Friday, October 28, 2016

Autumn theater in San Diego offers rich harvest of fine productions

San Diego Repertory Theater's "Disgraced" tackles contemporary issues of  race, religion and class in the modern world. The actors are Ronobir Lahiri and Allison Spratt Pearce playing a couple with challenges in an Ayad Akhtar play. 
The play is challenging, thoughtful, well acted and directed. Opening night this week earned a standing ovation.

Something for every taste in a rich new theatrical season in vibrant, play-loving San Diego

Northcoast Repertory Theater's "Laughter on the 23rd Floor" features
veteran talents Phil Johnson, Rep artistic director David Ellenstein, and
 Nicholas Mongiardo-Cooper. 

and courtesy theaters' marketing departments

FROM CUTTING edge political drama, to new musicals, satire and time-honored chestnuts, vintage comedy and a Pulitzer prize winning drama, San Diego theater offers a play for every taste.
The state-of-the-art La Jolla Playhouse offers four distinct venues. The
musical "Miss You Like Hell," is on now, a mother-daughter saga.
Cygnet Theatre, which took its name to honor
Shakespeare's Swan, is known for taking
chances, and honoring revered chestnuts.
We see a production or two a week -- four in 10 days recently, and two more this weekend. We're thrilled to call this lively, play-loving mecca home for a few months each year.
North Coast Repertory Theatre north of San Diego in Solana Beach
reflects the rich variety of offerings available in southern California.
What strikes me as unique about San Diego theater is its enormous variety.
THE OFFERINGS are as varied as the venues -- from a quartet of lavish, beautifully outfitted state-of-the-art venues that comprise La Jolla Playhouse to smaller, even more intimate houses of North Coast Repertory Theater in Solana Beach, with 194 seats, and New Village Arts, with only 100-plus ringside seats in Carlsbad. We're also regulars at Cygnet Theatre in Old Town and  San Diego Repertory, which calls Lyceum Theater home in Horton Plaza downtown.
Welk Theater, Intrepid Theatre and the venerable Old Globe add to the rich range of offerings in southern California. It's fun to watch the region's best actors move around from venue to venue, playing the field -- always looking for challenge, change and a good fit.
HERE'S WHAT we've been seeing lately, and what we have to look forward to in San Diego:
The new play at New Village Arts promises to challenge.
Featured are Manny Fernandes, Melissa Fernandes, Jeffrey
 Jones and executive artistic director Kristianne Kurner. 
* La Jolla Playhouse: "Miss You Like Hell," a new musical about a mother-daughter road trip, which opened this week at this elegant venue. A smart, imaginative teenager takes a road trip with her free-spirited Latina mother, meeting a mix of characters who encourage examination of their relationship.  Through Dec. 4. And watch for the brilliant John Leguizamo’s new one-man show, "Latin History for Morons."
The Welk Theater's "Sweet Charity" is a snappy, well acted production. 
* San Diego Repertory Theatre: "Disgraced," is a riveting Pulitzer-prize winner taking a piercing, contemporary look at race, religion and class, experienced through two couples and a nephew in volatile times. Amir Kapoor forsakes his Muslim heritage to live the American Dream – with beautiful wife, New York penthouse and lucrative law career.  The run ends Nov. 13. Then, we can't wait for "The Dybbuk for Hannah and Sam’s Wedding," based on a time honored Yiddish classic, written by Todd Salovey with original music written and performed by Yale Strom. These two gifted artists grace the annual Lipinski Jewish Arts Festival. Catch it at the Lyceum Nov 23-Dec. 18.
* Cygnet Theatre: A beautifully acted pairing of August Wilson plays, "Seven Guitars" and "King Hedley II," recently mesmerized play-goers and featured the same ensemble of gifted actors in both productions.  Its run ended Nov. 6. In rehearsal is Cygnet's hit holiday version of the classic "A Christmas Carol" Nov. 22 through Christmas Eve.
The approach to La Jolla Playhouse on the UCSD campus
is a tree-lined stroll to the lovely Mandell Weiss Theatre.
* North Coast Repertory Theatre: Time for an old, beloved chestnut from the always endearing playwright, Neil Simon. The comedy is a love letter to his early career as a writer for Sid Caesar’s “Your Show of Shows.” Three seasoned actors recount the writing, fighting and wacky antics of early days of live television when Simon cavorted with fellow legends, Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks.
* New Village Arts: "God of Carnage" is on tap through Nov. 13, a one-act domestic comedy exploring parenthood and loyalty. When two New York couples meet to discuss their sons' playground tussle, a civilized evening of pleasantries and small talk erupts in a chaotic explosion of anarchy and vitriol. (Playwright Yasmina Reza wrote it, and "Art" at Intrepid Theatre.)
Actors Jason Heil, Jacob Bruce and Daren Scott play
 in "Art," which promises fast-paced wit and humor. 
*Welk Resort Theater: The production of  "Sweet Charity" features delightful staging, winning acting and the classic Bob Fosse minimalist choreography.  Snappy dialogue tells the story of the girl who wants to be loved so much that she has lost sight of who she is. It's a sophisticated, smart show (the movie made Shirley MacLaine famous) and runs through Nov. 20.
* San Diego Musical Theatre: This venue in the venerable Spreckels Theatre staged a fun production of the Mel Brooks hit, "The Producers," based on the earlier film, and promises "White Christmas" always a sell-out for Nov. 25-Dec. 4 run. Coming up: "9 to 5," Damn Yankees" and "Billy Elliot."
*Intrepid Theatre Company. This small, welcoming downtown San Diego space features cutting edge work ranging from "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" to the current run, "Art," in which three erudite friends debate the merits of a single, white canvas painting. It's a brilliantly conceived piece. This will be my fourth foray into the "Art" arena, so much do I love this clever, engaging play.

Jimmy Buffett and an array of devoted Parrot Heads filled Humphrey's
By the Bay for a night of oldies but goodies. Buffett is one of a half-dozen
aging, but still rockin' performers to appear in southern California this month.
UP NEXT: We're aging rock 'n' rollers, enjoying an autumnal glut of riches! In less than three weeks, we've seen on stage the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Jimmy Buffett and more. We'll top off our nostalgic run with our fourth Tony Bennett concert in two years.      Remember to explore, learn and live, and catch us weekends for a look at artful, nature driven travel and arts pieces with a twist. Please tell other intelligent life about whereiscookie!


  1. Fun roundup. We are seeing them all.

  2. Sheridan Road TrippersOctober 29, 2016 at 7:40 AM

    Saw "Disgraced" in Atlanta. Thrilling Theater. Lucky you to have this diversity.

  3. We are all enriched by your travels and insights into the world's if art, music, theater and the natural world. Thanks for the ride.