Candice

A Dimension Torn Free of the Future: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots at the La Jolla Playhouse

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots at the La Jolla Playhouse

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots at the La Jolla Playhouse

The La Jolla Playhouse‘s Des McAnuff is no stranger to producing big, blockbuster theater. During his previous tenure as the Artistic Director for the Playhouse, he masterminded shows including The Who’s Tommy, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Jersey Boys. Under his leadership, the Playhouse received more than 200 awards.

It’s no surprise then that, after departing in 2007, McAnuff would return to the Playhouse to take on a challenging production: adapting an iconic rock album into a musical stage production. Released in 2002, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots is one of the most popular and critically acclaimed albums by delightfully weird indie rockers The Flaming Lips.

Given the beloved state of the album, not to mention its complex themes of technology and humanity, adapting the album for the stage would seem to be no easy feat, even without having to create the mythical pink robots referenced in the album’s title and songs.  Proving himself up to the challenge, MacAnuff creates an enthralling production that will leave you captivated, awed and perhaps even a little weepy.

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots at the La Jolla Playhouse

Glowing pink robots, both life-sized and larger than life, glide through otherwise stark sets. With the entire stage framed in a luminous white border that mimics a computer screen and impressive tech elements (like projected touch screens and text message-style displays) floating in and out of scenes, viewers find themselves lost somewhere between the present and an imaginary future. Yet the technology and staging are just big enough, never overpowering the underlying humanity of the story, as the actors delicately unfold a tale both tragic and life affirming.

As the writers of the source material, the Flaming Lips should be proud to see what their album has inspired, as what shines through most in Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots is the power of song. Using both tracks from the Yoshimi album and other hits from the Flaming Lips’ repertoire, like the “Yeah Yeah Yeah Song” and “Waitin’ for a Superman,” MacAnuff has seamlessly crafted a storyline through song, so much so that there is very little dialogue throughout the show. On stage, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots has done precisely what the best adaptations should do, simultaneously capturing the power of the source material while transforming it into something new, something equally magical in its own way.

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots is on stage at the La Jolla Playhouse through Dec. 16, 2012. Don’t miss your chance to see this powerful show!

Candice

Fall for Theatre in San Diego this 2012 Autumn

Allegiance starring George Takei at the Old Globe Theater

It’s a musical fall in San Diego’s theater lineup, and big names are the big news. From a whimsical Broadway favorite to a melancholy reflection of American history to giant robots and contemporary indie rock music, these productions offer a theatre experience for just about every theatregoer’s taste.

Allegiance – A New American Musical

Allegiance starring George Takei at the Old Globe Theater

Allegiance at the Old Globe Theater stars George Takei.

Running now through Oct. 21, The Old Globe presents Allegiance – A New American Musical. This new production is an epic story of family, love and patriotism set during the Japanese-American internment of World War II. The star-studded cast includes Lea Solanga, winner of the 1990 Tony Award® for her role in Miss Saigon, and George Takei, the veteran actor best known for playing Dr. Sulu on the original Star Trek series.

> Get Allegiance – A New American Musical Tickets Now

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots at the La Jolla Playhouse

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, based on the album by the Flaming Lips, debuts at the La Jolla Playhouse.

On November 6, the world-renowned La Jolla Playhouse will debut Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, a new musical featuring a story by The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne and Playhouse Director Emeritus Des McAnuff (director of The Who’s Tommy and Jersey Boys). Based on the album of the same name by the indie rock band The Flaming Lips, Yoshimi tells the story of a young Japanese artist facing a battle for her life in a fantastical robot-world. This world-premiere production runs through December 16.

> Get Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Tickets Now

Peter Pan

Cathy Rigby is Peter Pan at Broadway San Diego

A classic childhood tale and Broadway smash hit comes to San Diego as Broadway/San Diego presents Peter Pan, Nov. 13-18. Peter Pan stars Cathy Rigby, the Olympic gymnast turned thespian, in the role that she made famous. Rigby’s high-flying theatrics will have everyone in the audience believing they will never grow up.

> Get Peter Pan Tickets Now

Don’t miss your chance to enjoy a spectacular show and catch one of these big-name shows before it’s too late!

