Pulitzer Prize-Winning ‘Water by the Spoonful’ Opens at Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles

What do a college grad, a janitor, a software mogul, and an IRS paper-pusher have in common? Addiction recovery and an online chatroom. That’s the central conceit behind “Water by the Spoonful,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning play coming to the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. The critically-acclaimed original drama just opened for a 6-week run at the Forum, where it will hold several performances a week until March 11th.

“Water by the Spoonful” is written by renowned playwright Quiara Alegria Hudes, who previously won the Tony Award for her 2008 musical “In the Heights.” Quiara won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for “Water by the Spoonful,” and the play premiered off-Broadway at the Second Stage Theatre that same year. “Spoonful” revolves around four individuals who live thousands of miles apart but share the common struggle of addiction. Connecting through an online chatroom, the four struggling souls find a point of human connection in their shared experiences.  The play’s drama accelerates when the chatroom’s moderator, Odessa Ortiz, is faced with the return of her nephew, Elliot, an Iraqi War veteran who’s developed his own drug addiction after being stricken by PTSD. As Odessa’s life becomes untangled, the future of the chatroom safe-haven is thrown into doubt. The lines between real and virtual worlds become increasingly blurred as tragedy threatens to engulf everything Odessa sought to create.

“Water by the Spoonful” is the second part in a trilogy of plays, all written by Hudes. All three plays, which include “Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue” and “The Happiest Song Plays Last” will be playing together in one city for the first time. This local Los Angeles presentation grants viewers the rare opportunity to experience the power of Hudes’ “Elliot” trilogy in its entirety. Each production is being coordinated by Los Angeles’ own Center Theater Group, a prominent arts and culture organization that specializes in the promotion of new and original works.  The Center Theatre Group is also holding two free events, called Community Conversations, in which the public is invited to partake in discussions about the real-life issues that permeate “Water by the Spoonful” and the other two “Elliot” plays. The events will take place on February 9th and 21st.

The Mark Taper Forum production of “Water by the Spoonful” is directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, who recently won an Obie Award for directing an original production entitled “The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World AKA The Negro Book of the Dead,” which premiered at New York City’s renowned Signature Theater. Blain-Cruz’s prolific theatrical directing work includes recent productions of “The Bluest Eye,” “Red Speedo,” “Hollow Roots,” “Henry IV Part 1,” and “Much Ado About Nothing.”

The cast of the Mark Taper Forum production includes leading roles played by Bernard K. Addison, Josh Braaten, Sean Carvajal, Sylvia Kwan, Keren Lugo, Nick Massouh and Luna Lauren Vélez. The creative team includes Set Design by Adam Rigg, Costume Design by Raquel Barreto, Lighting Design by Yi Zhao, Sound Design by Jane Shaw, Projection Design by Hannah Wasileski, and Production Stage Management by David S. Franklin.

Water by the Spoonful” runs at the Mark Taper Forum Jan. 31 through March 11. You can buy your tickets here.