Welton Jones’ top 10 local shows, in chronological order:
1.) Twelfth Night, Old Globe Theatre, directed by Edward Payson Call (1967). “An elegant, legendary stunner.”
2.) Plymouth Rock, written and directed by Scott Busath, Earth (former Pacific Beach concert venue), directed by Christopher R, (1971). In this “rock opera,” Pilgrims voyage to the New World with hopes of a Promised Land. “A real let’s-put-on-a-show show. The music told the story well.” [there’s been talk, lately, about remounting it].
3.) The Tempest, Old Globe, directed by Ellis Rabb (1974). “Just a splendid production. Ellis directing, Conrad Susa’s music, this was the Old Globe at its best.”
4.) Tartuffe, Old Globe, Cassius Carter, directed Charles Vernon, (1974). Ron Ray, Lyman Saville, Gail West. “Probably the very best of the Globe’s non-professional winter productions. Ever.”
5.) The Exchange, Crystal Palace (1975). Founded by Todd Blakesley, Roger Henderson, Dudley Graham, Ted Reed, and Rosie Driffield, the Crystal Palace seated 35, at most, right on the Mission Beach Boardwalk, and presented only original plays. “For this piece, written and directed by Blakesley, the tiny theater became the stock market. Audience members received credits. Then we were encouraged to make deals and try to screw the other guy.”
6.) Salad Daze, by Joe Hogan, Crystal Palace (1976). In this musical, comic strip heroes had to live mundane lives “and put up with what the rest of us have to all the time.”
7.) A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Old Globe Theatre (1978). “Jack O’Brien’s first show on the ‘temporary’ outdoor stage built in haste after the fire that destroyed the Globe itself. During rehearsals he wondered: ‘why not use those trees in the background upstage?’ He lit them and what a difference! Puck jumped off the rear stage into, it seemed, space. Every director since has been tempted to use the same effect in what is now known as the Lowell Davies Festival Theatre.”
8.) Uncommon Women and Others, by Wendy Wasserstein, directed by Will Simpson, Second Avenue Theatre (now a Horton Plaza parking lot), downtown (1979). The Women’s Ensemble Theatre cast included Kit Goldman, Darla Cash, Laura Rankin, and Rosina Reynolds. The company later became the Gaslamp Quarter Theatre.
9.) Albington Square, written and directed by Maria Irene Fornes, San Diego Repertory Theatre (1992). A marriage slowly dissolves in 32 short, impressionistic scenes, some wordless, and blackouts. “Spare and eloquent.”
10.) Jersey Boys, La Jolla Playhouse, music by Bob Gaudio, lyics, Bob Crewe, book, Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, directed by Des McAnuff (2004). The story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, structured as four movements, one for each season. “The world premiere proved that a jukebox musical can work if you have an artist like Des to pull it off.”
Welton Jones' most vivid show recollections, part one