Pat Launer on San Diego Theater
By Pat Launer , SDNN
Thursday, October 1, 2009
The Candy Man Cometh
THE SHOW: “Sammy,” a world premiere musical, at the Old Globe
Sammy Davis, Jr., “a 5-foot-two typhoon,” spent 60 of his 64 years in show business. It seemed he could do anything: sing, dance, act (onstage, screen and television), play multiple instruments, woo innumerable women. But did he ever feel satisfied? What really drove him to repeated self-destruction and self-renewal?
We never find out in the fast-paced, lightweight musical homage penned by his old pal, Leslie Bricusse who, with the late Anthony Newley , created some of Sammy’s signature songs: “What Kind of Fool Am I?,” “Who Can I Turn To?,” “Once in a Lifetime,” “ Gonna Build a Mountain,” “The Candy Man.”
For this unabashed tribute, the Oscar and Grammy-winning Bricusse included eight previously written numbers (including all of the above) and added 15 new ones. But none of latest creations can hold a candle to those singalong show- stoppers, though Bricusse still has a way with words (he actually writes lyrics with perfect rhymes… what a concept! Practically unheard-of in modern songwriting).
The story is all too familiar: mega-talent burns self out on sex, drugs, infidelity, alcohol, over-spending and over-extending. Picks self up. Repeats. It’s hard to feel for the guy. He had everything, repeatedly, and repeatedly threw it away. With all the seminal events in his life – good and bad – flying by at breakneck speed (the accident in which he lost his eye, racism in the Army, conversion to Judaism), we hardly get a chance to catch our collective breath, let alone get under the skin of the man. And it takes an awfully long time at the outset to engage us in the narrative.
The show opens with an overture (something you rarely see/hear any more; one of several elements that make the musical seem old-fashioned). The action begins at Ciro’s on Sunset, Oscar night, 1951. It ends in 1989, at the Kennedy Center , where Sammy becomes a Lifetime Honoree for his 50 years in the business. (He died of throat cancer in 1990).
So, it’s a combo platter: part biopic, part jukebox musical, part through-sung ( melo )drama (most of the story is told in song), part sentimental remembrance. And some of it works just fine.
For one thing, Obba Babatundé is terrific. He has all the requisite talent: he can croon, tap, act, and play a mean drum solo. He’s charming and appealing, but not hyperbolically larger-than-life like the icon he’s playing. That’s too much to ask or expect. To everyone’s credit, he’s not trying to impersonate the performer, just give a feeling of his sensibility and his drive. And that he accomplishes with panache. The same approach is successfully taken in portraying Frank Sinatra (Adam James) and Dean Martin (Troy Britton Johnson). Less felicitous are the attempts at Eddie Cantor (Perry Ojeda), Kim Novak (Mary Ann Hermansen ) and Lola Falana ( Keewa Nurullah ).
The female ensemble is gorgeous and gifted (lots of long legs, that look great in those Vegas showgirl getups, among other fabulous costumes by Fabio Toblini ). As the comedy duo that gave Sammy his big boost at age 4 – his father, Sammy Davis, Sr., and ‘Uncle’ Will, forming The Will Maston Trio — Ted Louis Levy and Lance Roberts are delightful, in quips and dance. As the tough-but-tender Rosa Davis, the grandma who raised Sammy when his Mama left him behind, Tony winner Ann Duquesnay is formidable, but seems out of her vocal range at times.
Some of the score feels derivative; “Burlesque” is like “You Gotta Have a Gimmick”; “The House of the Lord,” a Gospel number, trades on stereotype “Fiddler” moves in the Jewish section; and “Black Sammy/White Sammy” does similar things in the racial domain. Some of the stronger new numbers are: “ Gettin ’ My Act Together” (which includes Babatundé’s killer drum solo); “Charlie Charm,” a cute comic ditty sung by Frank and Sammy; the clever-lyric “Living Large” (“Shopping till you’re dropping is like stopping every show”); “ Singin ’ and Swingin ’,” a self-explanatory Frank/Dean/Sammy song. Of the known numbers, generally well woven into the storyline, “Once in a Lifetime,” “ Gonna Build a Mountain” and “The Joker” work best.
But the tempo, tone and emphasis need re-thinking. Bricusse’s book and Keith Glover’s direction keep the pace a tad frenetic; we rarely have time to think .. Keith Young’s choreography is great fun and effectively establishes time periods (though we’ve certainly seen that drugged-out psychedelic scene more than a time or two). Chris Lee’s lighting works wonderfully. There were a few sound problems on opening night, but the orchestrations (Ned Paul Ginsburg), dance music arrangements ( Rahn Coleman) and Vocal Arrangements (Broadway veteran Ian Fraser) are excellent.
I think the show has legs, but it needs to dance to a more distinctive, focused tune.
THE LOCATION: Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park . 619-23-GLOBE (234-5623; www.theoldglobe.org
THE DETAILS: Tickets: $54-89. Tuesday-Wednesday at 7 p.m., Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 7 p.m., Saturday-Sunday at 2 p.m., through November 8.
THE BOTTOM LINE: GOOD BET
The Green-Eyed Monster Reawakens
THE SHOW: “Creditors,” a new adaptation of a Strindberg play, commissioned by the La Jolla Playhouse
A couple goes on vacation by the sea. An idyllic location, an elegant hotel. But then a snake slithers into their Edenic refuge. A stranger who insidiously, systematically undermines their relationship and destroys their lives.
“Creditors” was created by Swedish playwright August Strindberg (probably best known for “Miss Julie,” written in the same year, 1888). The La Jolla Playhouse commissioned a new adaptation by Doug Wright, the gifted writer who won a Pulitzer Prize for “I Am My Own Wife,” which was workshopped at the Playhouse in 2001 (under Wright’s direction) and garnered Tony Awards for the playwright and the stunning star, former San Diegan Jefferson Mays. Wright in turn commissioned a literal translation from Anders Cato, a fellow writer/director who’s fluent in Swedish. From that he crafted a timeless tale, set at the turn of the last century, but linguistically up to the minute.
It’s a psychological thriller, a high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse where the price is immeasurable. In a drama with a monetary title, it’s easy to conjure fiscal imagery: the high cost of love, the investments we make in each other, the debts due and payable. Scores will be evened, even if the damages are moral bankruptcy.
The setting may be a 19th century spa, but the interactions and machinations are eternal. The power shifts with every scene, as do our sympathies. From the get-go, there’s something Machiavellian about Gustav (T. Ryder Smith, with an impeccably trim beard and moustache), who probes and prods milquetoast Adolf (Omar Metwally ), playing Iago to Adolf’s love-besotted Othello. The endless wheedling and needling break down Adolf’s defenses, opening the door for the green-eyed monster who , once unleashed, can never be re-caged.
At first, it seems that Gustav and Adolf are friends. The former has already, in the course of a day or so, persuaded Adolf to give up painting (“It’s a dead form”) and take up sculpture (“These days, we want something tangible, three dimensional”). He seems to have an inside track on Adolf’swife , his marriage, his weaknesses.
But they’ve actually just met, and the relationship is just developing, however one-sidedly. Gustav is strong, convincing. Adolf is sickly, weak and suggestible. Gustav’s identity is supposed to be a long-withheld mystery, but it’s not too hard to figure out, not too far into the play. Still, his maneuvers and manipulations are something to behold. It becomes clear that he’s hellbent on undermining Gustav’s marriage. And he succeeds – in spades.
“She’s the force that sustains me,” Adolf says early on. “ Tekla is actually a part of me, of my body… I can’t tell where she ends and I begin” But Gustav convinces him otherwise: “She took your manhood, and hid it in her jewelry box.” Hard for a guy to recover from that. And Gustav doesn’t stop there. He does more, and worse, to Tekla (Kathryn Meisle ).
