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).

Articles by Jeff Smith

My directing/choreographing bucket list: Javier Velasco

"I much prefer to just strip things down and find the humanity."

Says Javier Velasco: “Bucket list. Hmmm... At this point in my life, I would rather do new pieces I create with my collaborators, but there are some existing pieces I would love to explore.” Pajama ...

Beau Jest at Lamb's Players Theatre

Comedy of manners

Bob Schroeder is an actor. Have we seen him in a movie? “That depends on where you sit.” Bob has done shows, even Fiddler. Plus, his new part-time job’s a bit like theater. He works ...

My acting bucket list: Ron Choularton

"Mix this in with race and professional ethics and the pot boils hot."

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

American Hero at Different Stages

Sandwiched between a rock and a corporate place

Three recruits train for a new job. Brash Jamie’s in a custody battle for her three children; timid Sheri works the night shift at El Taco but needs a day-job, too, and sleeps at most ...

How theater folk memorize their lines

"When you own them, then you can really begin to play."

Actors get asked one question more than all the others. Not about a favorite play or character, or actor. Not how they played a certain scene so effectively. It’s much more basic. "How do you ...

Craig Noel Award Nominees for 2016

Musical Direction Charlie Alterman, October Sky, Old Globe Theatre Mark Danisovsky, Sunday in the Park with George, Ion Theatre Tony Houck, Oklahoma! New Village Arts Don LeMaster, Ragtime, San Diego Musical Theatre Elan McMahan, Titanic: ...

Theater year in review: performance

Curtain call of 2016's favorite performers

For San Diego Theater in 2016, I wish everyone could have seen the following: 1918 at the Fringe Festival. La Moana, a dance troupe from New Zealand, arrived with no fanfare and blew audiences to ...

Theater year in review: Design

A good — but not great — year in local theater

I sometimes get asked “Who’s your favorite writer?” “What’s your favorite play?” Well, Shakespeare and Chekhov certainly, Michel de Montaigne, whose wisdom grows as I grow older. But what about Homer or Simone Weil, or ...

Last Call: The Normal Heart at Ion Theatre

Stage and house seats haunted

One of the best, most moving shows of 2016 must close this Sunday, December 23. In many ways, Ion Theatre’s intimate space is the perfect site for Larry Kramer’s bulging epic about the early years ...

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