West Adams


West Adams
Apply for:
  • Share This Show

Four gentrifiers’ lofty dreams of reshaping the neighborhood in their image may finally come true, should they win the coveted spot of singing the national anthem for the prestigious annual block party. If chosen, this could catapult them to positions of power in the neighborhood, fulfilling Michael’s quest to unseat the stalwart Black, perhaps old-fashioned President of the Neighborhood Council. However their plans are diverted when an affluent Black family moves into the neighborhood. Penelope Lowder’s newest play, set in Los Angeles’ historic West Adams district, shines a light on those who come to play kings and queens in already established communities across America.


Michael Hills is a self-professed bouncy house king with a failing business. His wife Julie Hills, Asian American, is a once promising concert pianist presently teaching piano at a prestigious music school. Their friends and neighbors Edward, who works for Michael, and Sarah Apaza are newly born-again Christians and parents to be. Our four gentrifiers have lofty dreams of reshaping West Adams in their image.

They are auditioning for the coveted position of singing the National anthem at the prestigious West Adams Annual Block party. The winner will have access to the “ears” of the West Adams political big wigs and a shot at achieving their ultimate goal, a power grab from Glodean, the stalwart Black woman who is President of the West Adams Neighborhood Council.

Their hopes for change and domination of the neighborhood lay with a white leggy blonde renovating the largest home on the block. They watch in glee at the “spare no expense” restoration that will increase their property values and transform their neighborhood from “hood” to the majestic glory days of West Adams. They are confident an extremely wealthy white woman will be the perfect ally in their takeover. Michael, unbeknownst to the group, has even printed up election posters.

Their elation is short-lived when they see the leggy white blonde hand over her house keys to a Black man and his Black family. Our quartet learn the property belongs to the Barrons and the white woman was their personal assistant. Game changer.

Michael, Sarah, and Julie ingratiate themselves with the Barrons. They accept an invitation to their “get to know the neighbors” party and are in awe of their ostentatious wealth. Julie performs a piano sonata on Mr. Barron’s Baesendorfer, Michael attempts to attract business, and Sarah spreads her newfound Christianity among the natives. All are impressed except Edward who remains behind at Michael’s home, refusing to meet them. Edward believes the Barrons are dangerous people.

Julie may prove Edward right when she burst in with good news. Mrs. Barron has arranged for Julie to play piano at the block party. Michael is furious. How can the Barrons make a decision like that? They just moved into the neighborhood. Julie reveals the Barrons know Glodean who approved the Barrons’ decision. Mr. Barron and Mrs. Barron are now calling the shots on this block party.

The gentrifiers get gentrified in this taut drama, as their successive failures to wrestle back power and influence from the Barrons only diminishes their neighborhood standing. Their inability to cope leads them to deploy their ultimate weapon of defense, racism, to destroy the Barrons, resulting in the destruction of their friendship and changing the dynamics of the neighborhood forever.


Must-see theatre at its finest and most eloquent.

—People’s World

Los Angeles Times Critics Choice!


Michael Hills, 30, White American, Alpha male, self-righteous. The world is his sandbox and anyone who enters is merely there for him to mold.

Julie Chang Hills, wife to Michael, Chinese American, 30s. She is a complex, exuberant woman who struggles to find her place in a black and white world.

Edward Apaza, Peruvian American, 30s. Conservative, affable, assimilationist. Edward is a by-the-book kind of man who just wants to make money, and feels fear and illusion are the keys to his survival.

Sarah Apaza, wife to Edward, White American, 30s, mannered. She is the behavior police. She uses her new-found Christianity, her Santa Monica roots, and her Latino husband to mask the monster that lies beneath.

Setting: Summertime in a West Adams Neighborhood

Performance Royalties for AMATEUR and EDUCATIONAL Groups, please fill out an application for your personalized quote.

Performance Royalties for PROFESSIONAL Theaters will be quoted as a box office percentage, with a minimum guarantee based on ticket prices and theater particulars. Please fill out an application for your personalized quote.

Authorized Materials must be purchased from Stage Rights as a part of your licensing agreement (see Materials).

Billing responsibilities, pertinent copyright information, and playwrights' biographies are available in the show rider that comes with your license agreement.

“This extraordinary play must be seen.” –Paul Myrvold’s Theatre Notes

“Attacking timely issues like race, class, gentrification, and immigration, West Adams is certainly a thought-provoking study of people caught in the cross-hairs.” —LA Splash Magazine

“Playwright Penelope Lowder has her finger firmly on the pulse of American culture, and this patient is in dire need of resuscitation. A modern-day parable about the rise of racism, disrespect for the rule of law and the brutally strident rhetoric that has infected the national discourse” –Los Angeles Times

“Quietly and disconcertingly powerful.” –Broadwayworld

West Adams overall is a savvy, satisfying play, spotlighting the toxic ilk that still poisons our fractious American communities.” —Stage Raw

Authorized Materials must be purchased from Stage Rights as a part of your licensing agreement. Your materials will be sent to you digitally by your Licensing Representative.

The Authorized Materials/Production Package for West Adams are all fulfilled digitally and consist of:

Acting Edition

Stage Manager Script