Wright’s adaptation is rife with delectable turns of phrase (“I was a broken watch, frozen in time”; “My roots are still in your soil”). The structure of the drama may feel familiar, the outcome predictable. But the journey is thrilling, under Wright’s taut direction.
The performances are outstanding. Smith is positively reptilian: smooth and slick and slithery. Metwally is excellent as the invertebrate Adolf, who has some contemptible philosophies of women and marriage, though he really does love his wife, to the best of his limited ability. Meisle is a force of nature, coy and flirtatious, dynamic, affectionate and admittedly narcissistic. It’s obvious why men adore her. She’s the one who surmises the plot, who figures out the intrigue. But it’s already too late.
These three succulent characters work their wily mutual mischief in an oversized, elegant set by Robert Brill, a Tony nominee who got his start locally, as a co-founder of Sledgehammer Theatre. The lighting ( Japhy Weideman ) is glaring, appropriate to seashore — or searchlight. The costumes (by Obie and Tony Award-winner Susan Hilferty ) have a dash of élan and elegance. The music, composed by David Van Tieghem , is at times overwrought, melodramatically punctuating the action.
It’s a dark, disturbing, intriguing, acerbic and savage little one- act, that gives new meaning to the term ‘desperately in love.’
THE LOCATION: La Jolla Playhouse in the Potiker Theatre, on the campus of UCSD. ( 858) 550-1010 ; www.lajollaplayhouse.org
THE DETAILS: Tickets: $30-65. Tuesday-Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 7 p.m., Saturday-Sunday at 2 p.m., through October 25.
THE BOTTOM LINE: BEST BET
Who Am I?
THE SHOW: Man from Nebraska , a drama by Pulitzer Prize-winner Tracy Letts, at Cygnet Theatre
What if you woke up in the middle of the night and realized that you no longer believed in anything? In God. In the stars. In everything your life had been predicated on.
That’s what happens to Ken Carpenter in “Man from Nebraska ,” the 2004 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize (a prelude to Letts’ 2008 win for the magnificent, epic “August: Osage County ”). Ken’s taciturn, dutiful Christian wife finds the insurance salesman on the floor of the bathroom, sobbing. He can’t explain it. He doesn’t know what to do about it. His pastor suggests some time away, a vacation. Alone. So he takes off for London , which he recalls from his time in the Air Force four decades earlier. He nearly has an affair with a rapacious floozy. He befriends a breezy black waitress and her eccentric sculptor friend. He moves in with them. He pays their rent. He tries drugs and alcohol, poetry and art. When his ailing mother dies, back in Nebraska , he returns home, hoping for reconciliation and healing. But nothing in life is easy. You can’t just escape, and you can’t just waltz back into your old ways. But the unexamined life is a tricky business, too.
Letts has established himself as a writer of quirky comic dramas, dark pieces that go deep. Cygnet Theatre produced his creepy-crawly “Bug” (2006) and Compass Theatre recently introduced us to the murderous trailer-trash of “Killer Joe” (3/09). Now Cygnet is ready for another round with Letts, tackling his third play, which premiered in 2003, at his home base, Chicago ’s Steppenwolf Theatre.
It comes at you obliquely, quietly. The first few scenes are relatively silent, mostly mimed. Snapshots of a bored and boring quotidian life: dinner at a restaurant, riding in a car, attending church, visiting a frail and sickly mother. It’s every couple’s nightmare (or at least, it’s mine): a long-married pair, staring past each other, long stretches of time with nothing to say. And then, there’s that middle-of-the-night, mid-life crisis of faith. And we’re off.
Cygnet associate artistic director Francis Gercke has amassed a superb cast, and directed with a skillfully subtle and stylized approach. Instead of lots of scenery or props, there are a few chairs, moved deftly on and off by the players, and a couple of brick walls, and projections of locales (set design by Brian Redfern , projections coordinated by Dominic Abbenante ). We see a house on a hill, a road sign that beckons: “ Nebraska … the good life.” And the rest is up to our imagination, abetted by Letts’ brilliant ear for dialogue and an excellent display of acting.
