Pat Launer : Spotlight on Theater
By Pat Launer , SDNN
Thursday, April 30, 2009
READ REVIEWS OF: “Bed and Sofa,” “The Sounds of Desire”
Mini Reviews of : “Woyzeck,” “ANON(ymous),” “The Wizard of Oz”
Black and White and Bittersweet
THE SHOW: “Bed and Sofa,” a “silent movie musical,” at Cygnet Theatre/Old Town
Kolya is a bit of a brute, keeping his wife, Ludmilla, trapped at home, a slave to household drudgery. As he leaves every morning for his construction job, Kolya’s romantic parting words are “Don’t forget to scrub the floor!” It’s winter; there’s a housing shortage. The apartment is tiny and cramped. But when Kolya bumps into an old army buddy, newly arrived in town, with no place to stay, he invites him home to sleep on the sofa. Ludmilla silently fumes, but when Kolya is called away on an extended work trip, she falls into Volodya’s arms, and he falls into her bed. Though Kolya gets furious and tries to leave, he has no place to go or stay. So he returns, relegated to the sofa. He plays out his macho rivalry on a checker-board, and soon, Ludmilla, longing for love and independence, is ignored by two men. The sleeping arrangements change a time or two more, and when Ludmilla finds out she’s pregnant, events take an unexpected turn.
Sounds like it could be a modern ménage à trois, but it’s actually based on a provocative 1927 silent film by Russian director Abram Room (1894-1976), a dentist turned journalist and then filmmaker. Unlike his film peers and predecessors, Room wasn’t glorifying the struggles of the masses or the political regime. He was exposing the genuine bleakness of life under Stalin, and painting a realistic and scandalous picture of sexual mores, from adultery to abortion. The story was supposedly based on the experiences of poet Vladimir Mayakovsky. When the movie was shown in the Russian countryside, the peasants were outraged, decrying debauched city life. The film was banned in London in 1929. It languished for a long time, until it was rediscovered in the 1970s and hailed for its early feminist perspective, and came to be regarded as a masterpiece of the silent film era.
In 1996, composer Polly Pen and lyricist/librettist Lawrence Klavan created a musical of “Bed and Sofa,” which ran Off Broadway for nine months, garnering an Obie Award for Best Score and seven Drama Desk nominations, including Best Musical.
A sung-through chamber opera, the piece is unique, impudent and darkly, quirkily funny. This is a re-cast re-creation of Cygnet Theatre’s widely acclaimed production of 2004, when it won a Patté Award for Outstanding Production. Once again, the set, including every prop, costume and scenic element, is black, white and gray, in deference to the silent movie and in reference to the dreary desolation of the time (set by Andrew Hull, based on the original design by Sean Murray ). Once again, it’s a stunning production, making excellent use of the expanded stage and enhanced technology of Cygnet’s new Old Town performing space. Every element fits together perfectly; the costumes (Corey Johnston) are appealing in their monochromatic tones and patterns; the lighting (Eric Lotze) is superb, ranging from ominous searchlights to a sky whose clouds evolve into the scowling face of Stalin. The excellent soundscape (Sam Lerner) underscores the action with thunder, rain, whistling trains, fighting cats and children’s voices.
When it comes to voices, this trio is outstanding: robust and pleasingly contrapuntal. The acting is equally potent, and much of the activity is mimed. There is no dialogue, only a voiceover of explanation and exhortation, recorded for the earlier production by the beloved and much-lamented local actress Priscilla Allen, who passed away last year. (That’s the bittersweet part of the production, though “Pussy” would’ve loved still being ‘in’ the proceedings). The music is lush and unpredictable. The lyrics are adapted from the title cards in the film; lines, phrases and musical motifs repeat to often amusing effect.
An extra frisson is added by the fact that the wedded couple onstage is also married offstage. Under the magnificent musical direction of G. Scott Lacy, and the finely shaded direction of Sean Murray , Lance Arthur Smith displays the full range of his full-bodied baritone, and Colleen Kollar Smith, in her first performance since her daughter was born three months ago, reveals a marvelously nuanced soprano, and a wonderful array of dreamy and dramatic emotions. Jordan Miller is an ideal (and idealistic) foil as the printer, Volodya, who turns out to be as controlling and demanding as his friend. Both wear rather tatty wigs. But together, they’re terrific, as are the three masterful, pre-recorded musicians who back them up: Diana Elledge on cello, Don LeMaster on keyboards and Wendy Hoover on violin.
