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West Coast Premiere
The Happiest Place on Earth
By Philip Dawkins
Directed by Jonathan L. Green
Production Sponsors: James Dolton and Doug Katzenmeyer
March 15-April 15, 2018 // Opening March 24
Once upon a time in 1955, a magical kingdom was built on the founding principles of dreams, American idealism, and our wildest hopes. Eight years later, a quintessential American family reeling from the loss of their King embarks on a quest for restoration and deliverance in this kingdom. 50 years later, their expedition is brought to dazzling life in an effort to understand one’s place in family, the American way, and whether happiness is truly a place where dreams come true.
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Philip Dawkins is one of the most prolific LGBT playwrights working today and with this production he makes his long-awaited Diversionary debut. This autobiographical solo show is an incisive look at the fabric of our American values and founding spirit through the lens of Southern California’s favorite tourist destination. The story takes an unexpected and sly look at how the LGBT voice fits into the larger American paradigm. The writing has a natural wit and comedic style while being grounded in a deep, emotional, personal story, that will make you laugh, think and feel in equal measure.
Philip Dawkins is a Chicago playwright and educator. His plays include Le Switch (About Face Theatre, The Jungle), The Homosexuals (About Face Theater), and Dr.Seuss’s The Sneetches, the Musical with composer David Mallamud (Children’s Theater Company, Minneapolis), as well as many plays for young audiences and performers. He received the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work for his plays Charm (Northlight Theatre) and Miss Marx: Or The Involuntary Side Effect of Living (Strawdog Theatre), as well a the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Solo Performance for his play, The Happiest Place on Earth (Side Show Theatre/Greenhouse Theater Center). His play, Charm will receive its NY premiere at MCC this fall, 2017 under the direction of Will Davis. Philip teaches playwriting at Northwest University, Loyola University Chicago, DePaul University and through the Victory Gardens ACCESS Program.
“Dawkins cagily conjures a fascinating portrait of himself, and of America, with all its unsettling mix of dark denial and sweet nostalgia. And he does so with a winning sense of childlike innocence and the wistfully knowing, if not entirely jaded edge of an adult.” – Chicago SunTimes