July 15 2015 03:03 PM

Broadway-style opulence now at Old Globe Theatre

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Mike McGowan and Anastasia Barzee in 'Kiss Me, Kate'
Photo by T. Charles Erickson

This will sound like heresy to devout Shakespeareans, but sorry, folks, Kiss Me, Kate has it all over The Taming of the Shrew. Score one for the 20th century. If you're dubious about this claim, check out the Old Globe's opulent presentation of Kiss, Me Kate directed by the estimable Darko Tresnjak, former Globe Shakespeare Festival artistic director. Befitting its legacy, this Kiss Me, Kate has a grand Broadway look and feel about it. The pace is swift (even for a lengthy show), the laughs are old-fashioned but impossible to resist, and the music is Cole Porter. 'Nuff said. Kiss Me, Kate's beloved show tunes ("So in Love," "Too Darn Hot," "Always True to You in My Fashion," the comical "Brush Up Your Shakespeare," et. al.) are in good hands, thanks to Kris Kukul's music direction and two likable leads (Anastasia Barzee and Mike McGowan) who know when to apply the right wit or sensitivity. Add Peggy Hickey's animated choreography and Alexander Dodge's vividly realized sets and you've got a big-time summer treat to savor. Kiss Me, Kate runs through Aug. 9 at the Old Globe Theatre, Balboa Park. $39 and up. oldglobe.org


Another musical, of a very different ilk, is onstage at Moxie Theatre, and it could use some fixing. While Eternally Bad isn't, it's substantially flawed. Javier Velasco wrote the script (he also directs) based on stories by Bay Area comix artist/writer Trina Robbins, with original songs by local great Candye Kane. Kane's tunes are the best thing about this strung-together performance of tales about powerful goddesses in mythology. The way it unfolds is the problem. Did you ever take an acting class where you acted out the story while the teacher read it out loud? That's essentially what goes on here, with co-stars Devlin, Melissa Fernandes and Rae K. Hendersen alternately narrating and performing, with a little help from supporting guys Erik Dugan (the Adonis) and Michael Parrott (not the Adonis). While a couple of the tales are diverting (Isis, Jezebel), many others ramble on too long, like an SNL sketch gone awry. If there were more emphasis on Kane's empowering songs and more dramatized, less expository interpretation of Robbins' stories, this world premiere might be more fun. Eternally Bad runs through Aug. 2 at Moxie Theatre, Rolando. $20-$27. moxietheatre.com


Write to davidc@sdcitybeat.com.


OPENING

Dogfight: The local premiere of the musical about three Marines learning the power of compassion on the eve of their deployment to the Vietnam War. Presented by Cygnet Theatre Company, it opens July 16 at Old Town Theatre. cygnettheatre.com

Sequitor: A new production by local playwright Austin Wright about a man's struggle to keep his freedom. It opens July 16 for four performances at the Broadway Theater in Vista. broadwayvista.com

Lone Star and Laundry and Bourbon: James McLure's two one-act plays about Texas living in the 1900s. Presented by Different Stages, it opens for four performances on July 17 at the Horton Grand Theatre downtown. differentstages.biz

The Man From Earth: Based on a story by science-fiction writer Jerome Bixby, this play centers on a college professor who suddenly retires for very strange reasons. Presented by Trinity Theatre Company, it opens for three performances on July 17 at the Community Actor's Theatre in Oak Park.


NOW PLAYING

All in the Timing: This collection of four one-act comedies is arguably playwright David Ives' most famous work. It runs through July 26 at Patio Playhouse in Escondido. patioplayhouse.com

AlwaysPatsy Cline: The musical story of the legendary country singer and her unlikely friendship with a fan named Louise Segar. It runs through July 26 at OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista. 

The Pianist of Willesden Lane: The musical true story of Lisa Jura, a young Jewish musician whose dreams are put on hold in WWII England. Directed by Hershey Felder and starring Jura's daughter, it runs through July 26 at the Lyceum Stage in the Gaslamp. sdrep.org

Twelfth Night: Shakespeare's comedy about a woman who dresses up like a man in order to be close to a man only to be pursued by another woman who the man loves. Yeah, it's complicated, but it's funny. It runs through July 26 at The Old Theatre in Balboa Park. theoldglobe.org

West Side Story: You know the deal. Bernstein and Sondheim like Romeo & Juliet so much they made a lavish Broadway musical out if it. It runs through July 26 at Lamb's Players Theatre in Coronado. lambsplayers.org

The Music Man: The musical about a con-man who charms the townsfolk of River City into starting up a kids marching band so he can steal their money. Then things get complicated. Presented by Moonlight Stage Productions, it runs through Aug. 1 at the AVO Playhouse in Vista. moonlightstage.com

Kiss Me, Kate: A musical romcom about a Shakespearean touring company with so much drama backstage, the Bard himself would be jealous. It runs through Aug. 2 at The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. theoldglobe.org

The Quality of Life: The San Diego premiere of a new play from Emmy Award-winning writer Jane Anderson (Mad Men) about two couples who form an unlikely bond in the face of tragedy despite their political differences. Presented by Intrepid Theatre Company, it runs through Aug. 2 at the Carlsbad Village Theatre. intrepidtheatre.org

Side By Side By Sondheim: A collection of some of musical theatre legend Stephen Sondheim's greatest hits. Includes songs from Gypsy, West Side Story, Follies and more. It runs through Aug. 9 at North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. northcoastrep.org

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