They could rename this year’s Pacific Playwrights Festival at South Coast Repertory the Pulitzer Playwrights Festival. And the Pulitzer cachet appears to be enhanced by some notable Hollywood names participating in the readings at the Costa Mesa theater.
This year’s Pulitzer winner for drama, “Anna in the Tropics” by Nilo Cruz, will receive a staged reading, with Jimmy Smits and Tony Plana. South Coast will produce the West Coast premiere in October.
Another festival script, “Brooklyn Boy,” is written by Donald Margulies, whose “Dinner With Friends” won the Pulitzer in 2000. Among those reading will be Lauren Ambrose from HBO’s “Six Feet Under” as well as Adam Arkin, Allan Miller and David Paymer.
South Coast dramaturge Jerry Patch said it’s possible the Pulitzer contingent attracted some of the starrier actors. Also participating this year are actors Joe Spano, Bruce Davison, Alan Mandell, John Vickery, Kandis Chappell and Richard Doyle.
Two former Pulitzer finalists are also represented: “Safe in Hell” by Amy Freed, a finalist in 1999 for “Freedomland,” and “Sea of Tranquillity” by 1988 finalist Howard Korder.
Jeff Whitty’s “The Hiding Place” will receive four workshop performances, and “One Night Stand,” a work in progress by radio monologist Joe Frank, gets a late-night slot.
Pacific Playwrights Festival, South Coast Repertory, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. The festival opens Friday at 1 p.m. with “Safe in Hell” and closes Sunday with “The Hiding Place,” at 2 p.m. $8 to $15. (714) 708-5555.