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

Last call: Seven Spots on the Sun and The Kid Thing

War zones and living rooms set the stages

Not quite ready for the holiday barrage? Here are two provocative pieces that must close this weekend. Seven Spots on the Sun, InnerMission Productions An old saying goes, “out of the mud grows the lotus.” ...

Let’s Invade Mexico! Outbreaks of Filibuster Fever: The Flamingo Filibuster

Part two of two

“The appetite grows with eating.” Many in the late 19th Century applied the French proverb to an insatiable urge to filibuster: to conquer foreign territories with private armies. If appetite grows, then Captain John H. ...

Ghost play

The Dybbuk for Hannah and Sam's Wedding at San Diego Rep

In a solo performance, Ron Campbell plays numerous guests at a wedding reception, plus all the characters in The Dybbuk: or Between Two Worlds, S. Ansky’s “realistic play about mystical people.” The task requires a ...

Through the eyes of Judas

Jesus Christ Superstar in Concert at SDSU

In 2014 San Diego State University’s School of Theatre, Television, and Film combined with the School of Music and Dance for an epic concert of Les Miserables. Over 200 musicians, singers, and performers roared into ...

Let’s Invade Mexico! Outbreaks of Filibuster Fever

Part one of two | Jump to Part 2

In the last half of the 19th Century, aliens eagerly crossed the U.S./Mexico border — into Mexico. Burning with what historian William B. Scroggs calls “filibuster fever,” they felt entitled “to swallow up every few ...

The Normal Heart’s fierce drama at Ion Theatre

Birth of a crisis

‘There’s not a good word to be said about anyone’s behavior in this whole mess.” The Normal Heart, Larry Kramer’s fierce drama about the early years of HIV/AIDS, pulls no punches. Practically everyone was an ...

All kill the same

Seven Spots on the Sun at InnerMission Productions

Moises stopped practicing medicine at San Ysidro, a small, Central American village. Civil war lacerates the region — first the rebels, then forces backed by gringo “advisors.” Then back, then forth. All kill the same. ...

Swordfights? Romance? The nose? I mean, come on!

My acting bucket list: Jason Heil

I’m asking actors and designers to name five dream roles/projects and say why. The answers not only reveal aspirations — they may put an idea in the minds of artistic directors and producers — even ...

Beyond definition

The Kid Thing at Moxie Theatre

Margot and Nate have dinner at Darcy and Leigh’s condo in Chicago. Before the two lesbian couples have dessert, Leigh wants to “wind down” the conversation — twin tirades about Michael Jackson’s place in American ...

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