Theater News

Eden Espinosa to Lead Lempicka at La Jolla Playhouse

Tony winner Rachel Chavkin directs the musical’s West Coast premiere.

Eden Espinosa will lead the La Jolla Playhouse production of Lempicka.
Eden Espinosa will lead the La Jolla Playhouse production of Lempicka.
(© Tricia Baron)

La Jolla Playhouse has announced the cast and creative team for Lempicka, the musical set to open the 2022-23 season. Directed by Tony winner Rachel Chavkin (Hadestown), performances will run June 14-July 24 with an official press opening on June 25.

Lempicka features a book, lyrics, and original concept by Carson Kreitzer, as well as book and music by Matt Gould, and choreography by Raja Feather Kelly. The musical is inspired by the life and career of Polish artist Tamara de Lempicka, and is described as follows:

"Amid the violence of the Russian Revolution, a young painter named Tamara de Lempicka and her aristocrat husband are forced to abandon their luxurious lifestyle and flee to the dubious safety of Paris. Relying on raw talent and relentless ambition, Tamara claws her way from penniless refugee to in-demand portraitist, earning a place among Parisian high society. Her world is upended once again when she meets Rafaela, a free spirit from the city slums, who introduces Tamara to a new world of decadence and passion. Torn between her new muse and her husband, and fighting to leave her mark on an ever-changing world, Tamara must discover the depths of her own strength to survive. Spanning decades of political turmoil and told through a thrilling, pop-infused score, Lempicka boldly explores the contradictions of a world in crisis, a woman ahead of her era, and an artist whose time has finally come."

The cast features George Abud (The Band's Visit) as Marinetti, Victor E. Chan as Baron, Eden Espinosa (Wicked) as Tamara de Lempicka, Amber Iman (Soul Doctor) as Rafaela (through July 10), Natalie Joy Johnson (Kinky Boots) as Suzy Solidor, Jacquelyn Ritz as Baroness, Andrew Samonsky (Playhouse's The Hunchback of Notre Dame) as Tadeusz Lempicki, and Jordan Tyson as Kizette. The ensemble includes Leanne Antonio, Lauren Blackman, Leovina Charles, Milena J. Comeau, Michael Louis Cusimano, Alexa Jane Lowis, David Merino, Luke P. Monday, Devin L. Roberts, Ximone Rose (who will portray the role of Rafaela July 12-24), Morgan Nicholas Scott, Joey Taranto, and Mariand Torres.

The creative team includes Riccardo Hernandez (scenic designer), Anita Yavich (costume designer), Bradley King (lighting designer), Justin Stasiw (sound designer), Peter Nigrini (projection designer), Remy Kurs (music supervisor), and Cian McCarthy (orchestrator).

Lempicka had its world premiere in July 2018 at Williamstown Theatre Festival, also featuring Espinosa in the title role.