Suzzanne

5 to Try This Weekend

San Diego Asian Film Festival

1. San Diego Asian Film Festival: From October 20-28, International film fanatics will have the opportunity to partake in one of the largest exhibitions of Asian international and Asian American cinema in North America. Along with narrative features, the Festival also showcases documentaries, short films and animation.

Harvest Festival

2. Harvest Festival: The 39th Annual Harvest Festival is kicking off of at the Del Mar Fairgrounds October 21 and running through the 23rd. The festival features more than 300 artists and craftspeople showcasing unique American handmade works, including Halloween and Christmas decor, handmade wearable art, photography, garden decorations, hand-turned wood, ceramics, jewelry, children’s toys and more!

La Jolla Gallery Wine Walk and Taste

3. La Jolla Gallery, Wine Walk and Taste: On Thursday, October 20th, experience an evening of breathtaking coastal views, exquisite art, fresh cuisine and savory wines as you stroll through the beautiful La Jolla Village and visit over 15 of La Jolla’s most prominent galleries showcasing internationally celebrated art, while enjoying various samples of crisp white and bold red wines at each gallery. As you stroll along the streets of downtown La Jolla you will satisfy your appetite with tastings of flavorful cuisine from over 20 of La Jolla Village’s finest restaurants. Tickets to the La Jolla Gallery, Wine Walk & Taste are $40 in advance and $45 on the day of the event.

Broadway San Diego: Hair

4. Hair: From October 18-23, Broadway San Diego brings the Tony-winning musical Hair to the Civic Theatre. This exuberant musical about a group of young Americans searching for peace and love in a turbulent time has struck a resonant chord with audiences young and old. HAIR features an extraordinary cast and dozens of unforgettable songs, including “Aquarius,” “Let the Sun Shine In,” “Good Morning, Starshine” and “Easy To Be Hard.”

Borrego Springs

5. Borrego Days Desert Festival: The 46th Annual Borrego Days Desert Festival is a three-day local tradition that is just abounding with colorful attractions, family fun and exciting events. This free festival takes place on Friday, October 21 and continues through Sunday, October 22. Activities include a parade, local artists, food court, mini-carnival, games, rides and much more. A fun way to enjoy the picturesque desert landscape!

Courtney

SD Can’t Get Enough of Cygnet Theatre’s Little Shop of Horrors

Audrey II is the man-hungry plant in Little Shop of Horrors, on stage now at Cygnet Theatre. Photo by Daren Scott

Cygnet Theatre announced today it is extending the run of Little Shop of Horrors through October 2nd.  The musical, based on a 1960 low budget, B-horror film by the same name, has garnered rave reviews and packed houses since its July 28th debut at the Old Town Theatre.

If you haven’t experienced a performance at Cygnet, Little Shop of Horrors is the perfect introduction to this San Diego gem.  My husband surprised me with tickets to Cygnet’s previous production (Our Town, my all-time favorite play). I was amazed by the incredible home-grown talent on display.  From set-design to the performances themselves, the caliber of a Cygnet production is spectacular and makes for a more enriching night than one spent at home on the couch.  I highly recommend it!

Tickets can be purchased by visiting Cygnet’s website at www.cygnettheatre.com or by calling the box office at 619-337-1525.

Suzzanne

Road Trip Musical “Little Miss Sunshine” Opens at La Jolla Playhouse


Tonight marks the opening of Little Miss Sunshine at the La Jolla Playhouse and I cannot wait to see it! For those who have seen the movie, I’m sure you can see why it looks fantastic. The play is about the Hoover family. Richard, the father, is a floundering motivational speaker, Grandpa’s been kicked out of his retirement home, and Uncle Frank’s been dumped by his boyfriend. Moody teenager Dwayne has taken a vow of silence and overextended mom Sheryl can do little more than slap on a smile. But when the youngest Hoover… energetic Olive, enters a regional children’s beauty pageant, the family thinks their luck could change and embarks on a cross-country trek chasing the coveted title of “Little Miss Sunshine.” The characters were all great, but I especially loved Olive and Grandpa. Who doesn’t love Olive? The ending is what I’m waiting for! I can’t wait to see the choreography and songs inspired by the movie.

