This May, San Diego’s theatre line-up reads like the cover of a tabloid magazine with the promise of love, death and intrigue. From the fresh retelling of Shakespeare’s classic, Romeo and Juliet, to the stage version of the 1940’s movie, His Girl Friday, May is a great time to get into the gossip and head out to one of San Diego’s top theatres.
Shakespeare’s R & J at Cygnet Theatre
Shakespeare’s famous tragedy of coming of age love, Romeo and Juliet, has been band from a repressive, parochial school for boys, but when four students discover a copy, they find the forbidden text strongly represents their own adolescent passion in this unique “play within a play” version of Romeo and Juliet.
What is the right way to grieve? This is the question young wife Melody must face when her husband’s business trip ends tragically in a plane crash. As Melody’s concerns make a drastic switch from which throw pillows look best to how to properly wear black, Be a Good Little Widow takes the audience through a bittersweet look at the sadness and humor that unites of life and death, grief and hope.
Immortalized by Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell in the 1940 movie of the same name, His Girl Friday is a fast-talking comedy set in a 1939 Chicago press room. Reporter Hildy Johnson is just about to leave the paper for good when her editor/ex-husband tempts her with the scoop of a lifetime. The lure of fame and rekindled romance prove more than she can resist.
Assassins, Aristocrats and Archbishops take center stage this month for what is gearing up to be quite a murderous March in San Diego’s theatre scene. But do not fear! In addition to an exciting evening of black humor or musical madness, a night out at the theater means taking in some of San Diego’s most iconic neighborhoods such as historic Old Town, beautiful Balboa Park, and energetic Downtown.
Assassins at Cygnet Theatre
Bold, original, thought-provoking and alarmingly funny, Assassins lays bare the lives of nine individuals who assassinated (or attempted to) the President of the United States, including the infamous John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald, in wry musical form. Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by John Weidman, Directed by Sean Murry.
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder at the Old Globe
Will Monty Navarro become 1st in line to inherit his dukedom?
When Monty Navarro finds out he is ninth in line to inherit a dukedom, he decides to eliminate the other eight heirs (all played by one incredible actor!) standing in his way in this World Premiere musical of merriment and murder. This witty music hall comedy explores just how low we’ll go to make it to the top!
The West Coast premiere of Murder in the Cathedral with San Diego Opera. Photo courtesy of San Diego Opera.
The American West Coast Premiere of Murder in the Cathedral comes to the San Diego Opera with a score reminiscent of Puccini and extraordinary choruses perfectly able to paint a complex story of faith, passion, tragedy and hope. Archbishop Thomas Becket, brutally murdered in Canterbury Cathedral in December 1170 defending his church against the intrusions of King Henry II, became a Christian martyr and Saint at whose tomb Henry was forced to pay penance. Based on the T. S. Eliot play, the opera, by Ildebrando Pizzetti, covers the last month of Becket’s life as he struggles with politics, religion and temptation.
As temperatures cool outdoors, creativity heats up in theatres across San Diego. Check out the grandest form of all theatre with the beautiful and bold productions at the San Diego Opera, or get an intimate view into the theater workshopping process with La Jolla Playhouse’s DNA New Work Series. Check out the San Diego Theatre Preview below for more Winter 2013 must-see shows.
San Diego Opera – The Daughter of the Regiment
San Diego Opera kicks off an exhilarating season with Donizetti’s sparkling and hilarious, The Daughter of the Regiment. The story tells of the orphaned French girl, Marie, adopted by a regiment of soldiers in the waning days of World War II. The independent, spunky Mario love Tonio, a peasant, but the Marquise tries to marry her off to a rich Duke. Luckily for Marie, the Marquise is thwarted and Marie is free to marry Tonio. Hear, hear, for opera with a happy ending!
