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Playhouse premieres play with party for patrons

At the opening night reception (and world premiere) for “Surf Report” at the La Jolla Playhouse on June 20, Artistic Director Christopher Ashley shared with patrons the news of a $900,000 grant from The James Irvine Foundation to create events outside the theater.

The Playhouse is among 15 organizations statewide to share in $8.6 million in grants from the San Francisco-based Irvine Foundation.

Ashley, riding high from the four Tony Awards just won by “Memphis,” spoke of busy times at the Playhouse “with five shows currently in rehearsal.” The Broadway hit “Memphis,” about a white radio DJ who wants to change the world and a black club singer who is ready for her big break, debuted at the Playhouse in the summer of 2008 and was directed by Ashley.

“Surf Report” was written by Annie Weismann, who grew up in Del Mar, and directed by Lisa Peterson, a graduate of Yale College and associate director of La Jolla Playhouse from 1992 to 1995. The family drama is set in LaJolla and runs through July 11.