Pat Launer on San Diego Theater
By Pat Launer , SDNN
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Lord… Thane… King
THE SHOW: “Macbeth,” premiere production of Intrepid Shakespeare Company
True to its name, the new Intrepid Theatre Company has embarked on a bold and daunting venture. The company is not beginning its ‘make Shakespeare accessible and affordable’ endeavor with a frothy summer comedy. No, as their inaugural production, they’re tackling one of the Big Four tragedies, the colossal challenge of “Macbeth” – with a cast of seven! Co-founder/ executive artistic director Sean Cox stars, and co-directs with Jason D. Rennie, an L.A. based colleague, now an Associate Artist of Intrepid.
As textual advisor, Cox brought in Jonathan McMurtry , a veteran Shakespearean and Old Globe regular, who’s done the play on five occasions and played the title role three times. Along with co-founder/producing artistic director Christy Yael, they worked for months to analyze the play and condense the drama down to 90 intermissionless minutes. All well and good, and audience-friendly. But in production, the action and dialogue fly by at such breakneck speed that many lines are garbled, swallowed, rushed or even rendered unintelligible at times. This was especially true of Yael’s delivery as Lady M; she was so harried it seemed like she had a train to make.
The production’s most clear presentations of the language — simple , crystalline and unadorned — come from Eddie Yaroch and Jason Maddy , an excellent Banquo and Malcolm, respectively. Cox, dressed in camouflage, is forceful and passionate. But sometimes, he has a tendency to declaim. The costumes (Yael) are a hodgepodge. As Rosse , one of the Scottish noblemen, Danny Campbell seems to have been outfitted at Banana Republic . Yael’s garments range from drab to striking (that red gown for the banquet is a knockout). A crowned Mark C. Petrich is fine as the doomed king, Duncan, but unfunny as the Porter, who’s supposed to provide comic relief.
The dramatic effort is earnest, intense and, given the cozy Compass space, as intimate as intended. The actors are obviously concentrating and working hard. There’s excellent design support: Marty Burnett ’s unfussy set features plain walls, steps (which tripped actors on opening night), and a fountain that magically, at times, flows blood-red. M. Scott Grabau’s sound and lighting are aptly eerie. But the overall result isn’t always as effective as one might hope, given all the time, attention and dedication given to the production.
Some of the text abridgements work better than others. The Weird Sisters are absent from the first scene, their lines spoken by disembodied voices. That works fine for spectral characters, though later, they do make a physical appearance, hooded, black-clad, and noticeably male. Some of the battles are onstage; most are off (nice fight choreography by Rennie). The scenes are rather short, which makes the play more choppy than written; in the interest of brevity, some of the storytelling gets a bit muddied. The connection between the Macbeths is sensual, but their relationship – and their childlessness — aren’t sufficiently established. Macbeth’s declining sanity is especially well done. The anguish of MacDuff (potent Jess MacKinnon), after he’s told that Macbeth has destroyed his family, is palpable.
There are some fiery moments, some arresting stage pictures. But further work is needed on clarity of diction and meaning. I wish the Intrepids hadn’t pidgeonholed themselves as Shakespeareans. All the actors in the ensemble have shown themselves to better effect in more modern work. All the best to them in their new endeavor. It’s gutsy to start a project in these unstable times. And anyone who introduces new audiences to the brilliance and relevance of Shakespeare deserves the community’s wholehearted support.
NOTE: In keeping with the ghostly themes of the play, Intrepid will be presenting a “Midnight Macbeth” on Friday, July 17 at 11:55pm.
THE LOCATION: Compass Theatre, 3704 6th Avenue . (619) 688-9210 ; www.intrepidshakespeare.com
THE DETAILS: Tickets: $18-20. Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m. , Sunday at 2 p.m., through August 9.
THE SHOW: “Noises Off,” the farcical opener of Cygnet Theatre’s 7th season
Michael Frayn’s “Noises Off” is arguably the funniest farce ever written. It’s the ultimate behind-the-scenes peek, an onstage/offstage, play-within-a-loopy-play visit with a fourth-rate British theater company touring the hinterlands in an awful bedroom comedy called “Nothing On.”
The first act takes place on the set, an English country house whose tax-evading owners are out of town. Or so the slimy realtor thinks, when he brings in a blonde bimbette for a midday tryst. The dotty maid is there, with a whole lot of sardine business; the fish slip, slide, drop, disappear . Soon, the owners return for their own little secret assignation, and a doddering burglar breaks in. All this transpires during a disastrous tech rehearsal wherein everything that can go wrong does. The exasperation of the stage manager, director and gofer is in high gear.
In act two, the set rotates and we see the antic insanity going on backstage, midway through the long run, when relationships have gone from bad to worse. By act three, the tour is almost over and actors are going after each other with an axe.
Previous productions of the hyperactive laugh-fest have ranged from excruciatingly uproarious to tear-inducing hilarious. The Cygnet Theatre production, which boasts an outstanding cast, is just ‘funny.’ Sometimes. The actors make relatively little distinction between their onstage and offstage personas, and on a number of occasions, there’s just too much shtick going on at once. Each of the manic machinations is riotous in its own right. But when too many are taking place at the same time (the hatchet bit and the running in and out, and the faux sex-act, for example), it’s just overwhelming or visually exhausting, rather than riotous. The real hilarity doesn’t kick in till the third act, when guffaws abound. But we should’ve arrived at that place early in act one.
Still, there are some really good performances (though there’s also an overabundance of bellowing and overacting), plenty of hair-trigger timing (cool stunt choreography by George Yé ), and some downright dangerous-looking moves; an actor even took an obviously unplanned pratfall on opening night. Must’ve been those pesky sardines. Life imitates art; if everyone makes it through the run intact, it’ll be a miracle.
It’s a treat to see Rosina Reynolds and Jonathan McMurtry displaying their prodigious comic chops, playing the forgetful maid and the bumbling burglar. Jason Heil and Craig Huisenga are equally adept, as two idiot actors; one can’t finish a sentence, the other gets a nosebleed at the slightest provocation. Jessica John does dumb-blonde well and Sandy Campbell is perky/prissy fun. Jason Connors (best when he imitates McMurtry), Kim Strassburger (amusing when she loses her skirt) and Albert Dayan (the poor, put-upon director, who’d rather be doing “Richard III”) round out the competent cast. Hopefully, they’ll all settle into the show, and seem more like people than cartoons, and stop appearing as if they’re working for laughs. The easy, funny flow is bound to come; all the ingredients are there.
THE LOCATION: Cygnet Theatre, 4040 Twiggs St. , in Old Town . ( 619) 337-1525 . ; www.cygnettheatre.com
THE DETAILS: Tickets: $28-42. Wednesday-Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; Friday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m., through August 23.
Blues in the Night
THE SHOW: “Jazz Queens Cast Blue Shadows,” Common Ground Theatre at the Lyceum
Dueling divas. Well, sort of. Common Ground Theatre brings together Lady Day and the Queen of the Blues, aka Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington, like they never were before (since they never actually appeared on the same stage together during their abbreviated lifetimes). “Jazz Queens Cast Blue Shadows” wants to show us their commonalities: difficult upbringing, trouble with men and drugs, having to fight for respect, all of which informed their singing.
Seminal scenes from their lives are interlaced and re-enacted, to highlight the origins of the ache and anguish they translated into musical genius. This is a world premiere, though San Diego has already seen a number of shows about these two wonder-women: from “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” at the Globe (1990) to “An Evening with Billie” and “Raisin’ the Rent,” from the Ira Aldridge Repertory Players (2003, 2005), to “The Life and Loves of Dinah Washington” at North Coast Repertory Theatre (2006).
Once again, though we get a taste of the music, and a bit of the history, there isn’t a great deal of depth. Trying to cover two lives and oeuvres in one evening dilutes the process even more. The piece was created by Anthony Drummond, who credits the former, 36-year Common Ground director, Floyd Gaffney, as co-writer. It’s surprising that Gaffney, who died in 2007, would have contributed to such a piece; the late professor was quite proper in his sensibilities. This play comes with a warning: For Mature Audiences, due to strong language and adult situations. It should be heeded; there’s plenty of ‘adult’ talk, which includes a surfeit of swearing ( Washington was known for her raunchy outpourings), sexuality and drug references.
With its episodic structure, the musical drama doesn’t quite hang together as a play (more a revue, with short scenes and commentary), nor does it fit the playwright’s description of a “poetic mood song,” though Drummond, as white-suit-wearing Announcer, provides lyrical riffs on the icons, and fills in the background with narration. What the piece does is give us snapshots of two powerhouse performers who struggled throughout their lives, with demons real and imagined, external and internal, and managed to sing through the pain and communicate the passion. Both musical luminaries continue to influence pop, jazz and blues song-stylists today.
Hassan El- Amin , the newly named artistic director of Common Ground, a protégé of Floyd Gaffney, directs with a light hand. The set (Adam Lindsay) is simple: a bandstand, a small stage, and two playing spaces for the living quarters/backstage areas of the legendary performers. Looming overhead are two huge, knockout paintings of the Jazz Queens, by Todd Gomes-Aviv, who received his fine arts degree from SDSU. The costumes (Jennifer Mah ) are attractive and period-appropriate (Billie died in 1959, at age 44; Dinah passed in 1963, at age 39). The gowns capture the superstar sparkle and the iconic look of the singers, including, of course, Billie’s gardenia. The sound design (Tom Jones) is crisp. And the four-piece band, under the musical direction of ace pianist Anthony Smith, is terrific (Doug Walker on bass, Peter August on sax and Richard Sellers on drums).
Influential people in the performers’ lives make brief appearances: Lionel Hampton ( Rhys Green ), who was a close friend of Dinah; Holiday ’s mother, ‘Duchess,’ and a prostitute who gave the bisexual Billie her first French kiss (both characters played by compelling Chondra La-Tease-Profit). Green is forceful and frightening as Clarence, Billie’s abusive boyfriend.
Though Candace Ludlow Trotter (as Dinah) and Marion George (as Billie) don’t sound very much like the leading ladies they portray, they sing well and with a lot of heart. They also acquit themselves well in the dramatic scenes. Musical purists may chafe at the variations in the signature songs. But this is a great intro for the uninitiated. And the point is to leave an impression of these women, to show how their desires, despairs and self-determination left their mark on music forever.
THE LOCATION: The Lyceum Space, 79 Horton Plaza . (619) 544-1000; www.commongroundtheatre.org
THE DETAILS: Tickets: $20-$35, Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m., through July 26
Survival of the Fittest?
THE SHOW: Resilience of the Spirit Festival 2009, at Compass Theatre
This is the third annual Resilience Festival, which shines a light on human struggle and strength, and how adversity is battled and courageously endured, if not always overcome. This year, there are seven plays in two Programs, presented over three weekends. Artistic director Paola Hornbuckle, who wrote one of the pieces, has amassed an impressive array of dramas, by acclaimed and local writers, on diverse subjects, many of which are hauntingly topical and timely.
