest is a man named Mr. Wolf. But when we meet her, the only life she has ever known is coming to an end. When the center of her world disappears, she must come to terms with how to find her place in it.

“Rajiv deftly examines the cost of being lost and being found, and he does this with strong and beautiful writing,” said Artistic Director Marc Masterson.

The cast for Mr. Wolf includes Tessa Auberjonois, John de Lancie, Emily Ruth James, Kwana Martinez and Jon Tenney.

Emily James and John de Lancie in South Coast Repertory's 2015 world premiere of Mr. Wolf by Rajiv Joseph. Photo by Ben Horak/SCR.

Emily James and John de Lancie in South Coast Repertory’s 2015 world premiere of Mr. Wolf by Rajiv Joseph. Photo by Ben Horak/SCR.

The design and creative team includes Nephelie Andonyadis, scenic design; Leah Piehl, costume design; Lap Chi Chu, lighting design; Cricket Myers, sound design; and John Glore, dramaturg. The show’s production manager is Joshua Marchesi and the stage manager is Sue Karutz.

Rajiv Joseph came to national attention when his celebrated hit Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo became a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and received an Outstanding New American Play Award from the National Endowment for the Arts. With direction by Moisés Kaufman, Bengal Tiger was a sensational hit at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles in 2009 and moved to the Mark Taper Forum in 2010 where the New York Times described it as a “boldly imagined, harrowing and surprisingly funny drama.” The show made its Broadway debut starring Robin Williams in March 2011. Joseph’s other plays include Gruesome Playground Injuries, All This Intimacy, and Animals Out of Paper (all at Second Stage Theatre); The Leopard and the Fox (adaptation, Alter Ego); Huck & Holden (Cherry Lane Theatre); The North PoolThe Lake Effect; and Guards at the Taj. He is the book writer and co-lyricist for the musical, Fly. Joseph also wrote for the Showtime series “Nurse Jackie” for its third and fourth seasons and was the co- screenwriter of the film Draft Day, which was released last year, starring Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner. He earned a bachelor of arts in creative writing from Miami University and a master of fine arts in playwriting from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He served for three years in the Peace Corps in Senegal, West Africa. Joseph was named a 2010 Rockefeller Fellow by United States Artists. He is the recipient of the Lucille Lortel Award, the Whiting Award, the Glickman Award, the 2013 Equity Jeff Award for The Lake Effect, produced by Silk Road Rising in Chicago and the prestigious 2013 Steinberg Playwright Award from the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. Guards at the Taj was awarded the 2015 Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award, given annually for an unproduced, full-length play of social relevance by an emerging American playwright.

Tickets start at $22. Discounts are available for full-time students, patrons 25 years of age and under, fulltime educators, seniors and groups of 10 or more. For complete information, visit: www.scr.org.

Mr. Wolf is generously supported by The Playwrights Circle.

Tickets: May be purchased online at www.scr.org, by phone at (714) 708-5555 or by visiting the box office at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. Performances run through May 3. Ticket prices start at $22. Low-priced preview performances run April 12-16.

Performance Dates, Times:

  • Previews
    • Sunday, April 12 at 2 p.m.
    • Tuesday-Thursday, April 14-16 7:45 p.m.
      Note: Friday, April 17, is an invitation-only performance
  • Regular performances
    Special notes: There are no Monday performances. There is no evening performance on Sunday, May 3.
  • Evenings:
    • Saturday and Sunday, April 18-19 and April, 25-26, at 7:45 p.m.
    • Tuesday-Friday, April 21-24, April 28-May 1, at 7:45 p.m.
  • Matinees:
    • Saturdays-Sundays, April 18-19, April 25-26, and May 2-3, at 2 p.m.
  • ASL-interpreted: Saturday, May 2, at 2 p.m.

Special Events:

  • Post-Show Discussions: Tuesday, April 21, and Wednesday, April 22. Discuss the play with cast members of Mr. Wolf during free post-show discussions led by South Coast Repertory’s literary team. Julianne Argyros Stage.
  • Inside the Season: Saturday, May 2, from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Led by members of SCR’s literary staff, this lively two-hour session features in-depth interviews with cast members and artists from SCR’s production staff, revealing secrets and offering insights into SCR’s production of Mr. Wolf. The event includes a guided tour of the set. Julianne Argyros Stage. Tickets are $12 and may be purchased in advance or at the door.

