By Pat Launer
A battle of the sexes,
Lesbians and their exes,
An idea these plays uniquely spawn:
Survive the trauma and move on.
[Reviews of after the quake, The Breakup Notebook: The Lesbian Musical, The House of Chaos and the Human Rights Festival
THE SHOW: after the quake , an adaptation, by acclaimed director Frank Galati , from two short stories by acclaimed Japanese writer Haruki Marukami . The play originated at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago , then played the Long Wharf theatre in New Haven , CN . This is a co-production with the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where the piece will travel next.
THE STORY/THE BACKSTORY: If you’ve ever read a Murakami novel or story, you know all about alienation and desolation, laid down with unfussy description. But his work is often deep and profound, and chock-full of fantastical elements and sly humor. The Japanese novelist/translator (he’s transformed into Japanese the works of Fitzgerald, Capote, Carver, Theroux and others) is known for his mix of Asian and Western style. Comic fluidity melds with poetic minimalism, just as reality intersects with fantasy. In his later works, Murakami’s social conscience has shone a light on surviving collective trauma.
after the quake (written in lower case letters, like the original, which reflects the author’s pervasive understatement), is based on the last two short stories from the collection of the same name. Al l six pieces were set in 1995, just after the deadly Kobe earthquake (7,000 killed), and the terrifying subway gas attacks. “ honey pie” focuses on a sweet, smart but repressed and regretful writer, Junpei . In college, he becomes part of an intense three-way friendship. He secretly loves the woman, but is too timid and fearful to express his feelings. She winds up marrying their best (more aggressive and gregarious) friend, and Junpei suffers in silence, remaining strongly connected to her and her daughter. Junpei narrates and enacts the tale, lamenting his romantic losses, but ultimately coming to a place of assertiveness, love and peace. “ super-frog saves tokyo ” centers on an even more typical Murakami character — a lonely, sad nebbish — in this case, bank collections officer Katagiri . One day, he’s visited by a giant, friendly, literature-spouting frog, who warns him that another earthquake is imminent, this one much larger and headed for Tokyo . He enlists Katagiri to take on the massive challenge of fighting The Worm and saving the city. Galati intertwines the two stories in highly imaginative ways.
THE PLAYERS/THE PRODUCTION: The production is gorgeous: stark, minimal, deceptively simple and simply beautiful. The stage is framed in bright red. The background of horizontal blinds can be opened, closed and pulled aside to reveal the squared-off playing spaces for boxed-in young Sala or the two wonderful musicians who underscore the piece: cellist Jason McDermott, and koto player Jeff Wichman . The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood” is a recurring theme in the realistic “honey pie,” an homage to Murakami, who wrote a book by the same name. The rich, legato cello interweaves with the staccato plucking of the koto , a lovely reflection of the dichotomies in the play: East/West; dreams/reality, losing/triumphing. In both stories, a despondent, hopeless man is driven by circumstance to achieve guts, stature and self-esteem.
Galati’s cast is outstanding; these are the performers who originated their roles, and each is superb: from little, self-possessed, 8 year-old Kayla Lauren Mei Mi Tucker as Sala , to Andrew Pang, who morphs brilliantly, in a nanosecond, from the brash, assertive Takatsuki to the stoop-shouldered, bespectacled sadsack Katagiri . Hanson Tse is wonderfully somber and centered as Junpei , Aiko Nakasone is convincing as Sala’s frightened, concerned mom, and Keong Sim is delightful as the Frog (bubble-fingered green gloves, green glasses and all ) . The narrative duties shift flawlessly from Sim to Tse ; the whole flow is so sinuous and fluid that nothing intrudes, not the sometime silliness of the sci-fi/anime Frog/Worm story or the bubble-gum song, “You Light Up My Life,” though it’s sufficiently disguised by an inventive interpretation (music arrangement by Andre Pluess , Jeff Wichman and Jason McDermott).
