Diversionary Theatre in San Diego and the Nation's 3rd Oldest LGBTQ+ Theatre Announces 36th Season

 In-Person performances set to start in September 2021 at the Historic Diversionary Theatre

Diversionary Theatre announces HOMECOMING, their Season 36 lineup of new LGBTQ work. With four new works on The Robert L. Granat and Albert J. Mazur Mainstage exploring how our LGBTQ family defines home, Diversionary welcomes the community back to their newly renovated theatre home, and their new social and performance venue The Austin & Joann Clark Cabaret. 

Season 36 features two World Premieres and two West Coast Premieres by daring, emergent LGBTQ theatre makers spinning stories with love, rage, honesty, humor, and hope to discover how we find home in others and ourselves. 

About Diversionary's 2021-2022 lineup, Executive Artistic Director Matt M. Morrow's says,"We're ecstatic to welcome our community home to our theatre on 4545 Park Blvd after a major renovation to our historic theatre! Our 36th Season at Diversionary features fearless writers transmitting the heart of our collective LGBTQ experience with compassion, insight, and gentle wisdom. These writers will both soothe your soul and attune your senses to the urgency of our present moment. Join us for all four of these extraordinary new queer works, and stick around to discuss them over a drink in our new Clark Cabaret!"

By Donja R. Love
Directed by Delicia Turner Sonnenberg

September 23-October 24, 2021 // Opening October 2nd

Three men wait. When one is chosen, the trio must embark on telling a story of life inside a long-ignored epidemic. With joy, humor, and unbridled truth, Donja Love’s urgent and spontaneous new work drills through the statistics to give voice to what it means to be black, queer, and HIV positive in a way only a live theatrical experience can deliver.   

Donja R. Love (he/him/his) is an Afro-Queer playwright, poet, and filmmaker from Philadelphia. He writes specifically about Black and Queer folx for Black and Queer folx. He is the recipient of the 2018 Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award, the 2017 Princess Grace Playwriting Award. He’s also the Lark’s 2016 Van Lier New Voices Playwriting Fellow, The Playwrights Realm’s 2016/2017 Writing Fellow, and the 2011 Philadelphia Adult Grand Slam Poetry Champion. He’s had productions at Manhattan Theatre Club (Sugar in Our Wounds) and Atlantic Theater Company (Fireflies). He’s the co-host of Off Book, a podcast on Black theatre; and the co-founder of The Each-Other Project, an organization that helps build community and provide visibility, through art and advocacy, for LGBTQ People of Color. Training: Juilliard's Playwrights Program.


By C.Quintana
Directed by Maria Patrice Amon

November 18-December 19, 2021 // Opening November 27

Memories of Yadra’s childhood in Castro’s Cuba come flooding back as Alzheimer’s sets in, inspiring her daughter Zelia to connect with her heritage. With her wife by her side, Zelia sets out on a journey to excavate family secrets and discover a love that led her mother’s beloved tía-abuela to remain in Cuba. Spanning two countries and three generations, Azul fuses music and memory to explore a romance for the ages and the true language of love.

C. QUINTANA, or CQ (she/her, any) is a queer writer with Cuban and Louisiana roots. There is "other" and "in-between" in all of us; CQ tells stories that mine the misconception of dissimilarity and proclaim, "You are not alone." ​ Her plays and musicals have been developed and produced with companies including Barrington Stage Company, Southern Rep, INTAR, Lark Play Development Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Astoria Performing Arts Center, and more. Her play Scissoring is published and available for licensing via Dramatists Play Service and a monologue from AZUL, which was featured on the 2017 Kilroys List and had its world premiere at Southern Rep as part of the 2019 Tennessee Williams/Saints and Sinners Literary Festival, is published in The Kilroys List: Volume 2. ​​ She is the recipient of fellowships and residencies from WP Theater, MacDowell (Ernest and Red Heller Fellow), Playwrights Realm, Van Lier/New Voices at The Lark, CubaOne, Queer/Art, and Lambda Literary, as well as commissions from Audible, The Civilians, Palo Alto Playhouse, EST/Alfred P. Sloan Project, Peppercorn Theatre Company, and more. She holds an MFA in Playwriting from Columbia University.

by Miranda Rose Hall
Directed by Kym Pappas

February 17-March 20, 2022 // Opening February 26

In this triptych of love, lust, and domestic terrorism, a joyous romp through lesbian erotic fiction collides with one of the darkest hours in U.S. history. This thrilling new play from the author of The Hour of Great Mercy (Winner: Outstanding New Play, 2019 San Diego Critics Circle Awards) is a wild ride through the heights of fantasy and the depths of horror to confront a country at war with itself, and discover how to heal after tragedy.