The musical starts tonight and plays through March 27th. Interested in winning tickets to the play? The La Jolla Playhouse is running a super fun promotion. You can win tickets by cutting out a picture of the yellow bus and take a photo of it in front of a famous SD landmark (or really, ANYWHERE in San Diego). Post the pictures on La Jolla Playhouse’s Facebook page and encourage people to vote for their favorite photos by clicking the “like” button. The picture with the most “likes” will win a pair of tickets to Little Miss Sunshine.

Suzzanne

“The Tramp” Comes to the La Jolla Playhouse

The La Jolla Playhouse is one of my favorite places to experience theatre in San Diego. With over 50 Playhouse-originated productions having been transferred to Broadway, I am always curious to see what new and exciting show they have come up with. Therefore, I am so excited to see the world-premiere musical Limelight: The Story of Charlie Chaplin, currently playing through October 17, 2010. The musical delves into Charlie Chaplin’s personal life: from the gritty streets and smoky music halls of London to movie screens across the globe, Limelight goes behind the camera to show how a comic genius found soaring success and later fell from grace.

Charlie Chaplin’s image is iconic even if you have never seen any of his movies. And I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of Charlie Chaplin, but I am intrigued by the idea of a musical about a man who mostly made silent films. Playing the role of “Charlie Chaplin” is Robert McClure. He recently starred as “Princeton” in the Broadway and national touring productions of Avenue Q. The musical is directed by Warren Carlyle and Michael Unger.

Have you ever seen a play at the La Jolla Playhouse? If so, which one?

Win two tickets to see Limelight! Comment below for your chance to win. You must comment by Friday, September 17th at 10:00 a.m. PST. Tickets are good through September 30th (excluding Saturdays). Find more information on the La Jolla Playhouse at www.facebook.com/lajollaplayhouse or follow them on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ljplayhouse.

Guest Blogger

Very Fond of Legally Blonde

Last night I took my daughter Mia, who’s almost 9, to see “Legally Blonde: The Musical” at the San Diego Civic Theatre.  We painted our nails pink, got dressed up (as much as you have to in San Diego) and headed downtown.  Before the show we had dinner at one of our favorite family friendly restaurants downtown: Maryjane’s Coffee Shop inside the San Diego Hard Rock Hotel.  It has real comfort food, a great kids menu and happy hour specials if you come before 7:00 p.m.  My daughter chose the hamburger and a root beer float for desert.  Off the Happy Hour Menu, I chose the soft tacos.  They are a great deal – $3 for one taco – and so delicious.  I just had to order two: one chicken and one fish. Both were great and very filling.   The atmosphere is fun with a sort of 50’s retro diner feel and if the weather is nice, you can sit outside and people watch.  

After dinner, we headed up 5th Avenue to the Civic Theatre (3rd and B St.).  We got there in plenty of time to take it all in.  Our seats were really great and the cast was amazing!  It’s a fun show with a lot of energy.  There were several songs that were really catchy. My favorite was “Omigod You Guys” by Elle and company and I loved the UPS guy – he was great – he really had the audience going!  My daughter loved everything pink and of course, the dogs.  The show plays through April 4th. 

It was a great girl’s night out for us and we look forward to when 101 Dalmatians comes to town – with even more dogs!

– Post by Suzzanne Ravitz

Kate

Get A Sneek Peek Before Broadway

San Diego is a major theater town.  Productions that premiere here head off to the Great White Way every year. Lately, we’ve had a lot of luck with musicals like The Old Globe’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and La Jolla Playhouse’s Tony Award-winning Jersey Boys

In fact, debuting this fall on Broadway is Memphis which I saw right here, at La Jolla Playhouse, last year. It’s good, check it out if you’re in NYC!

What does this mean for you? Especially if you’re visiting San Diego? Well, you can brag to theater buffs that you saw it first in San Diego. 

This season, if luck holds, it looks like The Old Globe is giving musical fans a chance to preview another (future) Broadway show with the world premiere of The First Wive’s Club: A New Musical showing now through Aug. 23 in Balboa Park. 

Check out a preview of the show with new songs by Motown legends Holland-Dozier-Holland:

PS.  This is our 100th post.  Hooray!