Program 1 is a stunner, which opens with acclaimed English playwright Caryl Churchill’s oblique, abstracted response to the recent Israeli attack on Gaza , “Seven Jewish Children.” Directed by Fred Moramarco, the piece features an ensemble of eight people of different ages and political persuasions, suggesting how to tell a young child about the tragedies just outside the door. The seven short scenes mark seven moments in Jewish history, from the Holocaust to the first intifada to the present day. Moramarco has his competent cast grouped, Last Supper-style, around a Passover table, quaffing Manischewitz wine, as they alternate their proposals (“Don’t tell her they were killed.” “Tell her this wasn’t their home.” “Tell her it’s our promised land.” “Don’t tell her about the bulldozer”). Churchill was angered by the recent attacks, and she’s clearly condemning Jewish history and hypocrisy: complaints of thousands of years of victimization turned into victimizing others. This isn’t a balanced or even-handed approach, and when it was first presented at London ’s Royal Court Theatre in January, it evoked a furor, and many outraged cries of anti-Semitism. The play is potent in its simplicity (some have called its perspective simplistic); it’s definitely unnerving. See it and judge for yourself. Underscoring her biases, Churchill wants no royalties for any performances of the 10-minute playlet . Instead, she asks that audience members contribute to MAP, Medical Aid for Palestinians.
Thought-provoking as that little play may be, it’s not as gut-wrenching and unforgettable as “Welcome to Ramallah,” the American premiere of a highly charged 2008 work by a pair of English writers, Sonja Linden and Adah Kay. Linden ’s provocative, political work has already been seen at Compass; her play, “I Have Before Me… a Young Lady from Rwanda ,” was presented in 2005. This piece is semi-autobiographical, based on Kay’s experiences living in the West Bank city of Ramallah , working for human rights organizations. Like the central characters, two English sisters (though they’re played rather American here, despite the references to Marmite and tea), she came from a staunchly Zionist family. Her stand-in, Mara (Allison McDonald, excellent) befriends her Palestinian neighbors, and refuses to go with her Cleveland-based sister, Natasha (effectively manic Sherri Allen ) to the kibbutz where they spent summers in their childhood, to scatter their father’s ashes, as he’d wished. Turns out that the family of Mara’s boyfriend Daoud was displaced from that very area, their land taken, their home destroyed. But there are even more uncomfortable connections revealed, to the sisters, to Daoud and to his aging, asthmatic uncle Salim . It’s a stimulating, unnerving piece of work, wonderfully directed by Charlie Riendeau . Saiid Zamingir and Haig Koshkarian are outstanding as the young man and his uncle (who speak, effectively, with Palestinian accents to the women, and signal their Arabic asides by talking without any accent). The ideas posed here, and the provocative way in which they’re presented, will not be soon forgotten.
The third piece of the Program 1 evening, Paola Hornbuckle’s “Violets Bloom at Sunset,” is also based in fact. The play was inspired by the story of her uncle, Andres Garcia Jaime, who was arrested in Spain in 1965, when he was 24 years old, under the Law Against Vagrants and Evildoers ( Vagos y Maleantes ) implemented by Fascist dictator Francisco Franco. Andres (also the name of the character, superbly played by Jorge Rodriguez) was held captive for three months. His crime: frequenting a homosexual bar. The heinous law, Hornbuckle reports, was only repealed in the 1970s. During the ‘60s, there were “reform centers” run by priests, where gays were tortured. The cleric she created, Father Navarro (terrifyingly portrayed by Charles Peters, who makes memorable appearances in three of the seven Festival plays), seems to be a closet homosexual himself, which makes his horrendous tortures that much more aggressive and severe. Poet/playwright Federico Garcia Lorca makes an appearance (Brian Burke, marvelous in an ethereal, whispery way), and this, too, is rooted in truth. The real-life Andres was fascinated by Lorca, who was gay and brutally murdered. Honrbuckle’s uncle, who escaped Spain and lived in Sweden for many years, recently gave her an antique book of Lorca’s plays, like the one he had in his younger years. That book also found its way into the play, in which Hornbuckle herself appears in several roles. It’s a riveting story, and a heart-rending tribute to her uncle and all those, present and past, who have the courage to “be proud of who you are.”
