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Costa Mesa Playhouse Revives Pulitzer-Winner “Buried Child”

Season 58 at Costa Mesa Playhouse continues with Buried Child by Sam Shepard. Winner of the 1979 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Buried Child is an alternately funny and macabre look at a Midwestern family with a very dark secret, weaving a twisted family drama of epic proportions. When a grandson brings home his girlfriend to meet the family, he uncovers the destructive nature of family secrets. The production is being directed by Costa Mesa Playhouse Artistic Director Michael Serna. 

Buried Child launched Shepard to national fame following its 1978 premiere at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco, CA. Its 1996 Broadway revival garnered five Tony nominations, including Best Play.

“Shepard is arguably the most important American playwright of the last half of the 20th century, and I’ve always felt his plays aren't performed enough in Orange County,” remarks Serna, who directed and performed in the Playhouse's 2014 production of Shepard’s True West. “Buried Child  is one of his finest – a compelling piece of theater, filled with mystery, secrets, and humor – and a great addition to our season.” 

Serna’s production of Buried Child aims to embrace simplicity and concentrate on the characters, peeling back the dark layers within the script’s poignant and, at times, humorous study of the breakdown of traditional family structures and values amidst the rural economic slowdown emerging in 1970s America.

“Shepard’s works mirror the spirit of America at the end of the 1900s— an America reeling from the Vietnam War and increasingly divisive politics, and a growing realization that the 'American Dream' for all might be a thing of the past. He masterfully portrays these complexities with brutal, funny, and volatile prose, all while experimenting with form and challenging conventional dramatic norms.”

Buried Child stars Michael Dale Brown (Dodge), Shelly Day (Halie), Peter Hilton (Tilden), Mark Tillman (Bradley), Cody Aaron Hanify (Vince), Sage Delaney (Shellie), and David Alan Golbeck (Father Dewis). The ensemble consists of familiar faces to patrons of the Playhouse, including several actors who turned in Orange Curtain Review and OC Theater Guild Award-winning performances in recent productions such as Clybourne Park and The Whale. 

“This is among the strongest casts I've had the fortune of working with,” concludes Serna. “I hope our production honors the genius of Sam Shepard and challenges audiences to question what the ‘real truths’ are in this darkly humorous family drama. I anticipate there will be plenty for them to discuss on the drive home.” 

Buried Child previews February 2nd, and runs though February 25th. Performances take place on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, and on Sundays at 2 pm.

Tickets are $28 for adults and $25 for students and seniors. Please visit the Costa Mesa Playhouse box office for more details, or call 949-650-5269.


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