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

Good, whacko, slamming-doors sense

Unnecessary Farce at North Coast Rep is pointless, silly, and delightful

The North Coast Rep’s current show is a farce! But in the good, whacko, slamming-doors sense. Paul Slade Smith’s two-act script has absolutely no redeeming social value, and he goes for silliness where most comic ...

Ion goes all-out

Hillcrest-based company plans quadruple-header to select NYC-bound work — plus BBQ

The idea could cause vertigo: on Saturday, April 25, Ion Theatre will stage-read four new plays starting at 11:00 a.m. Each script has already been work-shopped with readings and feedback from preview audiences. And it’s ...

Last call: The White Snake and My Fair Lady

The final opportunity to see these notable shows is fast approaching

Two beautifully performed shows must end their runs this Sunday. The White Snake, Old Globe Theatre. Mary Zimmerman does theatrical adaptations of literary works, among them The Odyssey, The Arabian Nights, and The Notebooks of ...

Mark Christopher Lawrence’s acting bucket list

The award-winning actor shares his Shakespearean ambitions, desire for important work, and perhaps some additional bites at the apple.

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 choices ...

Babs for a day

One-man Buyer & Cellar takes on Barbra and Alex at the same time

Alex Moore, struggling actor, not only works at Disneyland, he’s the “Mayor of Toontown.” He hates it so much he calls the “happiest place” on earth “Mousechwitz.” The drive from his Los Feliz studio apartment, ...

An evening at Villa Montezuma; Coda

Something between a viper and vampire.

(The second in a two-part series. Part one was published March 18.) It’s after midnight, February 15, 1888. The last of the guests are finally leaving Jesse Shepard’s musicale at the Villa Montezuma. One- and ...

Next generation of excellence

The second year of Ben Vereen Awards “celebrates excellence in high school musical theater”

Now in its second year, the Ben Vereen Awards “celebrates excellence in high school musical theater.” On April 26, 20 nominees from the local high schools compete to be in the Top Ten representing San ...

Amanda Sitton’s acting bucket list

The Craig Noel Award-winner manages to whittle dream roles down to five, more or less.

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 choices ...

Off-beat rainbow

This Land Is Your Land at the White Box Theater walks it out with precision and form

Open stage. Rear wall: five vertical stripes — green, yellow, red, blue, orange — an off-beat rainbow. Six performers walk eight steps forward, turn, and walk eight steps back on invisible aisles for 45 minutes. ...

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