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

Frontier life shreds

Moxie Theatre's Abundance is a dime novel in reverse

In the latter half of the 19th Century, larger-than-life characters such as Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill (for whom Slue-Foot Sue just wasn’t good enough) filled the pages of dime novels and pulp-fiction magazines. They ...

Come From Away hits Broadway

The reviews are in: from favorable to mixed to negative

The La Jolla Playhouse’s Come From Away opened last Sunday at Broadway’s Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, 236 W. 45th Street. The Irene Sankoff/David Hein musical tells the upbeat story of over 6700 airline passengers stranded in ...

Diversionary double feature must close

Last call for Lisa Kron's Well and 2.5 Minute Ride

Diversionary Theatre’s Lisa Kron double feature must close this Sunday (March 19). Though written eight years apart (2.5 Minute Ride premiered in 1996, Well in 2004), the pieces have a common theme: how to portray ...

Implications of The Blameless

World premiere of comedy about gun violence avoids the pain

Youth and gun violence: the topic’s so unthinkable, a saint’s empathy couldn’t reach its bottomless agony. Nick Gandiello’s world premiere of The Blameless uses a multi-genre approach to the subject. But it’s several drafts and ...

Anonymous and Alpha

San Diego Rep stages Sex with Strangers

When he learns the cabin has no wi-fi, he shouts, “I can’t get online. People will think I’m dead!”

Dracula is rather a fearless fellow

My acting bucket list: Ruff Yeager

Actor, writer, director, and cofounder of the Roustabouts, a new theater company: Ruff Yeager Titus, Titus Andronicus, by William Shakespeare. “First, you need to understand that I’m not a fan of the horror genre or ...

Insalubrious karma

Lisa Kron’s Well and 2.5 Minute Ride in repertory at the Diversionary

Lisa Kron’s mother Ann has been chronically ill for decades. So why can’t she get better? Come on. Other people do. They have ailments for years then suddenly heal and move on with their lives. ...

Fear of a black-man label

Blue Door closing, but not without revelation

LAST CALL. Moxie Theatre’s excellent production of Tanya Barfield’s Blue Door must close this Sunday. It’s said Moxie is a “women-centered” theater. That’s not completely true. Here’s an exception. In Leo Tolstoy’s novella The Death ...

An Iliad's epic-ness must stop

New Village Arts' production to close Sunday

Last call: Theater in January and February usually begins in slow motion. Not this season. One show must close this Sunday. Two have been reprieved. An Iliad at New Village Arts. Homer’s epic poem in ...

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