It’s a muted and reserved piece of theater (this is the Midwest, after all, and England – both bastions of WASPish restraint), and except for a few moments of emotional outburst (an angry daughter, a frustrated wife), it’s pretty much all about control. A good deal of it takes place in the minds of the characters. Letts and Gercke make the audience meet them halfway, and that’s thrilling in its own right.
At the center, Michael Rich Sears gives a stellar, confident, self-possessed performance. Though his face reads blank at times, as he stares out at the audience in a state of total befuddlement, we see that there is so much more behind the stony silence; most of his acting is internal. Similarly, in the role of his steadfast and unwavering wife, Robin Christ has few lines, but emotions play across her face like light dancing on water. She’s beautiful, even in her unmade-up, Plains State plainness. Monique Gaffney is vibrant and energetic as Tamyra , the free-spirited Brit. As her artistic flat-mate, Jeffrey Jones puts on short, spiky dreads and an antic disposition. The other characters are spicy little cameos: Linda Libby , very hot as the oversexed, bustiered tart (with handcuffs); Amanda Sitton as Ken’s daughter, a perfect meld of uptight, angry young woman and disappointed little girl. Sandra Ellis-Troy , though she says very little, is downright disturbing as Ken’s wheezing, tremulous, wheelchair-bound mother. Jack Missett and John DeCarlo are a perfect pair as an oily father and son: randy dad and a less-than-respectable reverend.
The whole play has a deceptive tranquility, a calm ruffled by all that’s roiling beneath the surface. This excellent, understated production mines the philosophical depth, and leaves us awash in our own thoughts.
THE LOCATION: Cygnet’s Old Town Stage, 4040 Twiggs St. in Old Town . ( 619) 337-1525; www.cygnettheatre.com
THE DETAILS: Tickets: $17-46. Wednesday-Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 7 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday at 2 p.m. , through November 1.
THE BOTTOM LINE: BEST BET
The Comic Coming
THE SHOW: The Savannah Disputation, a West coast premiere, at the Old Globe
Theological arguments are a tough sell — especially in a comedy. But Evan Smith’s 2007 play bypasses mere comedy and goes straight into sitcom. All that’s missing is the laugh-track. This insubstantial squabble on religious grounds pits the evangelicals against the Catholics, a distinction that seems arcane to those outside the faith, though it might be deadly serious to those within. Chapter and verse are indeed quoted, and there’s even a little Latin and Greek thrown in, but this effort feels decidedly like “The Golden Girls Religious Redux .”
Two Catholic spinsters, Mary and Margaret, go about their lives with stacks of spiritual tomes surrounding them (clever set design by Deb O), and church very much a part of their everyday existence. Then the doorbell rings (there’s also the enigmatic phone message on the answering machine, imploring someone – we never learn which sister – to come in and see the doctor soon about some test results. Talk about your McGuffins ). Standing at the door is a perky blonde evangelist missionary, who’s hellbent on saving their souls, and keeping them from burning in the hell their idol-worshiping heathen ways are bound to provide. So far, so funny, huh? Actually, the Catholics were laughing hysterically on opening night – especially when the priest finally gives the pert young thing her comeuppance. Riotous applause ensued.
In this chintz-covered Georgia domicile, Mary is the self-confessed “mean” one, who loves nothing more than telling everyone precisely how they should act and exactly where they should get off if they don’t measure up to her expectations. Margaret is sweet-tempered and soft-hearted; she gives everyone the benefit of the doubt, and she readily believes what young Melissa is saying about resurrection, the afterlife and (gasp!) the Pope. Mary is infuriated when Margaret invites the girl back, and she hatches a plot to ensnare Melissa in her misconceptions. She invites their parish priest for dinner and blindsides him with her exhortation to “Crush her! Demolish her!”
