Wednesday, January 22, 2014

San Diego theater moves, challenges, enlightens, amuses, engages

The colorful Lyceum Theatre houses San Diego Rep in Horton Plaza.









SAN DIEGO'S year-round growing season produces more than lush landscaping.  Our city offers a lively and varied theater crop.
San Diego theater can't be beat for quality and diversity.
I spend time in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Cleveland, Atlanta, St. Louis, San Francisco and other cities. All have proud acting companies and lively theater.
Herb Siguenza
plays Trujillo
and others.
Yet survey the dramatic riches here in San Diego. Then book your tickets:
AT SAN DIEGO Repertory Theater, one may engage the mind through Jan. 26 in a lyrical, thought-provoking production, "In the Time of the Butterflies." Based on the true story of four remarkable sisters who challenged Generalissmo Rafael Trujillo, it is set in a 25-year period in the Dominican Republic. The title comes from their code name, "butterflies," and the play is based on the popular Latin American novel.

Fabulous acting -- and background singing -- bring a true story
of sisterhood, loyalty and courage to life courtesy San Diego Rep.
ADAPTED by Caridad Svich, the play dances back and forth in time, establishing the bonds and differences of the four sisters.  One sister, Dede, is played by two actors: the "present day" Dede, who narrates the story and explains its importance, and the young Dede, played by Sandra Ruiz, who also plays an American writer. Catalina Maynard, elegant and touching as the older Dede, is surrounded by equal talent in Jacqueline Grace Lopez as Minerva, Elisa Gonzales as Patria and Maritxell Carrero as Maria Teresa. The brilliant Herbert Siguenza, who co-directed the piece, plays multiple parts with his characteristic authenticity and style.
LaJolla Playhouse offers quality, in stately buildings and grounds.
A HAUNTING VIOLIN played by Batya MacAdam-Somer brings this work of memory and activism to life, locking the images in our hearts. The play embodies artistic director Sam Woodhouse's pledge, to honor "acts of courage, creativity and out of the box imagination." Fittingly, the run is dedicated to the memory of another great activist, Nelson Mandela. Do yourself a favor and see this tale of love and bravery.
Emily Padgett, left, and Erin Davie, played
Daisy and Violet Hilton in a bravura LJP show. 
Kudos to adventuresome Woodhouse, Rep co-founder, who brings us cutting edge work, always intriguing. And to Todd Salovey, who co-directed the play and brings us the lively Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival, about which we've written here.
AT LAJOLLA PLAYHOUSE, Cygnet and North Coast Repertory Theater, productions also continue to challenge, engage and entertain.
"Maple and Vine"
is on stage at Cygnet.
At La Jolla Playhouse, one of the most beautifully produced pieces I've seen in my six years of frequenting San Diego theater was "Side Show," a "reimagined" musical story of conjoined twins, Daisy and Violet Hilton.   Actors Emily Padgett and Erin Davie were knock-outs in the two leads. I'd seen the play during its too brief Broadway run in 1997 and delighted in its reincarnation. Fantastic supporting cast players and an enthralling carnival atmosphere prevailed. Seasoned director Bill Condon brought us my best holiday gift with this energetic and moving production -- top talent, great storyline and terrific song and dance.
CYGNET Theatre's "Maple and Vine" is on the boards in Old Town, described as "a darkly appealing fairy
"Who Am I This Time?" is on
the boards at North Coast Rep. 
tale" about 21st-Century lives, new neighbors and the concept of happiness. And North Coast Repertory Theater, in Solana Beach, is presenting "Who Am I This Time?" based on short stories about relationships by Kurt Vonnegut.
IF YOU'RE within walking, driving, or flying distance, support theater. There's no finer artistic stimulation and San Diego has riches galore! Don't overlook the Old Globe and Civic Theater for a wide range of quality performance -- Shakespeare to Broadway tours. And for daring, nuance, originality and variety, check out San Diego Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, North Coast Rep and Cygnet.;;;

Space is at a premium for actors and dancers performing on cruise ships.
COMING SOON: How does a cruise ship produce full-scale Broadway shows, in limited space and while moving across oceans? Come back stage on Serenade of the Seas.
*Enjoy New Orleans jazz on the authentic steamboat Natchez.
*Glean tips on renting a car abroad.
*Bask in the white-washed glories of one of the world's oldest ports, Cadiz, and more.
We post Saturdays and Wednesdays and as the spirit and siren song move.
Thanks for spreading the word!


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