“La Jolla Playhouse is a world-class theater, and ever since I was a student here, I’ve wanted to work at this theater,” said Pickett. “I cannot tell you how excited I am to come back. It’s a dream come true.”
According to Pickett, it all started in San Diego. The return to La Jolla has been a homecoming for him — it’s the place his brothers live and it’s home to the college campus where he met his former wife.
“I love North County,” said Pickett. “UCSD changed my life. I was exposed to so many great minds and creative people there.”
In the play, Jack and Miles drink their way through the Santa Ynez Valley prior to Jack’s impending nuptials. Jack seeks a last hurrah in the form of a sizzling fling, while Miles tries to move past his divorce and the certainty that his latest manuscript will remain unpublished.
“Many of the things that Miles goes through in my novel are things that I went through,” said Pickett. “But it’s not non-fiction, it’s not a memoir … it’s a decided work of fiction. I employ fiction to heighten conflict and emotion.”
Pickett’s personal archives were recently installed at the Mandeville Special Collections Library at UC San Diego. As a sequel to “Sideways,” he wrote the book, “Vertical,” published in 2011, which also centers around wine.
To quench the thirst of audience members after watching bottles of wine being consumed on stage during the play, the Playhouse offers a post-performance wine tasting at its on-site restaurant. A sampling of wine from the Santa Barbara wine region is available and includes a souvenir wine glass for those purchasing tastings.
“I’ve been longing to create a lively post-show environment at the Playhouse since I arrived here six years ago,” said Christopher Ashley, artistic director. “Our production of ‘Sideways’ offers the perfect opportunity for patrons to congregate after the show to socialize, share their theater-going experiences and sample some terrific wines.”
According to Ashley, the play has been enormously popular with audiences since it opened July 16. “Sideways” is directed by Des McAnuff, Playhouse director emeritus.
Performances take place at the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre, located on the UC San Diego campus. The play runs for 2.5 hours including intermission. Tickets are available for $15 and up. For more information, visit www.lajollaplayhouse.org.