Melissa erroneously thinks the padre is Margaret’s husband. After a long time of holding his tongue (saving it for the banana pudding), the priest finally admits to having been educated at Seminary. In Valley Girl response, Melissa shrieks, “Shut up!” When Father Murphy finally does, reluctantly, go after her with sane arguments (as versus her belief that yoga postures are satanic), she fears she may have to quit this business and “go back to the Lancôme counter.” And yet, she has succeeded in shaking the foundations of Mary and Margaret, and even making the priest think twice. At the end, all four return to their own corners, licking wounds, recovering beliefs, and pretty much picking up where they left off. And Melissa goes on to the next house.
If this sounds like your cup of theater, be my guest. The best I can say is that it’s a wonderful production of an inconsequential trifle. Under the direction of Kim Rubenstein (currently on the acting faculty at UCSD), the cast is splendid. I could see the first-rate Robin Pearson Rose in the role of Margaret (she had to leave the cast unexpectedly, due to a family emergency), but Mike l Sarah Lambert is completely up to the task, bringing a simple-hearted warmth to the slight role. James Sutorius , a marvel in all his prior Globe appearances (“The Price,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf ?, ” “ Lincolnesque ”), is admirably grounded and slightly discomfited as the self-doubting priest. Kimberly Parker Green brings a dogged earnestness to Melissa, without making her into a total cartoon. And Nancy Robinette has a field-day with Mary, the juiciest of the characters, by far.
The costumes (Judith Dolan) and lighting (Alan Burrett ) are pitch-perfect, though some of the interstitial music (sound by Paul Peterson) seems a little too rock-infused for the likes of these folks. Country would’ve suited them just fine. And a laugh-track, too.
THE LOCATION: The Old Globe’s temporary arena stage at the Museum of Art . (619) 23-GLOBE (234-5623; www.theoldglobe.org
THE DETAILS: Tickets: $29-62. Tuesday-Wednesday at 7 p.m.; Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m., through November 1.
THE SHOW: Anything Goes, the classic Cole Porter musical, at Lyric Opera San Diego
The name of the show (which had changed a number of times) reflected the desperation with which it was put together in 1934. As goofy and ridiculous as the plot is, the score is nonpareil; one spectacular Cole Porter song after another (“I Get a Kick Out of You,” “You’re the Top,” “Blow, Gabriel, Blow,” “It’s De-Lovely,” “Friendship” and of course, the title tune). It was written for Ethel Merman, with a book by comic writer P.G. Wodehouse (as well as Guy Bolton, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse). The humor is of the pun/groan variety, but audiences can still enjoy the fun of it, and savor those incomparably clever Cole Porter lyrics.
But oh, the story. The mishmash mayhem occurs on an ocean liner bound for London . Nightclub singer Reno Sweeney is on board with her sexy backup girls. She meets up with her old buddy, quick-thinking Billy Crocker, who’s trying to stow away so he can be with his beloved Hope Harcourt, the debutante now engaged to an upper-class English twit, Sir Evelyn Oakleigh . Also sailing under cover is Moonface Martin, Public Enemy #13, who’s avoiding the FBI disguised as a priest. There are all kinds of mixups and mistaken identities. This isn’t one to analyze. You just have to go with it and have some mindless fun.
The Lyric Opera production gets off to a sluggish start. The eight-piece orchestra, under the baton of Chris Thompson, sounds much less than its number. The costumes (Pam Stompoly -Ericson) look low-budget, cheesy and decidedly unsexy. Except for one outfit and number, Reno and her girls look like frumps. Which makes for cognitive dissonance when they have to spout all these lines, and sport names (like Purity, Chastity, Charity and Virtue) that definitely suggest otherwise. Overall, the acting is better than the singing, except in the chorus numbers. Debra Wanger can belt it out, but she doesn’t ever let it rip and take it totally over the top, which is how the role is written (think Merman, think Patti LuPone ). She should blow the roof off.