Ninety riveting minutes; the adventurous theatergoer will be richly rewarded and emotionally sated by this spellbinding, offbeat musical treat.
THE LOCATION: Cygnet Theatre – Old Town Stage, 4040 Twiggs St. (619) 698-5855; www.cygnettheatre.com
THE DETAILS: Tickets: $17-44. Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. & 7 p.m ., through May 31.
THE BOTTOM LINE: BEST BET
The Women of Iraq
In 1993, actor/writer Heather Raffo returned to her father’s homeland, to the place where she spent part of her youth: war-torn Iraq . She lived, ate and interacted with women of all stripes, and collected intriguing and heartrending stories she knew she had to share. Back in the States, she attended the joint USD/Old Globe theater MFA program from 1996-1998. This week, she came back to her alma mater, to be honored with the university’s 2009 Author E. Hughes Career Achievement Award from the College of Arts and Sciences. It was at USD that she first worked on her stellar solo performance piece, ”Nine Parts of Desire,” which premiered in New York in 2004 and won a Lucille Lortel Award for Best Solo Show and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Special Commendation . The New Yorker hailed the performance as “an example of how art can remake the world.” Recently, Raffo performed ”The Sounds of Desire ,” a concert version of the piece, at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., in collaboration with jazz trumpeter and Iraqi santoor player Amir El Saffar. Raffo and El Saffar reprised that performance here, offering a delectable introduction to the country, the women, the voices, the music and the complete show, which will presented this fall, as a fully staged production by Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company (Oct. 7-Nov. 1).
The performance began with music from El Saffar, who produced an exotic muezzin-like call that drew us into the world of the play. The delicate, keening sounds made by the tiny hammers hit upon the 96-string santoor were haunting. Then Raffo took off her shoes and began speaking, with El Saffar backing her at times on santoor or trumpet, punctuating her words or commenting on them. At one point, he sang an Iraqi song. Using only an abaya, a traditional Iraqi black robe-like garment, Raffo magically inhabited multiple characters, just by changing her posture, her accent and the way she draped the fabric: loosely, tightly, randomly, providing a quick shorthand to the religious intensity and identification of each woman. They are funny, moving, poignant, heartbreaking stories. The women love their lives; they’re miserable with their men. They are widely disparate, but all seek some kind of peace.
This is a tremendously affecting piece of theater, and it was a treat and a privilege to see Raffo perform it. It was also a delight to see Craig Noel in attendance; Craig, the father of San Diego theater, now 93, knew Raffo when she was a student. Maybe he’ll even show up for the “Nine Parts” production by Mo’olelo, which will be directed by actor/director Janet Hayatshahi . It hasn’t yet been decided whether Raffo’s roles will be taken on by one actress or three; hers are tough shoes to fill, even if she’s not wearing any. More info to come, as the plans are firmed up. Details will also be available at http://www.electrictemple.net/
… The Mechanization of Man: Georg Büchner’s “ Woyzeck ” is one of the most influential plays ever to come out of Germany . The playwright, who died in 1837 at age 24, left the work unfinished, but it’s been “completed” by a wide variety of editors, authors and translators, and it served as source material for Alban Berg’s 1925 opera, “Wozzeck,” and the 1979 Werner Herzog film, “Woyzeck,” among many other adaptations. Loosely based on a true story, the play was the first literary work in German about the working class. The real Johann Christian Woyzeck was a Leipzig wigmaker, barber and soldier who, in 1821, in a fit of jealousy, murdered the widow he’d been living with; he was later publicly beheaded.
The play is a biting social commentary, a tragic view of the pointlessness of life, the poverty, suffering and animal nature of the working class and the moral depravity of the middle classes, in a society powered by greed, hypocrisy and violence. Violence begets violence. The themes are timeless and universal. Woyzeck is not just an impetuous murderer; he is the victim of social and economic forces. It is the dehumanizing, depersonalized nature of his society, and particularly the military establishment, that has destroyed his life.
Award-winning Romanian director Gabor Tompa, head of Directing in the Department of Theatre and Dance at UC San Diego, created his own adaptation of “Woyzeck” in the early 1990s; he premiered his version in war-torn Bosnia and Sarajevo , and the play was nearly banned. This month, working with an ensemble of 14 undergraduates, he directed a brief run at the Potiker Theatre.
