By Cuauhtémoc Kish | Theater Critic
Summer fare promises a little something for everyone: enough drama to satisfy diehard drama queens, enough comedy to plant a smile on your face, and music for all of us to either sing along to or lip sync in silent harmony.
Diversionary Theatre has just announced its newest season, and it’s a mix of drama, comedy, love and pride. First up is Michelle Riml’s “Poster Boys” (July 7–31), which will be a co-production with Moxie Theatre. It’s a contemporary comedy about love, branding and the church. Next up is Christopher Marlowe’s “Edward II,” an intense Elizabethan drama about power-craving nobility, followed by Enrique Urueta’s “Learn to Be Latina,” an entertainingly offensive romantic comedy (with dance breaks). In the Spring of 2012, Diversionary will offer an Off-Broadway hit that’s said to be an erotic time warp called “The Pride” by Alexi Kaye Campbell. And finally Diversionary will produce the Tony-nominated “Next Fall” by Geoffrey Nauffts, an intelligent play about faith, devotion and unconditional love. Subscribe for the entire season and save some bucks by calling them at (619) 220-0097, or visit them at diversionary.org.
Chinese Pirate Productions will offer two shows, during the Comic-Con International convention, at the 10th Avenue Theatre with a preview performance beginning July 16.
“GAM3RS: the Play” and “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog – LIVE,” which is their fan driven stage adaptation of the award winning 2008 Internet Musical “Tragi-Comedy” by third generation television writer Joss Whedon, should easily connect with the convention patrons. For more information, call (619) 559-4277, or visit ChinesePirateProductions.com.
Ion theatre company began its newest season with Neil LaBute’s “bash: latterday plays,” which is currently in production through June 18. Following this production, the theater will offer Annie Baker’s “Body Awareness” (July 9 – 30), a play about a photographer, famous for his female nude portraits, who visits a couple in Vermont. A local premiere by Craig Wright follows called “Grace” (Aug. 20–Sept. 10), and after that drama is played out it’ll liven things up with Arthur Laurents’ “Gypsy,” all about an unforgettable show-business mother who is looking for her own spotlight. Rounding out the season, it’ll offer Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America” (Nov. 20–Dec. 11), Claudio Raygoza’s “Goodrock” (Jan. 21–Feb. 11), Elizabeth Meriwether’s “Heddatron” (March 10–31), and Suzan Lori-Parks’ “Topdog/Underdog” (April 21–May 12), which is a darkly comic fable about brotherly love and family identity. Order your tickets at (619) 600-5020, or visit iontheatre.com.
Lamb’s Player’s Theatre will feature “The Music Man” through July 10. Meredith Willson’s masterpiece sets a new standard of how musicals tell stories and in the process gives us a classic love story and one of the most iconic American characters of all time in the lovable rake Harold Hill. Tickets are available by calling (619) 437-6000, or visit lambsplayers.org.
The Old Globe will present “Hershey Felder as George Gershwin Alone” (July 1–10). Hershey Felder will lead audi-ences through the fascinating rhythms of Gershwin’s legendary songbook while telling the tale of his tragically short life. This short run will play at the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center and feature Gershwin’s best-known songs, from “The Man I Love” and “Someone to Watch Over Me,” through passages and songs from “An American in Paris” and “Porgy and Bess,” to a complete performance of “Rhapsody in Blue.” This will be followed by “Hershey Felder in Maestro: The Art of Leonard Bernstein” (July 15–Aug 28). With a story spanning the entire 20th century, Leonard Bernstein, one of America’s greatest musicians, broke through every artistic ceiling possible to become the world’s musical ambassador. For tickets, call (619) 234-5623, or visit The-OldGlobe.org.
By the time you read this, all three productions for the summer Shakespeare Festival will have been launched. This year the festival offers Peter Shaffer’s “Amadeus” (June 12–Sept. 22), along with Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” (May 29–Sept. 24) and “The Tempest” (June 5–Sept. 25).
Broadway San Diego (at the Civic Theatre) will present “Shrek the Musical” (July 5–10). It’s based on the Oscarwinning DreamWorks film that started it all, bringing the hilarious story of everyone’s favorite ogre to life on the stage. In a faraway kingdom turned upside down, things get ugly when an unseemly ogre shows up to rescue a feisty princess. Throw in a donkey who won’t shut up, a bad guy with a short temper, and over a dozen fair y tale misfits, and you’ve got the kind of mess that calls for a real hero, and his name is Shrek. For tickets, call (888) 937-8995, or visit BroadwaySD.com.