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PigPen’s doozy about the end of the world

The Old Globe’s multileveled set for The Old Man and the Old Moon — pilings, planks, and wooden boxes — suggests an ancient wharf. Downstage footlights and roughhewn boards say a 19th-century theater. As the ...

Songs appear like far-off islands in Escape to Margaritaville

Times change. When Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville” came out in 1977, the singer couldn’t find his salt shaker for said beverage. One might have thought, Poor dude, it won’t be the same. Today, the health-conscious would ...

June 7, 2017
Breath of kings

"Not all the water in the rough rude sea/ Can wash the balm from an anointed king./ The breath of worldly men cannot depose/ The deputy elected by the Lord.” Richard of Bordeaux became King ...

"By all accounts, Richard II was a frivolous, self-indulgent megalomaniac...He was also a gravely incompetent ruler..." Uh, now we're actually talking about Trump, right?

June 28, 2017

If the crown fits...

June 28, 2017
Opposing views of American history, from Jim Crow to the Harlem Renaissance and Civil Rights

New Village Arts’ Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years is one of that company’s best shows in its 16 seasons. Sarah L. “Sadie” and Elizabeth “Bessie” Delany don’t like to be called ...

May 31, 2017
Silent Sky: Henrietta Leavitt goes beyond the Milky Way

Sean Fanning has done it again. The Designer of the Year for 2016 converted Lamb’s Players’ stage into the Harvard Observatory. Laura Gunderson’s Silent Sky begins early in the 20th Century. Harvard has the state-of-the-art ...

May 3, 2017
At the Old Place makes Chekhov seem operatic

The La Jolla Playhouse is doing whole seasons with only world premieres. From musicals (artistic director Christopher Ashley won a Tony Award for his direction of the Playhouse’s Come From Away) to drama (Rebecca Taichman ...

July 19, 2017
Maid Marian has Errol Flynn's DNA

It’s difficult to characterize Ken Ludwig’s Robin Hood, now in its world premiere at the Old Globe. It isn’t the 1938 swashbuckling movie, The Adventures of Robin Hood, where elongated shadows of Errol Flynn and ...

August 9, 2017
Kill Local brings savagery to La Jolla Playhouse

Mat Smart’s Kill Local opens way up in a high-rise either under construction or in development-limbo. Yellow “Caution” tape demarcates where windows will be, or should have been. Same with a ladder and orange wheelbarrow ...

August 16, 2017
Hamlet — infinite tragedy

You could say that Shakespeare’s Hamlet wakes up in the ultimate actor’s nightmare. He’s thrust onstage with no training. He’ll perform without rehearsals, or even peeking at the text. He must find out the play ...

August 23, 2017
Betty the Loon never had a dream with a happy ending

Mr. Goodman and his colleagues at the local high school are convinced Beatrice Hunsdorfer is insane. Every time she calls the school, she’s either too syrupy-calm or tongue-ablaze raving. Does she love her daughters — ...

September 13, 2017
Ethel Tulloch Banks: union leader and healer

Ethel Tulloch Banks believed in miracles. For years she fought for miraculous changes at her workplace — and may have lived one herself. Tulloch was a clerk at the San Diego Post Office. In January ...

The torture of being Korean

Much of Hansol Jung’s Wild Goose Dreams takes place in a cyberspace Babel. Throngs of voices, mantras of zeroes and ones, and pop-up ads scream for attention, pinball off each other, and drift away. If ...

September 20, 2017
African-American experience starts off with the Odyssey

Suzan-Lori Parks loathes safe theater. The “insidious, schmaltz-laden mode of expression threatens to cover us all, like Vesuvius, in our sleep.” She writes “don’t be afraid to show your ass” plays to “defend dramatic literature ...

October 11, 2017
Characters crave spotlight but throw away lines

Mark Twain wrote: “The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.” Matthew Lopez’s Legend of Georgia McBride is a stencil-thin, though often ...

October 25, 2017
Taste? Nuance? — Too last century

In this era of manic video games and computer graphics, everything is all in. Used to be, when someone fell in a movie, they’d clear the window, or whatever, free-fall for a spell, and you’d ...

November 1, 2017
InnerMission's Falling: rarely happy

InnerMission Theatres’ starkly realistic, deeply moving production of Deanna Jent’s Falling closes this Saturday. It deserves a much longer run. About halfway into the 80-minute piece, teenaged Lisa Martin tells her mother, Tami, she wants ...

November 22, 2017
The most dazzling show ever staged at the La Jolla Playhouse

"Toot, ahhhhh, beep-beep... Toot-toot, ahhhhh, beep-beep.” People of a certain age will recognize Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls” from its first few notes. These may also conjure visions of glitter balls and strobe effects — timed ...

November 29, 2017
San Diego Hamilton worshipers get theirs

Hamilton, the Musical is coming! Hamilton is almost here! Beginning January 9, and ending January 28, the most decorated Broadway show in eons will run at the San Diego Civic Theatre. Lin-Manuel Miranda, genius, based ...

January 3, 2018

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