In Program 2, “Blondes,” by American poet/playwright Frank Higgins, also stayed with me long after the final blackout. In Iraq , a young female soldier comes in to be “investigated” by a female officer, who wants to reward her with a purple heart for the gunshot wound she took outside Tikrit . After a protracted game of cat-and-mouse, what this supply private was doing in a dangerous area comes to light. It’s an awful story, too awful to have been imagined. As always, we civilians don’t know the half of what our soldiers are up to in a warzone. A chilling piece, tautly directed by Kevin Six , and admirably acted by Wendy Savage as the blonde who gives it all for her country (and her autistic son) and Calandra Crane as the hidebound Captain who’s hellbent on getting to the bottom of it all, even if the repercussions are worse than the facts. Todd P. Hylton plays the sergeant who comes up with the alarming diversionary scheme.
Other works in the Festival include “An American Sunset,” a short piece by San Diegan Jack Shea , about the Confederate soldier who wrote ‘Taps’; “Cottonmouth Jubilee,” by K. Biadaszkiewicz , which takes an indirect but unblinking look at the class and race divide in Mississippi, and the wanton murder of blacks; and “Stations,” by Michael Hemmingson , directed by David Meredith, featuring a spectacular, unaffected performance by 10 year-old Cody Menasche as a young boy wandering the streets of L.A., abandoned by his father and neglected by his mother. He meets up with another lost soul, a young woman possibly named Sandy (Bailey Rose Neil, first-rate) and in each other, they find a little solace.
This is by far the most consistently high caliber Resilience Festival yet. It’s definitely worth a visit – or two.
THE LOCATION: Compass Theatre, 3704 6th Avenue . (619) 688-9210 ; www.compasstheatre.com
THE DETAILS: Tickets: $12-15. Sunday-Tuesday evenings. Program 1 runs Sundays at 7 p.m. and Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. Program 2 shows on Mondays and Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m., through August 5.
NEWS AND VIEWS
… Around the Globe: Distinguished British director Adrian Noble is coming across the pond. After 13 years as artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company (1991-2003), he’s ready to try an American Shakespeare troupe. Noble will helm the 2010 Summer Shakespeare Festival at the Old Globe, just in time for the theater’s celebratory 75th anniversary season. It was a surprise to many that Darko Tresnjak, supremely successful artistic director of the Shakespeare Festival and since last year, resident artistic director of the Old Globe, is leaving the theater. A brilliant director, Tresnjak shepherded 14 productions at the Globe since 2002. Six years ago, he revived and revitalized the summer Shakespeare repertory company. He has won numerous local awards for his productions, and leaves his legacy this season with a stellar “Cyrano de Bergerac” and a provocative “Coriolanus.” His plans are to pursue independent projects, which he’d also been doing during his time at the Globe, directing operas, in particular. It’s not yet clear whether or when the Globe will name another resident artistic director. Noble, age 58, who’s wracked up some 120 Olivier Award nominations (the British equivalent of the Tonys ), has also directed his share of operas — most recently, Bizet’s “Carmen” in Paris and Verdi’s “Macbeth” at the Met in New York — in addition to the London-to-Broadway musical, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang .” Though he’d taken a hiatus from staging the Bard, he recently wrote a book called “How to Do Shakespeare” (to be published this fall), and he’s rarin ’ to go to it again. Along with the Globe’s CEO/executive producer Lou Spisto , Noble will choose the plays for next summer’s Shakespeare Festival, which might, like this season, include another non-Shakespearean classic. Tresnjak has laid some excellent groundwork over the past six years, and I hope we haven’t seen/heard the last of him. He leaves the Globe in September, and Noble comes to town – his first time ever in San Diego – mid-August.
[Valerie: link here to the Darko feature??]