It was a dazzling, high-concept production, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the heyday of Sledgehammer Theatre. From the moment the audience entered the theater, they were thrown into the world of the play. We huddled in the lobby as soldiers mechanically goose-stepped by. A marching drummer intoned the same phrases over and over, stopping mid-sentence as if he were a wind-up doll, and then beginning again and continuing on his way. Three wandering trollops handed out peas. A soldier imprisoned in a glass box stooping repeatedly to eat his peas. All this foreshadowed the story and themes of the play in strikingly dramatic fashion.
A shrill whistle herded us into the theater, into a cavernous gray expanse like an airplane hangar (excellent scenic design by recent MFA graduate Kristin Ellert), with spinning turbines embedded in the upstage wall. The lighting design (by graduating senior Sarah Kranz) was jaw-dropping, with intense lateral beams, swirling follow-spots and assorted special effects. The spectacular sound design (by recent MFA grad and Patté Award-winner Toby Algya) included music by Ludwig van Beethoven, Keith Jarrett, UCSD Design faculty member Shahrokh Yadegari and Algya himself. The performances were variable but highly committed. The repeated anti-Semitic references were disturbing. But the look of the production was wildly imaginative and unforgettable. The stylized, mechanized moves (choreographed by ‘08 dance major Rebecca Bruno) and droning repetition of words and actions may not be to everyone’s taste, but they delighted fans of filmmakers Fellini and Buñuel. And those with an understanding of a European sensibility. One lasting stage picture, among many heart-stopping moments, is the madman in a strait-jacket, the Fool who sees all, flapping his arms wildly in warning and hanging precariously from the rafters in one final image of sheer helplessness.
… Nameless: Another extraordinary undergraduate production — symbolic, dramatic and concerned with fate and free will — was “ANON(ymous),” at USD. Written by Naomi Iizuka, now head of the MFA program in playwriting at UC, San Diego , the play is a modern adaptation of Homer’s “Odyssey.” The central character is Anon, a refugee from an unknown, war-ravaged country, who is buffeted by storm, sea, poverty, affluence, rejection, revulsion, violence and his own unremitting desire for identity and a sense of home. Most of all, he wants to find his mother, from whom he was separated during a shipwreck. She is Odysseus’ wife Penelope, weaving a shroud for the loved one she believes to be dead. Penelope’s relentless suitor, Eurymachus, has become Yuri Mackus, a domineering and demeaning sweatshop owner who hungers for Anon’s mother. Athena is replaced by the goddess Naja, named for a Sanskrit earth spirit who protected Buddha; she also protects this hero and helps guide him to his destination. Anon meets other downtrodden migrants, and is seduced by the petulant daughter of a wealthy, powerful materialist (“Calista,” standing in for Homer’s Calysto). He’s nearly made into sausage by the one-eyed cannibalistic butcher, Zyclo (Cyclops).
In this gritty but starkly beautiful poetic landscape, laced with sadness and longing, immigrants feel the pain of injustice, prejudice and loss of identity. But despite the horrific aftermath of war, hope remains a sustaining force. Like Odysseus, Anon ultimately finds his way home, or at least finds his mother in the sweatshop, and he ends up enfolded, Christ-like, in her oversized arms.
Although this was by all reports a completely collaborative student-faculty effort, the instructors obviously had a major hand in the spellbinding outcome. Monica Stufft directed, and was abetted by the inventive scenic design (Robin Sanford Roberts), lighting (Benjamin Seibert, who also was responsible for the masterful puppet design), and sound and fight choreography (George Yé). The sum total of all this faculty work, coupled with the students’ ardent dedication, was often breathtaking. Lynne Jennings, president of the San Diego Puppetry Guild, has been a busy lady of late; she consulted on, or created puppets for, the Valhalla High School presentation at the Student Shakespeare Festival, the staged reading of “The Corpse Bride,” a new musical fairy tale by local actor/writer Mike Sears and she was a consultant for this ingenious production. The students were variable in their abilities, but the overall result was marvelous. Some of the stage pictures were electrifying, like the use of small pieces of fabric, held aloft by several lines of seated actors, moving back and forth in unison to convey the rolling of waves onto the shore. The creativity was exceptional in the storm, the moving vehicle, the found objects used for disparate purposes (an upside-down desk chair as helicopter was especially imaginative). It was all a nightmare, and a dream.
