Back to profile

Stories by Jeff Smith

What didn’t he do last year?

Eddie Yaroch earned a Craig Noel Award nomination — Outstanding Featured Performance in a Play, Male — for his raptor-loving Andy Fastow in Moxie Theatre’s Enron. But that’s not all. In 2014 he also: — ...

Yolanda Franklin’s acting bucket list

The Craig Noel Award-winner talks about five of her "dream roles"

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 ...

When the wires show

Scripps Ranch Theatre's Tribute does well by the material's standard.

For all of his 51 years, Scotty Templeton has been allergic to reality. He can’t take anything seriously. Since he could never become an actual performer (because he’d have to take it seriously), he makes ...

Ever-expanding mania

All is not well for the Sons of the Prophet, but at least it's funny

Kahlil Gibran wrote one of the best-selling books of all time. Translated into over 40 languages, The Prophet (1923) records the poetic observations of the Lebanese mystic Almustafa on self-knowledge, good and evil, death, and ...

Noir the joint

Fine production for a weak book at North Coast Rep's Gunmetal Blues: The Musical

“The truth you wouldn’t see,” says crusty gumshoe Sam Gallahad, “‘till you finally saw too much.” An attractive woman “had a mouth that would have sent Shakespeare thumbing through a thesaurus.” Hardboiled fiction’s always been ...

Manny Fernandes’ acting bucket list

The Craig Noel Award-winner shares his five dream roles.

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 ...

Jesse will kill herself tonight

Ion Theatre stages the Pulitzer-winning 'night, Mother

No theatrical enterprise is risk-free. But staged readings come close. They’re low-priced, come-as-you-are, one-night-only affairs. And actors can read plays too expensive to mount otherwise. Staged readings also have an added bonus — a “what ...

Stars of 2014

SD Performing Arts League will honor volunteers at a special ceremony.

The San Diego Performing Arts League announced the volunteers it will honor at the 22nd Star Awards Ceremony, on January 26. Every year, 40 arts organizations select a volunteer for special recognition. SCPAL President D. ...

Dana Hooley’s acting bucket list

The veteran actor and Craig Noel Award-winner shares her rebellious aspirations

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 ...

Intermittent pleasure

Steal Heaven unrealized, but earnest

Earnest intentions, not fully realized. There’s about 35 minutes of solid entertainment and edification in Herbert Siguenza’s 90-plus minute tribute to Abbie Hoffman, activist, co-founder of the Youth International Party (aka. the “Yippies”), and media ...

Craig Noel Award Nominees for 2014

Selections from the San Diego Theatre Critic’s Circle

San Diego Theatre Critic’s Circle: Craig Noel Award Nominees for 2014: Resident Musical Catch Me If You Can, Moonlight Stage Productions Les Miserables, Lamb’s Players Theatre Mary Poppins, Moonlight Stage Productions Next to Normal, San ...

Year of the Lamb

Year-end views, re-views, and re-reviews

San Diego is finally catching up with the rest of the world, which has been “wall-less” for decades.

David McBean’s Bucket List

The Craig Noel Award-winner shares five "new challenges" he hopes may come his way.

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 ...

Different frame

Operated in Tripspace, Orpheus & Eurydice is surprising and funny.

“Tripspace”: 1. theater outside, beyond, sometimes even prior to the box; 2. slang term for “what box?” The “box,” well one of them, is the standard, stage-audience configuration of traditional theater. Actors perform a story ...

Old feels new

Minor reinvention breathes new life into the spirit of A Christmas Carol at Cygnet Theatre.

For several years, Cygnet Theatre did a popular version of A Christmas Carol as a live, 1940s radio show — 100 years removed from the original. Sean Murray’s world premiere script returns the durable Dickens ...

Golden Boy's sweeping punches

A Lost Classic is creaky but still makes contact.

Clifford Odets’ great drama (1937) is staged so rarely, it could qualify as a Lost Classic. As in all of Odets’ work, when it becomes “found,” the story of the rise and fall of a ...

