The country's real-life jazz capitals of today stake much of their musical reputations on the real-life closure of Storyville, New Orleans' famed red-light district of a century ago. You can find out why if you go see Ed Bullins' Storyville.
More important, you'll get a glimpse into the lives of the people whose tales made the neighborhood what it was. Ex-prizefighter Butch Brown (Alvester Martin III) wants in on the era's music renaissance, and he gets more than he bargained for in the romance arena. Meanwhile, politics and the neighborhood's shutdown upend everybody's lives—but they'll regroup as they take their musical gifts to points north.
Director Ken Page over-directs in some spots and under-directs in others, but he and choreographer Hector Mercado have created some great stage pictures, and music director Charles Foster McDaniel has crafted a decent seven-member band to color Mildred Kayden's tunes and lyrics.
In a real way, the story's sad climax belongs to madam Countess Willie, and San Diego treasure Leigh Scarritt shines in the role. John Anderson's set is one of a kind, shaking and moving as its shadows underscore the denizens' sketchy ways of life. This may not be the most satisfying musical in the world to watch, but it's mostly a pleasure to hear.
Through Dec. 12 at The Lyceum's Stage Theatre, 79 Horton Plaza, Downtown. $39-$53. sdrep.org
A Christmas Carol: New Village Arts updates the classic story about the poopface who gets the spirits of the season at the 11th hour. Opens Nov. 26 at New Village Arts Theatre in Carlsbad. $15. newvillagearts.org
Steel Magnolias: Three friends come together at a small-town Louisiana beauty parlor, declaring there's no such thing as natural beauty. Produced by Point Loma Actors, it opens Nov. 26 at Point Loma Assembly in Point Loma. $14-$16. pointlomaactors.com
The Rocky Horror Show: Janet and Brad blow a tire and come across a madman with an evil plan for the galaxy. Through Nov. 27 at OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista. $20. onstageplayhouse.org
Bram Stoker's Dracula: The Big Guy finds himself in a frantic search for the human blood that means the difference between life and death. Through Nov. 28 at The Coronado Playhouse in Coronado. $18- $25. coronadoplayhouse.com
Joe turner's Come and Gone: Harold Loomis is searching for his lost wife in order to make himself whole. Produced by the UCSD Department of Theatre and Dance, it runs through Dec. 4 at the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre on the UCSD campus. $8-$15. theatre.ucsd.edu
Paradise Hotel: Pinglet and his best friend's wife, Marcelle, scramble to cover their tracks during their romantic rendezvous at the seedy Paradise Hotel. Produced by the SDSU School of Theatre, Television and Film, it runs through Dec. 5 at the Don Powell Theatre on the SDSU campus. $13-$15. theatre.sdsu.edu
The Crucible: Five Massachusetts Bay girls set Salem Town on its ear when they claim to have been visited by the Devil. Co-produced by MOXIE Theatre and Intrepid Shakespeare Company, it runs through Dec. 5 at The Rolando Theatre in the College Area. $20. moxietheater.com, intrepidshakespeare.com Deathtrap: How far will somebody go to pass off a hit play as his own? Produced by Scripps Ranch Theatre, it runs through Dec. 11 at the Legler Benbough Theatre on the campus of Alliant international University in Scripps Ranch. $10-$22. scrippsranchtheatre.org
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: The asshole is at it again this year, making life miserable for the residents of Whoville until the spirit of the season hits him. Through Dec. 26 at The Old Globe Theatre mainstage in Balboa Park. $20-$77. oldglobe.org
Ruined: A Congolese entrepreneur runs a canteen where soldiers can meet up with women (for a price) as war looms. Through Dec. 19 at the Mandell Weiss Theatre in La Jolla. $31-$66. lajol laplayhouse.org
Shotgun Wedding Anniversary: What happens after 25 years in a less-than-blissful marriage? For Basil and Petals, it can mean murder. Through Dec. 24 at Mystery Cafe, in the Imperial House restaurant, west of Balboa Park. $59.50, including dinner. mysterycafe.net