Jeff Smith

Jeff Smith
Jeff Smith is the senior writer at the Reader; he began reviewing theater in 1980. He also writes a local history column. He has a Ph.D. in literature and critical theory from the University of California, Irvine, and wrote his doctoral dissertation on Shakespeare. He was the original writing director of two University of California freshman composition programs: the Humanities Core Course, at Irvine, and the Revelle Humanities/Writing Program at UCSD. Over the years, Jeff has dramaturged dozens of shows. Favorites include Sam Shepard’s Tooth of Crime, Peter Barnes’s Red Noses (both at the San Diego Rep), Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia (North Coast Rep), Things May Disimprove: Samuel Becket One-Acts (L&L Productions), and Shakespeare’s Hamlet (New Village Arts).

He is currently converting several columns into ebook format:

Latest Articles

The Aliens is just part-time work

Slacker tale an uneven experience at Ion Theatre

“This is important,” playwright Annie Baker writes in a note for The Aliens, “at least a third – if not half – of this play is silence. Pauses should be at least three full seconds ...

La Jolla Playhouse gets Indecent

Immigration assimilation

The biggest problem with Indecent may be that there's too little of it.

The Oldest Boy demands a parent reconcile East versus West in herself

San Diego Rep's solid show wrestles with how a woman can "think bigger than a mother"

In chapter one of his majestic In Exile from the Land of Snows, John F. Avedon must prove that a two-and-a-half-year-old boy, a thousand miles east of Lhasa, Tibet, is the reincarnation of the 13th ...

The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence puts non-linearity first

Moxie Theatre production gives noble attempt but characters, concision, and coherence suffer

You can almost hear Eliza Merrick sing, “why can’t a man, be more like my robot?” She worked on IBM’s famous WATSON, the supercomputer that beat two past champions on Jeopardy (before the first match, ...

My Acting Bucket List: Jo Anne Glover

Language and relationships pull in the award-winning actor and Development Director at Moxie Theatre

I’m asking veteran actors to name five dream roles and say why. The answers not only reveal aspirations, they may put an idea in the minds of artistic directors and producers — even choices that ...

Eileen Bowman's superb Judy Garland stands out amid excellent performances

Intrepid Theatre stages The End of the Rainbow

"You gotta see the whole picture,” Judy Garland tells fiancé Mickey Deans in Peter Quilter’s End of the Rainbow. “Everything just comes to me at once and crashes from one thing to another. I can’t ...

Precious Little inaugurates fitting space

Small, intimate production from InnerMission speaks to language as life

Diversionary Theatre has converted its old rehearsal space into an intimate blackbox theater. There are still some bugs to work out, sightlines in particular. But hey: any new performing space in San Diego’s a cause ...

Tragicomic Chapatti at North Coast Rep overly simple but executed with skill

A gentle exorcism

By their pets, ye shall know them. If so, then Dan and Betty, in Christian O’Reilly’s Chapatti, are worlds apart. She’s a cat lover with “19 and counting.” Although her marriage was brutal, she somehow ...

The Rep goes national with Honky

New PBS series Onstage in America kicks off with noted local production

At 10 p.m., November 6, a filmed version of the San Diego Repertory Theatre’s Honky will air on PBS’s “OnStage in America.” This is a huge deal. In the new series, PBS will use inventive ...

Win a $25 Gift Card to
The Broken Yolk Cafe

Join our newsletter list

Each newsletter subscription means another chance to win!