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Volume 6, Issue 47  | June 11, 2021

Harold & Lillian reading closes off the 23rd Pacific Playwrights Festival

A true-life, six-decade Hollywood love story is featured as the final digital reading in South Coast Repertory’s (Artistic Director David Ivers and Managing Director Paula Tomei) 2021 Pacific Playwrights Festival (PPF), an annual showcase of new works. 

The concert reading of the new musical Harold & Lillian, with book and lyrics by Dan Collins, music by Julianne Wick Davis and based on the documentary film Daniel Raim, streams June 21-27.

Tony and Obie Award winner Michael Greif (Rent, Grey Gardens, Dear Evan Hansen) will direct; Harold and Lillian will be portrayed by Michael McKean and Annette O’Toole, who lead a cast of six. The high-quality film production of this reading, created with a multi-camera setup, captures the best qualities of traditional play reading. Tickets are $19 per streaming device and are available online at

Harold & Lillian Dan Collins Harold & Lillian Julianne Wick Davis

Dan Collins (book and lyrics) and Julianne Wick Davis (music) of the new musical “Harold & Lillian”

Harold & Lillian follows the Hollywood romance of storyboard artist Harold Michelson and film researcher Lillian Michelson. Beginning with their elopement after Harold came home from World War II, their marriage spanned six decades during which time they overcame daunting personal challenges and made surprising movie magic. 

Harold was the storyboard artist for such classic movies as The Ten Commandments, West Side Story and The Graduate. 

Lillian conducted research for numerous films including The Birds and Fiddler on the Roof. 

Harold passed away in 2007, but in 2017, the Michelsons received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Dramatic Arts, the first behind-the-scenes non-actors to have been given the honor. Lillian will celebrate her 93rd birthday on June 21, the day that SCR’s concert reading of Harold & Lillian is released. She lives in Los Angeles.

Harold & Lillian, with its powerhouse artistic team and its distinctly Southern California story, is an exciting work to close out the 23rd Pacific Playwrights Festival,” said Artistic Director David Ivers. “Just as we’ve brought digital innovation to the festival this year, Harold & Lillian is the result of other thrilling initiatives within our new play development program, The Lab@SCR – specifically our dedication to fostering new musicals and stories centered on California and California artists.”

The cast also includes Karole Foreman, Roland Rusinek, Jacques C. Smith and Jennifer Leigh Warren. The creative team includes Matt Deitchman, music director, and Joanne DeNaut, CSA, casting. Kathryn Davies is the stage manager and Jerry Patch is the dramaturg.

Created in 1998, the Pacific Playwrights Festival has grown into one of the leading festivals of new plays in the country and showcases some of the best new work on SCR’s radar. The festival offerings generate lively conversation, future world premieres and subsequent productions. The previous 22 festivals have ​introduced such award-winning plays as A Doll’s House, Part 2 by Lucas Hnath, Cambodian Rock Band by ​Lauren Yee, Vietgone by Qui Nguyen, Marjorie Prime by Jordan Harrison, Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage, Anna in the Tropics by NiloCruz, The Language Archive by Julia Cho and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire.

The Pacific Playwrights Festival Honorary Producers are Sally Anderson and Tom Rogers, Laurie and Steve Duncan, Kristen and Adrian Griggs, Samuel and Tammy Tang, and Linda and Tod White.

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