Arts & Entertainment

Pasadena Playhouse Announces Spring 2019 New Works Festivals in Partnership with Caltech and USC

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Pasadena Playhouse, State Theatre of California, continues their exciting partnerships with Caltech Theatre and the USC School of Dramatic Arts this Spring, with MACH 33: The Caltech|Pasadena Playhouse Festival of New Science Driven Plays, presented by Caltech Theater and Pasadena Playhouse May 9 -11 and the New Works Festival Year 3 May 17-18, presented by USC School of Dramatic Arts and hosted by Pasadena Playhouse. These plays are part of Playhouse community programming. Danny Feldman is the Producing Artistic Director of Pasadena Playhouse.

MACH 33: The Caltech│Pasadena Playhouse Festival of New Science-Driven Plays energizes the conversations about scientific, mathematical, and technological questions by staging readings of new, unpublished, unproduced plays. The readings are open to the public and present a discussion with Caltech/JPL scientific panelists after the show. The casts and crews feature professional actors and directors as well as students and members of the Caltech/JPL community. Festival playwrights have the unique opportunity to work with science advisors from Caltech and JPL and dramaturgs from the around the country.

The plays for MACH 33 are Bones of the Sea, written by James Armstrong and directed by Satya Bhabha, Thursday, May 9 at 7 p.m.; Sizzle, Sizzle, Fly, written by Susan Bernstein and directed by Rhonda, Friday, May 10 at 7 p.m.; and The Surest Person, written by Kristin Idaszak and directed by Randee Trabitz, Saturday, May 11 at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $15; Pasadena Playhouse members and students are $10. Tickets for MACH 33 are available at or by calling (626) 356-7529.

USC School of Dramatic Arts New Works Festival Year 3 are the thesis plays of the graduating MFA in Dramatic Writing cohort and are presented as concert readings with professional actors and directors. NWF Year 3 is a partnership with Pasadena Playhouse’s Playworks, a continuation of the theatre’s 100-year commitment to cultivating playwrights and original works.

The plays for New Works Festival Year 3 are Red Gene, written by Mariana Carrena-King and directed by Elisa Bocanegra, Friday, May 17 at 8 p.m.; Journey to Alice, written by Aja Houston and directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera, Saturday, May 18 at 2 p.m.; and The Color of Blood, written by Gideon Wabvuta and directed by Stewart J. Zully, Saturday, May 18 at 8 p.m.

Tickets are free, with exclusive access to Members only and are available at or by calling (626) 356-7529. Limit two tickets per order.

More about MACH 33: The Caltech│Pasadena Playhouse Festival of New Science-Driven Plays:

Bones of the Sea

Bones of the Sea tells the true story of Mary Anning, a working-class woman in Dorset, England, who helped to revolutionize the field of paleontology in the 19th century. In flashbacks, the audience sees various scenes of the self-taught Anning and the wealthy scientist Henry De la Beche as the two forge an unlikely friendship that lasts through fame and glory, disappointment and heartbreak.

James Armstrong (Playwright): Armstrong’s plays have been performed by Detroit Repertory Theatre, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, the Abingdon Theatre Company, and other professional theaters. James wrote the books for the new musicals Ordinary Island and Keep On Walkin’, the latter of which won the Anna Zornio Children’s Theatre Playwriting Award. Armstrong has an MFA in Dramatic Writing from the Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama and is a member of the Dramatists Guild.

Sizzle, Sizzle, Fly

Frances “Poppy” Northcutt, a math whiz working at Mission Control as a “computress,” finds flaws in some unruly code, is promoted to technical staff – and becomes the first woman to slip on the headset as a NASA engineer. It’s December 1968, the cusp of a new world, she’s 25 years old, favors mini-skirts, eyeliner, and long blonde hair, Apollo 8 has gone behind the moon, and Poppy Northcutt holds her breath as the world changes faster than her return-to-earth trajectories can splash those dudes back down. Sizzle, Sizzle Fly is a Rewrite Commission from EST/Sloan Project.

The Surest Poison

Prohibition is in full swing, but New York City is still celebrating New Year’s Eve in style—with a batch of poisoned hooch and an immigrant woman’s murder by cyanide. Cue Alexander Gettler, an obsessive chemist whose research helped create the modern field of forensic toxicology. With help from Lipstick, an intrepid flapper and indefatigable reporter who mistakes his laboratory for a speakeasy, Gettler must try to catch a murderer and convince the federal government to stop poisoning alcohol. Inspired by the real life work of Gettler and pioneering journalist Lois Long, The Surest Poison chronicles the dark side of the noble experiment. The Surest Poison is an  EST/The Sloan Foundation commission.

Red Gene

Leticia fails conversion therapy and is locked up in her mother’s basement. Rose, a government representative, gets accidentally locked up with her. By the time Bruno comes for a visit, a revolution might be brewing outside. Will anyone be able to escape?

Journey to Alice

While flying cross-country with her mother to a wedding, Lynè has encounters with the unexpected and inexplicable, which threaten Lynè’s struggle to hold her world together.

The Color of Blood

In war-torn 1978 colonial Rhodesia, Chegidi, a 19-year-old guerilla fighter struggles to find her space and assert herself amongst a squadron of man on a mission to cripple and sabotage the Rhodesian government.

For more information visit

April 10, 2019

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