Location: South Coast Repertory is located at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa, at the Bristol Street/Avenue of the Arts exit off the San Diego (405) Freeway in the David Emmes/Martin Benson Theatre Center, part of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Parking is available on Park Center Drive, off Anton Boulevard.

Current and Upcoming ProductionsOf Good Stock by Melissa Ross, March 27-April 26; Mr. Wolf by Rajiv Joseph, April 12-May 3; Theatre Movement Bazaar’s BIG SHOT: A.K.A. This is Not the Godfather, April 22-May3; Peter and the Starcatcher by Rick Elice, May 8-June 7; and OZ 2.5 by Catherine Trieschmann, May 22-June 7. The 18th annual Pacific Playwrights Festival runs April 24-26. More information is available online: www.scr.org.


ABOUT SOUTH COAST REPERTORY: Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, founded in 1964 by David Emmes and Martin Benson and now under the leadership of Artistic Director Marc Masterson and Managing Director Paula Tomei, is widely recognized as one of the leading professional theatres in the United States. While its productions represent a balance of classic and modern theatre, SCR is renowned for its extensive new-play development program, which includes the nation’s largest commissioning program for emerging and established writers. Of SCR’s 487 productions, one-quarter have been world premieres. SCR-developed works have garnered two Pulitzer Prizes and eight Pulitzer nominations, several Obie Awards and scores of major new-play awards. Located in Costa Mesa, Calif., SCR is home to the 507-seat Segerstrom Stage, the 336-seat Julianne Argyros Stage and the 94-seat Nicholas Studio.

Related Articles:
Jon Tenney, Tessa Auberjonois, John de Lancie, Emily Ruth James and Kwana Martinez Set for World Premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s MR. WOLF at South Coast Repertory, April 12-May 3
Playwright Rajiv Joseph wins Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award for New Play GUARDS AT THE TAJ; Set for World Premiere at Atlantic Theater Company in May 
Tony Award® Nominees Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed to star in Rajiv Joseph’s GUARDS AT THE TAJ, helmed by Amy Morton, at Atlantic Theater Company, May 20-June 28
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley presents Rajiv Joseph’s THE LAKE EFFECT Starring Adam Poss, Nilanjana Bose, Jason Bowen through March 29
Jaime Castañeda to Helm Rajiv Joseph’s GUARDS AT THE TAJ at La Jolla Playhouse, February 2-28, 2016
The Old Globe Presents World Premiere of Christopher Gattelli Helmed IN YOUR ARMS Featuring Vignettes written by David Henry Hwang, Rajiv Joseph, Douglas Carter Beane, Nilo Cruz, Christopher Durang, Carrie Fisher, Terrence McNally, Marsha Norman, Lynn Nottage, and Alfred Uhry, September 16 – October 25
NYU Theatrical Production Presents the World Premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s Describe the Night in the Shubert Theatre at Tisch School of the Arts through November 24
Nov. 19-24: NYU Theatrical Production Presents the World Premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s Describe the Night in the Shubert Theatre at Tisch School of the Arts
East West Players’ Los Angeles Premiere of “Animals Out of Paper” by Rajiv Joseph, Featuring C.S. Lee and Tess Lina, Opens Sept. 10, 2014
Dec. 16: Award Winning Playwrights Rajiv Joseph and Tarell Alvin McCraney, the focus of PBS Film, Playwright: From Page to Stage
Photos: David Henry Hwang, Annie Baker and Rajiv Joseph honored at Sixth Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards
Nov. 18: David Henry Hwang, Annie Baker and Rajiv Joseph to be honored at Sixth Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards
Photos: André De Shields, Michael Shannon, Rajiv Joseph, Christine Sherrill, Doug Peck, Alexis J. Rogers, Karen Ziemba and More Celebrate 2013 Jeff Equity Awards

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