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Theater Reviews

The ‘wisdom and hilarity’ of ‘Beau Jest’

By Charlene Baldridge

It’s 1989 Chicago. Miriam and Abe, Sarah Goldman’s parents, are ecstatic. She tells them she’s no longer dating Chris the Gentile (not true) and moreover, she has a nice, new, Jewish boyfriend (not true, either), who’s a surgeon at one of Chicago’s best hospitals.

A successful businesswoman, Sarah’s been on her own for quite some time, and now it appears that Miriam and Abe’s fondest wish for her may come true. They do what all good parents do: They invite themselves to dinner to meet the prospective son-in-law and even take Sarah’s brother, a divorced therapist, with them.

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Fortune Theatre presents ‘Liaisons’

By Charlene Baldridge | Theater Review

As readers may know, British playwright Christopher Hampton is renowned for his translations of classic literature for the stage. A case in point is his 1985 translation of Pierre de Laclos’ 1782 epistolary novel, “Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons),” which is being produced in splendid style by New Fortune Theatre at the Lyceum Space through Jan. 28.

The most astonishing thing about New Fortune’s production, directed by Artistic Director Richard Baird and Kaitlin O’Neal, is its utter lack of mannerism: it is played without affectation in the vital modern English vernacular provided by Hampton.

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Playhouse’s unusual new musical

Posted: November 11th, 2016 | Arts & Entertainment, Theater Reviews, Top Story | No Comments

By Charlene Baldridge | Theater Review

La Jolla Playhouse on Nov. 6 opened the world premiere of a musical titled “Miss You Like Hell,” which is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced, unless you’ve seen the work of and are a fan of plays and musicals by bookwriter/lyricist Quiara Alegría Hudes — among them ”Water by the Spoonful” (Pulitzer Prize for drama), “Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue” and “In the Heights” (Tony Award for best musical).

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Pulitzer Prize winner ‘Disgraced’ does not disappoint

Posted: October 28th, 2016 | Arts & Entertainment, Theater Reviews, Top Story | No Comments

By Charlene Baldridge | Theater Review

Around the time Ayad Akhtar’s “The Who & the What” received its premiere at La Jolla Playhouse, it was announced that his earlier play, “Disgraced” would receive the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

This season, the Playhouse premiered Akhtar’s latest play, “Junk: the History of Debt,” and now, at last, San Diegans have the opportunity to see “Disgraced” in a fine, hard-hitting production that opened Oct. 26 at San Diego Repertory Theatre.

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‘Lizard Boy’ funny and endearing

Posted: October 14th, 2016 | Arts & Entertainment, Theater Reviews, Top Story | No Comments

Theater Review | Charlene Baldridge Having received several hearty testimonials from friends who saw “Lizard Boy The Musical” in previews, I saw the piece Sunday afternoon, Oct. 9. The work — which comes to Diversionary Theatre from Seattle Repertory — is sweet, sincere and impeccably performed by the three persons involved: Kirsten deLohr Helland as Siren, Justin Huertas as Trevor and William A. Williams as Cary. On stage with the attractive musical humans are numerous percussive […]

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‘The Producers’ — Broadway’s equal opportunity insulter

Posted: September 30th, 2016 | Arts & Entertainment, Featured, Theater Reviews | No Comments

By Charlene Baldridge Check it out. It’s all there — sets, costumes, lights, 19-piece orchestra, and an enormous cadre of actors (23) working very hard at the Spreckels Theatre through Oct. 9. It’s San Diego Musical Theatre’s production of Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan’s 2001 Broadway hit, “The Producers,” in its San Diego regional premiere, not to be confused with touring productions of the show that hit town earlier under the aegis of Broadway San […]

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How civilized

Posted: September 16th, 2016 | Arts & Entertainment, Featured, Theater Reviews | No Comments

‘The Cocktail Hour’ at North Coast Rep By Charlene Baldridge | Theater Review The normal upper-middle-class childhood circa 1930s was spent in a loving home replete with mother and father. It was an era when the majority of Americans tended to stay put. Many of our generation were born, grew up and remained in the same community all their lives. Others, like I, rolled around for a bit, following their work, their husbands, and at length, […]

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‘Oklahoma!’

Posted: September 2nd, 2016 | Arts & Entertainment, Theater Reviews, Top Story | No Comments

By Charlene Baldridge

If the Aug. 13 opening night was any indication, New Village Arts has another musical hit on its hands, with Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1943 Broadway musical, “Oklahoma!”

Not only that, there are new theater seats, still ample legroom, and a new soundboard (balance was still being worked out Saturday evening by sound designer Chad Goss). All other elements are there, the casting (director is debuting Teddy Eck), costumes (Mary Larson) and choreography (Julio Catano) are well nigh perfect, and any rough spots are likely to be smoothed during the run, which lasts until Sept. 25.

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Cleverness, comedy and do-overs

Posted: August 19th, 2016 | Arts & Entertainment, Featured, Theater Reviews | No Comments

By Charlene Baldridge | Theater Review Eggplants and wine — those are the hostess gifts for a night of wine, hors d’oeuvres, and a meteor shower in Ojai, an exurban community north of Los Angeles known for its bucolic lifestyle, its artsy inhabitants, and also for its clear skies. Ojai is the setting of Steve Martin’s world premiere play, “Meteor Shower,” continuing in double extension in the Old Globe’s Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, part of […]

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Recreating ‘Fats’: Harlem circa 1940

By Charlene Baldridge | Theater Review

Many years ago at the interval of what was likely the regional theater premiere of the 1978 Tony Award-winner for Best Musical, “Ain’t Misbehavin’ The Fats Waller Musical Show,” I overheard this remark, one of my favorites of all time: “They’re all black, and there’s no plot. What kind of musical is this?”

Lest there be any doubt as to the genre, “Ain’t Misbehavin’” is a musical revue for the most part, comprising pianist/composer Fats Waller’s spicy, jazzy, bluesy oeuvre.

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The spoils of war

By Charlene Baldridge | Theater Review Opened June 25 at the Old Globe’s outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, Brian Kulick’s production of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” is set in a World War I psychiatric hospital for PTSD wounded (Kulick is longtime artistic director of New York’s Classic Stage Company). Somewhere in Scotland, the pristine, white ward contains eight beds in which patients sleep, suffering both physical wounds and what was then, I believe, termed battle fatigue. Perhaps they […]

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Ion scores with ‘Lydia’

By Charlene Baldridge Located in a mini-mall at Sixth and Pennsylvania avenues in Hillcrest, ion theatre is a veritable vortex of activity and excellence. Currently playing through July 2, Octavio Solis’ “Lydia” is yet another visceral production, almost too powerful, too affecting and wondrous to be contained by theater walls.

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