The world premiere of Moisés Kaufman and Amanda Gronich's Here There Are Blueberries officially opens at California's La Jolla Playhouse, co-produced with Tectonic Theater Project, July 31. The production began performances July 26 and is set to continue through August 21. Kaufman is at the helm.
The piece is inspired by an album of never-before-seen World War II-era photographs and the team of historians who uncovered the shocking story behind them, a story that intersects with the Holocaust and the lives of Nazi descendants.
The cast includes Scott Barrow, Charles Browning, Rosina Reynolds, Jeanne Sakata, Elizabeth Stahlmann, Charlie Thurston, Grant James Varjas, and Frances Uku, along with UC San Diego MFA students Abby Huffstetler, Noah Keyishian, and Sabrina Liu.
Kaufman's creative team features scenic designer Derek McLane, costume designer Dede Ayite, lighting designer David Lander, sound designer Bobby McElver, projection designer David Bengali, dramaturg and associate director Amy Marie Seidel, and intimacy and sensitivity specialist Ann James. The production is cast by Stephanie Yankwitt and Jacole Kitchen of tbd casting co. Lora K. Powell is stage manager.
"We are honored to welcome back Moisés, Amanda, and Tectonic Theater Project for this searing new devised work that centers on a recently discovered photo album from Auschwitz and the shocking aspects of the human psyche it exposes,” said La Jolla Artistic Director Christopher Ashley in an earlier statement.
The theatre will also present a series of free audience talkbacks on the themes of the work. "Doctors at Auschwitz: Joseph Mengele and the Role of Medicine in Nazi Germany" will be held August 2, "The Next Generation: How do we deal with the sins of our fathers, both literally and metaphorically?" August 3, "Ethics in Nazi Germany: Himmler’s Posen Speech" August 16, "There were Blueberries: the Transformation of Norms and Complicity as the New Normal" August 17, and "Nazi Crimes and the Complicity of Business Leaders and Professionals" August 18.
Kaufman directed Broadway's Paradise Square, with past credits including Torch Song, The Heiress, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, 33 Variations, and I Am My Own Wife. Kaufman's Tectonic Theater Project, for which Kaufman is founder and artistic director, is noted for its devised theatre works based on true events, with material culled from interviews conducted by members of the company, most notably 2000's The Laramie Project.