Miranda Rose Hall (she/her/hers) is a playwright from Baltimore, MD. Her plays include Plot Points in Our Sexual Development (LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater, finalist for the 2019 Lambda Literary Award in Drama), The Hour of Great Mercy (Diversionary Theatre, 2019 San Diego Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Play), and The Kind Ones (upcoming Magic Theatre). She is currently under commission from LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater, Yale Repertory Theater, Trinity Repertory Company, and Playwrights Horizons SoundStage. She has developed her work with New York Theater Workshop, Baltimore Center Stage, Woolly Mammoth, The Kennedy Center, Center Theater Group / We the Women, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, The Playwright’s Realm, National New Play Network, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, EnGarde Arts, Provincetown Theater, Two River Theater, Cygnet Theater, Single Carrot Theatre, and the Orchard Project. She is a founding member of LubDub Theatre, a New York-based physical theater company.


Book by Jeremy J. King
Music & Lyrics by Sam Salmond
Based on the novel by David B. Feinberg
Directed by Kevin Newbury
Choreographed by Raja Feather Kelly


May 12-June 12, 2022// Opening May 27

New York City used to be a party town, but 1986 finds everyone paralyzed with fear of AIDS. Everyone, that is, except BJ Rosenthal, who’s determined to keep the party going. When an ex-lover becomes ill, BJ is forced to face the nightmare enveloping him and redefine his life. Based on the celebrated novel of its time and set to a soaring pop score pulsating with joy and heart wrenching melodies, Eighty-Sixed unearths an epidemic that shook the world to reveal a community’s ferocious fight to reclaim its future.

Sam Salmond (he/him/his) a Jonathan Larson Award- winning composer, lyricist, and bookwriter.  His musical Mother, Me and the Monsters (a Boston Globe Critic’s Pick) was produced at Barrington Stage. His children’s musical, The Dot went on a multi-year Theatreworks USA national tour. He wrote book and lyrics for Dust & Embers  (A Penn State Commission). He’s the creator of Uncool: the Party (CAP21 and MTF). He’s also currently writing music and lyrics for The Homefront (2019 Workshop Production at The Village Theatre). Sam’s work has been featured at Lincoln Center, Ars Nova, Joe's Pub, 54 Below, The Town Hall and all around the country. He’s an alumnus of NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, a 2018 SPACE on Ryder Farm resident and a 2017-18 Dramatists Guild Fellow.

Jeremy J. King (he/him/his) grew up on the Jersey Shore and graduated from Marymount Manhattan College with a degree in Theatre Arts. He lived an actor’s life for several years before transitioning to writing. As a novelist, Jeremy has released three young adult titles with "Bold Strokes Books" (In Stone, Night Creatures, and Dark Rites), which have been listed in Advocate’s “Top 10 Books for Young LGBT Folks and Anyone Who Wants to Understand Them,” recommended by the American Library Association’s GLBT Round Table, and nominated for the Rainbow Award in fantasy. His dramatic work includes the librettos for Eighty-Sixed and Creature, as well as other works for the stage and screen. Jeremy is a 2018 Dramatist Guild Foundation Fellow, Affiliated Artist with Musical Theatre Factory, and a 2018 Resident at SPACE on Ryder Farm.

Kevin Newbury (he/him/his) has directed over 70 original theatre, opera, and film projects. Recent world premiere highlights include Fellow Travelers (“One of the Best Classical Music Events of 2016” by The New York Times), The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs (2019 GRAMMY Award Winner), Kansas City Choir Boy (starring Courtney Love: NYC, Boston, LA and Miami), Doubt (Minnesota Opera, PBS’ Great Performances), Bel Canto (Lyric Opera of Chicago, PBS’ Great Performances), Oscar (Santa Fe Opera and Opera Philadelphia), the Pulitzer Prize-winning Life Is A Dream (Santa Fe Opera), The Good Swimmer (BAM Next Wave Festival), and The Ninth Hour at Met Live Arts. Kevin's production of Virginia for the Wexford Opera Festival won the 2010 Irish Times Theatre Award for Best New Opera Production. His long association with the work of Leonard Bernstein includes directing Candide with the Philadelphia Orchestra (starring Bradley Cooper) and Bernstein’s MASS 6 times.

