Hot House at the Playhouse

a theatrical botanical garden

HOTHOUSE is the signature new play development program at The Pasadena Playhouse. Launched in 2005, the program provides playwrights and audience with a living lab where new scripts are rehearsed, read aloud, revised, rehearsed and read again. Co-creation through our consensus organizing methodology, experimentation with and exploration of text, music and movement, and artistic bravery are embraced and encouraged through our process.

Here’s what’s cooking in the HOTHOUSE during 2015-2016 season. For more information on these projects, contact Sheldon Epps, Executive Artistic Director at  


Commissioned by The Pasadena Playhouse, the Grammy Award-winning band Ozomatli has teamed up with playwright Velina Hasu Houston to develop a musical inspired by the band’s history. With support from The James Irvine Foundation, Theatre Communications Group. And HOTHOUSE donors, this project will receive private and public workshops throughout the year.




In partnership with USC School of Dramatic Arts, The Pasadena Playhouse will workshop three plays written by alumni of the MFA Program in Dramatic Writing:

Carnivores by Gabriel Rivas Gomez – Nov 30 – Dec 2, 2015
Directed by Nancy Keystone
Carnivores follows a group of children in a Los Angeles County Court waiting room while their fates are being decided down the hall. Reality and imagination bleed together as the children play with toys and art supplies to work through trauma.

Jew Kamp by Stephanie Swirsky – Jan 11 – 13, 2016
Directed by Marya Mazor
On a summer teen-tour trip, a group of Jewish teenagers visit concentration camps in Poland during the day, and then hook up with each other at night (or at least do their best to get some).

The Charlie Play by Nahal Navidar – May 16 – 18, 2016
For as long as Nessa can remember, it’s been her and her dog, Charlie. Charlie, her confidant. Charlie, her best friend. And Charlie is dying. Two weeks away from attaining her MFA in Art, Nessa’s Heart and Mind must find the equilibrium between logic and love and create one last art piece despite Charlie’s rapidly impending death.

Please note, we operate the HOTHOUSE readings on the Equity Staged Reading Code, which requires that the readings are not marketed and are by invitation only. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.


Many plays that started out as HOTHOUSE at The Playhouse readings have since gone on to our Mainstage, as well as other regional theaters, the West End, and Broadway, including SISTER ACT, THE MUSICAL, which was nominated for multiple Tony Awards. Previous HOTHOUSE at The Playhouse artists include writers Suzan-Lori Parks, Alan Menken, Matthew Lombardo, Charles Randolph-Wright and Carol Burnett; actors Beau Bridges, Sharon Lawrence, Robert Forster, Loretta Swit, Scott Lowell, Enrico Colantoni, Danny Pudi, Angela Bassett and Steven Dietz; and directors Art Manke, Sheldon Epps, Oz Scott, Jeremy Cohen, Kappy Kilburn, Alexis Chamow and David Lee.

Full History of HOTHOUSE at The Playhouse Readings


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