Theater Reviews

‘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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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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A ‘sort of’ adaptation at Cygnet

By Charlene Baldridge

When the Cygnet usher cautions you to read the synopsis (an insert sheet in the program), it is cause for concern, especially when it is not a synopsis of the play you’re about to see but of the play it’s based upon.

Now I have to write about the stupid f**king play, the title of which is “Stupid F**king Bird,” playing at Cygnet Theatre through June 19. Never got around to reading the script. I seldom read reviews of other productions.

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‘Hollywood’ not as expected

By Charlene Baldridge The world premiere of Joe DiPietro’s “Hollywood,” which opened May 18 at La Jolla Playhouse, lacks nothing. Directed by Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley, it is grand to look at, has a faultless cast, clever staging, and an imaginative text based on a real, unsolved 1922 murder. With all those virtues, a theater critic would expect to sing the play’s praises, especially one who in childhood had to be pried loose from […]

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Riveting ‘Dinner With Marlene’

Based on actual events, play is Lambs’ 47th world premiere By Charlene Baldridge Look who’s proving its mettle (guts) now: Lamb’s Players Theatre, that’s who. Artistic Director Robert Smyth directs his wife, the splendid Deborah Gilmour Smyth, as Marlene Dietrich, along with eight other wondrously cast actors in the world premiere of “Dinner With Marlene” by San Diego playwright Anne-Charlotte Hanes Harvey.

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ion scores again

Prepare for ‘tighty whiteys’ and bawdy language

By Charlene Baldridge

Hardly anyone makes a big deal of its consistent excellence and ion theatre at Sixth and Pennsylvania avenues just keeps turning out splendid little miracles in the dark.

A case in point is Wayne Lemon’s “Jesus Hates Me,” a dark comedy so wacky and off the wall it might have been written with ion co-directors Glenn Paris and Claudio Raygoza in mind. “Jesus Hates Me” continues at the Hillcrest theater through May 14.

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Teaching Helen Keller

Telling this story never gets old By Charlene Baldridge | Theater Review Playwright William Gibson (1914 – 2008) never claimed credit for the huge success of “The Miracle Worker,” the play/film for which he is best known. It was the original story, written by a woman named Anne Sullivan, the one who taught a “deaf, dumb and blind” teenager named Helen Keller to speak.

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