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I’m Jonah Engel Bromwich, filling in this week for Mike McPhate, who is on vacation. Today’s introduction comes to us from Scott Heller, the deputy Arts & Leisure editor and theater editor.
Christopher Ashley has been the artistic director of the La Jolla Playhouse since 2007. The first show he directed there, “Memphis,” went on to win the Tony Award for Best Musical. And on Sunday, Mr. Ashley won a Tony for his direction of the 9/11-inspired “Come from Away,” another musical that made its debut at the theater (in a coproduction with Seattle Repertory Theater). The show was nominated for seven awards over all, including Best Musical.
Next season the La Jolla production of “Junk,” a look at high finance by the Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhtar, will open on Broadway; “Escape to Margaritaville,” a Jimmy Buffett musical on stage in San Diego now, will arrive in New York in the spring.
We checked in with Mr. Ashley before he took his seat for the ceremony at Radio City Music Hall.
What does a La Jolla audience like in a production?
We have very smart, very inquisitive audiences and they like to be there at the birth of something new, whether a play or a new musical. Our talkbacks are passionate, and our audiences track what happens to shows that start with us.
Why do you think “Come from Away” has resonated so much?
Americans have such strong feelings around 9/11. People can tell you exactly where they were, not just on that Tuesday, but on that Wednesday, that Thursday. Everybody wants to tell you their story at the stage door.
What’s striking about the show is how quickly and seamlessly it moves. Is that a hallmark of your directorial style?
I really hate boring an audience. Velocity is always a thing in my work.
“Escape to Margaritaville” is on your stage now and you have a Donna Summer musical coming up. Are you a Parrothead or a disco fan?
I was not cool enough to spend a lot of time in discos as a teenager, but disco was dead center as the music of my teenage years. Jimmy Buffett music I have always loved, but I was not one of those people who could quote the lyrics to 150 of his songs. But meeting the hard-core Parrotheads has been an amazing experience. Their capacity for joy and for being the life of the party is absolute.
(Please note: We regularly highlight articles on news sites that have limited access for nonsubscribers.)
• Thousands of people filled the streets of Hollywood and West Hollywood to participate in a human rights march that this year replaced the L.A. Pride parade. [Los Angeles Times]
• Uber’s board of directors met to discuss a leave of absence for Travis Kalanick, the company’s chief executive. [The New York Times]
• More than a month after the Trump administration purged data tracking climate change from the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, San Francisco and 11 other cities planned to publish the numbers themselves. [San Francisco Chronicle]
• Tom Steyer, the Democratic megadonor and environmental activist, said Congress should begin impeachment proceedings for President Trump. [The Sacramento Bee]
• The rock climber Alex Honnold, who scaled El Capitan without ropes earlier this summer, is a peerless outdoor performance artist. [Opinion|The New York Times]
• A former shift manager for Amazon in the Bay Area filed a lawsuit against the company accusing it of failing to pay him overtime wages. [The New York Times]
• A 43-year-old Navy man was killed and his cousin wounded in a seemingly unprovoked shooting at Horton Plaza late Saturday, San Diego police said. [The San Diego Union Tribune]
• The Los Angeles County Museum of Art started a Kickstarter campaign to fund a tiny egg-shaped gallery’s journey from Guatemala City to Los Angeles. [The New York Times]
• The Lake Tahoe area saw unseasonably cold and stormy weather over the weekend. [SFGate]
• The Warriors hope to shore up their defense in Game 5 of the N.B.A. Finals on Monday. [San Francisco Chronicle]
On Tuesday, the Race Across America kicks off in Oceanside. The 3,000 mile ultramarathon cycle race takes competitors through 12 states and ends in Annapolis, Md.
The 25th annual Pasadena Chalk Festival begins on Saturday, uniting hundreds of street painters who will spend the weekend creating beautiful murals.
The first Boots and Brews country music festival is Saturday in Santa Clarita, featuring performances from Easton Corbin and Maddie and Tae, among others.
Fifty years ago this week, Jimi Hendrix lit his guitar on fire, Janis Joplin put on a showstopping performance and a full complement of rock ’n’ roll luminaries descended on the central coast.
It was the inaugural go-round of the Monterey International Pop Festival. And with performances from The Who, The Grateful Dead, Simon & Garfunkel, Otis Redding and Jefferson Airplane, it was a gathering that set a remarkably high standard for what a rock festival could be.
The festival’s anniversary will be celebrated this weekend at the Monterey fairgrounds. But in a saturated festival environment, it’s safe to say that no one is expecting this weekend’s festivities to match the excitement of the original.
Writing about that first event earlier this year, The Times’s Ben Sisario called it “the blueprint for the explosion of rock festivals that culminated in Woodstock.”
“With its crowds of face-painted hippies and slogan of “music, love and flowers,” Monterey defined the look, spirit and sound of the Summer of Love,” he wrote.
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California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.