Cornerstone Theater Company

What Happens Next

Photo courtesy of Jim Carmody/La Jolla Playhouse

What Happens Next is a play created with, for and about veterans, inspired by stories shared by the military community.

The cast combines Cornerstone and guest artist actors with military veterans onstage.

This new play explores the complexities of sacrifice and resilience of those who have served, and sheds light on what they carry into their civilian lives.

In What Happens Next, Bonnie, an idealistic but inexperienced acting teacher, finds herself paired with a group of veterans as part of a drama therapy program. She struggles to find a way to build trust and find common ground with her reluctant new students.

Written by award-winning playwright Naomi Iizuka and directed by Cornerstone’s Artistic Director Michael John Garcés, What Happens Next premiered in April 2018 in association with La Jolla Playhouse and its Without Walls series. It was performed at the Challenged Athletes Foundation in San Diego, for an audience of veterans, their families and the general public.

Read about the original production in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Upcoming Performances

Monday, November 18 at 6:30PM
A special one-night only presentation at University of California – Irvine’s Winifred Smith Hall, in the Claire Trevor School of the Arts.

Click here for tickets and info.

November 20  – 24
at the Challenged Athletes Foundation in San Diego – Six performances only!

Wednesday, November 20 – Saturday, November 23 at 7:30pm
Saturday, November 23 & Sunday, November 24 at 2:00pm

Challenged Athletes Foundation
9591 Waples St., San Diego, CA, 92121

Click here for tickets and info.

Cast:Judy Bauerlein, Nick Borrelli, Bruce A. Lemon, Jr., Hannah Logan,
Francisco Martinezcuello, Nico Marcolongo, Jennie McFarling, Anthony Pone

Michael Garcia, Associate Director
Amanda Novoa, Stage Manager


What Happens Next is currently available for touring.

Performed by eight actors and produced with minimal space and technical requirements, What Happens Next can be produced in any type of venue, including non-traditional spaces like a recreation center, meeting hall, or veterans community space.

The performance is approximately 90 minutes long and runs without an intermission.

To bring What Happens Next to your community, contact us today.

Photo courtesy of Jim Carmody/La Jolla Playhouse

Michael John Garcés

Read Michael's bio here.

Naomi Iizuka

NAOMI IIZUKA’s plays include 36 VIEWS, POLAROID STORIES, ANON(YMOUS), LANGUAGE OF ANGELS, ALOHA, SAY THE PRETTY GIRLS, TATTOO GIRL, SKIN, AT THE VANISHING POINT, CONCERNING STRANGE DEVICES FROM THE DISTANT WEST, LAST FIREFLY, CITIZEN 13559, and WAR OF THE WORLDS (a collaboration with Anne Bogart and SITI Company.) Her plays have been produced at theatres across the country including Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the Goodman, Actors’ Theatre of Louisville, the Guthrie Theatre, Cornerstone, Children’s Theater Company, the Kennedy Center, the Huntington Theater, Portland Center Stage, the Public Theatre, Campo Santo + Intersection for the Arts, Dallas Theatre Center, Seattle Children’s Theatre, and Soho Rep. Her play GOOD KIDS was the first play commissioned by the Big Ten Consortium’s New Play Initiative and has since been produced at universities across the nation. Most recent projects include an adaptation of SLEEP, a short story by Haruki Murakami, in collaboration with the ensemble theatre group Ripe Time which was produced at BAM’s Next Wave Festival, the Annenberg Center, and Yale Rep’s No Boundaries series, and WHAT HAPPENS NEXT, a play written in collaboration with USMC veterans and their families, produced by La Jolla Playhouse Without Walls and Cornerstone Theater Company. Iizuka’s plays have been published by Overlook Press, Playscripts, Smith and Kraus, Dramatic Publishing, and TCG. lizuka was named the Berlind Playwright-in-Residence at Princeton University. She is an alumna of New Dramatists and the recipient of a PEN/Laura Pels Award, an Alpert Award, a Joyce Foundation Award, a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Stavis Award from the National Theatre Conference, a Rockefeller Foundation MAP grant, an NEA/TCG Artist in Residence grant, a McKnight Fellowship, a PEN Center USA West Award for Drama, a Hodder Fellowship, and a Jerome Fellowship.