Friday, February 2, 2018

Theater treats: Bite into a bonanza of first-rate fare in San Diego

Five versatile actors deftly portray 42 colorful characters in a delightful production of "Around the World in 80 Days"
held over at North Coast Repertory Theatre. Prepare for a brilliant theatrical trip by boat, train and imagination. 



At right: Katherine Ko as Tong, Ben Levin as Quang in San Diego Rep's funny, sad, fascinating production of
"Vietgone," a fast-paced melange of war, family, social trials and love.

and courtesy San Diego theaters

THERE'S MORE TALENT in San Diego than one can shake a maestro's baton at.
On any given evening, choose from nearly three dozen theatrical offerings -- musicals, comedies, dramas, period pieces, classics and cleverly crafted world premiers.
WE ARE REVELING in a romp on the boards to preview San Diego Theatre week, Feb. 15-25.
Cygnet Theatre in Old Town features a
drama about the last wife of Henry VIII
Reduced tickets are offered for 29 venues. Check out the websites of these highlights we're sampling, and more:
Kate Rose Reynolds, left, and Andrea Agosto perform flawless
roles in Diversionary Theatre's challenging "Cardboard Piano."
 * "Around the World in 80 Days." North Coast Repertory Theatre. Watch suave adventurer Phileas Fogg circle the globe with his faithful and flamboyant servant,  encountering danger, romance and comic turns.  Stylish direction and dazzling costume changes showcase the versatile Will Vought, Loren Lester, Omri Schein,  Lovlee Carroll  and Richard Baird as they brilliantly deliver 42 eccentric and loveable characters.  Through Feb. 11.
The Lyceum in Horton Plaza is home
to San Diego Repertory Theatre.
* "Vietgone." San Diego Repertory Theatre. Bold, sexy, funny love story is delightfully acted, mixing rap music, motorcycles, comic book aesthetics and martial arts with a thought-provoking story of race, war and surviving by one's wits.  As a family flees from Vietnam at war's end, it faces struggles and stereotypes in America with humor and heart.  Through Feb. 18. At the Lyceum.
* "The Last Wife." Cygnet Theatre. Engaging, wonderfully acted historical fiction about the only wife to survive the tempers and whims of Henry VIII.  The title references the audacious king's sixth and final wife, Katherine Parr, whose brains, bravado and quick thinking kept her head on her shoulders. Nimble direction and fine 
Manny Fernandes and Allison Spratt-Pearce deliver star
work in "The Last Wife" at Cygnet Theatre in Old Town. 
writing give new life to a nearly 500-year-old period, with contemporary twists. Through Feb. 11. In Old Town.

Danny Stiles, left, and Steven Freitas are down-on-their-luck
workers who scheme a strip act in "The Full Monty" at SDMT. 

* "The Full Monty." San Diego Musical Theatre. An endearing company of guys play a sextet of unemployed Buffalo steel workers who decide to pay their bills by taking it all off. Raucous humor, a sassy female ensemble; endearing, catchy pop-rock score deliver thumbs-up stage version of the hit 1997 hit film proving there's more to a first-rate performance than perfect body types. SDMT is a bravura grassroots effort of a musical-loving local couple! Through Feb. 25 at Horton Grand.
"Cardboard Piano."  Diversionary Theatre. A teen-age daughter of an American missionary falls in love with a local teenage girl in Northern Uganda. They marry in secret, circa 2000, before civil unrest upends their lives. Diversionary again pushes the envelope with four fine actors, in an absorbing, sometimes shocking play which confronts weighty issues: same-sex relationships, intolerance, America’s relationship with Africa and the human capacity for forgiveness. Through Feb. 25.
La Jolla Playhouse has introduced many
musicals and plays that go on to Broadway.  

*"The Cake."  La Jolla PlayhouseRely on top-drawer work at the theater co-founded by Gregory Peck. LJPH's current drama drama also explores same-sex marriage.  The play has humor, pathos, sharp direction and an almost edible set. The storyline features a  a native North Carolina woman returning home from New York to ask her late mother's best friend to make her wedding cake. Beliefs are challenged, old values take on new clothes and the notion of love is explored as two brides head for the altar. Through March 4. At the Potiker Theatre.
Check out for more details and offers. Wherever you are, support local theater.

A well trained group of docents from Birch Aquarium educates enthusiastic
whale watchers as Flagship follows the great gray whale's southern migration.

UP NEXT:  We've a  whale of a tale to tell you, with our latest adventure in search of the great migrating gray whales.  We got up close with several mothers this week -- and even a newborn -- on their way south to the Baja's warm waters with Flagship's fine whale watching tour.  Remember to explore, learn and live, and catch us Fridays for a fresh look at the  arts, nature, family and travel. To book,


  1. Santa Barbara Theater BuffsFebruary 2, 2018 at 7:58 PM

    How lucky to have this glut of theatrical riches at your door.

  2. We have seen the splendid "...80 Days" production and are going again, to take guests from London. Certain they will enjoy Fogg's fine accent and five terrific actors.

  3. La Jolla Play JunkiesFebruary 5, 2018 at 4:18 PM

    Saw "Cardboard Piano." Still ruminating....disturbing,uplifting, poignant-- great acting. Thanks for this erudite round-up.

  4. Seeing all of your "picks."LokL forward to the whale piece....we were out from Dana Point. Extraordinary!!

  5. Wonderful. We are in New York at the opera. Saw super "Tosca" and more to come. Thanks for this....headed your way.