… Season of the Witch: Every decade or so, San Diego Junior Theatre trots out “The Wizard of OZ,” which can accommodate seven zillion kids (well, 50 or so, in this case) for maximum exposure and singalong potential. And it seems a fitting conclusion to the 60th anniversary of JT, the oldest continuing children’s theater in the country. The kids, as always, were cute and enthusiastic; those 8 year-old Munchkins were adorable, and the real live Toto (Tavish and Kiltie, alternating through each performance) were perfectly behaved. The backstories were fascinating, too. Multi-talented Alice Cash, who’s about to graduate from high school and head off to Georgetown University to study political science, played the Wicked Witch of the West. She was great, both scary and funny, though what she really wants to do is direct. At 15, she formed her own theater company, Broadway Kids of San Diego, and shepherded a number of challenging plays, with enormous casts. She only auditioned for this show in order to be in one final production with her best friend, LaVon Wageman, who was delightful as Dorothy. LaVon, who received Honorable Mention for the 2008 Patté Scholarship, The Dea and Osborn Hurston Award for a Promising Young Theatermaker, is bound for the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, where she’ll pursue a career in musical theater. The two friends met in a JT production five years ago, when both were 12 years old. Meanwhile, Kimberly Marron has taken up the cudgels for her family; 11 years ago, her older sister Catie made her stage debut at age 8 in JT’s “Wizard of Oz.” She went on to star in “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” among others, and is now studying musical theater at USC. So the next generation is already in the wings. And in the pit, the 16-piece orchestra sounded excellent, under the direction of Richard Morrison. The costumes for this production (designed by Lynn Choplin) were especially noteworthy — and ingenious. The show continues through this weekend. Next up for Junior Theatre, “disney’s Mulan,” “Les Misérables” and a massive array of summer training programs. Their really Big Night comes in the fall, when JT alum Christian Hoff, Tony Award-winner for “Jersey Boys,” appears in concert (September 12). Tickets are available at (619) 239-8355 or juniortheatre.com
NEWS AND VIEWS
… ‘Tis the Season: Updates to the La Jolla Playhouse season and an announcement of the upcoming Old Globe season have some delights in store for local theatergoers.
“Alfred Hitch cock’s 39 Steps,” a Tony and Olivier Award-winner that the New York Times called “absurdly enjoyable,” will replace the previously announced Page-to-Stage production of “The Hudsucker Proxy” at the La Jolla Playhouse (8/11-9/11). Two new EDGE productions (the theater’s experimental new works) include “Dogugaeshi,” created by celebrated puppeteer Basil Twist (6/10-14) and “Hoover: Tanned, Rested and Ready to Rock,” an rock-inspired interactive musical about Herbert Hoover, brought to us by the same folks who gave us the magical “Peter and the Starcatchers” earlier this year (9/8-13). Next month, the Playhouse will present a special engagement of Native Voices at the Autry’s Festival of Plays, with readings of new works by Native Americans (6/19-21). These productions join the originally announced West coast premiere of a Terrence McNally romance of sorts, “Unusual Acts of Devotion” (6/2-28), followed by “Restoration,” a world premiere and Playhouse commission, by Claudia Shear (“Dirty Blonde,” “Blown Sideways through Life”). “Herringbone,” a one-man musical, follows (8/1-30), and then “Creditors,” a world premiere adapted by Craig Wright (Pulitzer Prize winner for “I Am My Own Wife”) from a play by August Strindberg (9/29-10/25). The season wraps up with a world premiere musical, “The Big Time,” written by Douglas Carter Beane and directed by LJP artistic director Christopher Ashley , the team that gave the world the Tony-nominated musical, “Xanadu” (11/10-12/20).