Galati is a magnificent director, as he proved in his earlier adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath, which came to the Playhouse in 1989, just before it went to Broadway and won Tony Awards for Best Play and Best Direction. He assiduously avoids hype and histrionics; he can do and say so much with so little, focusing on the magic of theater, not technology.
THE LOCATION: La Jolla Playhouse, through August 26
BOTTOM LINE: BEST BET
THE SHOW: The Breakup Notebook: The Lesbian Musical, an official event of San Diego Pride, was written by Patricia Cotter (book) and Lori Scarlett (music and lyrics). The show premiered in L.A. in 2005 and won the 2006 Ovation Award for best world premiere musical and the L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical Score.
THE STORY: We’ve all been down that rocky, lonesome, hair-tearing road. We get dumped; we grieve and stalk and pray for a miraculous reconciliation. But ultimately, we have to move on. And then comes the invariable parade of losers. At long last, when enough healing is complete, it’s possible to look around and see some plausible romantic potential. That’s pretty much the arc of Helen’s journey in overcoming her addiction to her ex. Al ong the way, we meet her supportive gay male boss, her ‘helpful’ friends and an assortment of wacky and wildly inappropriate dates. Perseverance pays off, and she ultimately meets Ms. Maybe-Right.
THE PRODUCTION/THE PLAYERS: The musical is light and fluffy, not deep and heavy ( whaddaya expect with that title?), but it sure is buoyant and fun, energetic and well presented. The pop-rock music and lyrics are appealing if not memorable, and the cast is thoroughly engaging. The set (David Potts) is serviceable and the quick-change costumes (guided by Jeanne Reith) are stereotypically cute.
The director (Peter Schneider) and lead (Beth Malone) have Broadway credits – and big talent. And a bonus is they’ve worked together before (on the world premiere of Sister Act – The Musical at the Pasadena Playhouse). Schneider keeps the action lively and the emotions rolling (ours and the characters’). Malone is delectable. She has the look of Audrey Hepburn – that lean, lithe, gamine innocence, with a touch of sadness and knowing. She mines every nuance of the role with grace and humor. She’s not quite as strong vocally, though she appeared on Broadway as June Carter Cash in the very short-lived, roundly thrashed Ring of Fire. Her voice is appealing in the alto range, but thins out considerably in the higher register. Still, her adorable look and personality would charm the pants off – a man! The rest of the cast deftly plays multiple (comic) roles, except for funny, agile Andy Collins as flamboyant best-bud Bob. Molly Lahr, Tori Roze , Melissa Fernandes, Mei -Ling Downey, Jeannine Marquie and Chrissy Burns are delightful as a bevy of butches, femmes, leather-girls, pole dancers, Moms and assorted others. They keep the fun-meter on the high-side, and make sure you go out smiling — and a little sentimental, too, thinking about all your own heartbreaks and ‘helpful’ friends.
NOTE: Jeannine Marquie will take over the leading role of Helen for three performances only, while her characters are played by Olivia Espinosa. So, even if you’ve seen the show before, maybe you wanna see it again (different performer, different energy): August 5, 11 and 12.
THE LOCATION: Diversionary Theatre, through August 12
BOTTOM LINE: BEST BET
BIG SIDE-NOTE: San Diego is, once again, on the ground floor of something potentially big. The Breakup Notebook: The Lesbian Musical has just been chosen to be part of the 19th Annual Festival of New Musicals, to be held in New York in October. This is one of the major marketplaces for new musicals, and only eight new shows were chosen for the two-day marathon of staged readings. More than 75% of the shows presented at the Festival (200, over time) have found subsequent productions, tours and/or licensing agreements. Past presentations have included Thoroughly Modern Millie, Songs for a New World, Children of Eden , Honk (all of which have been seen, in one theater or another, in San Diego ).
THE SHOW: The House of Chaos, a world premiere by Velina Hasu Houston, a collaboration of the San Diego Asian American Repertory Theatre and The Collective theater company.
I caught the last performance, and I’m glad I got to see the play, which was inspired by the Medea story, with a feminist twist (an ultimate triumph for the gals and a surprisingly happy ending). The focus, as in Houston ’s award-winning Tea, is on dislocation and the difficulty of adapting to a new culture and community. Like the protagonist, the playwright was a Japanese immigrant plunked into the Kansas heartland. Her life and work echo the East-West convergence, the ‘ chaos’ of a life displaced.
In the play, Mina is resistant to change and cultural adaptation. Her husband grows distant, and increasingly interested in advancing his career, which was initiated by the business Mina took over from her father. Turns out, the partner her husband hooked up with took is a manipulative monster. This Cedric (read: Creon ) has a daughter, whom he’s grooming for greatness, and pushing onto Mina’s husband. But the plans backfire, and Mina teams up with Victoria to assert their collective strength and unity as women. It’s not a fully realized play yet; the ‘Chorus of Double Exiles’ isn’t sharply enough delineated and the Maternal and Fraternal Spirits are sometimes generic and at other times, specific to Mina’s family. Still, the parallels to Medea are fascinating, as is Houston ’s dramatic worldview.
In the production at SDSU, directed by Peter Cirino , a member of the Theatre Dept. faculty, the stage pictures were beautiful (scenic design by Mark Anderson). The costumes (Jeannie Galioto ) were lovely — hip , modern outfits juxtaposed with traditional kimono and ethereal, otherworldly garb. The video projections (Mark Legaspi ) were evocative. But the various elements often conflicted (the videos were especially intrusive at times); it didn’t seem like there was always a unified vision. A great deal of effort and energy obviously went into this production, and it was meticulous in many ways. But the acting acumen was variable; the lead performer, Elise Kim Prosser (a marketing consultant and professor) was actually making her stage debut. She put in a valiant effort, but she wasn’t able to convey the detailed nuances of the emotional journey Mina has to take, from subservient, neglected wife to assertive, self-assured businesswoman. Tony Perez displayed apt aggression as the husband, and David S. Cohen was wonderfully reptilian as Cedric. There were many intriguing moments in play and production.
Interesting Side-Note: This was third Japanese-themed play I saw in a week: Rashomon , after the quake and The House of Chaos. There must be some symbolic significance to this concurrence, but I haven’t yet figured out what it is.
Survival of the Fittest
THE SHOW: Programs 10 and 11 of 6th @ Penn Theatre’s Resilience of the Spirit Human Rights Festival proved to be the strongest evenings of the Festival I’ve seen. The plays are powerful and provocative, and the performances uniformly excellent. Al l deal with the creative ways desperate humans attempt to survive a traumatic event, whether it’s using art, sex or one-way conversations with the dead. There was a little backstage drama in presenting Program 10; one of the scheduled plays was dropped, so in a pinch, director/actor/playwright/novelist/teacher Bil Wright stepped up and quickly (in a day or two) penned a short replacement piece, which he called Leave Me a Message.
The short playlet is a reflection on grief; how long it should last, when it’s time to let go. One year after 9/11, a husband can’t erase his wife’s final phone message, a frantic attempt to connect with him in her final moments. He’s having trouble with a recalcitrant daughter and an overbearing shrink. He only takes comfort in talking into the answering machine, where the last vestige of his wife still ‘resides.’ Under Wright’s direction, Rena Lyon (a newcomer to San Diego ) gradually unfolds her mounting terror, and Anthony Hamm does an impressive job as the brokenhearted husband.
Wright directs the evening’s second piece as well, War Zone is My Bed (Blackened Windows) by New Orleans-born Yasmine Berly Rana . This play, which was presented as a concert reading at New York ’s La MaMa Experimental Theatre, where it will have a full production in the fall, was published in this summer’s issue of The Drama Review . As an arts therapist, the playwright has worked with traumatized and displaced people in various countries. Her play is set in a “brutally strange place,” an unnamed Middle Eastern land under strict moral law. It’s told as an anguished memory, the recollections of a man who recalls none of the dates and details of his overseas ordeal, only the blackened windows of the boxed-in life of one young widow forced to earn a meager living on her back. He became a ‘regular,’ and in each other’s arms they found a moment of respite, release and humanity – until she finds out that this gentle, tender lover is one of the torturers she so fears. Wright has teased touching, aching, finely shaded performances from Eric Esquer and Leti Carranza . (Now let’s just hope he manages to return again from New York, in order to reprise his stellar performance as Gabe in Fences, which will be mounted as a full production by Cygnet Theatre late fall).
The final piece in Program 10 was The Collection, written by Kansas City-based playwright Frank Higgins, whose earlier work, Miracles, was produced at the Old Globe in 1987. The action takes place inside the world-famous Hermitage Museum in 1943, during the Siege of Leningrad. Two soldiers barge in and find a woman crouching self-protectively in the corner. She hasn’t eaten in days, and she is guarding the last remaining treasures of the museum’s vast art collection. The soldiers, a pugnacious sergeant and a hopelessly virginal private, are also desperate for food (they try to cook and eat a cowhide wallet), and they smash a valuable 18th century chair for firewood. When they try to remove pictures from the wall, she pleads, bribes, wails and finally placates them by giving her tour guide spiel, telling them the details of the paintings, about the artists, the colors, the style. Art succeeds in quelling the savage beast. The private is enthralled, the gruff sergeant softens, thinking of his “stupidly” artistic wife. Quentin Proulx is wonderful as the fiendish sergeant, Harrison Myers strikes just the right notes as the younger soldier, and Kathleen Masse negotiates her life with a steadfast credibility. Kevin Six’s skillful direction mines the fear and the suspense. An exciting and gut-wrenching piece of work all around.
Program 11. The power of art is also the theme of Fireflies, a world premiere by Charmaine Spencer, a Chicago playwright who creates theater works for adults, children and puppets. She was inspired by the true story of Vienna-born artist Friedl Dicker-Brandeis (whose name is spelled many different ways in the 6th @ Penn program and press). She was deported to Terezin (in German, Theresienstadt ), the Czechoslovakia concentration camp euphemistically called “Hitler’s Gift to the Jews,” because there, the arts were allowed to flourish – but only so they could be paraded in front of unwelcome, inquisitive visitors (such as the International Red Cross), to show how liberal and permissive the Nazis were.
The year is 1944. Dicker-Brandeis uses art to survive, distracting and supporting her young charges in the Girls’ Barracks by encouraging them to “draw what you see.” At one point, her husband, Pavel , drags in a scruffy and belligerent new arrival, young Leo Katz, who vows to fight the system every step of the way. He doesn’t want any part of this artistic acquiescence; he’s not a “sheep” like the rest. But the warm-hearted, endlessly patient Friedl explains that drawing and writing “help us put away the anger and the fear… release them to make way for hope.” So hostile, scrappy Leo learns to accept her protection and follow her artistic advice. Periodically, a nasty German officer tramps in to ruffle their feathers, threaten their lives, and pass out transport orders, which generally means transfer to a death camp like Auschwitz (where Friedl was eventually killed).
How Friedl sees what she sees and knows what she knows, and still maintains her calm in the face of the atrocities is a study in the very best of humanity and the human spirit. The pictures drawn by the hundreds of children she taught in the camp survive; they currently hang in a Prague museum. And onstage, as the youngsters commit to paper some of the ugly daily events they’re forced to witness, the actual, gut-wrenching drawings are projected on the upstage wall of the theater.
It’s a powerful, unforgettable story, and director Dale Morris has created a palpable world of terror leavened by love. His cast is marvelous. Beth Bayless perfectly captures the surface serenity of this woman who sacrificed her life to preserve the souls, as well as the artistic creations, of her pupils. Tony Beville does awesome double duty as Friedl’s caring and often daring husband and the horrific, German-accented Nazi who torments her. His moments of physical brutality are especially harrowing. Seventeen year-old Luis Quiroz, a recent graduate of Hoover High (and former student of Bayless ) has just the right tough-guy veneer for brash-but-sensitive Leo. As the girls, 11 year-old Becca Myers and 16 year-old Zoe Katz are thoroughly believable. Maddy Bersin plays a third girl; she’ll rotate into the role of 16 year-old Rebecca on August 5.
There are so many personal connections to this story. Becca Myers’ great-great-great grandmother and grandfather perished in Terezin . Last year, Becca performed in the J*Company’s abridged version of Brundibar , the opera written for the children inside Terezin (created to impress the visiting Red Cross). The woman who played the Cat in the original production was in San Diego last year for the Jewish Book Fair. Another woman who was a young inmate in Terezin at the same time as Friedl , though she was in the German barracks, is a cousin of local actor Punit Auerbacher. She and the playwright are scheduled to attend the prerformance on Friday night (8/3), after which they’ll talk to the audience. This is such a compelling story, such a potent piece of theater and such a gripping production, it really shouldn’t be missed.
LOCATION: 6th @ Penn Theatre; Program 10 runs through August 10, Program 11 through August 12
The final Program of the Festival is Buried: The Sago Mine Disaster, written by Dr. Jerry Starr, with music by Anne Feeney, directed by Dale Morris. It focuses on the event and aftermath of the January 2006 West Virginia mine explosion that took 12 lives. August 9-12 only.
BOTTOM LINE: BEST BET
NEWS AND VIEWS…
… I Think I Can Dance… and I was asked to be one of the celebrity contestants in Malashock Dance’s reality -TV-type fundraising event, “Malashock Thinks You Can Dance.” Very exciting. I’ll have six sessions with a professional dancer/choreographer, who’ll be my Waltz partner (shades of Fred and Ginger…). Other dance contestants (there are 10 in all) include Laura Cain from the Jeff and Jer Showgram , Chris Cantore from 91X Radio and Yolanda S. Walther-Meade, the binational consultant who was recently named an “Emerging Star” at the Performing Arts League’s STAR Awards. The event will be co-chaired by Dea Hurston and Kristy Gregg, and hosted by Mary Murphy, owner of San Diego ’s Champion Ballroom and regular judge/choreographer for Fox TV’s “So You Think You Can Dance.” Celeb judges, and performances by Malashock students and pro ballroom dancers will round out the evening. Most important, the audience votes for the winners. So come on down! Saturday, September 15 at the new, state-of-the-art Irwin M. Jacobs Qualcomm Hall on Morehouse Drive . Proceeds from this sure-to-be-fun fundraiser support Malashock’s 20th anniversary season and the educational programs of The Malashock Dance School. 619-260-1622; www.malashockdance.org
…And watch for my DANCE BLOG on my website, chronicling my training/prep experience for “Malashock Thinks You Can Dance.” Feets , don’t fail me know! Check out www.patteproductions.com
… On the air again…. My premiere stint on KUSI -TV was a big hit, and they want me back! Thanks for all the wonderful notes and calls to the station supporting my ongoing appearances. I’ll be back on their morning show, “Inside San Diego” (10-11am), on Wed. August 15. So tune in… and keep those calls and letters coming! Channel 51/cable 9.
.. Bloodbath at KPBS….. Well, looks like I’m not alone. Despite their protestations that they’re “committed to creating local content,” KPBS has just cancelled two of their three remaining locally produced programs – “Full Focus” and “ A Way With Words” (the radio morning show, “These Days,” remains). They also eliminated 12 staff positions, including Full Focus producers Mary Garbesi and Pat Finn, and managing editor Grace Sevilla; “ A Way with Words” host Martha Barnette and producer Stefanie Levine. On the production side, directors and videographers were also dsimissed . Some of those folks I’d worked with extensively, and they’re terrific. If you’re looking for a TV/radio producer, you can’t do better than Mary Garbesi, and Michael Gerdes is probably one of the best videographers in the biz. The decisions were based on “station priorities” and concerns about the FY ‘08 budget. “Full Focus” will be replaced by “Nightly Business Report.” Archives of “A Way With Words” will continue in the usual timeslot. That leaves only ONE locally produced program on the sole public broadcasting station in the 7th largest city in the U.S. Shameful.
…. TV SHOW CASTING CALL!! A new television show for kids, “The Jumpitz ,” is being locally produced, spearheaded by. Joe Lizura, co-host of KUSI’s “Inside San Diego”; the choreography is by Faith Jensen-Ismay , artistic director of Mojalet Dance. During the first Casting Call this weekend, they’re seeking 6 dancers (male or female) and 4 actors (three male, one female), ages 20-40. This is a non-union production. What they’re looking for is energetic, talented performers who can entertain a young TV audience (age 2-6) through dance and song. Al l auditioners are asked to wear a solid colored shirt; men should wear khaki pants and women, white or tan Capri pants. Appointments are this Saturday, August 4, 9-12:00 or 1-4pm. RSVP, and specify the a.m. or p.m. session email@example.com
… Speaking of kids’ shows, there are two multi-actor theater families that are constantly busy. Three members of the Myers clan (Rebecca — see Fireflies, above; Daniel and Jeff) will appear as a family unit in Starlight’s upcoming production of Ragtime. The children’s infectious theater obsession was caught by their dad, Jeff Myers, who’ll join them onstage. Perla (Mom) is an active participant from the sidelines (she served as unofficial dramaturge for Fireflies). While they focus on summer, the Lerners are planning for winter. Zev and Ari will be part of the Grinch Workshop at the Globe, when Jack O’Brien and all the original creators of How the Grinch Stole Christmas come in from New York to revamp the show based on last year’s Broadway experience (the show was a sellout which will be probably be reprised on Bway this year). The Lerner family has already put in six seasons with the show. Meanwhile, older sister Jessica is working on a Christmas play with Ruff Yeager , and she’s scheduled to sing the national anthem at the Padres game on August 31 (Pads vs. Dodgers). This will be the 7th time the recent Coronado School of the Arts grad will sing for the Padres; she started when she was 8.
… Little Man… The Birch North Park Theatre’s Summer Academy, helmed by Lyric Opera San Diego, shows off the skills its trainees have acquired in a performance of The Music Man, Jr. This is the culmination of a five-week intensive training program for middle and high school students who’ve demonstrated a serious desire to pursue careers in opera or musical theater. The Academy was run by director Susan Lavoie, with acting instruction from Mike Sears, Vocal/musical direction by Cris O’Bryon, and dance/choreography by Shirley Johnston. Now, each graduate of the Academy will have the opportunity to audition for Lyric Opera’s future productions. The performance, Thursday, August 9, 7:30 pm, is free to the public.
…Big Girls Don’t Cry … unless they can’t get tickets to Jersey Boys. So Walk Like a Man and snap ‘ em up as soon as they go on sale, Friday, August 10. The knockout musical story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, which premiered at La Jolla Playhouse in 2004 (directed by Des McAnuff ) is still killin ’ ‘ em on Broadway. The touring cast for San Diego includes two talented San Diegans: Steve Gouveia (who appeared in the original, the Chicago tour and the Broadway productions) as Nick Massi , and Deven May as Tommy DeVito (the role for which San Diegan Christian Hoff won a Tony). Christopher Kale Jones plays Frankie Valli . Brought to us by Broadway/San Diego, the feel-good, song-happy, singalong /dance-in-the-aisles musical runs at the Civic Theatre, October 18 – November 11 . In-person sales start at 10am at the Civic box office; for other purchases, call (619) 570-1100 or Ticketmaster at (619) 220-TIXS , or go to www.ticketmaster.com .
… Another San Diego / New York connection: In addition to The Breakup Diaries: The Lesbian Musical, there’s another local link to the 19th Annual Festival of New Musicals, to be held in New York in October. One of the eight plays selected for the industry-only insider event that’s attended by theater producers from around the globe, is The Gypsy King, with music and lyrics by Randy Rogel , and book by Randy Rogel and Kirby Ward. Multi-talented son of beloved local director/choreographers Don and Bonnie Ward, Kirby has directed and performed many times on San Diego stages, most recently at Moonlight Stage Productions, where he’ll be helming the upcoming presentation of Little Shop of Horrors (9/5-16).
… It’s good to be King… The San Diego Shakespeare Society is presenting a reading of King Lear with an all-star cast. Jonathan McMurtry will rail at the elements as poor, misguided Lear, whose daughters will be played by Priscilla Al len, Linda Libby and Monique Gaffney. The rest of the imposing ensemble includes: Richard Baird (Edgar), Mitchell Wyatt (Edmund), TJ Johnson, Walter Murray , Mark Petrich , Neil McDonald, Matt Biedel, Sean Cox, Al ex Sandie and Jack Winans . Mike Auer directs. 7:30pm on Monday, August 13 in the Westminster Presbyterian Church Theatre in Point Loma. T
…Reliving the Dream… The San Diego Black Ensemble Theatre is presenting a special benefit event (proceeds to support the SDBET season and the Dr. Floyd Gaffney Memorial Fund). Celebrate the 44th anniversary of the oration that influenced a nation with a performance, by Antonio ‘TJ’ Johnson, of the Rev. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Monologue “63” will be performed by the SDBET Players, and the gospel group, Voices of Prayze , will sing. August 28 at St. Paul ’s Cathedral. Pre- and post-show music by Dwight Love Jazz Ensemble. Tix at 619-280-5650.
‘NOT TO BE MISSED!’ (Pat’s Picks)
after the quake – spare, at times amusing, and starkly beautiful; gorgeously designed, directed and acted
La Jolla Playhouse, through August 26
The Breakup Notebook: The Lesbian Musical – a universal story of lost love, bad dates, and romantic possibility, cleverly told, engagingly performed
Diversionary Theatre, through August 12
Resilience of the Spirit Human Rights Festival, Programs 10 and 11 – provocative plays, potent productions
6th @ Penn Theatre, through August 8
Rashomon – intense and thought-provoking; well directed and acted
North Coast Repertory Theatre, through August 12
The Deception – another beautifully integrated production by Théâtre de la Jeune Lune ; just about anything this imaginative company (and its brilliant director) creates is worth seeing
La Jolla Playhouse, through August 19
Hay Fever – witty, sophisticated, deliciously vicious
Old Globe Theatre, through August 19
Two Gentlemen of Verona – light, frothy, goofy, well-acted fun
The Old Globe’s Festival Stage, in repertory with Hamlet and Two Gentlemen of Verona, through September 30
Measure for Measure – beautiful , comprehensible, relevant, flawlessly directed and performed
The Old Globe’s Festival Stage, in repertory with Hamlet and Two Gentlemen of Verona, through September 30
Avenue Q – Don’t Miss the Tony-winning, X-rated puppet musical; definitely not for kids, but great for the 20s-30s demographic — and anyone else with an open mind, heart and sense of humor. A definite winner!
The Old Globe at the Spreckels Theater, through August 5
(For full text of all of Pat’s past reviews, going back to 1990, use the Search engine at www.patteproductions.com)
Yikes! The Summer is half over… so what are you waiting for? Get thee to a theater postehaste !
© 2007 PATTÉ PRODUCTIONS, INC.