The whole production is too sanitized and polite. The only one who completely captures the tone of the piece is J. Sherwood Montgomery, who stepped in at the last minute (taking over for Jimmy Ferraro, recovering from a recent surgery) as the wacky mobster, Moonface . Shirley Giltner is aptly ditsy and squeaky-voiced as his moll, Bonnie. Jordan Miller (recently seen in Cygnet Theatre’s revival of “Bed and Sofa”) is thoroughly likable and dramatically malleable as Billy, and he moves well. But the dancing overall (direction/choreography by David Brannen ) is simplistic and lackluster. Not many actual dancers in the mix.
Anthony Ballard’s Sir Evelyn is less foppish and foolish than usual, which makes it a little easier to believe that Reno would fall for him. Ed Hollingsworth offers a pompous levity as Elisha Whitney, the boss who’s constantly firing Billy. As Billy’s paramour, Hope, Laura Bueno displays a lovely voice, though her costumes, instead of being high society, are drab, until the final scene. Her brow-beating, overbearing mother (Lori Hable ) is here tame and innocuous.
“Anything Goes” is one big, brash musical. There’s nothing in the slightest subtle about it. Everything should be oversized and overdone. This is a safe, squeaky-clean production that doesn’t do justice to the spirit of the goofball, musically marvelous material.
THE LOCATION: Lyric Opera San Diego at the Birch North Park Theatre, 2891 University Ave . ( 619) 239-8836 ; www.lyricoperasandiego.org
THE DETAILS: Tickets: $32-52 (half-price for youth age 17 and under). Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2:30 p.m., through October 11.
NEWS AND VIEWS
… FREE NIGHT OF THEATER ! : The 5th annual, national event is underway. In more than 120 cities, with 750 participating theater companies and 75,000 tickets being given away. It’s Theatre Communication Group’s Free Night of Theater. The ticket giveaway, which includes San Diego organizations such as La Jolla Playhouse, The San Diego Symphony, Diversionary Theatre, ion theatre, Cygnet Theatre, San Diego Repertory Theatre, Playwrights Project, Orchestra Nova, San Diego Ballet, and more, provides access to performances from Oct. 12 to November 8. Tickets are going fast. So go to www.sdwhatsplaying.com and click on the orange arrow that reads “Free Night of Theater 2009” to claim your tickets.
.. Dibs: Not only do you get bragging rights; you get a discount. If you saw the world premiere production of the roof-rattling musical, “Memphis,” at the La Jolla Playhouse last fall, you can get a discount on the Broadway incarnation of the show that’s in previews now and opens next week (10/19) at the Shubert Theatre on W. 44th St. If you use the discount code, $5 per ticket goes back to the Playhouse. Check out info on the show at www.memphisthemusical.com . For the discount tix ($62.50-$69.50, regularly $121.50-$126.50), call (212) 947-8844 or visit broadwayoffers.com and use the code MELJP0819.
…Festival of Lights: The second annual community Diwali Festival, celebrated all over India and the world, will feature arts, a cultural program, music, a participatory dance (“ garba ”), Indian food and beverages provided by local restaurants, family craft activities, henna artists and a traditional ceremonial lighting of lamps that were made in India and brought to San Diego for this special event. At sunset, 1008 small lamps, arranged in graceful patterns, and 50 large brass lamps, some nearly five feet high, will be lit by distinguished local women and the evening’s guest of honor, Ambassador Sushmita Thomas, the San Francisco-based Consul General of India. Diwali , which celebrates the victory of good over evil, is a public holiday in India , significant to Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. Homes are decorated with lights; fireworks are shot off and gifts are given. Tickets to the San Diego event are available at the Mingei Museum and at the Festival. Sunday, October 25, 4-8 p.m., along the Prado and in front of the Museum of Art .
