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

Style and substance run Full Gallop at the Globe

Diana Vreeland adores artifice, even vulgarity

“...It’s a way of life. Without it you’re nobody. And I’m not talking about a lot of clothes.”

Last Call: La Cage Aux Folles and Without Walls Festival

Two events must close this Sunday, plus a tribute to Arthur Wagner, giant of local theater

La Cage Aux Folles at San Diego Musical Theatre. You have until Sunday, says our guest reviewer Jon Reimer, to “throw on a wig, put on your best pair of heels, and head on down ...

Talking walls

La Jolla Playhouse's Without Walls Festival steps outside for a "three-day arts party"

The La Jolla Playhouse’s popular Without Walls Festival begins Friday, October 9 and runs through October 11. That’s 22 events in three days, and all are “site-specific.” “The Playhouse has four theaters,” says artistic director ...

Poetical approach to life, death, identity, and government lies

Moxie's Orange Julius packs a lot in a little in this world premiere

“None of us is who we are when we’re at home,” observes orange-haired Nut, recalling a childhood where she distrusted her father, a war hero, and didn’t fit into a young woman’s traditional identity. As ...

Teaching moments with the maestro

Ion Theatre's Master Class takes on Maria Callas

It’s 1971. We’re on a stage at the Juilliard School of Music, where Maria Callas will teach a master class on “The Lyric Tradition” to aspiring young singers. Callas is past her prime in art ...

Frustrating delight

In Your Arms at the Old Globe presents variations on the theme of star-crossed lovers

2015 may be one of the gutsiest years ever in San Diego theater. I can’t ever remember so many world premieres. Even though the word on staging them is: do not. They’re too risky, can ...

The soul force of Blueprints to Freedom: An Ode to Bayard Rustin

Successful world premiere at La Jolla Playhouse gives a hero his due

Roll the credits! Bayard Rustin (1912–1987) performed on Broadway with Paul Robeson in John Henry. As a student, his rich tenor sang blues and gospel in nightclubs to make ends meet. An exceptional athlete, he ...

Tribute to Arthur Wagner by Jefferson Mays

UCSD's indefatigable champion of the theater has passed away

Arthur Wagner, indefatigable champion of the theater, passed away yesterday morning. He was 92. I asked Jefferson Mays, one of his most devoted and accomplished students — and Tony Award-winner for I Am My Own ...

Light comedy lite

The Fox on the Fairway at North Coast Rep has no redeeming social value, and that's fine

It’s tournament weekend at Quail Valley Country Club. They have their annual match with a dreaded — albeit evil — opponent. Crouching Squirrel C.C. has better golfers and just absconded with Quail Valley’s only decent ...

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