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Exotic Deadly: Or the MSG Play

April 08 - May 07

Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre
Conrad Prebys Theatre Center

Photo Credits

(from left) Anna Mikami, Eunice Bae, Michelangelo Hyeon, and James Seol in Exotic Deadly: Or the MSG Play, 2023. Photo by Rich Soublet II.

Exotic Deadly: Or the MSG Play


April 8 – May 7, 2023

Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre
Conrad Prebys Theatre Center

World premiere
By Keiko Green
Directed by Jesca Prudencio

It’s 1999, and Ami is an awkward Asian American high schooler whose world comes crashing down with a terrible discovery: her family is responsible for manufacturing MSG, the mysterious ingredient getting all the kids hooked! Meanwhile, a cool new girl arrives from Japan, and she’s not playing by the rules. In Keiko Green’s world-premiere play, Ami vows to redeem her family name and save the world from MSG. This whimsical, time-traveling adventure, directed by the celebrated Jesca Prudencio, is a riotous and hilarious romp through wild teenaged crushes, family legacies, and the magical properties of instant ramen!

Total running time: One hour and 40 minutes (one act with no intermission).

Vicki and Carl Zeiger Insights Seminar: Tuesday, April 11 at 6:00 p.m.

Post Show Forum: Tuesday, April 18; Tuesday, May 2; and Wednesday, May 3.

Post show theatre talkback with Tia Rains, PhD (expert on food science and nutrition): Thursday, April 27

Post show talkback with playwright Keiko Green and director Jesca Prudencio: Friday, April 28

Read the digital program

Download the program pdf


“Smart and hilarious! This wildly funny, time-hopping play is a universal story about teen angst and the healing power of family, love and acceptance.” —The San Diego Union-Tribune

“Funny and heartwarming. A wild, wonderful show. Anna Mikami brings a smart, sensitive, and vulnerable performance to the role of Ami. Amy Kim Waschke is excellent as Ami's stern and fragile mother, while Eunice Bae brings a tough girl with a squishy emotional center to Exotic Deadly. Michelangelo Hyeon, Trevor Salter, and James Seol are all very strong and bring a lot of laughs as a variety of characters.” —BroadwayWorld

Cast and Creatives



Keiko Green (Playwright) Associations: Core Company Member at A Contemporary Theatre; former member of Seattle Repertory Theatre’s Writers Group, Theater Mu New Play Incubator. Productions/development: O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, ACT, Kennedy Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, National New Play Network, Seattle Rep, Atlantic Theater Company, Cygnet Theatre, Playwrights Realm, others. Honors: Gregory Award for Outstanding New Play, Kilroys’ List Honorable Mention for Nadeshiko, Neukom Award for Playwriting finalist, two-time Blue Ink Prize finalist, Seven Devils Playwrights Conference finalist. Commissions: The Old Globe, ACT, Manhattan Theatre Club/Sloan Foundation, Seattle Shakes. Upcoming: Sharon (Cygnet), Hometown Boy (Seattle Public Theater). Television: “Interior Chinatown” (Hulu). As actor: Denver Center, Seattle Rep, ACT, others. Education: M.F.A. in Playwriting from UC San Diego.

Jesca Prudencio (Director) Director and choreographer dedicated to developing new theatrical works that humanize issues nationally and internationally. Recent credits: Dot, Dot, Dot (Theatreworks USA), Bald Sisters (Steppenwolf), King Liz (Geffen Playhouse), It’s a Ship Show!, We Fancy (Virgin Voyages). Other credits: Can We Now?, PDA (La Jolla Playhouse’s WOW Festival), Interstate (Mixed Blood, East West Players), The Great Leap (Steppenwolf), Vietgone, Actually (San Diego Rep), Calling (La MaMa ETC), Man of God (East West Players), A&Q (Pineapple Lab, Philippines), FAN (B-Floor Theatre, Thailand). Film: American Quartet, Birdhouse (forthcoming). Other: Head of Directing at SDSU’s School of Theatre, Television, and Film; inaugural Julie Taymor World Theater Fellow. Education: B.F.A. from NYU Tisch, M.F.A. from UC San Diego. jescaprudencio.com.

Yu Shibagaki (Scenic Design) (she/her) NYC-based set designer originally from Nagoya, Japan. Recent designs: Villette, Her Honor Jane Byrne (Lookingglass Theatre), 1919 (Steppenwolf Young Adults), Heroes of the Fourth Turning (Studio Theatre), Dishwasher Dreams (Hartford Stage), School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play (Goodman Theatre), I, Banquo, I, Cinna (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), more. Upcoming designs: Lucy and Charlie’s Honeymoon (Lookingglass Theatre), Madama Butterfly (Boston Lyric Opera), more. yushibagaki.com.

