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World-Premiere Musical


May 12 - June 26, 2022
Extended due to popular demand!

Book by Jeremy J. King
Music and Lyrics by Sam Salmond
Based on the novel by David B. Feinberg
Directed by Kevin Newbury
Choreographed by Raja Feather Kelly

About the Show

New York City used to be a party town, but 1986 finds everyone paralyzed with fear of AIDS. Everyone, that is, except BJ Rosenthal, who’s determined to keep the party going. When an ex-lover becomes ill, BJ is forced to face the nightmare enveloping him and redefine his life. Based on the celebrated novel of its time and set to a soaring pop score pulsating with joy and heart wrenching melodies, Eighty-Sixed unearths an epidemic that shook the world to reveal a community’s ferocious fight to reclaim its future.

Show Details

Top row from left: Wilfred Paloma, Farah Dinga, Sean Doherty, Preston Sadleir, Luke Jacobs, Jordan Barbour. Middle row from left: Allen Lucky Weaver, Frankie Alicea-Ford, JJ Abujasen, David McBean. Bottom row from left: Dennis Peters, Allison Spratt Pearce.

JJ ABUJASEN (Carlo, Louis, Nurse; he/him/they/them) Originally from Miami, FL, J.J. grew up with a passion for theatre, acting, performing arts and storytelling since he was a child. In 2018, J.J. graduated from the University of Florida with a B.F.A. in Acting and began working professionally until the pandemic hit in 2020. This is J.J.’s return to the stage since then and he couldn’t be more THRILLED to join such an awesome creative (and QUEER!) team! Some of J.J.’s favorite previous roles include Edna Turnblad in Hairspray, Malcolm in Macbeth, and the Cherokee Warrior, Junaluska, at Unto These Hills in North Carolina. These days, J.J. is growing his own business as a Transformational Life Coach for spiritually-minded and magically-oriented folxs which empowers leaders and seekers to embody their full potential. J.J. loves all things mystical, magical and creative! The journey over the past couple years has been a whirlwind, but J.J. is so thankful it has led him to sunny San Diego and sharing the stage with other passionate and talented artists!! If you’d like to connect, give him a follow and send him some love on IG @vibebrightwithjj. J.J. wants to thank his beautiful friends and family for their constant love and support- especially Mom, Dad, Abuela Gloria and his darling sister Melissa! Enjoy the show!!

*FRANKIE ALICEA-FORD (Richard; he/him) is a San Diego-based, New York City-trained theatre artist/deviser and is incredibly excited to be making his debut on the Diversionary stage with this team of artists and storytellers. Previously seen in 1222 Oceanfront & Around the World in 80 Days (New Village Arts). He works as a teaching artist throughout San Diego and has extensive training in devised theater techniques, arts integration, and trauma-based theater practices. He holds a BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and currently serves as the Associate Artistic Director at Diversionary Theatre.

*JORDAN BARBOUR (Dave) is a New York-based actor/singer/writer who recently originated the role of Tristan in The Inheritance on Broadway (Tony Winner: Best Play). Additional credits: New York: Julius Caesar (TFANA); Vertebrae (NYTW); Langston in Harlem (Urban Stages); The Deepest Play Ever (New Ohio); Harmonious Pimps of Harmony (Ars Nova); among others. Regional: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Oklahoma!, The Book of Will, The Wiz, Hamlet, Twelfth Night (Oregon Shakespeare Festival). All the Way, The 12 (Denver Center); Macbeth, To Kill a Mockingbird (Alabama Shakespeare Festival); Rent (Syracuse Stage), Stormy Weather (Pasadena Playhouse); The Who’s Tommy (Berkshire Theatre Festival); You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Two River Theater Company); Yellowman, Hair, Topdog/Underdog, Yeast Nation (Perseverance Theatre); Chimerica (Studio Theatre); among others. TV/Film: Hair: Let the Sunshine In; The Outs; Smile for the Camera, Paradise P.D. Barbour has toured internationally with the Australian company of Come From Away, Peter Brooks’ The Suit (Europe, Asia, North America), and Young Jean Lee’s The Shipment (Europe, Australia). Barbour also has two solo shows: This African-American Life with Ezra Glass, and I Definitely Need Therapy, both of which premiered at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival where Barbour was a member of the acting company for three seasons. Additionally, Barbour can be heard as Brutus in the Shakespeare@Home podcast of Julius Caesar, and the Play On! Podcast series Macbeth as Banquo. He voices Black Panther on Marvel Studios’ Mech Strike animated series and he is the creator and co-host of the podcast: Q(ueer)Anon with Mister Sister.

FARAH DINGA (Rachel; she/they) is a San Diego-based theatre actor, producer, and playwright; trained at UCSD. As a first-generation queer Pakistani-American, their work holds an emphasis on supporting and elevating underserved community members and sharing their stories. You may have seen their work at La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe, Diversionary Theatre, Moxie Theatre, SD Rep, New Village Arts, and many more.

*SEAN DOHERTY (Bob; he/him) is absolutely thrilled to be making his debut performing with Diversionary Theatre, and to be a part of such a special piece. He’s recently been seen in the world premiere of Men With Money, the national tour of The Lightning Thief, and often in NYC cabaret venues like 54 Below and Green Room 42. He’s also been releasing his own original music, including his upcoming third single, fire escape, available on all music streaming services. Huge shout-out to his family, friends, and *especially* his boyfriend Ashton for single-parenting their dumb dog Chuck while he’s off performing—love you all so much and thanks to you all for endlessly supporting me.

LUKE JACOBS (Chance, Suit, Nurse; he/him) Performance at Diversionary: Fastrada in Pippin (2012), Patrick in The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler (2013), Michael in Boys in the Band (2018 reading). Some recent, favorite onstage roles include his work in Hair at the Old Globe, Henri Labisse in Victor/Victoria and Franz Liebkind in The Producers (both at Moonlight). Luke has been seen all over San Diego including Moonlight, SDMT, Lamb’s, NCRT, the Welk, and CCAE. Choreography credits: Nunsense (the Welk), La Cage aux Folles (Cygnet), and Sister Act with SDMT (Critic’s Circle Nomination). Luke holds his BFA in Musical Theatre from CSU, Fullerton.

*ALLEN LUCKY WEAVER (Joey; he/she/they) is excited to make his Diversionary Theatre Debut with Eighty-Sixed. He received his B.F.A in Musical Theater, from UArts in Philadelphia. Credits: Tour: Miss Saigon (Ensemble / Thuy u.s.). Regional: Angel (Rent), Thuy (Miss Saigon), and Laertes / Guildenstern (Hamlet). LA Theatre: Jenny (Fixed), Erik (Viral), and Jacob (La Cage Aux Folles). SD Theatre: Jacob (La Cage, Cygnet), Young Scrooge (A Christmas Carol, Cygnet), and will also be in Cygnet’s upcoming remount of Cabaret. Thank you to Ralph Johnson for his generosity. Special thanks to Matt, the creative team, and everyone at Diversionary Theatre. Much love to his fiancé David, Mom, Dad, Sisters, Family, and Friends for their never-ending support.

*DAVID MCBEAN (Harry, Gustav; he/him) was last seen at Diversionary as Fagin in Twist. Other Diversionary credits include: The Rocky Horror Show (Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter), Psycho Beach Party (Chicklet), The Mystery of Irma Vep (Lady Enid/Nicodemus/Irma Vep), and Bunbury (Bunbury). Recent credits include: La Cage aux Folles” (Albin/Zaza) and A Christmas Carol (Marley/Christmas Present/Dick Wilkins/Undertaker) at Cygnet Theater.

*WILFRED PALOMA (Dennis; he/him) is an Actors’ Equity Association member with an M.A. in Theatre Arts from San Diego State University and a B.A. in Theatre Performance; graduate of the MCIT Acting Studio. San Diego State University Graduate Program in Musical Theatre candidate come fall of 2022. Past credits include: Light Years Away (La Jolla Playhouse), Oh! Wondrous Night (SeaWorld), Full Monty (SDSU), and A Semicolon is a Double (Scripps Ranch Theatre). Directing credits include: Kasama (Southwestern College), Potion (Moxie Theatre), and School of Rock (Junior Theatre). Choreographer credits include: Hunchback of Notre Dame (Junior Theatre), Lion King Jr. (Young Actors Theatre), Shrek (Our Lady of Peace Academy), and Hall Pass (Blindspot Collective). Wilfred is an Adjunct Professor at Grossmont College and Southwestern College. Wilfred is directing the 2022 TeenVersionary program culminating in a Devised Theatre piece which will perform as part of the 2022 LGBTQIA+ Pride Festival. Listen to Wilfred on Spotify featured in the original cast recording of The Things We Never Say written by Thomas Hodges. Instagram @wilfred_paloma.

DENNIS PETERS (Zach, Attendant, Waiter; he/him) is so excited to be making his Diversionary Theatre debut. Thank you for supporting live theatre! Previous credits include Catch Me if You Can at SDMT, Altar Boyz at Coronado Playhouse, and Green Day’s American Idiot at ArtsWest in Seattle. In addition to performing, Dennis also teaches improv and acting at Project Performer in Encinitas. Love to Mom, Dad, Tommy, and Kayla.

*PRESTON SADLEIR (BJ; he/him) is proud to be working alongside the cast and crew here at Diversionary. His NYC theater credits include Edward Albee’s Me, Myself & I, Big Love, Rent, The Imaginary Invalid opposite Peter Dinklage, and the Pulitzer Prize winning musical Next To Normal as well as its First National Tour. He has originated roles in the premieres of Analog & Vinyl (Weston Playhouse), Mrs. Sharp, Give It Up!/ Lysistrata Jones (Dallas Theater Center) and Freaky Friday for Disney. TV/Film: “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “Blue Bloods,” “The Big C,” “High Maintenance,” Top Five, Sign, The Strangers: Prey At Night, Love On Iceland, and Old Flames Never Die. He dedicates this performance to David B. Feinberg and to the innumerable artists and humans whose stories we will not let disappear.

*ALLISON SPRATT PEARCE (Janey; she/her) is so happy to be back at Diversionary! She was last seen here playing Anita Bryant in The Loneliest Girl in the World. Allison holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Elon and an MFA in Drama from The Old Globe/USD program. Allison was in the original Broadway & Off B-way casts of Good Vibrations, Cry Baby and Curtains, and Enter Laughing. Selected SD credits include: Janice in Come From Away, Victoria in Sideways (La Jolla Playhouse), Phoebe: As You Like It, Viola: Twelfth Night (Globe tour), Jane: Emma (The Old Globe), Emily: Disgraced, Susannah: Black Pearl Sings (SD Rep), Eliza Doolittle: My Fair Lady, Katherine: The Last Wife, and her award winning portrayal of Louise: Gypsy (Cygnet), Maria: The Sound of Music, Amalia: She Loves Me (SDMT), Victor/ia: Victor/Victoria (Moonlight Stages). Along with being an actress, Allison is a private acting teacher and speaker coach for Google Cloud. Her everlasting appreciation goes to her family at home and at Diversionary.

* Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States, appearing under a Small Professional Theatre Contract

Top row from left: Sam Salmond, Chris Bell, Jeremy J. King, Steven Cuevas. Bottom row: Kevin Newbury.

JEREMY J. KING (BOOK WRITERhe/him/his) grew up on the Jersey Shore and graduated from Marymount Manhattan College with a degree in Theatre Arts. He lived an actor’s life for several years before transitioning to writing. As a novelist, Jeremy has released three young adult titles with Bold Strokes Books (In Stone, Night Creatures, and Dark Rites), which have been listed in Advocate’s “Top 10 Books for Young LGBT Folks and Anyone Who Wants to Understand Them,” recommended by the American Library Association’s GLBT Round Table, and nominated for the Rainbow Award in fantasy. His dramatic work includes the librettos for Eighty-Sixed and Creature, as well as other works for the stage and screen. Jeremy is a 2018 Dramatist Guild Foundation Fellow, Affiliated Artist with Musical Theatre Factory, and a 2018 Resident at SPACE on Ryder Farm. 

SAM SALMOND (COMPOSER & LYRICIST; he/him/his) is a Jonathan Larson Award-winning composer, lyricist, and bookwriter. Among many projects in development, Sam has written music and lyrics for an adaptation of Eighty-Sixed. His musical Mother, Me and the Monsters (a Boston Globe Critic’s Pick) was produced at Barrington Stage. His children’s show, The Dot, is currently on a Multi-Year national tour. He wrote book and lyrics for Cage Match, created Uncool: the Party, an immersive night of rock ‘n roll, games, stories, and dancing, is currently working on an original musical, The Homefront, the score to Creature, and an original musical for Penn State’s Musical Theater BFA program. Sam’s work has been featured at Lincoln Center, Ars Nova, Symphony Space, and venues all around the country. He has been a resident writer at Goodspeed Opera House, the Johny Mercer Colony, and more. He is a 2017 Dramatists Guild Fellow, a 2018 SPACE on Ryder Farm resident, and an alumnus of NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.

KEVIN NEWBURY (DIRECTOR; he/him/his) has directed over 70 original theatre, opera, and film projects. Recent world premiere highlights include Fellow Travelers (“One of the Best Classical Music Events of 2016” by The New York Times), The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs (2019 GRAMMY Award Winner), Kansas City Choir Boy (starring Courtney Love: NYC, Boston, LA and Miami), Doubt (Minnesota Opera, PBS’ Great Performances), Bel Canto (Lyric Opera of Chicago, PBS’ Great Performances), Oscar (Santa Fe Opera and Opera Philadelphia), the Pulitzer Prize-winning Life Is A Dream (Santa Fe Opera), The Good Swimmer (BAM Next Wave Festival), and The Ninth Hour at Met Live Arts. Kevin’s production of Virginia for the Wexford Opera Festival won the 2010 Irish Times Theatre Award for Best New Opera Production. His long association with the work of Leonard Bernstein includes directing Candide with the Philadelphia Orchestra (starring Bradley Cooper) and Bernstein’s MASS 6 times.

RAJA FEATHER KELLY (CHOREOGRAPHER) is an Obie-winning choreographer, a director, the artistic director of the feath3r theory, and a Creative Associate at The Juilliard School. In 2020, Kelly made his directorial debut at New York City’s Second Stage Theatre with We’re Gonna Die. Since 2016, Raja has choreographed extensively for Off-Broadway theatre in New York City, most notably for Signature Theatre, Soho Rep, New York Theatre Workshop, and Playwrights Horizons Frequent collaborators include: Lileana Blain-Cruz, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Sarah Benson, and Lila Neugebauer. Other theatre credits include choreography for Skittles Commercial: The Musical (Town Hall), The Chronicles of Cardigan and Khente (SohoRep), Everyday Afroplay (JACK), GURLS (Princeton University, Yale Repertory Theatre), Electric Lucifer (The Kitchen), Lempicka (Williamstown Theatre Festival), The House That Will Not Stand (New York Theatre Workshop), Fireflies (Atlantic Theatre Company), If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka (Playwrights Horizons, nominated for the 2019 Lucille Lortel Award and the 2019 Chita Rivera Award for Outstanding Choreography), The Good Swimmer (BAM), and Faust (Opera Omaha). Most recent work: Fairview (SDCF Joe A. Callaway Award finalist for choreography; Soho Rep, Berkeley Rep, TFANA, and winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama), A Strange Loop (Obie Award winner and SDCF Callaway finalist for choreography; Playwrights Horizons, winner of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Drama).

STEVEN CUEVAS (MUSIC DIRECTOR & MUSIC SUPERVISOR; he/him) is a NYC-based music director, musician, orchestrator, and arranger. Earlier this season, he was the orchestrator of the world premiere of Gold Mountain at the Utah Shakespeare Festival and the music director/co-orchestrator of Macbeth in Stride at A.R.T. Steven served as music director of CollaborAzian’s all-Asian virtual production of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, which raised over $25K for Stop AAPI Hate. Broadway: Moulin Rouge!, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, Once On This Island, Anastasia, Kinky Boots. Off-Broadway: Little Shop of Horrors, I Spy a Spy, We Are The Tigers, Trip of Love, Closer Than Ever. Tours: Once On This Island, Kinky Boots, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Spring Awakening, My Fair Lady (Singapore). Recordings: Once On This Island, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Monstersongs. Chair of Local 802 AFM Diversity Committee. Proud member: AEA, Recording Academy, Filipino American community. @StevenMCuevas

YI-CHIEN LEE (SCENIC DESIGNER; she/her) is excited to return to Diversionary with Eighty-Sixed. Set design credits include Girlfriend, A Kind of Weather (Diversionary Theatre), Life Sucks, Water by the Spoonful, The Great Leap (Cygnet Theatre), The Great Khan (San Diego Repertory Theatre), Mother of the Maid (Moxie Theatre), King of the Yees (Sierra Madre Playhouse), BURN (STR Network), TURN AROUND, About Chia-Yi (Our Theatre, The 13th Grassstraw Festival), Play (Tainaner Ensemble), Seek Beckett (Double Theatre), Mission Incomplete (New Vision Play Festival), CODE: CYTUS 2.0 (Divertimento Media, Shanghai), The Winter’s Tale- Globe for all (Old Globe). Her work for Moon Drunk was selected for the Emerging Artist/Imagination Exhibit in the 2019 Prague Quadrennial, and Un-Tongue was exhibited at The 28th Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre. portfolio:

DEVARIO SIMMONS (COSTUME DESIGNER; he/him) is an American Costume Designer of staged productions. His design credits include Between the Bars, TUMACHO, Thoughts of a Colored Man,  The Merchant of Venice, In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play, Man of La Mancha, and A Streetcar Named Desire. Other credits include three seasons of AMC’s television show TURN, the 2nd National Touring production of the Broadway hit In the Heights and two seasons of the PBS television series Mercy Street. He is currently the Associate Costume Designer for all productions of Come From Away worldwide and Assistant Professor of Costume Design at Ithaca College. He received his MFA in Costume Design from Virginia Commonwealth University. 

JOEL BRITT (LIGHTING DESIGNER; he/him) is a San Diego-based freelance designer, whose design portfolio includes theatre, dance, opera, and musical theatre, as well as installation lighting. Recent designs include American Buffalo, The Dazzle, No Way Back, Roosevelt: Charge the Bear, A Raisin in the Sun,  Strange Men, The Taming of the Shrew(d), Angels in America, Vieux Carré (Co-Designer), Peter and the Starcatcher, and Rent. He has also worked as an assistant in regional theater, on Broadway, and on national tours including Hamilton, Come From Away, Ain’t Too Proud, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, and The Band’s Visit. Joel received his MFA in Lighting Design from the University of California, San Diego and his BFA in Design and Technical Theater from Texas State San Marcos. Joel has also received honors from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for his work on Rent and was nominated for an Austin Critics Table award for his work on Somebody Called. 

ALYSSA KANE (PROPS DESIGNER; she/her) is extremely proud to be working with Diversionary once again. She is a queer woman who works as a scenic and props designer throughout San Diego. Recent projects include The Great Khan (SD Rep), Love Song (Scripps Ranch Theatre), Sapience (Moxie), Azul (Diversionary), and The Aristocats (Classical Academy). Alyssa is an operational board member at Scripps Ranch Theatre. By day she works at the San Diego River Park Foundation. She is also a performer and founding member of a burlesque and variety troupe in Southeast Alaska.

EVAN EASON (SOUND DESIGNER; he/him) is thrilled to be working with Diversionary Theatre for the first time. Some of his previous sound design work includes: Beehive: The 60’s Musical (New Village Arts), Pick Me Last (La Jolla Playhouse), Good Trouble (Blindspot Collective), Emily Drivers Great Race Through Time and Space (La Jolla Playhouse), Project Fairytale (New Village Arts), 2019 Final Draft New Play Festival (New Village Arts). Evan has also worked as an associate and/or assistant sound designer on the following productions: The Women’s Project (Clubbed Thumb), The Humans (San Diego Repertory), Twelfth Night (USD/The Old Globe), Aubergine (San Diego Repertory), and Avenue Q (New Village Arts). He has had experience as the Sound Engineer at the San Diego Repertory Theatre for three years and now is working at The Old Globe as the Assistant to the Sound Director.

LLOYD KIKOLER (ORCHESTRATOR; he/him) is a New York City-based orchestrator, producer and multi-instrumentalist. His credits include: Little Black Book (Broadway Records), Cleopatra (Chelsea Music Hall), Dog Man: The Musical (TheaterWorks USA), Earthrise (The Kennedy Center) and many more.

CHRIS BELL (ASSOCIATE CHOREOGRAPHER; he/him)  (@chrisbelldances), NYC by way of SAT. MFA (Case Western Reserve), BS Dance (Lamar), and because he likes camping and the beach BS Geology. He currently makes work with Raja Feather Kelly & the feath3r theory and is a frequent collaborator with (and former choreographic assistant to) Mark Dendy. Recent Projects: The Kill One Race (TF3T/Playwrights Horizons), ‘The Met Gala’ (Rachael Chavkin, Raja Feather Kelly), and Mute Swan, a collaboration with Theater in Quarantine written by Pulitzer-prize finalist Madeleine George. As an Educator, he works for Roundabout Theatre Company, Marquis Studios and TADA! Youth Theaters. His company, chrisbelldances (CBD), has presented work in 6 states and 4 out of 5 boroughs in NYC including evening length works at Dixon Place and Gibney Dance Center. CBD was the first dance company in residence at the Cherry Grove Community House and Theater, America’s oldest continuously operating LGBTQIA+ theater. During the pandemic, CBD worked with local organizations like The Queensboro Dance Festival to present free dance events in outdoor spaces in outer borough neighborhoods. 

PATRICK MARION (ASSOCIATE MUSIC DIRECTOR; he/him) is thrilled to be back at Diversionary again!  Select credits:  Diversionary Theatre:  Hedwig And The Angry Inch, The Loneliest Girl In The World;  Cygnet Theatre:  La Cage Aux Folles, The Last Five Years (SD Critics Circle Nominee), Rock Of Ages, Shockheaded Peter (SD Critics Circle Nominee), The Rocky Horror Show, A Christmas Carol, Company, Assassins;  LPT (associate artist):  Million Dollar Quartet, Oz, West Side Story, Les Miserables, miXtape; Welk Resorts Theatre:  Nunsense.

Eighty-Sixed was originally developed at Musical Theatre Factory.

Eighty-Sixed was developed with the support of the Harold Prince Fellowship.

Many thanks to:


What Our Community is Saying

About Season 37:
We Are Family

Season 37 celebrates Diversionary’s legacy of chosen family with a focus on community engagement, arts education, and an inspired program of new and classic work examining family dynamics and legacy, utilizing all three of its performance venues: the Robert L. Granat & Alfred J. Mazur Mainstage Theatre, the Reuel K. Olin New Play Development Center, and the Clark Cabaret & Bar.

Decade Sponsor: Joann Clark
Season Sponsor: Bob Grinchuk, in loving memory of his husband, Reuel K. Olin

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