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:

View Jeff Smith's site-user page to see Jeff's photos, site comments, and more.

Latest Articles

Fierce tragedy

Intricate but uneven Scott Joplin’s New Rag at Mo`olelo

Now in its world premiere, Robert Barry Fleming’s 75-minute, “fierce tragedy in one act” pays a multi-media tribute to one of the greats of American music. The complex form uses different kinds of storytelling, from ...

My Acting Bucket List: Jeffrey Jones

The Craig Noel Award winner talks "back-pocket roles."

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 some ...

Where's the monster?

Red Planet Respite 's appealing premise falls mostly flat.

GlobalCom Venture Capital’s “first interactive resort on Mars” is still a work in progress. So is the script for Circle Circle dot dot’s slow, spotty tale of corruption and greed in far-away places. The premise ...

Familiar story, homegrown feel

Localized The Odd Couple at Teatro Mascara Magica brims with life.

During his pre-show remarks, artistic director William Virchis joked with the audience, “If you don’t enjoy it, I’ll call Neil Simon to re-write it.” Actually, Teatro Mascara Magica has taken a major, often-hilarious, liberty with ...

My Acting Bucket List: Rosina Reynolds

Five dream roles from the Craig Noel award winner.

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 some ...

Culture-war questions

The teens wear “purity rings” and know that “true love waits” until marriage.

Now, this was more than 50 years ago, but maybe times haven’t changed. The wife of one of Mississippi’s largest landowners wanted more culture in education. So, she circulated a petition to have French taught ...

Not everyone can be all right

Ion's This Wide Night brings together two ex-cons who are still doing time.

Like Franz Xavier Kroetz’s Request Concert, in which a woman spends a wordless evening at home, Chloe Moss’s This Wide Night narrows the field of view. Often nothing happens, or Marie’s shabby London studio apartment ...

We must; no, we daren't!

Fallen Angels at North Coast Rep is an apt, skilled Coward performance.

What might seem silly today was deemed “radical” and “obscene” when Noël Coward’s Fallen Angels premiered in 1925. Even T.E. Lawrence — of Arabia — gave it a “humph!” One exchange may sum up what ...

Simply spoken, wonderfully played

The Pianist of Willesden Lane at the San Diego Repertory Theatre.

A Portrait of the Young Jewish Pianist in World War II. In the 1920s, Lisa Jura’s father was the best tailor in Vienna. But she dreamt of being a concert pianist. She’d debut playing Grieg’s ...

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