The Ojai Playwrights Conference is presenting “Connections,” a virtual celebration to benefit the OPC 2021 season, on Saturday, June 12 at 5 p.m. Pacific Time/ 8 p.m. Eastern Time. A minimum donation of $20 is requested to watch this special 90-minute show.
The event will feature an impressive line up of playwrights sharing an array of inspiring songs and stories drawing on the theme of ‘connections,’ the necessity for deeper and more sustainable human connections as we move together toward new horizons.
The playwrights, many of whose work has been developed at OPC, include Luis Alfaro, Jon Robin Baitz, Father Greg Boyle, Bill Cain, Culture Clash, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Danai Gurira, Samuel D. Hunter, David Henry Hwang, Julia Izumi, James Morrison and his son Seamus Morrison, Jeanine Tesori and Charlayne Woodard.
A star-studded cast will be announced at a later date.
In speaking of the artistic vision for “Connections,” OPC Artistic Director/Producer Robert Egan said, “I think this last year has taught us all on a viral, racial, political and cultural level that connectivity, community, respect for all life has been put under immense strain. Isolation has taught us the value and necessity of gathering, contact, and interaction on a tactile, human, heart to heart level. With this in mind, I have asked our OPC writers to present scenes or songs on the theme of “Connections” to help inspire renewal and new horizons.”
Luis Alfaro. Internationally acclaimed playwright, performer, educator and MacArthur “Genius” Award recipient, Alfaro has developed several plays at OPC including “No Holds Barrio,” “Holy Road,” “St. Jude” and “My Father’s House” and currently serves on OPC staff as associate producer.
Jon Robin Baitz. Two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist for “Other Desert Cities” and “A Fair Country,” Baitz developed “Other Desert Cities,” along with “Faraway Friends,” “The Paris Letter,” Vicuña, “Chinese Friends” and “I’ll Be Seein’ Ya” at OPC.
Father Greg Boyle. Homeboy Industries founder and author of The New York Times bestseller “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion,” Father Boyle has performed his memorable work at many OPC special events.
Bill Cain. Two-time recipient of the Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award, Cain has developed eight plays at OPC including “Equivocation,” “How to Write a New Book for the Bible, “9 Circles,” “The Last White Man,” “Hasty Pudding,” “30.3 thirty three,” “The Laying On of Hands” and “The Patriots.”
Culture Clash. One of America’s leading Chicano/Latino performance troupes, the ensemble includes writer-comedians Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas and Herbert Sigüenza. Montoya developed “Venice is Dead” with Roger Guenveur Smith at OPC.
Stephen Adly Guirgis. The Pulitzer Prize winning “Between Riverside and Crazy” was developed at OPC, as were Guirgis’ “Motherf**ker with the Hat” and “The Little Flower of East Orange.”
Danai Gurira. Award-winning playwright and actor Gurira starred in Marvel’s 2018 blockbuster “Black Panther.” She has developed two plays at OPC, “In the Continuum,” written with Nikkole Salter, and “Eclipsed.”
David Henry Hwang. Tony Award winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist for “M. Butterfly,” Hwang has participated in and contributed to Ojai Playwright Conference special events.
Samuel D. Hunter. Drama Desk winner for outstanding play and a MacArthur Fellowship recipient, Hunter developed “Greater Clements,” “Rest” and “A Case for the Existence of God” at OPC.
Julia Izumi. Emerging playwright and recipient of OPC’s 2021 Dr. Kerry English Artist Award, Izumi is developing “Regretfully, So the Birds Are” for the current OPC New Works Festival.
James Morrison. Playwright and acclaimed actor of stage and television, Morrison developed his one-man play “Leave Your Fears Here” at OPC.
Seamus Morrison. A senior writing and literature and Spanish double major at the College of Creative Studies at UC Santa Barbara, Morrison is an alumni of the OPC Youth workshop Program.
Jeanine Tesori. Four-time Tony Award nominee for Best Musical Score and Drama Desk and Obie Award winner Tesori developed “Fun Home” with Lisa Kron at OPC.
Charlayne Woodard. Two-time Obie Award winner and Tony Award nominee, Woodard developed three of her plays at OPC including “The Garden,” “The Night Watcher” and “Flight.”
The “Connections” virtual benefit will be available to audiences on June 12 only at https://www.ojaiplays.org/benefit2021/connections. The performance begins at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET.