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La Jolla Playhouse celebrates 30 years

The evening featured a standout performance of songs from the Playhouse’s last 30 years by Playhouse alums Elizabeth Stanley, ‘Xanadu,’ ‘Cry-Baby’; Melissa Hoff, ‘Zhivago’; Chad Kimball, ‘Memphis’; Kimiko Glenn, ‘The Nightingale,’ ‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots’; Michael Benjamin Washington, ‘The
The evening featured a standout performance of songs from the Playhouse’s last 30 years by Playhouse alums Elizabeth Stanley, ‘Xanadu,’ ‘Cry-Baby’; Melissa Hoff, ‘Zhivago’; Chad Kimball, ‘Memphis’; Kimiko Glenn, ‘The Nightingale,’ ‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots’; Michael Benjamin Washington, ‘The Wiz,’ ‘Memphis,’ ‘Blueprints to Freedom’; and Max Von Essen, ‘Xanadu.’

The glittering La Jolla Playhouse Gala on March 29 celebrated 30 years of groundbreaking theater at the nationally renowned, Tony Award-winning institution, since the rebirth of the Playhouse on the UC San Diego campus.

Chaired by Debby Jacobs, the sold-out event began with a festive cocktail party, featuring signature spirits and savory treats. Guests then enjoyed a specially prepared, dinner-by-the-bite menu catered by Chef Jeffrey Strauss of Pamplemousse Grille.

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After dinner, Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley and Managing Director Michael S. Rosenberg presented an overview and video of the Playhouse’s illustrious production history season over the past 30 years, including 24 productions that transferred to Broadway, earning 35 Tony Awards.

Taking the stage as the gala’s headline entertainment were six award-winning actors, performing songs from favorite Playhouse productions over the past three decades, including Kimiko Glenn, star of the world-premiere Flaming Lips musical “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots”; Melissa Hoff, from the Playhouse production of “Zhivago”; Tony Award nominee Chad Kimball, who originated the role of Huey Calhoun in the Tony-winning musical “Memphis”; Elizabeth Stanley and Max von Essen, stars of the hit Playhouse musical “Xanadu”; and Michael Benjamin Washington, the Tinman in Des McAnuff’s production of “The Wiz” and playwright for the 2014 DNA New Work Series workshop of “Blueprints to Freedom: An Ode to Bayard Rustin.”

The evening capped off with an after party in the Rao and Padma Makineni Play Development Center featuring late night bites, desserts and dancing to the sounds of the hit band The Mark.

Photos by Daniel Norwood Photography

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