Catalina Maynard’s Bucket List

Dream roles for this Craig Noel-award winner.

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 ...

Cursed with the whip

Diversionary stages the toughest act of Capote’s life, Tru

“I’m a writer, and I use everything. Did all those people think I was just there to entertain them?”

Last call for Les Miz at SDSU, Enron, Honky

Three strong shows must close by December 7 — don't miss them.

Before it begins to look a LOT like Christmas, there’s still time to catch three shows that must close Sunday. 1.) Les Miserables in Concert at SDSU. Lamb’s Players did a minimalist version of the ...

Sandy Campbell’s Bucket List

Craig Noel Award-winner shares the "2014 version" of her ever-morphing list of dream roles.

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 ...

Rise up, fall down

Exceptional staging and direction pulls together chaotic Absurd Person Singular.

Alan Ayckbourn’s three-act “black farce” (his word for it) takes place on three consecutive Christmas Eves. Each ends up in the kitchen. Over that span of time characters flip-flop and somber shenanigans prevail. Ayckbourn needed ...

Young Keno: The marshal gets his man

Part three of three

Sylvestro Morales swore to get even with Wilson and Castillo. “I will never rest,” he shouted, “until I have squared accounts!”

Spare, direct contact

Language reigns supreme in an "unreviewable," masterful reading of Night, Mother at Ion Theatre.

By definition, staged readings are not reviewable. They have no set, little lighting, few rehearsals. They’re actors seated behind music stands reading a play, maybe a bottled water to one side, maybe a costume that ...

Three-ring circus

Moxie's Enron is a must-tell story that's too absurd for its own good.

Rich Kinder doesn’t appear in Laura Prebble’s satirical, three-ring circus based on the colossal collapse of Enron. From 1990 to 1996, he was President and Chief of Operations. According to Robert Bryce, author of Pipe ...

Tom Stephenson’s Bucket List

The Craig Noel Award winner shares his hopes for future roles, from Red to one that doesn't even exist — yet.

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 ...

Young Keno: Manhunt

Part two of three

He stayed up to give them the news. When they hadn’t come by 11:00 he went to bed. They woke him around midnight. “Murray surrendered,” Griffin told maybe two dozen men. “Gone to San Diego three hours ago.”

Words as weapons

Honky at San Diego Rep animates a conversation about "demographics."

“Sup now?” Peter wrote an ad for a basketball sneaker, the Sky Max. Told to target “urban” youth from 14 to 24, he assumed that meant young black men and invented the expression “sup now?” ...

Gods don't take sides

UCSD Theatre & Dance's well-done Burial at Thebes pits daughter against father against media.

Sophocles’ Antigone begins with the unthinkable: two brothers kill each other in battle before the gates of Thebes. Their father, Oedipus, prayed they would die this way. Etiocles fought to continue ruling the city; older ...

All surface

Performance and design can't redeem shallow The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

The Phantom meets Les Miz on the belfry of Notre Dame. Victor Hugo titled his 1831 novel Notre Dame de Paris. When the English translator changed it to The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hugo blew ...

Young Keno

Losing kin to wanton gunfire shapes a lawman some.

Asked if the shot was fatal, Stroud replied, “It could not have been more fatal.”

Partial Monty

Uneven but heartfelt Calendar Girls debut at the Sullivan Players

Somehow D.J. Sullivan wrangled Tim Firth’s script for Calendar Girls from Samuel French — dispensers (and often hoarders) of the rights — and has staged the local premiere. For a “small” theater to land the ...

Antonio TJ Johnson’s Acting Bucket List

Craig Noel Award-winner shares the roles he longs to play. “After 35 years of stage acting, I thought a ‘bucket list’ might be difficult to come up with. It has been a long journey and ...

Henry in transition

He abandoned his sack-swilling, lowlife chums and is now serious royalty.

