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

Last Call: The Quality of Life & Fringe Fest best

The Fringe Festival ends this Sunday. As does one of San Diego’s best dramatic productions in years. The Quality of Life. Intrepid Theatre Company mounted Jane Anderson’s heart-wrenching, gut-busting play at the Carlsbad Village Theatre, ...

The Strange Case of Mr. Wallace Leach

Part One: “Circular Insanity”

The sun over Coronado said 3 p.m. Wallace Leach bumbled out the side door of the Horton House bar and shielded his eyes from the glare. Though a snappy dresser — he was one of ...

San Diego Fringe: Big Kitchen: A Counter Culture Musical

Big Kitchen: A Counter Culture Musical. San Diego should confer the equivalent of knighthood on its special ones — those who have devoted decades to making some part of “America’s Finest City” approach that inflated ...

San Diego Fringe: ¿Y Tú Qué?

¿Y Tú Qué? When the prima ballerina couldn’t use her legs, she created a “dance on wheels.” Rossana Penaloza performed in Peru (her home country), Havana, Cuba, and Mexico City, always to robust applause. For ...

San Diego Fringe: 84 Gradini and Jay & Charlie Get Drunk

84 Gradini. Kinetic Giuseppi Mortelliti tells his story as much with his body as his words. His character, Fabrizio, learns that “life is made of stairs, of obstacles, of ups and downs.” But he has ...

San Diego Fringe: Tears of the Knife and My Mother’s in the Audience

Tears of the Knife. Ah, the Fringe Festival! Where else in San Diego can you walk into a theater and see a hanged man, his head in a gunny sack, looming above the stage? And ...

Hurlers and the behind in Lockling Square

Boys of summer, 1880 edition

Bay City’s taking on The Resolutes today at Lockling Square. As the players warm up, some shout encouragement, but most stand stiff. They toss and catch the ball with affected grace, as if posing for ...

Bust those eyeballs!

11 days, 430 events: the third-annual San Diego International Fringe Festival is here

There’s that eyeball-buster logo again! The third annual San Diego International Fringe Festival begins Thursday, July 23 and runs through August 2. That’s eleven days. As fans of the first two found out, they go ...

Kiss Me, Kate's brassy, unfettered swagger


When Patricia Morrison and Alfred Drake began rehearsing Cole Porter’s latest effort, they weren’t impressed. “We were using just a piano,” she recalled. “It was so disjointed we didn’t think we had a hit.” Then ...

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