Raja Feather Kelly (he/him/his) is an Obie-winning choreographer, a director, the artistic director of the feath3r theory, and a Creative Associate at The Juilliard School. In 2020, Kelly made his directorial debut at New York City's Second Stage Theatre with We're Gonna Die. Since 2016, Raja has choreographed extensively for Off-Broadway theatre in New York City, most notably for Signature Theatre, Soho Rep, New York Theatre Workshop, and Playwrights Horizons Frequent collaborators include: Lileana Blain-Cruz, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Sarah Benson, and Lila Neugebauer. Other theatre credits include choreography for Skittles Commercial: The Musical (Town Hall), The Chronicles of Cardigan and Khente (SohoRep), Everyday Afroplay (JACK), GURLS (Princeton University, Yale Repertory Theatre), Electric Lucifer (The Kitchen), Lempicka (Williamstown Theatre Festival), The House That Will Not Stand (New York Theatre Workshop), Fireflies (Atlantic Theatre Company), If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka (Playwrights Horizons, nominated for the 2019 Lucille Lortel Award and the 2019 Chita Rivera Award for Outstanding Choreography), The Good Swimmer (BAM), and Faust (Opera Omaha). Most recent work: Fairview (SDCF Joe A. Callaway Award finalist for choreography; Soho Rep, Berkeley Rep, TFANA, and winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama), A Strange Loop (Obie Award winner and SDCF Callaway finalist for choreography; Playwrights Horizons, winner of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Drama).

And Introducing
The Austin & Joann Clark Cabaret

Diversionary is thrilled to open it’s NEW Austin & Joann Clark Cabaret! Lovingly referred to as The Clark Cabaret, Diversionary welcomes its community into its theatrical home six nights a week to enjoy a cocktail and community in a piano bar atmosphere complete with performances by beloved local favorites. 

The Clark Cabaret features a full bar and a permanent historical display created in partnership with LAMBDA Archives of San Diego commemorating the space in the tradition of the iconic “Gay Bar” where the LGBTQ+ community and movement coalesced.   

Also New at Diversionary:

Diversionary is proud to welcome patrons back to their newly renovated Robert L. Granat & Alfred J. Mazur Mainstage. The seats and the stage are larger for your comfort and viewing pleasure, and the air is cleaned through the addition of a MERV-14 filtration system.  

Additional Improvements include: 
  • The Reuel K. Olin New Play Development Center for rehearsals, workshops, and staged readings. 
  • The Randy Clark & Tom Maddox, MD Education Center is Diversionary’s new shared space with LAMBDA Archives, and is home to our flourishing work in arts education and community outreach. 
  • Newly improved and upgraded restrooms with hands-free safety features.

The Future is Bright: Arts Education @ Diversionary

Diversionary Arts Education sows the seeds of love and understanding around our LGBTQ-centered mission. Diversionary engages thousands of young people and senior citizens across San Diego and the country with progressive arts education programs, and all are 100% FREE of charge.

  • The Student Matinee Series brings in middle and high school students from across San Diego County to attend our Mainstage shows, reaching young people with little or no access to the arts.
  • D-Tours is a partnership with the San Diego Unified School District touring an LGBTQ-themed show to high school campuses across San Diego County. 
  • Kid-Versionary is the after-school program in residence in elementary and middle schools across the city, and focuses on developing self-expression, collaboration, and creativity among students.
  • Teen-Versionary brings together an LGBTQ+A teen ensemble to rehearse and present a new play or musical exploring the LGBTQ+ experience. 
  • The LGBTQ Teen Playwriting Lab is Diversionary’s national program and partnership with Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre in NYC exclusively serving queer teen playwrights through mentorship with accomplished LGBTQ playwrights.  
  • The Silver Squad offers free drop-in classes in theatre arts for the older LGBTQ generation.   
  • The Stonewall Salon brings together a dynamic LGBTQ+A ensemble of older adults to learn acting and writing skills to draft stories based on their personal experiences which are then woven into a performance piece for the entire community.

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