“Word scenery” rules the day in New Fortune’s Henry V.

The Battle of Agincourt

The New Fortune Theatre Company has opened its doors with an outstanding production of Shakespeare’s Henry V. The play describes one of England’s most illustrious victories: the Battle of Agincourt against the French army, October ...

Linda Libby’s Acting Bucket List

The Craig Noel Award winner can hardly choose just four.

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 some ...

San Diego’s hotel era ended in flames

Who would burn down the grand hotels of North County?

When the Hotel del Coronado opened in 1888, Oceanside already had two “grand” hotels, the St. Cloud and the South Pacific. They faced each other, just two city blocks apart, separated by the California Southern ...

Last Call: Black Sunday

Some fine productions, including one of the city's all-time best, must close November 2.

These shows must close this Sunday, November 2 — aka “Black Sunday,” given their high quality. The Royale, Old Globe Theatre One of the year’s best directed shows is so well done you’d think Marco ...

Phil Johnson's acting bucket list

Craig Noel Award-winning actor shares his dream roles.

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 some ...

The question of God, carefully

Static but interesting Freud’s Last Session at North Coast Repertory Theatre

On the verge of suicide, Prince Hamlet wonders if he should live or leave. And if he chooses to go, what awaits? Endless sleep? Or the dread of “the undiscovered country,” from where no travelers ...

Last call: The Clean House

Despite its deserved hit-show status, NVA's show about "invisible stuff" must close soon.

Theaters run on such tight schedules, few can extend the run of a hit show. NVA has one — a hit that is, not the run. Their excellent The Clean House must close this Sunday. ...

Deanna Driscoll's acting bucket list

Local veteran presents her top-five "dream roles."

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 ...

Emotional gamesmanship

Shepard seeks to convey "what it feels like to be two-sided."

Cygnet Theatre Shep-reps, staging True West and Fool for Love

All in transition in The Clean House

"If it were not for dust, I think I would die."

Charles just performed a mastectomy on Ana and fell in love with her. When his wife Lane asks how it could happen, he says Ana is his “Beshert,” which is Hebrew for soul mate. But, ...

New translations, New Fortune

Upstart company of young veterans seeks to make the classics new and the new into classics, starting with Henry V.

Ritualized conjuration

Knockout theatricality saves Old Globe's The Royale.

Take away the spectacular theatricality and Marco Ramirez’s The Royale would be a thin-ish script that makes some important points. The characters stand as much for a position in a debate as for themselves. But ...

What you see is not what you thought

Fool for Love at Cygnet Theatre honors the spirit and the anarchy.

Cygnet Theatre is running two of Sam Shepard’s plays in repertory: True West and Fool for Love. In Cygnet’s opening day/night double bill last Sunday, True West came off the stronger [to be reviewed 10/15]. ...

Southern woe

Bright Star may be too sweeping for its own good.

Billy Cane is home from World War II. He wants to follow his “bright star” and write for the prestigious Asheville Southern Journal. The editor, Alice Murphy, works with the Southern Renaissance headliners: Faulkner, Eudora ...

Last call: The Pianist of Willesden Lane and Next to Normal

Two remarkable shows are set to close October 12; don't miss them.

These shows must close this Sunday, October 12. The Pianist of Willesden Lane at the San Diego Rep. Mona Golabek’s “concert drama” is one of 2014’s best. She tells the story of Lisa Jura, a ...

Next to Normal's epic emotions

San Diego Music Theatre does a stellar job with the most unlikely of opera concepts.

When potential backers first heard a proposal for Next to Normal, they probably replied: “A musical about bipolar disorder? Like, huh?” Either that or, with voice lowered, “riiight.” Yes, and a rock musical at that. ...

Moxie witchcraft

A raucous opening night makes an all-around odd Discourse on the Wonders of the Invisible World.

Join our newsletter list for
$5 off your next purchase
on our daily deal site, ReaderCity.com

Close