San Diego’s regional theater scene offers a treasure trove of talent and entertainmentFeature Story, Latest Issue, Section 4A Thursday, August 3rd, 2017
The San Diego theater scene is one of the best in America. With heavy hitters like The Old Globe and La Jolla Playhouse racking up Tony Awards, our city has definitely found its place on the theater map, so to speak, giving San Diego a lot of attention.
Aside from the aforementioned theaters, there are many regional theaters that offer some of the best risk taking plays and musicals in an around San Diego.
If a musical is what you are after, you can check out Smoke On The Mountain playing at Lambs Players (lambsplayers.org) over the bridge in Coronado. It opens Oct. 6 and will run until Nov. 19. They will follow that show with their yearly Festival of Christmas presented on their mainstage and An American Christmas now being presented at the US Grant Hotel in downtown San Diego.
Also in Coronado is The Coronado Playhouse (coronadoplayhouse.com). They will be offering the show Little Shop of Horrors from Sept. 8-Oct. 15. Little Shop hit the scene in the early ’80s and became a huge Off Broadway success and went on to become a feature film in 1986 and made its Broadway debut in 2003.
Here in San Diego the Ion Theater (iontheatre.com), run by partners Glenn Paris and Claudio Raygoza, are presenting the musical Cabaret, Dec. 2-23. Ion is responsible for award winning musicals like Sunday in the Park with George, Gypsy and Grey Gardens. The theater may only seat 50 or so theater goers but the productions they present will make you feel like you’re in a theater five times the size. Known for their out-of-the-box/risk taking style, Ion has become one of San Diego’s hidden theatrical treasures.
Over in Ocean Beach at the OB Playhouse. (obtheatrecompany.com) run by husband and wife team Jack and Jennie Connard, you can catch the raunchy hilarious puppet show musical Avenue Q. The show was such a huge success for the company that it has been brought back by popular demand and is running now through Sept. 17. After that they will be presenting the musical Bat Boy Sept. 22-Oct. 29. Bat Boy is a musical based on a story in the Weekly World News that was published in June 1992. It tells the story of a bat child that was found in a cave and the family that adopts him and tries to acclimate him into their society.
If you’d like to venture further north for your musicals you can hit Moonlight Amphitheater or New Village Arts.
Moonlight (moonlightstage.com) has a summer season of musicals every year at their outdoor/open air theater. At the moment you can catch the Disney musical The Little Mermaid. The show opened July 19 and runs until Aug. 5. After that the Tony Award winning musical Sunset Blvd. which is also currently on Broadway, opens Aug. 16-Sept. 2 and then In The Heights will follow Sept. 13-Sept. 30.
New Village Arts (NVA) (newvillagearts.org) is currently running the musical Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story through Aug. 27. This production was originally staged at the Horton Grand Theater in downtown San Diego and is being co-produced with the Intrepid Theater. The show, directed by Intrepid artistic director Christy Yael, has now transferred with the same cast to NVA. NVA will also be presenting the rarely done musical The Secret Garden directed by San Diego favorite Rosina Reynolds from Nov. 3-Dec. 24.
If you’d rather see your theater sans music there is much out there to keep you occupied.
Starting with the 10th Avenue Arts Center (tenthavenuearts.com); this offers theater spaces for rent with three upcoming productions presented by three different theater companies.
First up is Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew which is presented by Method Center Actors Inc. (MCAI) through Aug. 20 on the rooftop of the 10th Avenue building. They will also be producing an original romantic comedy entitled The Cat Lady. The Cat Lady runs Aug. 4-12. This original comedy takes place in San Diego and is about a cat lady who also happens to be a cat burglar. When she faces eviction she decides to leave behind her life of crime by marrying into money, but ends up meeting the man of her dreams.
Over in La Mesa you’ll find The Lamplighters Community Theater (lamplighterslamesa.com). Lamplighters has been producing shows since 1936 and is now presenting their 79th season of shows.
Coming up they have the comedy Daddy’s Dyin Who’s Got The Will which opens Aug. 27 and closes Sept. 17. Daddy’s Dyin was written by LGBTQ favorite Del Shores who is responsible for such hits as Sordid Lives and
Southern Baptist Sissies. Both of these shows were eventually turned into full length films starring well known actors like Delta Burke, Olivia Newton John and Leslie Jordan. They will follow Daddy’s Dyin with the comedy The Tin Woman. The Tin Woman tells the story of a woman who is searching for the family of her late heart transplant donor. The Tin Woman runs Oct. 13-Nov. 5.
Over in North County you’ll find three theaters offering three very different styles of comedy.
PowPac Theater (powpac.org) will be offering the romantic comedy Perfect Wedding through Aug. 20. Perfect Wedding tells the story of a husband to be who wakes up on the morning of his wedding day to find a strange woman in his bed from his bachelor party the night before.
Scripps Ranch Theater (scrippsranchtheatre.org) will be presenting the comedy thriller Accomplice written by Tony Award winner Rupert Holmes. Holmes is probably best known for writing and singing the song “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” and the Tony Award winning musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Running Sept. 8-Oct. 8, Accomplice promises to keep you on the edge of your seat with suspense and mystery but it will tickle your funny bone with its cleverness.
And over in Solana Beach North Coast Repertory (northcoastrep.org) will be offering a season with lots of comedy and with both West Coast and San Diego premieres. This will mark the 36th season for North Coast Rep.
Their fall offering will be a Neil Simon favorite, The Last of the Red Hot Lovers, running Sept. 6-Oct. 1. Lovers was written in 1969 and was eventually made into a movie after it ran on Broadway for almost a year. The show is about a nebbish middle-aged married man who has no knowledge of adultery and he wants to join the sexual revolution before it’s too late. Lovers stars San Diego favorite Phil Johnson.
The summer isn’t over yet, so get out there and see why San Diego is known as one of the best cities to find top quality theater.
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