Meanwhile, the Old Globe has announced its upcoming season, following the summer Shakespeare Festival productions of “12th Night,” “Coriolanus” and “Cyrano de Bergerac” (6/14-9/27). Also up this summer, in the smaller theater (still housed at the Museum of Art ), the Broadway-bound musical, “The First Wives Club” (7/15-8/23) and the classic comedy, “The Mystery of Irma Vep” (7/31-9/6). The Globe is boasting two world premiere musicals, a world premiere play and three West coast premieres. The first new musical is “Sammy,” written by Academy Award-winner leslie Bricusse, about entertainer extraordinaire Sammy Davis, Jr. (9/17-11/1). The other musical premiere is a big coup for the Globe: Tony and Grammy-winner Duncan Sheik’s follow-up to the groundbreaking “Spring Awakening.” “Whisper House” concerns the caretakers of a lighthouse and the spirits that haunt them (1/13-2/21, 2010). The five plays at the Globe over the next year include: the “jet-propelled comedy,” recently a hit revival on Broadway, “Boeing-Boeing” (3/13-4/18, 2010); “What You Will,” written and performed by Tony and Oliver Award-winner Roger Rees, a solo historical comedy about all things Shakespeare (5/1-6/6, 2010); “The Savannah Disputation,” about two sisters and their faith (9/26-11/1) and Neil Simon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama (with comedy, of course), “Lost in Yonkers” (1/23-2/28, 2010). On December 7, the Globe will stage a grand opening for the new Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, featuring a performance by the Tony Award-winning stars of the knockout Broadway revival of “South Pacific,” Kelli O’Hara and Paulo Szot. This will also mark the official opening of the newly rebuilt arena stage, the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre. Big big doin’s at our two Tony-winning theaters.
… Speaking of firsts, San Diego-based CYC Theatre, the California Youth Conservatory, will be the first youth theater company in the world to produce the full-score version of the era-defining musical, “Rent.” To help prepare the young participants, a week-long workshop will be held, taught by Rodney Hicks, who performed in the Broadway production; acclaimed actor/singer Karole Forman; and San Diego newcomer Walker Clark, also an Equity actor, who’ll play the role of Mark, the filmmaker and narrator of the show. Accomplished young actor/singer Luke Marinkovich , winner of the 1st annual Patté Scholarship, and Lauren Hunter, who received Honorable Mention last year, are returning to their hometown from college to star in the production, as the HIV-positive songwriter, Roger, and the performance artist, Maureen. The production runs 6/20-7/5 at the Lyceum Theatre in Horton Plaza, following close on the heels of the CYC production of “Seussical” (6/6-14), starring CYC alum Austyn Meyers, who appeared as Gavroche in the 2006 Broadway revival of “Les Miz.” www.cyctheatre.com
… Secret to a Sellout: There is nothing like a Dame – It took less than five hours to sell out the entire September run of “Phèdre” at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington , D.C. The secret ingredient? Dame Helen Mirren, playing the ill-fated Queen who falls in love with her stepson, in the tragedy by 17th century French dramatist Jean Racine. The production, direct from the National Theatre of London, makes its only North American stop in the nation’s capital. So, all any theater needs to do, to ensure an SRO crowd, is invite British royalty to come to town…
Addendum/Erratum : Last week, I praised the grade 3-4 presentation from La Jolla Country Day School , a delightful scene from “Much Ado About Nothing,” directed by Angela Rehn. That presentation was co-directed by Kenwa Newell.
AWARDS TIME :
… The Tony Connection: Nominations for the American Theatre Wing’s 63rd annual Tony Awards were announced this week, and as usual, San Diego bred some of the nominees and saw some of the shows first. The La Jolla Playhouse links are numerous. The stunning production of “33 Variations,” which was presented at the Playhouse before moving to Broadway, snagged five nominations, including Best Play. “Guys and Dolls,” directed by former La Jolla Playhouse artistic director Des McAnuff, received two nominations (Best Revival and Best Scenic Design, by former San Diegan and Sledgehammer Theatre co-founder Robert Brill). Michael Grief, another former artistic director of the Playhouse, was nominated for Best Direction of a Musical, for “Next to Normal .” Sutton Foster, who got her big break stepping into the lead role in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” at the La Jolla Playhouse, then went on to win the Best Performance Tony, was nominated for Best Musical Performance for “Shrek, the Musical.” And Bartlett Sher, who cut his theatrical teeth in San Diego , and won a Tony last year for his direction of the celebrated revival of “South Pacific,” was nominated for Best Direction of a Play, “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.” The most-nominated show was “Billy Elliott, the Musical,” and all three young actors who alternate in the title role, including San Diego dance phenom Kiril Kulish, were nominated for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. See how well we do when the Tony Awards are broadcast on CBS, Sunday, June 7.
