The Story of My Life, a San Diego Musical Theatre local premiere, paints some outstanding tales about Tom and Al, whose friendship dates to age 6. It’s lush with playwright Brian Hill’s anecdotes involving snow angels, a bookstore called The Writer’s Block (so named because it sits on a single city block), a female teacher’s facial hair and both boys’ fascination with It’s a Wonderful Life.
But often enough, a certain incompleteness touches many of the stories—even as the men exchange bittersweet memories about everything from Alvin’s mother’s robe to Wonderful Life’s Clarence the Angel, we’re never really told much about the nature of the bond that helped forge such a rich relationship.
Nonetheless, actors Robert J. Townsend and Chad Borden infuse Thomas and Alvin with spot-on baritones and stage movement under Nick De Gruccio’s direction and amid Tom Buderwitz’s expressive set. And if you have an opinion one way or the other about Stephen Sondheim, be advised: Neil Bartram’s words and music sound a lot like Steve’s.
It runs through Feb. 6 at The Lyceum, 79 Horton Plaza, Downtown. $30-$60. sdmt.org
Wonder Wounded Heroes: Dangerous skirmishes and Shakespeare mix as siblings face off over a mysterious past. Produced by Ion Theatre Company, it opens in previews Jan. 26 at BLK BOX @ 6th & Penn in Hillcrest. $10-$25. iontheatre.com
Death of a Salesman: Salesman Willy Loman promises his clients the moon but never delivers the same in his private life. Now in previews, it opens Jan. 27 at The Old Globe Theatre’s Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre in Balboa Park. $29-$67. oldglobe.org
Leading Ladies: Leo falls in love with a dowager’s niece after a series of costume changes and mistaken identities. Opens Jan. 28 at Coronado Playhouse. $12.50-$25, $50 for catered dinner on opening night. coro nadoplayhouse.com
Seussical, the Musical: This piece integrates the storylines from more than 20 of Dr. Seuss’ works, using each town and species of creature as inspiration. Produced by Actors Conservatory Theatre, it opens Jan. 28 at the Joan B. Kroc Theatre in the College Area. $12-$16. actsandiego.com
The Threepenny Opera: Who’s the worse criminal—the man who robs a bank or the man who founds one? Produced by UCSD’s Department of Theatre and Dance, it opens Jan. 29 at the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre in La Jolla. $10-$20. theatre.ucsd.edu
The Tragedy of the Commons: The Adams’ neighbor is selling his house, and the beautiful view—to say nothing of the fragile relationship between two people—is in jeopardy. Produced by Cygnet Theatre Company, it’s in previews now and opens Jan. 29 at The Old Town Theatre in Old Town. $24-$49. cygnettheatre.com
Once Upon a Mattress: Queen Aggravian has declared that Prince Dauntless may marry only the woman who passes her test. Produced by Patio Playhouse Youtheatre, it runs through Jan. 30 at Patio Playhouse in Escondido. $7-$10. patioplayhouse.org
Barefoot in the Park: Newlyweds Paul and Corrie Bratter learn to live together in a tiny New York apartment. Produced by Moonlight Stage Productions, it runs through Feb. 6 at Avo Playhouse in Vista. $30. moonlightstage.com
Shadowlands: This is the true story of educator-author C.S. Lewis and the student who leaves behind an abusive husband for him. Through Feb. 6 at Poway Performing Arts Center in Poway. $6-$10. powpac.org
* The Toughest Girl Alive: Oceanside’s Candye Kane performs her memoir of the same name, detailing her triumphs over countless adversities. Through Feb. 6 at MOXIE Theatre in the College Area. $22. Moxietheatre.com
* Waving Goodbye: Lily Blue and her estranged mother manage to patch things up even as their lives are woefully incomplete. Through Feb. 6 at New Village Arts in Carlsbad. $20-$40. Newvillagearts.org
* Two Pianos, Four Hands: Ted and George dream of classical piano stardom and put up with just about everything to get there. Through Feb. 13 at North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. $34-$41. Northcoastrep.org
Shotgun Wedding Anniversary: What happens after 25 years in a less-than-blissful marriage? For Basil and Petals, it can mean murder. Through Feb. 26 at Mystery Cafe, in the Imperial House restaurant in Bankers Hill. $59.50, including dinner. mysterycafe.net
* miXtape: Generation X was torn between disillusionment and hope in this cavalcade of music from the 1980s. Produced by Lamb’s Players Theatre, it runs through Feb. 27 at the Horton Grand Theatre Downtown. $28-$58. lambsplayers.org
* Jane Austen’s Emma—a Musical Romantic Comedy: A beautiful and clever young woman who prides herself on her matchmaking is clueless to her own feelings of love. Through March 6 at The Old Globe Theatre mainstage in Balboa Park. $39-$94. oldglobe.org