Cornerstone Theater Company

What Happens Next

Photo courtesy of Jim Carmody/La Jolla Playhouse

View online program for What Happens Next HERE, or download here.

Commissioned and produced by La Jolla Playhouse, the play was created with, for and about veterans, inspired by stories shared by the military community in San Diego. Written by Naomi Iizuka and directed by Michael John Garcés, the play explores the complexities of sacrifice and resilience of people who have served, and sheds light on what they carry into their civilian lives.

What Happens Next premiered at the Challenged Athletes Foundation in San Diego, April 19 – 29, 2018 and was remounted in San Diego and at UC Irvine in 2019. In June 2021, Cornerstone re-imagined What Happens Next as a Zoom play which is available for screenings.

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

Michael Garcia, Associate Director
Amanda Novoa, Stage Manager


Originally produced by La Jolla Playhouse in 2018, Cornerstone produced the play again with the same cast, and with an eye toward performances to be brought in to veteran communities anywhere.

Performed at UC Irvine at Winifred Smith Hall in Claire Trevor School of the Arts, November 18, 2019.

Performed at Challenged Athletes Foundation in San Diego, November 20-24, 2019.

Streamed online June 24-27, 2021 on YouTube.

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

Bring What Happens Next to Your Community

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.

You can learn more about bringing What Happens Next to your community, HERE.

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.