Hahnji Jang 장한지 (Costume Design) (they/them/형 ) Theatre: Man Cave (Page 73), The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington (Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival), The City’s Missing Them (Working Theater), Mobile Unit’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (The Public Theater), Sister Mok-rahn (Princeton University), Hurricane Diane (Huntington), Blush (Soho Rep), Men on Boats (Baltimore Center Stage), Here We Are with plays by Regina Taylor, Stacey Rose, Jaclyn Backhaus, DeLanna Studi, Lydia R. Diamond, Khat, Lynn Nottage, Nikkole Salter, Carmelita Tropicana (Theatre for One). Other: staff artist at Soho Rep. hahnji.com.

Cha See (Lighting Design) From Manila, Philippines. The Old Globe: debut. Off Broadway: You Will Get Sick (Roundabout Theatre Company), The Seagull/Woodstock, NY, One in Two (The New Group), The Fever, Lucy (Audible Theater), Exception to the Rule (Roundabout Underground), What to Send Up When It Goes Down (Playwrights Horizons), Soft (MCC), As You Like It (La Jolla Playhouse), others. Upcoming: Babbitt, Is It Thursday Yet? (La Jolla Playhouse), Wet Brain (Playwrights Horizons), (pray) (Ars Nova), Rent (Paper Mill Playhouse). Training: M.F.A. from NYU Tisch. seelightingdesign.com, @seethruuu.

Fan Zhang (Sound Design) Off Broadway: The Far Country, Paris (Atlantic), At the Wedding (Lincoln Center), This Land Was Made (Vineyard), Snow in Midsummer (Classic Stage), Our Dear Dead Drug Lord (Second Stage/WP), Pumpgirl (Irish Rep), Suicide Forest (Ma-Yi), Molly Sweeney (Theatre Row), Behind the Sheet (Ensemble Studio), The Trail of the Catonsville Nine (Transport Group). Regional: Joy and Pandemic (Huntington), Sanctuary City (Berkeley Rep, Arena Stage), Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare Theatre Company), The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington (Steppenwolf), The Great Leap (Portland Center Stage), White Noise (Studio Theatre), Seven Guitars (Yale Rep). Other: head of the sound program at Purdue University. Education: M.F.A. from Yale School of Drama. fanzhangsound.com.

Caparelliotis Casting (Casting) The Old Globe: Exotic Deadly, Under a Baseball Sky, What We Talk About…, Dial M for Murder, Mala, Shutter Sisters, Hurricane Diane, Noura, They Promised Her the Moon, Tiny Beautiful Things, Barefoot in the Park, The Wanderers, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Skeleton Crew. Select Broadway: Ohio State Murders, Macbeth, The Minutes, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, King Lear, Hillary and Clinton, Ink, The Waverly Gallery, The Boys in the Band, Three Tall Women, Meteor Shower, A Doll’s House Part 2, Jitney, The Glass Menagerie, Blackbird, Fish in the Dark, Disgraced, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo. Additional theatre: MTC, Signature, Atlantic, Goodman, Vineyard. Television: “New Amsterdam” (NBC), “American Odyssey” (NBC).

Chandra R.M. Anthenill (Production Stage Manager) (she/her/hers) The Old Globe: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Trouble in Mind, Krapp’s Last Tape, What You Are, Tiny Beautiful Things, Globe for All (2017–2022), Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Guys and Dolls, Camp David, The Comedy of Errors. Regional: The Garden, 2020 POP Tour, Junk: The Golden Age of Debt (La Jolla Playhouse), Fun Home, Beachtown, Roz and Ray, Into the Beautiful North, Outside Mullingar, The Oldest Boy, Oedipus El Rey, Honky (San Diego Rep), El Huracán, Mud Row, The Last Wife, Bad Jews, Sons of the Prophet, True West, Fool for Love, Spring Awakening, Assassins, Company (Cygnet), Pippin (Diversionary).

Anjee Nero (Stage Management Swing) The Old Globe (as Production Stage Manager): Come Fall in Love, Almost Famous, The Gardens of Anuncia, The Heart of Rock & Roll, Bright Star, Allegiance, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Benny & Joon, October Sky, The Rocky Horror Show, Life After, The Wanderers, Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG San Diego Christmas Show, The Twenty-Seventh Man, A Room with a View, Kingdom, The Tempest, The Winter’s Tale, Be a Good Little Widow, more. Broadway: Bright Star. Regional highlights: Bright Star (Kennedy Center), Fly, Sideways, Ruined, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Herringbone, The Seven (La Jolla Playhouse), Ruined (Huntington Theatre Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre), Kiss Me, Kate (Hartford Stage), Venice (Center Theatre Group, Kansas City Repertory Theatre), Antigone (SITI Company).