Stage Shows

Pulitzer Prize Winner Martyna Majok’s ‘Queens’ Comes to La Jolla Playhouse

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Martyna Majok, playwright of La Jolla Playhouse’s west coast premiere of Queens

La Jolla Playhouse continues its fifth season in a row of all new work with Queens, a poignant new play by 2018 Pulitzer Prize winner Martyna Majok and directed by Carey Perloff, former American Conservatory Theatre Artistic Director.

In 2017, a young immigrant arrives at a tenement in Queens, New York. She is met by her new landlord, who stood on the same doorstep 16 years earlier. As they get to know one another, the old brownstone reverberates with the voices of the fierce and proud women who preceded them. Hailed by The New York Times as “thrilling…delivering emotion and surprise with empathy and wit,” this timely piece is a moving study of the things we run from and toward, and the people who shepherd us along the way.

The cast features Jolly Abraham (Off-Broadway’s Cost of Living) as “Aamani/Yara,” Leslie Fray (TV’s Elementary) as “Pelagiya/Dragana,” Rae Gray (TV’sFear the Walking Dead) as “Inna,” Brenda Meaney (Off-Broadway’s Party Face) as “Renia,” Melissa Miller (Roundabout Theatre’s Tartuffe) as “Agata/Lera” and Xochitl Romero (Playhouse’s Kill Local) as “Isabella/Glenys.”

“We are deeply honored to host this exquisite new play by Martyna Majok, fresh off winning the Pulitzer Prize,” said Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley. “Searing, powerful and compassionate, Queens explores the contemporary immigrant experience and the cost of leaving behind a life in one country for the tenuous promise of something better in another.”

Martyna Majok won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play Cost of Living. Her plays have been presented at Williamstown Theatre Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Steppenwolf Theatre, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater/WP Theater, The O’Neill and The Kennedy Center, among others. Awards include The Lanford Wilson Award, Helen Merrill Emerging Playwright Award, Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding Original New Play (Helen Hayes Award), David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize, New York Theatre Workshop’s 2050 Fellowship, The Kennedy Center’s Jean Kennedy Smith Prize and NNPN/Smith Prize for Political Playwriting. She received her B.A. from the University of Chicago and her M.F.A. from Yale School of Drama, Juilliard. Commissions include Lincoln Center Theater, Bush Theatre in London, Geffen Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, South Coast Rep and Manhattan Theatre Club. Majok was the 2015–2016 PoNY (Playwrights of New York) Fellow at the Lark Play Development Center and is a 2018/19 Hodder Fellow at Princeton University.

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Brenda Meaney (left) as “Renia” and Rae Gray as “Inna” in La Jolla Playhouse’s west coast premiere of Queens, by Martyna Majok, directed by Carey Perloff, running July 3 – 29; photo by Jim Carmody.

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