… Jazzy!: My radio home, KSDS Jazz 88.3, a media partner of SDNN and broadcast service of San Diego City College, just received a My Source Community Impact Award for Engagement, from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). The station was recognized for its music education initiatives, including its support for the annual Music Matters instrument donation program that bolsters the music programs in city schools, and the annual CMEA middle and high school jazz festival. Bravo, KSDS, for keeping the arts vibrant for young people.
… Serving up some Patté: The 11thAnnual Patté Awards for Theater Excellence, which aired last year on Channel 4, was just nominated for an Emmy Award. The awards ceremony pays tribute to San Diegans making theater for San Diego , Hate to blow my own horn, since I created and host the event, but it’s pretty exciting news. More as it happens.
MUSIC AND DANCE
… Inauguration Sensation: Mainly Mozart, in partnership with the Lincoln High School Center for the Arts, is presenting a one-night Concert for a Cause, featuring Anthony McGill, principal clarinet for the Mainly Mozart Festival and the New York Metropolitan Opera. He performed for millions at President Obama’s inauguration, and now he’s performing here, along with the Lincoln High School Gospel Choir (Ellarese Harvey, student director). May 16 in the new Lincoln High School Center for the Arts, 4777 Imperial Avenue . Tickets are $10-50 (the higher price includes a private post-concert dessert reception with McGill). (619) 704-1140; www.mainlymozart.org .
… Moving Milestone: Jean Isaacs San Diego Dance Theater is presenting a 35th Anniversary Retrospective Concert this weekend, to celebrate the nearly 100 dances she’s created for the local community. Featuring a cast of 15 dancers, the retrospective is intergenerational, including current and former company members Liv Isaacs-Nollet, Veronica Martin Lamm, Terri Wilson and Tonnie Sammartano, as well as guest dancers such as noted New York choreographer Monica Bill Barnes, who will dance Isaacs’ “Red Dress,” a solo she learned in 1994, while a student in UC San Diego’s department of Theater and Dance. Also featured will be lissome, statuesque Lauren Slater, the San Francisco-based daughter of County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price . The concert also commemorates the sixth season of partnering with the SDSU School of Theatre, Television and Film and the Graduate Design Program, under the direction of Professor Craig Wolf. Graduate students specializing in lighting, costume and scenic design will gain the invaluable experience of working in collaboration with a professional dance company. Company photographer Manuel Rotenberg has mounted a photo exhibit in the theater lobby, highlighting contemporary and archival pix of SDDT performances. May 16-17, Don Powell Theatre at SDSU. Tickets are $10-35. (619) 225-1803; www.sandiegodancetheater.org
…Still hangin’ in New York : John Patrick Shanley, who won the Pulitzer Prize for “Doubt,” set in the Bronx, wrote “Women of Manhattan” in 1986 and called it “an Upper West Side story.” It’s about three trendy women and their train-wreck love lives. A stellar cast brings it to life at Carlsbad Playreaders: Kristianne Kurner (who also directs), Amanda Morrow, Amanda Sitton , Mark Broadnax and Greg Wittman. Monday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Carlsbad Library, 1775 Dove Lane . No reservation needed. Suggested donation, $5. www.carlsbadplayreaders.org .
PAT’S PICKS: BEST BETS
“Bed and Sofa” – unique, offbeat, silent-movie musical, gorgeously designed and performed
Cygnet Theatre at the Old Town Theatre, through 5/31; www.cygnettheatre.com
“The Cripple of Inishmaan” – darkly comic Irish delight, excellently executed
ion theatre at the Lyceum, through 5/10; www.iontheatre.com
“Zanna, Don’t!” – inconsistent production of a fun and fluffy musical
Ariel Performing Arts at Roosevelt Theatre, through 5/10; www.zannasd.com
“The Glass Menagerie” – moving production of a great American classic
Lamb’s Players Theatre, through 5/10; www.lambsplayers.org
“ Mauritius – a gripping cat-and-mouse game, superbly performed
Cygnet Theatre, through 5/10; www.cygnettheatre.com .
“The Hit” – fast-paced, funny mix of murder, mystery and romance
Lamb’s Players at the Horton Grand Theatre, through 5/31; www.lambsplayers.org
Pat Launer is the SDNN theater critic.
To read any of her prior reviews, type ‘ Pat Launer ’ into the SDNN Search box.