But Dooley, Diversionary Theatre’s current world-premiere bioplay, cleverly shuns Kennedy’s reverence in favor of a look at what made “Doctor America” tick. Writer William de Canzio paints him as a bit of a bon vivant, a snappy dresser with a glib, quick retort and more than his share of admirers on both sides of the gender aisle. One scene in particular defines the tone de Canzio and director Cynthia Stokes handsomely achieve: When Tom (a very good Robert Borzych) asks his lover Khai (Shaun Tuazon) if the Cambodian religious temple Angkor Wat is really a “shrine to the royal schlong,” Khai briskly responds, “Yes—just like the Washington Monument.” Now, that’s cross-cultural dialogue!
The play misses the mark in one crucial aspect—as a biography, it’s likely better off as a series of flashbacks, with Dooley narrating as he steps in and out of the action. Beyond that, ceremonial dances color the show with grace and economy, and Matt Scott’s slat-laden set nicely conveys the similarities between peoples. This is a pretty good piece, one that reveals the core of a true 20th-century humanitarian.
It runs through May 29 at Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Blvd. in University Heights. $30-$33. diversionary.org
August: Osage County: When their father goes missing, the dysfunctional Westons reunite—and matriarch Violet struggles for control over a family set to implode amid secrets, lies and betrayals. It’s in previews now and opens May 12 at The Old Globe Theatre mainstage in Balboa Park. $29-$85. oldglobe.org
Flower Drum Song, a Musical Revival in Concert: Mei-Li flees Mao’s Cultural Revolution and struggles to balance tradition with assimilation in 1950s San Francisco. Produced by San Diego Asian American Repertory Theatre, it opens May 12 at the Theodore and Adele Shank Theatre, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive in La Jolla. $15-$25. asianamericanrep.org
A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Four young Athenians and a group of amateur actors are manipulated in and out of love by the fairies who inhabit a magic forest. Produced by Patio Playhouse Youtheatre, it runs through May 15 at Patio Playhouse in Escondido. $7-$10. patioplayhouse.com
Beauty and the Beast: Love changes the lives of a beast and his beautiful captive. Produced by San Diego Junior Theatre, it runs through May 15 at the Casa del Prado Theatre in Balboa Park. $8-$14. juniortheatre.com
Let Me Down Easy: Who will win and who will lose as wholesale changes loom in the nation’s healthcare system? Co-produced by San Diego Repertory Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse in association with Vantage Theatre and Arena Stage, it runs through May 15 at The Lyceum Theatre, Downtown. $39-$44. sdrep.org
* Sweet Storm: Newlyweds Bo and Ruthie Harrison have a lot to ponder about life and faith as Hurricane Donna provides the backdrop. Through May 15 at New Village Arts in Carlsbad. $20-$40. newvillagearts.org
The Great American Trailer Park Musical: Narrated by a Greek chorus of trailer-park divas, this show takes a look at the habits of the doublewide community. Through May 15 at the Coronado Playhouse in Coronado. $20-$25. coronadoplayhouse.com
Cabaret: A cabaret singer, an American writer and the denizens of Berlin’s Kit Kat Klub are caught up in the swirling maelstrom of a changing society on the eve of Hitler’s rise to power. Produced by Cygnet Theatre Company, it runs through May 22 at the Old Town Theatre in Old Town. $25-$54. cygnettheatre.com
Pardon Me, Prime Minister: A wayward passel of women’s clothes at Number Ten Downing Street fuels questions about the British prime minister’s morals. Through May 22 at Poway Performing Arts Center in Poway. $7-$15. powpac.org
* Curse of the Starving Class: A faded family struggles for control of its farm as its members search for freedom, security and meaning. Produced by Triad Productions, it runs through May 28 at The Tenth Avenue Theatre, Downtown. $15-$25. seemoreplays.com
The Life of Riley: Terminally ill George Riley has deeply affected his friends’ lives, and he’s now plotting a final farewell that could upset their futures. Produced by The Old Globe Theatre, it runs through June 5 at The Globe’s Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre in Balboa Park. $29-$67. oldglobe.org
* 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 July 17 at the Horton Grand Theatre, Downtown. $28-$58. lambsplayers.org