Friday, November 20, 2015

San Diego lets it rip with autumn array of theatrical offerings

San Diego's skyline reaches high and proud -- and its theater matches in its lofty accomplishments.

Southern California city pushes the "play" envelope to provoke, amuse, enlighten  

Delightful Yiddish music carries themes of
"Indecent" across the footlights of La Jolla Playhouse.
PHOTOS By BRUCE KELLER and courtesy marketing and media contacts
FINE THEATER is as much a part of San Diego as the ocean.
And it's equally seductive.
No U.S. city this size has the variety and richness of theater life (less than three million people in the whole of San Diego County).
Hershey Felder brings his virtuoso Berlin
 performance to La Jolla Playhouse's Mandell
 Weiss Theatre opening Dec. 16.

We try to see everything; this month has been fertile, fun and varied -- from Noel Coward gems to new, provocative works. I'm a kid on holiday, with a stocking full of stimulation. In a two-part piece beginning today and continuing Wednesday, We highly recommend:
An American born mother's notions of family are challenged when it is
suggested her  young son might be a budding master. (At San Diego Rep.) 
At La Jolla Playhouse: The edgy new play with music, "Indecent," is inspired by "God of Vengeance," an older controversial play that got its cast thrown in jail nearly a century ago. The play is gorgeous to watch -- marvelously lit and with beautiful music and choreography.  While it explores and celebrates Jewish culture, it also tackles issues of morality, hypocrisy and artistic integrity through its contemplative book.  It asks tough questions about the role, rights and responsibility of the playwright in an artfully staged extravaganza (complete with rain!) where strolling musicians move the action forward. Rebecca Taichman's daring direction of Paula Vogel's work will garner national attention. It's up though Dec. 10, followed by Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin, in Felder's own dazzling production. His show traces the brilliant composer's rise from prejudice and poverty of Czarist Russia to esteem and honor in the U.S., penning dozens of beloved American songs. (Dec. 16-Jan. 3).
"A Christmas Carol" gets Cygnet's stamp of originality and flair. 
North Coast Rep has a holiday production, too. More soon.

At San Diego Repertory Theatre: The current play, "The Oldest Boy," on tap through Dec. 6, is billed as a "bewitching, beautiful meditation on motherhood, love and letting go." It is a complicated story of two parents caught in the challenge of deciding if their young son should move to India to train as a Buddhist master. The Rep is no slouch when it comes to pushing the envelope, with pioneering Sam Woodhouse at the helm. He directs this Sarah Ruhl work about faith, belief and family loyalty in conflict with centuries old Buddhist tradition. The thought-provoking production includes a puppet moved by three actors- dancers, imaginative choreography and musical background and gongs to keep you alert.
The Rep season continues with a Romantic comedy, "Outside Mullingar," a Buckminster Fuller reflection, and a look at gender politics with an intriguing title, "Rapture, Blister, Burn." Sounds like a recipe for a satisfying theatrical repast perfect for the season.
Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy a play!

COMING WEDNESDAY:  Whereiscookie looks at Cygnet Theatre's upcoming "A Christmas Carol," directed by the always engaging Sean Murray. And at North Coast Repertory Theater, another treat for the holiday stocking awaits with "This Wonderful Life," a tour de force one-man spin-off of "It's a Wonderful Life."  Theater life in San Diego is an endless supply of creativity and surprise. Remember to explore, learn and live and treat a friend to a pair of theater tickets! 

1 comment:

  1. We booked tickets over the weekend for "The Oldest Man," and found it unique -- first act opened a bit slowly for my tastes, but it came together in the second act with eye-opening possibilities. Congrats to the Rep for making us think and revisit and question old notions...... glad I came across this writer.