… Double Role: Eric Bishop, chair of the theater department at MiraCosta College , has recently been named artistic director of Carlsbad Playreaders, taking up the reins from Jack Missett. Bishop is currently in production with “Distracted,” the local premiere of a fast-paced comedy about ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) in our hyperactive, hyper-connected society. Written by award-winning playwright Lisa Loomer (“The Waiting Room,” “Girl, Interrupted”), the play just completed a run on Broadway, starring Cynthia Nixon (“Sex and the City”). “Distracted” runs through 10/11 at the MiraCosta Theatre, 1 Barnard Drive , Oceanside . www.miracostatheatre.com
… Master Class: New Village Arts theater in Carlsbad is offering a series of five four-hour master classes, taught by high-profile local and L.A. directors. The classes cover Monologue/Audition, Scene Study, Improvisation, Meisner approach, and a Film/TV Workshop. All classes are open to all levels of students. Info at (760) 433-3245 or www.newvillagearts.org
… Out of the mouths of babes: Joey Landwehr, artistic director of the J*Company youth theater, is always trying to educate his charges. So he planned an entire Rodgers and Hammerstein season for this year: “South Pacific” (opening on October 15, accompanied by a 20-piece orchestra), “The King and I,” “The Sound of Music” and “Cinderella.” “In these days of ‘Wicked’ and ‘High School Musical 1, 2, 3 and beyond,” exclaims Landwehr, “ many of these young artists don’t know there were musicals before! They are totally unaware of these amazing shows from the golden age of musical theater.” The other day, during rehearsal, Landwehr asked his cast, “Why do we sing in a musical?” A ten year-old piped up with this stirring response (which, the director confessed, brought a tear to his eye): “Until I started doing this show, I would have said, ‘Because the orchestra comes in.’ But now I get it. We start singing in a musical because the emotions are so strong that we don’t have a choice!” To further enhance the education, enjoyment and skill-set of local kids, The J*Company is also getting ready for its Fall session of classes, starting in November. Workshops, geared for ages 7-10 and 11-18, focus on Musical Theater Dance, Acting with an Accent, Advanced Voice Training, turning fairy tales into Greek Tragedy, and more. Details at: http://sdcjc.lfjcc.org/jc/classes.aspx
And don’t forget :
… Celebrity Sonnets , brought to us by the San Diego Shakespeare Society and performed by local actors, dancers and community leaders. Monday, 10/12, at the Old Globe. www.sandiegoshakespearesociety.org
…The reading of “The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later,” at the La Jolla Playhouse, one of 100 theaters nationwide revisiting the influential work that examined the aftermath of the murder of gay student Matthew Shepard in Laramie , Wyoming . Darko Tresnjak is directing a high-profile cast that includes actors Richard Dreyfuss , Robert Foxworth , Mare Winningham and Amanda Naughton ; directors Sam Woodhouse and Doug Wright; and local celebs such as Mayor Jerry Sanders and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis . I’ve also been invited to join the cast. Monday, 10/12 at 8 p.m. at the La Jolla Playhouse. www.lajollaplayhouse.org
PAT’S PICKS: BEST BETS
“Man from Nebraska ” – beautifully nuanced production of a quietly provocative play
Cygnet Theatre, through 11/1
“Creditors” – a brutal ménage à trois , excellently executed
La Jolla Playhouse, through 11/1
“Sammy” – a promising world premiere musical, in its earliest incarnation
Old Globe Theatre, through 11/8
“Side Man” – wonderful, poignant play; fine ensemble work
Bang! Productions at Diversionary, through 10/11
“Things We Want” – snarky black comedy about damaged 20-somethings in deep distress; wonderful direction and performances
New Village Arts , through 10/11
“August: Osage County ” – big, sprawling, spectacular family epic; the outstanding touring production stars Estelle Parsons, who played the lead role on Broadway
Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles , through 10/18
“I’m Not Rappaport ” – outstanding production of a funny, touching, thought-provoking play
Scripps Ranch Theatre, through 10/10
“ Godspell ” – inventive, energetic, inspiring
Lamb’s Players Theatre at the Horton Grand Theatre, open-ended
Pat Launer is the SDNN theater critic.
To read any of her prior reviews, type ‘Pat Launer’ into the SDNN Search box.