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).

Latest Articles

Professional rookies

“Why didn’t you tell me life would be hard because I’m Asian?”

Jennifer Chen sees a therapist for the first time. And she comes prepared: a list of her phobias, one of her shortcomings, another with her attributes. She can’t simply explore personal issues. She must be ...

Instead of floating daggers...

peerless at Moxie Theatre

Mike Lew’s Tiger Style! at La Jolla Playhouse shows the effects of super-strict parenting on two Chinese-Americans. Jennifer and Albert dove through every academic hoop cum laude but find themselves a few years later without ...

Ascending Mt. Bard

On directing Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew

Carla Nell, artistic director of InnerMission Productions, directed Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, performed last month. It was her initial attempt at the Bard. I asked her how it feels to climb that mountain for ...

Last Call: Love's Labor's Lost at Old Globe

A comeuppance for the imagined heirs of all eternity

One of the year’s better productions must close this Sunday. Even with the play’s disturbing, though fully justified, un-comic ending, the Old Globe’s Love’s Labor’s Lost is a keeper. Two things: 1) People watch the ...

Sacred Brahmins

The Cocktail Hour at North Coast Repertory Theatre

A dying tradition. Like the old New England dining rooms, which A. R. Gurney, Jr., also wrote about, the cocktail hour was a special time for East Coast Brahmins at day’s end. They could unwind, ...

Love’s Labor’s Lost in the towering eucalypti of the Old Globe’s festival stage

Talk the talk

The Old Globe’s got a charmer on its outdoor stage. Director Kathleen Marshall, scenic designer John Lee Beatty, Peter Golub’s original music, and a uniformly fine cast turn Shakespeare’s Love’s Labor’s Lost into a Greenbelt ...

Last call: Gypsy at Cygnet Theatre

Okay, break the fourth wall

One of the year’s best shows must end its run this Sunday. Cygnet’s Gypsy is a “must see.” And if you haven’t yet, well... “Sing out, Louise!” begins one of the most famous entrances in ...

More about surfaces than depths

Gutenberg! The Musical at Backyard Renaissance

With their new musical, Doug and Bud can’t see the forest or the trees. They only see a long Broadway run, a sweep of all the awards, eternal fame, the usual... Somehow they’ve arranged a ...

End of the road, which began in California

Airline Highway at Ion Theatre

Miss Ruby, erstwhile burlesque diva and longtime resident of the Hummingbird Hotel, is dying. Instead of friends paying tribute to her coffin, Ruby wants her funeral now, while she can still appreciate them. In Lisa ...

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