… Re-Committed : After the premature closing of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” Cygnet Theatre wanted to make full use of their Rolando Theatre space before the lease is up on October 1. So they’re bringing back an audience favorite, “Fully Committed,” a very funny solo show starring the very funny David McBean (currently appearing at Diversionary Theatre as Fagin in the musical, “Twist”). “Fully Committed” runs August 20-September 13. www.cygnettheatre.com
…Undressed and Unstressed: North Coast Repertory Theatre is bringing back last summer’s hilarious, sellout farce, “ Don’t Dress For Dinner,” with the entire killer cast intact. 7/17-8/2. Also coming up at NCRT: the latest incarnation – and San Diego premiere — of the “Late Nite Catechism” franchise, the marriage-themed “’ Til Death Do Us Part: Late Nite Catechism 3,” 8/5-8. For its third visit to NCRT, ImproTheatre , one of L.A.’s longest established and most acclaimed improvisational theater groups, will be performing “Shakespeare Unscripted,” a completely improvised play in the style of The Bard, based on audience suggestions; 7/20. And on August 10, a quartet of mega-talented SDSU alums brings it home with “Musical Theatre Divas,” directed by their former professor, Dr. Rick Simas . All four have performed on stages across the country and will bring us a barrel-full of Broadway tunes. Tickets for all events at (858) 481-1055; www.northcoastrep.org
Local Boys Making Good:
… Sledgehammer Theatre co-founder and two-time Tony Award nominee Robert Brill as scenic designer for the new opera, “Moby-Dick,” which will be presented by a consortium including the San Diego Opera, Dallas Opera, San Francisco Opera, Calgary Opera and The State Opera of South Australia. Brill was contacted after award-winning designer Michael Yeargan was forced to withdraw for personal reasons. Brill, who was nominated for a 2009 Tony for his set design for Des McAnuff’s recent Broadway revival of “Guys and Dolls,” was also Tony-nominated for 2004’s “Assassins.” He’s amassed extensive Broadway credits, and has already designed operas and ballets in Chicago , Boston and Minneapolis ; he made his San Diego Opera design debut in 2007 with McAnuff’s production of “ Wozzeck .” Brill’s wildly inventive work has also been seen locally at the Old Globe, La Jolla Playhouse and San Diego Repertory Theatre. “Moby-Dick” will premiere at the Dallas Opera in April 2010 and will be staged in San Diego in February 2012.
… Poway High School graduate Josh Lamon is now playing the role of “Hubert” as a “Tribe member” in the hit Broadway revival of “Hair.” Lamon has been a cast member since the show opened in March 2009; he participated in the new cast recording and in the Tony Awards presentation where Hair won a Tony for best revival of a musical. While in San Diego , Josh performed at San Diego Junior Theatre, Moonlight Stage Productions and Starlight Theatre. After attending the University of the Arts in Philadelphia , he went on to play Boq in the national tour of “Wicked.”
… EnCompassed : Compass Theatre just scored a theatrical coup, acquiring the rights to the Broadway hit, “ Frost/Nixon .” The 2006 drama, by British playwright Peter Morgan, was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play; it won an acting award for Frank Langella , who also played Nixon in the 2009 Ron Howard film, which was nominated for five Academy Awards. The Compass production will run from November 29 through Dec 22.
… Mix in a little Moxie: New Village Arts executive artistic director Kristianne Kurner, originally slated to direct David Ives’ “ Sure Thing” as part of NVA’s Summer Comedy Festival, has just accepted the role of Doctor Flora Whetstone in Moxie Theatre’s upcoming comedy/mystery, “ Drink Me, Or The Strange Tale Of Alice Times Three,” which kicks off the Moxie residency at the La Jolla Playhouse . Taking over Kurner’s directing duties will be Mark Stephan, who helmed NVA’s first full production, “ Brilliant Traces ,” and soon after left San Diego for New York and Los Angeles . He recently returned to town and directed “ Psychopathia Sexualis ” at Compass Theatre. New Village Arts ‘ Summer Comedy Festival runs July 30 through August 16 in Carlsbad . www.NewVillageArts.org .
