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

To the Nationals!

New Group West goes big for its... first show?!

I still don’t believe this story! The New Group West’s first-ever show will represent California, Arizona, Nevada, and Hawaii in a national competition! American Association of Community Theatre has 12 regions. San Diego is in ...

The Famous Shavian “BOO!”

The audience didn't get it.

Like Socrates and Ben Franklin, it’s hard to imagine George Bernard Shaw ever being young — in part because he didn’t become a successful playwright until age 40. When Arms and the Man opened at ...

George Bernard Shaw pays a rare visit to the Old Globe

A Shavian rinse

Arms and the Man succeeds despite an antsy itch to entertain.

Early San Diegans couldn’t celebrate without lots of noise

More unexpected vignettes from San Diego's history — including the Horribles

1.) This photograph, taken in the late 1880s, was rare for its time. No male cradles a wide-brimmed hat in his arm. No one stares up, or dreamily off, as if posing as the person ...

Last Call: Unnecessary Farce at North Coast Rep

Silly and hilarious comedy must close soon

The North Coast Rep’s silly, lunkhead, hilarious Unnecessary Farce must close this Sunday. One of the oddest things about farce: it must as precise as it is frantic. Actors scream “eek,” slam doors, and sprint ...

Just a few more before retirement

Lifelong performer and Craig Noel Award-winner Melinda Gilb’s shares her acting bucket list

I’m asking veteran local 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 ...

Familiar sitcom feeling

Competence doesn't save Moxie Theatre's Lesson 443 from feeling like a repeat.

Tatiana Suarez-Pico’s new play is either a drama sabotaged by comedy, or vice versa. When the play builds to an emotional moment, a joke undercuts it. And when a scene starts out funny, things take ...

San Diego Rep explores the Uncanny Valley between you and your replicant

Will you be you?

Robots became so human-like that thoughts of playing God plagued their creators.

Right kind of mindless

The Silence of the Clams at Diversionary Theatre takes the low road, yet moments impress

Clarice Starling: “Most serial killers keep some sort of trophies from their victims.” Hannibal Lecter: “I didn’t.” Clarice: “No. You ate yours.” Jonathan Demme’s Silence of the Lambs can be funny, in a ghoulish sort ...

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