Friday, March 6, 2015

Stars shine on season of exciting San Diego theatrical openings

"The Grift" in the Lafayette Hotel is one of La Jolla Playhouses "interactive" productions, offering play goers a chance
to be part of the action, in this case, getting retribution for Ben, who supposedly lived his life in the hotel.
The Lyceum in downtown San Diego
in Horton Plaza always entertains, provokes.



(or even play a part in a production, if you like)  

and theater marketing contacts
 Lakin Valdez is Oedipus and Monica Sanchez is
Jocasta in San Diego Repertory's new work at Lyceum.
Sean Murray is Professor Higgins,
who transforms a lowly flower girl
into a proper lady -- and finds
himself transformed as well.
THE STARS are shining on theater in San Diego, with a play for every taste. Pick your seats for a polished string of theatrical pearls. From an old-fashioned musical with some of Broadway's greatest songs, to a bittersweet comedy about loss and a second chance for love, a pair of cutting edge dramas or an audience participation mystery, San Diego theater provides an enticing mix.
Emmy winner Hal Linden, front left,
joins a stellar cast in "The 27th Man."
Linden is remembered for his
  honored TV show, "Barney Miller."
David Ellenstein and Jacquelyn Ritz star in "Chapter Two'' at
 North Coast Repertory Theatre, a comedy about loss and love.
LA JOLLA Playhouse's "The Grift" at the historic Lafayette Hotel in Normal Heights, San Diego, takes play goers inside the 1940s hotel in an audience-participation endeavor. With a nod to vintage costumes and 1940s detective films, we helped solve the mystery with clues, keys and riddles  -- a couple of them musical, a natural for me. We felt the ghosts of Hollywood legend who frequented the hotel -- Betty Grable, Gene Kelly, Bob Hope and Lana Turner as we roamed the Lafayette's byways, suites and bars. "The Grift" is part of LJP's "Without Walls" immersive, off-site theatrical offerings.
Click for travel, cruising, outdoor adventure at
PLAYWRIGHT Tom Saloman greets play goers who are divided into teams helping pull off a con. Fun way to meet fellow theater buffs with an inside look at a San Diego landmark. Wear your walking shoes and enjoy the ride.

The Old Globe in historic Balboa Park offers a lovely
setting for theater in the round, and a pretty place to stroll. 
AT THE LYCEUM, "Oedipus, El Rey” opens Saturday night, playwright Luis Alfaro’s steamy vision of the Greek classic, blending Greek mysticism, Mexican ritual and Southern California’s barrio culture. The Lyceum's Sam Woodhouse, always sharpening the cutting edge for which he and San Diego Rep are lauded, directs the production. Like the Greek classic by Sophocles it explores hubris and obsessive love of mother for son, with sex and passion part of the story.
Old Town is the home of Cygnet Theatre, which is presenting Lerner and
Loewe's classic "My Fair Lady" with its array of favorite tunes.
AT NORTH COAST  Rep, Neil Simon's romantic comedy, "Chapter Two," is delighting audiences in the second week of its run. NC Rep's gifted artistic director David Ellenstein directs with Christopher Williams and stars in the story of a pair of wounded adults, drawn together to give love another chance.
At the Old Globe, "The Twenty-seventh Man" is being lauded as a first-rate production.  A Soviet prison is the setting for the tale, in which Stalin’s secret police have rounded up 26 giants of Yiddish literature. As judgment looms, a 27th suddenly appears: an unknown teenager, baffled by his arrest. He and his cellmates ponder what has brought them together in troubled times. Artistic director Barry Edelstein reimagines the play he premiered in New York. Award-winning novelist Nathan Englander wrote the piece, performed in the Globe's intimate in-the-round space.
The Lafayette Hotel in Normal Heights is the setting for a
 fun "WOW"  (without walls) production. 
The fun of San Diego theater is enhanced by fine eateries, bars and parks near the venues! Make it a night or afternoon on the town!
YOU CAN'T go wrong with "My Fair Lady," at Cygnet Theatre in Old Town.  The beloved classic, based on George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion," tells the story of a scruffy Covent Girl flower girl, transformed to a graceful lady by a linguist. Cygnet's artistic director, talented Sean Murray, directs and plays the professor whose lady passes as royalty. Murray's nuanced interpretation goes far beyond caricature to create a humane, believable bachelor who  finds himself transformed as well. Allison Spratt Pearce's Eliza is gorgeous to look at and listen to, and Ron Choularton's Doolittle is priceless. Lerner and Loewe themselves would join the standing ovation for this splendid Cygnet production with a stellar supporting cast.
The Wharf Theatre lobby in Sydney offers books as well as a bar, and tickets
for a variety of shows.  We saw a half-dozen plays in Australia, all well done.

COMING NEXT WEEKEND: Theater in Australia offers a mix of hard-hitting drama and beautifully staged classics.  We saw a half-dozen plays -- at Sydney Opera House and The Wharf -- and not a loser in the bunch. Catch worldwide theater pieces weekends here at and  head to Wednesdays for travel, cruises, hotels and adventure. Remember to explore, learn and live.

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