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La Jolla Playhouse announces new COVID-19 vaccination policy

La Jolla Playhouse
Beginning next month, all patrons of La Jolla Playhouse will have to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative coronavirus test before attending a performance.
(File)

The theater also announces the cast of ‘The Garden’ and promotes Eric Keen-Louie to the new position of executive producer.

Following the lead of many other major theaters around the nation, La Jolla Playhouse last week announced its own COVID-19 vaccination policy, beginning with the first performance of the season next month.

The policy will be in place for all performances through Dec. 31.

All guests must show their ticket, photo identification and proof of full vaccination or a negative PCR coronavirus test within 72 hours of the performance date. Proof requires a vaccination card, a photo of that card or a QR code from California’s digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record, which can be obtained at myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov.

Also, face masks will be required for everyone — including staff, artists and volunteers — inside the theater, lobby and restrooms.

For more information, visit lajollaplayhouse.org/plan-your-visit/covid-safety.

‘The Garden’ cast

Playwright Charlayne Woodard, center, with "The Garden" cast, Stephanie Berry, left, and Monique Gaffney, right.
Playwright Charlayne Woodard (center) stands with La Jolla Playhouse’s “The Garden” cast, Stephanie Berry (left) and Monique Gaffney.
(La Jolla Playhouse)

The playhouse announced the cast for the season-opening production of Charlayne Woodard’s world-premiere play “The Garden,” which opens Tuesday, Sept. 21, and runs through Sunday, Oct. 17, in the playhouse’s Potiker Theatre.

San Diego-raised Monique Gaffney will co-star in the two-character play with Stephanie Berry in a production co-directed by San Diego-based directors Patricia McGregor and Delicia Turner Sonnenberg. It’s the story of two “alpha” women: Claire Rose and her middle-aged daughter, Cassandra. After not speaking to each other for three years, Cassandra shows up at her mother’s garden gate, attempting to reconcile old wounds.

Gaffney is a resident artist at Cygnet Theatre and a recipient of the Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowship. In 2012, she received the San Diego Foundation’s Creative Catalyst Fund Individual Artist Fellowship with La Jolla Playhouse to develop a multimedia piece on the life of Henrietta Lacks. She will dedicate her performance in “The Garden” to her late father, Floyd Gaffney, who helped found the Department of Theatre & Dance at UC San Diego.

Playhouse names executive producer

Eric Keen-Louie, who joined La Jolla Playhouse in 2018 as producing director, was promoted last week to the new position of executive producer at the theater.

Eric Keen-Louie has been promoted to the new position of executive producer at La Jolla Playhouse.
(La Jolla Playhouse)

In his expanded position, Keen-Louie will serve as lead producer of the playhouse’s subscription season and will work with artistic director Christopher Ashley and managing director Debby Buchholz in overseeing the company’s mission, values and practices, in particular its anti-racism and inclusion commitments.

Over the past year, Keen-Louie has emerged as a national leader in the campaign for diversity, equity and inclusion in the arts. In March, he was one of the creative minds behind the viral #StopAsianHate National Day of Action and Healing.

“With the calls for theaters around the country to take tangible action to advance social justice, I can think of no better place to call home at this moment than La Jolla Playhouse,” Keen-Louie said in a statement. “As a gay third-generation Chinese American, I have not always felt that there was a place for someone like me in theater. The creation of this position is a reminder that there is, and I hope it brings more visibility to the need for continued change and expansion of leadership in our field.”

Ashley said in a statement that Keen-Louie’s passion, producing expertise and “fierce dedication to nurturing and championing diverse artists and audiences made him our unequivocal choice for this vital new position.” ◆