.. From the Main street to Maine: Former San Diegan Christian Hoff, who originated the role of Tommy DeVito in “Jersey Boys,” and won a Tony Award for his performance, is spending some of his summer in the wilds of Maine, appearing in the Ogunquit Playhouse production of “Guys and Dolls.” He’ll play another wheeler-dealer, the lovable Nathan Detroit. Last November, due to an injury sustained during previews, Hoff withdrew from the New York revival of “Pal Joey,” in which he was set to star. He finishes his summer run in Maine on August 8, which gives him plenty of time to get to San Diego for his concert appearance for Junior Theatre, September 12 at the Casa del Prado in Balboa Park . So if you’re not going to be in Maine this summer, you can still see Christian come fall. ogunquitplayhouse.org ; www.juniortheatre.com
… Bond on Broadway: Batten down the hatches. Testosterone arrives on the Great White Way , as two action-flick icons, 007 and the Wolverine, appear onstage together. Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman will co-star in “A Steady Rain,” a two-character Chicago police drama by Keith Huff. Craig has extensive stage credits in London , but this is his Broadway debut. Jackman won a 2004 Tony Award for his portrayal of Peter Allen in “The Boy from Oz.” Previews for “A Steady Rain” begin September 10 at the Schoenfeld Theatre. Better get those tickets fast.
… Classic! Lyric Opera San Diego presents a summer movie series, “Classics of Comedy,” throughout the month of August. Each week’s film plays Sunday and Wednesday at 7 p.m. The roster includes side-splitters such as “Monty Python & the Holy Grail” (great prep for the Broadway touring production of “Monty Python’s Spamalot ,” coming to the Civic Theatre, courtesy of Broadway San Diego, September 8-13); “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Harold and Maude” and “Young Frankenstein.” Tickets at (619) 239-8836 or www.birchnorthparktheatre.net
… Dance ‘N’ Dine, produced by the PGK Project in association with Eveoke Dance Theatre and the Community Council, is dedicated to this year’s Celebrate Dance Festival. The Festival needs funds (only $9000 of the $25K required to present the popular, free fest in Balboa Park has been collected so far). A $45 ticket provides a 3-course meal with wine and an evening of dance performance to benefit the Festival. Participating groups include: Culture Clash, Eveoke, Flamenco Arana, Stella Nova Dance Company, 2toGroove, The PGK Project and Urban Tribal Dance Company. July 25 at Café LaMaze , 1441 Highland Ave. , National City (only 7 minutes from downtown). Reservations at (619) 474-3222; cafelamaze.com
… The Malashock Dance School ‘s ‘ Summer in San Diego ’ workshop performance takes place Saturday, July 18 at the Saville Theater on the campus of City College . Take a look at what students have been learning over the past two weeks of workshop training. The performance includes company repertory and features new choreography by artistic director John Malashock , associate artistic director Michael Mizerany , SDSU faculty member Joe Alter and Malashock Dance School faculty member Julianne Pedersen. www.malashockdance.org
… San Diego Dance Theater will present its Summer Intensive Wrap-Up Concert on August 2, at Sushi, A Center for the Urban Arts, 390 11th Ave. Dancers will perform SDDT repertory by Jean Isaacs , Gabe Masson, Bradley Lundberg and Daniel Marshall. And just for fun, ease on down to Terminal 2 at Lindbergh Field on Tuesday, August 11, where SDDT dancers will interact with travelers. For weary/bleary fliers, that should be a sight for sore eyes. www.sandiegodancetheater.org
PAT’S PICKS: BEST BETS
Resilience of the Spirit Festival – topical, gripping, memorable
Compass Theatre, through 8/5
“Twelfth Night” – not perfect, but perfectly good fun
The Old Globe’s Festival Stage, in repertory through 9/27
“Coriolanus” – political and provocative
The Old Globe’s Festival Stage, in repertory through 9/27
“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat ” – funny, colorful, well sung and danced
The Welk Resort Theatre, through 8/30
“Cyrano de Bergerac” – stunning, magnificent production of a timeless, heart-rending classic
The Old Globe’s Festival Stage, in repertory through 9/27
“The Fantasticks ” – musical, fanciful, delightful
Lamb’s Players Theatre, through 7/28
Pat Launer is the SDNN theater critic.
To read any of her prior reviews, type ‘Pat Launer’ into the SDNN Search box.