Old Globe Theatre presents George Bernard Shaw’s most popular modern masterpiece (which Lerner and Loewe adapted as the musical My Fair Lady), Pygmalion. The poor flower-seller Eliza Doolittle is in the right place at the right time, just as speech professor Henry Higgins makes a friendly wager that he can change her accent and pass her off as the epitome of English society. Pygmalion is a funny, touching, unforgettable battle of wits between two of the theatre’s most iconic characters.
La Jolla Playhouse announces a new play development initiative, the DNA New Work Series, which will entail a six-week period of workshop productions and readings of new plays and musicals. First up is Chasing the Song, which follows a group of pop songwriters and the changing sounds of music charts in the early 1960’s before the Beatles emerged and transformed the entire music world.
Lamb’s Players Theatre welcomes Pete ‘n Keely to the stage. The year is 1968 and it’s been a thrilling week of rehearsing at the NBC studios for the live telecast of Pete and Keely Reunion Special. This Off-Broadway hit is packed with classic favorites like, “Besame Mucho,” “Secret Love” and “Fever” as well as great new songs.
For a moving and thought-provoking start to 2013, Cygnet Theatre presents Gem of the Ocean. Gem of the Ocean is chronologically the first of ten plays in August Wilson’s acclaimed Century Cycle examining African-American experience in the 20th century. Citizen Barlow sparks a chain of events that drive a community into turmoil and set him on a journey, guided by 285-year-old Aunt Ester, towards personal redemption.
One of the things that I love about the holidays in San Diego are the performances! As an avid theater lover, I must admit to enjoying the tug at my heartstrings when attending a Christmas musical or a holiday play. So as a little gift for you, my blog-reading friends….a list of some of my favorite shows! I highly recommend that you try to see at least one of them this season. It’ll help you get into the holiday spirit!
An American Christmas
Lamb’s Players Theatre has 2 great options. Visit their Coronado theater to see their Festival of Music. This year’s musical is “It’s Christmas and It’s Live!” – a fun story set in the early 50’s that follows a young quartet trying to make it big on TV. Or if you REALLY want to be enveloped by the holiday spirit, visit the Hotel Del Coronado where LPT puts on “An American Christmas” – a night of singing, performances and a 5-course Christmas dinner – all in the beautifully decorated Hotel Del ballroom!
Cygnet Theater puts on a fantastic stage version of a radio show performance of “It’s A Wonderful Life“. Whether you are old enough to remember listening to holiday stories on the radio, or just want to experience this classic story in a different way, Cygnet does a great job of spreading the holiday cheer in this fun-filled performance.
And any listing of holiday performances would be severely lacking without mention of the Old Globe Theater’s “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”! These guys go all out! From fantastic costumes, to vibrant set design – they even make it “snow” inside the theater! What a great performance to take the kids (and those who are still kids at heart) to!
Last weekend I was invited to attend a matinee performance of “Sweeney Todd,” performed by the Cygnet Theatre. No, Johnny Depp was not featured in this version, but the amazing cast was mind-blowingly wonderful, making up for the fact that my favorite actor was not starring.
For those not familiar with the story of Sweeney Todd, the musical features a vengeful barber, a cunning shop-owner, and the “best meat pies in London”. I’m not going to give it away, but those meat pies aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.
The scenery used during the play completely whisked you away to the cold streets of London, and I could barely remember that I was actually sitting in a “barn” in Old Town. Did I mention the Old Town Theatre looks exactly like a barn? It was almost reminiscent of going to a summer stock show.
After the show, my husband and I toured around Old Town listening to the live street music and looking and the fantastic old buildings. The streets were bustling with people, and it felt like I was literally transported back to the olden days of San Diego.
I’d give Sweeney Todd two thumbs way up, and I promise you’ll enjoy it unless you don’t like music or theater, or don’t have a sense of humor. Sweeney Todd plays through May 9th, so if you haven’t already gone make sure to get your tickets soon! And my best tip for you: If someone offers you a meat pie while you’re there, regardless of how wonderful it might smell, please pass. It’s for your own good.